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.

Sabres

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.

photo penslabyrinth.com

GM Craig Patrick of the Penguins told NHL.com 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.

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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.


Author: Buffalo Winter

Hockey

2 thoughts on “Tom “Brick Wall” Barrasso”

  1. Another interesting read and chock-full of stats and other detail, thanks Buffalo Winter.

    Certainly an impressive list of accomplishments. I wonder if his 2.07 SV% in 58 games when he was with Pittsburgh was ever matched or bettered.

    Liked by 1 person

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