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Features

Bringing In Rings

John Madden Brings A Wealth Of Experience, And Cup Rings

Saturday, 09.18.2010 / 3:31 PM / Minnesota Wild | Features
By Dan Myers  - Special to Wild.com
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Bringing In Rings



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New Wild centerman John Madden has a two inch scar under his left eye that has to be considered the ultimate hockey wound.

Suffered during Game Five of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, Madden's original wound came thanks to an errant Adam Oates skate blade.

Madden missed some time after that -- two shifts to be exact -- but was back finally returned, helping his New Jersey Devils to the win that night, and a few nights later, to their second Stanley Cup.

It's that determination and savvy playoff experience that attracted the Wild to Madden when the team signed him to a one-year deal last month.

"There's no substitute for hard work and making a commitment to your team," Madden said. "I've played on some good teams and had a lot of luck. I figure, if you can score 15 or 20 goals a year and stop another 20, you're doing pretty good."

That commitment to defense has been Madden's trademark throughout a sterling 10-year career in the National Hockey League. Madden has never scored more than 23 goals in a season, and his career high for points is 43. But the University of Michigan product has long been known as one of the best defensive forwards in the game -- winning the Selke Trophy for such work back in 2001 and being named a finalist three other times.

As a member of the Cup winning Blackhawks last season, Madden led all Chicago forwards with 58 blocked shots.

"(Defense) was something instilled in me early by my dad. You're not always going to have it every night, in terms of offense," Madden said. "But when you're a good defensive team, you'll always be in games. I'm hoping some of that will rub off on the younger guys (in Minnesota)."

But playing solid defense is only a small part of Madden's game. In addition to his three Stanley Cup rings, Madden is also a whiz on the penalty kill. He scored six short-handed goals as a rookie in New Jersey in 1998-99, a mark which, at the time, tied an NHL record.

Last season, he was among the NHL's best face-off men, winning 53 percent of his draws.

In 10 seasons, Madden has also had a remarkable run of durability -- never has he played in fewer than 74 games in a season. And while he's certainly not flashy, Madden is the ultimate team-first guy; a man who has played next to some of the league's most respected players -- guys like Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko.

"I've had the luxury of watching those guys as professionals," Madden said. "You're not going to meet a bigger warrior in the playoffs than Scott Stevens. But the one thing I learned from him is to have fun. He was always having so much fun doing what he was doing. I know that rubbed off on me and I hope I can give that to the guys here."

Coming off a season where the Wild missed the playoffs -- something Madden has never done -- he knows just finishing among the top eight gives you as good a chance as any to bring home the Stanley Cup.

"There were years in New Jersey where we were predicted to finish seventh, eighth or even ninth and we finished first, second or third," Madden said. "The team that plays most like a team, where their role players play their role, will do very well."




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