Thursday, October 20, 2011

Michel Belhumeur

October 23rd, 1974. Washington goaltender Michel Belhumeur stops not one but two(!) penalty shots in the same game. He stopped both of Chicago's Jim Pappin and Stan Mikita. Yet despite the two big saves, somehow the Capitals lost that game 3-2 to Chicago.

Washington lost a lot of games that year. 67 of them in total. They won just 8, and tied 5. They were one of the worst teams in NHL history. They were so bad that when the season mercifully ended the players celebrated by hoisting an aluminum garbage can as if it was the Stanley Cup.

Washington, an expansion franchise, had hope Belhumeur could be their go-to goalie in their inaugural season. He had previously wallowed in the Philadelphia Flyers organization, buried in the minor leagues while Bernie Parent was leading the Broad Street Bullies to the Stanley Cup. Belhumeur toiled in the minor leagues mostly, playing for the Quebec Aces and Richmond Robins.

The Caps grabbed Belhumeur for the 1974-75 season, but let's just say it did not work out too well. Belhumeur's personal record was 0-24-3 in 35 games - a NHL record for most games played in season without a victory. He had a GAA of bloated 5.36. Ron Low, the other Washington goalie, won all 8 games for the Caps, but his record of 8-36-2 is nearly as horrific. But don't blame the puck stoppers. The goalies had no chance with that poor Washington team in front of them.

Belhumeur returned the next season for 7 more games (0-5-1) before disappearing to the minor leagues until he retired in 1979.

By the way, Belhumeur did get to taste victory in the National Hockey League. He did pick up 9 wins in 23 games with the Flyers in 1972-73.

Interestingly, before Belhumeur left Philadelphia he actually sued the Flyers. He was a minor league call up for the 1974 playoffs. His role was a practice/emergency goalie, but he never dressed for a game even as back up. Still, Belhumeur felt he deserved to get paid for his contributions. The issue was settled out of court.

No comments:

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP