Scott Stevens

Scott Stevens

Infobox Ice Hockey Player


image_caption = Stevens (right) and the 2003 New Jersey Devils present President George W. Bush with a jersey
position = Defence
played_for = Washington Capitals
St. Louis Blues
New Jersey Devils
shot = Left
height_ft = 6
height_in = 2
weight_lb = 215
nationality = CAN
birth_date = birth date and age|mf=yes|1964|4|1
birth_place = Kitchener, ON, CAN
draft = 5th overall
draft_year = 1982
draft_team = Washington Capitals
career_start = 1982
career_end = 2004
halloffame = 2007

Ronald Scott Stevens (born April 1, 1964, in Kitchener, Ontario) is a retired professional ice hockey defenceman. Stevens played 22 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues, and the New Jersey Devils.

Stevens started his career in Washington, where his solid defence and offensive ability helped the team make the playoffs for the first time. After spending a season in St. Louis, he was acquired by the New Jersey Devils. It was with the Devils that he earned a reputation as a fierce competitor and a hard hitter. Personifying the Devils' defense-first mentality, he captained the team to four Stanley Cup Finals appearances in nine years, winning three. In 2000, Stevens won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Despite his team success with the Devils, he never won the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenceman. His career came to an end after taking a slapshot off the side of the head, and he was forced to retire due to post-concussion syndrome. He was later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility.

Early life

Stevens was born in Kitchener, Ontario; his father owned a paper products company, and was also a semi-professional Canadian football player.cite web|url=http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1982/82005.html|title=1982 NHL Entry Draft-Scott Stevens|publisher=Hockey Draft Central|accessdate=2007-10-09] Scott was the middle child of three brothers. All three played hockey as children; older brother Geoff would later go on to be a scout for the Devils, while Mike, the youngest, enjoyed a brief NHL career with several teams.cite web|url=http://www.hhof.com/html/exSCJ_34.shtml|title=Stanley Cup Journal:34|publisher=Hockey Hall of Fame|date=2003-08-23|accessdate=2007-10-09] Growing up near Toronto, Scott was a fan of the Maple Leafs, and idolized Leafs defenceman Börje Salming.cite web|url=http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/LegendsMember.jsp?mem=p200704&type=Player&page=bio&list=ByYear#photo|title=Scott Stevens|publisher=Legends of Hockey|accessdate=2008-01-21] cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1208/is_25_224/ai_63090672|title='C' is for Champion|publisher=Sporting News|author=Larry Wigge|date=2000-06-19|accessdate=2008-04-12] Scott attended Eastwood Collegiate Institute, where he played middle linebacker; one of his teammates was Markus Koch, who would go on to win a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins.Cite web|url=http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/News/2007/11/11/4647971-sun.html|title=Scott Stevens|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=Canoe|date=2007-11-11|author=Mike Zeisberger] Hockey was Stevens' true passion, however. He and his brothers often played hockey in the house, ruining the furniture repeatedly. He earned a spot on the Kitchener Junior B team. In fact, Stevens gave up an opportunity to tour Czechoslovakia with the Kitchener midget team in order to play Junior B hockey.cite web|url=http://www.rangersrush.com/Archives/1982Cup/82May05.html|title=Stevens a key element in the success of the Rangers|author=Tom Conaway|publisher=Kitchener-Waterloo Record|date=1982-05-05|accessdate=2007-10-10] His play impressed scouts, and he was taken ninth overall by his hometown Kitchener Rangers in the 1981 Ontario Hockey League draft.

