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Oilers History: Tommy Salo and the goal that changed everything

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09-09-2012, 12:10 PM
  #1
fuhr
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Oilers History: Tommy Salo and the goal that changed everything

Many hockey observers tend to forget just how good former Edmonton Oilers netminder Tommy Salo was during his time in Oil Country. After being acquired from the New York Islanders during the 1998-1999 season, he had the unenviable task of following fan favourite Curtis Joseph. Not only was the Swede up to the challenge but he was arguably just as good, if not better, than Cujo during his time in Edmonton.

http://www.ourhometown.ca/edmonton/sports/RS0391.php

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09-09-2012, 12:53 PM
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jkrx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuhr View Post
Many hockey observers tend to forget just how good former Edmonton Oilers netminder Tommy Salo was during his time in Oil Country. After being acquired from the New York Islanders during the 1998-1999 season, he had the unenviable task of following fan favourite Curtis Joseph. Not only was the Swede up to the challenge but he was arguably just as good, if not better, than Cujo during his time in Edmonton.

http://www.ourhometown.ca/edmonton/sports/RS0391.php
He wasn't better than CuJo. I remember when in December during his first full season with the Oilers, people were hoping for a better goalie as Salo did nothing for the team. This was also a major problem for him, he was streaky and you do not want a streaky goaltender.

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09-09-2012, 01:13 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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^ agreed. like cloutier, there were stretches where salo was one of the best goalies in the league. more often than cloutier was certainly, but yeah definitely not nearly as consistently elite as cujo.

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09-09-2012, 01:19 PM
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begbeee
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He played a lot, but I wasn't call him an exceptional. Definitely not a TOP 10 goalie in NHL during his Oilers years, hardly a TOP 15. He was in Thibault territory. Average starter capable of playin' long season.

EDIT: He had (bad) luck to play for weak teams but he didn't make them much better. I would compare him to poor man's Vokoun - he looked good because he caught a lot shots but also got a lot of goals.
As to Vadim Sharifjanov, I wouldnt call him a one of the best, unless mentioned stretches are very, I mean really very short.


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09-09-2012, 02:06 PM
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I just love the fact the Oilers got Tom Gilbert for him

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09-09-2012, 02:10 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
He played a lot, but I wasn't call him an exceptional. Definitely not a TOP 10 goalie in NHL during his Oilers years, hardly a TOP 15. He was in Thibault territory. Average starter capable of playin' long season.

EDIT: He had (bad) luck to play for weak teams but he didn't make them much better. I would compare him to poor man's Vokoun - he looked good because he caught a lot shots but also got a lot of goals.
As to Vadim Sharifjanov, I wouldnt call him a one of the best, unless mentioned stretches are very, I mean really very short.
he had a month here or there in the early 2000s when he was phenomenal. stretch run of '01, for example, where he singlehandedly carried that team to a playoff spot. there was one other year, i think the year of the olympics, where he had a hot start and people were saying, "has tommy salo broken through and will this be the year he establishes himself as a star goalie in the league?"

but yeah, it never lasted that long.

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09-09-2012, 04:33 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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In the regular season, Salo was probably better than Joseph when looking at their Oilers careers. But Salo could never raise his game in the playoffs like Joseph, and the Oilers went out early every year. Salo flat out sucked against Dallas in 2003, and was the reason the Oilers failed to win that series.

Whoever is claiming Salo was "hardly a Top 15" goalie is off the mark. For about three seasons in the early 2000's Salo was probably within the lower end of the Top 10. He played in two all-star games.

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09-09-2012, 04:57 PM
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He was sold as something special, mostly because he played in Canada and there weren't many european starters (Hasek, Khabibulin, Irbe and Turek), that's actually why played in All-star games.
Format was NA vs. World, exactly from 1998 to 2003. It wasn't something special to play there when all your competition are three or four guys except Hasek as non-brainer.
He was never TOP10 in SV% and GAA (once he was TOP10). On the other hand he was annual TOP10 in losses.
No, he was not TOP 10 goalie. He was hyped because of euro descent and canadian team.

