Jim Korn

A huge 6'4" defenseman who was moved up to forward at various times in his career, Jim Korn played nearly 600 NHL games for five teams.

Jim was a very physical player and earned his NHL paycheck by being just that. He was very willing to drop the gloves. Some nights he could play a very effective role by punishing teams physically in terms of body checks and clearing out the front of the net, but more often than not such play would result in skirmishes. Tangible skills were not readily evident with Jim. He had decent speed for a giant of the ice, but no agility. He couldn't do much with the puck other than dump it out of the zone, and any goal he scored would be by banging in front of the net, or the occasional shot from the point that the goalie couldn't see due to traffic in front of him.

Born in Hopkins, Minnesota, Jim played three years at Providence College where he became familiar with future NHL executive Lou Lamariello. Drafted by Detroit in 1977, by his final year of college in 1979 he was an ECAC all star and represented the United States in the World Championships.

Jim played nearly three years with the Red Wings beginning in 1979-80 but disappointed with his progress. He would be traded to arch rival Toronto Maple Leafs in March 1982.

Jim's days in Toronto were a little more successful if not more volatile. He cemented his reputation as one of the league's legitimate heavyweights, recording well over 200 penalty minutes in each of his full seasons in Toronto. Jim spent 3 seasons in Toronto, and split much of that time between the defense and left wing position. As a left winger he was better able to fulfill the traditional tough guy role, and even chipped in with an impressive 12 goal, 26 point season in 1983-84.

Disaster struck in 1984-85. He continued to play well and even was seeing some powerplay time before he was felled with the injury bug. Injuries would plague Korn throughout the entire 1985-86 season as well. A serious knee injury suffered in training camp 1985 cost Jim the entire season.

Jim's injured knee certainly wouldn't have helped his already below average skating ability feared the Leafs, so they traded him to Calgary who then swapped him to Buffalo just days before the 1986-87 season. Jim put in a yeoman's effort in his lone season in Buffalo. He returned to the blueline and though he appeared in just 52 games was physical presence and steady contributor. He also earned rave reviews for his leadership on and off the ice.

The Sabres moved the defenseman to New Jersey to begin the 1987-88 season. The Sabres acquired a skilled forward in Jan Ludvig, but he would spend two years on the injury list in Buffalo. Korn, reunited with Lou Lamariello, would go on to enjoy 2 and a half strong seasons in New Jersey. Not only was he able to lighten the rough-housing roles of players like Ken Daneyko, Pat Verbeek and Kirk Muller, but he chipped in with a career best season in 1988-89 when he tallied 15 goals and 31 points.

1989-90 proved to be the last year for Korn. Injuries kept him out of much of the season, and a late season trade saw him go to Calgary. In those days the Flames and Oilers always stocked up on tough guys at the trading deadline for the playoff wars. Jim would play in 4 of the Flames 6 playoff games, and scored a goal. It wasn't enough though as the defending Stanley Cup champions were ousted from the playoffs in the first round.

Jim retired at the end of the year. The veteran of 597 games earned over 1800 minutes in the penalty box, but also chipped in nicely with 66 goals and 188 points. He is well respected among peers of his era.


Count,  9:32 AM  

Here's something that tells you a lot about Korn. When he was in a fight with Islanders' Clark Gillies, Leaf players on the bench were quietly rooting for Gillies. Korn was considered completely self-absorbed.

Anonymous,  6:31 PM  

As a long-time Red Wings fan, I remember Korn very well. He wasn't a gifted player but he was big and strong and always gave 100 percent. When paired with Reed Larson, those two were a real force back on the D.

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