The 1981-82 Kitchener Rangers were a team loaded with several future NHL players; the defensive corps included Dave Shaw and Al MacInnis, Wendell Young was the team’s starting goaltender, and the top scoring line on the team featured Jeff Larmer, Brian Bellows, and Grant Martin.cite web|url=http://www.rangersrush.com/Archives/1982Cup/82May08.html|title=Rangers built success on strong defence|author=Larry Anstett|publisher=Kitchener-Waterloo Record|date=1982-05-08|accessdate=2007-10-09] Stevens and Shaw were an integral part of the Rangers’ defense, playing in every game of the season en route to the team’s Memorial Cup victory. In addition, both played in the OHL All-Star Game.cite web|url=http://www.rangersrush.com/Archives/1982Cup/82Mar25.html|title=Rangers’ rookies have made Crozier a very happy man|author=Larry Anstett|publisher=Kitchener-Waterloo Record|date=1982-03-25|accessdate=2007-10-10] Rangers coach Joe Crozier commented on Scott, "He’s come a long way this year... He’s strong, tough, handles the puck well and has tremendous hockey sense." Stevens would go on to lead all rookie defencemen in scoring, and he was named the second best defensive defenceman and second best body-checker in a poll of OHL coaches.

Early years in Washington

Stevens was taken fifth overall in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals. Due to injuries to other players during training camp, Stevens made the team at 18 years old, and never played a game in the minor leagues.cite web|url=http://capitals.nhl.com/team/app?articleid=323256&page=NewsPage&service=page|title=Features: Hall Doors Open for Stevens|publisher=Washington Capitals|author=Mike Vogel|date=2007-06-28|accessdate=2008-01-23] He made an immediate impact, scoring on his first shot in his first NHL game. Due to his commitment to the Capitals, he was unable to join Team Canada for the World Junior Championships, even though he had attended their training camp. Although he only scored 25 points in his debut season, he made the All-Rookie Team. In addition, he led all rookie defencemen in penalty minutes. He finished third in the voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league's Rookie of the Year. In fact, Stevens' early career was marked by high penalty minutes, and he led the Capitals in PIMs five times over his tenure with the team, eventually setting the team record for most career penalty minutes by a defenceman.

Stevens' debut with the Capitals coincided with the team's first playoff appearance as a franchise. [cite web|url=http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/teamseasons.php?tid=49|title=Washington Capitals Season Results|publisher=Internet Hockey Database|accessdate=2008-01-23] During his first few seasons, the team emphasized a defense-first mindset for all of its players. Nowhere was this more obvious than the 1983-84 season, when Rod Langway won his second James Norris Memorial Trophy as best defenceman, Al Jensen and Pat Riggin combined to win the William Jennings Trophy for fewest goals allowed, and Doug Jarvis won the Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward; Bryan Murray was given the Jack Adams Award for best coach, as well. [cite web|url=http://capitals.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=his_CapsTrophyWinners|title=Washington Capitals - Caps Award Winners|publisher=Washington Capitals|accessdate=2008-01-23] Stevens learned from Langway and defensive linemate Brian Engblom on the finer points of playing defense.cite web|url=http://capitals.nhl.com/team/app?articleid=343127&page=NewsPage&service=page|title=Ex-Cap Stevens Enshrined in Hockey Hall|publisher=Washington Capitals|author=Mike Vogel|date=2007-11-13|accessdate=2008-01-23] In addition, Murray helped calm the fiery young Stevens, who would learn to fight less and play harder. Stevens spoke fondly of his time with the Capitals years later, saying:cquote|We had a great bunch of guys and we worked hard. We were great defensively. We might have been at times a little challenged scoring and we might have been a bit challenged in the goal at times... But there are no regrets.|20px|20px|Scott Stevens|

Stevens was not without offensive ability, however. In the 1984-85 season, he set a team record for defencemen by scoring 16 power play goals, and tied a team record for goals by a defenceman with 21. Stevens led all Washington defencemen in scoring three times.cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?articleid=331643&page=NewsPage&service=page|title=Great Scott: Stevens Headed to Hall|author=Eric Marin|publisher=New Jersey Devils|date=2007-06-28|accessdate=2008-01-24] In fact, his style led Murray to briefly considering moving Stevens to winger. During the 1987-88 season, Stevens finished second on the team in scoring with 12 goals and 60 assists for 72 points. [cite web|url=http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0000491988.html|title=1987-88 Washington Capitals player statistics|publisher=Internet Hockey Database|accessdate=2008-04-08] He ended up finishing second behind Ray Bourque in the voting for the Norris Trophy. Over eight seasons with the Caps, Stevens netted 98 goals and 429 points in 601 games. Stevens also played in two All-Star Games in 1985 and 1989.cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?page=HistoricalPlayerDetail&pkey=8451715&service=page|title=Scott Stevens|publisher=New Jersey Devils|accessdate=2008-01-24]

Controversy in St. Louis

After eight seasons in Washington, Stevens felt it was time to move on. The St. Louis Blues courted Stevens, and offered him a four-year deal worth $5.145 million. Since Stevens was a restricted free agent, Washington had the option to match the offer sheet; they declined, however, and received five first-round picks as compensation.

