Monday, November 21, 2011

Absurd Goalie Monday: Denis DeJordy

This week, the focus on the AGM is for a guy who kind of changed the way the game is played-- yet not for his on-ice prowess, per se. What he did after his career has changed the way goaltending is handled today and made many discussion topics should things in net start to go wrong. Not to say his playing career wasn't shabby, but he could be a little more remembered for his first gig post-retirement. This week, the profile of Denis DeJordy.

DeJordy's first presence was with the Junior B Dixie Beehives before really making a name for himself in the 1957-58 season with the St. Catherine Teepees, going 32-14-6 in 52 games, while getting in one game in the AHL with the Buffalo Bisons, which was a loss. Returning to the Teepees in the 1958-59 season, DeJordy went 40-10-3 in 53 games, then 2-4-1 in the playoffs, as well as being named to the OHA First All-Star Team. DeJordy would also get the call by the Peterborough Petes for the 1959 Memorial Cup, but would go 1-4 against the Winnipeg Braves in the Finals.

Starting in the 1959-60 season, DeJordy moved to the new Eastern Professional League to play for the Sault Ste. Marie Thunderbirds where he would play 69 games and finish that year with a 27-31-11 record. The 1960-61 season had DeJordy start out in Sault Ste. Marie for 33 games (16-14-3) before moving up to the AHL and the Buffalo Bisons, playing in 40 games and finishing there with with a 20-18-2 record, then going 0-4 in the playoffs.

The 1961-62 season saw DeJordy return to Buffalo, where he would go 36-30-3 in 69 games, while then going 6-5 in 11 playoff games, losing to Springfield in the Calder Cup finals. DeJordy had his sights set on a championship when he came back to Buffalo in the 1962-63 season, going 37-23-7 in 67 games, then going 8-5 in 13 playoff games, helping the Bisons win the Calder Cup that season. DeJordy racked up the awards, too-- winning the Hap Holmes Trophy for fewest goals-against; the Les Cunningham Award for AHL MVP; and named to the AHL's First All-Star Team. Also in '62-'63, DeJordy made five appearances for the Chicago Blackhawks, going 2-1-2 in those games.

The 1963-64 season had DeJordy not playing much, as he play only one game with the Central Professional League's St. Louis Braves (a loss) and then only six games with the Chicago Blackhawks, finishing 2-3-1. It picked up in the 1964-65 season, as DeJordy played 30 games in Chicago, going 16-11-3-- as well as seven games in Buffalo for the Bisons, going 3-4-0 in that time. However, DeJordy was relegated to the Central Pro League with the St. Louis Braves in the 1965-66 season, playing 70 games and compiling a 30-31-9 record in the regular season and 1-4 record in five playoff games. DeJordy was named to the CPHL's First All-Star Team that season.

DeJordy returned to Chicago for the 1966-67 season, splitting duties with Glenn Hall and finishing with a 22-12-7 record in 44 games, then 1-2 in four playoff appearances. DeJordy and Hall would win the Vezina Trophy for the season, in a time where both goalies were rewarded for fewest goals-against in a season. Starting in the 1967-68 season, DeJordy got the majority of the playing time in Chicago, as he would play 50 games that season and finish up with a 23-15-11 record, then compiling a 5-6 playoff record. DeJordy struggle in Chicago during the 1968-69 season, playing in 53 games with Chicago, going 22-22-7, but would be sent down to the Central League's Dallas Blackhawks for 15 games, going 8-4-3 in those appearances. DeJordy started the 1969-70 season with Chicago, playing in 10 games with a 3-5-1 record, but his time there would be short.

DeJordy would be traded to the Los Angeles Kings late in the season, playing in 21 games to end the season and have a 5-11-4 record to show for it. Getting a full season with Los Angeles in the 1970-71 season, DeJordy would play in 60 games and finish with an 18-29-11 record. The 1971-72 season saw DeJordy only play five games, all losses, for the Kings before being on the move again.

DeJordy was traded to the Montreal Canadiens after those five games, which brought Rogie Vachon to Los Angeles in return. With a short stint, DeJordy went 3-2-1 in the seven games with the Canadiens.

DeJordy was on the move again, getting traded in the Summer of 1972 to the New York Islanders, but would never play there-- as he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings before the 1972-73 season, where he would play 24 games and wrap up an 8-11-4 record. He would always be sent to the Central League's Fort Worth Wings for ten games that season. The 1973-74 season had DeJordy play with the Baltimore Clippers of the AHL, going 21-13-6 in 42 games, named to the AHL's Second All-Star Team. DeJordy played only one game in Detroit that year, a loss. DeJordy retired after that season.

Immediately following his retirement, DeJordy became the first ever goalie coach in the NHL, as he would be in charge of Jim Rutherford and Doug Grant starting in the 1974-75 season. Also, during his playing days-- DeJordy owned a sporting good store in Quebec in the off-season.

Though his playing career didn't seem to leave a huge mark, the fact he pioneered the goaltender's coach position allowed more one-on-one direction to the goalies and actually give them the attention they need to focus on the game. Even so, DeJordy had a solid career and learned enough from his time to pass onto others.

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