Humble Beginnings

Bryan Watson

The Capitals exchanged youth and promise for leadership and experience when they traded for veteran rearguard, known around the league as Bugsy, on Nov. 30, 1976. For Watson, the team traded away the first-overall pick in the 1974 draft and the first player drafted in club history - Greg Joly.

The young defenseman was constantly plagued with injuries and did not live up to expectations during his two seasons with the Capitals. And what the team got in return was a 14-year feisty, pesky veteran with a reputation of having a strong lockerroom presence.

And less than a month after the trade was complete, Watson proved just how feisty he could be. On Dec. 17, 1976, he was assessed a holding minor in a 3-2 victory over Toronto, which made Watson the first player in NHL history to acquire 2,000 penalty minutes during a career.

The Capitals released Watson after three seasons with the team thus ending his 17-year NHL career. He left the league as its all-time penalty minute leader with 2,176 minutes. Watson will also be remembered for his enormous amount of charitable work during his time with the league.

His passion for working with the Special Olympics earned him the organization's 1978 International Athlete of the Year award. That year, he was also awarded the Charlie Conacher Trophy for the NHL player who made the biggest contribution to humanitarian causes.




The Players

Bobby Carpenter  
Guy Charron  
Rick Green  
Al Jenson  
Yvon Labre  
Dennis Maruk  
Ryan Walter  
Ace Bailey  
Michael Belhumeur  
Edburg & Svensson  
Greg Joly  
Ron Low  
Marson & Riley  
Bill Mikkelson  
Doug Mohns  
Bryan Watson  
Tommy Williams  
Did You Know?  
Pierre Bouchard  
Denis Depere  
Stan Gilbertson  
Archie Henderson  
Ron Lalonde  
Gord Lane  
Mike Palmateer  
Robert Picard  
Nelson Pyatt  
Tom Rowe