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10-10-2010, 01:52 PM
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Philadelphia selects G Mike Palmateer

4x Top 10 Wins (3, 3, 8, 10)
2x Top 10 GAA (6, 9)
5x Top 10 Shutouts (2, 2, 3, 5, 7)
3x Top 10 SV%
4x Top 9 Goalie All-Star voting (3, 7, 8, 9)
5th in Hart Trophy Voting 1978-1979

The Leafs did finally bring Palmateer into the chain in 1974. He was promptly dispatched to the minors where he tended goal for the Saginaw Gears of the IHL and the Oklahoma City Blazers of the CHL. It wasn't until early in the 1976-77 campaign that he was brought to Maple Leaf Gardens for an extended stay. Suddenly, fans, analysts, and the club's management were all struck by the little fireball between the Leafs' pipes.

Some described him as a leprechaun in goal pads while others claimed he was brash and overrated and carried a chip on his shoulder. But whether people liked him or not, they couldn't help but be entertained by his dynamic exploits in the crease. He could make saves like a vaudeville dancer falling to the ice and then in an instant, be right back on his feet, ready for the next attack. He was colourful, cantankerous, and cocky while playing his daring game close to the edge.

From 1977 to 1979, with Palmateer in goal, the Leafs fortunes began to rise up from the depths of ineptitude. During the playoffs of 1978, he was a standout as the Leafs ousted the up-and-coming Islanders from the playoffs. But in 1980, Palmateer engaged in a contract dispute with the Leafs. He wanted a three-year deal while the club would offer only two. As a result, he was traded to the Washington Capitals.

He was put on the shelf to have arthroscopic surgery at a local hospital. He was already dressed in hospital linen, on his way into the operating room when an urgent call came through from the Caps. Their other goalie, Wayne Stephenson, had just gone down with an injury. They needed Palmateer, bad knee and all, for the evening's game. So, he was packed back into the ambulance and delivered the stadium in time for the match. His surgery was then completed several days later.

Mike Palmateer was hailed as Toronto Maple Leafs savior by Torontonians even before he played in the NHL.

Born in Toronto, Palmateer was a junior standout with the hometown Marlboros of the OHA. Drafted 85th overall in the 1974 Amateur Draft by the Leafs after Palmateer backstopped the Marlies win of the Memorial Cup in 1974-75 during his last year of junior hockey.

Palmateer apprenticed in the Central Hockey League for a couple of seasons before making his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs in 1976-77. He had a solid rookie year, going 23-28-8 in 50 games as the Leafs starting goalie, taking that role from Wayne Thomas.

The following year he was Palmateer's best season. He played a career high 63 games played, 34 wins and 5 shutouts. Most importantly, he was a key figure in the club’s drive to the Stanley Cup semifinals. He recorded 2 more shutouts in the playoffs. It was the first time since 1967 that the Leafs had become serious contenders for the Stanley Cup.

In those 1978 playoffs Palmateer was at his best during the Leaf's quarter final upset of the New York Islanders.

Mike was an acrobatic goalie, always flopping around on the ice like a fish out of water. He was exciting to watch but every shot seemed like an adventure. He could make an ordinary save look spectacular, but at the same time he often looked bad as an easy shot got past him.

"Palmateer doesn't play text-book goal," said then-Toronto GM Mike Nykoluk. "But he is awfully quick and has great hands and a wonderful sense of anticipation. The idea is to stop the puck, and that's what he does."

Palmateer was extremely confident in his abilities.

"That's my style, and I think that scrambling and challenging the shooter is best for me. I can play with any goalkeeper in the NHL. No one is better than me, and I'm better than most."

Despite the excitement surrounding the Leafs, turmoil ruined that team. Owner Harold Ballard decided to get rid of most of the young budding superstars - Darryl Sittler, Tiger Williams, Lanny McDonald and yes Mike Palmateer. All four of these players had terrible relations with GM Punch Imlach, especially at contract time.

Prior to the 1979-80 season, Palmateer was traded to the Washington Capitals with a third round pick (Torrie Robertson) for Robert Picard, Tim Coulis and a 2nd round pick (Bob McGill). He played in the United States capital for two seasons.

Palmateer recorded 17 shutouts and a goals-against average of 3.53 over an impressive eight-year NHL career. His career totals - 149 wins, 138 losses and 52 ties.
-Joe Pelletier

Last edited by BillyShoe1721: 10-10-2010 at 02:15 PM.
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