Monday, June 21, 2010

Absurd Goalie Monday: Stephane Fiset

As much as you don't think-- these AGMs are a little hard to do when you don't have some inspiration. Luckily, I went to Twitter to get some options on at least a team that the AGM should come from. This pick closed out one franchise and opened up another, but knee injuries would hamper the closing years of his career. This week, we look at Stephane Fiset's career.

Fiset's career got off to a bumpy start in Midget AAA, going 8-21-1 in his time with Montreal-Bourassa. Even with that, he moved onto the QMJHL with the Victoriaville Tigres and was thrown into the starting role right away, playing 40 games with a 15-19-4. Even with a so-so record, the Quebec Nordiques took Fiset in the second round of the 1988 Draft. With a better team in front of him for the 1988-89 season, Fiset was able to play better with a 25-14-0 record; as well as an appearance in the World Junior Championship and went 3-2-1 as the Canadians finished out of the medals. Fiset would capture the CHL Goaltender of the Year honors, as well. In the 1989-90 season, Fiset started out with the Nordiques, but went 0-5-1 and was sent back to Victoriaville as he went 14-6-3 made a return to the World Juniors, where he would go 5-1-1 and take home tournament top goaltender honors as the Canadians took home the Gold.

After a quick NHL stint, Fiset made a step past junior and went to play for the Halifax Citadels of the AHL for the 1990-91 season. Fiset would fight Scott Gordon and Mike Bishop for time, but would get 36 games in, going 10-15-8. Fiset would get a call-up to Quebec late in the season, going 0-2-1 in his three games. Fiset would start the 1991-92 campaign in Halifax, with occasional call-ups to Quebec due to injuries. In Halifax, Fiset would compile a 8-14-6 record while he would sport a 7-10-2 record while with the Nordiques. After spending three games in Halifax to start off the 1992-93 season (2-1-0), Fiset would get the call-up to Quebec to back-up Ron Hextall. It was a quite a success in Quebec, as Fiset would go 18-9-4 in his 37 games behind Hextall. With that showing, the Nordiques were able to get rid of a disgruntled Hextall and put Fiset at the forefront.

The Fiset Era began at the start of the 1993-94 season, but would see Fiset sidelined for 18 games due to a slipped disc in his back. Even so, Fiset got 50 games in and would 20-25-4. The season would also include one game in Cornwall with the Aces of the AHL (one loss) and a trip to the World Hockey Championships where Fiset would win a Gold Medal and go 2-0 with the Canadians. The shortened 1994-95 season saw the Nordiques and Fiset blossom, as the team would have first seed in the East and see Fiset go 17-10-3, though he would fight off rookie Jocelyn Thibault for playing time. After Fiset slipped in the playoffs, Fiset would be benched for Thibault. However, Thibault did no better and Fiset would be put in for the last half of Game Six to close out the Nordiques organization. The Quebec team moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche in the 1995-96, which had Fiset as the starter for a time. Fiset would go 14-3-2 before the Avalanche moved Thibault for Patrick Roy. The acquisition of Roy would put Fiset to the bench and would see him go 7-3-5 to round out the year, a year the Avalanche would win the Stanley Cup and see Fiset get a ring in the process.

Fiset didn't have long to celebrate, as he was traded with a first round pick to the Los Angeles Kings for Eric Lacroix (son of Colorado GM Pierre Lacroix) and a first round pick. This was two days after the Avs won the Cup. Fiset would split time with Byron Dafoe in the 1996-97 season, but it would also start his injury issues-- as he would be hampered with groin injuries during the season. Fiset would play only 44 games with a dismal 13-24-5 record. Fiset stayed healthy in the 1997-98 season, as he would play 60 games and have a 26-25-8 record, but would only play two games in the four-game playoff sweep; as Jamie Storr took over for the other two games. The injury bug would haunt Fiset in the 1998-99 season, missing 23 games due to groin issues, but would still get 42 games in with a 18-21-1 record. Because of his injuries, the 1999-2000 season would see Fiset battle with Storr for playing time, with Fiset seeing 47 games with a 20-15-7 record. As bad luck would have it, Fiset's 2000-01 NHL campaign would be a swift one, as he would severely sprain his left knee in the pre-season, missing the first 25 games of the season. He would come back, first to play three games with the Lowell Lock Monsters of the AHL, going 1-0-2, before getting called back up to Los Angeles. He would play seven games (3-0-1) with the Kings before he would severely sprain his left knee again and miss the rest of the season, sans one 12-second stint in the playoffs.

With all his injuries, Fiset was out of the fold for the Kings in the 2001-02 season, which saw him in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs, playing behind Travis Scott and Marcel Cousineau. Fiset would play 23 games with the Monarchs, going 7-7-6 before he was traded by the Kings to the Montreal Canadiens for future considerations. Fiset would play two games for the Habs with a one-loss record to show for it. After that season, and thanks to injuries; Fiset announced his retirement from hockey.

Fiset has dropped from the limelight, but still participates in events around the Montreal area, like the Norman Leveille Golf Classic to support the Norman Leveille Center, which supports people with a light or moderate deficiency on a physical and intellectual level.

Fiset seemed to get better as his time in one place went onward. While he did get a lot of accolades like his Cup ring and Gold Medals, it always seemed that bad luck was on his side. Whether it was because of trades to bulk up at his position or injuries that set him back when he was getting better-- he could never catch a break. Yet, at the same time-- he had a pretty good go at it, even if bad breaks came along.


KaneMike said...

Great post, always liked Fiset, especially because of the cool mask he wore in the nordiques...

Would Jarmo Myllys qualify as an AGM. His career in the NHL seems nothing like the one he had internationally, or playing in sweden/finland. Sure he was in bad teams in NHL anyways. This guy has a trophy-laden cabinet at his home from all the accolades, wonder what the outcome would have been if he had accepted the contract Sens offered in 1995.

Chappy said...

Great read.