Only a few goaltenders can be considered to be among the best of the best.
Hundreds of goalies have laced up the skates, put on the mask, pads and blocker, and had the courage to get in front of the net with pucks coming right at them, with the shots sometimes topping 100 mph. Equipment or not, that's no easy feat and isn't cut out for everyone.
Not only did each elite goalie make an impression, each left a legacy. Our game is so much better for them having played it. Each has raised the standard and helped change the perception about not only how critical but also how dominant goalies can be in the NHL.
Each of these goalies left his stamp on the game. Now six Canadian goalies will be honored in a collection of Great Canadian Goalie stamps, which debuts Oct. 1.
While I can't tell you who the six will be, I'll say this: Five of the six are in the Hall of Fame, four have won the Calder Trophy, and each has won the Stanley Cup (a combined 20 times). Not to mention two have won the Conn Smythe Trophy. That's pretty impressive, so clearly each is deserving of the honor.
The confidence that each of these men gave their respective teammates, coaches and fans while taking it away from the opposition is immeasurable. They were game-changers. They were Game Savers.
How dependable were they?
Give up a breakaway? They're there. Bad clearing attempt leading to a turnover? They're there. With the game on the line, you know they'd almost always deliver.
There is no more critical position than goaltending in all of sports. From youth hockey to weekend warriors to juniors to college to the bright lights of the NHL, goalies are the last line of defense and are leaned on more than any other position in any other team sport.
In addition to that fantastic news from Canada Post, I'll also be discussing goalies with a new topic in the "Game Savers" segment each week for the next 11 weeks. Ever wonder who I wish I played against, or which head-to-head goalie matchup that never occurred would intrigue me the most? I'll answer those questions and more in the coming weeks.
Many can be game-changers, but only the best of the best in net can be Game Savers.