Andy a dandy backup

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Despite his youth, Andy Moog had already made a name for himself by the time the Edmonton Oilers made it to the 1984 Stanley Cup final.

If anything, Montreal Canadiens fans knew all about the goaltender from Penticton, B.C., having backstopped the Oilers to a shocking first-round upset of the Habs three years previously.

Moog, then 24, took a backseat to Grant Fuhr in the '84 playoffs, but came off the bench to win the final two games and the Oilers' first Stanley Cup.

NO. 1 CAREER HIGHLIGHT

"Winning that Stanley Cup would be definitely on the top, that would be No. 1 of my career highlights," said Moog. "Going into that final series we already had a lot of history against the Islanders. We had lost to them in the final the year before and there were things that we learned losing series, that were invaluable going forward.

"We would never have been able to win if we didn't learn those lessons. And we were taught them first-hand from the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"Some of the adversity that the Islanders were able to play through was unbelievable. They weren't necessarily healthy, but they were still able to find a way and that was a valuable lesson for us moving forward."

Moog was the Oilers' sixth pick - 132 overall - in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft.

The following season, Oilers head coach and general manager Glen Sather made a shocking announcement, naming Moog his starting goaltender in their first-round series against the Canadiens. At the time the rookie goaltender played in just seven NHL games, having spent most of the season in the minors with the Wichita Wind.

After sweeping the Canadiens, the Oilers were defeated in the second round by the Islanders who went on to claim their second Stanley Cup. Two years later, Moog was in goal as the Islanders swept the Oilers in the final for their fourth consecutive Cup victory.

"We had the best one-two punch in the league when it came to goaltending with Andy and Grant," said Dave Hunter. "A lot of times when you have two great goalies like that, there's some friction, but they really got along. That's a big plus, when you have two great goalies that get along."

When Fuhr went down with a shoulder injury in Game 3 of the series against the Islanders, Moog came in and carried the load. The Oilers outscored the Islanders 19-6 in the final three games.

"It was a situation where the series was played two-three-two and we took so much momentum home. We got off to such a fantastic start in Game 3 and kept the ball rolling," Moog said. "Halfway through Game 5 we had a 4-0 lead. It was a situation where the two-three-two series really played into our favour."

Having sat on the bench for a good portion of the playoffs wasn't easy for Moog.

"I think I just tried to have a good attitude and put in a good effort," Moog said. "I did play earlier in the playoffs against Minnesota, so it wasn't like I had been sitting around for four or five weeks.

"It took a little while, but the team was playing so well that it was easy to be a goaltender for the Oilers at that time."

Moog went on to win two more Stanley Cups with the Oilers before being traded to the Boston Bruins following a stint with the 1988 Olympic Team.

Shortly after joining the Bruins, he earned the starting spot and went on to face the Oilers in the 1988 Cup final.

"The first year back, Game 1 in Edmonton, it was strange, it was difficult," Moog said. "For me I had just arrived in Boston a couple of months earlier and all of a sudden we were in Game 1 of the final against the Oilers."

GOALTENDING CONSULTANT

Now working as a goaltending consultant for the Dallas Stars, Moog runs into his old teammates from time to time.

He caught up with Kevin McClelland during the Central Hockey League championship series where the Texas Brahmas were squaring off against the Colorado Eagles.

Moog is part of the Brahmas ownership group, while McClelland coaches the Eagles. The Brahmas went on to win the series in five games.

"We got a chance to talk after the CHL championships," Moog said. "Going into Game 5, I put my Stanley Cup ring on because I knew that he was going to have his on and I wanted to balance the tables a little bit."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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