Played Through Injury, Illness
By the early 1920s, Vezina showed how tough of a player he really was when he played after suffering a serious injury, then a deadly disease. During one game in Hamilton, Ontario in the 1922-23 season, Vezina's head was cut open and he suffered a broken nose when an opponent slammed into him. Vezina continued to play in every game, and played well. He won a game against Ottawa a short time later, stopping 79 of 80 shots. By this time, Vezina already had the beginnings of tuberculosis, yet he played for several more seasons and led the league in goals against average during both the 1923-24 and 1924-25 campaigns.
During the 1923-24 season, Vezina only allowed 48 goals in 24 regular season games for a goals against average of 2.00. Montreal placed second to Ottawa and defeated them in the 1924 playoffs with victories of 1-0 and 4-2 to win the league championship. The Canadiens went on to compete for the Stanley Cup by playing against both the WCHL and PCHA teams, Calgary and Vancouver. Vezina led the team to victory against both teams, winning four total games and allowing only four goals.
In the 1924-25 season, as tuberculosis continued to grow stronger in Vezina, he still posted the NHL's best goals against average of 1.90. The Canadiens finished third to Hamilton and Toronto, but Montreal made the playoffs to compete for the Stanley Cup by winning the first round against Toronto (with Vezina allowing only two goals in two playoff games), the team lost to Vancouver by losing three of four games.
By the time of training camp before the 1925-26 season, tuberculosis was catching up to Vezina. He had problems such as fatigue during the camp. Still, he remained the starting goalie on opening night, as he had for 13 previous seasons. Vezina was expected to be a draw for the new American teams in the NHL (Boston, New York, and Pittsburgh) as his reputation in goal preceded him. However, he only made it to opening night.
- Georges Vezina - Career, Life End Because Of Tuberculosis
- Georges Vezina - Chronology
- Other Free Encyclopedias