NHL History: Tim Thomas and the Top 10 All-or-Nothing Goaltenders
Tim Thomas has shown throughout his career, as well as throughout the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, that he can make the stand on your head big stop that saves the game for his team. Many of these puck-stopping highlights have even saved his team’s season.
The “all or nothing” style of play of Thomas can be so much fun to watch, or like we saw just 11 seconds into overtime during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, it can cause ulcers and cost his team a game.
Now there was a lot of blame to be placed on the Alex Burrows OT winner. First, there was the turnover by Andrew Ference immediately after the faceoff win in the neutral zone.
Then, Bruins All-Star defenseman and team Captain, Zdeno Chara simply failed to make a play to stop Burrows. As a defenseman, you are taught to take a penalty before allowing an obvious goal. Especially a game winner in the Stanley Cup finals.
However, it was the initial unnecessary lunge by Thomas towards Burrows, which forced the Chara mishap. Nonetheless, Chara should have had his goalies back and the fact that Burrows skated around the net gave him time to make the play or commit the penalty.
Thomas, who turned 37 year old between losses against the Montreal Canadiens in Games 1 and 2 during this year's opening round playoff series, has had a career that encompasses how Game 2 was played and finished.
Thomas has been up, and Thomas has been down. This, along with his age (37 at present) is perhaps the reason his style is what it is
Analysts are at a loss to describe his actual playing style between the pipes. He plays on his feet, on his back, on his side and even on his head.
On several occasions throughout his career in Boston, most notably during the 2009-10 season, Thomas has struggled but has found a way to rebound to become good and great again.
More than once Thomas has been relegated to back up a Bruins goalie that was expected to remain the starter. There was Andrew Raycroft, Hannu Toivonen and Manny Fernandez.
As recently as the start of this season, Thomas was slated to back up 23-year-old B’s netminder Tuuka Rask. He played in two less games last season than Rask, and with Thomas having major surgery on his left hip during last offseason, it was just a foregone conclusion that he was going to be the backup.
A quote from the Boston Herald during All-Star festivities in January sums it up.
Herald Reporter Stephen Harris wrote, “Let’s be real here. As this season approached, did anyone actually believe that Thomas, who wasn’t 100 percent recovered from what was especially major surgery for a goalie, could take the B’s No. 1 job back from Tuuka Rask?”
Not only did the former Vermont Catamount, who still hold school records for goalies in games played (140), wins (81), and saves (3,950), become the Bruins starter again, but he is expected to win his second Vezina trophy in two weeks as the NHL’s best goalie this season.
Thomas, who won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie during the 2008-09 season, was 35-11-9 this past season with a save percentage of .938, which broke the 12-year-old record of .937 held by the Dominator, Dominik Hasek.
Aside from being a lock to win his second Vezina at the NHL postseason awards in two weeks, Thomas will also receive his second William Jennings Memorial trophy for having the top goals against average in the NHL this past season.
Thomas allowed just two goals per game this year and won his first Jennings trophy during the same year he collected his first Vezina.
When you consider his age, Thomas has more than made the most of his brief NHL career.
This may also help explain his overly aggressive style of play that was brought into question following the Bruins Game 2 loss to Vancouver.
Thomas plays like every game could be his last.
Goalies must be patient at times and know where their help is coming from. While Thomas has proven he can be patient off the ice, waiting his turn in Bean Town proves that he is not always patient on the ice.
It is not uncommon during a Bruins game to look up and see Boston’s net empty while Thomas scrambles to get back to his crease. In the process, he could make a highlight reel save, or he could get beat like a rented mule.
This all or nothing style wins big games and unfortunately, as we saw in Game 2, can sometimes lose bigger ones.
The following list is composed of goalies that gave their all most of the time, but sometimes produced nothing. Some of these goalies are still searching for their all, and some of these goalies gave nothing before producing their best.
Some of these goalies played behind teams that simply couldn't reward them for their efforts.
Here is a list of 10 of the most all-or-nothing goalies in the history on the NHL.
I tried to include goalies that most of us have seen play. As always please comment and include any goalie you feel I may have left off the list. Thanks for reading.
No.10 Dwayne Roloson Tampa Bay Lightning
Do not be confused by the video. It is Roloson playing with the Islanders against the Lightning.
