Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Ain't This Just The Beez Knees?
Former Ranger goaltender, and my favourite player when I was a kid, John Vanbiesbrouck will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on October 12th.
Beezer, who retired in 2002, spent 20 seasons in the NHL, playing in 882 NHL games with the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. He finished his career with 40 career shutouts, a 2.98 goals-against average and the most wins ever by an American-born goaltender (More than Mike Richter - 374 vs. 301).
Vanbiesbrouck played in three NHL all-star games and helped lead the 1995-96 Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup final. He joined those Panthers as the first pick of their expansion draft after being left unprotected by Vancouver, from whom we got Doug Lidster. I fully admit being pissed off and hating Richter for prompting the trade of my favourite player from the Rangers.
Unfortunately Beezer's post-player (actually post-Panthers) career has ... frankly sucked. He went into coaching his former junior squad - the Soo St. Marie Greyhounds, only to get drunk with some of his players and call another player, Trevor Daley, a n----r. While his casual nature was endearing as a player, it was idiotic as a coach and when the slur came out, he lost his gig. He went on to become a color guy (pun intended) for some NHL games on Versus, but everyone knows my feelings on that network (even though I won a sweet prize package from them, nice guys those idiots are).
The U.S. Hall is sadly a virtual nonentity, with even some hockey fans not knowing it exists. And their web page doesn't help their cause. But, nontheless, its great to see the Beez honoured for a solid career.
He has been honoured before and I dug up this great picture of him with some other American greats - Michael Chang, Lance Armstrong and Wade Boggs! Real American heroes, lol.