Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Gaetan Duchesne, the Washington Capitals player who set out to prove desire and determination could be more important than being drafted high, died yesterday in his native Quebec City. He was 44.

Duchesne had reportedly been working out when he suffered a heart attack.

Duchesne was taken with the 152nd pick in the 1981 draft by the Caps. He played in 1,028 games in the NHL and finished with 179 goals and 433 points for five teams. He was traded to Quebec in 1987 as a part of the deal that brought Dale Hunter to Washington.

“The Caps are terribly saddened to hear of Gaetan’s passing,” team president Dick Patrick said. “Gator was a wonderful person and a popular player among his teammates, the organization and the fans. From his role on our first playoff teams until just recently when he joined us for an alumni game here, we will always have fond memories of him.”

The left wing was a penalty-killing specialist who talked non-stop and drove opponents to distraction. He had the habit of knowing instinctively which way to turn while trying to get into position to defend, a knack that earned him respect and a plus-68 defensive rating during his 451 games with Washington. He stayed active in pro and amateur hockey after his retirement.

One of his sons, Jeremy, a goalie, was drafted by Philadelphia in 2005.

Dave Fay

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