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01-18-2013, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Let's approach this by eliminating the tofu.

Al Rollins during his NHL career showed in the O6 era he could be part of a successful tandem as well as an elite #1 goalie capable of playing a full season.Played a full 70 game season three times.

Gerry Cheevers in the NHL/WHA played a career high of 59 WHA games, once, never topping 52 games otherwise, usually in the 40-49 game range. So without touching the talent question it is fairly obvious that at best he was the lead goalie in a tandem.

Chris Osgood. Without touching the talent question, fact remains that Osgood played 60 plus games during four NHL seasons. He won 401 NHL games or almost as many as Cheevers played. Osgood also a few SCs to his credit - 3 which puts him in between Cheevers and Worsley.

Two comments.

Rollins gets shorted because he could not hang-on as a tandem goalie for 11 seasons like Worsley did. Effectively this is how Worsley gets credit for 4 SCs even though in those eleven seasons he barely averaged over 25 games per season.

Cheevers gets the benefit of a "money goalie" perception without any Conn Smythe support and a blind eye to the fact he was dominated by the Canadiens when it mattered. Will grant that Cheevers was the best technical goalie of the goalies discussed in this post.
Interesting take.

One comment, though. the expansion era featured almost predominantly tandems, while Osgood's era has featured very set "starter and backup" roles. Since 1994, there have been 225 instances of a goalie playing 60+ games, or 13 per season. That he did it four times in this period is not particularly impressive. On the other hand, from 1967 through 1980, there were 101 instances of a goalie even playing 50 games, or approximately 202 if "normalized" to a 30-team league.

Stated differently, post-expansion, Cheevers had seasons at 6th, 7th, and 10th in NHL minutes (not counting his 7th in 1967, for obvious reasons), as well as 1st, 3rd, and 4th in the WHA, however you wish to translate that. Osgood was 6th, 8th, and 9th in his biggest minute seasons. All things considered, it's difficult to see how either would have a substantial advantage in terms of being a "workhorse" goalie within the context of their era.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall you saying much about Tony Esposito's incredible string of very high minute seasons.

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