Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett Studios)

By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff

Steve Kasper, retired NHL defensive forward who played 13 seasons in the NHL, will turn 60 on September 28th. Kasper played nine of his 13 seasons with the Boston Bruins. During his time with the Bruins, Kasper won the Selke Trophy during the ’81-’82 season.

After the ’92-’93 NHL season, Kasper retired from playing hockey and picked up coaching duties for the Bruins in ’95-’96 and ’96-’97. Unfortunately for Kasper and his Bruins, the ’96-’97 season was one of the team’s worst seasons in franchise history and finished last in the NHL that season. Nevertheless, Steve Kasper was an unbelievable hockey player, and since it’s his birthday today, let’s take a look back at Kasper’s tremendous career.

Career with the Bruins

With the 81st pick in the 1980 NHL Draft, the Boston Bruins selected Steve Kasper. In Kasper’s first season with Boston, he played 76 games and accounted for 56 points (21 goals, 35 assists). Kasper would emerge as one of the league’s best checking players of the game in the future. In fact, during his next season, Kasper was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy in ’81-’82. While Kasper’s physical stature wasn’t impressive (5’8″ and 175 lbs), Kasper showed tremendous will and effort in the game of hockey and didn’t let anything get in his way.

Kasper would end up playing a total of 564 games for the Black and Gold and managed to score 135 goals while assisting on 220 goals for a total of 355 points. In his nine seasons with Boston, he helped them reach the playoffs eight times, including a Stanley Cup final run in ’88. Unfortunately, Kasper and the Bruins couldn’t hoist the cup that season as they lost to the Edmonton Oilers in four games.

In the eight playoff runs he had with Boston, he played 63 games, scored 14 goals, and recorded 16 assists. During the ’88-’89 NHL season, the Bruins decided to trade away Kasper to the Los Angeles Kings. The deal was made official on January 23rd, 1989, and Kasper was officially no longer with the Bruins.

Playing with Gretzky and the Kings

Since Kasper was traded during the ’88-’89 season, he ended up only playing 29 regular-season games for the Kings. In those 29 games, Kasper rang up nine goals and 15 assists. Kasper continued his success with the Kings in the three seasons he was there and helped them reach the playoffs each time. Kasper would play 173 games in three seasons with the Kings and scored 35 goals with 62 assists.

His postseason stats were also just as good as his regular-season stats. Kasper would play 31 playoff games with the Kings and score six goals and 12 assists. Kasper would enjoy the success of playing with the Kings and “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky and Bernie Nicholls before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1991-1992.

End of Kasper’s Playing Career/Start of Coaching Career

During the offseason of ’91, Kasper was part of a trade that sent himself and Steve Duchesne to Philadelphia in return for Jeff Chychrun and Jari Kurri. Kasper’s numbers began to diminish in his tenure with the Flyers. In two seasons, he only played 37 games and scored four goals and five assists. Then during the ’92-’93 NHL season, the Flyers would trade Kasper to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Dan Vincelette. The ’92-’93 season would end up being Kasper’s last season in the NHL as he would retire in 1993. In Kasper’s final season in the NHL, he played 47 games and accompanied for seven points (three goals, four assists).

While Kasper retired from playing hockey in ’93, Kasper would pick up coaching duties with the Bruins in ’94. On July 22nd, 1994, he was named the head coach of the Providence Bruins of the AHL. He led the Providence Bruins to the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated from contention. Kasper then again returned to Boston in ’95-’96 to replace Sutter as head coach. He led the Bruins to a 91-point season and a playoff birth. Unfortunately, the Bruins were eliminated by the Florida Panthers in the first round.

The following season was not a good one for Kasper. In ’96-’97, Kasper and the Bruins finished last in the NHL, and it was the first time in 28 years that the Bruins would miss the playoffs. As a result, Kasper was fired and replaced by Pat Burns. Fast-forward to 2007, Kasper picked up head coaching duties for the Yarmouth Mariners, a CJAHL team. Then from 2013-2015, Kasper was the Director of Professional Scouting for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Even though Kasper did not have much coaching success, he sure was a tremendous hockey player. Playing a total of 821 games, scoring 177 goals, assisting on 291 goals, winning the Selke Trophy, and recording five seasons with 50 or more points showed to be how valuable Kasper was to any team he played on. So, from myself and the entire BNG Hockey Organization, we wish you a Happy 60th Birthday Steve Kasper!