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Two primary aspects of George Grimm's life make him the right person to write 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.
Number one, he was a goalie himself, and number two, he's a huge New York Rangers fan.
It's Grimm's second book, after 2017's We Did Everything But Win, which was about the Rangers, under Emile Francis, from 1964 to 1976. [See https://sihrhockey.org/__a/public/column.cfm?cid=4&aid=479 The Cat and his Rangers ]
“As an old goalie myself and long-time Ranger fan I was always very focused on the position and the men who played it,” Grimm said via email. “I knew most of the names of past goalies, but knew little about some of the early guys. So I started doing some research, found some interesting stories and thought it would make a nice project.”
Following his first book, he made the pitch to Skyhorse / Sports Publishing, and he was back on the job. The publisher calls it “an ode to those Blueshirts who laid it out night in and night out, leaving it all out on the ice for our Rangers.”
It was a different project, one that he found more challenging.
“I learned that some books are more difficult to write than others. My first book, We Did Everything But Win, just kind of flowed out of me. Probably because of my love for those Emile Francis teams and the players. I lived through those years with them,” said Grimm. “This book, however, was harder to write because I had only actually seen the goalies from the mid-'50s or so on forward.”
There were 89 goalies that played for the Rangers through the years.
Grimm was quizzed on some of them:
Q: Who was your own personal favorite Rangers goalie and why?
A: Eddie Giacomin, because he was a battler and he backstopped those great Ranger teams I grew up with. However, if you ask me about the best Ranger goalie I ever saw that would have to be Henrik Lundqvist. But if I had to win the 7th game of the Finals, I’d rather have Mike Richter in there, mostly because of his focus and the fact that he’s won in that situation before.
Q: Who is an overlooked Rangers goalie, that doesn't get the respect he deserves?
A: Gilles Villemure, without a doubt. He could have been a starter in the 6-team league. Excellent stand up goaltender who played his angles extremely well.
Q: What interview surprised you?
A: Bob Froese revealed a lot about his relationship with Mike Keenan in Philly and the effect Pelle Lindbergh’s death had on him and other Flyers. He also talked about his relationship with Mike Richter and John Vanbiesbrouck in New York, and also about why he went into the ministry.
Q: Who do you wish that you got to talk to?
A: Gump Worsley. I can just imagine the untold stories.
Fortunately, thanks to Grimm, at least some of the stories have been told of the Rangers goalies through the years.
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