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COACH KURT AT LARGE.....HHOF CLASS OF 2016.....T, 6/28/16
Posted on: 06-28-2016

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>>caption:  NEW HALL OF FAMER<<

    A former Red Wing goaltender
was named to the Hockey Hall of
Fame in Toronto on Monday, but
it wasn't Chris Osgood.

    Considered a borderline
HoFamer, Ozzie didn't get the call.

    Rogie Vachon did, one of just
three players and four members
of the Class of 2016.

    Frankly, I never considered
either Vachon or Osgood to be
elite HoFame type netminders.  

    At crunch time the Montreal Canadiens replaced Rogie with
untested rookie Ken Dryden (already a HoFamer) in their 1971
Stanley Cup run.

    Even though Osgood won two Stanley Cups as a starting goalie
and another as a back-up with Detroit, the Red Wings were always
trying to replace Ozzie, first with Mike Vernon and next with
Dominik Hasek (already a HoFamer).

    However, if you compare the numbers, if Vachon is a HoFamer,
Ozzie deserves to be one too:

VACHON.....Reg-Season:  795-GP, 355-W, 291-L, 127-T, 51-SHO, 2.99-GAA
                 Playoffs:  48-GP, 23-W, 23-L, 2-SHO, 2.77-GAA

OSGOOD.....Reg-Season:  744-GP, 401-W, 216-L, 95-T, 50-SHO, 2.49-GAA
                 Playoffs:  129-GP, 74-W, 49-L, 15-SHO, 2.09-GAA  

    If the Red Wings hadn't lost the last two games of the 2009 Stanley
Cup Finals to Pittsburgh, Osgood would have won the Conn Smythe Trophy
as playoff MVP and a third S-Cup would have cemented his HoFame status.  

    Coming up to the NHL with Montreal in 1967, Vachon backstopped the
Habs into the Stanley Cup Finals but Les Canadiens lost the Cup to Toronto
in six games.  Vachon was back-up to Gump Worsley when Montreal won
the S-Cup in 1968.  In 1969 Worsley and Vachon split netminder duties
in the playoffs with Rogatien going 7-1 in eight games and the Gumper 5-1
in seven outings for another Canadiens Cup win.  The next time Montreal
won the Stanley Cup in 1971 Vachon watched as Dryden starred.

    Although the majority of his career was spent with the Los Angeles
Kings, Vachon's finest moment came in the inaugural Canada Cup Tournament
in 1976 when he played in every game and backstopped the host nation to
the championship.  

    By the time "Rogie the Goalie" became a Red Wing his career was on the
downside and his time with a bad Detroit club was a disaster.

    Signed by Red Wings GM Ted Lindsay to a free agent contract on 8/8/1978,
Vachon almost cost Detroit its top star.  Under the rules of that time, Red
Wings CEN Dale McCourt was awarded to the Kings as compensation.  Lindsay
threatened litigation and appealed the decision.  Detroit retained McCourt,
then over a year later on 8/22/1979 the Wings had to settle the issue by
trading CEN Andre St. Laurent and first round draft selections in both 1980
& 1981 to Los Angeles.  That 1980 pick turned out to be future Red Wing and
future HoFame DEF Larry Murphy.  

    In his two Red Wing seasons behind a porous defense, Vachon was a
combined 30-57-&-19 with four shutouts (all in his second season) and
GAAs of 3.90 & 3.61 for a pair of non-playoff teams.

    Soon-to-be-fired Lindsay did Vachon a favor by trading him to Boston
on 7/15/1980 and he played his last two NHL seasons for the Bruins, mostly
in a backup role.

    Don't get me wrong.  I'm happy for Vachon's pending HHOF induction.
I got along with him quite well during his Detroit tenure and somewhere
in a drawer in my office is a picture of Rogie and me at the Olympia Stadium
retirement luncheon for Red Wings goaltender Ed Giacomin (another HoFamer).

    HHOF TRIVIA ANSWER:  When he's inducted this coming November, Vachon
will become just the second HHOF member who's last name begins with
the letter V.  The other is Georges Vezina, the goaltender for which the
best goalie (GAA) trophy is named.  Vachon shared the Vezina Trophy
with Montreal teammate Worsley (another HHOFamer) in 1967-68.

    HHOF TRIVIA ANSWER 2:  Vachon never allowed a penalty shot goal
in his 17 season NHL career.

    HHOF TRIVIA ANSWER 3:  When Lindsay signed Vachon to a free
agent contract in 1978, Rogie became the first $1-million Red Wing.



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