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09-09-2012, 08:29 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Which ten were better than Salo circa 2002? After the HOFers, you had a cluster of goalies including the likes of Kolzig, Khabibulin, Nabokov, Burke, and Cechmanek filling out the lower half of the top 10. Salo is rightfully included with this group. Competition for spots on the World all-star team was a lot better than you're making it out to be. I'm not trying to sell the all-star game as anything important, but being selected twice does show what the league's general opinion of Salo was.

And I'm not sure why being a European on a Canadian team would cause him to be overhyped, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

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09-10-2012, 01:12 AM
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begbeee
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I meant being Europan (goalie) and on canadian team. Not being european on canadian team. Former is why he was hyped in Euro, the latter why he was hyped in NA.
No particular order:
1. Hasek
2. Roy
3. Broduer
4. Kolzig
5. Belfour
6. CuJo
_______
Borderline TOP 10:
Theodore, Irbe, Burke, Lalime, even young Luongo was great and promising in Florida. Then you have bunch of guys including Salo who could sneak in TOP10 here or there, i.e. Turek, Chechmanek, Giguere but their peaks were higher than Salo's one. But they were not TOP 10 guys constantly.
_______
When you claim, ASG was an achievment which didn't came easy, I dare you to name how many #1 euro goalies were back then, who played constantly? I can help you:
Hasek, Khabibulin, Turek, Irbe and Cechmanek. That's total of 5 guys. (I'm not sure about Kolzig's status.) To get in roster for team World you had to be TOP3 from group of 5-6 players. What a feat!

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09-10-2012, 11:40 AM
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Salo for sure was a 8-15 goalie in his peaks year. Peaking short just outside the top 5 I would guess. Would have been nice to see what he could have done on a better team from around 96 until 02 (add a couple of years if not for the goal, as he was just 31 that year - not old for a goalie establishing him late...).

From 96/97-01/02 only Brodeur played more games as a starter than him. You wouldn´t do that if you were "15 or worse-goalie", even on a lousy team. After the obvious three (four with Belfour some of the years I guess...) he sure was in the next tier bunch with Nabokov, Kölzig, Cujo, Osgood, Vernon, Burke, Irbe and so on who anyone could have been argued better then the other from game to game. Even if most of those guys all had more of career years to lean there legacy against. Also finishing 6, 7 and 9 in Vezina voting 99/00-01/02. Even if the sixth probably is because of a single Edmonton vote...

Until that moment against Belarus always rose to the occasion on Tre Kronor. For appetizer his stop against Kariya in 1994. Forsbergs penalty seems to overshadow that Salo stopped Kariya from tying the game and therefore actually making the gamewinning play.

His WC-play 97-02 was really something. Especially his play 1998 was pure dominance, MVP of the tournament for sure. That he was eligble to play in seven straight WC while being the starter on a NHL-team also says something about the teams he played on. Even if could also be argued, something about Salo as some will say he should have been able to steal a first round in four tries. But can´t have been fun going up against powehouse Stars every year... Then again, excluding Belarus, you could also say he always performed when having a good team in front of him. And wasn´t he actually playing quite good in his first three PO-apparences? Or is my memory at fault? Any Oilers fans with more reliable memory from those first rounds than me?

If he had just taken that bloody shot he would be remembered amongst the greatest perfomers on the swedish national team ever and also his NHL-play wouldn´t be damped. Not just remembered as the scape goat for a collective collapse. Until that point of the game everyone was rightfully blaming the skaters and not Salo.

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09-10-2012, 12:36 PM
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Dont misinterpret me. I said "hardly TOP 15" so he made a list. I thought about 1998-2003 period, I admit 8-12 look arguably on closer look. But definitely not higher.
I post a list of 6 goalies which were definitely better and four who are arguably better.

I try to turn question around. Outside fact, that he played a lot, what exactly he did?
6,7 and 9th in Vezina are not a meaningful positions at all. What makes a gap? One 2nd or 3rd vote?

