Monday, January 02, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Guy Hebert

When it comes to going from NCAA to the pros, it's always a tough route if you stay in college all four years. It's even harder when you play at a Division II school and hope for the best. However, with a little luck and the expansion era-- this week's AGM was able to not only get out of the shadows; but also become a franchise face for a team. This week, the profile of Guy Hebert.

Starting off a a little college in Clinton, New York-- Hebert started his long trek with Hamilton College starting in the 1985-86 season, going 4-12-2 in 18 games. However, the 1986-87 season was far kinder with Hebert compiling a 12-5-0 record in 18 games, which got the attention of the St. Louis Blues-- who drafted Hebert in the eighth round of the 1987 Draft. Hebert then went 5-3-0 in nine games during the 1987-88 season, before finishing out his college career with an 18-7-0 record in 25 games.

Hebert went on his way to the Peoria Rivermen of the IHL in the 1989-90 season, getting limited time by seeing only 30 games and finishing with a 7-13-7 record. The same went for the 1990-91 season, where Hebert went 24-10-1 record in 36 games-- sharing the James Norris Trophy for fewest goals-against with former AGM Pat Jablonski. That record helped Hebert into the 1991-92 season, where he would go 20-9-0 in 29 games with Peoria, but also getting the call up to the Blues, where he'd go 5-5-1 in 13 appearances. The 1992-93 season allowed Hebert to get a chance as a full-time back-up in St. Louis behind Curtis Joseph, where Hebert would go 8-8-2 in 24 appearances.

Even with his performance, Hebert was left unprotected in the Expansion Draft, where he would be picked up by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. In the first year of the franchise, Hebert held his own finishing with a 20-27-3 record in the 1993-94 season, while in the shortened 1994-95 season; Hebert went 12-20-4 in 39 games. The franchise and Hebert fortunes started to turn in the 1995-96 season, with Hebert going 28-23-5 in 59 games; while in the 1996-97 season, Hebert compiled a 29-25-12 record in 67 games, helping the Mighty Ducks to their first playoff berth, in which he went 4-4 in nine games. It was a tough 1997-98 season for Hebert, who only played 46 games with a 13-24-6 record before having to miss out on the season after a shoulder injury.

Coming back in the 1998-99 season, Hebert was able to get into 69 games and finish with a 31-29-9 record with six shutouts, while going 0-3 in four playoff games in Anaheim. In another marathon season in the 1999-2000 season, Hebert played in 68 games and finished with a 28-31-9 record. The 2000-01 season seemed to be a swan song for the long time Mighty Duck, as he would only play in 41 games in Anaheim, going 12-23-4 before being placed on waivers at the trade deadline.

The New York Rangers picked up Hebert off waiver, playing him in 13 games and finishing with a 5-7-1 record before he would hang up the pads for good.

Hebert's career also had some international experience, as he played on the 1996 World Cup of Hockey team for the Americans, winning one game in which they won the title; while Hebert also played in the 1994 World Championship and going 4-2-0 in six games, including being the winning goalie when the US beat Russia, which was the first time they did so since the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" game in the Olympics.

From a small-time college, to back-up on the Blues, to being a huge building block for a franchise's existence; Hebert ran the gamut of experiences. You'll very rarely see these accomplishments from a Division II player making it this big in the NHL, but that's why people scour the ranks to see that diamond in the rough-- which St. Louis found, but Anaheim reaped the benefits of him.

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