Stevens' signing had far-reaching ramifications on player contracts in the NHL. At the time, the deal made Stevens the highest-paid defenceman in the league. In addition, the deal included a $1.4 million signing bonus. Several defencemen considered superior players to Stevens, including Ray Bourque and Chris Chelios, were not making that kind of money, and Capitals defenceman Kevin Hatcher held out until he received a contract similar to that of Stevens. General managers worried that these players would begin demanding bigger contracts. The players did in fact ask for more money, and it was this escalation that was one of the factors in the 1994-95 NHL lockout several seasons later.

On the ice, Stevens was named captain of the Blues. He scored 5 goals and added 44 assists for 49 points, good enough for fifth on a team led by Brett Hull and Adam Oates. [cite web|url=http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0000361991.html|title=1990-91 St. Louis Blues player statistics|publisher=Internet Hockey Database|accessdate=2008-01-23] Stevens made the Campbell Conference All-Star Team as well. Unfortunately, the Blues were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Minnesota North Stars. [cite web|url=http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/teamseasons.php?tid=36|title=St. Louis Blues season results|publisher=Internet Hockey Database|accessdate=2008-01-23]

Stevens would not get an opportunity to continue his success in St. Louis, however. In the offseason following the 1990-91 NHL season, the Blues signed Brendan Shanahan from the New Jersey Devils. Much like Stevens the year before, Shanahan was a restricted free agent, and thus the Devils were entitled to compensation. The teams could not agree on what the compensation was; the Blues offered goalie Curtis Joseph, forward Rod Brind'Amour, and two draft picks, while the Devils wanted Stevens. The case went to arbitration, and a judge ruled that Stevens was to be awarded to the Devils in September 1991.cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE7D91138F931A1575AC0A967958260|title=Meet Me in St. Louis, Says Stevens|publisher=New York Times|date=1991-09-22|accessdate=2008-01-23] Stevens ended the year winning the World Cup of Hockey (then called the Canada Cup) with Team Canada.

New Jersey

1991-1995

Initially, Stevens refused to report to the Devils for training camp. The Devils were already worried, after captain Kirk Muller walked out of camp.cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEED91F3FF93BA2575AC0A967958260|title=Stevens Making No Plans to Report to Devils|publisher=New York Times|author=Alex Yannis|date=1991-09-18|accessdate=2008-01-23] Stevens and his wife had made plans to settle in St. Louis, and Stevens wanted to end his career with the Blues. In addition, Stevens was concerned about the apparent lack of unity in the organization, citing Muller's walkout as proof. Several Devils players were upset over the feeling that Stevens was being forced upon the team; some players, including Ken Daneyko, wanted more money, while other players wanted general manager Lou Lamoriello to trade Stevens. Stevens would eventually report to the Devils three weeks later. [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE7DA1E38F936A1575AC0A967958260|title=Stevens Decides to Become a Devil|publisher=New York Times|author=Joe Lapointe|date=1991-09-25|accessdate=2008-01-23]

Stevens finished his first season in New Jersey fifth on the team in scoring, [cite web|url=http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0000511992.html|title=1991-92 New Jersey Devils player statistics|publisher=Internet Hockey Database|accessdate=2008-01-23] good enough for a spot on the Second All-Star Team. He earned a spot on the All-Star roster for the second consecutive season; he would go on to miss only one All-Star game for the remainder of his career as a Devil. In the offseason, Stevens replaced Bruce Driver as team captain, a title he would hold until his retirement (though Scott Niedermayer served as captain for the later half of the 2003–04 season while Stevens was injured).

