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Top 100 Goalies: No. 57 — Andy Moog

No one has a better perspective on the Oilers’ dynasty than Moog, who experienced both sides of Edmonton’s glory years.

Andy Moog has a definite order when it comes to his favorite Edmonton Oilers teams from the franchise’s salad days. “The first Cup was the ultimate highlight,” he said. “My least favorite was their last Cup, because I was in the other net at the time.”

Indeed, while Moog won three titles with the Oilers, he ended up on the wrong side of the team’s fifth Cup while tending net for the Boston Bruins in 1989-90. He had a ton of team success with Edmonton but had to share the crease with another No. 1 goalie in Grant Fuhr. You’d think that would make for a contentious relationship, but in an era where goalie coaches were unheard of, Moog and Fuhr made sure they had each other’s back. “We tended to vent to each other when things were crummy,” Moog said. “You had the same feelings and experiences. It was the most sympathetic ear in the room.”

Before the Oilers traded him to Boston, Moog was part of one of the most exciting dynasties in NHL history. The firewagon Oilers boasted a ton of Hall of Fame talent, from Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier to Paul Coffey and Jari Kurri, but someone had to stop the puck when those dazzling rushes failed, and Moog was part of the solution along with Fuhr.

Though he appeared in nine playoff games in 1981, Moog’s first full season with Edmonton was in 1982-83 when he played 50 games in the regular season and started all 16 in the playoffs. Yet these were the young and fresh Oilers, who still had to learn what Stanley Cup hockey was truly about. “It’s hard to describe the environment when I first showed up,” Moog said. “It was so full of optimism, but we lacked the experience to know how good we could be.”

The three-time champion New York Islanders had that experience and showed the upstart Oilers what was required to win it all. After cruising through the Campbell Conference, losing just one game to Calgary between sweeps of Winnipeg and Chicago, Edmonton was swept by the Isles in the ’83 Cup final. “That was the exclamation point on the learning curve,” Moog said. “To actually look somebody in the eye and see the commitment it took.”

The Oilers repaid the favor to the Islanders the next season, dusting them in five games to deny the Isles a fifth straight Cup and end New York’s incredible streak of playoff series victories at 19. Edmonton would go on to win the Stanley Cup again in 1985 and 1987, with Fuhr getting the lion’s share of starts in the playoffs.

The tandem was never going to last forever, though. Eventually, Moog and Fuhr needed new contracts, and a decision had to be made. “The writing was on the wall,” Moog said. “They weren’t going to pay two No. 1 goalies. If I was ever going to experience the role of being a No. 1 goalie, it was probably going to be somewhere other than Edmonton.”

While awaiting a trade, Moog left Edmonton for the Canadian national team, which allowed him to play in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. At the trade deadline, he was shipped to Boston in exchange for fellow netminder Bill Ranford. Reggie Lemelin was the starter in Boston, though, so Moog had to mostly watch from the bench as Fuhr led the Oilers over the Bruins in the Cup final later that season. Two years later, Moog was in net for Boston when Edmonton beat the Bruins again for the title.

After a few more years in Boston, Moog headed to Dallas, where he posted career bests in goals-against average (2.15) and save percentage (.915) for the Stars. As his career wound down, he and his family decided that Dallas would be the last city they’d live in during his playing days. His daughter was in high school, so even one final season in Montreal didn’t warrant another change in address for the Moogs.

Moog still lives in Dallas for most of the year but also heads back to his hometown of Penticton, B.C., where he’s a goaltending consultant with the Okanagan Hockey Academy, though Moog playfully refers to himself as an “overqualified alumni assistant.” He has spent every summer at Okanagan since 1976 and loves that he can still be a part of the game, now on the development side of things, where he tutors the next generation of goaltenders. “I stay current with the evolution of the position,” he said. “It gives me as much as it gives them. The game changes at the youth level before it does with the big guys.”

Moog has done a lot of consulting since his playing days ended, with the most high-profile being at the Olympics. Though he didn’t win a medal as a player, he did help Canada win gold in 2002 as a goaltending consultant (he was also part of the 2006 entry). Moog has also consulted for the Vancouver Canucks, and he briefly worked as a part-time goalie coach for the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.

As if all that weren’t enough, Moog also got into the ownership game for more than a decade. Beginning in 1998, he was the president and owner of the old Central League’s Fort Worth Brahmas, though he dropped the president’s role when he became goalie coach for Dallas in 2002. Even though the league was in the low minors, Moog was always impressed with how much the players and staff cared about winning, and the Brahmas did capture the CHL championship in 2009 before shuttering operations a few years later.

It’s been a busy hockey life for Moog, and thanks to his work with teen players at Okanagan it’s not done yet. As he was back in the Edmonton days, Moog is happy to share his knowledge with other netminders: the goal is always to get better.

Born: Feb. 18, 1960, Penticton, B.C.
NHL Career: 1980-98
Teams: Edm, Bos, Dal, Mtl
Stats: 372-209-88, 3.14 GAA, .891 SP, 28 SO
Stanley Cups: 3

DID YOU KNOW?

Nowadays, many of the NHL’s top goaltenders wear Vaughn equipment, from Matt Murray to John Gibson to Tuukka Rask. But when the company was first starting out in the early 1980s, founder Mike Vaughn needed a flagbearer. He turned to Moog and asked him to wear Vaughn gear. At the time, however, Vaughn couldn’t pay Moog for the endorsement, so he told him he’d make it up to him later. Vaughn made good on his promise, making Moog a partner in Vaughn Canada in 1997.

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