1971 NHL Entry Draft Pick
Round Overall
1 4
Gene Carr
Selected by St. Louis from Flin Flon (WCHL)
St. Louis Blues Flin Flon Bombers
Gene Carr
 

5-foot-11, 185 pounds

Left-hand shot. Hockey News Pre-Draft Ranking: 7

Center

Pre-Draft Statistics

Year Team League GP G A TP PIM
1968-69 Kelowna BCJHL -- -- -- -- --
1969-70Flin Flon WCHL 60 22 51 73 118
1970-71 Flin Flon WCHL 62 36 68 104 150

Pre-Draft Notes

Also played left wing. ... Joined Kelowna (BCJHL) for 1967-68 season.
Canadian • Born September 17, 1951 in Nanaimo, British Columbia • Hometown: Nanaimo, B.C.

Career Vitals

First contract: July 30, 1971
Debut: October 9, 1971
(St. Louis vs. Chicago)
Final NHL game: April 12, 1979 (playoffs)
(Atlanta at Toronto)
Retired: 1979
Stanley Cup: Never won
Numbers worn: 15 (St. Louis); 20, 9 (N.Y. Rangers);
12 (Los Angeles); 28 (Pittsburgh);
14 (Atlanta)

Career NHL Statistics

Teams: St. Louis, N.Y. Rangers, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Atlanta
Years: 1971-1979. Playoffs: 1972-1979

Regular Season
  GP G A TP PIM
8 years 465 79 136 215 365
 
Stanley Cup Playoffs
GP G A TP PIM
6 years 35 5 8 13 66
 
Complete statistics available at NHL.com 

Pre-Draft Highlights

Named to BCJHL All-Star Second Team with Kelowna in 1968-69. ... Won WCHL Rookie of Year Award with Flin Flon in 1969-70. ... Named to WCHL All-Star First Team with Flin Flon in 1970-71.
 

Career Highlights

Also played left wing during his pro career. ... Had two goals and two assists in his first game with N.Y. Rangers on Nov. 21, 1971, vs. California at Madison Square Garden. Both goals came in the final period of a 12-1 rout. ... Scored his first NHL playoff goal on an end-to-end rush for N.Y. Rangers at 18:22 of the second period on April 23, 1972, vs. Chicago at Madison Square Garden, beating Hall of Fame goaltender Tony Esposto. The goal stretched the Rangers' lead to 5-2. ... Played on New York team that lost to Boston in 1972 Stanley Cup Finals. ... Recorded first NHL hat trick for N.Y. Rangers on Dec. 17, 1972, vs. Pittsburgh. ... Named Hockey News NHL East Conference Player of Week for week ending Dec. 17, 1972, after recording four goals and one assist over a four-game span. ... Became first Los Angeles Kings player to score a hat trick vs. Boston on March 9, 1974. ... Was rated as NHL's second-fastest skater behind Yvan Cournoyer in 1973-74. ... Befriended rock star Glenn Frey of The Eagles while he was playing for Los Angeles in the 1970s. Frey would occasionally wear Carr's No. 12 jersey onstage at concerts during this time. ... Named Pittsburgh Player of Month for December 1977 after scoring three goals and 12 points in 15-game span. ... Played for Team Canada squad that finished third at Moscow's Izvestia tournament in December 1978. He had been loaned to the team by the Atlanta organization during what would prove to be his final season. ... Inducted into the Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
 

Transaction History

Nov. 15, 1971 -- Traded by St. Louis with Jim Lorentz and Wayne Connelly to New York in exchange for Jack Egers, Andre Dupont, Mike Murphy, and future considerations. Feb. 15, 1974 -- Traded by N.Y. Rangers to Los Angeles in exchange for future considerations (1977 first-round pick, Ron Duguay). Nov. 2, 1977 -- Traded by Los Angeles with Dave Schultz and 1978 fourth-round pick (Shane Pearsall) to Pittsburgh in exchange for Syl Apps Jr. and Hartland Monahan. June 4, 1978 -- Signed three-year, $300,000 contract with Atlanta as an unrestricted free agent. June 13, 1979 -- Claimed by Winnipeg from Atlanta in NHL Expansion Draft.
 

Great Expectations

When Carr entered the NHL, he appeared to be one of the more marketable rookies the league had seen in some time. He had long, blond hair and skated like the wind. These factors led fans, the media, and even some of his own team executives to expect the world of him. They hype that surrounded Carr in his rookie year was astounding. St. Louis, which traded him to the New York Rangers after only 15 games with the Blues, talked about winning Stanley Cups with him. The Rangers called him a can't-miss superstar, and one of their own public-relations executives was quoted in The Hockey News saying as much after he scored four points in his first game with the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden. But the truth was Carr did not have the offensive talent or flair of a Guy Lafleur or Marcel Dionne, even though the people marketing him wanted the public to believe it. He was a remarkably fast skater, but he lacked scoring touch -- evidenced by many missed nets and hit goalposts. Going to New York put more pressure on Carr, since Rangers fans were known to be tough on their own players. When Carr failed to meet expectations, they routinely gave him mock cheers. When he was benched for an entire game, they chanted "We Want Carr" throughout the third period. Ironically, by the time he was just starting to show potential with his first NHL hat trick, he suffered the first major injury of his NHL career and never fully rebounded. The folllowing year, he was nearly killed in the first of two major car accidents during his playing days. One of the people who understood to Carr's story of having been overhyped was his close friend Glenn Frey of The Eagles, who based the song "New Kid in Town" on Carr. The song includes the lyrics "Great expectations, everybody's watching you" and "Everybody loves you, so don't let them down." Overblown expectations aside, Injuries also hindered Carr, and he never panned out to be anything like the player he was billed as until his seventh year in the NHL, when he had 54 points in a 70-game stint with Pittsburgh. When expectations were raised after that season -- he signed a big contract with Atlanta -- Carr again failed to live up to them, and he was out of the league 18 months after his best season. Years later, as a result of his injuries, he had to walk with a cane and eventually required a wheelchair by the time he was in his sixties. 

