This edition’s Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp celebrity profile features Kelly Hrudey. These days, Hrudey is better known as a member of the CBC Hockey Night In Canada broadcast team, but seasoned fans may remember him as an NHL goaltender, and for sporting one of the ugliest goalie masks ever worn in hockey.
A second round pick by the New York Islanders in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, Kelly Hrudey spent his 16 year NHL career backstopping 3 teams; beginning on Long Island, then moving on to Los Angeles, and concluded in San Jose in 1998. Hrudey nearly hoisted the Cup on two occasions: In his first season with the Islanders, New York was looking to add another championship to their 4 Cup dynasty; making it to the Stanley Cup finals. There they met Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers, who were just beginning their own dynasty, and defeated New York. Though he didn’t see any ice during those playoffs, Hrudey would return to the Cup finals again in 1993 as a starter while a member of the Los Angeles Kings, and (perhaps ironically) a teammate of Wayne Gretzky. Though that season did not result in a championship, it remains the franchise’s most successful season in club history.
Hrudey was also included on Team Canada’s 1987 Canada Cup roster as a third goalie. He sits at 13th in all-time most saves with 18,140, 24th all-time in games played with 677, 28th all-time in minutes played with 38,080:55, and 35th in all-time wins with 271. While playing for the 1987 New York Islanders, he set a playoff record, stopping 73 shots in a single game versus the Washington Capitals. The match-up spanned across 4 overtime periods, until finally being concluded on a goal by Pat LaFontaine shortly before 2 am.
In the twilight of his playing career, Hrudey would join the Hockey Night In Canada broadcast team for guest playoff commentary if his current team did not qualify for the post-season. These appearances eventually transitioned into a full-time broadcasting career, and he now provides regular television and radio commentary segments for CBC.
2011 will be Hrudey’s first year attending the Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp. Though he won’t be strapping on the pads and suiting up, we are told that Kelly will be bringing a television camera crew with him to camp this summer; and the rumor mill has been running rampant with speculation as to what will be filmed. Don’t miss your chance to meet NHL legend Kelly Hrudey this August; you might even get your mug on TV!
The 2011 Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp is nearly underway. For the days leading up to this year’s event, I’m going to be sharing a player profile for each former pro that will be at this year’s camp. all these player profiles were compiled by me (statistical and biographical info gathered from various sources), made to sound nice, and were printed in various editions of the Kelowna Daily Courier. If you didn’t get a chance to pick up a copy, enjoy the free version!
Fleury’s NHL career spanned from 1988 to 2003. Standing at 5’6” in a league full of giants, he is arguably the best “little” player to have ever played the game. He was Calgary’s 8th round pick in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. He would go on to compete for the Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, and Chicago Blackhawks; but is unquestionably best remembered for his time as a member of the Calgary Flames from 1988-1999. In his rookie season with Calgary, he helped the team win its first and only Stanley Cup championship in the 1988-89 season.
Over 16 seasons, he appeared in 1,084 NHL games, and totalled 1,088 total points; averaging more than a point per game. Many older fans will recall him excitedly sliding backwards on his knees across the ice while fist-pumping, after scoring an overtime game winning goal against the Edmonton Oilers in the 1991 playoffs. He is still a prominent figure in Calgary Flames team statistic history; he is 2nd is all-time goals (364), 3rd in assists (466), 2nd in total points (830), 4th in plus/minus (+148), 3rd in power play goals (107), 1st in short-handed goals (28), 2nd in game-winning goals (53), and 1st in overtime goals (5). He was also the Flames’ team captain from 1995-1997.
**HGFC Fun Factoid: Fleury was such a popular player in Calgary that during a game in 1999, Fleury was sent off the ice to change a bloody jersey. A fan then threw his own jersey over the boards so that Fleury would not miss a shift. He put the jersey on before realizing it was autographed and handed it back. **
Internationally, he suited up for Canada at the 1991 Canada Cup, and for the 1996 World Cup. He also represented Canada twice (1998, 2002) at the Olympic Winter Games, and won the gold medal in 2002; after Canada famously defeated the United States in the final, their first Olympic hockey gold medal since 1952. Fleury would later call the Olympic victory the pinnacle of his career.
Fleury attempted an NHL comeback in 2009, after not playing in the league for 6 years. He appeared in 4 exhibition games and scored 4 points with the club, but ultimately was not included on the team’s main roster. This marked an official end to his competitive hockey career, and he has since moved on to other ventures; including writing his autobiography (entitled, “Playing With Fire”), filming a reality show pilot, public speaking appearances, starting a clothing brand, an appearance on CBC’s “Battle Of The Blades”, and running an annual charity golf tournament in Calgary that raises money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.
For further information on the camp please visit http://www.hockeygreats.ca
Blogging has always been fun for me, but some days the enjoyment of it kicks up a couple of extra notches. The day (about a month ago) when a large, rectangular cardboard box showed up at my front door was one of those days.
