By Fred Wallace
Martin Brodeur established an NHL record for shutouts on Monday night, blanking Pittsburgh 4-0 for the 104th shutout of his career, bypassing the existing mark held by Terry Sawchuk.
I was happy for Brodeur, who from a hockey standpoint has been an exceptional goaltender in a lengthy career played solely for New Jersey.
By the same token, when Brodeur tied the record last week, I immediately thought of an old beer league teammate, Dave Dupuis from Penetanguishene.
Like many young goalies growing up in the 50's and 60's, Dave Dupuis' hero was Terry Sawchuk.
Dupuis though went further than most in knowing his idol, as he wrote a book titled " Sawchuk ", one that profiled the legendary netminder both on and off the ice.
What Dave Dupuis found through weaving game reports and stats with interview segments from family members and former teammates was not always pretty.
Terry Sawchuk battled injuries on the ice, and just as painful, had several personal demons, including depression, that haunted him from game to game, season to season.
His death in 1971, remains one of the most curious and shrouded incidents in the passing of a sports figure ever.
Still, dealing with those factors, in the eyes of Dave Dupuis made Sawchuk appear more heroic as a performer, and while Dave Dupuis acknowledges that Brodeur is truly deserving of the NHL record, there is some sadness that the record held for so long by his idol has now been bypassed.
I'm Fred Wallace