The 1992-1993 Playoffs still haunt me to this day. The sight of David Volek shooting a flopper after gaining the zone and beating Barrasso is forever etched in my memory.
11-year-old Rob still weeps on the couch and misses the next day of school after the deflating loss.
So, today's Once-A-Penguin blog post is all about a player that was a member of that upstart squad of Islanders and would eventually go on to sign with the Penguins.
That player is Jeff Norton.
Jeff was selected 62nd overall in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders.
He cracked the Islanders NHL roster in 1987-1988 after playing a few seasons with the University of Michigan.
Norton began to turn heads around the league early in his career. His top flight play-making ability, crisp passing and competency of the power-play, were tools that many teams would seek in the coming seasons.
During the next 8 seasons, Norton spent time with the Blues, Oilers, Lightning, Panthers, and a second stint with Sharks before landing in Pittsburgh.
Norton signed with the Penguins on November 14, 2000.
The Pens needed some veteran leadership within the ranks of the D-corps and a smooth skating transition man.
Norton only appeared in 32 games for the Pens putting up 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists).
After re-evaluating their defensive needs, Pittsburgh decided that a stay-at-home defenseman, would fit more into the system they were developing and that led to the deal with the Sharks.
On March 12, 2001, Jeff was traded back to the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Bobby Dollas and goaltender Johan Hedberg.
The Sharks were loading up for a deep playoff run and wanted Norton to lead the defensive charge.
With the addition of Norton and Teemu Selanne the sharks became one of the most feared clubs in the league.
Post Penguins Career
After his third stint with the Sharks, Jeff went on to play another season with the Panthers before finishing his career with the Bruins.
All in all, Jeff appeared in 799 NHL games, amassing 384 points (52 goals, 322 assists) over 15 seasons.
He was able to put together quite a career for himself.
Although his time with Pittsburgh was limited to just 32 games, Jeff finds himself immortalized forever in a bronze statue just outside of the Consol Energy Centre.
Why do you ask?
On March 7, 2012. The Penguins unveiled “ Le Magnifique” the statue to commemorate Mario Lemieux's accomplishments.
The statue depicts Mario bursting through two defensemen on his way to a marvelous goal. One Being Rich Pilon, who almost ended the career of Kevin Stevens, and the other being that of JEFF NORTON.
Take that Jeff Norton and take that Islanders.
I cannot think of a better way to help swallow that defeat than to have a reminder of Lemieux owing Norton and Pilon.
To sum it up:
Jeff will always be remembered by me for the following reasons:
- Ending the dream for a third cup in a row.
- Being part of the trade that brought Hedberg to the ‘Burgh
- Being immortalized in bronze
That's all for today. Thanks for reading.