After that season, however, Carey’s netminding prowess seemed to disappear. He allowed plenty of soft goals, lost his confidence and also lost everything it takes to be a successful NHL goaltender whether it was with the Capitals, Boston Bruins or St. Louis Blues.
The last time Carey played professional hockey was in 1998-99 with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the International Hockey League (IHL). While with the Cyclones, Carey ended up suffering an inner-ear concussion and missed the remainder of the postseason and, unfortunately, the rest of his hockey career.
Blaine Lacher, Boston Bruins
During the very season that Jim Carey came into the NHL, another young goaltender also took the league by storm before disappearing into hockey darkness.
In the lockout-shortened season, the Boston Bruins had a young netminder by the name of Blaine Lacher. After working on his game with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League, Lacher got called up by NHL Bruins and immediately took control of the congested goaltending debacle by beating out Craig Billington and Vincent Riendeau.
In his first seven starts, Lacher went 6-1 and finished the season with a 19-11-2 record, a 2.41 GAA, a .902 save percentage and four shutouts. Lacher helped the Bruins reach the postseason as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately, things seemed to go downhill for Lacher from here on out as his Bruins lost to the New Jersey Devils in five games:
The following season, Lacher played in just 12 games. He went 3-5-2, allowed 44 goals, had a GAA of 3.52 and a save percentage .845. These numbers certainly did not equal an NHL starting netminder.
The rest of Lacher’s 1995-96 season was split between Providence and the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks. The 1996-97 campaign would be the last professional hockey season for Lacher, who spent it with the Grand Rapid Griffins, also of the IHL, and went 1-8-1 before hanging the pads up.
Jim Craig, Atlanta Flames, Boston Bruins, Minnesota North Stars
In 1980, goaltender Jim Craig was one of the main reasons behind Team USA’s miracle run to the gold medal in Lake Placid.
Outstanding would be an understatement to describe Craig’s play in the 1980 Olympics, particularly against the heavily favoured Soviet Union team. In that game alone, the U.S. was outshot 42-16, but Craig made 39 saves, many of the unbelievable variety.
It was Craig’s performance in that game that helped the Americans reach the following match against Finland, where the U.S. would officially capture the gold medal, beating the Finns 4-2. Craig will go down in history as a man who played a significant role in one of the landmark moments in U.S. sports history.
Unfortunately for Craig, he was fresh out of miracles when he came to the NHL. Following his superstar performance in the Olympics, Craig would play in 30 NHL games combined for the Atlanta Flames, Boston Bruins and Minnesota North Stars.
Craig would go 11-10-7 with a 3.78 GAA, a .839 save percentage and no shutouts in the NHL. Certainly not numbers that would make anyone a starting goaltender at hockey’s highest level of play.