I dont believe better team would help him. Salo would actually look like a scape goat. His mistakes were hidden by weak teams, on better teams would his mistakes been exposed. As happened in Belarus games. He would be rich man's Cloutier - his mistakes wouldn't cost him NHL but he would play less or lose a job of #1 on better team.

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09-10-2012, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
Dont misinterpret me. I said "hardly TOP 15" so he made a list. I thought about 1998-2003 period, I admit 8-12 look arguably on closer look. But definitely not higher.
I post a list of 6 goalies which were definitely better and four who are arguably better.

I try to turn question around. Outside fact, that he played a lot, what exactly he did?
6,7 and 9th in Vezina are not a meaningful positions at all. What makes a gap? One 2nd or 3rd vote?

I dont believe better team would help him. Salo would actually look like a scape goat. His mistakes were hidden by weak teams, on better teams would his mistakes been exposed. As happened in Belarus games. He would be rich man's Cloutier - his mistakes wouldn't cost him NHL but he would play less or lose a job of #1 on better team.
Salo were miles ahead of Cloutier. He were inconsistent at times but he wasn't even close to a liabillity as Cloutier.

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09-10-2012, 07:41 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feffan View Post
His WC-play 97-02 was really something. Especially his play 1998 was pure dominance, MVP of the tournament for sure. That he was eligble to play in seven straight WC while being the starter on a NHL-team also says something about the teams he played on. Even if could also be argued, something about Salo as some will say he should have been able to steal a first round in four tries. But can´t have been fun going up against powehouse Stars every year... Then again, excluding Belarus, you could also say he always performed when having a good team in front of him. And wasn´t he actually playing quite good in his first three PO-apparences? Or is my memory at fault? Any Oilers fans with more reliable memory from those first rounds than me?
By my memory, Salo played very well in 1999 and 2000, but the Oilers were hopelessly overmatched by the Stars. Certainly can't fault him here.

2001 was a winnable series. Salo's play was adequate, but he was outplayed by Belfour at the other end.

2003 was unforgivable. The Oilers had Dallas on the ropes up 2-1 in the series, and were tied in the third period of Game 4 when the Stars banked a puck in off Jason Smith's skate off a wraparound. That puck never should have gone in, and was the turning point in the series. The series ended with a 3-2 loss in Game 6, in which Salo spotted the Stars a 2-0 lead on a goal scored from in the corner behind the goal line, and one scored on a Phillipe Boucher shot from outside the blue line.

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09-10-2012, 08:15 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
_______
Borderline TOP 10:
Theodore, Irbe, Burke, Lalime, even young Luongo was great and promising in Florida. Then you have bunch of guys including Salo who could sneak in TOP10 here or there, i.e. Turek, Chechmanek, Giguere but their peaks were higher than Salo's one. But they were not TOP 10 guys constantly.
Well I'm not claiming Salo was a top 10 guy constantly, just for a three year window. Theodore wasn't even a starter in 2000, and Lalime was only restablishing himself as an NHL goaltender. Giguere wasn't a starter until 2002. Irbe, Cechmanek, and Burke would be in Salo's class. Like I said, these guys and Salo all filled out the lower portion of the top 10, and were generally interchangable with eachother.

Quote:
_______
When you claim, ASG was an achievment which didn't came easy, I dare you to name how many #1 euro goalies were back then, who played constantly? I can help you:
Hasek, Khabibulin, Turek, Irbe and Cechmanek. That's total of 5 guys. (I'm not sure about Kolzig's status.) To get in roster for team World you had to be TOP3 from group of 5-6 players. What a feat!
Well one of those players was the best European goalie ever in Hasek. Kolzig (who is considered German and was a World All Star twice) was a Vezina winner. Cechmanek and Turek were both Vezina runner-ups, and Nabokov and Khabibulin received multiple Vezina votes. Just from 2000-2002. There may not have been a large number of European starters, but the quality was definitely strong amongst them.

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09-10-2012, 09:22 PM
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He was pretty good with the Oilers for his time there, but it's weird to think of Salo or the early 2000s Oilers, a borderline playoff team every year in historically significant terms.

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