Two-Game Suspension

Carr was suspended for the first two games of 1975-76 season as a result of an incident that took place in Los Angeles' April 11, 1975, playoff game vs. Toronto. The game was the finale of a best-of-3 series the Leafs went on to win. Carr was ejected at 0:42 of the third period after a fight with Tiger Williams, who had taken a run at Kings goalie Rogie Vachon. As he and Williams headed to the penalty box, Carr spit on Williams -- drawing a game misconduct. Carr then shoved linesman Bob Hodges as he tried to goad Williams into another fight -- drawing a second game misconduct. Meanwhile, Los Angeles' Dave Hutchison initiated a stick-swinging incident with Williams that got them both ejected. Carr was initially fined $100. On May 21, NHL president Clarence Campbell added to the punishment by suspending Carr for two games to start the 1975-76 season. Hutchison and Williams each got five games for their actions.

Significant Injuries

Missed part of 1972-73 season with broken collarbone, an injury suffered when he was checked into the boards by Bob Plager during N.Y. Rangers' Dec. 20, 1972, game at St. Louis. He did not return until N.Y. Rangers' Feb. 18, 1973, game vs. N.Y. Islanders. ... Missed part of 1973-74 season with concussion, an injury suffered in taxicab accident in Boston following N.Y. Rangers' road game against the Bruins on Nov. 15, 1973. Carr and Rangers teammate Mike Murphy were taking a cab back to the hotel, when their vehicle was hit broadside at an intersection by a speeding police car. Murphy also suffered a concussion, along with strained ribs and whiplash, and the cab driver broke his neck. Carr did not return to action until N.Y. Rangers'  Dec. 5, 1973, game vs. St. Louis. He was rusty in three games, and the team sent him to the minor leagues for the first time in his career -- giving him a 10-game conditioning stint with Providence (AHL) on Dec. 19. ... Missed remainder of 1975-76 season and entire 1976 playoffs with ruptured spinal disc and resulting fluid that was pinching nerves in his left leg. He did not play any games from Jan. 1, 1976, and had season-ending back surgery on Feb. 23, 1976. ... Survived harrowing automobile accident prior to start of 1978-79 season when he crashed his new  Mercedes-Benz into a pole. The passenger side of the car was broken off from the car in the accident, but Carr, alone in the vehicle, was OK.

Life Outside the NHL

Full Name: Eugene William Carr
Nicknames: "Geno", "Buffalo Bill"

Other Post-Draft Teams: Providence (AHL); Tulsa (CHL)

Career Beyond Hockey: Returned to California after his retirement and became a teamster, working on production sets for Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment. He later worked for many years as a transportation coordinator a Universal Studios until retiring for good at age 53.

Family: Son of former NHL player Alfred "Red" Carr.

Miscellaneous:

Selected by Miami Screaming Eagless in 1972 WHA Draft, first WHA Draft, February 1972. Selected by Winnipeg Jets in 1973 WHA draft of established professional players. Grew up in British Columbia idolizing Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull. Played left wing on line with Walt Tkaczuk and Bill Fairbairn for N.Y. Rangers in 1971-72.
Was assigned to shadow Montreal star Yvan Cournoyer during 1972 playoffs. Widely regarded as one of the league's fastest skaters during his first few seasons in the NHL. Played on "Off Broadway" line with Mike Murphy and Tom Williams for L.A. in 1973-74. Was known as a free spirit with a penchant for writing poetry during his playing days.
Was co-owner of restaurant in hometown of Nanaimo, B.C., during his playing days. Retired after last two years of his contract were bought out by Winnipeg in fall of 1979. Has been an active member of the Los Angeles Kings Alumni Association since retirement. Was among 1971-72 Rangers players honored at team's annual golf outing in 2012.
SNAPSHOT '71
Total Selected: 117
Forwards: 63
Defense: 45
Goaltenders: 9
Major Junior: 84
College Players: 19
Canadian: 107
Euro-Canadian: 2
American: 8
European: 0
Reached NHL: 50
Won Stanley Cup: 5
Hall of Fame: 3
All-Star Game: 10
Year-end All-Star: 5
Olympians: 4
Picks Traded: 18


OTHERS DRAFTED IN 1971

About This SiteHelp Support HDCPrivacy PolicyContact InfoFeedback