The video is a perfect depiction of Dwayne Roloson and his all-or-nothing style of play. In fact, Roloson cost the Lightning several goals this season while trying to play the puck behind the net.
This style propelled the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Eastern Conference finals this year. In addition, this style contributed to their trip up during the middle games of the series against the Bruins.
Prior to Game 3, Roloson was the leading goalie in the NHL playoffs. His 2.08 goals against in 12 games were tops amongst goalies with 10 or more games played in the postseason.
He promptly allowed six goals during the Game 3 loss and then allowed three more goals on just nine Boston shots before being pulled in favor of backup Mike Smith in Game 4.
The Bolts scored the next five goals in Game 4 and went on to win. Roloson would not return to the Tampa Bay crease until Game 6, where despite his still shaky play, the Bolts won and forced Game 7.
Roloson was phenomenal in the deciding game allowing just one goal. However, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was one goal better during the Bruins Game 7 shutout conference-clinching win.
Roloson's all-or-nothing style of play may be attributed to the fact that he was a Hobey Baker Award nominee and NCAA All-American while tending goal for University of Massachusetts Lowell but went undrafted.
Eventually signed as a free agent by the Calgary Flames in 1994, Roloson began his 13-year career that has seen him play for six NHL teams.
Roloson has had years where he has led the league in save percentage (.933 in '04) and a year like the one he had during 2006-07, where he led the league in losses with 34.
Keep in mind that was with the Edmonton Oilers, but make no mistake, Roloson has struggled with bouts of inconsistency throughout.
At his best in 2006, Roloson led a very average Oilers team to the Stanley Cup finals. Unfortunately, he was injured in Game 1 and could not finish his more than likely playoff MVP performance.
At his worst, Roloson turned down a job in the NHL as the Columbus Blue Jackets picked him up in the 2000 NHL Expansion Draft.
Rather than joining the Blue Jackets, Roloson signed with the AHL team of the St. Louis Blues, the Worcester Ice Cats. A
At 31 years old, an age considered to be prime for a goalie, this moved puzzled many in NHL front offices and cost Roloson an entire season in the NHL.
Whatever his decisions, Roloson’s up-and-down play certainly qualifies him as one of the most all or nothing goalies in recent memory.
No. 9 Pete Peeters: Flyers, Bruins and Capitals
Not one of Peeters best
Pete Peeters was a four-time NHL All-Star whose career teased so many die-hard hockey fans in major hockey cities.
As the ninth overall selection of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1977 NHL entry draft, Peeters almost singly handedly ruined his NHL career before it began.
While playing for the Flyers top American Hockey League team, the Maine Mariners during the 1978-79 season, Peters was called up by the Flyers just prior to the Christmas holidays.
No thanks, was the reply Peeters gave the big club. His wife and parents were scheduled to come and visit him in Maine for Christmas, and he did not want to miss the visit.
After heated discussions with the Flyers while he was actually at the airport refusing to come, Peters relented and made the trip.
His first stint in the NHL was not very impressive and gave little indication of what was to come the following season. He went 1-2-1 with a 3.43 goals against before returning to Maine.
However, Peeters would shine in his rookie season with the Broad St. Bullies. During the 1979-80 season, Peeters, along with Phil Myre in net, would be a major contributor during the Flyers NHL record 35-game unbeaten streak.
Peeters would see the majority of the action during the postseason and in the Stanley Cup finals against the Islanders that spring.
Despite a great rookie season that saw the Edmonton Alberta native win 29-of-40 starts, he would never fully become the man in Philly. Peeters was traded to the Boston Bruins following the 1982 season.
In Boston, Peeters would show why the Flyers would be wrong about him and right about him.
Peeters started all but 18 games for the Bruins during the 1982-83 season and was 40-11-9 for Boston. He would win the Vezina trophy for his efforts and was voted the second-most valuable player behind Wayne Gretzky.
The "all “part of Peeters game would allow him to come within one game of tying his coach and former Boston goalie great, Gerry Cheever's, record of 32 straight appearances without a loss.
The nothing part of his game plagued him throughout his career, as Peeters never won a Stanley Cup. In fact, Peeters was known to fold in crucial times during important playoff games.
