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11-13-2012, 07:43 PM
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Charlie Gardiner and Bill Durnan

Both played 7 seasons in the NHL

Durnan = 6 1st Team All Stars, but 2 of them were over competition that was probably worse than AHL quality and a 3rd was over competition that was still recoving from the war

Gardiner = 3 1st Teams, 1 2nd Team, plus a 4th likely 1st Team in 1929-30.

I don't see any advantage for Durnan in the regular season.

Advantages for Gardiner:

1) He generally exceeded expections in the playoffs. Durnan did not.

2) Gardiner's career was cut short by his sudden death due to illenss. Durnan's career was cut short after he pulled himself in the middle of the playoffs and retired because he couldn't mentally handle playing in the NHL anymore. Look at the difference in their stories as reported by Joe Pelletier:


Gardiner's finest moment came in the 1934 playoffs, as "Smiling Charlie" advanced the Hawks to the Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit. This despite the fact that Gardiner was feeling quite ill at the time. Unbeknownst to him or his doctors, Gardiner had long suffered from a chronic tonsil infection. The disease had spread and had begun to cause uremia convulsions. Undaunted, Gardiner pressed on as winning the Stanley Cup had become an obsession with him. Though playing in body-numbing pain, the Hawks prevailed over the Wings. He permitted only 12 goals in 8 playoff games - a 1.50 GAA.

A well liked and jovial fellow, Gardiner served as the Blackhawks captain, a rarity for a goalie even when it was allowed. Before the decisive 4th game, the "Roving Scotsman" showed his leadership and reportedly told his teammates that they would only need to score one goal that night. Sure enough, the game had gone into double overtime at a 0-0 tie. Suffering from growing fatigue, Gardiner was weakening considerably as the game went on. But he managed to hold the Red Wings scoreless until Chicago's Mush March finally scored.

The Hawks hoisted their first Stanley Cup, but Gardiner, the only goalie to captain a Cup champion, was just as happy he could escape the ice and collapse in the dressing room. A few weeks later Gardiner underwent brain surgery after suffering a massive brain hemorrhage. Unfortunately complications from the surgery would cost him his life on June 13, 1934.

Durnan left the game he loved because of the pressures involved in tending the net.

"Hockey started to get rough for me at the end of the 40's. I had broken my hand and after it mended it felt as if my arm was falling off whenever I'd catch the puck," said Durnan. "One of my main reasons for chucking it all was because the fun was going out of the game for me. A lot of my old pals were leaving - or had gone - and much of the camaraderie was missing."

Durnan also cited the money as a reason he got out of hockey.

"My reflexes had gotten a little slow and, besides, the money wasn't really that good. I'll admit, if they were paying the kind of money goaltenders get today, they'd have had to shoot me to get me out of the game! But at the end of any given season when I was playing I never seemed to have more than $2000 in the bank, so I wasn't really getting anywhere that way. I wasn't educated and I had two girls to raise."

Things came to a head in the 1950 playoffs against the New York Rangers however. The Rangers were on the verge of an upset when they had the Habs on the brink of elimination 3 games to 1. Durnan pulled himself from the series.

"I was afraid I was blowing things. I really wasn't, I guess, but we hadn't won a game and I didn't want to be blamed for it. And I felt I wasn't playing as well as I did in the past.. The nerves and all the accompanying crap were built up. It was the culmination of a lot of thinking and I realized 'What the hell, I'm quitting and this is as good as time as any'"

Gerry McNeil stepped in and finished the playoffs.

"A lot of people thought it was a nervous breakdown but it wasn't. To this day, people still won't believe me."
Conclusion: These two great short-career goalies are close, but Charlie Gardiner should be ranked a little bit higher.

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