Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Rob Blake
In the late 1980s, as a means of developing their skills, an ever-increasing number of Canadians were choosing American college hockey over junior hockey. Rob Blake was no different. A native of Simcoe, Ontario, he opted to attend Bowling Green University, and in 1987-88, following his second year, he was selected 70th overall by Los Angeles in the NHL's entry draft. Ironically, he also considered leaving the school at the time because he did not feel he was making enough progress in his game.

Blake stayed on for a third year, making the M division's First All-Star team, being named a Hobey Baker Award finalist, and getting called up to the Kings for the last four games of the regular season to experience a taste of NHL life. The following season, he made the team with an outstanding performance in training camp and became the team's number one defenseman.

Blake was thrilled to be joining an L.A. team that featured Wayne Gretzky. An offensive defenseman who was equally adept in his own end, Blake cherished the opportunity to join the rush when Gretzky had the puck, and in his first year he had 12 goals and 46 points from the blue line. Gretzky took to Blake immediately, and likened him to a young Paul Coffey due to his offensive talent and his superb shot, which became an integral part of the Los Angeles powerplay that Gretzky orchestrated.

In each full season Blake played, his numbers increased, but at the same time injuries were forever taking up a large part of his season. In 1994-95, he missed 24 games with a pulled groin and the next year he tore an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) just six games into the season and missed the remainder of the year. He has also broken his hand and foot, resulting in further long stretches away from the ice.

An early highlight of Blake's career came during the 1993 playoffs when the team, led by Gretzky, made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Along the way they beat Calgary and Vancouver and then eliminated Toronto in game seven at Maple Leaf Gardens. But in the finals Blake and the Kings faced a Montreal team that had won 10 overtime games in these playoffs, and the Kings lost in six games. Blake had 10 points that spring and anchored a defense that was virtually impenetrable until that Habs series.

The Kings performed well on a regular basis during most of the 1990s, but never fared well in the playoffs beyond 1993. The result was that Blake had a chance to successfully represent Canada internationally on many occasions, each time happily taking advantage of the honor and experience. He played at the World Championships in 1991, 1994, 1997, 1998 and 1999, winning a gold medal on the 1994 and 1997 teams and a silver in 1991. He also played in the World Cup in 1996, and was key to Canada's defense at the Nagano Olympics in 1998, where he was named the best defenseman in the tournament. Following Nagano, Blake returned to the Kings lineup and continued his strong play, enabling him to capture the 1998 James Norris Trophy as the league's Top Defenseman.

After parts of 12 seasons with the Kings, Blake was acquired by the Colorado Avalanche in the latter stages of the 2000-01 season. Upon his arrival with the Avs, Blake was instrumental in leading the Avs to the 2001 Stanley Cup title. Following a pair of consistant years with the Avalanche, the defenceman signed a two-year contract with his former club the Los Angeles Kings on July 1, 2006.

In his first season back in Los Angeles, Blake served as the club's assistant captain and helped lead a relatively young squad. The following season he appeared in his 800th career game as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. In the summer of 2008, Blake became an unrestricted free agent and he opted to sign with the San Jose Sharks.

On the international stage, Blake represented Canada in the Winter Olympics on three occasions (1998, 2002, 2006), earning a Gold-Medal in 2002.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1985-86 Brantford Alexander B's ON-Jr.B 39 3 13 16 43
1986-87 Stratford Cullitons ON-Jr.B 31 11 20 31 115
1987-88 Bowling Green University CCHA 43 5 8 13 88
1988-89 Bowling Green University CCHA 46 11 21 32 140
1989-90 Bowling Green University CCHA 42 23 36 59 140
1989-90 Los Angeles Kings NHL 4 0 0 0 4 0 8 1 3 4 4
1990-91 Los Angeles Kings NHL 75 12 34 46 125 +3 12 1 4 5 26
1990-91 Canada WEC-A 2 0 2 2 0
1991-92 Los Angeles Kings NHL 57 7 13 20 102 -5 6 2 1 3 12
1992-93 Los Angeles Kings NHL 76 16 43 59 152 +18 23 4 6 10 46
1993-94 Los Angeles Kings NHL 84 20 48 68 137 -7
1993-94 Canada WC-A 8 0 2 2 6
1994-95 Los Angeles Kings NHL 24 4 7 11 38 -16
1995-96 Los Angeles Kings NHL 6 1 2 3 8 0
1996-97 Canada W-Cup 4 0 1 1 0
1996-97 Los Angeles Kings NHL 62 8 23 31 82 -28
1996-97 Canada WC-A 11 2 2 4 22
1997-98 Los Angeles Kings NHL 81 23 27 50 94 -3 4 0 0 0 6
1997-98 Canada Olympics 6 1 1 2 2
1997-98 Canada WC-A 5 1 0 1 6
1998-99 Los Angeles Kings NHL 62 12 23 35 128 -7
1998-99 Canada WC-A 10 2 5 7 12
1999-00 Los Angeles Kings NHL 77 18 39 57 112 +10 4 0 2 2 4
2000-01 Los Angeles Kings NHL 54 17 32 49 69 -8
2000-01 Colorado Avalanche NHL 13 2 8 10 8 +11 23 6 13 19 16
2001-02 Colorado Avalanche NHL 75 16 40 56 58 +16 20 6 6 12 16
2001-02 Canada Olympics 6 1 2 3 2 +2
2002-03 Colorado Avalanche NHL 79 17 28 45 57 +20 7 1 2 3 8
2003-04 Colorado Avalanche NHL 74 13 33 46 61 +6 9 0 5 5 6
2004-05 Canada W-Cup
2004-05
2005-06 Colorado Avalanche NHL 81 14 37 51 94 +2 9 3 1 4 8
2005-06 Canada Olympics 6 0 1 1 2 0
2006-07 Los Angeles Kings NHL 72 14 20 34 82 -26
2007-08 Los Angeles Kings NHL 71 9 22 31 98 -19
2008-09 San Jose Sharks NHL 73 10 35 45 110 +15 6 1 3 4 4
2009-10 San Jose Sharks NHL 70 7 23 30 60 +14 15 1 1 2 10
NHL Totals 1270 240 537 777 1679 146 26 47 73 166


CCHA Second All-Star Team (1989)
CCHA First All-Star Team (1990)
NCAA West First All-American Team (1990)
NHL All-Rookie Team (1991)
WC-A All-Star Team (1997)
Named Best Defenseman at WC-A (1997)
Named Best Defenseman at Olympic Games (1998)
NHL First All-Star Team (1998)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (1998)
NHL Second All-Star Team (2000, 2001, 2002) Played in NHL All-Star Game (1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
Missed majority of 1995-96 due to knee injury vs. Washington, October 20, 1995. Traded to Colorado by Los Angeles with Steve Reinprecht for Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, a player to be named later (Jared Aulin, March 22, 2001) and Colorado's 1st round choices in 2001 (Dave Steckel) and 2003 (Brian Boyle) Entry Drafts, February 21, 2001. Signed as a free agent by Los Angeles, July 1, 2006. Signed as a free agent by San Jose, July 3, 2008. Officially announced his retirement, June 18, 2010.