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BASN’S POPSICLE BROTHERS – NHL 2016 -17, Vol III
BASN’S POPSICLE BROS – NHL 2016, VOL.III
By Michael-Louis Ingram, Editor – in – Chief
PHILADELPHIA (BASN) We’ve always heard the phrase ‘defense wins championships’ - and all too often that’s forgotten until Money Time – when it matters most.
A hot goalie, locked in and focused (throw in a little luck) is the difference between a championship ring…and a ring around the Jacuzzi!
For our Goal Brothers, four have taken their skills to the Stanley Cup final, and three have sipped from Lord Stanley’s Cup. That said, it’s hard enough to make it to a National Hockey League roster. This Popsicle Brothers piece will recognize those whose work between the pipes got them to the big club…
Goal Brothers Grindin’
Here’s our salute to the Goalies who persevered as they made, stayed – and played their way into the NHL:
10. Tyrone Garner/Gerald Coleman
Garner made his way after a significant stint with the Ontario Hockey League with the Oshawa Generals. Drafted by the New York Islanders in 1996, Garner got the call and started three games with Calgary. While the NHL did not go beyond that time frame, Garner made a career for himself in North America and abroad until retiring in 2009…
Coleman’s stint was even shorter subbing in Tampa Bay – but his 2004 season at the OHL’s London Knights raised some eyebrows with his 32-2 -2 record and a 1.70 goals per game average.
Coleman would finish his career playing in North America with the Alaska Aces in 2014.
9. Joaquin Gage
Gage had three shots with Edmonton over an eighteen year career which started out with the Western Hockey League. Compiling a 4-12-1 regular season record as a starter, Gage would later be part of a Sports Illustrated piece where the 2000-01 Oilers were featured for having the most Black players on that year’s roster (Gage, Sean Brown, Mike Grier, Anson Carter and Georges Laraque)…
8. Chris Beckford – Tseu: Drafted by St. Louis in 2003, Beckford – Tseu played in only one game as the Blues’ net minder in 2008 after a trade from Los Angeles; he would finish up playing in the ECHL and American Hockey League.
7. Malcolm Subban
This young man got his first taste of NHL action in the 2014 -15 season for Boston. Making this years roster, Subban will likely spend time in Providence (the American Hockey League affiliate). Earlier this year, Subban took a puck to the throat, sidelining him for about three months. Subban’s pedigree will have to survive the rough patches, and we look forward to seeing how his career unfolds with interest…
6. Christopher Gibson
Gibson’s impact was felt by the New York Islanders, who acquired him via trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Born in Finland (where they have seemingly replaced Quebec as the hot spot for budding goalie talent), Gibson has made his brief time in the big league count as his lone victory (a 4-3 victory over Washington) clinched a spot for Islanders going into last year’s playoffs…
5. Fred Brathwaite
Coming into to the NHL as an undrafted talent, Brathwaite made the Calgary Flames roster in the 1993 – 4 season after slinging in the OHL a couple seasons. Brathwaite would put together a respectable career (81 -99- 37) mostly as a backup with Calgary, Edmonton, St. Louis and Columbus for nine seasons before moving on to Europe.
A native of Ontario, Brathwaite would return after significant time in Germany to aid Canada’s national team as a goalie consultant…
4. Kevin Weekes
Another Canadian with Bajan roots, Weekes is more than just the answer to a trivia question (Who was the New York Rangers starting goalie before Henrik Lundqvist?) Weekes would persevere after what seemed a bitter experience with his first NHL team, the Florida Panthers.
Weekes was traded to Vancouver for the super speedy Pavel Bure in 1998 and the move seemed cursed from the very beginning. I was living in Vancouver at the time of this trade and the press was not kind to Weekes as a bit of covert racism seeped to the surface. After the Trevor Daley/John Vanbiesbruck incident with the Soo Greyhounds came into the mix, one could speculate a possible resentment for Weekes while he was in Florida.
After passing through with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders, a trade to the Carolina Hurricanes in early 2002 would give Weekes the chance to show his stuff. Filling in for injured starter Arturs Irbe, Weekes locked in and carried Carolina to the Stanley Cup final, playing at a lights out save percentage of 94 percent, allowing only 11 goals in eight playoff games – including back to back shutouts!
Although Carolina would not reach playoff status again, the point had been made and Weekes was finally given the props for being an NHL – quality goalie. Weekes then signed with the Rangers in 2004, and looked to be in good shape until he got hurt – cue King Henrik. After a couple seasons, Weekes would complete his New York Metropolitan area trifecta, signing with the New Jersey Devils to backup Martin Brodeur, making him likely the only goalie to accomplish said feat.
Present day finds Weekes righteously providing analysis and commentary for the NHL Network, where he broke in as the first Black person to hold such a spot in 2009 (former Boston Bruin/Vancouver Canuck Anson Carter would be added later). Although one gets the impression it should’ve been better, Weekes made lemon ice from lemons-and that’s a good thing!
Next time: Our Three Stars
Goal Ingram 2 (Gray, McClean)
Copyright (c) Michael – Louis Ingram PBros 2016 all rights reserved.