Leaf fans: Johnny Bower says thanks.
The China Wall was voted the Leafs best ever-goalie by an overwhelming margin in our Facebook poll.
“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.
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.
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.
|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|
|X Alex Connell||24/25-36/37||417||193||156||81||1.91||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|
|X Harry Lumley||43/44-59/60||803||330||329||71||2.75||1|
|X Chuck Rayner||40/41-52/53||424||138||208||25||3.05||0|
|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.
|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.