Who said that the Leafs wouldn't be setting any records this year? Well, technically they didn't set the record but the 3-1 loss to the Sabres helped Curtis Joseph tie Gump Worsley's record for career losses. In case you were wondering Gump Worsley racked up 352 losses over his career to go along with 335 wins, 150 ties and 43 shutouts. On the other hand, Joseph is fourth all-time in wins with 454. It would be interesting to see what Worsley would have done with the shootout and overtime.
Either way, Cujo's had a great career. At every stop along his career he gave his fans some great memories with his own particular brand of athletic goaltending. He'll likely be remembered by Leaf fans most for shutting out the senators for almost the entire first three games of their four game sweep in 2001:
I was at this game and they could have played for 20 periods and the senators were never going to score on the Leafs' tender
More of the same as the ottawa faithful manage to see 0 goals during their team's playoff stumble
Cujo gets a deserved standing ovation after going more than 180 minutes without allowing a goal to start the first round series against the Leafs' provincial rival.
As an opponent Leafs fans probably first recognized the brilliance of Cujo when he backstopped the Blues in 1993. In the first game of the series he was victimised by one of the team's most famous goals in recent history. The game got to double overtime because Cujo stood on his head while making 61 saves:
Actually, that series gave Leaf fans a couple of huge memories. Along with Gilmour's iconic goal the indelible image of Joseph from that series was him losing his head. No, not in the "I am going to kill Mick McGeough by sliding into his knees" kind of way. More like in a "Mike Foligno just decapitated be with his skate" or a "the greatest warrior of all time just took my head off with a slap shot" kind of way.
Oilers fans' best memory of Curtis Joseph, before he bolted for Toronto in free agency, might be the last in a string of comebacks from 3-1 deficits in the playoffs. Before the lockout, it seemed like they would do it every year to some poor top ranked Western Conference team. The last time Joseph had a hand in it I almost broke my parent's coffee table celebrating one of the all-time greatest finishes to a seventh game:
In the kind of move that likely left most Edmontonians laughing uncontrollably Cujo moved on in the Summer of 2002 to greener pastures. Sadly for Cujo (but great for vengeful assholes like me) it turned out to be more of a farm with lots of room for him to tend goal all day long. Cujo's career went steadily downhill after he not only allowed a spat over playing time at the Olympics (Pat Quinn demands that gold medal back you ungrateful bastard) but then burned his bridges by telling the Toronto media that they could judge his move to Detroit in June. How did that work out?
So clearly I was pretty pleased with that outcome. Despite the games being played during exams and being played on the west coast (or going to 2 in the morning because of multiple overtimes) I watched every second of the sweep just to get my fill of schadenfreude. After failing to lead the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup the next season Cujo was left outside for the night and he heade to the most appropriate team: the Phoenix Coyotes. The Desert Dogs got 115 games out of Curtis Joseph with mediocre results which is about par for his career since the lockout. I don't have a particular highlight but he could still call on the old magic every once in a while:
Last season Cujo wandered around the desert (so damn clever) until Christmas when he suited up for Canada's entry into the 2007 Spengler Cup and backstopped them to the championship:
Along the way he managed to convince the Calgary Flames that he still had a little bit left in the tank. Despite having spent a part of his career playing for their sworn enemies I imagine that this game might have softened some hearts:
Then, in the summer of 2008, the Leafs' interim general manager, Cliff Fletcher, decided that Cujo was the answer for the team's backup goalie position. Sadly, the numbers prove that Uncle Cliff might have been a little nostalgic when he offered the resident of King City a chance to mend some fences after his ultimately hilarious departure from the city that made him a hero:
|2008 - Curtis Joseph||20||783||5||8||1||1||47||3.60||354||307||.867||0|
True to form, however, Cujo pulled things together to give Leaf fans one last hurrah during a game against the Capitals at the ACC. After Martin Gerber was ejected for politely indicating that Mike Leggo might not be watching the game with his good eye the 41 year old goaltender stepped in cold and turned back the clock. Suddenly people didn't remember why they had ever stopped loving Cujo:
So while it's two minutes to midnight for Joseph's time as an NHL goalie he left the fans in every city he played in with some amazing memories (granted, that's not saying much in Phoenix) that highlight that he had a great run regardless of being the losingest goalie ever. Well, joint losingest: