Monday, April 09, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Yves Belanger

There's times that goalies in these AGMs have a great minor league career and have a renaissance in their career during their minor league tenures and parlay it to some success in the NHL. This isn't one of them, as the time in the NHL for this week's AGM wouldn't be the best and wouldn't have the steam he had in the minor leagues. This week's profile is of the career of Yves Belanger.

Belanger started with the QMJHL's Sherbrooke Castors starting in the 1969-70 season, playing 50 games and recording a 20-25-2 record. During the 1970-71 season, Belanger went 22-17-0 in 49 appearances, while going 2-5 in nine playoff games. Belanger spent one more season with Sherbrooke in the 1971-72 campaign, sporting a 19-19-0 record in 43 games.

After his final junior year, Belanger was signed by the WHA's Cleveland Crusaders, but went to their affiliate, the Syracuse Blazers of the Eastern League, where he would play 38 games. He would winning five by shutout, and would help the Blazers in the final Walker Cup of the fledgling league. During awards time, Belanger won the George L. Davis, Jr. Trophy for fewest goals against and got First Team All-Star honors. In the 1973-74 season, Belanger moved to the AHL's Jacksonville Barons and would put up a 17-27-4 record in 54 games.

In a twist of events, the Crusaders traded Belanger to the NHL's St. Louis Blues for cash before the 1974-75 season. Belanger played only 11 games for the Blues that season, going 6-3-2; but would spend most of the season with the Central League's Denver Spurs for 36 games, compiling a 19-13-3 record in 36 games. The 1975-76 season placed Belanger with the Blues, finishing with 11-17-1 record in 31 games, as well as spending 10 games with the AHL's Providence Reds for 10 games, going 3-4-3 and then losing both his playoff appearances. Belanger honed his craft in the Central League for the 1976-77 season with the Kansas City Blues, playing in 31 games and posting a 21-4-4 record-- allowing Belanger to get the Terry Sawchuk Trophy for fewest goals against and First Team All-Star honors. That season, Belanger also played in St. Louis, going 2-0-0 in three games. The 1977-78 season, Belanger started off with St. Louis, losing all three of the games he played before being moved.

Belanger, with Bob MacMillian, Dick Redmond, and a draft pick, were sent to the Atlanta Flames for Phil Myre, Curt Bennett, and Barry Gibbs. With the Flames, Belanger only played 17 games and finished with a 7-8-0 record. That season, he would also spend time with the Central League's Salt Lake Golden Eagles for nine games and finish with a 5-3-0 record. The 1978-79 season saw Belanger in the AHL with the Philadelphia Firebirds, where he would play 22 games and finish with a 4-14-1 record, while playing five games in Atlanta with a 1-2-0 record to show for it.

Before the 1979-80 season, Belanger signed with the Boston Bruins, where he would play only eight games and have a 2-0-3 record. Most of that season would be spent with the Binghamton Dusters of the AHL, where Belanger would sport a 7-13-1 record in his 22 appearances.

From the 1980-81 season, Belanger would go to the Maritimes of Canada, playing in amateur leagues through out Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. The teams would include the Charlottetown Islanders, Cap Pele Caps, and Charlottetown GJs before retiring after the 1983-84 season. However, Belanger would make his return with the Charlottetown Islanders in the 1986-87 season prior to retiring for good.

While he had small time success in smaller markets, Belanger didn't seem to crack the NHL with much gusto. Though the minor leagues did help Belanger, it didn't seem to carry over into his call-ups to the big time. However, he did know when to say when and settled down in the amateur leagues to stay somewhat competitive, even if it's not high stakes.


bikesgonewild said... would seems that being a good goalie is at least 90% mental strength + 90% physical skills...

...& if you know goalies, you know that's actually kinda possible...(hey, who whispered roberto loungo ???...thank you)... many of these agm's you've been featuring, no matter the era, were so totally inconsistent...

...solid here, like a sieve there...up, down, back n' forth...then you've got guys like devils netminder marty brodeur or the retired patrick roy...pretty much "on" throughout their careers...

...gotta be a tough life...

lawrenceba549 said...

I watched Yves Belanger with those Syracuse Blazers in 72-73. He and Joe Junkin were the stoppers of a team that went 63-9-4 in the regular season, the last season of the Eastern Hockey League. Most goalies will tell you it is easier to play consistently when your spot on the team is secure and your role on the team clearly spelled out. Apparently, in the NHL. Yves did not have that luxery, as he did with the Blazers.