Centre Doug Jarvis was solid in all aspects of the game but developed into one of the best defensive pivots in the NHL. He also managed to avoid the injury bug and set the league's "ironman" record by appearing in an incredible 964 straight regular season games from 1975 to 1987.
Born in Brantford, Ontario, Jarvis played a season with the hometown Majors junior club before spending three rewarding years under Roger Neilson while suiting up with the OHA's Peterborough Petes. He scored 96 goals in three years while taking most of the club's key faceoffs and playing on both special teams. Jarvis scored four goals in five games when the Petes represented Canada at the unofficial first World Junior Championship in 1974. After scoring 133 points in 1974-75 and making the OHA second all-star team, he was chosen in the second round, 24th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Amateur Draft.
Shortly after the Draft, Toronto made one of its worst blunders ever by sending Jarvis to the Montreal Canadiens for Greg Hubick. Jarvis played seven years with powerful Habs as they won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1976 to 1979. He formed one of the league's best penalty killing tandems with Bob Gainey. The two friends also played on the NHL's best two-way line with the likes of Jim Roberts, Murray Wilson, and Rejean Houle. Individual highlights included scoring 12 points in 15 playoff games when Montreal won the Cup in 1977-78 and reaching the 20-goal mark for the first time in 1981-82.
Prior to the 1982-83 season, he was traded to the Washington Capitals with Rod Langway and Brian Engblom for Ryan Walter and Rick Green. The classy centre solidified the Caps' penalty killing and, with his ex-Montreal mates, helped transform the team into a competitive and defensively responsible squad. Following the 1983-84 season, Jarvis was presented the Frank J. Selke trophy as the league's best defensive forward.
Partway through the 1985-86 season, the veteran was traded to the Hartford Whalers for offensive-minded forward Jorgen Petterson. He played nearly two full years in Hartford and was awarded the Bill Masterton trophy in 1987 for his dogged effort while setting the "ironman" standard. The streak came to an end when he didn't dress for a game versus the Boston Bruins on October 11, 1987. In 1987-88 he played 24 games for the AHL's Binghamton Whalers, his first ever trip to the minors. During this time the Whalers were looking to Brent Peterson to take over as the team's top checking centre. Jarvis retired in 1988 after playing 1,069 regular season and playoff games at full throttle.
When he played in Binghamton, Jarvis began helping out with the coaching duties. A few months later he was hired by Minnesota North Stars head coach Pierre Page as a full-time assistant. Two years later, Jarvis' old linemate Gainey was brought in as coach and general manager and the two have formed one of the most successful tandems ever since. Minnesota reached the Stanley Cup final in 1991, relocated to Dallas in 1993, and won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1999.