Craig Ramsay

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Buffalo Sabres Forward

Craig Ramsay’s long career in a Sabre sweater was replete with big goals in key situations; unfortunately, Craig was frequently overlooked in terms of recognition for his considerable contributions. However, knowledgeable Buffalo fans grew to appreciate the Rammer’s quiet excellence, and became accustomed to his cerebral play. Craig eventually developed to one of the leagues premier defensive forwards and top penalty-killers, laboring night after night against the NHL’s foremost offensive threats in situations where success in preventing goals depends more upon brain than upon brawn. Fans retrospectively acknowledge that Ramsay and Don Luce were as indispensable to the team’s fortunes as were Perreault, Martin and Robert. The Sabres noted Craig’s quiet efficiency by voting him tem MVP n 1978-79. The League recognized his abilities when it awarded Craig the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward in 1984-85.

Craig once acknowledged that his job “was to keep the other guy from scoring, and get the puck out of my end.” However he was quick to admit pride in his scoring ability and career point totals. The 1971 second round pick of the Sabres tallied his first 3 NHL goals in the same game. On the 9174-75 Sabres juggernaut, the “checking” line of Luce, Ramsay and Danny Gare accounted for 90 goals, second only to the explosive French Connection. Indeed, such a total compared favorably with that of the top lines on many teams, lines not saddled with the responsibility of killing penalties and guarding the opposition’s best skaters. While most Sabres fans are aware of Ramsay’s consecutive-games streak (776, currently third-longest in league history and longest streak by a player with one team), many would undoubtedly be surprised by Rammer’s impressive career scoring statistics. They include 252 goals, 420 assists and 672 points (4th on the Sabres career list). His career featured 8 consecutive 20-goal seasons and a team-record 27 shorthanded goals.

These numbers acquire greater significance considering the fact that throughout his entire career, Craig’s primary responsibility was not to score goals, but to prevent them. The achievement of such point totals indicates extreme opportunism, and the knack for capitalizing on limited scoring chances. Ramsay also customarily ranked high on the Sabres’ plus-minus list, an extraordinary accomplishment for a player who not only killed penalties, but spent his career becoming closely acquainted with names such as Dionne, LaFleur, Bossy and Gretzky. In fact, Ramsay the rookie attained the only plus rating on a 1971-72 squad which won only 16 games, and he headed the Sabres’ plus-minus list on 3 other occasions.

With 1995’s induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, Craig was duly enshrined beside teammates Perreault, Martin, Robert and Gare, as fans young and old recalled once again the glory days of the Buffalo Sabres franchise.