Tuesday, June 28, 2011

REGINA PAT ALUMNI

ROBERT DIRK


By Permission: Taken from Joe Pelletier - WebSite - Greatest Hockey Legends

Robert Dirk was a one-dimensional hard hitting defensive defenseman, complete with the mean streak every coach dreams of. But you had to take the good with the bad with Robert Dirk.

Dirk was huge at 6'4" and 218 pounds. He was a punishing but clean hitter who specialized in protecting his goalie and the area in front of the net. He was an intimidating presence if there ever was one.

While his job is thankless, that's about all Dirk could do. His skating was, well, bad. He would never dream of winning a foot race, and his agility was not a whole lot better. He compensated this by playing smart positional hockey and slowing down the opposition with his strength and smarts. Dirk wisely played within his limitations, recognizing when to retreat early to not get spurned by speedy forwards

An extremely likeable guy, Dirk definitely wasn't an offensive contributor. In 402 NHL games Dirk scored a lucky 13 career goals and 29 assists for just 42 points. He added one lonely assist in 39 playoff games.

Holding the blue line with a dump to the corner or a less than fearsome shot directed to the front of the net was his only offensive contribution. It was a pretty rare play to ever see him pinch up in the offensive zone.

Dirk was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 1984 Entry Draft (53rd overall). He played three full seasons with his hometown WHL Regina Pats (1982-83 to 1985-86). In his final season he had an impressive 19 goals and 79 points with 140 PIM.

Dirk spent 5 seasons in the Blues organization, but split his time between St. Louis and their farm team in Peoria (IHL). In total Dirk played in 93 games over 5 years with the Blues. He didn't make with the Blues on a full time basis until 1990-91, which ironically was the year the Blues traded him. (Photo: Supplied by Kevin Shaw)

Dirk was a throw-in in a large deal with the Vancouver Canucks. Dirk, who spent a good part of his youth growing up in the British Columbia interior, joined the Canucks with Geoff Courtnall, Cliff Ronning and Sergio Momesso for Dan Quinn and Garth Butcher. The trade still stands as perhaps the best trade in Canucks history.

Dirk's best NHL years came in Vancouver where he played under coach Pat Quinn. Quinn must have saw something of himself in big Dirk. Like Dirk, Quinn was a big, plodding defensive blueliner who struggled to stay in the NHL on a full time basis. Dirk really enjoyed playing for the big Irishman.

Dirk played almost 3 full seasons with the Canucks. In that time he played in almost every game and was rarely a scratch unless it was due to a minor injury. He scored 9 of his 13 career goals in his 217 games with the Canucks. He added 401 of his 786 career PIM with the Canucks.

The Canucks traded Dirk to Chicago for a draft choice at the trading deadline in 1994. As a result, Dirk was moved just prior to the Canucks Cinderella run in the 1994 playoffs, something he would have loved to have been part of. The Canucks felt they had to move Dirk in order to create roster room for equally big Brian

Glynn who they had just picked up. So in essence the Canucks traded Dirk for Glynn. Glynn fulfilled Dirk's role and had much more mobility although lacked Dirk's mean streak.

Dirk finished the '94 season with Chicago but was traded to Anaheim in the summer Dirk patrolled their blue line for a season and a half before flipping him to Montreal for Jim Campbell. Dirk's stay in Montreal was less than memorable. In his first game he suffered a serious knee injury (ironically the Habs were playing the Canucks in Dirk's first game). The injury cost Dirk his place in the Montreal line up. It also cost him his place in the NHL as no team looked to pick up an immobile d-man with a bum knee.

Dirk did play one final pro season split between the IHL's Detroit Vipers and Chicago Wolves before trying his hand in the minor league world of coaching and managing. At one time he also owned a construction company which he started while still playing.