Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Michigan's Madden Hangs 'Em Up

Former University of Michigan forward John Madden, who won the Stanley Cup in both 2000 and 2003 with the New Jersey Devils, has retired as an active NHL player. According to Fire and Ice, he will join the Montreal Canadiens staff, with an emphasis on scouting the U.S. college ranks.

Madden, who also won a Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, completed his NHL career with 165 goals and 183 assists for 348 points in 898 regular-season games with New Jersey, Chicago, the Minnesota Wild, and the Florida Panthers. He added 21-22--43 points in 141 Stanley Cup Playoff contests from 2000 through 2012.

A 5-11, 190-pound native of Barrie, Ont., Madden set an NCAA record with 23 career shorthanded goals at Michigan, while recording 80-100--180 points in all in four seasons in Ann Arbor (1994-1998), including three consecutive 20-goal campaigns. He was a junior on Michigan's first NCAA title team in 32 years in 1996, and also helped the Wolverines to the Frozen Four as a senior.

Undrafted out of college, Madden signed with New Jersey soon after. After a brief apprenticeship with Albany (AHL), he made it to the Meadowlands for good in the fall of 1999, ultimately winning two Cups and compiling 140-157--297 points in 712 regular-season outings as a Devil, including 19 shorthanded goals. He also won the Selke Trophy in 2001 as the NHL's best defensive forward, notching a career-high 23 goals as the Devils eventually fell to Colorado in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final.

After he was not re-signed by the Devils for 2009-10, Madden went west to Chicago as a free agent, and tallied 10-13--23 points in 79 games as the Blackhawks went on to capture their first NHL crown since 1961. The following year he was in Minnesota, and posted 12-13--25 points in 76 appearances with the Wild.

He played his final NHL game with Florida in late April, in the Panthers' 3-2 double overtime Game 7 loss to his old Devils squad. He had three goals in 31 regular-season games with the Panthers for his final NHL points.

Despite my having worked two years at Michigan State, I can say that Madden, 39, wasn't too bad for a Michigan guy. I'm pretty sure he walked by me once at a minor league baseball game in New Jersey and wasn't too pleased to see a Spartan logo on my shirt, though  ...

I'll remember how hard he played and how tenacious he was, especially in those two Stanley Cup seasons with the Devils. I'll also recall his playoff hat trick against the Rangers in 2006 at Continental Airlines Arena, including a pair of shorthanded markers. He definitely proved you can play four years in college and still experience NHL success - even if your name was never called at the draft.

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