Sawchuk began Hall of Fame career playing every game first two season


Legendary hockey reporter Stan Fischler writes a weekly scrapbook for Fischler, known as “The Hockey Maven,” shares his humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.

This week Fischler features his popular “Picture is Worth 100 Words.” This 1951 photo, taken by freelance photographer Bob Popper, appeared in Fischler’s “Illustrated History of Hockey,” published by Warwick in 1993. It depicts the great Detroit Red Wings goalie Terry Sawchuk in his rookie season being challenged by Rangers forward Ed Kullman.

Terry Sawchuk began his Hall of Fame career in 1950-51, replacing Harry Lumley as goalie for the Detroit Red Wings. Lumley helped Detroit win the Stanley Cup in 1950, but Sawchuk played all 70 games the next season and won the Calder Trophy voted as NHL rookie of the year. In 1951-52, Sawchuk again played all 70 games, won the Vezina Trophy voted as the top goalie in the NHL and helped the Red Wings win the Cup.

Sawchuk played 21 NHL seasons with the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Red Wings. He won the Stanley Cup and Vezina Trophy each four times and is eighth all-time in the NHL with 445 wins and second with 103 shutouts. 

However, The Hockey News called him “the most troubled, most injured and most heroic goalie of all-time.” In 1970, Sawchuk was injured in an off-season scuffle and eventually died from a blood clot at the age of 40. Rangers general manager Emile Francis identified the body at a Manhattan morgue with these words, “That’s the greatest goalkeeper ever!”

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