Monday, August 23, 2010

Absurd Goalie Monday: Glenn Healy

We start the second year of the AGM (odd, isn't it??) with someone that is a jack of all his own mind, I'm sure. This week's AGM saw it from on the ice and off of it on the bench. That said, he can tout that he's the best bagpipe player the NHL has ever seen, to which I'm sure not many will challenge him. This week, we take a look at the career of Glenn Healy.

Healy started off playing in the Metro Toronto Junior Hockey League with the Pickering Panthers, playing 66 games and ending out with a 3.73 GAA over two seasons. After the Panthers, Healy moved onto the college ranks, playing for the Western Michigan University Broncos at the start of the 1981-82 season. In his freshman year, Healy played 27 games and went 7-19-1, though WMU didn't go far in the playoffs of the CCHA. Healy was able to get more games in his sophomore season, but it wasn't much of a different result. Healy went 8-19-2 in 30 games; with the Broncos falling short of any post-season success. By the 1983-84 season, Healy and the Broncos got better, as Healy played 38 games, going 19-16-3 and help the Broncos get to the CCHA Finals, but lost to the University of Michigan. By Healy's senior season, he had come into his own and went 21-14-2 in 37 games, as well as capturing CCHA Second Team All-Star honors and NCAA Second Team All-American honors to close out his college career.

In the summer of 1985, Healy signed with the Los Angeles Kings as a free-agent and would start out in the IHL with the Toledo Golddiggers for the start of the 1985-86 season before being called up by the Kings to get a start in November, one of which he replaced Darren Eliot and got a no-decision. After that, Healy was sent to the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL and would get a bulk of the games over the rotation of goalies there, playing 43 games and going 21-15-4. Healy would stay in New Haven for the 1986-87 season, playing 47 games and putting up a 21-15-0 record, while going 3-4 in his seven playoff games. In the 1987-88 season, Healy got the call-up to Los Angeles full-time to back-up Rollie Melanson and did respectable with a 12-18-1 record on a so-so Kings team. Healy would get a boost by being the starter for the Kings, while the Kings got a boost with getting Wayne Gretzky. Healy would play 48 games and improve tremendously with Gretzky and the likes being in front of him. Healy went 25-19-2, but Healy lost his gig before the end of the season to Kelly Hrudey; who was acquired mid-season.

With Hrudey taking the reigns, Healy was set free by the Kings and would sign on with the New York Islanders in the summer of 1989. Healy would split games with former AGM Mark Fitzpatrick in his first season on Long Island; getting 38 games in with a 12-19-6 record. Healy would become the starter before the 1990-91 season, as Fitzpatrick was sidelined with Eosinophilic Myalgia Syndrome of the blood. Healy was still on a subpar team and only had an 18-24-9 record in 53 games, but had a 3.32 GAA in the process. Healy dealt with injuries in the 1991-92 season, as he fractured his finger, thumb, and had his finger-tip severed during a practice. Even through all of that, Healy had a 14-16-4 record in 37 games. It was a more fortunate 1992-93 season, as he took the 1a spot over Fitzpatrick; playing 47 games and going 22-20-2, as well as take the Islanders on a solid playoff run, going 9-8 as the Isles lost in the Conference Finals to the Montreal Canadiens.

It was an eventful summer of 1993 for Healy, as he was left unprotected by the Islanders in the Expansion Draft. Healy was claimed by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the first phase. However, in the Phase II Expansion Draft, the Tampa Bay Lightning claimed Healy from Anaheim, which was the next day. That same day, Healy was traded from Tampa to the New York Rangers for the Rangers 3rd Round pick in 1993, which was actually Tampa's because Tampa traded it to the Rangers. Got it?? Great.

With Healy knowing that he's in the Big Apple for the 1993-94 season, he settled himself into the role of the back-up to Mike Richter. Healy saw 29 games of action and went 10-12-2, as well as two games of playoff relief action, as the Rangers went onto win their first Stanley Cup in 50 years. Healy only got 17 games of action in during the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, as he went 8-6-1 and actually got a couple votes in the Vezina race, which he finished 13th. With Richter dealing with a groin injury, Healy got more playing time for the 1995-96 season, getting 44 games in and going 17-14-11 with a 2.90 GAA during the start of the "dead-puck" era. Richter was healthy again and Healy was put back on the bench, but he didn't fare too well in his 23 games with a 5-12-4 record to show for that season.

Healy wasn't retained by the Rangers and it wasn't until August of 1997 for the Toronto Maple Leafs to sign him to back-up Felix Potvin. For that 1997-98 season, Healy deal with some pulled groin issues, which restricted him to 21 games and a dismal 4-10-2 record. With the Leafs signing Curtis Joseph and still having Felix Potvin; Healy was sent down to the IHL's Chicago Wolves, which was the first time since his career started that he was in the minors. Healy said about his experience, "One road trip, were stuck on the runway for two hours. The plane kept driving and driving until we arrived and I realized that we were on a bus!!" Healy would spend 10 games in Chicago going 6-3-1 before receiving his call-up back to Toronto after Potvin was traded. Healy started for nine games, going 6-3-0 in those games. Healy was back full-time in Toronto for the 1999-2000 season, backing up Joseph, which got him 20 games in, but with a 9-10-0 record. The 2000-01 season would see Healy get less time as the workhorse of Curtis Joseph showed, as Healy got 15 games in for a 4-7-3 record. It would be Healy's last season as he would hang up the pads after the season.

We all know Healy now as a commentator for CBC's and formerly of TSN. Healy also played a role with the NHLPA for a year during the two-year tenure of Paul Kelly, but quit when many of the NHLPA members question his credibility for the job. Healy was always known as a good man and good teammate, as well as an accomplished bagpipe player. In fact, in the summer of 2000, Healy injured his hand while changing bags on his bagpipe, but was healthy enough to be ready for the start of his eventual last season.

Healy was part of some not-so-great teams, but had some great moments and played in some historic hockey cities along the way. While he may have not gotten as much time in net as he would have hoped, he did what he could when he was out there, especially with some of the teams that he had in front of him in the start of his career.

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