July 20, 2011
Former Sen Lalime retires
By Don Brennan, QMI Agency
The Senators’ No. 1 goalie is moving from the crease to the broadcast booth.
Patrick Lalime, who sits No. 1 on the franchise list of all-time wins (146), shutouts (30) and games between the pipes (283), announced his retirement Wednesday. The 37-year-old native of St. Bonaventure, Que., spent five of his 12 NHL seasons in Ottawa, where he and his family will now settle as he embarks on a new career as an RDS broadcaster, with a large part of his reporting to be done on the local team.
“It feels weird, let’s put it that way,” Lalime said of hanging up the pads. “But I think I’m at that stage in my life. I’m ready for the next chapter.”
Lalime began his career perfectly with an NHL-record 16-game unbeaten streak for the Penguins. He also played in St. Louis and Chicago, and spent his last three seasons as Ryan Miller’s backup in Buffalo. However, in 2010-11, he only saw action in seven games — which helped him also see the writing on the wall.
“This year I didn’t play much. I kind of had a little bit of time to see this coming, and prepare myself for the second part of my life,” Lalime said. “That’s why I’m excited to move on.
“I’m sure when hockey starts again, it will be a weird feeling, for sure, in the beginning. But right now I can say I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”
Lalime was acquired by the Senators during the summer of 1999 to be Ron Tugnutt’s understudy, but he wound up playing 38 games that season and taking full control of the No. 1 role. The end for him in Ottawa came April 20, 2004, when his shaky play was the ugliest mark on a Game 7, first-round playoff loss to the Maple Leafs.
He played some great games for the Senators in between. Fans who sneer at that memory may forget that Lalime was also brilliant in the 2002 playoffs, when he allowed two goals in a five-game series win over the Flyers. Three consecutive shutouts have his name in the NHL record book.
“I always think it’s good stuff, even when some stuff happened, like at the end, probably my last game, the way it turned out,” Lalime said when asked how he’ll remember his days as a Senator. “But the first thing I think all the time is when we went to semis against the Devils. When we lost Game 7. It’s probably one of my best memories as a player, and at the same time one of my worst, because you’re getting that close to achieving your goal, and it never happens.
“I totally enjoyed working here, and playing with the guys I played with. Everywhere I’ve been, it’s been a good experience. All the teammates, the coaching ... made a lot of friends. It’s been a very fun part of my life. You do the thing you love, which was playing hockey, and I had the privilege to play in the NHL, and play for a long time. I’m very proud of that. It’s time to move on now.”
To Lalime, the next venture was a natural choice.
“It was at the top of my list, I would say broadcasting and goalie coach were the two things,” he said. “I always told myself I wanted to stay in hockey, that’s all I know, basically, and those were the two things that always had me thinking.”