<h2>Retro-Buzz III: Grant Fuhr</h2>
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With all the negative press about Kevin Lowe and the Edmonton Oilers, why not shed a positive light on the team's history. Grant Fuhr was a spectacular goaltender who was the backbone of the Cup runs in the 1980s.
Grant Fuhr was born September 28, 1962 in Spruce Grove, Alberta, outside of Edmonton. In 1979, at the age of 17, Fuhr broke into the WHA playing with the Victoria Cougars. Fuhr's tenure with the Cougars was spectacular. In 2 seasons, he played 102 games, posting a 78-21-1 record. His play caught the attention of the NHL and in 1981 was drafted 8th by the Edmonton Oilers. He also caught the attention of MLB scouts, as he was also drafted by the San Diego Padres as a catcher.
<h3>Fuhr's NHL Career</h3>
In 1982, Fuhr was selected to his first of six all-star appearances. In the 1982, season, Fuhr posted a 28-5-14 record and 3.31 GAA. Fuhr would help the Oilers win their first Stanley Cup in 1983. He would help them to win 4 more cups, in 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988. In 1984 Fuhr set a record for most points by a goaltender with 14, which still stands today. In 1986, Fuhr was the All-Star Game MVP. Fuhr won the Vezina Trophy during the 1987-88 season, where in 73 games Fuhr posted a 40-24-9 record with a 3.43 GAA. He also recorded a career-best 4 Shutouts in that season. Towards the end of his career in Edmonton, Fuhr battled troubles with substance abuse, and was suspended by the NHL.
Fuhr was not only a star in the NHL, but internationally as well. During the 1980s, Fuhr represented Canada in goal for the Canada Cup. He won two titles in net for team Canada in 1984 and 1987.
In September of 1991, Fuhr's career with the Oilers would come to an end, when he was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a blockbuster deal. After 2 mediocre seasons with the Leafs, Fuhr was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 1992. As a part of the Sabres, Fuhr played backup to Dominik Hasek. During the 1993-94 Fuhr won the William M. Jennings Trophy. In the 1994-95 season, Fuhr would be traded to the Los Angeles Kings, where he would re-join former teammate Wayne Gretzky, for the remainder of the season.
After the 1994-95 season, Fuhr was given an opportunity to play as a number one goalie for the St. Louis Blues. Critics and analysts believed that Fuhr was past his prime. In the 1995-96 season he would prove them wrong. The Blues hoped that signing Fuhr would finally be able to put them over the top for a Stanley Cup. In the 1995-96 season, Fuhr played 79 games, putting up a 30-28-16 record and a 2.87 GAA. In the 1996-97 season, Fuhr would put up another winning record of 33-27-11 and a 2.72 GAA. In his 4 seasons with the Blues he would fail to win the Stanley Cup, however the team made the playoffs each year. Before the 1999-2000 season, the Blues traded Fuhr to the Calgary Flames. After that season, Fuhr would retire from the NHL.
<h3>Fuhr's post-NHL career</h3>
In his career Fuhr put up some impressive numbers. He had a career record of 403-295-114 with a GAA 3.38 and 25 shutouts. He is the 6th goalie to win more than 400 games. For the first 2 seasons after his retirement, the Calgary Flames hired Fuhr as a goaltending coach. On November 2, 2003, in his first year of eligibility, Grant Fuhr became the first black person to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In his speech, Fuhr mentioned he was suprised how focused on race the ceremony was. He mentioned how he had never experienced any racism in his time in the NHL and WHA. He also mentioned that his parents were white.
<h3>Where is Fuhr now?</h3>
Wayne Gretzky once said that he believed that Grant Fuhr is the greatest goalie in NHL history. With that being said, Gretzky hired Fuhr in 2004 as the goaltending coach for the Phoenix Coyotes. He still holds this position, where he will be working with David Aebbisher this season to try to put the Coyotes back on track.
With all the trouble Edmonton has right now, fans have something they can proudly remember. The Oilers were a very dominant team in the 1980s, and they can almost directly attribute it to Grant Fuhr. With players such as Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Paul Coffey it is easy to overlook the fact that the Oilers did have a goaltender protecting their net. However, what if Fuhr wasn't there, could the Oilers still have been dominant? It's hard to say, but to say the least, all great teams start with great defense and goaltending. Grant Fuhr would provide any team he played for with great goaltending.
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