Monday

Bert Marshall

Bert Marshall was no Bobby Orr or Paul Coffey. You didn't see Bert roaring down the ice unleashing 40 foot slapshots past the goalies. He wasn't the type of guy who made any headlines. All he did was to play effective, defensive hockey, blocking shots and being a leader in the dressing room. These were the main reasons why he lasted a total of 950 NHL games including the playoffs.

Bert's best season from an offensive standpoint came in 1974-75 for the NY Islanders when he picked up 30 pts. He never scored more than 4 goals in one season.

Bert came out from the Detroit organization and played 2½ seasons for the Red Wings before being picked up by the expansion Oakland Seals on January 9, 1968. Bert's recollection of his stay with the Seals organization wasn't all that positive.

"It was a one-man organization on the coast. With the Seals we had an owner (Charles O. Finley) who was never around and people under him who didn't have a free will to call the shots. Finley never knew guys' names and really didn't seem to give a hoot."

He stayed with the Seals until March 4, 1973 when he was picked up by the NY Rangers. His stint with the Rangers was short-lived. Bert played the last 8 regular season games there and 6 playoff games before the new arch rivals from Long Island, the NY Islanders picked him up in the intra league draft in the summer of 1973.

The Islanders passed on shifty center Bobby Rousseau who had won four Cups with the Canadiens and picked Bert instead. Ironically enough Bill Torrey, the GM of the Islanders had worked for two years in the Seals organization. His approach was however completely different than Mr. Finley's.

His coach on the Islanders, Al Arbour described Bert like this:

"Bert means so, so much to our team from every vantage point. He knows the game in and out and he's the guy every player kinda looks up to. He's alert on and off the ice and he knows how to benefit from every situation that arises."

Bert was a member of the Islanders team until the 1978-79 season. He finished his career by playing 6 games for the Islanders farm team, Indianapolis Checkers in the CHL 1979-80. That same season NY Islanders won their first Stanley Cup. It was a shame that Bert missed that opportunity to hold the Cup above his head. He really deserved to win it.

Bert finished his NHL career with 868 regular season games, scoring just 17 goals but adding 181 assists for 198 points. And in 72 playoff games he picked up another 26 points.

3 comments:

Brian N. Stoodley said...

Bert is one of my childhood friends and provided me the chance to enjoy a day with him, his family, friends AND the STANLEY CUP. I am very proud of Bert's NHL career and his continued involvement as a scout for the Carolina Hurricanes.Brian Stoodley, April 17/2011.

Anonymous said...

Bert Marshall was never a big goal scorer, but he did score a big goal in the 1976 quarter finals.
In game 5 of that series against the Buffalo Sabres, he scored the game winning goal with only 19 seconds left to play. The result was the Islanders took a 3-2 game lead in that series. His goal really demoralized the Sabres, for it was on their home ice, and put them on the brink of elimination. The Sabres lost game 6 and were eliminated from the 1976 playoffs, thanks largely to Bert Marshall's goal.

Garth Price said...

Bert was from my home town of Kamloops BC in Canada.
As kid growing up, I remember we had local boy playing in the NHL.

One thing that stands out in my memory was how short his stick was for a big man.

Also his dad was always around the hockey rinks when I was there to play or watch any hockey that was being played.

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