Goaltender Curtis Joseph Retires After 19 NHL Seasons

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Is Curtis Joseph Worthy Of The Hall of Fame?

After announcing his retirement from the NHL on Tuesday, the debate begins on whether or not goaltender Curtis Joseph is worthy of enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Greg Wyshynski, Yahoo's Puck Daddy, broke down the numbers on CuJo's career.

Based on the numbers, Cujo was one of the most impressive postseason netminders of the last 20 years, posting a career 2.42 GAA and .917 save percentage in the playoffs. That includes a 1.93 GAA for the 1998 Oilers and a 2.30 GAA during the Leafs' playoff run in 2002.

Never appeared in a Stanley Cup final, never won a Cup. But he was fourth all-time in regular-season wins (454), fifth in career games played (943), 20th in shutouts (51) and had a career 2.79 GAA and a .906 save percentage. Oh, and tied for most losses in NHL history with Gump Worsley (352). That too.

CBC Sports columnists Tim Wharnsby and Scott Morrison went back and forth on the issue as well and are in agreement on the subject, saying that while Joseph may not have won a Cup, he still has the credentials to be deserving a spot.

Wharnsby: Curtis Joseph will have his critics because he played in Toronto. They will point out that he never won a Stanley Cup, never played in a Stanley Cup final and is tied with Gump Worsley with 352 losses. But that lofty total didn't prohibit the Gumper from his entrance into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

[...]

Morrison: I agree with you Tim. It says here that he is a Hall of Famer. No brainer. Everyone looks at numbers, but the numbers only tell a part of the story. As you pointed out, his wins put him in Hall of Fame company. Yes, his losses ties for the career lead, but that doesn't tell his story. He made average teams better. He gave his teams a chance to win and often took them farther into the playoffs than they might have deserved.

ESPN.com's Scott Burnside thinks the fact that CuJo has no Cup is enough to keep him out, citing that he apparently didn't have the ability to get a team over the top.

He helped St. Louis and Edmonton win playoff series they had no business winning back in the day, but never once played in a Stanley Cup finals series. He had the starting job for Canada at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and was replaced one game in by Martin Brodeur, who led Canada to gold. Joseph was the man twice in Toronto when the Leafs advanced to Eastern Conference finals in 1999 and 2002, but couldn't lead his team over Buffalo and Carolina (two teams that were there for the taking).

What do you think? Is Curtis Joseph worthy of the Hockey Hall of Fame?

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Goaltender Curtis Joseph To Retire Today

Goaltender Curtis Joseph retired Tuesday after a 19-year career. Joseph, 42, is the fourth winningest goalie of all-time.

Our Maple Leafs blog, Pension Plan Puppets, has a look back at the great career of Curtis Joseph:

It would take another two years - and the recovery from a season-ending knee injury in '90-91 - before reality was acknowledged and Joseph was finally crowned as the Blues' number one netminder.  By the spring of 1993 he was back to being a playoff wonder, stoning the heavily-favoured Hawks and scaring the blazes out of the Leafs.

Fast-forward half a decade to the summer of 1998, and Curtis Joseph is now the pre-eminent free agent goaltender available.  He'd led the Oilers to a couple of upsets, but Edmonton was in the throes of both a small market and a bad dollar and there was no way they were keeping him.

The Leafs were in a pretty sad state, but had a brand new coach in Pat Quinn.  Rather than expressing hope, the Quinn hiring had the local media types lamenting about the lost opportunity to try someone young and fresh, rather than just rehashing the same-old same old (note that things really never change in Toronto).  

On July 15, though, Curtis Joseph signed a huge deal in Toronto - four years, $24 million - and the Leafs gained instant credibility.  

With much the same group of players that barely eked out 69 points playing the left-wing lock, the Leafs became a 97-point team that led the league in goals scored.  The difference was that Quinn was able to turn his forwards loose, confident that the stops would be made when they needed to be.  Joseph would back the Leafs to four straight seasons of between 90-100 points, including the first  division title since 1963.

Curtis Joseph started his career with the St. Louis Blues, before moving on to the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes and Calgary Flames. After playing one last season in Toronto, CuJo will retire from the NHL as a Maple Leaf where he enjoyed the best seasons of his career.

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