During a trade deadline deal in 1985, Peeters was traded to the Washington Capitals.
In DC, Peeters was great at times during the regular season but less-than-stellar in the playoffs. During the 1987-88 season, Peeters led the NHL with a 2.78 goals against average. However, he was 7-5 in the playoffs with a lowly .896 save percentage and 3.12 goals against average.
In 1989-90, Peeters returned to the Philadelphia Flyers where he finished his career in 1991.
Peeters career was filled with greatness at times, but if ever a goalie was all or nothing, it was Pete Peeters.
No.8 Евге́ний Ви́кторович Набо́ков, Translation: Evgeni Nabokov
The fickle former Calder Memorial trophy winner is one the best goalies to never win a Stanley Cup. As seen in the video that accompanies this slide, Evgeni Nabokov can be sensational at times.
Nabokov's picture would also be located next to the phrase "all or nothing" should there be such a book with such definitions.
Not only has Nabokov left fans in the NHL scratching their heads at times, but he's also left many hockey fans in the international hockey world doing the same.
While Nabby's career numbers are not that far off between what he's produced in the regular season and what he did in the playoffs, Sharks fans will be more than happy to tell you that Nabokov was a notorious choker in the post season.
His career save percentage is .912 and .913 in the postseason. His goals against are not much different. In 10 regular seasons, Nabokov allowed 2.39 goals per game during the regular season and 2.29 in the post season.
One Bleacher Report author, Andy Bensch, offers up an explanation inside the numbers and why they are skewed in this July 2010 article. It is worth checking out if you are curious as to why Nabokov has failed in the playoffs.
In fact, one article by a Sharks fan says the No. 1 reason that the San Jose Sharks could have won the Stanley Cup this year is the fact that Nabokov is no longer in net.
The biggest complaint about Nabokov was that he simply, and for whatever reason, never won in big games.
Nabokov was a part of San Jose Sharks teams that were notorious for losing to teams in the postseason that finished much lower than they did during the regular season.
NHL goalies are similar to NFL quarterbacks, in terms of receiving credit and criticism. When your team is winning, the goalie is a big part of the reason why. However, when they lose, and especially in the postseason, they take a lot of criticism. Nabokov and the sharks lost a lot in the postseason.
Nabokov's International success is similar to his 10 years in San Jose. He has some decent numbers over the years but no real team success.
In last year’s Olympics, Nabokov was horrible playing goal for Russia. He allowed over four goals per game, and his .853 save percentage was ranked amongst the worst in the tournament.
In January, and after a failed stint playing in the KHL, Russia’s premier hockey league, the New York Islanders claimed Nabokov off waivers.
Despite refusing to play for his team, Islanders GM Garth Snow granted permission for Nabokov to play in this year’s World Championships for team Russia.
Snow and the Islanders also announced that they would toll his contract and retain his rights for the 2011-12 season.
Nabokov was again less than stellar during World play earlier this spring. Before suffering a groin injury, which ended his tournament, he was 2-1 with 3.60 goals against average.
Nabokov has said he will report to the Islanders training camp in September.
No. 7 Curtis Joseph: Blues, Leafs, Oilers, Red Wings, Coyotes and Flames
Nicknamed after the rabid dog from Stephen King’s 1981 Novel and then 1983 horror movie hit Cujo, Curtis Joseph was a fan favorite wherever he played.
Signed by the St. Louis Blues to a free-agent contract after failing to be drafted, he spent four seasons in St. Louis, three in Edmonton, four in Toronto, two apiece in Detroit and Phoenix, one in Calgary and then one more back in Toronto before retiring in 2009.
Through 19 seasons, Joseph was an All-Star just three times and never won the Vezina or the big games. With 454 regular season wins, Joseph retired as the fourth winningest goalie in the history of the NHL.
Unfortunately, he also holds the distinction of the winningest goalie to never win a Stanley Cup, In fact, Joseph never even played for one.
CuJo is also tied with Gump Worsley for the most losses in NHL history with 352.
Many thought CuJo's best shot at hoisting a Cup was in 2004 with the Detroit Red Wings.
Despite finishing as the NHL's top team in the regular season, Detroit had their wings clipped to the eventual Western conference champion, Calgary Flames in six games during the second round.
