Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Nick Ricci
In junior hockey Nick Ricci could be counted on taking a little bit of home with him. On road trips he would, apart from the suitcases, take a gallon of distilled Niagara Falls. As it turns out the water was to soak his contact lenses in but his teammates found the light teasing more interesting than the truth. " Tricky Nicky" Ricci kept his team loose enough to named an OHA all-star and to earn himself the 79th pick overall in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. The Pittsburgh Penguins chose the young netminder and brought him to their 1979 training camp. The Penguins chose to assign Ricci to Grand Rapids rather than return him to junior hockey. Nick saw regular playing time with the Owls and in early March played back-to-back games, a Friday night 5-5 tie with Flint and a Saturday evening 6-3 win over Milwaukee.

After the Milwaukee game Pittsburgh general manager Baz Bastien called to say Ricci was starting against the Red Wings on Sunday. The Pittsburgh defense let him down badly in the Detroit game by allowing 40 shots on Ricci. The acrobatic netminder allowed six goals in the loss but showed enough pluck to get the start against Philadelphia on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the Flyers edged the Penguins 4-3. On the next night Tricky Nicky claimed his first NHL win as fellow rookie Paul Marshall scored with 1:59 remaining in the game. The only goals Ricci allowed were against Marcel Dionne and Charlie Simmer. His second win came three nights later as Pittsburgh cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota North Stars.Nick Ricci was returned to Grand Rapids to finish the season.

Over the next three seasons he split time between the Penguins and their minor league affiliates. The call ups cut heavily into his playing time which saw him get into just 15 NHL games and 57 minor league contests over that time. By 1985 Nick Ricci was finished as a professional goaltender but was able to look back on his first week in the NHL with pride for a job well done.

REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1976-77 Toronto Red Wings ON-Jr.B
1976-77 Niagara Falls Flyers OMJHL 7 0 6.21
1977-78 Toronto Red Wings ON-Jr.B
1978-79 Niagara Falls Flyers OMJHL 52 3 3.49 20 1 2.66
1979-80 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 4 2 2 0 0 3.50
1979-80 Grand Rapids Owls IHL 29 1 4.28
1980-81 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 9 4 5 0 0 3.89
1980-81 Binghamton Whalers AHL 8 2 4 0 0 5.68
1981-82 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 3 0 3 0 0 5.25
1981-82 Erie Blades AHL 40 16 19 4 0 4.66
1982-83 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 3 1 2 0 0 6.53
1982-83 Baltimore Skipjacks AHL 9 3 3 2 0 5.06
1983-84 St. Catharines Saints AHL 15 3 4 1 0 4.72
1983-84 Muskegon Mohawks IHL 13 1 11 1 0 4.63
1984-85 Peoria Rivermen IHL 7 4 3 0 0 4.26
NHL Totals 19 7 12 0 0 4.36


Traded to Toronto by Pittsburgh with Pat Graham for Vincent Tremblay and Rocky Saganiuk, August 15, 1983.
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