Monday, September 12, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Hardy Astrom

While you have heard a lot of about how much Don Cherry loathed this guy, this week's AGM always got the short end of the stick when it came to his playing days. While he started and then ended in Sweden, many will remember him just for that bile that his former coach spewed about him. This is the profile of Hardy Astrom.

(Note: There's no record for the European times, which will show as we go along.)

Relatively unknown due to playing in Sweden, Astrom first got work with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Elite League, playing in 101 games in three seasons from the 1974-75 season until the 1976-77 season. Astrom also was able to get time on the Swedish National Team for the 1976 Canada Cup, where he would play in four games and finish up with a 1-2-1 record. Though, Astrom really got noticed during the 1977 World Championships, where while he went only 1-2-0 in four games, the New York Rangers seemed to take a shine to his resiliency.

In the summer of 1977, Rangers GM John Ferguson signed Astrom to a deal with the Rangers. However, the 1977-78 season saw Astrom only play four games for the Rangers (2-2-0), putting him in the AHL with the New Haven Nighthawks for 27 games with a 17-5-3 record to show for it. Astrom also played four games in the World Championships for Sweden.

Yet, Astrom didn't like the treatment he got from the Rangers, especially when he came over with the idea of playing full-time in the NHL; so he went back to Skelleftea AIK for the 1978-79 season, where he would play in 26 games over there for the season.

Astrom was eventually traded by the Rangers to the lowly Colorado Rockies in July 1979 for Bill Lochead. The 1979-80 season was not a kind one for Astrom, as he would have a dismal 9-27-6 record in 49 games; which would see coach Don Cherry verbal abuse Astrom, especially when it came to a drill where Cherry would dump the puck in on net from center ice....and the puck went into the net. However, the 1980-81 season saw Cherry gone in Colorado, but Astrom staying; but he would go 6-15-6 in 30 games. Astrom would be demoted to the Central League's Fort Worth Texans for seven games, with a 1-5-1 record at the end of the year. In the 1981-82 season, Astrom played with the Central League's Oklahoma City Stars for 35 games with a 12-18-1 record, which would be the last time Astrom played in North America.

With the 1982-83 season, Astrom went back to Sweden, but this time with MoDo Ornskoldsvik, though he wouldn't play that season. However, Astrom played in 36 games with MoDo in the 1983-84 season, finishing with a 2.16 GAA to show. Astrom would move along to Sodertalje SK for the 1984-85 season, playing in 27 games with three shutouts to his name; then going 5-3 in eight playoff games, helping Sodertalje win the Swedish Elite League playoff title. The 1985-86 season had Astrom play in 28 games, then going 4-3 in seven playoff games. After that season, he would hang up the pads.

The man who was dubbed the "Swedish Sieve" seemed like he came onto the scene with high hopes, but after some possible mismanagement and then some struggles with getting great footing in North America, though it did help him out when he went back to Sweden. Even so, you wonder how much he could have shined if he wasn't mismanaged OR if he had patience to stay in the minors to develop to the North American game more.

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