Unsung Hawks: Phil Russell

12/16/2009 10:59 AM - From chicagoblackhawks.com: (link)

Breaking into the NHL ranks right from junior hockey is no easy feat; even the great Gordie Howe began his career in the minors. It's even more notable when you can do it with a team that finished first in its division the three previous seasons.

Phil "Rusty" Russell made such a jump, coming to the Blackhawks in 1972 after being selected 13th overall in the entry draft. Phil was regarded even then as a potential NHL enforcer, having led the WCHL in penalty minutes in both of his seasons with the league's Edmonton squad. He was known as a hard-nosed defender who skated well for his size and was also a smart puck handler.

Even with a team that included the likes of Keith Magnuson and Jerry "King Kong" Korab, Russell made an immediate impact in Chicago, most often on the bodies of Blackhawks opponents.

In each of his first five seasons with Chicago, Russell led the team in penalty minutes. He also set a team record when he picked up eight penalties in game on March 26,1977 against Minnesota, including six minors, a misconduct and a game misconduct.

Phil appeared in 504 games for the Hawks between 1972 and March, 1979, and racked up 1,288 penalty minutes during that span.

In 1979, Russell was involved in one of the biggest trades in Blackhawks history, when Chicago sent him go to Atlanta with Ivan Boldirev and Darcy Rota in exchange for five players, including Tom Lysiak.

After retiring from hockey in 1987, Phil came back to Chicago, scouted for the Blackhawks and operated a local pub. He also coached hockey at various levels, including one season with the Blackhawks' then-ECHL affiliate in Pensacola with fellow former Hawk John Marks.

Phil still resides in the Chicago area and remains active with the Blackhawks Alumni Association.

Search Archive »

Browse by Year »


Browse by Month »

August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
June 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
November 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
December 0200