The closest CuJo got to the Stanley Cup finals was in1999 and again in 2002 as the backstoper in Toronto.
CuJo led the Leafs to the Eastern Conference finals, only to lose in six games to the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.
Many feel a better team led by a better goalie than CuJo could have beaten both teams.
Many will debate CuJo's merits as a Hall of Famer when his time comes. While he was a very good goalie, he will probably fall short in Hall of Fame consideration.
Yes, he played on average teams at times during his career, but he was never a serious difference maker when it counted.
He was the starting goalie for Canada at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and lost the job. He was replaced by Martin Brodeur after one game, as Brodeur would go on to lead Canada to the gold medal.
Curtis Joseph had a really good career. He compares to some other really good goalies of his time like Sean Burke, John Vanbiesbrouck and Olaf Kolzig.
When you think of the great goalies during CuJo's era, names like Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Ed Belfour and Dominik Hasak come to mind. Not Joseph's.
Yes, CuJo was all or nothing but for him, his all netted him nothing in terms of personal accolades and team accomplishments. He was a very good goalie and from what I read, a Hall of Fame individual.
Sorry Blues, Leafs, Oilers, Red Wings, Coyotes and Flames fans, but CuJo is not going to the Hall of Fame. However, his mask was and always will be Hall of Fame material.
No. 6 Roberto Luongo: Vancouver Canucks
Luongo was not going to appear on this list, until he surrendered eight goals on 30 shots to the Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals.
If any goalie in the league, or history for that matter, has his supporters and detractors, it is Luongo.
Many critics and experts in the world of hockey have branded Luongo a loser, a weak netminder, who is never clutch in big games.
This claim can be supported by his lack of hardware. Luongo hails from the goalie rich province of Quebec, where other natives such as Jacques Plante, Patrick Roy and Bernie Parent have plenty of Stanley Cups and postseason awards on their shelves.
In 11 NHL seasons, Luongo has been an All-Star on three occasions, and did most everything a goalie could do for teams that were not been very formidable in front of him.
Many supporters say Luongo was twice robbed of the trophy that another Quebec goaltending native hails from, George Vezina, and yes, that would be the trophy of the same last name.
Twice Luongo lost the coveted prize to New Jersey Devils great, Martin Brodeur. Once in '03-'04 with the Florida Panthers, and then again in '06-'07, with the Canucks.
During the '03-'04 season, Luongo played 72 games, faced 500 more shots than any other goalie, and played behind a Panthers team that finished 22 out of 30 teams in goals allowed.
Luongo still managed to lead the league in total saves, saves per game and was third in save percentage. The Panthers led the league with 14 ties and had three head coaches patrolling the bench that season.
During the '06-'07 season, Luongo played in 76 games but finished second to Brodeur in almost every major category.
His biggest career accomplishment to date is backstopping team Canada to a gold medal in the 2010 Olympics. He did this in the very same city where he is currently trying to win his and their first Stanley Cup.
Despite Luongo's greatness and his astounding numbers at times, he still tends to leave Canucks fans scratching their heads on occasions. Flashback to Round 1 of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs versus the Blackhawks.
Luongo allowed just five goals in the first three games while staking the Canucks to a 3-0 series lead. Over the next two games, he allowed 10 goals on 40 shots and did not even start the critical Game 6.
He did come in and relieve backup Cory Schneider after he was pulled for what head coach Alain Vigneault called cramping—after Schneider tried to stop a game-tying penalty shot by Michael Frolik.
In Game 7, Luongo was Luongo again, and as the center ice commercial states, was standing on his head. He allowed just one goal in 65 minutes of play, as the Canucks won the Western conference.
Then in the Stanley Cup finals, Luongo pitched a shutout in Game 1 and a allowed two goals in leading the Canucks to a 2-0 series lead in Game 2.
Then, the Mr. Hyde reared his ugly head in Luongo during Game 3.
He allowed eight goals on 38 shots as the Bruins climbed back into the series with an 8-1 victory.
Who knows which Roberto Luongo will show up in Game 4, but one thing is for sure, fair or unfair, Luongo needs to win a Stanley Cup to vindicate a career that has only been considered above average to this point.
No. 5 Bernie Parent: Philadelphia Flyers
All or nothing does not mean the goalie did not win a Stanley Cup or two.
