I feel that there are still more figures in the hockey world that have either fallen into obscurity or are not as popular as they once been for me to write another piece in my Where Are They Now? series.
In Where Are They Now? Part III, we read about the Olaf Kolzig, Mike Danton, and Andrew Peters. All three are very different people, but all managed to fall off many peoples’ watchlist. However, they are still in the game in a big way. Take a look at these figures in this episode of Where Are They Now?
No one thought that the 115th pick in the 1995 NHL Draft will turn out to be one of the best goalies of his generation. No one would also think that one of the best goalies of his generation would quietly leave professional hockey without much attention.
When the San Jose Sharks traded the young Kiprusoff in 2003 to the Calgary Flames, things took off. He backstopped the Flames to their first playoff appearance in eight years and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. He continued his strong play for the Flames until the 2012-13 season, when he slowed down. In his mid-thirties and hurt by a variety of injuries, Kiprusoff retired at the end of that season amid speculation that he told the Finnish national team he would retire. The Flames’ franchise leader in wins and shutouts quietly exited the NHL. Calgary gave him a great goodbye, but many others forget about him.
However, Kiprusoff has never left the game. He was recently named the goaltending coach for the Finnish national junior team. He will likely be mentoring young Finnish goalies like Nashville Predators prospect Juuse Saros. Who knows, maybe Kiprusoff will find his way back to the NHL with a coaching job?
Muckler was part of five Stanley Cup-winning teams in his 50+ year career as a general manager, coach, player, and part owner. Despite never making the NHL as a player, he played most of his career in the now-defunct Eastern Hockey League (EHL). However, after taking on off-ice gigs with several NHL and minor hockey teams, Muckler was named the head coach of the Minnesota North Stars for a season. He then continued coaching minor league teams. After great success, many consider him one of the greatest minor-league hockey coaches ever (with Don Cherry).
Muckler was then promoted to head coach of the new York Rangers and led the team to a Stanley Cup in 1990. After working with the Buffalo Sabres in high-management positions from 1991 to 1997, Muckler was hired as GM of the Ottawa Senators in 2001. The early 200s early the ‘golden years’ of the Senators. He eventually engineered a runner-up team that lost to the Anaheim Ducks in the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. Believe it or not, but he was fired after that season.
Many see Muckler as such an accomplished hockey personality that wherever he went, there was success. At 80 years old, he is now a senior advisor with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Although his hype was not as high as his brother’s, Brett Lindros was good enough to be drafted ninth overall in 1994. The New York Islanders were hoping that the ‘other Lindros’ will be almost as good as his brother, Eric.
However, things did not turn out as planned. After a series of concussions (like Eric), Brett was forced to retire at the age of 20 after playing just 51 NHL games.
He was then forced to pursue another career. Brett now works for a Toronto investment firm, but he probably is still into watching the NHL. Who isn’t?
Check out Part V, which includes the Green Men and Anson Carter!