Dishing the Dirt
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04-24-2011, 01:29 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Recent article praising Clint Benedict:
It's worth reading the whole thing, but here are some highlights:
MONTREAL -- How sacrilegious is it, in a city where the Canadiens are worshipped when they're not prayed for, to point out that Clint Benedict was a better goaltender than Georges Vezina?
Inexplicable is the fact that Benedict was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame only in 1966, a decade before his death at age 84 and years after many early-era goalies with lesser credentials had been enshrined.
"I seem to have crossed someone somewhere along the way," he told a Montreal Star interviewer a year before his induction, quoted in Douglas Hunter's 1995 book A Breed Apart: An Illustrated History of Goaltending.
"Politics? Yes, I guess that's what you'd have to call it."
Hunter reasonably wondered whether playing for the Senators and Maroons, clubs which mostly faded from the public consciousness when they folded in the 1930s, slipped him through the cracks.
The article then goes on to point out how many more games played, career wins and shutouts Benedict had and how much lower his GAA was as its entire case that he was better than Vezina. Take it for what it's worth...
Amusing story about the origins of the "Praying Benny" nickname and how he was able to get away with "cheating:"
Hard numbers don't begin to tell his story, however. Where Vezina played a conventional stand-up style that left his pads dry at game's end, Benedict was the Dominik Hasek of his time, flopping in his crease like a fish out of water.
Every modern-day goaltender at least in part owes their butterfly or pad-stacking technique to Benedict, whose dropping to the ice bullied the newborn NHL to introduce a rule in 1918 allowing a goalie to leave his skates.
Indeed, he had been nicknamed "Praying Benny" by sarcastic Toronto fans for his habit of falling to his knees, allegedly to thank the Lord during a scramble or after a save.
"If you did it a little bit sneaky and made it look accidental, you could fall on the puck without being penalized," Benedict said in 1964.
Fight with Cully Wilson:
Benedict once had a scrap with the fearsome Cully Wilson, sending both to the penalty box in the days when a goalie served his own time.
"[Wilson] seemed to have had enough," he recalled in Hunter's book. "So when he politely invited me to enter [the penalty box] first, I did. ... [Then] he hit me with a beautiful right in the jaw. You couldn't trust anybody in those days."
The article then goes on to talk about how Benedict had his face shattered by a Morenz shot, wore the first goalie mask,* threw the mask away after he couldn't see well in it, then had his career ended by a Morenz shot to the throat.
*actually it was the first goalie mask by a man
Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 04-24-2011 at
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