Corson getting one more shot at the title
April 6, 2004
By J. Douglas Foster
As the Montreal Canadiens prepared to play the Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup Final, Bob Gainey and Larry Robinson stood up and informed their younger teammates of just how special an appearance in the Final can be.
"They told us, 'You never know if you'll ever get back here, so you better make the best of it right now,'" Corson recalls.
Some 15 years later, Corson knows just how right they were.
"When you go to the Cup Final as such a young kid, you figure you're going to be there lots of times," he said. "But they knew what they were talking about.
"It's so hard to just get to the Finals, and it's even harder to win it. It's the toughest trophy to win in sports."
It's also a trophy Corson has unsuccessfully chased since that day. The Canadiens went on to lose that series to Calgary, and Corson, through his 18 NHL seasons, has yet to even make it back to a Cup Final.
When he was first called up to Montreal in 1986, he suffered a season-ending injury, only played three regular-season games and then sat in the press box to watch the Canadiens hoist the Cup that season. He was then traded from Montreal to Edmonton in August of 1992, just nine months before the Canadiens would win another Cup in 1993.
Close calls, with nothing to satisfy Corson's thirst to drink from the Cup.
But the Dallas Stars have given him another chance to chase that grail.
Not quite a year after retiring from the game while a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Corson has found a new lease on his career, new energy in his 37-year-old legs and an injection of hope that he could still have his name engraved on hockey's greatest prize.
The Stars began that process by signing Corson as a free agent in February. But make no bones about it, that signing was all about the spring, not the winter.
Many would contend that Corson was brought to Dallas for the playoffs. His grit, tenacity and obvious knowledge of the game is exactly what it takes to succeed in the postseason, and the Stars expected he was a player who could make a difference in the playoffs.
"This time of the year, space gets very hard to find," Stars head coach Dave Tippett said. "He's a player who can find that space."
He's found it so far this season, and if his short stint with the Stars is any indication of what he will do in the playoffs, signing him will be considered one of the best transactions in the NHL this season.
In his 17 games since signing with the Stars, Corson has scored 10 points -- five goals and five assists. He also has a plus-minus rating of plus-12, which ranks seventh on the team for the entire season.
So far, Dallas has seemed the perfect fit for Corson, who chose the Stars despite receiving midseason offers from three other NHL teams.
"The city is great, the people are very friendly, the guys on the team are incredible and the organization is nothing but first class," Corson said. "For me, it's been the perfect situation."
Only one thing would make it more perfect: That elusive Stanley Cup.
The way Corson is playing, he figures to have a say in whether or not the Stars get that Cup. He seems to have found perfect chemistry playing alongside Pierre Turgeon as the two have proved to be one of the Stars' best pairings down the season's final stretch.
And because of the months off before signing with Dallas, Corson admits he's more energetic and rested than he has been in some time.
"Physically and mentally, this is the best I have felt in three years," Corson said. "I'm ready (for the playoffs), I'm excited about getting another shot at a Stanley Cup and I'll play whatever role they need me to play and I'll play it the best that I can.
"I'm ready to have fun in the playoffs, but more than anything I want to win."