After another season leading all Devils defencemen in scoring, [cite web|url=http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0000511993.html|title=1992-93 New Jersey Devils statistics|publisher=Internet Hockey Database|accessdate=2008-01-24] Stevens stepped up his offensive game in 1993-94. He posted 18 goals and 60 assists totaling 78 points, good enough for the team lead. He won the NHL Plus-Minus Award, finishing with +53; only Vladimir Konstantinov has led the league with a higher plus/minus rating since Stevens' win. [cite web|url=http://statshockey.homestead.com/plusminus.html|title=NHL Plus Minus Award Winners|publisher=Stats Hockey|date=2007-06-20|accessdate=2008-02-11] In addition, under his leadership, the Devils made it all the way to the Conference Finals against their arch-rivals, the New York Rangers, where they fell in double overtime of Game 7. [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9904E3D71238F933A15756C0A962958260&scp=12&sq=stephane+matteau&st=nyt|title=As Shots Ring Out in Overtime, Rangers Triumph|author=Joe Lapointe|publisher=New York Times|date=1994-05-20|accessdate=2008-01-24] Stevens came up short in his bid for the Norris Trophy as well, finishing as runner-up to Ray Bourque; the four-vote difference was the closest in Norris Trophy voting history.

After the 1993-94 season, Stevens was a potential free agent. Officials from the St. Louis Blues discussed a return to the team with Stevens, and he signed an offer sheet worth $17 million over four years with the team on July 4, 1994.Cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B02E5DA143EF936A35752C0A96F958260&scp=2&sq=%22scott+stevens%22&st=nyt|title=Devils Get $1.4 Million and Draft Pick in Tampering Case|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=New York Times|date=1999-01-05|author=Steve Popper] Five days later, the Devils matched the offer, and thus Stevens remained in New Jersey. However, unbeknownst to the Devils, Stevens had already heard from St. Louis management before the free agency period began, which was illegal under NHL policy. After a five year investigation, the league fined the Blues $1.5 million USD, and awarded the Devils two St. Louis first-round draft picks. Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello felt the punishment was not enough; he wanted five first-round draft picks plus damages. Despite the investigation, there was no evidence that Stevens was aware of any wrongdoing.

Despite the heartbreak of 1994, Stevens and the Devils would not be denied in 1995. After the season was delayed due to an owners' lockout, the Devils were off to a slow start, winning only 9 of their first 24 games.cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_fan_fea_25s_1994-95|title=1994-95: Finally Champions|publisher=New Jersey Devils|author=Dan Rosen|accessdate=2008-01-24] However, the Devils managed to hold their own in the Eastern Conference, and finished in the fifth playoff spot. After playoff victories over the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Philadelphia Flyers, the Devils faced the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Devils shocked the hockey world by sweeping the Presidents' Trophy-winning Wings for the franchise's first hockey championship. Stevens' reputation as a hard hitter was reinforced in Game 2, where he leveled Vyacheslav Kozlov with a body check that knocked Kozlov out of the game temporarily;Cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE5D91E39F932A15755C0A963958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2|title=Another Road Victory Puts Devils Halfway Home|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=New York Times|date=1995-06-21|author=Joe Lapointe] it was later determined that Kozlov suffered a concussion.Cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE6D61339F934A35757C0A960958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2|title=Wings' Victory March Has a Russian Flavor|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=New York Times|date=1996-04-07|author=Joe Lapointe] Stevens then famously turned to Wings forward Dino Ciccarelli, who was upset about the check, and said "You're next!"cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_fan_fea_spo_stevensimpact|title=Scott Stevens: The Impact|author=Rich Chere|publisher=New Jersey Devils|accessdate=2008-04-02]

1996-1999

The Devils expected to defend their Stanley Cup title the following season. Unfortunately for them, they became the first team in 26 years to win a Stanley Cup and fail to make the playoffs the following year. [cite web|url=http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nhl/nj/njdevils.html|title=New Jersey Devils (1982-Present)|publisher=Sports E-Cyclopedia|accessdate=2008-01-24] Stevens voiced the team's disappointment, saying "After winning the Cup, you expect to definitely be in the playoffs the next year... Maybe it was just a wakeup call to get back on track." [cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_fan_fea_25s_1995-96|title=1995-96: Continuing to Battle|author=Dan Rosen|publisher=New Jersey Devils|accessdate=2008-01-24]