You see, the packing slip attached to the outside of the box was from a little hockey company called Easton; you know, the inventors of the Easton Aluminum, one-time sponsor of my hockey-hero Wayne Gretzky, and general hockey technology innovators/changers of the hockey stick world’s landscape. I had been in touch with them via Twitter ( I suggest you follow them too @Easton_Hockey) and at my request, they had agreed to send me a Synergy EQ50 to review on this very blog. I since have unsheathed it from its cardboard capsulation, and used it a number of times. And this brings us to now, where I get to tell you what I think of it.
I didn’t want to play only one game and give you an opinion, as hockey players know it takes time to get to know a new stick. As summer hockey games can be sparse, I took my time and played 4 good games in June with it before offering this assessment, which I believe to be objective in fact, and subjective in feeling.
The first thing I noticed about the Synergy EQ50 was that it is light. Now I know that’s a pretty obvious thing to say about a composite hockey stick in 2011, but considering that I was coming out of a Bauer Supreme one95, an extremely light stick itself, I think that is saying something. The adjustable, weighted counterbalance system installed in the removable butt-end is intriguing. It features 4 removable weights that you can interchange to find your ideal butt-end weight, to assumably balance the added weight in the blade (more on that later). I never thought this was a point of concern with my sticks before, but they pay smart people good money to come up with ideas like this, so let’s entertain the notion. My theory was that since my last stick didn’t have such an option, I would keep all four in while I played to see the maximum effect. Truth is, I can’t say I really knew what the difference/improvement was, other than the stick felt perhaps slightly heavier in my top hand. All four weights are still in.
Where I did notice a difference however, was in the stick’s blade, which also features afore mentioned counterbalance weights; which are in contrast, permanent fixtures. In making and receiving passes, the blade feels much thicker than say a Bauer or CCM product (which, from my personal experiences, seem to push thin blade technology). I’ve heard that a thinner blade helps you “feel” the puck more, but while using the EQ50, I truly felt I could control passes noticeably better (no matter how errant the passer had made them), and in return I could send a much crisper and solid pass right back. My assessment is that the added blade weight had a lot to do with that.
Shooting-wise, things only seemed to get better. There is an adjustment period to any new stick, but once I had the EQ50 dialled in, I can truthfully say I was shooting pucks better than I ever have. I’m not going to lie and say that it increased my shot speed by 20km/h or something insane; that kind of improvement can only be made by the stick’s operator. The main instance I noticed shot improvement-wise was in my one-timer. Admittedly, one-tee’s have never been a shot to boast about for me, but in lining a few up with the EQ50 and its thicker blade, I found my stick absorbing the pass like never before, and thusly return cannon-firing them at the net like never before, ala Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion (every action has an equal and opposite reaction). Where I might have fanned on the same shot before, I felt like the EQ50 was far more forgiving and responsive. After seeing the results, I was looking and calling for as many one-timers as I could to bomb. One even managed to sneak over a goalie’s shoulder and go top cheese, which was, to say the least, fun J I believe the weighted blade lowers the stick’s kickpoint; another plus for noticeably better shooting, in my opinion. Hey, the NHL/world’’s hardest shooter Zdeno Chara and his 105.9 mph slap-bombing Synergy EQ50 can’t be wrong, can they?
Cosmetically, after 4 games, the EQ50 seems to have the same condition that my previous Synergy had; the outer grip layer seems to be flaking off for some odd reason. It doesn’t affect the stick’s performance in any way, however.
Now that you’ve read what I think, here’s what Easton’s website says about the EQ50:
- Own the puck with the ultimate combination of balance and control
- Visible Focus Weight Technology™ (15 grams) redistributes weight to the impact area to control hard passes and keep the puck on your blade
- Customizable weighted end cap for optimal balance with adjustable swing weight
- Kevlar® wrapped shaft for impact protection and vibration dampening
- Multi-Rib™ and Micro-Bladder™ blade
FWT- Focus Weight Technology™ is used in the blade to provide an incredible feel for handling the puck and in the shaft to counter balance the stick for added control.
CONTROL: Engineered to keep the puck on your blade to control the game
PASS: Redistributes and focuses weight in the ultra-light blade to catch the toughest passes
SHOOT: Delivers more power and velocity making your shot unstoppable
BALANCE: Weight at the end of the stick counter balances the blade for optimal swing weight
CUSTOMIZABLE: Weighted end cap is adjustable to optimize balance at any length. Fully customizable from 6.5-26.5 grams
I can’t say that I think any of these statements or claims by Easton are at all erroneous. This stick delivers on its promises, and would be a great investment for any player in the market for a new stick. I personally saw improvement in my game with it, and I have no reason to think it wouldn’t do the same for you.
The 2011 Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp is only 4 weeks away (August 3-7)! This year’s line-up features Theo Fleury, Bryan Trottier, Bob Bourne, Billy Smith, Clark Gillies, Kelly Hrudey, Bob Nystrom, Dave Semenko, Doug Bodger, Larry Melnyk, Ron Flockhart — an incredible opportunity to meet and play with some of the NHL’s all-time best!
In honor of this year’s camp, I’m going to give away the pictured t-shirt (size L) and hat prize pack to the writer of the 9th coherent/legible/non-spam/hopefully topical comment on this article (<–click the link, I don’t mean this exact post)! Good luck!