November 04, 2014

Chicoutimi Cucumber Would Be Proud

This is Georges Vezina, hockey's first great goaltending legend. Dubbed "The Chicoutimi Cucumber" due to his relaxed nature, Vezina donned the pads for every Montreal Canadiens game (328 consecutively) between 1910 and 1925, winning two Stanley Cups.

"He was the coolest man I ever saw, absolutely imperturbable." said fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Frank Boucher. "He stood upright in the net and scarcely ever left his feet; he simply played all his shots in a standing position. Vezina was a pale, narrow-featured fellow, almost frail-looking, yet remarkably good with his stick. He'd pick off more shots with it than he did with his glove."

Vezina is of course still known to today's fans as his memory has been honoured with the Vezina Trophy, annually awarded to the best goaltender of the NHL season. Vezina passed away tragically while still playing in the NHL.

In what to proved to be his last game on November 28th, 1925, Vezina collapsed during the first period, bleeding from the mouth. He tried to return to the game, only to be forced to leave again. Only then did everyone learn he was battling tuberculosis. Unable to play the game he loved, it was reported he went into a deep depression. Four months later Vezina passed away.

Fast forward to today and Sean Fitz-Gerald's fascinating article in the National Post. It appears there is another puckstopper named Vezina making headlines.

Christopher Vezina is a 15 year old goaltender with the single-A minor midget rep team Oakville Rangers. Now no one is saying he is going to make it to the NHL. And his family actually pronounces the last name differently - Veh-zeen-ah. But he recently learned his the Georges Vezina's seventh cousin, three times removed.

“A lot of people have asked me about the last name, and I think it’s really cool to have, as a goalie.”

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