SATURDAY: AL IAFRATE

All it takes is a picture and a couple of sound bites to creat a three demensional picture for the media.

Take Al Iafrate: The Capitals had him pose on a motorbike; he has that booming slapshot that won the skills competion; and then his comment about open net goals.

A tough hardass who takes no prisoners.

JEFF JACKSON: Al Iafrate was nuts about music.  From the second he showed up, you could tell

that he was a different dude.  Russ Courtnall, Al and I lived together in the Westbury Hotel.

Before going to the game, we’d meet in one of our rooms and Al would play this tape really loud

on his ghetto blaster – Morris Day and the Time – and we’d walk over to the Gardens.  Al was

always quite paranoid about losing his hair.  He’d come into the dressing room, sit down, take off

his ball cap and immediately throw on his helmet.  Then he’d get dressed with his helmet on.

Other days, he’d actually wear his helmet in the shower.  No one even paid attention cause it was

just Al.

http://www.rheostatics.ca/pdf/hoser’s_promenade.pdf

JOHN BROPHY: Al was so self-conscious about his baldness that when he took off his helmet

for the anthem, he bent down and hid behind Alan Bester, who was a few feet shorter than him.

Another time, he jumped up along the boards in a sitting position after getting checked and ran

into the spot where the boards met the glass.  He fell to the ice hard and his helmet flew off.  He

was hurt, but he had enough energy left to reach out and put the helmet back on his head before

he died.

“I’d walk into the Leafs dressing room to get ready for the day and Harold (Ballard, the owner) would be there in his boxer shorts shaving. King Clancy would drop by a little later, play the fool, and then head off to the racetrack.”

“If you’re asking me how I played the game, I liked hitting people,” he said. “I liked hurting people. No question about that. And anybody I was near on the ice, I tried to hurt. Of course, I ended up getting hurt myself, but I tried to hurt everybody I was near.”

al-iafrate

When the Leafs would fall behind or take a period off, a fuming Brophy might enter the dressing room between periods and fling his expensive wristwatch to the floor. Then he would take off his custom suit jacket.

“He would tear the jacket in half and have it down on the ground with his foot,” said Jeff Jackson, who played in St. Catherines and followed Brophy to Toronto. Today Jackson is the Leafs’ director of hockey administration. “It was deadly quiet, and no one dared crack a smile.

Dave Sell

Al Iafrate would come off the ice and if a water bottle was the first thing he would grab, a cigarette was often the second.

Fairly or not, some thought it a symptom of the somewhat confused state of mind attached to the very talented body of a defenseman who became a Washington Capital in January. Yesterday there were more questions about his state of mind after the team announced Iafrate was “emotionally exhausted” and would not play in tonight’s first game of the Patrick Division semifinal series against the New York Rangers.

General Manager David Poile said, “To answer the obvious question, it has nothing to do with alcohol or drugs.”

When Gary Leeman, (who was a Leaf at the time) started going out with the former Mrs. Melissa Iafrate (who’s ex-husband Al Iafrate was a Leaf and a friend of John’s) it caused sparks to fly between Kordic and Leeman.

Gil Perrault would make the opposition look like pylons.Al Iafrate used to call himself “The Human Highlite Reel” I wonder if he’s seen this video?

Leafs defenseman Al Iafrate is not with the club. He has returned home to Livonia, Mich., to sort out personal problems.

Chicago Sun-Times

Jan 30, 1989

After a narrow victory in 1994, Boston Bruins defenseman Al Iafrate was asked why, in the closing moments of the game, he had fired the puck around the boards rather than into the empty net. His reply? “Empty-net goals are for faggots.”

Chara will conduct a shootout with five impressive challengers,
including Edmonton defenseman
Sheldon Souray, who earlier this month staked
his unofficial claim to the title of NHL’s hardest shooter by firing a slap
shot that was clocked at 106.7 mph at the Oilers’ SuperSkills competition.
Chara, Souray, Montreal’s Mike Komisarek, Tampa Bay’s
Vincent Lecavalier,
Nashville’s
Shea Weber and the New York Islanders’ Mark Streit will be
gunning for Al Iafrate’s official NHL All-Star SuperSkills record 105.2 mph
shot set during the 1993 All-Star Weekend in Montreal.

between 1984 and 1999. He is perhaps most famous for his rocket slap shot that set the NHL Skills Competition record at 105.2 miles per hour (169.3 km/h). He was given the nickname “the Planet” by Boston Globe sportswriter Kevin Dupont for his “all world” talent.

Iafrate was selected 4th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft after a standout career with the Detroit Compuware Spitfires and a short but distinguished stay with the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League. During his time with the Spitfires, Iafrate was a teammate of fellow Detroit-area natives and future NHLers Kevin Hatcher and Shawn Chambers. Hatcher and Iafrate would later team to quarterback theWashington Capitals power play in the early 1990s.

He played 799 career NHL games, scoring 152 goals and 311 assists for 463 points. He also compiled 1301 penalty minutes. His best season statistically was the 1992–93 season, when he scored 25 goals and 41 assists for 66 points with the Washington Capitals. That year the Capitals set a record for most goals by defensemen on a team in one season.

Iafrate dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, sciatic nerve damage in his back, and a ruptured appendix. These injuries ultimately led to his retirement at age 32. Iafrate attempted comebacks during the 1998-99 and 2001-02 seasons, although these comebacks ended during training camp.

Iafrate played for Team USA in the 1984 Winter Olympics at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

During his career, Iafrate also played for the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks.

AL IAFRATE

081805_iafrate_lrg

courtesy of capitals.nhl.com

Q: But, didn’t they promote this image in Washington with you riding a Harley?

A: They had me on a poster.  It didn’t bother me.  I think in hockey if you speak your mind and you like things that are considered wild or whatever, then they assume you must be a wacko and a party animal or whatever.

Q: What advice would you give a rookie today?

A: My advice would be because of what I’ve gone through, never get too worked up by things when they’re going bad and never get too high on your horse when things are going good.  Mentally try and stay neutral.  Physically you try and stay on the top all the time, but when things are going really bad or good you can’t really get too caught up in it. Be strong and try and counteract the mental part of it by physically being on your game.

Q:  How about a hardnose like John Brophy?  Was he really hard on you because you were an individual?

A: A lot of the things I achieved are because of the coaches I had.  Dan Maloney, Doug Carpenter, Terry Murray, Al Sims.  These guys gave me a chance when I hadn’t played in a year and a half…you know to make the team and show what I can still do. Which has helped my career in a certain way…You know everything you go through in your life, that’s the character that you get formed into in the end.  I think the power of your mind to rationalize is unbelievable.  You can turn something bad into something good if you want.

Q: Are you a guy who likes to walk the line?

A: Unfortunately, because my whole game has been my skating and my speed, I’ve had devestating knee injuries. I’ve had six knee operations and four of them have been majors.  When things like that happen you realize you only get 10 or 15 years and 10 is past the norm. And I’m coming up on 15 and I feel that I’m the luckiest guy in the world.  In that you’re only going to get this one chance.  And if I’m going to be a little bit sore for the rest of my life for coming back it’s no big deal because people who’ve never played a sport all their lives end up having knee replacements and stuff like that.  Some people get the BF Goodrich and other people get the Parelli tires (Laughs). When you try to go 100 with the BF Goodriches they’re going to wear out when you go a little faster.

http://sharkspage.com/2007_08_01_archive_history.html

 

“It was a nightmare, and he never relented the whole time I was there, but in retrospect it was the best thing for me. When I left, I knew no matter what any coach ever did or said to me, it would be child’s play in comparison. It made me much tougher.”

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