Tom Barrasso - one of the greatest goalies of all-time, undoubtedly the greatest goaltender in Pittsburgh history. He was in net for Pittsburgh's first championship in 1990, and was back between the pipes again in '91.
Today, as part of Pensburgh's continued series Pens of the Past, we take a look at number 35; Tommy B.
Tom Barrasso was only 18 years old when drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 1983. Like many hockey players he started young, but by the age of four he was already in pads. In retrospect, 18 was right on pace.
Tommy B. joined the Pittsburgh club in 1988 after a mid-season trade with the Sabres. What "TomCat" brought to the team was a solid presence between the pipes. A guy you knew would come out there and consistently stop shots, while not necessarily tallying up shutouts a la his predecessors Dryden and goaltender-to-be Brodeur. But when you consider the Lemieux-Francis-Stevens-Tocchet offense, there wasn't much Barrasso could do wrong that wouldn't soon be covered up by a Pens goal.
The abrasive yet charitable Boston native is also known for his strained relationship with the Pittsburgh media, whom he felt were invading the privacy of his family and portraying him in a dismal light. Nowadays the NHL and its players are more or less manhandling the media and portraying a highly positive light on sportsmanship and the sport as a whole. But when Tommy B told the media to shut up - he did it without a concern in the world.
Perhaps one of the most surprising stats about Tom Barrasso extends beyond his 369 wins. Barrasso holds the NHL record for most assists by a goaltender with 48. Similarly, he holds the record for most points by a goaltender as well, also at 48. Even still, those 369 wins make Barrasso second on the all-time wins list of U.S. born goaltenders. John Vanbiesbrouck is first with 374.
Barrasso's tenure with the Penguins came to its end in 1999 when he was traded to the Ottawa Senators for Ron Tugnutt and Janne Laukkanen. Tommy announced his retirement the following season, but only remained out of action for a year. Between 2001 and 2003, it would almost seem he struggled with the notion of retiring - a cliche example of a player's body not responding to his inner level of competition. If his stats weren't enough evidence of this notion, then his post-Penguins career is. Barrasso backstopped for the Sens, the Hurricane, Leafs and Blues from 2000 up until 2003 when he finally called it quits for good.
Currently Tom Barrasso is a goaltending coach for the Carolina Hurricanes, working beside former teammate and Hurricanes assistant general manager Ron Francis.