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Born May 20, 1983 (1983-05-20) (age 26),
Montreal, QC, CAN
Height
Weight
6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches None (Injured)
Pro clubs New York Rangers
NHL Draft 10th overall, 2001
New York Rangers
Career 2001 – 2005

Daniel Blackburn (born May 20, 1983 in Montreal, Quebec[1]) is a retired Canadian professional hockey goaltender. He played 63 regular-season games for the New York Rangers, going 20–32–11 with 1 shutout.

Blackburn mastered his goaltending craft through countless road hockey sessions with his stepbrothers Chris and Jon Ott. Blackburn, who once feared slap shots, learned to adapt after being shelled numerous times by his sibling rivals.

Contents

Minor league career

Born in Quebec, Blackburn moved to Canmore, Alberta as a teen and moved on to major junior hockey with the Western Hockey League's Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, British Columbia. In 2001, he was named the Canadian Hockey League's Goaltender of the Year. Blackburn was drafted by the New York Rangers in the first round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, 10th overall.

NHL career

For most of 2001–02, Blackburn served as backup to Mike Richter, a longtime Ranger goalie. He played 31 games for the Blueshirts, an amazing total for a teenaged net minder. He was selected as the 2002 goaltender for the NHL All-Rookie Team, due to his strong performance with the Rangers. He posted a 3.28 goals-against average and .898 save percentage.

In a November 7 game, Richter went down with a concussion, and all goaltending responsibilities fell onto Blackburn's shoulders. He notched his first and only career shutout — a 1–0 overtime win over the Calgary Flames — in the first game of the season Richter missed. Blackburn dismissed concerns that the heavy workload would be too much for him by pointing out that he had endured a heavier workload in juniors.[2] However, after 17 consecutive starts, Blackburn eventually burned out, playing less effectively and tiring. It was becoming clear that Richter's difficulties with post-concussion syndrome were unlikely to abate, and that more help was needed. "We had to make a deal," Glen Sather claimed. "I did not want to see Danny lose his confidence and struggle, or for our team to struggle."

Sather traded for Nashville Predator Mike Dunham, an experienced number-one goaltender, in order to let Blackburn develop at a consistent rate. Blackburn finished the 2002–2003 season with a 3.17 GAA and a slightly disappointing .890 save percentage.

Injuries and retirement

A shoulder injury forced him into retirement in 2005.

He retired after missing the entire 2003–04 NHL season due to a nerve injury sustained just before training camp to his left shoulder. He had nerve exploration surgery on March 31, 2004, then made an attempt to return to hockey, sporting a pair of blockers rather than the conventional blocker/catcher combination, as his injury rendered him incapable of rotating his glove hand. On February 1, 2005, he joined the ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings going 3–9–0, with a 3.54 GAA in 12 games. On September 15, during the Rangers training camp, he suffered a strained MCL. Subsequently, Blackburn announced his retirement on September 25. Had Blackburn continued to attempt a comeback, he would have forfeited an insurance payout of approximately 6 million dollars.

After retiring, Dan attempted another comeback in the Runner's Life hockey league in Peterborough, Ontario. Dan, who vowed never to put on the pads again, tried his luck centering a line with his mentor, Chris Ott, on left wing, and Dave Dame on right wing. Blackburn had a career night, assisting on 4 of Dame's goals, propelling the Runner's Life team to a victory.

Dan enrolled at Arizona State University. Afterwards he became manager of business development for Goaltender Development Institute. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas and Waltham, Massachusetts. When asked if he ever envisioned a return to hockey, he was quoted as saying, "Never, I doubt I will ever put goalie pads on again. I don't have interest in playing net." He also stated, "It's not bittersweet, you know what? I don't really miss it anymore - it's been such a long time. It was a chapter of my life and I'm on to the next....I don't have any regrets at all about what transpired or the way things happened for me. I really enjoy what I do now in the business world....From my point of view, I was really fortunate, even though I was only there for a couple of years. It really set up the rest of my life for all the things that I want to do, from there on out." [3]

References

  1. ^ "Dan Blackburn". NHL Players. NHL. http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?page=HistoricalPlayerDetail&pkey=8469463&service=page. Retrieved 2008-08-20.  
  2. ^ McDonell, Chris. Hockey's Greatest Stars. 2005. Page 179.
  3. ^ Windsor Star article

External links

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