Friday, January 29, 2010

Getting To Know Your 2010 U.S. Men's Olympic Hockey Team: Chris Drury

The purpose of this feature is to familiarize our large audiences with the guys on the olympic-hockey roster. We're looking at forwards to start with, and I don't expect most folks to know who any of these guys are, but if you don't at least recognize the name Chris Drury, please e-mail me your address so that I might drive to your house and punch you in the guts, 'cause shame on you.

Drury won the Hobey Baker Award (top collegiate player) while playing at Boston University. He was selected in the third round of the 1994 NHL draft by the Quebec Nordiques, who, as you know, moved to Colorado and won a couple of championships fairly quickly. Drury was only with the team for the 2000 Stanley Cup Championship, but he won himself a Calder Memorial Trophy (most valuable rookie), and tallied 44 points for the team in the process. Soon after the championship season, he was traded to Calgary, but saw limited action, and spent the next three seasons as a huge offensive producer for the Buffalo Sabres, where he was eventually named captain.

Now with the New York Rangers, where he also sports the 'C' -- and is only the second American-born captain in franchise history -- Drury is one of three players slotted for American competition in Vancouver with previous olympic experience; both Drury and Brian Rafalski played for the team in both 2006 and the silver-medal winners of 2002, while Jamie Langenbrunner was on the '98 squad. Recent U.S. Olympic teams have tended to have a higher age average, as experience was tabbed an important aspect, but U.S. Olympic Head Coach Ron Wilson had different ideas than his recent predecessors (Peter Laviolette in 2006, the late Herb Brooks in 2002): at 32, Drury is the club's oldest forward. In 11 professional seasons, the Ranger has nearly 600 points, he has played in all 82 games in a season three times, and is known as a go-to guy in key situations, evidenced by his 47 playoff goals, 17 of which have been game-winners.