by Patrick Hoffman on 12/11/09 at 07:09 PM ET
Larry Brooks of The New York Post has an interesting solution when it comes to the New York Rangers’ backup goaltending situation. The name is an oldie but a goodie and Blueshirt fans will always remember him beating up on New York Islanders’ goaltender Tommy Salo back in 1998.
Perhaps the answer to both the Rangers’ backup goaltending situation that John Tortorella called, “a mess,” following this morning’s practice and the team’s lack of toughness might be found in the same place.
That would be Rockford, Ill., where Dan Cloutier, the pugilistic one-time Blueshirts’ netminder, is attempting a comeback on a PTO with the AHL Ice Dogs after an 18-month layoff following a pair of hip surgeries.
Cloutier, the Blueshirts’ 1994 first-round Entry Draft selection, is famously and fondly remembered by Ranger Nation for challenging the Islanders’ bench in his hockey skivvies after beating up Tommy Salo during a brawl at the Coliseum on Apr. 4, 1998.
Now 33, Cloutier has played one game since signing with the Ice Dogs. Well, make that part of one game, for the netminder received a match penalty 26:22 into last Sunday’s match against Manitoba for getting involved in a fight after he’d been knocked down by Guillaume Desbiens.
Cloutier, who had a 2.62 GAA and a 10-13-4 record for the Rangers before being sent to Tampa on the day of the 1999 Entry Draft in the ill-conceived trade for the right to move up and select washout forward Pavel Brendl at fourth overall, received a one-game suspension for the fight that he will serve tonight in Austin when his team meets the Texas Stars.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.