Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ron Tugnutt Autographed Card

Seeing as my hometown Montréal Canadiens' front office now is identical to that of the Ottawa Senators' of the late 1990s, I thought it'd be appropriate to post a Ron Tugnutt card, their best goalie of that era.

Many of his critics at the time said he was nothing more than a lucky #2 goalie, that he didn't have the size or skill-set to be a steady #1, that he couldn't lead a team; on bad teams, he was said to be benefiting from having so many shots against and that he couldn't hold it together on a better team, when relied upon, when it counted; on good teams, they said the good statistics weren't of his own making, that he was merely enjoying the benefits of playing behind star players. Remind you of anyone?

Here are a few of his accomplishments, though:

- modern-day record of most shots stopped in a non-loss (70 of 73 shots in a 3-3- tie to the Boston Bruins in what Ray Bourque called ''the most unbelievable display of goaltending I've ever seen'')
- holds three teams' records for most saves in a game (Québec Nordiques, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Ottawa Senators)
- holds two different teams' records for lowest goals-against averages (Ottawa and Columbus Blue Jackets)
- not just an All Star game but an actual First All Star Team selection at the end of the 1998-99 season (in addition to having been an OHL All Star in juniors)
- 10th all-time lowest goals-against record in NHL history, and lowest in modern times
- tied with a certain Dominik Hasek for Ottawa's highest save-percentage
- holds team record for highest playoffs save percentage for two different teams (Ottawa and Pittsburgh Penguins) and is third all-time for the Edmonton Oilers
- NHL record holder for most wins on an expansion team (Columbus), with 22
- has a division named after him in the FCHL
- in the 1998 World Championships, he posted a 4-3 record, 2.01 GAA and .915%

It could be argued that if Sens' general manager Pierre Gauthier and head coach Jacques Martin didn't prefer small, skilled and fearful forwards to guys with a bit of grit, they may not have fallen to the in-your-face, forechecking experts and borderline-goons Toronto Maple Leafs for four straight seasons, and Tugnutt may have had a chance to demonstrate the extent of his talent on hockey's ultimate stage - the Stanley Cup Finals. Which doesn't make me feel any better about the Habs' chances this year, mind you.

Tugnutt ended up playing for 8 different NHL teams; that's at least 8 GMs and coaches who thought he could be useful to their team. And most of them were right. The jerseys he looked like a fit in, though, are both Nordiques' jerseys (blue and white), and the black Senators one - three jerseys he just belonged in.

This card (#27), part of the regular 1990-91 Upper Deck set (Upper Deck's first hockey set), was autographed in black sharpie three years ago and sent back to me by mail; I had sent it to him via Hockey Night In Canada, where he briefly served as colour commentator. He is now the goaltending coach of the OHL Oshawa Generals.

1 comment:

  1. hey buddy, I got busy and forgot about the denis card, its in the mail Monday am. Tugnutt, very quiet guy, I met him twice with the juniors in S'toon. I knew how to get him to chat, the 73 shot game worked twice. nice guy,,,