Review of Bernie Parent – Unmasked

I’ve had the opportunity to interview Bernie Parent a couple times, and one thing that’s clear about the famous goalie is that he is very much a “glass-is-half-full” type of guy.  In his new book, Bernie Parent – Unmasked, that personality jumps off the pages!

In the early and mid-1970’s, Parent was the best goalie in the world.  He led the Philadelphia Flyers to their only two Stanley Cup championships in franchise history, and in doing so, is the only player in the history of the NHL to win consecutive Conn Smythe trophies as playoff MVP.  In Unmasked you’ll read teammates like Bobby Clarke say the Flyers “couldn’t have won the Stanley Cup without Bernie in goal”.  And you’ll read Parent himself talk about his performance not being possible without the outstanding play of his teammate and the defensive system of his coach.  As I read the book there was not a single moment I had the feeling Parent was being boastful.  If you’ve ever had the chance to talk to him you’ll know this is his story, unfiltered and honest.

When I asked Bernie about the genesis of Unmasked he said it started not just from nostalgia but being able to hold onto those memories.  “A lot has been said about the Broad Street Bullies, the good ole days of the Flyers and once in a while you will see a documentary about us, but then it escapes your mind after a week or so you know, but writing this story and talking about it from the beginning of ‘67 on to the Stanley Cup is refreshing and it is going back in times but enjoying the flavor of what went on in Philadelphia with the hockey team.”

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2010 Goalie Free Agents: Winners and Losers

Nabokov found himself in the wrong spotlight after not having a chair when the music stopped.

Evgeni Nabokov $24M/4yr in KHL – Loser? I will admit I’m a Nabby fan so I hate applying that label to him but despite signing a $6M/year deal he’s out of the NHL and may never be back.  Did agent Don Meehan give him the right advice given the glut of goalies available and many GM’s publicly stating they don’t want a high-paid goalie?  Is that too easy of a question in hindsight?  Nabokov’s comment at a Russian press conference “priority number one right now is to play out this year and then we’ll see…” suggests his KHL deal includes an escape clause if the Flyers a desperate NHL team comes calling.  When the Sharks let Nabokov walk I thought he would have fared better if he’d won a cup in San Jose, but then look what happened to this year’s Cup-winning goalie.   Looking back it seems like taking one year and a big pay cut from the Sharks would have been the right move… that is if the Sharks even offered that.

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San Jose Sharks Hold Evgeni Nabokov Equipment Sale

Last week the San Jose Sharks held their annual equipment sale. I was curious to see what would become of Evgeni Nabokov’s gear so I went to take a look…

Upon walking in the door the first item on display was a game-worn Nabokov mask. Pricetag? $5,000.00. Yes, the decimal is in the correct spot.

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A Goalie’s View of the Vancouver Olympics

After five hectic, glorious days at the Vancouver Winter Olympics I thought I’d share some images of the trip as seen through the eyes of a goalie.

There were one or two of these banners around town!

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It Doesn’t Matter Who’s In Net for Canada

The sky is falling today in Canada after the men’s team lost to the USA in the final round robin game of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.  It’s bad enough that Canada finished sixth in the preliminary standings.  It’s worse that the quarter final opponent will now be Russia.  It’s apocalyptic that Martin Brodeur lost the game.  Just about every goalie debate pre-Olympics dictated that Brodeur was the starter, Roberto Luongo the backup and Marc-Andre Fleury the third man out.  But today Twitter is abuzz with condemnation of Brodeur.

Luongo was the respectful backup in Torino but now a nation looks to him for hockey redemption.

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Jean-Sébastien Giguère Comes to Toronto for a Resurrection

After watching with disdain the way fans of the Montreal Canadiens have anointed and massacred Carey Price over the past two years I now find myself at the precipice of hypocrisy as I anticipate the arrival of of Jean-Sébastien Giguère in Toronto.  After being traded today for Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake I expect to see nothing less than the rebirth of Giguère.

It may not be the equivalent of Patrick Roy going to Colorado but make no mistake, J-S Giguère going to Toronto is huge for the Leafs and huge in the goalie world. This is a 12yr old Giguère with his idol Roy.

Others can debate cap hits and cash outlays until they’re (Leaf) blue in the face… none of that matters in this case.  How many Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup winners were on the Leafs yesterday?  None.  Today they not only have one in Giguère but they also have former Norris Trophy finalist Dion Phaneuf in front of him.  The Leaf universe has changed overnight and despite GM Brian Burke talking about Phaneuf being the centerpiece of the Flames deal, it’s Giguère who’s actually poised to become the face of the Leafs.

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Goalie Rosters for 2010 Olympic Hockey Teams

You can’t tell the players without a program!  For some countries competing in the Olympic hockey tournament this will quite literally be true.  So here it is, your viewing guide to Olympic goalies, 2010 edition.  Listed by groups because, let’s face it, once group play is done you won’t hear about some of these teams/players for another four years.

Group A

Canada:  It is often said that Canada could send a “B” team to the Olympics and have it compete for a medal.  That would certainly be true from a goaltending perspective as the talent pool is deep.  Martin Brodeur (New Jersey NHL) is having a record breaking season and has his Devils on top of the standings, so given his past Olympic credentials and success it’s almost impossible to put anyone else in the number one spot.  Roberto Luongo (Vancouver NHL) and Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh NHL) should both get a chance to play a round-robin game but one of them would have to steal a win and Brodeur would have to play horribly to see anyone but Marty starting the quarter-final match.

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