The Oshawa Generals have themselves a new goalie coach with a great deal of experience.
The Ontario Hockey League club announced on Thursday that former National Hockey League goaltender Ron Tugnutt is joining the club as its goaltending coach for the 2009-10 OHL season.
Tugnutt, 41, played pro hockey from 1987 until 2003 after starting his career as a goaltender with the Peterborough Petes. The Scarborough native brings a wealth of experience to the Generals staff after spending 16 seasons in pro hockey.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have a guy like Ron Tugnutt in our organization,” Generals owner Rocco Tullio said. “Ron enjoyed a long career in the National Hockey League and there is no doubt that he can show our young players what it takes to be successful as they develop their careers here in Oshawa.
“He’ll certainly be a very welcome addition to our staff.”
Oshawa General Manager/Coach Chris DePiero feels Tugnutt will relate well to today’s OHL player.
“Anybody who has played as long at the NHL level as Ron has is respected in any dressing room,” DePiero said. “Our goalies Kevin Bailie and Michael Zador will no doubt benefit greatly from his experience and they will learn an enormous amount from him.
“We certainly welcome Ron to the organization as we continue to build our program here in Oshawa.”
Tugnutt was a star with the Peterborough Petes for three seasons before being drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft (81st overall). He won the F. W. "Dinty" Moore Trophy for the rookie with the best goals against average in his first season in the OHL, followed by the Dave Pinkney Trophy for top team goaltending, and was named to the OHL All Star team in 1987. He made his NHL debut the next season with the Nordiques, appearing in six games.
After five seasons in Quebec, Tugnutt also played in Edmonton, Anaheim, Montreal, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Dallas before ending his playing career after the 2003-04 season.
Tugnutt enjoyed his best season in 1998-99, when he posted a league-best goals against average of 1.79, placed second in the league in save percentage at .925, had a career high in wins, and tied a career high in shutouts. Tugnutt played in the NHL All-Star Game that season.
He was involved in two memorable performances in his career. On March 21, 1991, Tugnutt stopped 70 of 73 shots to earn Quebec a 3-3 tie against the Boston Bruins, the second highest number of saves made in a regular season NHL game.
On May 4, 2000, he made 70 saves on 72 shots in the epic 2-1 Philadelphia win over his Pittsburgh Penguins, a five overtime game in the playoffs that lasted 152:01, the longest NHL game since the 1930s.
Widely known as one of the nicest guys in the game, Tugnutt has also worked as a colour commentator for CBC Television and has coached his kids minor hockey teams at his home near Peterborough over the years. He wound up appearing in 537 NHL games, posting a career 3.05 GAA.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)