Don Maloney

Born in small Lindsay, Ontario, Don Maloney was one of seven children in a close knit family. He left home to learning his hockey craft in a classic Canadian town Kitchener, Ontario, where he started with the OHA Rangers.

So you can imagine what a daunting task it was for him when Don Maloney packed his bags and headed to the bright lights of exciting Manhattan, New York. It must have been a whole other world to the young left winger.

Fortunately for Don Maloney, he had big brother Dave to help him out. Dave, a defenseman, broke the trail back in 1976, and certainly made the Don's transition easier, both on and off the ice. Certainly Don has his big brother to thank for easing his transition to the big city.

Once he arrived, Don took the Big Apple by storm. He finished the 1978-79 season in the NHL, making a big impression on "The Mafia Line" with Don Murdoch on right wing and the legendary Phil Esposito at center. The line drew it's nickname from the reference of a Godfather (Espo) and two "Dons."

In 28 games Don tallied 9 goals and 26 points, and added another 7 goals and 20 points in 18 games during a lengthy post season run that saw the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup finals.

Esposito raved about his new found winger, comparing him favorably to an old friend from Boston.

"He's like (Wayne) Cashman to me. He gets the puck out of the corner. It's been a long time since I didn't have to help out in that respect."

Coach Fred Shero compared him to another great from the past.

"His scoring is a bonus. He's a bumper and a grinder. He reminds me of Bert Olmstead, the great left winger on the Montreal Canadiens power play two decades ago."

The line combination was short lived, however, as Don Murdoch's game fell apart as the city of New York consumed him. He went from an out-of-nowhere toast of the town to a washed up playboy with drug and alcohol problems.

Maloney would not suffer the same fate. He was an honest, hard working kid from small town Canada, and that never changed about him. He would enjoy enormous personal success in New York, though he was never singled out as a star.

That was fine by him, as he was more than happy to be a great support player. In 1980, at the young age of 22, he was named as the Rangers' team captain. He would play in the 1983 and 1984 NHL All Star games, surprising everyone by earning game MVP status in '84. He would also help Canada win a silver medal at his lone World Championship tournament in 1985.

Maloney's unforgiving physical play took it's toll on him over the years. In one memorable collision with New Jersey defender Bruce Driver, Maloney broke his leg and ankle as well as suffering ligament damage. He would miss most of the 1984-85 season recovering.

Though his heart was always a Ranger, he would be moved on to the Hartford Whalers and New York Islanders.

Following his days as a player Don Maloney went into NHL management where he quickly developed a reputation for his scouting and talent development. He would work with the Islanders, including briefly as GM, Sharks and Rangers in this regard before taking the general manager's post in Phoenix in 2007.


Lloyd Davis,  12:03 PM  

Pretty sure Don Maloney wasn't named captain of the Rangers in 1980 -- Walt Tkaczuk was. But Don's brother Dave Maloney was captain from 1978 to '80.

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