In honor of John "Beezer" Vanbiesbrouck's 50th birthday (Sept. 4), we present this collection of shots of the beloved goaltender from across the years. Here he is gracing a beach in Florida the November after he backstopped the Panthers on a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Final in only their third season.
2 of 15Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images
Beezer and counterpart Kelly Hrudey exchanged pleasantries as the New York rivalry between the Rangers and Islanders boiled over into a brawl at Madison Square Garden. Vanbiesbrouck was drafted by the Rangers in the fourth round of the 1981 NHL Draft and played for them until 1993.
3 of 15Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images
Vanbiesbrouck denies future Hall of Famer Chris Chelios of the Montreal Canadiens. During his tenure with the Broadway Blueshirts, Beezer won the 1985-86 Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top netminder.
4 of 15Brian Winkler/Getty Images; Paul J. Bereswill/SI
Fittingly, bees buzzing the New York City skyline graced Beezer's Rangers mask.
5 of 15Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images
In 1989, Mike Richter (left) arrived on the scene to share the Rangers' net with Vanbiesbrouck. Here they are together in January 1991. Richter later backstopped New York to the Stanley Cup during the 1993-94 season, Beezer's first with Florida after the Panthers claimed him in the NHL expansion draft.
6 of 15Jim Leary/Getty Images
Playing goal for an expansion team isn't always easy, but Beezer helped make the Panthers instantly respectable. They finished out of the playoffs in each of their first two seasons, but didn't sink to the bottom of the Atlantic Division, either.
7 of 15Hans Deryk/AP
As their fans tossed plastic rats in homage to forward Scott Mellanby famously killing a rodent in the team's dressing room (a feat that Beezer termed "a rat trick'), the Panthers staged a run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final. Though they were swept by Colorado, he played valiantly, taking the Avs to triple overtime in Game 4 before losing, 1-0.
8 of 15Glenn Cratty/Getty Images
The Beezer denies the Ducks during a January 1997 game at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim.
9 of 15Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Beezer was selected to play in three NHL All-Star Games as a Panther. Here he is doing his part in the East's 11-7 win in the 1997 edition in San Jose.
10 of 15John Giamundo/Getty Images
Stoning the Great One.
11 of 15Hans Deryk/AP
Beezer sported a distinctive lid as a member of the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. Alas, he appeared in only one game, for all of one minute, as Team USA failed to medal.
12 of 15Jim Leary/Getty Images
Vanbiesbrouck signed on with the Flyers in 1998 and spent two seasons in Philadelphia.
13 of 15Jim Leary/Getty Images
During his first season with the Flyers (1998-99), Beezer picked up his 300th win. He finished his career with 374, good for 13th on the NHL's all-time list.
14 of 15Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Beezer eventually returned to New York when the Flyers traded him to the Islanders in June 2000 (for a fourth round pick that Nashville later turned into Jordin Tootoo). He endured 44 games with the hapless Isles before being dealt to New Jersey in March 2001 for netminder Chris Terreri and a pick (draft, not guitar or mining tool).
15 of 15Jim Leary/Getty Images
Having played for all three New York-area NHL teams, Beezer concluded his illustrious career with the Devils, announcing his retirement in May 2002.
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