Last year I posted a Where Are They Now? article and noticed there are so many popular hockey figures that were household names that now have “disappeared”. In fact, most of these people haven’t disappeared, they are continuing with their lives, but with more obscurity. Here is my “Part 2″ of Where Are They Now? series.
It is truly unbelievable how a 56-goal scorer can fall off the cliff in nearly every NHL statistic in just a few seasons. The kid from Moose Factory in Northern Ontario became a young gun for the San Jose Sharks in the early 2000s before the lockout. In the 2005-06 season, his numbers took off after the Sharks acquired Joe Thornton, who played with Cheechoo. He got 56 goals and 93 points in the season, making him one of the top snipers in the game. After another solid season, Cheechoo’s play began to drastically drop to just 29 points in 66 games in 2008-09. He was eventually traded to Ottawa, demoted, and bought out before he was even 30. After a few comeback attempts with different AHL teams, Cheechoo went to the KHL to play for Medvescak Zagreb last season in the team’s inaugural year. He enjoyed success, finally, as he made it to the all-star game. Cheechoo’s legacy will always be remembered as a player who was good because he played with Joe Thornton. However, he deserves some credit for being a great scorer in the AHL and KHL at least. The 33-year-old will play for Dinamo Minsk next season.
The Russian legend was a consistent scorer in the NHL from 1993 to 2007, but a contract dispute in 1999-2000 and his buy-out in 2007 overshadowed his NHL career. He had a career-high 94 points for the Ottawa Senators the season before his contract dispute. In 2001, however, he was involved in arguably the best trade for Ottawa ever. The Senators exchanged Yashin to the New York Islanders for Zdeno Chara, the second overall pick (Jason Spezza), and Bill Muckalt. On top of that, Islanders GM signed him to a monster 10-year contract that was viewed by many as very overpaid. After his career in the NHL, Yashin enjoyed success in the KHL. He was even rumoured to be courted by NHL teams because of his play. However, he retired after the 2011-12 season. Yashin now is the general manager of the Russian National Women’s Team, who actually plays an active role on the ice when the team practices.
The first ever fourth-generation NHL player ever brought a lot of hype with him when he was traded to Montreal in 2012. After all his famous grandfather, “Boom Boom” Geoffrion was a legend for the Habs. His great-grandfather Howie Morenz was one of the Canadiens’ first superstars, while Blake’s father, Dan, also played for the Habs. Blake’s career ended, however, after suffering a skull fracture in the AHL in 2013. His legacy was fullfilled, though, because he played 13 games for the Canadiens the previous season. Blake is now a pro scout for the Columbus Blue Jackets and is a blogger for The Tennessean. The 25-year-old is also engaged now.
John Ferguson, Jr.
The young general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs was hired in 2003 and seemed to do alright before the 2004-05 lockout. However, once the salary cap came in to affect, Ferguson, Jr. had a tough time adjusting, which led to the team missing the players for the rest of his tenure. He eventually learned to go young and cheaper, but his contract was not renewed in 2008. He will be remembered for infamously trading prospect Tuukka Rask for Andrew Raycroft, but many people do not realize that he did a great job picking players in the later rounds of the draft. Some examples include: Anton Stralman (216th), Leo Komarov (200th), James Reimer (99th), Viktor Stalberg (161st), Carl Gunnarsson (194st), and Chad Rau (228th). After serving as a scout for San Jose since his Toronto departure, Ferguson, Jr. took on a fron office job with the Boston Bruins recently.
What happened to Mike Danton and others? Check out Part 3!