Leafs win 2-1 last night in Florida, thanks almost entirely to Ed Belfour, who ties Terry Sawchuk with 447 wins, second on the all-time list of goaltending victories.
A comparison, quickly, on the top three in that category, and the differences are far less than you might expect with all the changes to the NHL since Sawchuk's heyday:
Patrick Roy 1,029 games, 551 wins, 2.54 GAA
Sawchuk 971 gms, 447 W, 2.51
Belfour 871 gms, 447 W, 2.45
Jacques Plante 837 gms, 437 W, 2.38
Tony Esposito 886 gms, 423 W, 2.92
Martin Brodeur 751 gms, 412 W, 2.19
Curtis Joseph 812 gms, 407 W, 2.74
Glenn Hall 906 gms, 407 W, 2.49
Grant Fuhr 868 gms, 403 W, 3.38
Mike Vernon 781 gms, 385 W, 2.97
It's in the much longer playoff season of the contemporary NHL where you really see differences:
Roy 247 gm, 151 W, 2.30 GAA
Sawchuk 106 gm, 54 W, 2.54 GAA
Belfour 161 gm, 88 W, 2.17 GAA
Plante 112 gm, 71 W, 2.14 GAA
Esposito 99 gm, 45 W, 3.07
|Terry Sawchuk, left, spends a little quality time with a couple of friends, Sid Abel and Stanley.|
Now to the links off last night's game. As Paul Hunter points out, the setting around the rink last night was the last place you'd expect hockey history to be made, and the name of Sawchuk to be invoked, "amid the strip malls in the urban sprawl of south Florida in a game that lacked much emotion or excitement."
My take was a little more succinct, but along the same lines: Empty seats, horrible ice, some truly bad penalty calls (including one Olle Jokinen dive that was straight out of the Jurgen Klinsmann stylebook) and that lame snarl over the house p.a. that punctuates every stoppage. This is Gary Bettman's NHL, not mine.
Here's Belfour on Sawchuk: "It's unbelievable to be in the same ballpark as him". And from Rosie DiManno's column, more Belfour: "He was a fierce competitor. He was very acrobatic out there and obviously very brave, not wearing a mask for most of his career. I'm just honoured to be tied with him."
Okay, so the quotage wasn't great. By Belfour's standards, it was Lincolnesque. And just like the Ol' Railsplitter, or Sawchuk in the crease, he's standing tall.
Speaking of down memory lane, here's a little something for ya: Joe Nieuwendyk at 39, skating out his sunset years.
Other stuff: the Sun's Al Strachan riffs on the Leafs' power play; And remember the Mike Danton story? The CBC looks at the case tomorrow night, including some taped conversations that'll make your head shake, reports Chris Zelkovich.
Riding in on Chris's rain-coattails this morning, as we do our morning look around the league for some good links; let's keep with that all-time goalie great theme.
If we pick up on that all-time wins list, there's Curtis Joseph with 407. Tied with Glenn Hall (for now). After a rough training camp, Cujo's quiet start has turned into a full-blown howl, and the calls of MVP are being heard. Last Saturday, Don Cherry called him the best goalie going right now and he might be right.
Joseph's got 11 wins for an inconsistent Coyotes team, to go with a tiny 2.12 GAA and .932 save %. Those are "old" NHL numbers. And they've got Cujo on the Olympic radar.
Wayne Gretzky says Cujo will get full Olympic consideration if he keeps it up, and he should. Gretzky always says he'll take the players who are playing best at the time (hello Mr. Pronger, Mr. Blake, Mr. Niedermayer -- Mr. McCabe is in the waiting room) so why not Joseph? (SW)