Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Goalies: Profiles, Memorabilia, Essays and Stats

Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Goalies: Profiles, Memorabilia, Essays and Stats

Paperback(Second Edition)

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Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Goalies: Profiles, Memorabilia, Essays and Stats by Steve Cameron

A celebration of the players who have excelled in the most demanding position in all of sports.

Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Goalies features the most distinguished and influential men and women who ever patrolled the crease, exploring the careers of such stars as George Hainsworth, Georges Vezina, Johnny Bower, Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden, Tony Esposito and Patrick Roy.

In this comprehensive illustrated reference:

  • Chris McDonell profiles all 33 goaltenders enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • Bob Duff explores the pioneers and trailblazers of goaltending, including the stars of international and women's hockey.
  • Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated analyzes the goaltender from the other players' perspective.

  • Brian Costello of The Hockey News chronicles the history of the NHL's two goaltending-specific trophies (the Vezina and William Jennings), as well as the goaltenders who have taken home other significant NHL awards, such as the Conn Smyth MVP trophy for the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Hart trophy for MVP of the league.
  • The Hockey Hall of Fame's impressive goaltending artifacts are presented in a photo collection of stunning memorabilia.
  • Bob Duff uncovers the history, lore and evolution of goalie equipment, including gloves, chest protectors, pads and, most significantly, the mask.
  • Former NHL goaltender Brian Hayward opines on what makes hockey goaltenders so unique.

The Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Goalies is the official Hockey Hall of Fame book on goalies and will be the definitive book on the topic.

The Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum in Toronto, Ontario, honors and preserves the history of ice hockey and those who have made outstanding contributions and achievements in the development of the game.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781770852860
Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date: 11/04/2014
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 1,199,151
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Steve Cameron is an editor, hockey player and fan who has created over 15 sports titles. He also wrote the Canadian Book of Beer. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Table of Contents



    Pioneer Puckstoppers
    Hardware Heroes
    Original Six Stars
    Gearing Up
    Up Close and Personal
    Expansion and Modern Era Greats
    Game Changers
    Crazy Like A Fox



by Michael Farber

IN THE 1970s, a lion-masked kook of a goaltender named Gilles Gratton haunted the National Hockey League and World Hockey Association. I've chosen "haunted" because Gratton, better known as "The Count," professed a belief in reincarnation. In one of his previous lives, Gratton insisted, he had been a 16th-century Spanish nobleman.

The Count laid it all out during the 1976-77 season in a joint question-and-answer session with the New York Rangers and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden for the enlightenment of major corporate sponsors. To the astonishment of emcee Marv Albert and the assorted mucky-mucks, Gratton explained that in the 16th century, while pulling Iberian royalty duty, he amused himself by lining commoners up against a wall and stoning them.

"God has taken his revenge," he told the crowd, in apparent seriousness. "Now I am a goaltender." Alas,
Gratton quit after one game in the minors the following season — his abrupt retirement marking the first day of the rest of his lives.

Many of the stereotypes about goalies have changed since The Count's comet briefly arced over the professional hockey landscape. Today's generation of netminders isn't your father's: The modern goalie is no longer the ex-fat kid who was stuck in net because he was not fit enough to play anywhere else; nor is he the guy who practically needed cheese cutters to skate. He also hasn't learned to play the position by thumbing through a dog-eared copy of Jacques Plante's book, On Goaltending.

The modern goalie is, instead, a well-conditioned athlete who is often one of the strongest skaters on the team, and certainly one of the most rigorously coached players. In fact, goal is now the most coached position in hockey; and there are, by last check, no left-wing coaches or summer hockey schools dedicated to right wingers.

But, as much as the conventional wisdom about the position has evolved in the past 30 years, one thing hasn't. Refracted through the prism of all those "part-timers" (the forwards and defensemen who talk big about "playing 60 minutes" but who spend less than half of the game on the ice), goalies are still regarded with a degree of caution and sometimes amusement. They remain "The Count's sons," at least spiritually. Yet this unenlightened view is tempered with a degree of respect because even fourth-line grinders know goaltending is 70 percent of hockey, unless, of course, your team isn't getting any, in which case it's 100 percent. Says Nashville Predators center, Derek Roy, "I definitely will never say anything bad about goalies because mostly they're covering up for our mistakes."

