Saturday, July 30, 2011

Patrick Lalime

Patrick Lalime sure knew how to make a first impression.

Lalime, a mid round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1993, wrote his name into the NHL record book in 1996-97 by going 16 straight games to start his career without a loss. He went 14-0-2, breaking Ken Dryden's record! He would cool off as the season went on, finishing with a 21–12–2 record, 2.94 GAA and a save percentage of .913. He would end up backing up Ken Wregget in the playoffs.

Despite Lalime's amazing start, he quickly disappeared in the 1997-98 season. A contract dispute saw him play in the minor leagues until the Penguins finally traded him away to Anaheim for Sean Pronger. Lalime's struggles continued when he failed to make the Ducks roster for the 1998-99 season.

Lalime finally resurfaced in the 1999-2000 season as he joined the Ottawa Senators.
Over the next 5 seasons Lalime would have strong regular seasons, topping the franchise all-time wins (146), shutouts (30) and games played by a goalie (283) lists. But the team's spotty playoff record smudged his legacy.

After the 2005 lockout Lalime, a licensed helicopter pilot, bounced around the NHL, playing with St. Louis, Chicago, and Buffalo.

He retired in 2011 to become a French hockey broadcaster, covering the Senators. All told he played in 444 NHL games, winning 200, losing 174 and with 32 ties/shootout losses.

Lalime, famous for his Marvin the Martian helmets, was a bit of a throw back goalie as he liked to play the stand-up style more so than the butterfly. He usually looked cool under pressure, though he had a temper as Philadelphia's Robert Esche found out when Lalime jumped him in a famous goalie fight.

Lalime received a lot of criticism for Ottawa's playoff failures, even though that was more of a reflection of the whole team than the goalie. For example, Lalime became only the 14th goalie in NHL history to record 4 shutouts in one playoff year (2002).

Lalime should be remembered as a hot and cold goalie who showed great resiliency and should have gotten more recognition as a good goalie than he did.


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