Senators by the Numbers: #35
Mark LaForest G 1993-1994
LaForest was born in Welland, Ontario in 1962 and was undrafted after two years in the OHL. He signed with the Detroit Red Wings in 1983, spending much of the 80s in Detroit's farm system. The goalie, known as "Trees" throughout his career, twice won the "Baz" Bastian Award as the AHL best tender. He played a handful of NHL games with the Wings, Flyers, and Leafs during his 20s then was claimed by the Senators in the NHL Expansion Draft in 1992. Last year Mike Ashmore did an interesting two-part interview with LaForest, and the former player had this to say about his time in the Senators organization:
Their general manager, I was near the termination date to sign a contract, and I never got a contract to sign to have a year left. So they said I was a free agent. They traded for another goalie, and I didn't get to go to camp and it was a mess. I ended up playing in the United League trying to stay in shape, and then finally the coach down in New Haven, where Ottawa's farm team was, they were getting killed every night. And it was, ‘Well, how come Trees isn't here?' They finally settled on giving me lots of money to play in the minors, because I was going to sue them. I was pissed. I had lawyers going. I ended up getting a fair shake and playing in the minors, and the next season is when I got called up and ended up going up to Ottawa. I'd been out of the league for four years. We played nine games on the road, they were all road games, and I saw old teammates in warmups. I saw Adam Oates in Boston, and he couldn't believe I was still alive. (Laughs).
I played hard. I drank too much, all that stuff. Just hanging around with different people, and it wore me down. But now I've been sober 14 years and life is good.
His five games with the Senators were his last in the NHL; he spent three more seasons in the minors and retired in 1997. LaForest had a difficult time adjusting to retirement, he states:
It was so hard when the career was over. To all of a sudden go from being a part of an organization and a hockey team where you're with a bonded bunch of guys, and now you're alone. There was alcoholism. At the time, it was depression. It was everything, and oh was it hard. But I was fortunate to run into some of the right people at the right time, and I got myself some help and I've been on that path for 14 years now.
Mike Bales G 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1996-1997
Born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1971, Bales was drafted 105th overall by the Boston Bruins in 1990 and played college hockey for the Buckeyes at Ohio State University. He played parts of four seasons in the NHL, playing 25 minutes for the Bruins against the Devils in 1993. He signed with the Senators as a free agent and had his most productive campaign in the NHL in 1995-96, appearing in 20 games for the Sens. After his time in Ottawa, he signed with Buffalo and Dallas, but never cracked big league lineups again. In 2001 he made the move to Europe, first joining the Belfast Giants then playing for Ingolstadt ERC in the DEL and Leksands IF in the SEL. From 2004 to 2010, Bales played for the Straubing Tigers in the 2DEL. Since retiring he's joined the Pittsburgh Penguins as a goaltending development coach and amateur scout in 2011 and was promoted to goaltender coach last month.
Tom Barrasso G 1999-2000
Born in Boston in 1965, Barrasso was drafted 5th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 1983. The only goaltender to ever play in the NHL directly from high school (without having played major junior, college or some pro hockey first), he is also the youngest player to ever win the Vezina Trophy, winning the award for best goalie as an 18-year-old rookie in 1984. He was crowned the NHL's best rookie as well, winning the Calder Trophy. Barrasso won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992. The first American goalie to record 300 wins in the NHL, Barrasso was traded to the Senators for Ron Tugnutt and Janne Laukkanen. The last few seasons of his career were hampered by injuries and he missed the entire 2000-2001 season. He briefly played for the Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, and Blues before retiring in 2003. Inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009, he has worked as a coach since retiring. He spent 5 years working for the Hurricanes and joined the coaching staff of Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL in 2012.
Jani Hurme G 2000-2001, 2001-2002
Born in Turku, Finland in 1975, Hurme was drafted 58th overall by the Senators in 1993. He played parts of three seasons in Ottawa; wearing #1 during his first season (1999-00) with the Sens. He was traded to Florida for Billy Thompson and Greg Watson in October, 2002. Traded to the Thrashers, his time in Atlanta was hampered by injuries; he missed the entire 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 season due to a back injury and serious hospital infections. He returned to play in 2005-2006, spending the season in the AHL. From 2006 to 2009, Hurme played in Finland for TPS and in Sweden for the Malmö Redhawks.
Alex Auld G 2011-2012
Born in Cold Lake, Alberta in 1981, Auld was drafted 40th overall by the Florida Panthers in 1999. Auld spent four seasons with the North Bay Centennials of the OHL before moving on to the Columbia Inferno of the ECHL. He played for 8 different NHL teams, including two different stints with the Senators. Auld wore #35 during his second run with Ottawa. His season went poorly, as his weak play resulted in the Sens calling up Robin Lehner and acquiring Ben Bishop when Craig Anderson was injured. It proved to be his last season in the NHL and he currently plays EC Red Bull Salzburg in Austria.
Best #35: Jani Hurme
I guess I'll go with Hurme? This is not an impressive list.
Worst #35: Tom Barrasso
It could have been Auld, his second stint in Ottawa was quite terrible, but Barrasso's time in the capital was not stellar either. While his time in a Sens jersey is largely forgettable now, greater stability was expected from the long-time pro at the time.
Who wore it best?