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Brian Rafalski: Misc

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Ice Hockey

Up to date as of February 02, 2010

An Ice Hockey Wiki article.

Position Defenceman
Shoots Right
Height
Weight
5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
191 lb (87 kg)
NHL Team
F. Teams
Detroit Red Wings
New Jersey Devils
Nationality USA
Born September 28 1973 (1973-09-28) (age 36),
Dearborn, MI, U.S.
Pro Career 1995 – present

Brian Rafalski (born September 28, 1973, in Dearborn, Michigan) is an American professional ice hockey player who plays defense for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League. Prior to joining the Red Wings, Rafalski played seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils. After struggling to enter the NHL, Rafalski has won three Stanley Cups and become an effective defenseman in the league. In his nine seasons in the league, he has played in five Stanley Cup finals (2000, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2009).

Contents

Playing career

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College and European play

Rafalski played for four years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and was a proficient player, scoring 45 points in 43 games in his senior year. He won several awards that season; he was named to the WCHA First All-Star Team, the NCAA West All-Star Team, and the WCHA Defenseman of the Year. With no immediate NHL prospects, Rafalski travelled overseas. He spent the 1995-1996 season with Brynäs IF of the Swedish elite league. After scoring only 9 points in 22 games in Sweden, he then moved to Finland. He played a season for HPK of the SM-liiga, and scored 35 points. He travelled to HIFK in 1997, where he spent two successful years. In his final year in Finland, he scored 19 goals and 53 points in 53 games, and won the Kultainen kypärä, which is the SM-liiga trophy for best player as voted by his fellow players. Notably, he also became the first non-Finnish player to win the award.

NHL career

Rafalski on the New Jersey Devils

Brian Rafalski was named by the Sporting News in 1999 as the best hockey player in the world not playing in the NHL. On May 7, 1999, Rafalski was signed by the New Jersey Devils as a free agent. He was 26 years of age at the start of the 1999–2000 NHL season, much older than most rookies, but he had played in some of the finest leagues in Europe. He finished the season with 32 points. He led all rookie defencemen in plus-minus with a +21 rating, second among Devils defencemen and tied for first for all rookies. Rafalski helped the Devils win the Stanley Cup that year. Along with Calder Trophy winning teammate Scott Gomez, he was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.

Rafalski improved his production in his sophomore season, as he scored 52 points, which led the team. His 18 points during the playoffs set a team record for defencemen, although the Devils lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Finals.

In the 2001–02 NHL season, Rafalski continued his scoring ways, notching 47 points. He was selected to participate in the NHL All-Star Game, but was forced to sit out due to injury. He did go on to represent Team USA at the 2002 Olympics, winning a silver medal as the US lost to Canada in the finals. The next season, he once again led all Devils defencemen in scoring with 40 points. He was a vital part of the Devils defense that helped the team win its third Stanley Cup in eight seasons, with a seven-game win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in June 2003. He has continued to represent America in international play, playing in both the 2004 World Cup and the 2006 Olympics.

On July 1, 2007, the Detroit Red Wings signed Rafalski, a Michigan native, to a $30 million, five-year contract.

Rafalski set a career high in goals (11) after scoring against the St. Louis Blues on March 5 2008. He would go on to score 13 goals for the season, amassing that amount in 73 games.

On June 4, 2008, Rafalski won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, the team he grew up rooting for. He helped out the cause by scoring the first Red Wings' goal on the powerplay in the first period to help them defeat the Penguins, 3-2, in game 6.

On January 1, 2009, Rafalski scored the game winning goal for the Red Wings in the 2009 Winter Classic; the first NHL game played outdoors in Red Wings history. The Red Wings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 6-4.

On May 5, 2009, Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock announced Rafalski would miss Game 3 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals. It will be the first time Rafalski missed the first three games of a series.

Awards and achievements

Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts +/- PIM GP G A Pts +/- PIM
1990–91 Madison Capitols USHL 47 12 11 23 28
1991–92 University of Wisconsin–Madison WCHA 34 3 14 17 34
1992–93 University of Wisconsin–Madison WCHA 32 0 13 13 10
1993–94 University of Wisconsin–Madison WCHA 37 6 17 23 26
1994–95 University of Wisconsin–Madison WCHA 43 11 34 45 48
1995–96 Brynäs IF Swe. II 18 3 6 9 12 9 0 1 1 2
1995–96 Brynäs IF SEL 22 1 8 9 14
1996–97 HPK SM-l 49 11 24 35 26 10 6 5 11 4
1997–98 HIFK SM-l 40 13 10 23 24 9 5 6 11 0
1998–99 HIFK SM-l 53 19 34 53 18 11 5 9 14 4
1998–99 HIFK EuroHL 6 4 6 10 10 4 1 0 1 2
1999–00 New Jersey Devils NHL 75 5 27 32 21 28 23 2 6 8 5 8
2000–01 New Jersey Devils NHL 78 9 43 52 36 26 25 7 11 18 10 7
2001–02 New Jersey Devils NHL 76 7 40 47 15 18 6 3 2 5 −2 4
2002–03 New Jersey Devils NHL 79 3 37 40 18 14 23 2 9 11 7 18
2003–04 New Jersey Devils NHL 69 6 30 36 6 24 5 0 1 1 0 0
2005–06 New Jersey Devils NHL 82 6 43 49 0 36 9 1 8 9 3 2
2006–07 New Jersey Devils NHL 82 8 47 55 4 34 11 2 6 8 −1 8
2007–08 Detroit Red Wings NHL 73 13 42 55 27 34 22 4 10 14 6 12
2008–09 Detroit Red Wings NHL 78 10 49 59 17 20 18 3 9 12 11 11
SM-liiga totals 142 43 68 111 68 30 16 20 36 8
NHL totals 692 67 358 425 144 234 142 24 64 86 39 60

International play

External links

  • Brian Rafalski's career stats at The Internet Hockey Database
  • Brian's U.S. Olympic Team bio
Preceded by
Raimo Helminen
Winner of the Kultainen kypärä trophy
1998–99
Succeeded by
Kai Nurminen
Preceded by
Mika Strömberg
Winner of the Pekka Rautakallio trophy
1996–97
Succeeded by
Allan Measures
Preceded by
Allan Measures
Winner of the Pekka Rautakallio trophy
1998–99
Succeeded by
Toni Lydman
Preceded by
Olli Jokinen
Winner of the Matti Keinonen trophy
1998–99
Succeeded by
Kai Nurminen
This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Brian Rafalski. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

This article uses material from the "Brian Rafalski" article on the Ice Hockey wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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