Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Warren Young

Warren Young - check out the horrible airbrush job on his O-Pee-Chee rookie card - enjoyed a professional career that spanned a decade and included 236 NHL games with Minnesota, Detroit and most notably Pittsburgh. He was basically a  journeyman hockey player, grinding it out on the wall and in the corners, and crashing the front of the net. There wasn't much pretty about his game, but he worked hard on every shift.

Yet Young is mostly remembered for the one magical season in 1984-85 when he played along side a rookie named Mario Lemieux. Super Mario left no doubt that he was the next great hockey player. He scored 43 goals and 100 points himself, but perhaps more impressively he turned a plugger like Young - a 28 year old rookie himself - into a 40 goal scorer.

Needless to say, Young was never able to live up to the 40 goal billing ever again. He left for Detroit the next season. He scored 22 times, not bad, but a far cry from what the Red Wings had hoped. Clearly the Mario factor was bigger than the Wings had estimated.

Young returned to Pittsburgh after that failed season in Detroit, but he would not rekindle his magic with Mario. He scored just 8 goals in 50 games in 1986-87, as Lemieux was now playing with the likes of Dan Quinn and Craig Simpson. The following season Warren Young was all but farmed out to the minor leagues for the rest of his career.

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