|6 ft 1 in (2 m)|
206 lb (94 kg)
Los Angeles Kings
|Born||January 7, 1961,|
Wetaskiwin, AB, CAN
|NHL Draft||112th overall, 1981|
|Pro Career||1981 – 1995|
Rod Dale Buskas (born January 7, 1961 in Wetaskiwin, Alberta) is a retired professional ice hockey defenceman who spent 11 seasons in the National Hockey League. A hard-nosed physical defender, Buskas is best known for his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he was the club's all-time leader in penalty minutes at the time of his departure in 1990.
Playing career[edit | edit source]
Buskas was selected in the 6th round (112th overall) of the 1981 NHL Entry Draft by the Penguins after a solid junior career with the Medicine Hat Tigers. After some seasoning in the minors, he made his NHL debut near the start of the 1982–83 season, and finished the year with 4 points and 102 penalty minutes in 41 games.
After another season split between Pittsburgh and the minors, Buskas established himself as a regular for the Penguins in 1984–85, and was a fixture on the club's blueline for the next five seasons. In 1986–87, he had his best offensive season, finishing the year with 3 goals and 15 assists for 18 points. In 1987–88, he led the Penguins with a career-high 206 penalty minutes, and mid-way through the 1988–89 season he broke Bryan Watson's club record of 872 penalty minutes. While the Penguins finished consistently near the bottom of the league for most of the 1980s, the maturing of superstar Mario Lemieux finally saw the team reach the playoffs in 1989, and Buskas appeared in the first 10 NHL playoff games of his career.
At the start of the 1989–90 campaign, Buskas was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks for a draft pick. However, he appeared in only 17 games for the Canucks before breaking his ankle, requiring surgery. While recovering, he was traded back to Pittsburgh, and he appeared in 6 more games for the Penguins late in the season. He would leave Pittsburgh for good at the start of the 1990–91 season, when he was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL Waiver Draft. At the time, he was Pittsburgh's all-time leader in penalty minutes with 959, although that record would later be broken by Troy Loney and is now held by Kevin Stevens.
Buskas spent a year in Los Angeles, recording 3 goals and 11 points along with 182 penalty minutes in 57 games, before being dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks early in the 1991–92 season. Now a sparingly-used depth defender, he finished the year with 4 assists in 47 games between Los Angeles and Chicago. That season's playoffs would prove to be one of the highlights of his career, as Chicago reached the Stanley Cup finals before losing to his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Buskas saw his NHL career come to a close in 1992–93, as he was assigned to the minors for the first time since 1984 and appeared in only 4 games for the Blackhawks. Released at the end of the season, he spent two more seasons in the IHL with the Las Vegas Thunder before retiring in 1995. Buskas finished his career with totals of 19 goals and 63 assists for 82 points in 556 career NHL games, along with 1294 penalty minutes.