Bernie Parent spent the first six years of his career as more of a "nothing" goalie who turned into an "all" player, earning accolades and championships along the way.
A native of Quebec, Parent lived in the same neighborhood as his childhood idol's sister, Jacques Plante. On many occasions, Parent would sit four hours and wait for his hero to visit his sister.
Over the first six years of his Hall of Fame career, Parent played for four teams in two leagues. His goals against average were nearly three per game, and although he played in two All-Star games, he was hardly considered one of the best of all time.
He began his career with the Boston Bruins, and after posting a 15-35-12 over two seasons, Parent was left unprotected during the expansion draft.
He was drafted by the expansion Philadelphia Flyers in 1967. Despite posting a sub-.500 record in net at 16-17-5, the new team in Philadelphia still won the NHL’s Western division.
Winning just 30 percent of games over three seasons saw Parent shipped off to the Maple Leafs. This hardly upset him, as his childhood idol was backstopping for the Leafs at the time.
Ranked No. 63 on the The Hockey News list of The Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time in 1998, Parent attributes his turnaround to the time he spent with his idol, Jacques Plante, while playing with him in Toronto during the 1970 and 1971 seasons.
Plante took Parent under his wing and helped him become a more consistent and technically sound goalie. Parent gained valuable regular season and playoff experience while in Toronto working with Plante.
After Parent was not offered a contract in 1972 by the Leafs, he signed a large contract and became the first NHL player to jump to the newly formed World Hockey Association.
He signed with the Miami Screaming Eagles, but they quickly became the Philadelphia Blazers.
After leaving the team over a contract dispute during the 1973 WHA playoffs, Parent wanted back in the NHL ut did not want to go back to Toronto.
Toronto traded Parent's NHL rights back to the Flyers. With the Broad Street Bullies during the next two seasons, Parent had what many consider the greatest two seasons by any goalie in the history of the NHL.
He won 70 percent of his regular season starts with a 91-17-22 record from 1973 to 1975. His goals against average were a sick 1.96, and he pitched 24 shutouts over that span.
He won back-to-back Vezina trophies but shared his first Vezina with the Tony Esposito of the Chicago Blackhawks.
His stellar play between the pipes carried into both postseasons. The Flyers won two straight Stanley Cups, and Parent was named the Conn Smythe winner in both years.
Parent was 22-10 with six shutouts allowing less than two goals per game in both postseasons combined.
Parent's numbers dropped considerably as injuries and poor play began to take their toll on his career. During the 1975-76 season, Parent played in just 11 games. He did show flashes of his old self during the following season as he won 35 games.
Parent was not the force of postseasons past in 1977 as he played in just three games, losing all of them as the Flyers were swept by the Bruins in the second round.
In February of 1979, Parent suffered an eye injury during a game against the Rangers ending his career
Parent was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 1984.
No 4. Mike Richter: New York Rangers
As a Flyers fan growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, Mike Richter idolized Flyers great, Bernie Parent.
Selected by the New York Rangers with the 28th overall pick in the 1985 NHL draft, Richter is best known for delivering a Stanley Cup to the long-suffering Rangers faithful in 1994. This after a 54-year Stanley Cup draught.
However, Richter also appeared 10 different times for team USA in international play.
Beginning with the World Juniors in 1985, Richter finished his international career backstopping Team USA to a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Richter was small and quick with cat-like reflexes at times but had problems with his groin, both knees and concussions
When healthy, Richter could be one of the best goalies in the world, just ask the 1996 edition of team Canada.
During the '96 World Championships, Richter was named tournament MVP after stunning the Canadians in a best of three series.
After dropping the first game on US soil in Philadelphia, Team USA would win gold by taking a pair of 5-2 back-to-back victories in Montreal.
Richter allowed just 15 goals in six games against high-flying offenses from all over the world.
The 5'10" netminder was a clutch performer in net for many years in the Big Apple. However, his numbers are considered average amongst the greats that played the game.
He finished his career with a .904 save percentage and 2.89 goals against average. He allowed more than three goals per game five times in his career and never finished with a goals against lower than 2.57.
Richter was slightly better in the playoffs as he posted 2.69 goals against average with a .909 save percentage. He never won a Vezina trophy. He was named to three All-Star teams and was named MVP of the 1994 All-Star game.