Stevens started the 1996-97 season on a bit of a sour note, as he was suspended for one game following a high-sticking penalty against Igor Larionov during the first game of the season in which he drew blood. The team, however, returned to a solid style of play, and finished the season atop the Atlantic Division, though they would be eliminated in the playoffs once again by the arch-rival Rangers.Cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_fan_fea_25s_1996-97|title=1996-97: Back on Track|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=New Jersey Devils|author=Dan Rosen] Stevens finished second on the team among defencemen in scoring behind Scott Niedermayer.Cite web|url=http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0000511997.html|title=1996-97 New Jersey Devils|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=Internet Hockey Database]

Stevens' leadership continued into the next season. He signed a contract extension with the Devils, stating at the time that he wanted to finish his career in New Jersey.Cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E07E0DF123CF933A25751C1A961958260&scp=2&sq=%22Scott+Stevens%22&st=nyt|title=Devils Sign Stevens to 4-Year Extension|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=New York Times|date=1997-12-10|author=Alex Yannis] Stevens was especially important to the Devils' defensive corps, as longtime Devil Ken Daneyko was undergoing rehabilitation for alcoholism. However, he suffered a hip pointer injury against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and missed several games. Stevens once again had a good defensive season, although his lack of scoring kept him out of consideration for the Norris Trophy.Cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D06E5DF1239F935A25750C0A96E958260&scp=9&sq=%22Scott+Stevens%22&st=nyt|title=Stevens for the Defense|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=New York Times|date=1998-03-16|author=Ed Willes] The Devils finished as the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but were eliminated in the first round by the Ottawa Senators.Cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_fan_fea_25s_1997-98|title=1997-98: A Learning Experience|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=New Jersey Devils|author=Dan Rosen]

For the 1998-99 season, the Devils made several changes, the biggest of which was hiring Robbie Ftorek as coach to replace Jacques Lemaire.Cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_fan_fea_25s_1998-99|title=1998-99: Building Around Balance|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=New Jersey Devils|author=Dan Rosen] The team continued its focus on defence, as the solid corps of Stevens, Daneyko, and Niedermayer finished with plus-minuses of +29, +27, and +26, respectively. Unfortunately, the team was once again eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, this time by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

2000-2004

The 1999-2000 Devils focused more on offense, a fact reinforced by their 251 goals scored, good enough for second in the league. [cite web|url=http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/nhl19272000.html|title=1999-00 National Hockey League Standings|publisher=Internet Hockey Database|accessdate=2008-04-02] With four players scoring over 50 points, including rookie Scott Gomez's team leading 51 assists, Stevens' 29 points were only good enough for tenth on the team, and third among defencemen behind Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski. [cite web|url=http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/leagues/seasons/teams/0000512000.html|title=1999-00 New Jersey Devils player statistics|publisher=Internet Hockey Database|accessdate=2008-04-02] Stevens also set an NHL record, becoming the first player to play in 600 games with two teams. After finishing the season in fourth place in the conference, the Devils swept the Florida Panthers and dispatched the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games.cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_fan_fea_25s_1999-00|title=1999-00: The Second Triumph|publisher=New Jersey Devils|author=Dan Rosen|accessdate=2008-04-02]

