December 23, 2009
The New Jersey Devils are off until after Christmas, which means Martin Brodeur(notes) will be quite fat and presumably still happy about his breaking Terry Sawchuk's NHL career shutout record with No. 104 on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
But he doesn't have the "ultimate" shutout record. At least not yet.
Nice work from author Eric Zweig on The Hockey News site, as he points out that the "major league" hockey shutout mark has only been tied rather than broken by Brodeur:
George Hainsworth recorded 94 shutouts in just 465 games during 11 NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs between 1926 and 1937. Hainsworth now ranks third in shutouts in NHL history, but he also recorded 10 shutouts in three seasons with the Saskatoon Crescents of the Western (Canada) League between 1923 and 1926, giving him a total of 104 as well.
The NHL doesn't acknowledge WCHL numbers, but it was definitely a pro league; please recall that the Victoria Cougars won the Stanley Cup in 1925, becoming the last non-NHL team to do so and the last historic moment from a Cougar until the release of
"The Graduate" in 1967.
What makes Zweig's column go beyond simple hockey trivia are the parallels between the two players. Consider:
• Neither of them was considered flashy in the least. Actual Hainsworth quote: "I'm sorry I can't put on a show like some of the other goaltenders."
• The NHL changed the rules in the 1920s to juice offense, legalizing the forward pass. Brodeur, the legalization of the two-line pass and the dopey trapezoid behind the net can relate.
• Hainsworth had to wait until George Vezina died before he could win something called "The Vezina Trophy." Brodeur had to wait until Dominik Hasek(notes) and Patrick Roy were done before winning his.
So the drive for 105 continues for Marty. Kudos to the Puck Daddy reader who made the "104 donuts" crack in today's chat, because that needs to be a T-shirt.