If I asked you who was the greatest goalie of all-time - who would you choose?
Brodeur? Roy? Plante? Hasek? Dryden?
How many of you would choose Sawchuk?
Terry Sawchuk was one of the most ferocious and successful goalies of his era and is a strong argument of one of the greatest of all-time.
His name has popped back into the headlines recently as his shutout record of 103 (one thought to be untouchable) is soon to be surpassed by Martin Brodeur.
Sawchuk played 971 regular season games in a 14 year NHL career. Often injured, he battled through and gained the respect of his peers.
He played in an era where you didn't wear a mask... and it cost him. To the tune of some 600 stitches. His aggressive style and crouching stance dared shooters to fire the puck at him. He started wearing a mask in 1963 (a full 4 years after Plante donned his) and it without a doubt kept the stitch count down and lengthened his career.
A Life magazine article in 1966 called "Hockey Goalies: Their Bludgeoned Faces and Bodies" took one of Sawchuk's photos and embellished the stitches to make the picture more effective in demonstrating the punishment a goalie takes.
This is a "slightly bigger than a hockey card" sized card that Time Life released in 1985. It's a fantastic photo that screams of an era gone by.
To me, the photo represents the goalie of that era - highly underpaid, under-appreciated and willing to do anything to win.
Terry Sawchuk was a four-time Stanley Cup champion, is in the Hockey Hall Of Fame and is ranked number 9 on the Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
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