THE BOB GOLDHAM FILE:
Born: May 12, 1922; Died: September 6, 1991
NHL games played: 650 (406 with Red Wings)
1954-55 stats: 69 GP; 1 G; 16 A; 14 PM
CAREER: Goals: 28; Assists: 143; PM: 400
To today’s Red Wings fan, Nicklas Lidstrom is the definition of what a National Hockey League defenseman should be.
Lidstrom, the fan will say, embodied all the principles of good defense, and without doing it in a physical manner that led to lots of penalty minutes.
But that same fan likely has never heard of Bob Goldham. And that’s a shame.
Goldham was the anchor of the Red Wings defense from 1950-56.
Goldham was the classic “stay at home” defenseman. Offense was not on Goldham’s radar, other than to stop the opposition’s.
The native of Georgetown, Ontario was one of the best shot blockers in NHL history. Goldham would constantly throw his body across the ice in an effort to prevent a shot from making it to the goalie. In fact, one of Goldham’s nicknames was “The Second Goalie.”
But what made Goldham, who was a six-time All-Star, so amazing was that he rarely sat in the penalty box, a la Lidstrom.
Goldham accumulated just 400 penalty minutes in 650 NHL games. Extrapolated, that’s about 50 minutes per today’s season.
In 1955, Goldham was assessed only 14 penalty minutes while playing in 69 of the Red Wings’ 70 games. In no season did Goldham have more than 57 minutes in penalties.
Goldham won the Stanley Cup five times—three with the Red Wings and twice with Toronto, including his first as a 19-year-old rookie in 1942.
The Red Wings acquired Goldham in the summer of 1950 from the Chicago Black Hawks in a blockbuster trade that involved nine players. He retired after the 1955-56 season at age 34.
Goldham probably should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, frankly.
Goldham didn’t get into coaching, like so many of his teammates did, after his playing days were done. Instead, old no. 2 for the Red Wings found a home on “Hockey Night in Canada” as an analyst, which he did for many years starting in the 1960s.
Goldham died in 1991 at age 69 from complications after suffering a stroke.
NEXT WEEK: Goalie Glenn Hall, who had an amazing career in and away from Detroit.