Just as in 1995, they met their rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, in the Eastern Conference Finals. After getting behind in the series three games to one, the Devils managed to win games five and six, setting the stage for game seven in Philadelphia. During the first period, Flyers star center Eric Lindros was skating through the neutral zone with his head down. Stevens leveled him with a thunderous body check, taking Lindros out of the game with a concussion.Cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C06E5D8113DF934A15756C0A9669C8B63&scp=12&sq=%22scott+stevens%22+%22eric+lindros%22&st=nyt|title= Sports of The Times; His Health Is Only Goal For Lindros|accessdate=2008-04-02|publisher=New York Times|date=2000-05-27|author=George Vecsey] The game was only Lindros' second since returning from a concussion suffered in March against the Boston Bruins. Stevens was upset by the play, and had to be consoled by coach Larry Robinson during intermission. However, Flyers defenceman Dan McGillis admitted the hit was clean. Stevens had previously taken Flyers center Daymond Langkow out with a concussion after game 2. [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=980CE0D71F3BF934A25756C0A9669C8B63&scp=7&sq=%22scott+stevens%22+%22eric+lindros%22&st=nyt|title=Tough Veteran Turns Flyers Around|publisher=New York Times|author=Jason Diamos|date=2000-05-17|accessdate=2008-04-02]

The Devils faced off against the defending Stanley Cup champion Dallas Stars. Stevens and linemate Rafalski were tasked with the responsibility of shutting down Dallas' scoring line of Mike Modano, Brett Hull, and Joe Nieuwendyk. [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9802EFDF173CF933A05756C0A9669C8B63&scp=7&sq=%22scott+stevens%22&st=nyt|title=The Devils Take Stock and Like Their Chances|publisher=New York Times|author=Alex Yannis|date=2000-05-30|accessdate=2008-04-02] Stevens scored the game-winner in the first game of the series, en route to a Devils 7-3 victory; the goal was his third of the playoffs. [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05EFD6143CF932A05756C0A9669C8B63&scp=10&sq=%22scott+stevens%22&st=nyt|title=Duck and Cover: Devils Overwhelm Stars|author=Joe Lapointe|publisher=New York Times|date=2000-05-31|accessdate=2008-04-02] [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9904E2D8113FF93AA35755C0A9669C8B63&scp=29&sq=%22scott+stevens%22&st=nyt|title=Stevens Is the Devils' Blue-Line Stalwart|author=Alex Yannis|publisher=New York Times|date=2000-06-09|accessdate=2008-04-02] The Devils went on to win the Finals in six games, after Game Five went to three overtimes and Game Six was decided in double overtime; Jason Arnott scored the Cup-winner, with Stevens earning the secondary assist. Stevens won the Conn Smythe Trophy for his leadership role on the team.

The Devils were keen to repeat as Stanley Cup champions at the start of the 2000-01 NHL season. Led by Patrik Elias' 96 points, a franchise record, and Alexander Mogilny's team-leading 43 goals, the team finished first in the conference.cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_fan_fea_25s_2000-01|title=2000-01: A Noble Defense|author=Dan Rosen|publisher=New Jersey Devils|accessdate=2008-04-02] After defeating Carolina, Toronto, and Pittsburgh in the playoffs, the Devils once again made the Finals, this time against the Colorado Avalanche. Despite being up three games to two, however, the Devils could not finish off the Avalanche, and lost the series in seven games. Stevens was once again denied the Norris Trophy, as he finished third in the voting.

Stevens finished the next season with his lowest scoring total in his career,cite web|url=http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php3?pid%5B%5D=5180|title=Scott Stevens's profile at hockeydb.com|publisher=Internet Hockey Database|accessdate=2008-04-02] though he did become the youngest player ever to reach the 1,500 games played total. The Devils, however, fell in the first round of the playoffs to the Hurricanes, who went on to lose to Detroit in the Stanley Cup finals. [cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_fan_fea_25s_2001-02|title=2001-02: Making a Transition|author=Dan Rosen|publisher=New Jersey Devils|accessdate=2008-04-02]

