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Craig Simpson (born February 15, 1967) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey winger who played 10 seasons in the National Hockey League for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers and the Buffalo Sabres. He is currently a broadcaster, involved in Hockey Night in Canada telecasts.

Playing career Edit

Simpson played collegiate hockey for the Michigan State Spartans of the NCAA from 1983–84 to 1984–85.

He was drafted in the first round, second overall, by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. Midway through his third NHL season, he was traded as part of a package to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Paul Coffey. Simpson blossomed in Edmonton, playing on a line with future Hall of Famers Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson. He scored a career high 56 regular season goals (combined between Pittsburgh and Edmonton) during the 1987–88 season, and 13 more in the playoffs. He won two Stanley Cups with the Oilers, in 1988 and 1990. He would be dealt to the Buffalo Sabres prior to the 1993-94 season.

Simpson suffered a serious back injury in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 1, 1993. Though he continued to play, the injury would eventually end his playing career at age 28. He retired as a player in 1996, finishing with 497 career NHL points. He holds the record for best career shooting percentage (minimum 800 shots) with 23.66%. He also holds the record for best career playoff shooting percentage (minimum 80 shots) with 33.65%, well ahead of second place Ken Linseman (23.21%).

Broadcasting career Edit

After retiring as a player, Simpson joined FOX television as a hockey analyst. In 1998, Simpson joined CTV Sportsnet as a colour commentator for Edmonton Oilers regional games, as well as the network's weekly national broadcasts. He left in 2003 to become an assistant coach with the Oilers. After the 2006–07 season, he resigned from his position with the club to take a job as a colour commentator for CBC Television, alongside former Sportsnet partner Jim Hughson. Beginning in the 2008-09 season, Hughson and Simpson are the lead Hockey Night in Canada broadcast team and call the Stanley Cup Finals. When Rogers Media gained the NHL rights in 2014, the pair shifted to the company, with Hughson and Simpson re-joining Sportsnet.

Simpson is also the former colour commentator for the EA Sports NHL franchise, along with play-by-play partner Hughson. Simpson also appears in TV commercials and print ads for Carpet Superstores of Edmonton.

On March 22, 2008, Hughson and Simpson called the NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado Avalanche at 1 p.m. MDT. They then boarded a chartered plane to Calgary where the pair then announced the third game of the Hockey Night in Canada triple-header between the Calgary Flames and the Minnesota Wild at 8 p.m. MDT. This is believed to be a first in the National Hockey League.

Battle of the Blades Edit

In 2009, Simpson participated in the first season of CBC's "Battle of the Blades", a made-for-TV figure-skating competition that paired eight former NHL stars with female figure skaters. Simpson and his partner, Jamie Salé, won the competition on Monday November 16, 2009. On November 7, 2013, Simpson was inducted into the London (Ontario) Sports Hall of Fame.

Personal life Edit

Simpson is the son of Canadian Olympic athlete Marion Simpson. He is also the younger brother of former CHL Player of the Year Dave Simpson and younger brother of Rogers Sportsnet reporter Christine Simpson.

On June 21, 2012, Simpson married Canadian figure skater Jamie Salé, whom he had "known for years from the Edmonton skating scene" before they were paired as partners in late 2009 for the first season of the CBC show Battle of the Blades, which they won. Simpson and Salé have one daughter, Samantha Rae Simpson, born on July 7, 2013.Through this marriage, Simpson is also a stepfather to Salé's son Jesse Pelletier (born September 30, 2007), from her first marriage to skating partner David Pelletier.[5] He also has three children from a previous marriage,[6] including son Dillon, who was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 4th round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and is currently a defenseman for the Bakersfield Condors.

Awards and honours Edit

Award Year
All-CCHA First Team 1984-85 [10]
AHCA West First-Team All-American 1984–85 [11]
CCHA All-Tournament Team 1985 [12]
Stanley Cup Edmonton Oilers 1988
Stanley Cup Edmonton Oilers 1990

Career statistics Edit

      Regular season    Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1983–84 Michigan State Spartans NCAA 46 14 43 57 38
1984–85 Michigan State Spartans NCAA 42 31 53 84 33
1985–86 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 76 11 17 28 49
1986–87 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 72 26 25 51 34
1987–88 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 21 13 13 26 34
1987–88 Edmonton Oilers* NHL 59 43 21 64 43 19 13 6 19 26
1988–89 Edmonton Oilers NHL 66 35 41 76 80 7 2 0 2 10
1989–90 Edmonton Oilers* NHL 80 29 32 61 180 22 16 15 31 8
1990–91 Edmonton Oilers NHL 75 30 27 57 66 18 5 11 16 12
1991–92 Edmonton Oilers NHL 79 24 37 61 80 1 0 0 0 0
1992–93 Edmonton Oilers NHL 60 24 22 46 36
1993–94 Buffalo Sabres NHL 22 8 8 16 8
1994–95 Buffalo Sabres NHL 24 4 7 11 26
NHL totals 634 247 250 497 659 67 36 32 68 56

*Stanley Cup champion

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