Much is being made of Roberto Luongo’s three consecutive shutouts and the fact that he will be aiming for his fourth consecutive shutout tonight against Colorado. However, the NHL record is five and it’s held by the Sharks very own Brian Boucher.
Back in 2003-04, Boucher was playing for the Phoenix Coyotes and he went on a tear that would make a career for most NHL hopefuls. His total shutout streak spanned seven different contests and lasted 332:01, a modern-day NHL record.
While a talented netminder who was drafted in the first round by Philadelphia, Boucher only finished that season with a 10-19-10 mark on a Phoenix franchise that was not exactly a championship team.
“At that period of time, what we were going through was pretty amazing,” said Boucher. “We didn’t have a Stanley Cup winning team. The guys were just in a zone. I was at the mercy of how others were playing and they were great.”
It may be Boucher’s shutout record, but he almost exclusively refers to “we” when talking about the record being set.
The beginning of the streak was rather simple as Boucher closed out an overtime game.
“It started in Nashville with part of a period and overtime,” said Boucher. “It ended seven minutes into the last game.”
It wasn’t until he was more than halfway toward the record that Boucher began contemplating the run he was on.
“I think after the third game, someone mentioned the modern day record,” said Boucher. “The only time I felt we might be able to get it was after the fourth game.”
In a streak that extends over that long of a time period, a lot of luck and talent must be invested.
“In a game against Minnesota, we had probably four or five minutes left in the second and the record could have been broken in the third,” said Boucher. “I think it was Gaborik who cut across the slot and shot back against the grain high to the glove side. I got a glove on it. There were a few posts, I think one in Washington hit it and went across the goal line.”
A quiet danger to the streak was the annual rookie dinner which tends to be more than just a simple entrée and dessert.
“It was one of the lamest rookie dinners I’ve been at because of the streak,” laughed Boucher.
There were countless close calls during the romp to the record. The Coyotes players were well aware that they were on a historic march, but when Boucher was around, the topic did not come up often.
“I don’t think they talked to me,” said Boucher. “After, they all thanked God it was over. They didn’t want to be the guy taking the penalty or making the turnover that ended it.”
As the streak grew, so did the attention that began to surround Boucher and his teammates.
“All of a sudden, everyone was jumping in to see how we were doing it,” said Boucher.
When the streak finally concluded it was definitely a relief for Boucher as well.
“I was happy it was over,” said Boucher, who definitely recalls how he was finally beaten. “It was a power play goal. The shot hit my defenseman in the chest and it went high to my glove side instead of to my blocker. It ended up being a 1-1 tie.”
When looking back at the accomplishment, Boucher has a grasp on how impressive the run was.
“I’m proud of it,” said Boucher. “I said jokingly that Luongo will have a lot of records and he should leave that one for me. Seriously, I believe records are made to be broken. If it can be done, it will be a guy like him.”
At some point Boucher will take a retrospective look at the shutout record.
“I’ve never watched the games,” said Boucher. “I should watch it to see it all happen. It all happened in a span of 12 days.”
There is a good reason Boucher hasn’t watched the games.
“I don’t have any of the videos,” said Boucher.
Boucher will continue manning the Sharks nets while Evgeni Nabokov is out. Boucher had a strong shutout run this season with the Sharks when he recorded two goose eggs to start his year and held Dallas scoreless for two periods in his third start.
“I felt like something was going on then,” said Boucher. “They got a good bounce off the boards. You need a lot of luck in a streak.”
With the record in tact, Boucher would rather save some luck for a Stanley Cup run instead of another shutout mark.
BABY PICKUPDan Boyle
was back at practice on Wednesday, following the birth of his daughter. He was still wearing the I.D. bracelet which all new parents must wear while in the hospital. The family was expected to be released from the hospital and to be able to return home on Wednesday.
Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan gave Devin Setoguchi and Rob Blake the morning off, but both are expected to dress against Calgary.
“Devin has a bit of the flu bug, but he’ll be in tomorrow,” said McLellan. “We gave Rob a day off.”
Jonathan Cheechoo did skate with his teammates and things are optimistic for Thursday.
“Cheech skated today and did well,” said McLellan. “We’ll see how he is in the morning.”
McLellan also noted that Nabokov remained off the ice for practice and that Boucher would start on Thursday.
ANOTHER GOALIE MARKTyson Sexsmith
not only has the Western Hockey League record for shutouts in a career with 22, but also the Canadian Hockey League record, the CHL reported today.
When contacted at the CHL Head Office in Scarborough, ONT, Paul Krotz, CHL Director of Media/Information Services, confirmed the record.
“The CHL recognizes that Tyson Sexsmith
is the CHL record holder based on the fact that the OHL and QMJHL do not track that record,” says Krotz. “When Tyson set the WHL record last week, I went into the OHL and QMJHL record books to see if there were any prominent goaltenders from either league that had a shot at 22 shutouts or more. It is safe to say that unless a player comes out of the woodwork with verifiable information from the 50’s or 60’s, that no player in the modern era of major junior hockey has the number of shutouts that Tyson Sexsmith
Sexsmith, 19, set the CHL record for shutouts last week in Prince George, shutting out the Cougars 5-0. He recorded his 22nd shutout in his 137th career WHL regular season game. Sexsmith eclipses the record of Brian Bridges from the Seattle Thunderbirds and Leland Irving of the Everett Silvertips. Sexsmith tied the record in Game 131, 64 fewer games than it took Irving and 82 games faster than Bridges.
Sexsmith was drafted by San Jose in the 3rd round, 91st overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He still has one more year of junior eligibility.
“Tyson continues to provide us with great goaltending on most nights,” said Giants Head Coach Don Hay. “His consistency in the net gives our team a great chance to compete every game.”
The Sharks will host Calgary Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion and tickets can be found at www.ticketmaster.com and at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office. The game can be found on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.