Now, I've officially seen everything...
Former NHL goaltender Ed Belfour has been hired by the St. Louis Blues to become their minor-league goaltending consultant on a part-time basis, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The job became available when Dave Rook left that same position to become the golatender coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets last month.
The 44-year old former star goalie will be flying into Peoria and Alaska during their seasons to work with the young goalies coming through the organization.
Belfour, whose 484 wins rank third all-time in NHL history, was public enemy number one during his playing days, most notably during his tenure with the Chicago Blackhawks. His last NHL season was in 2007 with the Florida Panthers, where he went 27-17-10 with a 2.77 GAA in 58 games played.
Belfour played last season with Leksands in Sweden, but even though he was planning on making an NHL comeback this season, nobody came calling. So, Belfour decided to take a different route...coaching.
Anyone remember this date...
April 25th, 1993?
That was the day the Blues completed a miraculous four-game sweep of the heavily-favored Blackhawks in the second round of the NHL Norris Division Playoffs, thanks to Craig Janney's overtime goal.
What Belfour was noted for by Blues fans, and what turned him into one of the single-most hated players by Blues' fans ever to don the Blackhawks' sweater, is what happened after the goal was scored.
Belfour felt that Brett Hull interfered with Belfour as he was getting back in net after leaving the puck behind the net for one of his defenders to pick up. Belfour, whether interfered with or not, was on his hands and knees and watched as Janney gathered the failed clear in the Blackhawks' zone and fired the puck into the empty net, sending the sold-out crowd at the St. Louis Arena into a frenzy.
Belfour tried desperately to convince any referee that would listen that he was interfered with on the play, and a penalty should've been called. Those pleas fell on deaf ears, and Belfour went into a full-fledged tirade. "The Eagle" slammed his goalie stick onto the goalpost and crossbar in disgust, and tossed the broken remains into the direction of the on-ice officials.
The angry Blackhawk continued his tirade in the locker room, where he reportedly destroyed anything he could get his hands on. Then, when talking to reporters after the game, said this...
"I’m not going to speak right now. I’m not going to speak rationally. The whole thing is a joke. The damn referees are nothing but a joke. Is that what you want to hear?”
It's not like the Blues' fans were very kind to Belfour to begin with, repeatedly showering him with chants of "BELLLLFOUUUUR, BELLLLFOUUUUR!!!", especially after he was scored upon by a Blue. But, after that post-game tirade, to Blues' fans he turned himself from "just another Blackhawk we don't like", to Blackhawk villian and village idiot.
I'm sure Blues' fans are surprised about this news, but times have changed, and what better guy to have watching over your top goaltending prospects (i.e.- Ben Bishop, Jake Allen, Paul Karpowich) than a former NHL goaltender that not only ranks as one of the best to ever play the game in net, including being a former Stanley Cup Champion, but probably one of the smarter players hockey-wise to ever lace a pair of skates.
Oh, and not to mention, he's a sure-fire future NHL Hall of Famer.
You put all of that together, on top of his career statistics which rank him in the top 15 in almost every major goaltending category, and you better believe these young goalies coming up through the system will listen to Belfour when he has some advice for them about how to improve their game.
In my opinion, this was a great move for the Blues to make to help mature these younger goaltenders into becoming NHL caliber talent sometime down the line. Hopefully, Eddie "The Eagle" is the right guy for the job and can help mentor these youngsters, along with showing them what parts of their overall games are good, and what needs improvement.
By the way, if you just like to relive the memories, or have never seen the footage before, here's a link to the video of the game-winning goal scored by Craig Janney, and the mayhem by Belfour that ensued...