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Somber, solemn and silent, Terry Sawchuk is one of hockey’s most memorable figures in net. Nicknamed “Yukey” from his Ukrainian heritage, he led Detroit to three Stanley Cup titles in just five years and is one of the greatest ever.

During the 1951-52 playoffs, Sawchuck’s performance was one for the ages as he allowed just five goals over a eight game span. Recording four shutouts during that playoff run, Sawchuk was the force behind the Red Wings sweeping both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens en route to the Stanley Cup.

As tremendous as his career and play was, his story is one of tragedy and ultimate sacrifice in the name of team success. Numerous injuries took their toll, slowly robbing Sawchuk of his health and way of living but never stopping him from playing for his team.

After Detroit general manager Jack Adams ordered Sawchuck to lose weight before the 1951-52 season, the goaltender struggled with his weight and illness. Traded to the Boston Bruins in the summer of 1955, Sawchuk contracted mononucleosis late in 1956 and retired from hockey after a long struggle with his health.

Sawchuk returned after being acquired by the Red Wings in 1957, wearing the winged wheel for seven more seasons before being claimed by Toronto in the intraleague draft.

At the ripe age of 37, Sawchuk teamed with Johnny Bower to deliver a Stanley Cup championship to the heavy underdog, the Maple Leafs. 

One of the greatest goaltenders of all time, Sawchuk could stop everything but was haunted by his own personal struggles and serious health conditions.

Inside the Numbers : 4 Stanley Cups, 4 Vezina trophies, 1 Calder trophy, 1 Lester Patrick trophy.

What sets him apart : Sawchuk is the toughest goaltender to ever strap on the pads. During an age where playing goaltender could break a man’s spirit, he dominated when the stakes were highest.

In an age where goaltender equipment was barely functional and you had no backup to relieve you, Sawchuk was dominant. 

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Source : http://bleacherreport.com/articles/690878-nhl-rankings-top-50-greatest-goaltenders-in-nhl-history

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