Drafted by the New York Islanders in 1980, Kelly Hrudey put in 15 years playing goal in the National Hockey League. During that time, he played in the Islanders-Capitals 1987 Easter Epic (a four-overtime Game 7 and the longest in club history) and went to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, where his Los Angeles Kings fell 4-1 to the champion Montreal Canadiens. Suffice to say that Hrudey faced plenty of rubber between the pipes before retiring as a member of the San Jose Sharks in 1998.
When asked what three sharp-shooters gave him the hardest time, he prefaced it all by saying, “I’m leaving out 50 other guys.” Here is Hrudey’s terrible trio:
Tim Kerr (NHL Playing career: 1980 to 1993)
“He was just raw power. He stood really close to the net, had an incredible shot and was very effective on the power play. Some guys, you could get a piece of the puck and it would be enough to go wide. But he would just overpower you. It was unbelievable and I’ve got to put in Mario Lemieux as well, despite the little amount that I faced him.”
Pavel Bure (NHL Playing career: 1991 to 2003)
“At the time, I thought he was the most dynamic player that I had to face. Keep in mind, I played with Gretzsky for eight years, so I’m leaving him out of the mix. Pavel Bure was just phenomenal and he just used his speed in ways that we hadn’t seen before. He had terrific hands and it seemed like he had two, three or four breakaways on me every game. So when it came to him, it was just me trying to deal with that.”
Al MacInnis (NHL Playing career: (1981 to 2003)
“I played against him a ton of times and his shot was overpowering as well. He had maybe the best slap pass ever at that point. He had that great fake, where it looked like it was a regular howitzer slap shot and yet at the last second, he was able to turn the blade over, cup it over the puck and make a wonderful tape-to-tape pass to a guy like Joe Nieuwendyk or someone like that. It was so impressive. Al MacInnis also had a rare element to his shot. You heard in baseball, if certain pitches get to a certain speed, it rises just a little bit? That’s what Al’s shot would do at certain times if he really connected. Just before it got to you, it would gain a little bit of height just as it got near you. It was crazy.”