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Former defenseman Bryan ‘Bugsy’ Watson dies at 78

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Former NHL defenseman Bryan “Bugsy” Watson has died. He was 78.

According to both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, Watson died Thursday. No cause of death was revealed.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Bryan ‘Bugsy’ Watson, who passed away yesterday at the age of 78,” the Capitals said on Twitter. “Bugsy played 155 games for the Caps between 1976-79 and had a profound impact on the organization and city. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

Watson played in 877 NHL regular-season games over 16 seasons from 1963-79 and had 17 goals and 135 assists (152 points). He played for the Montreal Canadiens (1963-65), Detroit Red Wings (1965-67), Montreal Canadiens (1967-68), Oakland Seals (1968-69), Pittsburgh (1969-74), St. Louis Blues (1974), Detroit Red Wings (1974-76) and Washington (1976-79).

Watson led the NHL with 212 penalty minutes with the Penguins in 1971-72 and racked up 2,214 in his career.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Capitals, check out #ALLCAPS rumors, rankings, and news here.

Watson finished his career by playing 21 games for the Cincinnati Stingers of the World Hockey Association in 1979.

Watson also briefly coached the Edmonton Oilers at the start of the 1980-81 campaign. He was demoted to assistant coach after the team started with a 4-9-5 record despite having Wayne Gretzky on the roster.

–Field Level Media