Monday, November 14, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Ron Low

It must be a difficult task to go from a Memorial Cup team to the worst team in modern NHL history, but that's what this week's AGM had to endure. If nothing else, it got him prepared for not getting much support from his teammates and very lean years during his NHL time. Yet, it got him a coaching gig at the end of his career-- so he did something right. This week, the profile of Ron Low.

While Low came onto the scene in the 1967-68 season with the West Coast Junior League's Winnipeg Jets for sixteen games, he would spend the rest of that season with the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior League. Low would spend the 1968-69 and 1969-70 season with the Dauphin Kings, winning the Manitoba Junior championship each year and attending the Memorial Cup both seasons, but never winning it.

The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Low 103rd overall in the 1970 Draft, but Low would play in the Eastern League's Jacksonville Rockets for 46 games and then four games with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central League for the 1970-71 season. The 1971-72 season had Low spend it mostly in Tulsa again, going 21-18-2 in 43 games, then winning his only appearance with the Richmond Robins of the AHL. The 1972-73 season saw Low get the call to the Maple Leafs, playing in 42 games and finishing 12-24-4 for the season. That make the Leafs send him back to Tulsa for the 1973-74 season, where Low would compile a 23-23-8 record in 56 appearances.

Low was left unprotected by the Leafs during the expansion Draft, which left him open to be picked by the Washington Capitals. Low had the job of being on the worst team in modern NHL history, as he went 8-36-2 in 48 games with the Caps, actually winning all the games the Caps did that season. It fared no better for Low in the 1975-76 campaign, going 6-31-2 in 43 outings for the Caps, though the 1976-77 season was better for Low, finishing up with a 16-27-5 record

The rights to Low were traded to the Detroit Red Wings for the 1977-78 season, where he would play 32 games in Detroit, finishing with a 9-12-9 record in the regular season, then 1-3 in four playoff games. Low was sent to the Central League's Kansas City Red Wings for the 1978-79 season, where he'd finish up his 63 game season with a 33-28-2 record; then 1-4 in five playoff games.

Crazily enough, Low was left unprotected and picked up during the Expansion Draft by the Quebec Nordiques for the 1979-80 season, where he'd go 5-7-2 in 15 games before being sent to the Syracuse Firebirds of the AHL, playing 15 games and finishing up with a 5-9-1 record.

Low was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in March of 1980, and would play 11 games with the Oilers and finish with an 8-2-1 record. While he spent two games with the Central League's Wichita Wind (0-2-0), Low spent most of the 1980-81 season with the Oilers, going 5-13-3 in 24 games. Low played 29 games for the Oilers in the 1981-82 season, finishing with 17-7-1 record. The 1982-83 season had Low play only three games for the Oilers (0-1-0) before being sent to the AHL's Moncton Alpines for six games, though no record is available.

Low was eventually traded to the New Jersey Devils at the end of the season, playing in 11 games with a 2-7-1 record. Low stuck with New Jersey for the 1983-84 season, but would only post an 8-25-4 record in 44 games, while the 1984-85 season yielded only 26 games with a 6-11-4 record to show for it.

Low would spend the 1985-86 season with the Nova Scotia Oilers, but he would go 1-5-0 in six games before he would retire in his playing career.

After he retired, Nova Scotia immediately made him an assistant coach, before he was promoted to the assistant in Edmonton before becoming the head coach of the now Cape Breton Oilers in 1989. He would then be promoted again to Edmonton's assistant coach, the became head coach of the Oilers in 1995, where he stayed for four seasons before moving to the Houston Aeros head coaching position. In 2000, Low was named head coach of the New York Rangers and spend two season behind the bench before being relieved of his coaching duties and put in the scouting position. Low then moved to the Ottawa Senators as a goalie coach and scout, then assistant coach before being fired. Low is the only NHL goalie to head coach two different teams, as well as winning two Stanley Cups as an assistant in Edmonton in 1987 and 1990.

Low had a scary moment in March of 2010, when he was in Calgary and got mugged after seeing former teammate Dave Hunter. He made it to his hotel after the attack and called an ambulance to get him, which also required him to get surgery on his damaged organs. He has since gotten better.

He had to overcome getting squeezed out of positions, dealing with bad expansion teams, and then trying to find magic when he did play-- but he learned enough to move over to the coaching side and have a successful run there.

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