Brian Hayward shared the William M. Jennings Trophy three times as Patrick Roy's partner with the Montreal Canadiens in the late
1980s, which makes him a competent authority on the position and the seeming oddball comportment it propagates. He thinks skaters view goalies suspiciously out of ignorance — the root of most prejudice. Hayward estimates 90 percent of NHL players have zero grasp of the position, which is why a goalie might be screaming about crashing the opposing net or getting in on the fore check, but no forward will ever offer his goalie even a sliver of advice.

Maybe forwards are better seen than heard, because the goaltending position, dripping with nuance, truly is beyond their grasp. Ex-NHL goalie Glenn Healy, now, like Hayward, a TV analyst, recalls studying videotape of everything from a shooter's angle on tip-ins to the color of tape on the stick knob in case a player had recently changed it (an indication of a slump). "My guess is Tie Domi might have known whether a [goalie caught] right-handed or left-handed," Healy says, "but that's about it."

In a typical 25-save night, a goalie might make 100 distinct movements: preparing for blocked shots, faked shots, shots that miss the net, angled passes that require an explosive burst across the crease, not to mention all the puck-handling and puck-moving responsibilities that come with being the last line of defense. The iconic image of Ken Dryden leaning on his goal stick and gazing godlike out at the play might have been applicable to the Canadiens of the late 1970s — dynastic teams that provided goalies with their healthy share of May tag repairman moments — but he was an anomaly in the hyperventilating world of modern hockey. Suggests Sabres' goalie coach Jim Corsi, "There has to be an outlet for all the pent-up energy, for the frenetic nature of the job. Some goalies adopt weird ways. Some are just crazy."

That word, again, in its pejorative splendor. Even a former goaltender like Corsi, deeply embedded in the fraternity, can wallow in the stereotype: goalies are "flakes," or someone "is normal — for a goalie." This is shameless profiling, one rooted in an absolute historical truth.

Tending a net prior to November 1, 1959, when Plante defied Canadiens' coach Toe Blake and wore a crude mask in a game, meant a man had to have been a few strands shy of a comb-over to willingly stand between the pipes. For those seeking a lobotomy, common sense suggested it should have been performed by something other than a streaking vulcanized-rubber disk one inch thick and three inches in diameter.

Glenn Hall, whose brilliant NHL career began in 1952-53, was said to have hated training camp. The reason: training camp is where all the slapshots were.

Crazy? This is the zenith of rationality.

But even the widespread adoption of the mask in the decade following Plante's rebellion, which was supposed to eliminate the fear factor that induced Plante to knit and Hall to toss his lunch before every game, was hardly a panacea for the brave souls who played goal. While Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita were curving the blades of their sticks into missile launchers, the men charged with foiling them were practically naked. Columbus Blue Jackets president John Davidson, who had shared the New York goaltending job with The Count, remembers playing back-to-back games, with 50-plus shots in each, against the Flyers in the late 1970s. After the second match, the Rangers' physician pulled Davidson aside and asked him to report to the medical room at 10 a.m. the next day. The doctor had noticed the deep bruises that had turned Davidson's torso into a painted sunset of purples and yellows and wanted to run tests for leukemia. The goalie bridled. He held up his chest protector and shin guards and said no, he didn't need any blood work, but he sure could use some protective gear that didn't look like prizes out of a Cracker Jack box.

Thirty years on, goalie equipment has caught up and kept pace with the technological revolution in sticks. Now a goalie is as likely to bruise his ego as injure anything else. Sure, perils persist — Al MacInnis slappers got Jocelyn Thibault (broken finger), Chris Osgood (broken hand) and Rich Parent (bruised testicle) in one season — but goalies have lost the terror. They are allowed to be normal now. . . and not even "normal — for a goalie."

"My cousin Taylor and I are the goalies among a lot of forwards and defensemen in our family, and they still hit us with the obvious clichés," says Vancouver's Ryan Miller, the leading American-born goalie from the distinguished Michigan State University hockey clan. "I realize goalies got the reputation back in the day because they were the ones willing to take a puck off the face. . . to take some stitches for the team. They probably did have to have a screw loose. But you look around the rinks now,
around the dressing rooms, and guys pretty much blend. I don't think they can give us a hard time about being different."

But goalies will always be "different." Even a cursory glance can confirm that. They sport different jerseys, wield a different stick, wear specialized skates and get to tug on a mask that might be a museum-caliber work of art. Everything about the goalie screams look at me. Even dull-witted enforcers can't miss the egocentric nature of the position, which today is more likel

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