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Saturday, October 6, 2012

He's Still a Penguin to Me, Damnit: Tom Barrasso

Here's an example of when a team hit, kind of isn't a team hit. When I first started following hockey, and firmly established  the Penguins as my favorite team, Tom Barrasso was the guy in net. At the time I was 12 years old, and living in Texas, so I didn't know a ton about hockey, but what I did know was that the had Lemieux, they had Jagr, and they just won two Stanley Cups with Barrasso in net.

What I didn't know at the time, was that before joining the Penguins, Barrasso actually exploded onto the scene as a rookie in 1983-84, not with the Penguins, but with the Buffalo Sabres. In that season, Barrasso not only picked up the Calder trophy as the league's rookie if the year, but also the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender, after posting a 26-12-3 record, with a 2.84 goals against average and a .893 save percentage.



I picked up this great two-color jersey card of Barrasso from 2010 ITG Decades 1980s, which commemorates his stellar rookie season. The card is limited to just 100 copies, and the nice thing here, as is the case with a lot of ITG's cards, is that the jersey swatch matches the team referenced in the photo. Now, the jersey may not actually be from his rookie season, but it is nice that they went with a Sabres jersey, instead of one of him from his time with the Penguins, Senators, Maple Leafs, or Hurricanes.

I know this card lists him as a Sabre, as it should, but to me, he'll always be a Penguin, and this card will find a very welcome space right at the beginning (alphabetically speaking, at least) of my Pittsburgh Penguins hits collection.

4 comments:

  1. Barrasso will always be a Sabre. Calling him a Penguin is like saying Doug Gilmour is a Canadien, or Trevor Linden a Capital.....

    When he was in Buffalo, he was dominating....

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  2. Barrasso's a Sabre to me. I interviewed him as a Sabre in Buffalo's locker room. His equipment stunk to high heaven.

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  3. Barrasso is a Pen. If that wasn't the case, he wouldn't have signed the contract at the end so he could retire a Penguin. He wasn't always the most popular player, especially with the local media, but he got the job done night in and night out and helped the team win 2 Cups. I think I would take those over any individual awards any day.

    And Doug Gilmour is a Candien...he is from Ontario isn't he?

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  4. Here's the way I see it. Barrasso may have been dominating in Buffalo, but I began getting into hockey when he was in the Penguins, so his Sabres days are somewhat unfamiliar to me.

    Look at it this way. If I began getting into hockey and became a New York Rangers fan in the mid 90s, right as Messier was leading the team to the Cup, to me, he would be a Ranger. He may have won multiple cups and awards as an Oiler, but as a Rangers fan, that's who he would be to me.

    The examples of Linden and Gilmour are closer to Messier as a Canuck. My example of Barrasso is closer to Messier as a Ranger.

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