Then and Now: Daniel Lacroix

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After spending time with the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins in his first three years in the NHL, Daniel Lacroix became a Philadelphia Flyer in the summer of 1996. The pugilist experienced all of 188 regular season games in the NHL, 130 of which came with the Orange and Black in 1996-1997 and 1997-1998.

Lacroix totaled all of five points in his time with the Rangers and Bruins before he recorded eight in 74 games for Philly in 1996-1997. The enforcer registered seven goals and one helper, as he also posted a rare two-point game on October 27th, 1996 in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers.

As expected from the left winger, Lacroix compiled 163 PIMs during the 1996-1997 regular season. The forward fought several notable players during the campaign including Donald Brashear, Terry Carkner, Wendel Clark, Ed Jovanovski, Wade Belak, and Jeff Beukeboom.

Lacroix also got his first taste of the NHL postseason in 1997, as he took part in 12 of the 19 playoffs games the Flyers endured on their way to getting swept in the Stanley Cup Finals by the Detroit Red Wings. The skater had an assist and 12 PIMs during the playoffs, as he took part in one game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the ECQF, all five games against the Buffalo Sabres in the ECSF, four games against the New York Rangers in the ECF, and two games against the Red Wings.

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In 1997-1998 Lacroix saw his totals for games played, goals, points, and PIMs all drop. Along with his goal and four assists in 56 tilts, Lacroix registered 135 PIMs. The forward knocked out Chris Tamer and also dropped the gloves with Randy McKay, Tie Domi, P.J. Stock, Sheldon Souray, and Peter Worrell.

Also during his second year with the Flyers, Lacroix was involved in a ridiculous brawl with Andrei Nazarov and Darcy Tucker in Philly’s 6-1 beating over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In early October of 1998, the Flyers moved Lacroix to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Valeri Zelepukin. Lacroix suited up for all of four games for the Oilers, as he failed to record a single point and posted 13 PIMs.

Lacroix spent most of the 1998-1999 season with the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL, where he produced 13 goals in a 22-point campaign. The forward also posted 260 PIMs thanks to 13 scraps during the regular season. He also suited up in all 11 of the Bulldogs’ playoff games during the 1999 postseason.

The fighting forward’s final NHL game came in 1999-2000, as he suited as a New York Islander. His lone game as an Isle, and lone game in 1999-2000, was an 8-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on March 24th.

Lacroix spent the majority of the 1999-2000 season with the Chicago Wolves in the IHL, where he posted three goals and 10 helpers in 61 contests. He also had 194 PIMs with the help of 12 fighting majors.

After spending a season with the Newcastle Jesters in Britain’s BISL, Lacroix returned to North America for the 2001-2002 campaign. He suited up for 10 games with the Granby Blitz in the QSPHL, which is now the LNAH, before he joined a club in the ECHL.

The violent forward joined a team called the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies, who are now the Stockton Thunder. He had five goals and 13 assists in 31 contests, as well as 166 PIMs before he helped the Boardwalk Bullies reach the Northern Conference Finals. Atlantic City lost to the Dayton Bombers in four games during a best-of-five series.

Lacroix also participated in a pair of games for the Rochester Americans in the AHL, where he had a goal and 18 PIMs before he left the ice and jumped behind the bench.

The former Flyer’s first four years as a coach came with the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL. In his first year, 2002-2003, Lacroix helped coach Corey Crawford, Yevgeni Artyukhin, and Steve Bernier. Moncton made the 2003 postseason, but was knocked out in the first round by the Quebec Remparts.

In his second year as an assistant coach for Moncton, Lacroix helped the squad reach the QMJHL Finals before the playoffs’ leading scorer Max Talbot helped the Gatineau Olympiques win it all in 2004.

Lacroix’s third season behind the Wildcats’ bench led to a brief stint as the team’s head coach, as Christian Larue was relieved of his duties during the middle of the season. In a year where Moncton had Oskars Bartulis, Jason Demers, and Brad Marchand, the Wildcats beat the Drummondville Voltigeurs before falling to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the second round.

In 2005-2006, Lacroix returned to his role as Moncton’s assistant coach, as Ted Nolan took over as head coach. The Wildcats had Nicola Riopel, Andrew MacDonald, Keith Yandle, Philippe Dupuis, and Jerome Samson join the squad in a season where the team won the QMJHL title over the Quebec Remparts.

After the Wildcats won it all, Lacroix followed Nolan to the New York Islanders in the 2006-2007 season. The Isles were an eight-seed in the 2007 NHL postseason and were eliminated in the first round by the top-seeded Buffalo Sabres.

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After the Islanders failed to make the playoffs in 2008 and 2009, Lacroix left for an assistant job with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2009-2010.

Lacroix helped the Bulldogs reach the Western Conference Finals before they lost to the Texas Stars in seven games. The former Flyer left the AHL and joined another NHL team, as he followed the Bulldogs’ head coach, Guy Boucher, to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After sitting behind Tampa Bay’s bench in 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2013, Lacroix has left the Lightning to become an assistant on Alain Vigneault’s staff with the New York Rangers.