Monday, October 22, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Frank Caprice

The success in this week's AGM was only hampered by fate and injuries. One injury begot another and made him lose his spot in the NHL due to others in the pipeline that were bypassing him. Even with that, he did find his way overseas and still chugged along into the new millennium. This week, the profile of Frank Caprice.

Caprice started in Junior B with the Hamilton Kitty B's in the 1978-79 season before making the jump to the OHL's London Knights in the 1979-80 season where he would go 3-7-3 in 18 appearances; then going 1-1 in three playoff games. During the 1980-81 season, Caprice appeared in 42 games for the Knights, but only go 11-26-0. However, the Canucks would draft Caprice in the 1981 Draft in the ninth-round, which would lead to a bounce-back for Caprice in the 1981-82 season would compile a 24-17-2 in 45 games, then 1-3 in four playoff games, while also going 3-0-0 in three WJC games for Canada-- helping the Canadians take their first WJC titles.

Also during the 1981-82 season, Caprice would move to the Central League for the Dallas Black Hawks and go 0-3-0 in his three games.

Caprice would join the Canucks organization for the the 1982-83 season, but spend most of his time in the AHL with the Fredericton Express, playing in 14 games with a 5-8-1 record, then appearing in one Canucks game in relief, but didn't figure in the decision. For the 1983-84 season, Caprice would split his time between Fredericton for 18 games (11-5-2) and then appearing in 19 games for the Canucks (8-8-2).

Incumbent goalie Richard Brodeur would be sent to the minors for the 1984-85 season, which gave Caprice the chance to take over the top spot. Yet, Caprice struggled at the start, then tore his hamstring-- making him miss three months-- and in 28 games, Caprice would finish up with a 8-14-3 on the year.

The 1985-86 season had Caprice once again split time between Vancouver (0-3-2) and Fredericton (12-11-2), with a knee injury in between. For the 1986-87 season, Caprice would spend more time in Vancouver, posting a 8-11-2 record in 25 games, while turning over a 5-5-0 record in 12 games with Fredericton. Caprice would back up a young Kirk McLean for the 1987-88 season, playing in 22 games and post a 7-10-2 record for this troubles.

Caprice was sent to the IHL for the 1988-89 season, playing for the Milwaukee Admirals while going 24-12-0 in 39 games. The 1989-90 season saw Caprice traded to the Boston Bruins and placed in Milwaukee for 20 games (8-6-3) and then being moved to the Maine Mariners of the AHL for 10 games and finishing with a 2-6-1 record, a bounce back from a broken hand he suffered in training camp.

After taking a few years off, Caprice would resurface in Europe, playing from the 1992-93 season until the 1995-96 season with the Italian League's HC Gardena where he would play 77 times in that span. During that time, Caprice would return to Vancouver....but with the Voodoo of Roller Hockey International for two games, going 0-0-1. For the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons, Caprice would head to Britain and play for the Cardiff Devils, helping them to the 1997 British championship and a third place finish in 1998.

The 1998-99 season, Caprice would come back to North American to play in the Central League's Corpus Christi Ice Rays for 15 games and post a 9-5-1 record, but would relocate back to the British League with the Ayr Scottish Eagles, going 2-5-0 in seven games, then 0-3-1 in four playoff games. After that, aside from  an appearance in the 2001 Allan Cup to help out the Dundas Real McCoys, Caprice retired from hockey.

Thanks to one major injury, it changed the career of Caprice and may have changed his career and the history of the Canucks if he was able to grasp the chance at taking over the #1 goalie spot. However, his loss was Kirk McLean's gain and helped the Canucks build themselves up to a contender-- who knows what could have been if Caprice was in that spot.

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