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
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.
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?