Friday Four: Hasek, Fuhr among favorite goalies
NHL Network's Weekes also fan of Roy, Richter growing upby Kevin Weekes @KevinWeekes / NHL Network Analyst
With the NHL season having been paused on March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, Kevin Weekes will continue his Friday Four. The former goalie and current NHL Network analyst will be blogging about four of his favorite or memorable items on a certain topic. Today, his four favorite goalies growing up.
Hasek did what we thought was humanly impossible, using remarkable creativity and flexibility to post a .922 save percentage and 2.20 goals-against average in 16 NHL seasons. The way that he played, Hasek impacted the game the way Michael Jordan impacted basketball. His level of performance and dominance from the goalie position changed the game with the way he made saves, mostly unorthodox.
Hasek, who was 389-223-13 with 82 ties in 735 NHL games, was a six-time NHL First All-Star Team selection, a six-time Vezina Trophy winner (tied for the second-most all time), a two-time Hart Trophy winner as League MVP and a two-time Stanley Cup champion. He also was selected as one of the NHL's 100 Greatest Players and I loved watching him growing up.
Video: Memories: Hasek turns away 70 shots by the Devils
There were a few reasons why I looked up to Grant Fuhr. First, being a black goalie was important for me because it showed that my dream of making the NHL could come true. Second, he was a lefty; you didn't see that many guys who used the glove on their right hand, so that was interesting. He was the most exciting goalie for me and had the best glove hand of all time, I think. Fuhr was on all those great Oilers teams, winning the Stanley Cup five times with them but often getting overshadowed by guys like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and the rest of the Oilers' offense.
The Hall of Famer spent 19 seasons in the NHL, had 403 wins and won the Vezina Trophy in 1988. His calm demeanor also was something rarely seen by a goalie, and his ability to not let one bad goal frustrate him is why he was so successful in the NHL and, like Hasek, was voted one of the NHL's 100 Greatest Players.
The bigger the game, the better Roy played. That's evident by the fact that he not only won the Stanley Cup four times (twice each with the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche), but is the only player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP three times.
The three-time Vezina winner had 13 seasons with at least 30 wins, and his 551 NHL wins was a record until it was later broken by Martin Brodeur. His 151 playoff wins are the most all-time, 38 more than second place (Brodeur, 113). He's one of the NHL's 100 Greatest Players and is one of the few goalies who is considered among the best of all time.
Video: Memories: Patrick Roy captures his 89th playoff win
When Richter was healthy he was so dynamic and so explosive and powerful and so fun to watch. I remember his first start with the Rangers, against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1989 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and then watching him become a legend with them, spending his entire 14-season NHL career there.
He had 301 regular-season wins and added 41 more in the playoffs, including 16 during the spring of 1994 when he backstopped the Rangers to their first championship in 54 years. During that run Richter elevated his game and had a 2.07 goals-against average, a .921 save percentage and four shutouts.
Growing up in Toronto and seeing Felix Potvin burst onto the scene with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1991 was special for me. I also loved his goalie gear with the Felix the Cat mask. Ironically, when I was traded by the Vancouver Canucks to the New York Islanders in 1999, Potvin was part of the package going to Vancouver, so that was kind of cool.
I also have to mention Vladislav Tretiak. He never played in the NHL but is one of the greatest goalies of all time and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989. He won three Olympic gold medals, 10 World Championships and a Canada Cup, as well numerous contributions with CSKA Moscow in the Soviet Union.