Oh, he’d irritate you if you were a fan or player on the opposing team. But Chicago Blackhawks netminder Ed Belfour usually was pretty aggravated himself. It’s only one you rack up 61 minutes in penalties in a season.
As a goalie.
Ah yes, love him or hate him, Belfour was one of the biggest reasons the Blackhawks saw the success they did in the early to mid 90’s.
Lest We Forget
As time has marched on, the goalie tandem Chicago had from 1990-1992 boasted two of the greatest names in NHL history: Ed Belfour and Dominik Hasek. The latter would go to Buffalo in 1992-93, while Belfour would backstop Chicago through a few rounds of the playoffs until 1995. For anyone who doubted Belfour’s abilities, one of the major reasons Chicago gets to the Conference Final that year is because of him.
The sole reason they didn’t get blown out was also because of him.
Just a short glance at the stats in that series:
- Game 1: 22 saves on 24 shots (2-1 OT loss)
- Game 2: 35 saves on 38 shots (3-2 loss)
- Game 3: 47 saves on 51 shots (4-3 loss 2 OT)
- Game 4: 21 saves on 23 shots (5-2 win)
- Game 5: 45 saves on 47 shots (2-1 win 2 OT)
I remember this series vividly. Be it the utter robbery he had on a sure point blank Sergei Fedorov goal to standing on his head through overtimes (they really played nearly eight games based on the OT’s), without Belfour, the Hawks are done in four quickly.
Not enough? What about the series before that? In a four game sweep, Belfour gave up just six goals in four games, yielding only one goal on 44 shots in the first two.
Belfour’s temper and shenanigans often got the attention, but he was a major part, if not the main reason, why Chicago enjoyed the successes they did until 1997-98, when they’d finally miss the playoffs.
It was the first year without Belfour. That’s not lost on any Blackhawks fans.
Dallas Gets it…Chicago Needs to Honor Ed Belfour, Too
The Stars plan on adding Belfour to its hall of fame. Will Chicago do the same when the time comes? It’s been discussed by CEO Danny Wirtz that a hall of fame, aside from number retirements would be considered. Belfour is one in a long line of former Blackhawks who deserve recognition.
It’s simple: a Stanley Cup gives Belfour a number in the rafters. A look at his work in the 90’s is more than enough reason to hold him in consideration. He won the Vezina twice with Chicago. With Hasek on the bench for one of them.
Along with Steve Larmer, which is an argument for another day, Belfour is deserving of not only a Blackhawks Hall of Fame nod should they ever bring it in, but also a hard look at a jersey retirement.
The numbers don’t lie. Neither does the historic understanding of what he accomplished while in Chicago.
But it should agitate Blackhawks fans of a certain age that the consideration has been ignored for this long.