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Friday, June 25, 2010

Dino Ciccarelli Elected to Hall of Fame

Congratulations are in order for Dino Ciccarelli who was just elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame [THN, HHOF Story, HHOF Profile).  It took a while after his retirement in 1999 to get elected, but his 19-season, 1,232 game NHL career always kept him in the discussion.  He scored 608 goals and 1,200 points along with 73 goals and 118 points in 141 playoff games.  He also appeared in 4 All-Star games and 2 Stanley Cup Finals and posted two 50-goal, 100-point seasons plus another 5 seasons of 40 goals, 4 of 30 goals, and 3 of 20.

He joins former Capitals Rod Langway, Mike Gartner, Scott Stevens, and Larry Murphy in the Hall of Fame.  Ironically, the Capitals traded Gartner and Murphy to Minnesota for Ciccarelli and Bob Rouse on March 7, 1989.  Dino's career with Washington ended after he was traded to Detroit on June 20, 1992, for Kevin Miller (brother of former Caps Kelly and Kip) in a move that was a massive win for the Red Wings.

Mike Gartner                    Larry Murphy

Standing just 5'10, 185, Ciccarelli was an undrafted, right-shooting right winger out of Sarnia, Ontario.  Born February 8, 1960, Dino had a monster junior career with the London Knights that was marred by injuries; he scored 72 goals in 1978 but had a broken leg in his draft year (when another former Capital and future Ciccarelli teammate was taken 1st overall).  He didn't reach the NHL until mid-season 1980-81 with the Minnesota North Stars when he scored 18 goals and 30 points in his first 32 NHL games.  That was nothing compared to his playoffs, when he scored an NHL rookie record 14 goals along with 7 assists in 19 games as the Don Beaupre backstopped North Stars lost in 5 games to the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Final.

 Don Beaupre

Dino would spend 8 more seasons in Minnesota and would play with former Capitals Dennis Maruk and Wes Jarvis and future Capitals Brian Bellows, Keith Acton, Mark Tinordi, Kevin Kaminski and Rob Zettler.  He would play with old North Star teammates Beaupre, Rouse, and Shawn Chambers again with the Caps.

Dino was a remarkably consistent scorer in Minnesota, scoring 30+ goals in every full season.  When he was traded to Washington at the trade deadline in 1989, Ciccarelli had already amassed 332 goals and 651 points in 602 games and had played in three All-Star games:  1982 at Capital Centre, 1983, and 1989.  He had also potted 130 powerplay goals wearing the green N.  His numbers speak for themselves.

Stats courtesy of

Ciccarelli got the job done in the playoffs, too.  After that remarkable rookie season, he still had good success.  He finished his North Star career with 28 goals and 51 points in 62 playoff games. 

Stats courtesy of

When Capitals' General Manager David Poile traded for Ciccarelli, he knew he was getting a tough competitor who scored a lot of his goals from the top of the crease while taking cross-checks.  He could not have foreseen what a success he would be in his first appearance in a Capitals sweater wearing #22.  Ciccarelli scored 12 goals and 15 points in 11 games leading up to the 1989 playoffs, helping the Caps secure their only Patrick Division title.

Dino also wrote himself into the record book just 11 days after his arrival.  On March 18, 1989, Ciccarelli scored 7 points on 4 goals and 3 assists in Hartford against Whalers goalie and future Capital teammate Mike Liut.  The record still stands today, only tied by Jaromir Jagr in 2003.

Mike Liut

Dino added 6 points, including a team leading 3 goals, as the Capitals fell to Ron Hextall's Flyers in 6 games in the Patrick Division Semifinals. 

 Ron Hextall clotheslines Matthew Barnaby

Besides winning 4 games, Hextall added insult to injury by scoring an empty net goal against the Capitals in Game 5.

Dino continued his scoring ways in the next season, leading the team with 41 goals and 79 points in 1989-90, including a 4 goal game against the Quebec Nordiques's Scott Gordon on February 6.

 Scott Gordon

He was instrumental in the Capitals advance to the Wales Conference Finals for the first time, scoring 8 goals and 11 points in 8 games, including a hat trick capped by an overtime game-winner in the first game of the playoffs (4/5/90) in New Jersey against the Devils' Sean Burke as the Caps won 5-4.  His 8 goals was the second highest total in Capitals history for 19 years until Alex Ovechkin scored 11 in 2008-09. 

