Thursday, August 27, 2009
THE DIRT ON: CURTIS SANFORD
Curtis Sanford (photo taken from canucks.nhl.com).
Yes, the Habs signed a bunch of new players this year, and yes, most are talented, but how much do we really know about them? With that question in mind, I decided to write a series of blogs profiling each of the new players. With some of the players, I’ll have tons of information, others very little, but my goal is to shine some light onto who these guys are, on and off the ice.
Name: Curtis Sanford
Position: Back-up goalie / AHL goalie
Hometown: Owen Sound, ON, CAN
What did I know about Curtis Sanford before researching for this blog? Well I knew he played in Vancouver and was Luongo’s back-up, but that’s pretty much it. Back-ups aren’t interviewed as much as the starting goalie, and the team doesn’t focus on them for their website info as much either, so it was extremely difficult to find new and interesting things about him, but I managed.
Let’s start with his on-ice performance. What I came across over and over again was that he had an excellent work ethic and personality and that his coaches and teammates really liked him. He was signed in 2000 by the St. Louis Blues, having been passed over in the 1998 and 1999 drafts. His first NHL game was October 17th 2002. Although the Blues won that night, he was not credited with the win. What had happened was that the starting goalie was injured in the first period when the Blues were up 3-0. Sanford replaced him, and the team won 7-1. So since the winning goal was scored before Sanford was in nets, the starting goalie got the win. He didn’t have to wait long for his first official win though, because 2 days later, he was in nets, beating the Stars 5-3.
His scouting report put him as a #2 goaltender, stating that he had a tremendous attitude and perfect demeanour for the position, and that he had the ability to make big saves at key moments. It also stated that he wasn’t durable enough to be a starting goaltender. Looking at his injuries over the last few seasons, this has proven to be true. He had a sprained ankle in 2002, hip flexor injury in 2005, knee injury in 2006, groin injury in 2006, another groin injury in 2007, back injury in 2008 and another groin injury in 2008. But he works extremely hard at getting back into game shape each time, so hopefully it won’t be too much of an issue.
Now for his stats. He’s played for 4 AHL teams and 2 NHL teams before joining the Habs. In his NHL career his Goals Against Average has been about 2.70 and his Save Percentage hovers around 0.900. Nothing too impressive, but not too bad for a back-up. He’s had 5 shutouts, has won 37 games and lost 37 games, and has had 16 ties. He has never played in an NHL playoff game.
He likes very intense practices that make him feel as though he’s in a game situation. Because he was with Luongo he didn’t have too many opportunities to play, so he wanted to make sure he was ready when the time came.
His Vancouver mask was actually designed by a fan who was chosen through a contest. It featured an orca with its teeth open surrounding the cage part of his mask.
Off the ice he seems to be a nice guy. He’s married (his wife’s name is Malinda) and they have 2 sons, Landon and Kendrik. He loves cycling, and is a fan of Lance Armstrong. His hockey idol is Wayne Gretzky. He goes to Blue Jays games, has been to Scotland a few times and loved it, and likes playing golf.
Whether or not he actually plays in NHL games for Habs this year (most likely he’ll be in Hamilton most of the time) I think he’s a good veteran presence that will be nice to have if needed. Personally, I think Halak does a stand-up job as a back-up, and I don’t think Sanford will be used that much, but I think that he might be a good person for Price and Halak to talk to if problems arise, because he’s been in the league for a while, but is still young enough to relate to them. Overall I think that Gainey improved by getting him instead of resigning Marc Denis.
Stay tuned for the next profile in the series, coming in a couple of days!