Stevens and the Devils once again had success in 2002-03, finishing first in the division.cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=331680|title=2002-03: Bringing Home Number Three|author=Dan Rosen|publisher=New Jersey Devils|accessdate=2008-04-02] In addition, Stevens was named as captain of the Eastern Conference All-Star team for the first time, [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C02EEDE1738F932A05752C0A9659C8B63&scp=3&sq=%22scott+stevens%22&st=nyt|title=Devils Keep Surging at Flyers' Expense|author=Jim Cerney|publisher=New York Times|date=2003-01-31|accessdate=2008-04-02] and finished the season with the fewest penalty minutes over a full season in his career. The Devils made their way through the playoffs, knocking off Boston, Tampa Bay, and Ottawa, to face the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the Finals. The Devils and Stevens had a minor scare in Game 3 of the semifinals against Tampa Bay, when he took a Pavel Kubina slapshot off the side of his head and was forced to leave the game. Although there was uncertainty whether Stevens would return for Game 4, Stevens in fact returned, and did not miss a game throughout the remainder of the playoffs. In Game 2 of the Finals, he set the record for most playoff games by a defenceman, breaking the record by his former coach, Larry Robinson. [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B04E3D91630F933A05756C0A9659C8B63&scp=1&sq=%22scott+stevens%22&st=nyt|title=Surpassing a Milestone, Stevens Still Impresses|publisher=New York Times|date=2003-05-30|accessdate=2008-04-02] As he had done in so many previous playoff series, Stevens created a defining moment with a check, laying out Ducks star forward Paul Kariya in Game Six. However, Kariya came back shortly thereafter and scored en route to a Ducks victory, forcing a seventh game. The Devils blanked the Ducks in Game Seven, 3-0, to win their third Stanley Cup in nine years. Stevens' appearance in Game Seven tied Patrick Roy's record for appearances in Game Sevens, with 13. [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9502E5DC1339F933A25755C0A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2|title=Home is Where the Cup Is|publisher=New York Times|author=Jason Diamos|date=2003-06-10|accessdate=2008-04-02] Despite the play of Stevens, Martin Brodeur, Jamie Langenbrunner, and Jeff Friesen, the Conn Smythe Trophy went to Ducks goaltender Jean-Sébastien Giguère; some speculated that there were too many worthy Devils candidates, resulting in a split vote among sportswriters. [cite web|url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/cup/2003-06-09-giguere-smythe_x.htm|title=Trophy, stats no consolation for Giguere|publisher=USA Today|date=June 9, 2003|accessdate=2006-11-28]

The 2003-04 NHL season would prove to be the last for Stevens. Before ending the season, he surpassed former teammate Larry Murphy as the NHL's all-time leader in games played by a defenceman, when he appeared in his 1,616th game in November. Unfortunately, he missed several games in January with the flu, and while he was out, he was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome (which would eventually coerce him into retirement). Despite missing the second half of the season, he was still voted in as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Scott Niedermayer filled in as captain in Stevens' absence, but the loss of Stevens, as well as Daneyko, who had retired before the season, was too much of a loss on the defensive corps, and the Devils fell to the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. [cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=331681|title=2003-04:Battling Through|publisher=New Jersey Devils|accessdate=2008-04-02] In the off-season, Stevens recovered and continued to work out, and expected to return to the Devils for the 2004-05 NHL season. [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940CE3DA1230F932A2575AC0A9629C8B63&scp=1&sq=%22scott+stevens%22+concussion&st=nyt|title=Devils' Stevens Plans to Return|author=Dave Caldwell|publisher=New York Times|date=2004-09-11|accessdate=2008-04-02] However, the owners' lockout shut out the entire season, and Stevens retired on September 6, 2005.

International play

In addition to his NHL career, Stevens represented Canada in several international ice hockey competitions. As part of Team Canada, he won silver medals at the 1985 and 1989 Ice Hockey World Championships, as well as a bronze medal at the 1983 championship. He was on the roster for two Canada Cups; although he did not play in 1984, he won the gold medal in 1991. In addition, he played in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, although Canada failed to medal.

Overall, Stevens has played for Canada in:
* 1983 Ice Hockey World Championships (Bronze)
* 1984 Canada Cup (Reserve, did not play)
* 1985 Ice Hockey World Championships (Silver)
* 1987 Ice Hockey World Championships (4th place)
* 1989 Ice Hockey World Championships (Silver)
* 1991 Canada Cup (Gold)
* 1996 World Cup of Hockey (Silver)
* 1998 Winter Olympics (4th place)

