Thursday, February 25, 2010
Born on this date in Worthing, Sussex, England in 1971, Byron Dafoe was drafted 35th overall by the Washington Capitals in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft.
Dafoe, who moved to Canada when he was just two months old, made his NHL debut in the 1992-93 season for the Captials. prior to turning pro, Dafoe played for the Portland (Oregon) Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League in Canadian Juniors for two seasons before being traded to the Prince Albert Raiders early in the third season of 1990-91.
He would begin the long road to the NHL by first playing professionally with the Baltimore Skipjacks and the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL and also the Hampton Roads Admirals in the East Coast Hockey League all in 1991-92.
The following season of 1992-93 was one of more stability and progress, as Dafoe would spend the entire season in the minors with just the Skipjacks, along with reaching the pinnacle by making his NHL debut with one game up with the Washington Capitals in relief duty that totaled...
one solitary minute.
Fortunately for Dafoe, that would not be the extent of his NHL career. He spent the majority of the 1993-94 season with the Portland (Maine) Pirates of the AHL, winning 24 games in 47 appearances as the Pirates captured the Calder Cup as AHL champions.
Dafoe would also get into five games with the Capitals that season, earning his first NHL victory on March 31 against the Chicago Blackhawks, finishing with a 2-2 record. Additionally, he would appear in two playoff games with the Capitals that season.
Dafoe spend most of the 1994-95 season with the Phoenix Roadrunners of the International Hockey League, posting a 25-16 record, and also got into six games with the Portland Pirates as well as adding four more games to his NHL total with Washington.
Having played just 10 NHL games with the Capitals, Dafoe was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings for the 1995-96 season, where he had 47 appearances that season, nearly five times more in one season with the Kings than he saw in three with Washington.
After a second season with the Kings, Dafoe was traded back east to the Boston Bruins, where he would become the Bruins number one goalie.
"Lord Byron" played 65 games in 1997-98 and then had arguably the best season of his career in 1998-99, going 32-23-11 with a goals against average of 1.99.
He would appear in 41 games in 1999-00 and 45 more the following year before another fine season in 2001-02, with 64 appearances and a 35-26-3 record and a 2.21 goals against to lead Boston back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. It was to be his last season with the Bruins however, as he would sign with the Atlanta Thrashers as a free agent for the final two seasons of his career.
In all, Dafoe would play in 12 NHL seasons, 415 games going 171-170-56 and a career average of 2.68 goals against.
Today's featured jersey is a CCM 1994-95 Portland Pirates Byron Dafoe jersey. The Pirates moved from Baltimore where they were known as the Skipjacks until moving to Portland for the 1993-94 season and winning the championship in their first season in their new home. They would reach the finals again in 1996 after going on a roll in the playoffs despite a sub .500 regular season record.
Dafoe was not afraid to mix it up, and we've got evidence to back that up today, as nothing beats a good goalie fight!
On today's fight card, Byron Dafoe vs. Patrick Lalime.
Dasherboard: In men's hockey yesterday, the Swiss gave the United States all they could handle and only an empty net goal by Zach Parise with 11 seconds left sealed the deal for the US. The Americans actually put three pucks behind Jonas Hiller, but only one went up on the scoreboard, as time ran out just as the first one was crossing the line after defecting off Hiller's stick and back in one of the most unusual plays we have ever seen.
A very determined Canada had their way with Russia, seemingly scoring at will against Evgeni Nabokov until he was mercifully pulled in the second period. Canada scored at 2:21 of the first and then added a pair 46 seconds apart just past the halfway point. Russia scored at 14:39 to give them some temporary hope they could get back into the game before Brendan Morrow restored the three goal lead and put the faint Russian hopes on life support.
Nabokov looked especially bad on the next two Canadian goals in the first four minutes of the second, ending his day. Russia scored two meaningless goals while Canada got to Ilya Bryzgalov for another to close out the scoring as the third period went without a goal.
In a close fought battle, Finland ousted the Czech Republic 2-0. Finland took advantage of a power play when Niklas Hagman tipped in a shot by Janne Niskala while Pavel Kubina was out of position due to an IIHF rule which required him to retrieve his helmet before continuing play.
"It's was good for us he lost his helmet, but it's a stupid rule," Hagman said. "I know they want to keep it safe, if you lose helmet, you should let the guy play. I don't know what they're thinking, but that's the rules and you have to play with them."
An empty net goal give Finland their final 2-0 margin and a date with the United States in the semifinals.
Slovakia defeated the defending Olympic champions Sweden 4-3. Henrik Lundqvist faced only 14 Slovak shots, but four of them found their way into the net with Tomas Kopecky getting the game winner midway through the third period in the late night game.
After a scoreless first period, the teams broke out for five goals in the second, with Gaborik getting a beautiful deflection for Slovakia at 7:34. They extended their lead to two less than 40 seconds later on a goal by Andrej Sekera.
Sweden countered with a pair 37 seconds apart from Patric Hornqvist and Henrik Zetterberg only to have Pavol Demitra put Slovakia back up by one at 3-2 within the final minute of the period.
Slovakia went up 4-2 at 9:01 of the third when Tomas Kopecky scored only to have Daniel Alfredsson counter 38 seconds later. Sweden was unable to get the equalizer despite outshooting Slovakia 10-3 for the period and 29-14 for the game.
Slovakia gets the unenviable task of taking on the resurgent Canadians in front of their rabid home crowd and will certainly need to find a way to put more shots on goal if they are to have a chance to advance to the Gold Medal Final.
Today's Olympic hockey features the women's gold medal final with Canada taking on the United States, in it what essentially is a one game tournament, as both teams have completely demolished their opponents by combined scores of 86-4. Until the rest of the world catches up to these to teams, it might be in the sport's best interest to make the women's championship a best of three format in order to provide a greater number of more meaningful games on the women's side.