July 29, 2017

Hockey Heroes: Andy Moog

Andy Moog retired in 1998 compiling a 372-209-88 record in 713 NHL games with Edmonton, Boston, Dallas and Montreal, with an 88-57 mark in the playoffs. Those numbers rank him among the all time greats of the game. His regular season victory total at the time ranked seventh among NHL goalies, while his .622 winning percentage is the highest among the 15 goalies who have more than 300 career wins.

"I've had a terrific run," said Moog, who played on three Stanley Cup winners in Edmonton, mostly as a backup to Grant Fuhr

Moog's 18-year career has seen the Penticton native star with Edmonton, Boston and Dallas, and finally Montreal, a city he described as "the best NHL city there is."

Andy Moog was born in Penticton, British Columbia on Feb. 18, 1960. You could say he was born to play goal. He is the son of Don (and Shirley) Moog who was a goaltender with the Penticton Vees when they won their World Hockey Championship in 1955.

Having grown up with a goalie for a dad obviously gave Andy an edge throughout his childhood years. After playing minor hockey in Penticton, Andy advanced to the junior ranks, first in the BCJHL, and then on to the Billings Bighorns of the Western Hockey League, where he was named a WHL all star in 1979-80.

Andy was the 132nd player taken in the 1980 entry draft by the Oilers. The next couple of years Andy apprenticed in the minor leagues with CHL Wichita Wind, where he became an All Star by 1982. In the meantime he did make 15 appearances at the NHL level. He impressed everyone in 1980-81 when the rookie all but came out of nowhere. After 7 games (3 wins, 3 losses) in the regular season, Moog was a surprise started in the playoffs for Edmonton. He went 5-4 as the young Oilers upset the mighty Montreal Canadiens!

After a strong showing like that, 1981-82 must have seen like a bit of a disappointment. Moog spent all but 8 games in the minor leagues. The highly rated Grant Fuhr walked into training camp and stole the starting job from Moog. The Oilers felt that Moog would be better off playing games in the minors than backing up in the NHL.

Moog redeemed himself in 1982-83. It was Fuhr's turn to stumble somewhat and Moog had a spectacular season. He went 33-8-7 in 50 games played and was the regular goalie come playoff time as the Oilers went all the way to the Stanley Cup finals before bowing to the defending champion New York Islanders.

That would be high point for Andy on an individual basis in his 7 year career in Edmonton. He starred with the Oilers for 7 years, winning three Stanley Cups (1984, 1985, 1987). However Moog had to share the puck stopping duties with Grant Fuhr. The dream tandem is one of the better goaltending duos in league history, but it did lead to frustration on Andy's behalf. Fuhr seemed to get the nod for the big games and especially the playoff games. Despite a 143--43-21 record in the regular season, Moog only got to appear in 11 post season games in the three years that he earned a Stanley Cup ring.

Andy did his best to play a team role as the backup but eventually wanted a chance to prove he was a number one goalie. Moog sat out much of the 1987-88 season without a contract and awaiting a trade. He played most of that year with the Canadian National Team and played for Team Canada in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. The Olympics were special as they were hosted in Canada (Calgary) and Moog was the star. Unfortunately Team Canada finished just out of the medals that year.

Following the Olympics, Moog was traded to Boston in exchange for Geoff Courtnall and Bill Ranford. Moog became one of the most popular sports figures in a town that has many popular sports heroes. Moog led the Bruins to two Stanley Cup Championship series (1988 and 1990), only to fall short to, ironically, his old teammates from Edmonton both times.

Moog was moved on to Dallas for Jon Casey in what became a steal for the Stars in a 1993 off season trade. Casey flopped while Moog had 4 strong seasons

However Dallas felt they needed to get a slightly younger goalie who was capable of playing more games - this despite the fact that Moog posted his best goals against average in his 17th season. They went out and got Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour. Moog didn't want to finish his career as a backup, so he moved on to Montreal where he signed a three year contract in 1997-98.

Moog only played one season in Montreal, and he played very admirably. It was a bit of a surprise when he did announce his retirement, given his strong play and existing contract.

Immediately following his retirement, Moog got into the goaltending consulting business. He served in that position for the expansion Atlanta Thrashers until they entered the league. At that point he took a part time job with the Vancouver Canucks. He later would return to his home in Texas and work with the Dallas Stars.

Moog has several other endeavors as well. Most notably from a hockey standpoint he is the managing general partner and president of the Western Professional Hockey League’s Fort Worth Brahmas.

"It's an investment opportunity," said Moog "I own a small percentage of the team, and it's an opportunity to get a better understanding of hockey on the administrative side," he added.

No comments: