“Guardians Of the Goal: A Comprehensive Guide to New York Rangers Goaltenders, from Hal Winkler to Ed Giacomin, Henrik Lundqvist, and All Those in Between” In-Depth Book Review – Every Ranger Goalie Covered, Great Book For NYR History Fans, Another Negative Rod Gilbert Story & Much More

In my opinion, George Grimm has a win percentage of 1.000 & a 2-0 record with his two books. Photo Credit: Guardians of the Goal

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. With a “snow day” on Monday, December 2nd, I figured this would be a good time to squeeze in a quick book review.

I’ve pumped out a lot of content this week, so before continuing, check out all the blogs from this week by clicking the links below:

NYR/NJD 11/30 Review: King Alexandar Georgiev & The Rangers Shut-Out The Down & Out Devils, Huge NYR Team Win; Devils a Mess, NYR’s Special Teams Pull a 180, Rangers Always on the Ice PK > Devils PK Subban, NYR Defense Stands Tall, Cam Talbot, Fake News Lundqvist Fan-Boy Steve Valiquette Hits a New Low (Even For Him) & Much More From a Great NYR Victory

NYR/BOS 11/29 Review: The Rangers Beyond Brutal Power-Play (0-6) & “Ants in the Pants” Lundqvist Cost The Rangers a Point in Beantown, A Glass Half Empty/Half Full Type Of Game, Brendan Smith > Robert Deniro, DeAngelo’s “LEETCH-WATCH”, King Halak Moves to 15-5 vs Lundqvist, Alcoholic Seltzer & More

NYR/CAR 11/27 Review: Rangers Go Streaking on Thanksgiving Eve, Lundqvist Shuts Down Carolina Again, Zibanejad Wastes No Time Picking Up Where He Left Off, Panarin Continues to Amaze, Fox’s Best Game, NYR Trivia, The M$G Experience Continues to Disappoint & More From a Happy Night in NYC

The Legacy Of The Greatest Ranger of All Time Frank Boucher & My Trek To Kemptville, Ontario: My Time & Meeting With The Family of Frank Boucher, The Baird’s, Exclusive Boucher Memorabilia and HHOF Photos & Another Plea For The Rangers To Retire Frank Boucher’s #7 Jersey

NYR/MINN 11/25 Review: Rangers Squeak An Overtime Victory Out Behind a Tony DeAngelo GWG, Breadman Serves Apples, “Operation Lemieux”, Zuccarello Becomes Eddie Giacomin For a New Generation, Emile Francis, Valiquette’s Burning Love for Henrik Lundqvist; Hank Picks Up Win #455, HFC & More From a Wild Mild Win

BCBS For 11/25: The Montreal Road-Trip Blog! The Rangers Pull off The Statement Game of all Statement Games, Hab Fans/MTL Bar Scene, NYR At The Quarter-Mark, Lemieux’s Ascension To Fan-Favorite & Being a Hockey Player’s Hockey Player, New Stubhub Trick, DeAngelo Pops Off on the Chart Geeks, Nieves Call-Up, Zucc & More

NYR/OTT 11/22 Review, Live From Ottawa: The Senators Impeach The Rangers Out Of Canada’s Capital; NYR Gets Thoroughly Embarrassed, Lundqvist’s Classless Meltdowns, Special Teams Go Kaput, My Flight with Balki & Tony, Meeting Frank Boucher’s Family & Much More

This is George Grimm’s second book on the New York Rangers. Photo Credit: George Grimm

In October of 2019, Rangers fan & author George Grimm, released his second New York Ranger related book, entitled “Guardians of the Goal”. When I saw this book was coming out, I was excited for several reasons. For starters, I enjoy reading books. Secondly, the topic was right in my wheel-house. And lastly, I thought Grimm’s first book, entitled “We Did Everything But Win: The Emile Francis Era”, was a homerun.

In fact, if you haven’t read Grimm’s first book, which covers Emile Francis & his time period with the Rangers, you can check out my review of that book here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/efbook/

In “Guardians of the Goal”, George Grimm undertakes the painstaking task of researching every goalie that has ever played for the Rangers. Whether a goalie played one period, one game, a year, years or was a “franchise” goalie; George Grimm, in “Guardians of the Goal”, has every New York Ranger goalie covered.

Going into this book, I felt well versed about this topic. After all, I wrote a history blog, looking at all the major goalies in New York Ranger history years ago. You can find that blog here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/3530/

In the blog linked above, I took a look at the Mike Richter vs Henrik Lundqvist debate. Photo Credit: Getty Images/NHL

When it comes to “Guardians of the Goal”, I didn’t know what I would take out of the book, as I felt like I knew this subject matter very well. After all, what other Ranger blogger routinely name drops guys like Dave Kerr and Chuck Rayner on their blogs? Also, due to my research and interactions with the Frank Boucher family (my blog about my meeting with the Boucher family is linked above) I kind of had a handle on the goalies that Boucher dealt with, during his 29 year run with the Rangers.

What I’m trying to get at here, is that while I’m in the target audience of which “Guardians of the Goal” was designed for, I didn’t know if I would learn anything new. While there were a few tidbits here and there, I found myself nodding along a lot, as I read “Guardians of the Goal.” However, I know I’m a freak about Rangers history. I’ll even say with full confidence, that I know more about Rangers history than anyone in the Rangers front office today. After all, if anyone in that Rangers front office knew more about Rangers history than me, then Frank Boucher’s #7 jersey would be hanging from the M$G rafters right now!

In addition, when it comes to Rangers history, which this book covers a lot of, I have also been campaigning for a “RANGERS RINK OF HONOR”. In fact, I did a blog about this, which I’m currently in the process of fleshing out into a book. You can read that blog here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rohnyr/

If I wrote a book about Ranger goaltenders, this would’ve been my cover photo. However, I get it, Lundqvist is more popular and he’s the guy now. If you’re looking to increase book sales, Lundqvist on the cover makes sense. Photo Credit: NHL

I mention my background and fandom of Ranger history for one reason – while I pretty much knew everything that Grimm was writing about; for the majority of fans, if they read this book, they will take a ton of information out of it. Usually, when I do book reviews (check the tab at the top of the site for all of them) I wait until the end to give you the final verdict. I don’t need to do that here. This book is a MUST for any Ranger fan who cares about Rangers history or wants to know about Rangers history.

Not only does this book cover 93+ years of Ranger goaltenders, Grimm adds news and notes about each era. He also talks about some of the teammates these goalies played with. Grimm also mentions the front office and coaches of each era.

While Grimm doesn’t spend too much time on all the history of the Rangers, as this book is dedicated to the goaltenders, there are so many history factoids and news about the Rangers franchise in general, that this book comes off like a textbook for a Rangers History 101 college course. In addition, the book contains stats for every goalie, no matter how short or long their tenure was as a Ranger.

As you start “Guardians of the Goal”, as Grimm recaps every goalie, there are times where Grimm quotes the deceased goalies or the deceased players that watched these goalies play. As Grimm continues the book, in a chronological fashion, Grimm then gets interviews with some of the goalies that he’s covering. To make his book even tighter, Grimm talks about what these goalies did, both on and off the ice, once their time with the Rangers was over. For example, did you know that ex-Ranger goalie Bob Froese is now a Pastor?

I’ve talked a lot about Gump Worsley on these blogs. I even reviewed his autobiography too. It’s just a shame you can’t find any full length footage of any of his games as a Ranger. Photo Credit: NHL/HHOF

As Grimm talks about every Rangers goalie that has ever played for the Rangers, he also highlights the major & best goalies in Rangers history, giving them the “franchise label”. Goalies included as “franchise goalies”, in the eyes of Grimm, were Dave Kerr, Chuck Rayner, Gump Worsley, Eddie Giacomin, John Davidson, Mike Richter and Henrik Lundqvist. As you’ll see below, I pretty much agree with all of that, except for JD. JD did not have the tenure that these other goalies had. I felt that Grimm considered JD a “franchise goalie”, just because like the goalies listed above, JD made a Stanley Cup Final appearance for the Rangers.

If there was anything that I learned from this book, it was Grimm’s deep dive into Lester Patrick and how Patrick sold off the Rangers minor league assets during World War II time. I was aware that something like this happened, but I didn’t realize how severe this move was. I still think, even if Patrick didn’t sell off the minor league assets, the Rangers still would’ve been screwed during this period of time anyway, just because of NHL draft rights/C-contracts at this period of time.

In “Guardians of the Goal”, just like in Grimm’s previous book about Emile Francis, you can see that Grimm really loves the topic that he’s covering. I really felt that Grimm shone a light on guys that deserved it, and on players that many Ranger fans might not be aware of today.