International statistics

Legacy

Stevens left a lasting legacy on the NHL. Referred to as "Mr. Devil", Stevens was the longest reigning captain in Devils history. [cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_his_azc_index1|title=New Jersey Devils Captains: A-Z|publisher=New Jersey Devils|accessdate=2008-04-01] Later on in his career, he mentored the younger Devils defencemen like Colin White and Brian Rafalski, who was Stevens' defensive linemate.Cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E7DF133BF937A25756C0A9669C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1|title=The Devils' Captain Leads by Example|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=New York Times|date=2000-05-14|author=Joe Lapointe] Longtime teammate Scott Niedermayer said of Stevens, he was "not the most vocal guy around", but he would talk to players when it was necessary. Stevens was honored by the Devils by becoming the first player in team history to have his number retired by the team; his #4 was raised to the rafters on February 3, 2006.

Stevens was also remembered as a hard hitter, leveling players who crossed open ice with their heads down. Among the victims of Stevens' body checks were Slava Kozlov, Eric Lindros, Paul Kariya, Shane Willis and Ron Francis, with whom Stevens was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.Cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/13/sports/hockey/13hall.html?scp=1&sq=%22Scott+Stevens%22+Kozlov&st=nyt|title=Ex-Devil Stevens Considers Next Step After Hall|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=New York Times|date=2007-11-13|author=Lynn Zinser] Some players have accused Stevens of playing cheap. After his check on Willis, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Arturs Irbe said Stevens was "trying to kill [Willis] or put him out of the playoffs"; Stevens responded, "What kind of respect do I get?... Just because I'm a physical player, it's O.K. to come at me and do what you want? Hey, it's a hockey game. It's not figure skating. You know what? I can take a hit and I can give a hit. I don't care who it is. No one gets a free ride out there. I don't get a free ride, and no one gets a free ride from me." On the other hand, Kozlov did not blame Stevens for his hit, and said he was a clean player. Despite his penchant for hits, Stevens finished his career with only four elbowing penalties in the regular season. He was often credited with changing the momentum of a game not with a goal, but with a hard check.Cite web|url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/2004-02-12-stevens-toughest_x.htm|title=Tough guy Stevens has it together|accessdate=2008-04-01|publisher=USA Today|date=2004-02-12|author=Kevin Allen] He was named the fifth most fearsome player in NHL history by the Sporting News in 2001.cite web|url=http://devils.nhl.com/team/app?service=page&page=NHLPage&bcid=njd_his_raf_stevens-bio|title=Scott Stevens|publisher=New Jersey Devils|accessdate=2008-04-02] Dion Phaneuf is often compared to Stevens, and says he idolizes Stevens' style of play. [cite web|url=http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=amber_david&id=3219170|title=Phaneuf talks coaches, contracts, and Canadian rivalries|publisher=ESPN|author=David Amber|date=2008-01-28|accessdate=2008-04-07]

Personal life

Stevens met his wife Donna while he was playing junior hockey with Kitchener. The couple have three children; Kaitlin, Ryan and Kara.Cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B07EEDD163EF930A35751C0A9609C8B63&scp=27&sq=%22scott+stevens%22&st=nyt|title=Stevens, True to Form, is Taking Honor in Stride|accessdate=2008-04-08|publisher=New York Times|date=2006-02-03|author=Dave Caldwell] Scott is a fan of the outdoors, and spent his summers away from hockey at Lake Catchacoma. He enjoys hunting in his spare time, and is a fan of the Three Stooges. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, he started a program called Scott's Kids for the families of the victims.

Awards and achievements

*1983- NHL All-Rookie Team
*1988- NHL First All-Star Team
*1992- NHL Second All-Star Team
*1994- NHL First All-Star Team
*1994- Alka-Seltzer Plus/Minus Award
*1995- Stanley Cup Champions (New Jersey)
*1997- NHL Second All-Star Team
*2000- Stanley Cup Champions (New Jersey)
*2000- Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP)
*2001- NHL Second All-Star Team
*2003- Stanley Cup Champions (New Jersey)
*Played in thirteen NHL All-Star Games in 1985, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003

Career statistics

ee also

*List of NHL players
*List of family relations in the National Hockey League

References

External links

*Legendsmember|Player|P200704
*hockeydb|5180


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