During the magical run that was the 1994 postseason for the Blueshirts, Richter played outside of his body.
His goals against in 23 playoff games of 2.07 were almost three quarters of a goal lower than his career average. Richter became just the eighth goaltender in history to post four shutouts in one playoff season.
He would struggle the following season playing in just 35 games while posting an elevated goals against average of almost three with a .890 save percentage.
Richter would make three more postseason appearances following the Rangers Cup run, but he would go just 16-17 over that span.
Richter's career began to wind down considerably when he suffered a fractured skull after he was hit in the facemask by a Chris Tamer slap shot in March of 2002.
He returned the following season but played in just 13 games.
Richter never returned to play again after suffering a concussion on Nov 5, 2002, in a victory against the Edmonton Oilers.
The Abbington, PA native retired the following September with more than a dozen Ranger records including most regular-season games in net (666) and minutes played (38,185).
His career record was 301-258-73 and he was the winnings goalie in team history. He had 41 victories and nine shutouts in the playoffs, also team records.
Richter sacrificed a lot of his body and mind in his 13 seasons, all with the Rangers. However, in November of 2007, Richter with his bad knees, ran in the ING New York City Marathon.
He finished with a time of 3:54:35.
No. 3 Ron Hextall: Philadelphia Flyers
The most original and unique goalie to ever play the game, Ron Hextall gave his all on almost every start.
However, being the head case he could be, Hextall’s all cost his team at crucial times with dumb penalties, suspensions and aloofness on the ice.
Hextall was a physical goalie that played the game with a goal scorers menatlity and an enforcers heart. That heart means well at times but it is often overruled by the mind.
Hextall could be brilliant handling the puck and stopping it as well, but his all-or-nothing style of play was too often taken to the limit.
His first three seasons in the NHL saw Hextall crack 100-plus penalty minutes which was by far the most of any goalie in the history of the NHL.
The innovator of puck movement by a goaltender, his teammates would intentionally pass the puck to him to help kill penalties.
Although Billy Smith of the Islanders was once credited with a goal for being the last player to touch the puck before the other team scored into its own goal, Hextall became the first goalie to shoot the puck into the opposing teams net.
On December 8, 1987, in a game against the Boston Bruins, the Flyers had a two-goal lead and the Bruins pulled their goalie in the last minute. Hextall got the puck near the side of his net and fired it down the ice and into the Bruins cage.
On April 11, 1989 against the Washington Capitals in a playoff game, Hextall Once again fired the puck into a vacated net with time running out. He then became the first goalie to score in the postseason.
Hextall burst onto the scene as rookie in 1987. He was 37-21-6 and led the league with a .902 save percentage.
He also led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals against Wayne Gretzky's dynasty of the Edmonton Oilers.
Hextall was magnificent and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in defeat. He is only one of five players to win the trophy in a losing effort.
However, in Game 4 of that series, he slashed Kent Nilsson with two-handed chop across the back of the legs. For the deliberate attack on Nilsson, the NHL suspended Hextall for the first eight games of the 1987-88 season.
Although Hextall would win the Vezina trophy as a rookie, his out of control temper continued to hurt his team throughout his career.
Once again, during the 1989 playoffs, Hextall would hurt his team into the following season.
He skated into the corner and attacked Montreal defenseman Chris Chelios, hitting him repeatedly with his blocker.
For that, Hextall received a 12-game suspension to start the 1989-90 season. Out of shape upon his return, Hextall suffered a series of injuries that limited him to eight games for the year.
In an exhibition game against Detroit to start the 1991-92 season, he slashed Jim Cummins and was given another six-game suspension.
Even in practice and against his fellow countryman, Hextall could be viscous.
He was invited to Team Canada's camp for the 1987 Canada Cup and slashed Sylvain Turgeon's arm during a scrimmage because he was apparently too close in front of Hextall's goal.
Hextall fractured Turgeon's arm causing him to miss the tournament. Hextall played in just one World Championship during his career.
Although Hextall gave his all, he lacked the temperament and discipline to stay focused in many big games. His team, on many occasions, saw him as a liability, waiting for him to crack and fold under pressure.
This did not mean giving up a soft goal but inevitably doing something crazy to put his team down a man at a crucial time in the game.
