Al Jensen, who has served as the head goalie scout the past 14 years at NHL Central Scouting, was honored as one the top 40 players in the history of the Washington Capitals during a commercial break midway through the first period Saturday at Verizon Center.
Jensen was introduced to the fans in the company of his daughters, Leah and Shannon.
"Al Jensen started with NHL Central Scouting in 2001," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "Al is responsible to identify, evaluate and rank goaltenders each year for the NHL Draft. Throughout the NHL, the scouting fraternity and amongst his Central Scouting colleagues, Al's opinions on goaltenders is well respected and often sought after. He is very thorough, conscientious and always an ultimate professional in performing his unique and valuable role with Central Scouting for the benefit of the 30 NHL clubs."
Al Jensen, who has served as the head goalie scout the past 14 years at NHL Central Scouting, was honored as one the top 40 players in the history of the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Saturday. (Photo: Steve Babineau/NHLI)
The Capitals acquired Jensen in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings in July 1981 for forward Mark Lofthouse. He helped the Capitals to their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1982-83 when he finished 22-12 with six ties. The next season Jensen was co-winner of the William M. Jennings Trophy with teammate Pat Riggin.
"It was an amazing weekend," Jensen told NHL.com. "It was so nice of them to bring us down this past weekend. Washington is such a classy organization and they made my two girls, Leah and Shannon, and myself feel so very welcome and comfortable. They all treated us so well there. I can't say enough how well they treated us."
Jensen's most dominant season was 1985-86, when he finished 28-9 with three ties, a 3.18 goals-against average and .890 save percentage. After totaling 94 career wins and eight shutouts in five-plus seasons with the Capitals, Jensen was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Garry Galley in 1986-87.
"You're only as good as your last shot and that will never change," Jensen said. "It's all about wins and being successful, and you have to push yourself. If you want to be successful in life as a goalie you have to work on it and you can't be satisfied and get into a comfort zone. You want to be better today than you were yesterday; that's how I always felt."
Since leaving the game, Jensen has been an authority on goalies as a full-time scout for the League.
"There was a time where goalies were mostly trying to block, and now it's about good positioning and being athletic, reacting to shots instead of just letting the puck hit you all the time," he said. "There are still goalies out there that do that, but I think NHL teams are realizing that the goalies who have had success in the NHL are the ones who not only have good technique but are able to react to shots and have a good feel for the game."