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Ice Hockey

Up to date as of February 02, 2010

An Ice Hockey Wiki article.

Dennis Daniel Polonich (born December 4, 1953 in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan) is a retired professional centre who spent his entire NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings. He was known as a troublemaker who would do anything (especially fighting) to disrupt the opposition. He was selected 8th (118th overall) by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft.

Contents

Playing career

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Junior hockey

Polonich began noticing early on that he wasn't one of the big kids around the league. Standing only an unimpressive five feet, six inches, and while playing for the Flin Flon Bombers of the WCHL, Polonich decided he needed a way to get the attention of the pro scouts. He felt the easiest way to do this was getting the face of every single player on the other team while scoring some goals in between. Polonich started picking fights with players all over the league during the 1972–73 season and was known to never stop trash-talking. He racked up 222 penalty minutes to go along with 83 points that season but also accomplished what he first set out to do, impress the scouts. Polonich was drafted 118th by the Detroit Red Wings in 1973. However, the Wings wanted to see if Polonich could be as effective in a higher league. They decided to ship him across the pond to Britain to play a season with the London Lions. He impressed and was brought back for the 1974–75 season.

Professional hockey

In the 1974–75 season the AHL had its first look at the young firecracker when Polonich joined the Virginia Wings. He helped them reach the playoffs with 34 points while leading the team in penalty minutes and went on to be the best scorer in their short playoff appearance. Towards the end of the season Polonich got the chance to play in his first NHL game. He would join the Wings for four games that season ending with no goals, no assists, and surprisingly no penalty minutes, but with a renewed sense of what he was playing for. After a quick stint with the Kalamazoo Wings of the IHL, Polonich became a full-time Red Wing in the 1975–76 NHL season. The Red Wings were retooling, adding toughness and grit to their roster after a few disappointing seasons and Polonich fit the bill. Although small, Polonich brought an instant force to the team and starting wreaking havoc in the highest league in hockey. Polonich set a club record on March 24, 1976 by sitting out eight penalties - five minors, a major and a misconduct. Looking back, Polonich wishes he’d spent less time in the sin bin and more on the ice.

"If I had stayed out of the box a little more, I might have scored 20 or 25 goals, you have to have a mighty long stick to score from the penalty box."

In the 1976–77 season Polonich had a short tenure as captain of the Detroit Red Wings while Danny Grant was injured. He would finish second on the team in scoring with 46 points and first on the team (second in the league behind Tiger Williams) in penalty minutes with 274. He would again lead the team in penalty minutes the following season.

On October 25, 1978 Polonich was doing what he did best when he got under the skin of Colorado Rockies' Wilf Paiement. In what has been termed as the worst-ever case of brutality in the NHL, Paiement smashed the dimunitive Polonich across the face with his stick, leaving Polonich with a concussion, severe facial lacerations, and a broken nose requiring reconstructive surgery. Polonich sued, and was rewarded with a settlement of $850,000 in 1982. Polonich suffered from breathing problems for the remainder of his career.

After five and a half seasons with the Red Wings, Polonich was sent down to the AHL after the 1980–81 season and, besides 11 games in 1982, would remain there. He helped the Adirondack Red Wings reach the playoffs twice in the following four years before jumping to the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the IHL.

Polonich finally retired in 1987.

Records

  • Red Wings club record: Sitting out eight penalties in one game - five minors, a major and a misconduct. (1976)

External links

  • Dennis's Bio on Detroit Red Wings.com
  • Dennis Polonich's biography at Legends of Hockey
  • Dennis Polonich's career stats at The Internet Hockey Database
Preceded by
Danny Grant
Detroit Red Wings captains
1976–77
Succeeded by
Danny Grant
This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Dennis Polonich. 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 "Dennis Polonich" article on the Ice Hockey wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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