During most of Bob Rouse's career in hockey, the word guarantee bore virtually no relationship to his aspirations of making it to the big time. He played his junior career without much fan fair with the Billings Bighorns, the Nanaimo Islanders, and the Lethbridge Broncos of the WHL from 1980 to 1984.
But the principal assets in Rouse's favour were his sturdiness, size and determination and a willingness to play within his limitations. He was the prototypical stay-at-home defender who scored few points while clearing creases like a snowplow. Rouse launched his NHL career with the Minnesota North Stars where he played parts of six seasons. And true to his journeyman's profile, he had to earn his way into the lineup every autumn.
Such was the case with the Washington Capitals as well, a club he joined in 1989. Rouse played parts of three seasons in Washington, where he continued his steady, tough style of play that would keep him in the NHL.
He joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1991 and spent fours seasons with the team.
In 1994 Rouse became a free agent, and signed with the Detroit Red Wings who wanted to add a Rouse-like steadiness to their blueline.
With the Wings, Rouse simply continued to do what he'd always done, which was to play tough defense. During his third and fourth seasons, the Wings won two straight Stanley Cups. And after toppling his former club, the Washington Capitals, for the second championship, Rouse moved on to the San Jose Sharks for the 1998-99 season and retired after only 26 games of the 1999-2000 season.