Sunday, June 22 2003
A Beautiful Bust
The Rangers have had some of hockey's best goaltenders over the years -
Dave Kerr, Terry Sawchuk, Eddie Giacomin, and Mike Richter. They've also
been stuck with one of the worst.
The record books show that Steve Buzinski, a little
man who weighed only 140 pounds, served a nine-game stint with the Rangers
during the 1942-43 season.
"I thought I had seen some lousy goaltending
during my career in hockey," coach Frank Boucher recalled, "but
all the sieves I'd seen were aces compared to Buzinski. One night in
Detroit, the Red Wings plastered nine goals passed him in the first two
periods. In the third period, Buzinski rushed from his net, caught the
puck in his glove, and tumbled in an awkward heap on the ice. Ott Heller
went over to help him up and heard Buzinski say, 'Just like pickin'
Lynn Patrick had this to say about his former
teammate: "We were playing Toronto one night and when the Leafs
scored an easy goal, Buzinski swooned to the ice as he did an average of
once every period. He lay there, apparently unconscious, while blood
trickled from a tiny cut on his cheek. We turned to the referee and argued
that he'd been hit by a Leaf stick by a player in the crease and the goal
shouldn't count. The Leafs argued that it was a puck that did the
"Suddenly Buzinski sat bolt upright. "It was a stick, dammit!"
he shouted, and fell back unconscious again.
"All the players on the ice stopped arguing and
started laughing. We even went over to the benches to tell the rest of the
guys what had happened. Buzinski gave us enough funny moments to make up
for all the pain he caused us. Well, almost………"
"How did he fare in those nine games he played
for us? Well, he gave up about six goals a game (5.89 goals-against
average), which must be one of the highest in history."
In 1984, Buzinski was interviewed about his NHL
career and admitted he'd made the remark about "pickin'
"But I have no recollection of that other
incident where I suddenly woke up and claimed it was a stick that hit
me." He then laughed and said, "But it sounds like something I
would do. In wartime hockey, you had to keep your sense of humor."
"Steve was a beautiful little guy," said
Boucher. "He was earnest and sincere and we all liked him
tremendously. There was just one little problem. He couldn't stop a puck
worth a damn."
No wonder he became known as Steve Buzinski - the
Puck Goes Inski.
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