Hextall could be brilliant, but he could also be brilliantly stupid.
Currently, Ron Hextall is Vice President and Assistant GM of the Los Angeles Kings.
No. 2 Jim Craig: Team USA, Atlanta Flames, Bruins and North Stars
Do you ever tire of this video? Craig's 1980 performance at Lake Placid has made him an American icon.
Who will ever forget the image of Craig, with the American flag draped around him asking, "where's my father,” following the victory over Finland in the Gold Medal Game.
Craig's international success was far greater than his success in the NHL.
Originally drafted by the Atlanta Flames in the 1977 NHL entry draft. His career consisted of just 11 NHL games split between three teams spanning four seasons.
Following the 1980 Olympic Games, Craig joined the Atlanta Flames and won his first ever NHL start.
Unfortunately, it would be his last victory in Atlanta and the following season Craig was traded to his hometown team, the Boston Bruins.
The Easton Massachusetts native would not fare much better for the hometown fans. Craig went 9-7 serving as the Bruins backup during the 1980-81 season.
Craig returned to the US national team for the 1981 Canada Cup, but an injury forced the 1980 star to miss the tournament.
Craig spent the following season in the minor leagues with the Erie Blades of the American Hockey League. In the AHL, Craig allowed almost five goals per game and won just three of his 13 starts.
Hoping to return to his gold medal winning form, Craig played for Team USA in the International Ice Hockey Federation Pool B tournament in 1983.
He allowed just 61 goals in 26 international games and was named goaltender of the tournament.
Believing that he may have actually recaptured his 1980 form, the Minnesota North Stars signed Craig to a contract.
However, he would play in just three more NHL games in which he allowed nine goals. Following his stint with the North Stars, Craig retired from professional hockey.
Craig currently owns his own company and is a motivational speaker who also provides sales strategies for companies.
According to his website, Craig’s company, Gold Medal Strategies is committed to helping individuals and an organization achieve their full potential and is dedicated to coaching, educating, guiding and inspiring individuals and teams to operate at peak performance.
No. 1 Rick Dipietro: New York Islanders
It is not often you will see Rick DiPietro and Bernie Parent on the same list, but these are all-or-nothing goalies.
Some have given all and nothing, and unfortunately, DiPietro has given more "nothing" than "all”.
The phrase abject frustration is used in the video to try to explain why DiPietro would engage Brent Johnson in the most embarrassing goalie fight of all time, but it also explains DiPietro's career.
DiPietro was drafted first overall by the New York Islanders in the 2000 NHL entry draft by then Islanders GM, Mike Milbury.
To make room for the Boston University product and the fourth American-born player to be drafted No. 1 overall, Milbury traded some goalie named Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers.
Yes, the Islanders have been less than productive as an NHL organization for most of DiPietro's career, but DiPietro has not exactly been the stellar product he was advertised to be.
Proving why they were considered a poorly run organization for much of the past decade, the Islanders signed DiPietro to a contract worth $67.5 million over 15 years prior to the start of the 2006 season
With a 58-62-13 record, a .895 save percentage, and goals against of almost three, DiPietro would make 4.5 million dollars per season.
However, DiPietro has done nothing but miss substantial amounts of playing time due to injury.
Since 2008, DiPietro has played in just 39 games and in 10 postseason games spanning three Islander seasons, DiPietro is 2-7 with 2.60 goals against average for the once four-time Stanley Cup winning proud franchise.
It is not for a lack of trying. DiPietro has shown flashes of what the Islanders thought he could be when Milbury drafted him.
DiPietro's best season was the year he signed the big deal.
During the 2006-07 season, he posted a 32-19-9 record in 62 games. His GAA was 2.58 and his .919 save percentage was complimented with five shutouts.
However, DiPietro and the Islanders could parlay their successful season into post season success.
In a matchup featuring another highly touted American born goalie, the Islanders lost to Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres in five games.
DiPietro has one All-Star game appearance in 2008, and it is possible that there could still be some great years left in him. Some goalies tend to hit their peak in their late 20s and early 30s.
For DiPietro's sake, he had better be one of them. Otherwise, he will not be considered an “all” or “nothing” goalie, he will be on the list of biggest NHL busts of all time.