The man who changed the face of goaltending forever was born on this day in 1940. Plus, Tristan Jarry makes his case even more strongly to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Jarry Cannot Be Contained
Jarry and the Penguins have been a frequent feature in the THW Goalie News in recent days. Just three days ago, Jarry got a shutout against the red-hot St. Louis Blues. Then, on Friday night, he did it again against the Arizona Coyotes, spoiling Phil Kessel’s homecoming in the process.
In this effort, Jarry turned aside 33 shots from the Coyotes, including three from Kessel himself and an impressive 10 while Arizona was on the power play. Darcy Kuemper was strong enough in the opposing net, stopping 24-of-25 shots in the low-scoring affair. But Evgeni Malkin’s goal off of an absurd ricochet behind the net gave the Penguins the lead, and Brandon Tanev’s empty-netter in the final seconds sealed Pittsburgh’s 2-0 victory.
Now with back-to-back shutouts, Jarry is improving the case that he should be the Penguins’ number one goalie by the day. Matt Murray, the official starter, has posted poor statistics, including an .897 save percentage (SV%). Meanwhile, Jarry continues to perform at the top of his game, and even his teammates are beginning to recognize his contributions, giving him the firefighter’s helmet they use as a player of the game award Friday night.
In recent issues, we have discussed the growing controversy in Pittsburgh, which has included some calls for the team to dispatch with Murray. Jarry is continuing to make general manager Jim Rutherford’s job difficult. Despite his history, and the fact that he helped bring two Stanley Cups to the city of Pittsburgh, Murray clearly isn’t the best goaltender in the Steel City right now.
Happy Birthday, Cheesie!
The date Dec. 7, as most Americans know, lives in infamy for the Pearl Harbor attacks that took place in 1941. But one year before those attacks, a legendary hockey player was born: future Boston Bruins goaltender Gerry “Cheesie” Cheevers.
Cheevers played just two games for the Toronto Maple Leafs in his debut 1961-62 season before moving onto the team with which he is synonymous. He played there from 1965-1972, then played four seasons for the Cleveland Crusaders of the WHA, before returning for a second long stint with the Bruins. He helped Boston win a Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972, and won the Ben Hatskin Trophy (the WHA’s equivalent of the Vezina Trophy) in the 1972-73 season. But that’s not what he is most famous for.
In the picture above, Cheevers wears the thing he is most associated with: his goalie mask. Tired of the plain white design, Cheevers had the brilliant idea to ask his trainer to paint stitches on his mask for every puck that hit his face. With that simple act, he gave rise to the evolution of goalie mask design that’s brought us to the intricate works of art we see today. Who knows what the goalie mask would look like without Cheevers’ initial idea?
“Cheesie” played in 416 NHL games, won 226 of them, and brought home those two Stanley Cups. He also holds the NHL record for the longest undefeated streak, at a whopping 32 games! For that, and for his famous mask, he earned a Hall of Fame induction in 1985. He turns 79 today. Happy birthday, Mr. Cheevers!
Fun at Mrazek’s Expense
The game on Thursday night between the San Jose Sharks and the Carolina Hurricanes got heated, as many fans are aware. After a fracas behind the net, Joe Thornton threw a punch at the mask of Hurricanes’ goaltender Petr Mrázek. Whatever your opinion on Thornton’s actions, many believe the netminder went down, shall we say, a little too easily. And according to a photo that circulated from Hurricanes’ practice on Friday, it looks like opposing fans may not be the only ones who agree.
Someone in the Hurricanes’ organization had a little fun, drawing a black outline with the number “34” (Mrázek’s sweater number) on the ice where his body fell after the altercation. The Hurricanes — who won the game and celebrated with a conga line Storm Surge — continue to be the most fun-loving, if divisive, team in the NHL.
Stephen Ground is an author with The Hockey Writers and is co-host of the Two Guys No Cup Podcast. He enjoys studying the numbers and providing fresh looks at various stories.