Friday

Ed Belfour


Eddie Belfour will always be remembered in two ways. 1) As one of hockey's all time great goaltenders, and 2) as a prickly personality.

Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour has a tremendous resume with a Stanley Cup championship (1999), a Canada Cup title (1991), Olympic Gold Medal (2002), 2 Vezina trophies, 4 Jennings trophies, 1 Calder, 484 career wins (3rd best all time), 76 shutouts (9th all time).

As he enters the Hockey Hall of Fame now it is hard believe Belfour almost never made it to the NHL. He was undrafted out of the University of North Dakota. But Belfour, a devoted disciple of Vladislav Tretiak (hence jersey number 20), was hockey's most determined man.

That determination not only got him a chance at the NHL, but carried him to one hockey's greatest careers and now all the way to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

For all his popularity for what he accomplished on the ice, Eddie Belfour was misunderstood as one of hockey's bad guys off of it.

"Eddie was a unique teammate. Socially, he probably wasn't real tight with anybody, but we all admired the seriousness he took at this position. He prepared himself. He was the first guy there and the last guy to leave," Joe Nieuwendyk told ESPN.com.

Belfour's legendary determination often meant needed solitary focus to be at his best. If things were not quite to his liking, his rough edges would show, including temper tantrums on and off the ice.

"But we accepted it because we knew the type of goalie that we had," Nieuwendyk continued."We knew the competitor he was. He was maybe the best biggest-game goaltender I ever played with."

Nieuwendyk would know. The two were instrumental in Dallas' Stanley Cup victory in 1999. Nieuwendyk may have won the Conn Smythe Trophy and Brett Hull may have scored the famous (infamous?) goal but think about what Belfour had to do. In the 1999 playoffs Belfour beat Grant Fuhr, Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek to win the Stanley Cup.

ESPN's Scott Burnside may have said it best when he said:
"Whatever the motivation was -- the desire to prove people wrong, the desire to be loved or needed -- Belfour focused all of his energies into preparing to win. And though he was demanding of his teammates, he saved his greatest demands for himself."

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