Still haven't completed the retrieval of my pictures off of my old hard drive, so once again, I've 1/2 assed some pictures together for another post!
Today is Labor Day so I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the hardest working guys in the NHL, some unsung heroes, back up goalies. Some back up goalies get a lot more work than others, but regardless, it's an important role. Whether you get a steady 30+ games a season or barely hit the ice, the back up goalie plays an integral part on the team. You know I love back ups, my favorite player in the NHL, Johan Hedberg, is a back up.
It's a pretty well known fact that if you are backing up New Jersey's Marty Brodeur, you need to get comfortable on the bench. Marty likes to play, and being that he's one of the best goalies to ever hit the ice, he gets his wish. In the 2008-09 season Marty went down with a bizarre elbow injury and was going to miss most of the season. Back up Kevin Weekes was given the opportunity to carry the team, it didn't work out. The Devils' AHL goalie, Scott Clemmensen, was called up and he ran away with the season. When Marty came back late in the season the Devils showed Scott their appreciation by...sending him back to the AHL. WTF?? Fortunately Scott's excellent play caught the attention of the Florida Panthers and on July 1, 2009 he signed a 3 year contract with the Panthers.
Scott Lee Clemmensen was born on July 23, 1977 in Des Moines, Iowa. Scott is the first person born in Iowa to play in the NHL. Scott took the college route to the NHL playing 4 seasons with Boston College. Clemmensen earned Hockey East All-Rookie Team honors in 1997-98 and league All-Tournament Team accolades in 1999 and 2001. He backstopped Boston College to Hockey East Tournament titles three times - in 1998, 1999 and 2001. In the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Scott was selected in the 8th round (215th overall) by the New Jersey Devils.
On January 20, 2004, Scott made his NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Scott spent 6 seasons in the Devils system playing for the Albany River Rats, The New Jersey Devils and the Lowell Devils.
In 2007 Scott got a taste of non-Jersey NHL hockey for the first time when as an unrestricted free agent he signed a one year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Again, Scott spent most of his time in the AHL with the Marlies.
The next season Scott once again signed with the Devils. It looked like it was going to be another season as usual for Scott, playing most of his games in the AHL. Then on December 1, 2008 in a game against the Atlanta Thrashers, Marty Brodeur went down with the infamous "bruised elbow." Scott was called up and played so well that he signed his contract with Florida the next season.
Mathieu Garon - St. Louis Blues
Garon caught my eye when he was with the Penguins, basically because he's hot. Then I saw this:
Wowzers. Garon came through the with the Blue Jackets in November of 2009 when the Jackets beat the Thrashers 4 to 3.
Mathieu was born on January 9, 1978 in Chandler, Quebec. He started his pro career in 1995 in the QMJHL with the Victoriaville Tigres. In the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, Mathieu was drafted in the 2nd round (44th overall) by the Montreal Canadiens.
On October 6, 2000, Mathieu made his NHL debut in a relief appearance against the New Jersey Devils. Though Mathieu was in the Canadiens system for 6 seasons, he only saw action in 43 NHL games, spending most of him time in the AHL. One fun statistic..On November 23, 2000 Garon got his first NHL shut out...against the Atlanta Thrashers!
In 2004, Mathieu was traded (with a 3rd round pick) to the LA Kings for Radek Bonk and Cristobal Huet. During the lockout of the 2004-05 season, Garon played in the NHL for the Manchester Monarchs. Garon played the next 2 seasons with the LA Kings.
In July of 2007 Garon became a free agent and was signed by the Edmonton Oilers. Garon put up good numbers and took the starting job away from Dwayne Roloson. After suffering an ankle injury late in the season, Rollie took over again. The 2007-08 season was a good one for Garon, he was the top shoot out goalie in the league. He stopped 30 of 32 shoot out attempts for a perfect 10-0.
In January 2009 in a very fortunate (for Mathieu) trade, Garon was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins who would later win the Stanley Cup that season. Garon only appeared in 4 regular season games, but did appear in a play off game when he had to replace Fleury in that disastrous game 5. Fleury gave up 5 goals, Garon did not give up any. That summer Mathieu signed a 2 year deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ty Conklin - St. Louis Blues
Conks is arguably the best back up out there today, except Moose of course :) He is a true journeyman, having played for six NHL teams. He also holds the distinction of having played in three of the four outdoor games held by the NHL.
- He was in net for the Edmonton Oilers when they lost to the Canadiens, 4-3 in the Heritage Classic on November 22, 2003.
- He was the goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins in their 2–1 shootout victory over the Sabres in the 2008 Winter Classic.
- Thanks to Chris Osgood having a groin injury, he was in goal for the Detroit Red Wings' 6–4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2009 Winter Classic. After allowing three goals in the first period, he shut out the Blackhawks for nearly forty minutes, before yielding a goal with ten seconds left in the game.
“I count myself very lucky," he said of the opportunity. "There’s not a guy in this league who wouldn’t like to play in these games.”
Ty Curtis Conklin was born on March 30, 1976 in Phoenix, Arizona. Ty grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and an early recruit and graduate of the now-famed Minnesota hockey prep school, Shattuck-St.Mary's. Later, he played in the United States Hockey League, seeing some time with the Green Bay Gamblers.
Ty decided to get his learn on and started the 1998-1999 season with University of New Hampshire. Conks had a remarkable college career.
- Named captain of the UNH Wildcats, October 5, 2000
- Elected by his teammates, he was the first goaltender to captain the Wildcats since 1961
- NCAA East First All-American Team, 2001
- NCAA East Second All-American Team, 2000
- Top Ten finalist for the Hobey Baker award
- Left the University of New Hampshire holding eight goaltending records
Conks spent most of his first two seasons in the AHL playing for the Oilers affiliate (shared with Montreal), the Hamilton Bulldogs. While there he played in the longest game in AHL history against the Houston Aeros. This quadruple over time game went for 134 minute and 56 seconds. That night Ty also set the records for most saves in a game by making 83 saves in their 2-1 win over the Aeros.
In 2006 Conks signed as an unrestricted free agents with the Blue Jackets, but was traded to Buffalo in the same season. In 2007, Conks signed a one year contract with Pittsburgh, and the next season a one year contract with Detroit. Ty found a little bit more stability the next season when in 2009 he signed a two year contract with St. Louis...again!
Good luck Ty! It's always a pleasure to watch you play.
Conks also has a nasty Lady Gaga habit that I totally support!