A prototypical stay-at-home defenceman, Rouse was drafted in the 4th round, 80th overall, in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota North Stars. After playing parts of six season with the North Stars, Rouse was traded to the Washington Capitals at the trade deadline of the 1988–89 NHL season in the deal that also sent Dino Ciccarelli to the Capitals. His steady and tough style of defensive play helped guide the Capitals to their first semifinals appearance in 1990.
During the middle of the 1990–91 NHL season he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Peter Zezel in exchange for Al Iafrate. He joined the Detroit Red Wings in 1994 as a free agent, and helped the Red Wings in two of their Stanley Cup winning teams (1997 and 1998), one of which would involve topping one of his former clubs the Capitals. Rouse moved on to playing with the San Jose Sharks in 1998–99, and retired during the 1999–2000 season after the Sharks released him.
In 1,061 NHL games, Rouse had 37 goals, 181 assists, and 1,559 penalty minutes.
Bob Rouse is currently (2007–2008) an assistant coach with the Chilliwack Bruins, of the WHL.
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