Johnny Bower Wins Poll. Too Bad You’re All Wrong.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. All opinions expressed by Mike Ulmer are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Toronto Maple Leafs or its Hockey Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Maple Leafs and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NHL accredited member of the media.

The great Johnny Bower acknowledges his fans.

Leaf fans: Johnny Bower says thanks.

The China Wall was voted the Leafs best ever-goalie by an overwhelming margin in our Facebook poll.

http://www.facebook.com/torontomapleleafs .

“I’m just happy to be in the top 100,” said the Leafs Hall of Famer. “I’m so excited to hear that.”

Hard to argue with the ageless one who won the kudos a mere 42 years after his final Leafs game.

There are, however, a few dissenting opinions. Add an influential name to poll respondents William Fam, Paul Skinner, Steve Kis.

Nancy Bower.

That’s right. In an earlier poll Mrs. Bower said Turk Broda was the best-ever Leafs netminder and since Johnny is retired and Broda died 35 years ago,  it’s unlikely Mrs. B. is going to change her mind.

“How could you do that?” Johnny said when he learned of her betrayal.

“Look at the numbers,” Nancy answered.

The numbers don’t lie. Turk Broda, shown in a 1946 game is the Leafs greatest goaltender.

 

Okay. Let’s.

I found 16 goalies (200 NHL games minimum) whose career, even if for just one game, came during Broda’s tenure in the league.  Like several Leafs, Broda lost two years to the Second World War.

Broda’s five Stanley Cups are more than any player. Terry Sawchuk with four (three as a Leaf) is the only goalie within shouting distance. Remember, this sample is from the golden age of goaltending.  Ten of the 16 goalies cited here would later be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Broda’s Stanley Cup total is better than the combined total of four Hall of Famers:  Roy Worters, Chuck Rayner, Tiny Thompson and one of Alec Connell, Bill Durnan or George Hainsworth.

Here is where a comparison of Broda with his peers.  Hall of Fame goalies carry an X.

Player Years Games Wins Loss SO GAA Stanley Cups
X TURK BRODA 36/37-51/52 629 302 224 60 2.53 5
X Frank Brimsek 38/39-49/50 514 252 182 40 2.70 2
Lorne Chabot 26/27-36/37 412 201 147 71 2.03 2
X Alex Connell 24/25-36/37 417 193 156 81 1.91 2
Wilf Cude 30/31-40/41 282 100 132 24 2.72 0
Bill Durnan 43/44-49/50 383 208 112 34 2.36 2
X George Hainsworth 26/27-36/37 465 246 145 94 1.93 2
X Glenn Hall 51/52-70/71 906 407 326 84 2.49 2
Jim Henry 41/42-54/55 406 161 173 28 2.87 0
X Harry Lumley 43/44-59/60 803 330 329 71 2.75 1
Gerry McNeil 47/48-57/58 276 119 105 28 2.36 3
X Chuck Rayner 40/41-52/53 424 138 208 25 3.05 0
Al Rollins 49/50-59/60 430 141 205 28 2.78 1
X Terry Sawchuk 49/50-69/70 971 447 330 103 2.51 4
X Tiny Thompson 28/29-39/40 553 284 194 81 2.80 1
X Roy Worterss 25/26-36/37 484 171 229 67 2.27 0

Okay. We’ve established that Turk Broda was among the best two or three goalies to play during his era.

Now compare him to other Leafs.

Broda’s career 62 shutouts are 28 more than that of runner-up Harry Lumley. He won 82 more games than the franchise’s second-most winning goalie, the wonderful Bower who was victorious 220 times.

Stack Broda’s numbers against Bower, Sawchuk, Potvin, Joseph and Belfour during their Leaf years and it’s impossible to refute Mrs. Bower’s assessment.

Player Games Wins GAA Shutouts Stanley Cups
TURK BRODA 629 (1) 302 (1) 2.53 (10) 62 (1) 5 (1)
Johnny Bower 472 (2) 220 (2) 2.51 (9) 34 (2) 4 (2)
Terry Sawchuk 91 (16) 49 (18) 2.81 (60) 4 (18 tie) 3 (3)
Felix Potvin 369 (3) 160 (3) 2.87 (16) 12 (11) 0
Curtis Joseph 270 (5) 138 (4) 2.49 (7) 17 (7 tie) 0
Ed Belfour 170 (13) 93 (8) 2.51 (8) 17 (7 tie) 0

That’s my case for Turk Broda. All manner of dissent or support are welcome on @mulmer on Twitter.  You’ll have more luck debating me than with Mrs. Bower.

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About Mike Ulmer

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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. All opinions expressed by Mike Ulmer are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Toronto Maple Leafs or its Hockey Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Maple Leafs and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NHL accredited member of the media.



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