FanPost

Leaf of the Day - Oct 10-13, 2008 - Allan Bester

Editor's Note: Promoted because I LOVED Allan Bester. I used to make 9 sheet drawings of Bester in net. Toskala reminds me of him because they look so kid-like in net.

Oct 10-13, 2008 - Allan Bester (1983-91)

If I were going to nitpick last night's win against Detroit (which I am still smiling about), it would be that Toronto still managed to give up 37 shots.  Toskala will have to be very, very good, or the defense will have to be a lot better to cut that down to size.

In comparison, though, as a Leaf rookie in 1983-84, Allan Bester averaged over 37 shots against EVERY SINGLE GAME.  Bester faced 1144 shots in 1848 minutes for an average of 37.14 shots against per 60 minutes, and still wound up with a save percentage of .883, which was pretty good at the time.  He set a Leaf record (likely still standing) of 60 saves in regulation in a 5-3 loss to Hartford.

Bester was my favourite Leaf goalie through most of the 80s.  I never had a ton of use for Ken Wregget, who was great in October and April and horrific in between.  Bester usually managed a better average and won-lost record and posted the first Leaf shutout I'd seen in years.  ("Did you hear?  The Leafs got a shutout.  A SHUTOUT!!!")

It finally looked as though he'd get his chance to start in 1989-90, on the team with all the firepower.  That year, though, he started getting into trouble with bone spurs (elbow?  I think so) and was never the same again.  He had them worked on for 1990-91, but never even posted another win as a Leaf before being sent to Detroit for a 6th.

Many remember him for that bad goal against St Louis in the 1990 playoffs, but I remember the plucky little guy who saw more rubber than a dead skunk on the highway and kept coming back for more.

Bester903mz9_medium

via img253.imageshack.us

1981-82      Hamilton Kilty B's      OJHL                                                            
1981-82     Brantford Alexanders     OHL     19     4     11     0     0     4.21                        
1982-83     Brantford Alexanders     OHL     56     29     21     3     0     3.51     8     3     3         1     2.50
1983-84     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     32     11     16     4     0     4.35                        
1983-84     Brantford Alexanders     OHL     23     12     9     1     1     3.35     1     0     1         0     5.00
1984-85     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     15     3     9     1     1     4.22                        
1984-85     St. Catharines Saints     AHL     30     9     18     1     0     4.78                        
1985-86     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     1     0     0     0     0     6.00                        
1985-86     St. Catharines Saints     AHL     50     23     23     3     1     3.64     11     7     3         0     2.54
1986-87     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     36     10     14     3     2     3.65     1     0     0         0     1.54
1986-87     Newmarket Saints     AHL     3     1     0     0     0     1.89                        
1987-88     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     30     8     12     5     2     3.81     5     2     3         0     4.98
1988-89     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     43     17     20     3     2     3.80                        
1989-90     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     42     20     16     0     0     4.49     4     0     3         0     4.29

1989-90     Newmarket Saints     AHL     5     2     1     1     0     4.09                        
1990-91     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     6     0     4     0     0     4.37                        
1990-91     Newmarket Saints     AHL     19     7     8     4     1     3.01                        
1990-91     Detroit Red Wings     NHL     3     0     3     0     0     4.38     1     0     0         0     3.00
1991-92     Detroit Red Wings     NHL     1     0     0     0     0     3.87                        
1991-92     Adirondack Red Wings     AHL     22     13     8     0     0     3.69     19     14     5         1     2.56
1992-93     Adirondack Red Wings     AHL     41     16     15     5     1     3.52     10     7     3         1     2.46
1993-94     San Diego Gulls     IHL     46     22     14     6     1     3.54     8     4     4         0     4.00
1994-95     San Diego Gulls     IHL     58     28     23     5     1     3.38     4     2     2         0     2.86
1995-96     Orlando Solar Bears     IHL     51     32     16     2     1     3.58     23     11     12         2     2.90
1995-96     Dallas Stars     NHL     10     4     5     1     0     3.00                        
1996-97     Orlando Solar Bears     IHL     61     37     13     3     2     2.54     10     4     4         0     3.16
1997-98     Orlando Solar Bears     IHL     26     13     8     1     1     2.98     2     1     0         0     4.68
Leaf Totals     205     69     91     16     7     4.06     10     2     6         0     4.43
NHL Totals     219     73     99     17     7     4.00     11     2     6         0     4.37

OHL First All-Star Team (1983)
Jack A. Butterfield Trophy (Playoff MVP - AHL) (1992)

- Traded to Detroit by Toronto for Detroit's 6th round choice (Alexander Kuzminsky) in 1991 Entry Draft, March 5, 1991.
- Signed as a free agent by Anaheim, September 9, 1993.
- Signed as a free agent by Dallas, January 21, 1996.
- Officially announced retirement, August 5, 1998.

A little video compilation of Allan:

the HHOF take on Allan:

Diminutive netminder Allan Bester spent parts of eleven years in the NHL. He made up for his lack of size with quick reflexes and self-assured attitude between the pipes.

The native of Hamilton, Ontario starred in the OHL with the Brantford Alexanders. After posting 29 wins and a 3.51 goals against average in 1982-83, he was chosen 49th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Entry Draft. He was also recognized by the OHL when he was named to the first all-star team. While he was still in junior, the youngster was summoned to the Leafs halfway through the 1983-84 season. He guarded the net admirably and, at times, spectacularly on the defensively horrid club. Bester's eleven wins and 4.35 goals against mark were quite impressive considering the calibre of play in front of him.

Bester spent his second and third pro seasons mostly in the AHL working on the nuances of his game. He played more in 1986-87 and 1987-88 but was always supplanted by Ken Wregget in the post-season. Bester won 17 games for Toronto in 1989 and won 20 games the following year when the club reached the .500 mark for the first time in over a decade. By this time, Bester's penchant for allowing goals through his legs was giving him a bad name. The most glaring moment came in the crucial third game of the 1990 Norris Division semi-final when St. Louis forward Sergio Momesso put a long shot between Bester's legs during overtime.

During the 1990-91 season, Bester was traded to the Detroit Red Wings but was chiefly a farm hand with his new club. In 1992 he was sensational when he led the Adirondack Red Wings to the Calder Cup. Following this triumph he was presented the Jack Butterfield trophy as the most valuable player in the post-season.

Bester remained in the minors through the mid-1990s then made an unexpected return to the NHL with the Dallas Stars in 1995-96. Ravaged by injuries throughout their roster, the Stars signed the veteran netminder to a temporary contract. Bester looked solid in ten appearances before returning to the minors. He retired in 1998 after finishing his third season with the Orlando Solar Bears of the "I".

Bester904jr6_medium

via img253.imageshack.us

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