Tom “Brick Wall” Barrasso

High School Goalie

Goaltenders are the only position in all of professional sports referred to as a “target”

I have seen two of the greatest goalies I ever watched play in the NHL man the nets for Buffalo, of course everyone will agree to The Dominator but how many will even remember Tom Barrasso.

Mr. Tom Barrasso played for Acton-Boxborough Massachusetts High School from 79-80 until 82-83 where upon graduation was invited to Team USA’s Olympic developmental camp in preparation for the 1984 Olympic team whilst being NHL drafted that same year by Buffalo.

Senior year in High School an incredible 22-0-1 and a 0.99 GAA with 10 Shutouts, Mr. Barrasso played for Coach Tom Fleming (one of Dartmouth College’s greatest athletes) who Mr. Fleming would also go on to a NY school where he coached another goaltender great Mr. Richter.

2002 Olympian

To me the best was watching Mr. Tom Barrasso come right out of High School play in the NHL and earn both the Calder Memorial Trophy and the youngest winner of the Vezina Trophy. Point to one other goaltender who did this, you cannot, Mr. Barrasso became only the third player to win both awards in the same year. (Mr. Frank Brimsek for Boston 1938-39 and Mr. Tony Esposito 1969-70) also earned both awards in the same season.


Mr. Barrasso had to endure the conflated GM/HC/whatever else he called himself almighty bowman…

Being sent down to the minors after the season Mr. Barrasso had earning Calder and Vezina awards was justifiably maddening. The almighty bowman sent Mr. Barrasso down for an eight-day demotion that caused resentment because never before had the reigning First Team All Star Goaltender been sent to the minors.

Eventually all things must come to pass and Mr. Barrasso and a 1990 third round draft pick (Joe Dziedzic) was traded to Pittsburgh for Doug Bodger and Darrin Shannon on November 12, 1988.

Mr. Barrasso had a decent SV% for the time period where the league average was around four and his GAA was usually 3.5 to 4.7, his best season came at the end of his career with Pittsburgh posting a 2.07 in 58 games.

In the playoffs Mr. Barrasso would shine, his SV% jumped into the 900 percentile and his GAA dipped down into the 2.82 to 2.92 range.


GM Craig Patrick of the Penguins told that “Tom was a great steadying influence on our team and he was smart enough goaltender to realize that our game was a wide-open offensive game.” also “He allowed us to play that way and never complained. He allowed our team to play 9-7 games. He was willing to play his part in order for us to be successful”

The above quotes from Mr. Patrick highlight the character and personality of Mr. Barrasso more so than a disgruntled fan, player, or another team.

Mr. Barrasso’s last four seasons consisted of 51 games stretched over four teams, Ottawa, Carolina, Toronto, and St. Louis.

Mr. Barrasso has an impressive list of accomplishments:

Three-time All Star team selections First and Second Teams

Named NHL Player of the Month for January 1988, first Sabres player to achieve this recognition

14 consecutive playoff victories

Led NHL in victories, (43) in 1992-93

91 and 92 Stanley Cup Champion with playoff games, 28-12, 2.71 GAA, .913 SV%

First American goalie to win 300 games, 1997

2002 Olympic Silver Medalist

National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame 2007

United States Hockey Hall of Fame Museum 2009

What did Mr. Barrasso do that Mr. Brodeur, Mr. Fuhr, and Mr. Roy or any Goalie could not do…hold the NHL Goaltender record for all time point leader,  48 points all assists

Hall of Fames

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Goaltender Extraordinaire Mr. Thomas Patrick Barrasso.


 From the early to late Seventies Don Luce was an amazing two-way forward

As a teenager Mr. Luce played for the OHA Kitchener Rangers where he led the team in assists in 1967-68 and CHL Omaha Knights where he won the CHL regular season 1969-70 title along with fellow future Buffalo player Mike Robitaille.

Both players are called up to the NHL NY Rangers where Mr. Luce plays only 21 games over the end of the 1969 season and beginning of the 1970 season garnishing a goal and three assists.

On November 2nd, 1970 the Rangers trade Mr. Luce to the Red Wings for a player who never plays an NHL game.

After only six months and 58 games with 14 points as a Red Wings player Detroit trades Mr. Luce along with Mr. Robitaille to Buffalo for a mask-less goalie that only plays 29 games for Detroit earning a 3.15 GAA before jumping to the WHA.

Mr. Luce played for Buffalo from 1971 until 1981 and for the 1974-75 Cup Finals run Mr. Luce scored 76 points in 80 games on the strength of 33 goals, his playoff pace was similar with 13 points in 16 games.

During the Inaugural Draft of the World Hockey Association of February 1972, Mr. Luce was selected by the Chicago Cougars, fortunately for the Sabres Mr. Luce stayed with Buffalo.

Three days before Christmas 1974 Mr. Luce records his lone Hat Trick which was a Natural Hat Trick scored in the second period. Within less than four minutes Mr. Luce scores three times with the last two goals incredibly Short-Handed. Mr. Luce’s stunning offensive was so quick that his Hat Trick still stands as a Buffalo record for: Fastest Three Goals by One Player.  

His play throughout the 1974-75 NHL season earned Mr. Luce the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to Hockey.

 In the 1975 Season the NHL All Star Game changed to a battle between Conferences with the Wales Conference dominating the Campbell Conference in a 7-1 seemingly easy victory. Mr. Luce scored just over 12 minutes into the first period to make the game 2-0.

Playing for the Buffalo expansion team Mr. Luce became the first Sabres player to score a playoff assist in April 1973 against the Canadiens. Mr. Luce also scored the first playoff shorthanded goal for the team in May of 1975 once again against the Canadiens.

During the late Seventies when the Sabres were flying high and Mr. Luce was paired with Mr. Ramsey they became Buffalo’s top Penalty Killers with their stellar defensive play.

It was during this time that Mr. Luce in the late 1970s was a Frank J. Selke Trophy finalist, (“to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game”), three years running in the first three years of the Trophy’s existence. 

Frank J. Selke Trophy

Mr. Luce has held a wide range of management positions for Buffalo:

Assistant Head Coach, Pro Scout, Director of U.S. Scouting, Director of Amateur Evaluation and Development, Director of Player Personnel which Mr. Luce was until the 2005-06 season.

 After his last season with Buffalo Mr. Luce filled the same Director position for the orange colored Hockey sweater clad team from Eastern Pennsylvania until 2012-2013 when Philadelphia then named Mr. Luce one of their Pro Scouts until 2015 when Toronto added Mr. Luce to their staff.

A photo Mr. Luce tweeted

The Soviet Affair

It cannot be overstated how much personal danger Mr. Luce put himself in by assisting Mr. Mogilny’s expatriation.

Mr. Mogilny was a Lt in the Central Red Army of the Union Soviet Socialist Republic, an officer in the Soviet Regime towards the end of the Cold War before the Wall came down in Berlin.

Mr. Luce did not just assist a foreign national defect to the United States of America to play Hockey it was also support of a Soviet Officer deserting the Central Red Army of the USSR.

As a Cold War Veteran I understand that Mr. Mogilny was not a combat officer but a Hockey player, still I highly appreciate what Mr. Luce did for Mr. Mogilny, the Sabres, and the fans that support Buffalo.