Be A Player: Rewind | Ron Tugnutt
Expansion was the theme of this week's episode, which featured Ron Tugnutt of the newly minted Columbus Blue Jackets and a young Marian Gaborik just beginning his NHL career with the Minnesota Wild.
Drafted 1986, 4th round (QUE)
537 GP (QUE, EDM, ANA, MTL, OTT, PIT, CBJ, DAL)
1999 NHL All-Star
The year was 2001, the host was Brett Lindros, and the player was Ron Tugnutt.
Expansion was the theme of this week's episode, which featured Tugnutt of the newly minted Columbus Blue Jackets and a young Marian Gaborik just beginning his NHL career with the Minnesota Wild.
Tugnutt revisits his outstanding 1998-99 season, which earned him an NHL All-Star nod as he cruised to a career-high 22 wins (coincidentally, a total he would match this very season with the Blue Jackets), a 1.79 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. The native of Scarborough, Ontario, joined the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Martin Brodeur, Ray Bourque, Paul Kariya, Jaromir Jagr, Mike Modano, Peter Bondra, Dominik Hasek, Tony Amonte, Al MacInnis, and Peter Forsberg on the ice. Admittedly slightly overwhelmed by the big names on the ice with them, Tugnutt fondly recalls eventually feeling at home among the players he would call friends – and backed the North American team to an 8-6 win in Tampa Bay.
And of course, who could forget the infamous "Vote Tugnutt" spoof-political campaign that endeared the goaltender to the Columbus fanbase, still in its infancy.
Then and Now
Hockey fans who can recall the early '90s, will remember Tugnutt's outstanding 70-save performance for the Quebec Nordiques on March 21, 1991.
In am eventual 3-3 tie that spanned nearly three hours, the then-23-year-old faced 73 shots from the Boston Bruins, who went on to finish the season atop what was then known as the Adams Division. Tugnutt turned aside blistering shots from some of the game's greatest – Ray Bourque and Cam Neely come to mind.
"I couldn't believe it," a bewidlered Bourque said postgame. "On that last one, I saw all net, nothing but net, and I thought, 'No way he's going to get this.' I shot it as hard as I could, with a guy in front of him, and he still caught it."
You have to see it to believe it, so here's a look at the performance – which is still the second-most in regular-season shots and saves on record in an NHL game.