A Goalie’s View of the Vancouver Olympics

After five hectic, glorious days at the Vancouver Winter Olympics I thought I’d share some images of the trip as seen through the eyes of a goalie.

There were one or two of these banners around town!

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It Doesn’t Matter Who’s In Net for Canada

The sky is falling today in Canada after the men’s team lost to the USA in the final round robin game of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.  It’s bad enough that Canada finished sixth in the preliminary standings.  It’s worse that the quarter final opponent will now be Russia.  It’s apocalyptic that Martin Brodeur lost the game.  Just about every goalie debate pre-Olympics dictated that Brodeur was the starter, Roberto Luongo the backup and Marc-Andre Fleury the third man out.  But today Twitter is abuzz with condemnation of Brodeur.

Luongo was the respectful backup in Torino but now a nation looks to him for hockey redemption.

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Jean-Sébastien Giguère Comes to Toronto for a Resurrection

After watching with disdain the way fans of the Montreal Canadiens have anointed and massacred Carey Price over the past two years I now find myself at the precipice of hypocrisy as I anticipate the arrival of of Jean-Sébastien Giguère in Toronto.  After being traded today for Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake I expect to see nothing less than the rebirth of Giguère.

It may not be the equivalent of Patrick Roy going to Colorado but make no mistake, J-S Giguère going to Toronto is huge for the Leafs and huge in the goalie world. This is a 12yr old Giguère with his idol Roy.

Others can debate cap hits and cash outlays until they’re (Leaf) blue in the face… none of that matters in this case.  How many Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup winners were on the Leafs yesterday?  None.  Today they not only have one in Giguère but they also have former Norris Trophy finalist Dion Phaneuf in front of him.  The Leaf universe has changed overnight and despite GM Brian Burke talking about Phaneuf being the centerpiece of the Flames deal, it’s Giguère who’s actually poised to become the face of the Leafs. Continue reading

Goalie Rosters for 2010 Olympic Hockey Teams

You can’t tell the players without a program!  For some countries competing in the Olympic hockey tournament this will quite literally be true.  So here it is, your viewing guide to Olympic goalies, 2010 edition.  Listed by groups because, let’s face it, once group play is done you won’t hear about some of these teams/players for another four years.

Group A

Canada:  It is often said that Canada could send a “B” team to the Olympics and have it compete for a medal.  That would certainly be true from a goaltending perspective as the talent pool is deep.  Martin Brodeur (New Jersey NHL) is having a record breaking season and has his Devils on top of the standings, so given his past Olympic credentials and success it’s almost impossible to put anyone else in the number one spot.  Roberto Luongo (Vancouver NHL) and Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh NHL) should both get a chance to play a round-robin game but one of them would have to steal a win and Brodeur would have to play horribly to see anyone but Marty starting the quarter-final match. Continue reading

Martin Brodeur: Best Goalie Ever (and statistical proof to back it up)

Want to start an argument amongst goalies (or non-goalies for that matter)?  Just ask them “who is the best NHL goalie ever?”

Click for video of Martin Brodeur talking about breaking Terry Sawchuk's shutout record

Regardless of era the statistics point to one man:  Martin Brodeur.  You can talk about the neutral zone trap all you want but every goalie knows a shutout is as fragile as pond ice in March… one small slip up and it’s over.   A bouncing puck, a deflection off your own player, a shot off the inside of the post instead of the outside (or in my case, once shooting the puck into my own net… don’t ask) and a shutout vaporizes in an instant.  Just mention the word “shutout” when a goalie is close to recording one and see what kind of reaction you get!  And now Brodeur has more of them than any other goalie in history. Continue reading

Goalie Tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame

I recently took a tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and since I was pressed for time I decided to make it a goalie-specific tour.  If you haven’t made it to the HHOF then I strongly recommend you scrounge up your pennies for a trip to Toronto to see this shrine to everything hockey.  I’d say go see a Leafs game while you’re in town but why ruin a good vacation?

The HHOF is divided into sections that culminate with the grand trophy room.  A thorough tour should take at least two hours if you really want to soak in the experience.  My goalie tour is divided into sections as well but they don’t necessarily correspond to the groupings you’ll see there.  And remember, what you see in the HHOF is only a small fraction of the Hall’s collections so some of what you see here won’t be on display when you visit.   On the other hand you’ll probably see things I didn’t.

Masks – Grand Entrance

This will be the best part of the tour for any goalie… and technically it’s free!  The grand entrance to the HHOF takes you past a number of display cases showing off the best and most important goalie masks in NHL history.  This display is the best way for NHL goalies to make it to the HHOF without having a Hall of Fame career!

You have to walk past this display, as well as a pretty impressive puck collection, to get to the ticket cashier so if you really wanted to you could see the masks without paying a dime.  This is like having the Mona Lisa on display in the entrance to the Louvre!

Not the original mask worn by Jacques Plante but the one he considered his favorite. An upgrade from his original solid fiberglass mask, this model allowed much-needed ventilation. He continued to build upon the pretzel concept in the years to come.

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Goalie Tour of Montreal Canadiens’ Centennial Exhibit in Hockey Hall of Fame

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first game played by the Montreal Canadiens, just one month after the 50th anniversary of Canadiens’ goalie Jacques Plante first wearing a goalie mask.  I recently took a tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto where they had set up a beautiful tribute to the Habs’ centennial.  My attention, of course, was centered on the goalies featured in the exhibit.  In case you didn’t get a chance to visit the HHOF before the exhibit ended you can at least view the important parts here.

What a great way to enter the Habs Centennial exhibit! If you watched the Habs during the 1970's the only image more lasting than Ken Drydens's famous pose is that of the Cup being lifted again and again. And then again and again and again and again. What's the opening bid for this statue when the exhibit ends?

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