While I knew this fact from reading Stan Fischler books, did you know that the Rangers actually tried to change Lorne Chabot’s name for marketing reasons? They pulled a WWF! Photo Credit: HHOF

At this time, I would like to share with you some pages from the book, with my comments from Twitter beneath each page shown here:


To troll me/break my balls, from time-to-time, my buddy BORGATA RAY will text me this picture of himself and Henrik Lundqvist!

For long-time readers of this blog, especially readers of my book reviews, this was another book that featured a negative story about Rod Gilbert. I’ve talked about this in past book reviews. YOU SEE THIS ALL THE TIME. There has to be some truth to what’s been put out there, right? I will say here what I say every time that I see Rod Gilbert’s name mentioned negatively in a book – I wish he would write a tell-all and defend himself. In the world of hockey literature, Rod Gilbert is painted in a negative light. I want to hear/read his side.

After covering every Ranger goalie of the last 93+ seasons, Grimm takes a look ahead and looks at the future of Ranger goaltending. Of course, CZAR IGOR SHESTYORKIN is mentioned.

My buddy Cam Talbot even gets major ink in “Guardians of the Goal”. Photo Credit: Getty Images

You can purchase this book at book stores, if you can find a book store in your area. If you can’t find a book store, you can buy this book off of Amazon, by visiting https://www.amazon.com/Guardians-Goal-Comprehensive-Goaltenders-Lundqvist/dp/1683583272 directly.

In the past, I’ve told you that I usually wait a year or so to buy a book after its release date (unless I’m buying an old book) because you can get a used copy of the book for pennies on the dollar. When it came to this book, I bought it the day it came out, for $18.99. For less than $20, this book is worth it.

If you’ve seen my past book reviews, you know that I have soft spot for independent authors. It’s not an easy business and most of these authors write these books out of passion, and not for profit. There isn’t a huge market for independent hockey books. Most of these books are independently published. It’s not like you have some big publishing house giving these authors a huge money advance. I can personally attest to this. If there was this going on, I would’ve finished my Rangers Rink of Honor book a year ago!

Grimm did another fabulous job with his latest book. It’s worth your money and your time. I think newer fans will take a lot out of it. I think older fans will enjoy re-living memories from their past. In fact, I can also personally attest to something else here again, as I lent this book to my dad, who got a kick out of remembering some of these goalies that only played one or two games in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

And one more personal note here – if fans don’t support these books, we will see less of them. While I’m not trying to make Grimm a martyr here, he has now put out two fantastic books and I hope to see a third one. For that to happen, his books need sales or else he’s dedicating thousands of hours of his life for a financial loss. And as I’ve said on past blogs – I don’t accept any free books. I pay for them, so I can give an honest and untainted opinion. My honest opinion here is that this book is the equivalent of getting a shutout in a Stanley Cup Final Game 7.

I recently talked about the Giacomin return game, in my Rangers vs Minnesota blog, which is linked at the top of this blog. Photo Credit: NHL

If you’re looking for a Christmas gift (I refuse to say “holidays”) this season, whether it’s for a Rangers fan or to yourself, you won’t do wrong with “Guardians of the Goal”. I guarantee it.

Tonight, at 7PM, live at M$G. Photo Credit: NHL

As far as the current Rangers go, I have nothing new to add from my blog from Saturday, which once again, is linked at the top of this blog.

David Quinn hasn’t announced a starting goalie yet for tonight. Vegas hasn’t announced one either, as it looks like Marc-Andre Fleury hasn’t returned to the team yet.

I’ve talked a lot about gambling and odds on these blogs. I’ll post my official pick on Twitter sometime Monday afternoon, but as of right now, The Rangers have opened as a +112 dog, while VGK is a -135 favorite. I think that’s pretty ballsy from the Vegas bookmakers, considering that Vegas could be starting a third string goalie tonight. (Vegas is playing back-to-back games with the Rangers on Monday & the Devils on Tuesday. It’s not known which goalie will get what start yet.)

I’ll be back tonight, with a Rangers vs VGK recap. Until then, stay safe and if you’re someone like me who lives in a co-op, condo or apartment building, be glad you don’t have to shovel snow today. Then again, with these weather men, we might get one Steve Valiquette snowflake!

As always, thanks for reading and….


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on tweeter

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