Apr 30, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; A view of the Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita statues outside of the United Center before game one of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Blackhawks Top 100- #42 Charlie Gardiner

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Charlie Gardiner (Picture Courtesy of legendsofhockey.net)We’re heading into the dog days of the offseason, counting the days until the Chicago Blackhawks 2014 Season kicks off. We’re going to do a Top 100 list of all time Chicago Blackhawks. It’s a fun way to pass the time and take a stroll down Memory Lane.

Charlie Gardiner 1927-1934

Games-316

Wins-112

Losses-152

Ties-52

Goals Against Average-2.02

Shut Outs-42

Playoffs

Games-21

Wins-12

Losses-6

Shutouts-5

Stanley Cups-1

Charlie Gardiner began his career just after the Blackhawks organization was formed, and his career stats show how good he was for a very bad team with a career 2.02 Goals against average yet 40 games under .500.  Gardiner was a superstar goalie on bad teams early in his career, but it was only because the Blackhawks couldn’t score because Gardiner was keeping the puck out of the net on a regular basis.

Gardiner before the NHL changed the rules was a rare goalie Captain (the only goalie Captain with his name on the Stanley Cup) because of his great leadership.  Gardiner loved to play goalie and as the Blackhawks offense improved the stubborn Gardiner kept playing spectacular in between the pipes. Gardiner would win the Vezina trophy in 32 and 34 as the NHL’s best goalie.

Gardiner’s best season was in 1934 when the Blackhawks transformation from doormat to Champion would come full circle.  Gardiner was not feeling well during the Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings but in the deciding game he told the team all they had to do is score one goal.  In double overtime Mush March provided that goal and the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup Champions for the first time in 1934.

Unfortunately Gardiner had let an infection worsen which had caused hims sickness during the Finals and it ended up with him passing away after brain surgery later that summer. Gardiner was a great goalie in his 7 seasons with Chicago but his life ended way too soon and he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945.

Gardiner was great on good and bad Blackhawks teams and he ends up at #42 in our countdown. What do you think? Too high or Too low for Gardiner?

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