Sean Burke

Dino was limited to 54 games in 1990-91 but still managed 21 goals and 39 points.  He even had a hat trick on on February 8 against Edmonton's Kari Takko, a teammate in Minnesota for four seasons. 

Kari Takko

The playoffs were the reason he was acquired, and in the playoffs he produced.  Ciccarelli led the Capitals through the 1991 Patrick Division Semifinals in 6 games against the New York Rangers, who were led by NHL MVP Mark Messier.  He scored two game winning goals, one a Game 5 OT winner, against Mike Richter.  The Caps were felled in the Patrick Division Finals by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.  Dino finished the playoffs with 9 points, including a team leading 5 goals, in 11 games. 

Mike Richter

Ciccarelli again led the Capitals in goals in 1991-92 with 38 and his 76 points were good for third on the team.  He busted out in the playoffs with 5 goals and 9 points, both good for second on the team, in a 7 game Patrick Division Semifinal loss against the now familiar Penguins, who again won the Cup.  Jaromir Jagr drove in the dagger with his Game 7 series winning goal, Dino's last game as a Capital.

In Game 4 on April 25, 1992, Ciccarelli set two team records that still stand today:  he scored 4 goals against Tom Barrasso and Ken Wregget for his second career playoff hat trick as a Capital. 

Tom Barrasso
Ken Wregget
He scored another 164 goals and 340 points in 407 games after leaving Washington.  Ciccarelli would go on to have good success in Detroit.  In 1992-93, he posted 41 goals and 97 points.  He helped Detroit to team success, too, as he helped the Red Wings win the President's Trophy in 1995 and 1996 and advance to the 1995 Stanley Cup Final with 9 goals and 11 points in 16 playoff games.  He played his last playoff game in Detroit in 1996 and missed out on their Stanley Cup runs.

Ciccarelli credits his trade to Detroit with cementing his style as a gritty, agitating player who drove goalies nuts:

He made the All-Star Game for the last time in 1997 as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

That was his last good season, as he produced 35 goals and 60 points as a 37-year old.  His 1997-98 season was split between Tampa Bay and Florida and finally a back injury forced him to retire after a 14-game 1998-99 season as a Florida Panther. 

Ciccarelli finished his Capitals career with 112 goals, 97 assists and 209 points in 223 games.  He scored 3 hat tricks, including two 4-goal games.  Only Peter Bondra had more 4-goal games than Ciccarelli.  Dino stands 22nd on the Capitals all-time goal scoring list, and his number 22 has been worn by two more net-crashers who fit the mold:  Steve Konowalchuk and Mike Knuble.

Most importantly, Ciccarelli remains one of the best money players in Capitals playoff history.  He scored 21 goals and 35 points in 32 games for the Caps.  He sits third all-time in team playoff goals behind only Peter Bondra (30) and Dale Hunter (25) and he is 13th in points. He has the most hat tricks (2), the only 4 goal game, and is tied for the most overtime goals (2). 

Ciccarelli's 0.66 goals per game trails only Alex Ovechkin (0.71) among all Caps who have played more than one playoff game.  Ciccarelli's 1.09 points per game trails only Ovechkin (1.43) and Jagr (1.17) in team history, and Jagr only played 6 games. 

While Dino was in DC, the team made the playoffs all 4 years, they advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time in 1990 and they won 3 playoff series in 4 years.  The Caps' playoff series winning percentage of .429 (3-4) in those 4 years was better than the 16 playoff years without Dino (.333, 8-16) in which they won only 8 total playoff series. If you consider that Dino was hurt for the 1990 Conference Finals, you could say the Caps were .500. 

The Capitals could certainly use another Dino Ciccarelli these days.  Congratulations on finally making it, Dino, it was too long in coming.


  1. Even if I could get past the indecent exposure charge, I can't get past the limo incident. I don't consider this guy a Cap, and I don't think the Caps can use (or need) anyone like him.

  2. Point taken. I could have done without the shenanigans, too, but I'd like to celebrate what he did on the ice.