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ALL-TIME ALL-STARS - PATTERSON

Colin Patterson was one of the team's most important players during his time in Calgary

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

They are the best of the best in Calgary Flames history.

Over 24 days we will profile our All-Time All-Stars (listed alphabetically at each position). Make sure to check back daily to see who's getting the nod.

May 8 - Theoren Fleury (RW)

May 9 - Jarome Iginla (RW)

May 10 - Hakan Loob (RW)

May 11 - Lanny McDonald (RW)

May 12 - Joey Mullen (RW)

May 13 - Doug Gilmour (C)

May 14 - Joe Nieuwendyk (C)

May 15 - Kent Nilsson (C)

May 16 - Joel Otto (C)

May 17 - Craig Conroy (C)

May 18 - Johnny Gaudreau (LW)

May 19 - Jim Peplinski (LW)

May 20 - Gary Roberts (LW)

May 21 - Alex Tanguay (LW)

May 23-28 - Defencemen

May 29-31 - Goaltenders

Today, it's Colin Patterson, another unsung hero who helped power the '89 Cup run:

Late afternoon of May 25, 1989, Colin Patterson sat in the visiting dressing at the legendary Montreal Forum, awaiting Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final and a date with destiny, trying to calm jangling nerves by making small talk with Lanny McDonald.

"The rooms were so small, and there was this pillar there," Patterson would later recall, "so nobody could see us.

"Lanny looked at me, kinda smiled, and said: 'You know, Patter, I scored my first goal in this building. I'd like to score my last goal here.' 

"And I said: 'Mac, know what? I'd love to get one, too.'

"And sure enough, we both scored that night."

Opening Calgary's account at 18:35 of the first period, the checking winger beat Montreal goaltender Patrick Roy, assists to defencemen Dana Murzyn and Al MacInnis, setting the Flames on their way to a championship.

Goals were always appreciated, naturally, but hardly a mandatory staple of what made No. 11 so vital to the good of the whole. 

Underrated.

Unsung.

Indispensible.

"If you're going by press coverage - and we had a lot of big names, great players - Nieuwendyk, MacInnis, Lanny, Joey Mullen, Fleury, Roberts, Hakan Loob - he wouldn't be up in the top echelon,'' says coach Terry Crisp today, from his home in Nashville. "But for us, the coaching staff, Colin Patterson was one of our most important players.

"I could play him centre. I could play him wing. I could use him as a penalty killer. I could put him out there with Mully on the powerplay.

"And he was automatic when we were trying to nullify the opposition's top right winger. Just that multi-task guy. Wherever you needed help - move up him, move him down, move him over, move him sideways.

"There wasn't anything we could ask of Patter that he couldn't do."

A 1983 free-agent signing out of Clarkson, one of those overlooked gems the Flames used to unearth while scouring the U.S. colleges, a largely untapped treasure trove at the time.

He'd make his NHL debut on Oct. 22, 1983 and play 416 regular-season and 72 playoff games over eight years here.

The Stanley Cup season, '88-89, Patterson's skills as a premier shut-down winger were finally recognized when he was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy awarded to the league's top defensive forward.

Operating on the left side on a line with centre Doug Gilmour and 51-goal/110point right-winger Joe Mullen he logged career-high 74 games, recorded 38 points and put up plus-minus of +44, the third highest in the NHL. 

He'd lose the Selke to Montreal's Guy Carbonneau but take home the big prize, a Stanley Cup ring.

A litany of injuries - torn knee ligaments, shoulder problems, a broken ankle - took a toll and he was dealt to Buffalo.

But the quiet impact he had is engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Crisp loves a story Flames' GM at the time Cliff Fletcher relishes of a particular Patterson contract negotiation.

"You want to talk about value?'' cackles Crisp. "Patter's contract was due and the way Cliff tells it, he says to Patter: 'Do you have an agent?' And Colin says: 'No, no. I don't, Cliff. But I'll have the contract for you tomorrow.'

"Next morning, the contract's signed but there are no figures on it. And Cliff says: 'Colin, we need an amount.' And Colin says: 'I know, Cliff. But you know better than I am what I'm worth to the team. I'm gonna leave it up to you to decide what's fair.'

"Can you imagine?

"So Cliff sits there, thinks on it awhile, puts an amount down, and goes home.

"He comes back the next morning, looks at the contract again,and says: 'That's not enough for Colin.' Scratches the figures out, puts another amount down. Comes back that evening looks at it again and says: 'No, he's worth more than that.'

"Cliff says he spent two days negotiating against himself, raising Colin Patterson's salary!"

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