Rick Tocchet

Rick Tocchet did it all in 18 NHL seasons. For every game he brought his work boots, his lunch pail and punched the clock. And more than a few members of the opposition.

A blend of beauty and beast, Tocchet was a special player. In his best season he scored 48 goals, 109 points and had a healthy 252 PIMs. Okay, so the offensive numbers were a little skewed in 1992-93 thanks to Mario Lemieux, but Tocchet was often a threat to score 30 goals and exceed 200 PIMs. You won't find a coach in the league who wouldn't want Rick Tocchet on his team.

The Philadelphia Flyers drafted him in the sixth round in 1983, and he was in the NHL the following year when he was 20.

Tocchet scored 14 goals in each of his first two NHL seasons. But as his scoring prowess grew, so did his time in the penalty box.

He flirted with 300 minutes in his second, third and fourth years - posting a career-high 299 during the 1987-88 season, the same one in which he led Philadelphia with 31 goals.

By the time he finished his second stint with the Flyers in 2002, he was 12th on the team's career scoring list with 508 points; tied for 10th in goals with 232; and No. 1 in penalty minutes with 1,817 - nearly 500 more than famed bruiser Dave Schultz.

That makes Tocchet the biggest bully in the history of the Broad Street Bullies. But also one of the best.

"He was the type of player that stood up for his teammates," former teammate Keith Acton. "He's the kind of teammate that you really respected."

And one that Flyers fans naturally adored.

"A physical player that finished his checks and could play that grinding game which all fans would respect, but certainly in Philly they really respected that kind of play," Acton said.

The Toronto native broke out with 45 goals during the 1988-89 season and cut his penalty time under 200 minutes, the first time in five years he didn't lead his team. But now he was leading in more impressive ways. He topped the Flyers in goals (37) and assists (59) the following season and spent 196 minutes in the box.

"I'm not going to walk away (from fighting), but I know I'm going to stay on the ice more," he said in 1988. "I know that I'm going to play a lot smarter, but I'm going to still be aggressive. I've got to stay away from the fights (but) you know if a guy elbows you in the face or starts, you've got to drop your gloves."

After seven-plus seasons with the Flyers and less than one as team captain, Tocchet was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. He scored 14 goals in 19 regular-season games and six more in the playoffs to help Mario Lemieux and the Penguins win their second straight championship.

After parts of three seasons in Pittsburgh, Tocchet became a bit of a nomad. He spent two years in Los Angeles. Then he was sent to Boston, moved on to Washington, played three years in Phoenix and returned to Philadelphia for his final three seasons.

Tocchet wrapped up his career with 440 goals, 952 points and 2,972 penalty minutes. He nearly joined Dale Hunter as the only NHLers with 1,000 points and 3,000 penalty minutes.

"In your career, it's nice to be known that you stood up for your teammates but it's also nice that when your team needed a goal, you were put out in those situations," Tocchet said in 2000.


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