Russ Courtnall For John Kordic Was Not a Good Trade

LeafsI like Twitter. I can go weeks without checking in with Facebook, but I keep close tabs on my Twitter account. Today, thanks to Twitter, I finally visited Down Goes Brown's blog, one year old today.

Ya gotta love a blogger with the handle "Down Goes Brown". What Leaf fan doesn't smile when they hear that reference? It was Sylvain Lefebvre vs Rob Brown back in 1992 and Joe Bowen and Gord Stellick were calling the game for The Fan 1430. "Down goes Brown! Down goes Brown!"

Besides the awesome handle, Down Goes Brown writes about the good ol' days of Maple Leafs hockey. Lots of 80s and early 90s stuff that I remember fondly. One article in particular that piqued my interest was Russ Courtnall For John Kordic Was a Good Trade.

During some lean years in the 80s, we Leaf fans found delight with The Hound Line. The Hound Line was Wendel Clark, Russ Courtnall and Gary Leeman, all former members of the Notre Dame Hounds. Russ Courtnall was a speedy little player who always showed a great deal of promise. I remember when he visited our nearby Ward and Patch to sign autographs. He was one of the few skilled players we had, and the aforementioned Gord Stellick traded him to Montreal for pugilist John Kordic.

The Kordic-Courtnall trade was the perfect example of what was wrong with the Leafs during the Harold Ballard years. Don't get me wrong, Kordic had his share of fans, but he was an enforcer and nothing more. The front page of my old scrapbook, shared here, shows the Torono Star articles I cut out following his death in 1992 from heart failure and a collapsed lung.

Down Goes Brown deserves credit for trying to argue our trade of Courtnall for Kordic was a good one, but he's wrong. Even if you agree with his questionable arguments, that the Leafs had to get much tougher and Courtnall wasn't that good, Courtnall for Kordic was the worst trade ever.

Here's Bowen's memorable "Down Goes Brown" call.

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Comments (10 - click here to join in!)

James Edgar

The morning show hockey insiders bust sellicks ass about that trade all the time. especially damien cox. I think it sucks too. No argument from me there.

February 8, 2009 @ 7:41 PM

Toronto Mike

Stellick swears Ballard forced him to make that trade.

February 8, 2009 @ 7:49 PM

Down Goes Brown

Well, you're wrong a couple of ways here.

You're wrong about the Kordic/Courtnall trade in general (like most people, you're guilty of badly overestimating Courtnall's skill level). But I'll give you a pass there, since everyone else seems to be on your side, including Stellick.

But even if you don't buy my argument, there's no way it was the worst trade ever. That honor will always belong to the Tom Kurvers-for-a-first that Floyd Smith pulled off. That pick ended up being Niedermayer, and would have been Lindros if the Leafs hadn't gone into panic mode and dealt multiple picks and prospects for veterans to avoid finishing last.

February 8, 2009 @ 8:55 PM

James Edgar

I will say I added downgoesbrown to my favourites and will be reading that blog regularly from now on. I like people with crazy opinions.

February 9, 2009 @ 9:18 AM


I remember the hound line...i'm Wendel, i'm Russ, i'm Gary and we're the hounds!!! made from some exciting hockey back then

February 9, 2009 @ 12:48 PM

Toronto Mike

They had that theme song that was a reworking of Elvis Presley's Hound Dog.

I still sing it periodically.

February 9, 2009 @ 1:01 PM


Wasn't there an aspect to the trade where the GM "had" to move Courtnall? A little like the Gilmour to Calgary trade? I appreciate that the trade attempted to a need to provide some team toughness, but still can't agree with the argument that trading a 60-70 point man straight up for a second-rate tough guy who plays 5-6 shifts a game is a good move.

March 1, 2009 @ 2:12 PM


I hear this BS all the time, Courtnall was an overated very soft player.

The year after the Leafs aquired Kordic they led the league in penalty minutes and finished the season at the .500 mark for the first time in 10 years. Coincidence?

Opposing teams weren't as excited about playing games at MLG and embarrassing the Leafs as they once were.

John Kordic had something to do with that.

April 19, 2009 @ 7:41 PM


Now you have #2 draft pick for Kessel

March 8, 2011 @ 4:55 PM

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