We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Faceoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Blackhawks raise their 6th Stanley Cup Banner on October 7th season opener against the New York Rangers.
As our countdown reaches 35, we have arrived at a number only worn once in franchise history, and it was worn by a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest goalies in NHL History.
Tony Esposito put on the #35 for the first time in 1969, and he would wear it until his career ended in 1984. Esposito holds almost every franchise record when it comes to goalie except for the biggest record of all which is held by Corey Crawford and his two Stanley Cup Championships.
The major flaw in the career of Esposito is that he couldn’t win the Cup for the Chicago Blackhawks even though he had some glorious chances. In 1971 in the third period Game #7 of the Stanley Cup Final at Chicago Stadium, Esposito let a shot from center ice in to cut the lead to 2-1 and when the final horn sounded at the old barn, it was the Montreal Canadiens not the Blackhawks skating around with the Stanley Cup.
Esposito was at the tale end of his career when I was a kid, but I did get to meet him once during my days working at Southwest Ice Arena in Crestwood. I’m not going to lie, I thought Murray Bannerman was the man, but my Dad would always tell me about how great Tony Esposito was in net for the Hawks.
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Here is Tony Esposito’s career stats with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Tony Esposito (1970-1984)
Goals Against Average-2.93
Of course Tony Esposito holds a bunch of NHL records to go along with his franchise bests, Here is a quick look at his NHL records and Chicago Blackhawks records.
- Calder Memorial Trophy (1970)
- Vezina Trophy (1970, 1972, 1974)
- NHL All-Star Game Goalie (1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1980)
- Chicago Blackhawks all-time shutouts leader (74)
- Chicago Blackhawks and NHL single season record for shutouts (15)
- Seven-consecutive seasons with 30-plus wins (1969-1976)
- Chicago Blackhawks career wins leader (418)
He’s a Hall of Famer and has his number is in the rafters of the United Center and he’s the only 35 in franchise history, What are your memories of Tony Esposito?
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