Skip Tracer's goal is to hunt down former Blues whom have since fallen off the grid. The soon-to-be-breakout stars that never came to pass. The young prospects who got our hopes up with flashes of brilliance only to fizzle out before having an impact. They let us down and disappeared. Now it is time to search the dark alleys of could-have-beens, burnouts and one-hit-wonders and check in on our old disappointments. These are the great liars and deceivers in Blues history. Like 'Read my lips - no new taxes,' 'I did not have sex with that woman,' and 'If you like your healthcare plan you can keep it,' these guys got us excited only to let us down. Now it's time to bring them to justice.
This is the first of what will be a semi-regular feature.
Target: Curtis Sanford
Crimes: Illegally pedaling false hope, being incredibly delicate for a hockey player.
It was the 2002-03 hockey season. The Blues were coming off a 4-1 round two spanking at the hands of the hated Detroit Redwings. Brent Johnson had been the go-to guy in 2001-02 and wasn't able to backstop one of the more skilled Blues teams in history to a Stanley Cup.
Johnson went down with a high ankle sprain early in 2002 . The forgettable Fred Brathwaite stepped in, but only momentarily before he got injured. Then Reinhard Divis got his chance, and got injured. Then Cody Rudkowsky stepped in, and suffered a high ankle sprain. That was when we first met the Sandman. Sanford came in and earned 6 decisions, including 5 wins, and sported a .912 save percentage and even got a shutout. The future seemed bright for the kid.
Ironically, the goalie who seemed to be made of glass did not get injured that year. When Johnson came back Sanford was sent down to Worcester. We wouldn't see him again until after the lockout, during the beginning of the Dark Ages of Blues hockey.
The disaster that was Patrick Lalime was the starter at the beginning of the new season but didn't play well and Sanford got the starting job, performing well enough behind a terrible Blues team that was lead in goals by Mike Sillinger with 22. (And Sillinger was traded halfway through the season!) Things were just dandy for Sanford (all the losing aside) until March when he blew out his knee.
During the off-season Sanford was offered a 3-year deal by the Blues but declined, hoping he would have a chance to challenge the newly acquired Manny Legace for the starting role. Sanford's groin had other ideas, however, and after being sidelined with a porcelain groin on two occasions, and playing like a soup-sandwich the rest of the time, Sanford found himself an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2006-07 season.
And as we all know now, Sanford isn't any savior in goal, but the Blues play a different brand of hockey in front of him then they do in front of Patrick 'where'd it go?" Lalime. The Blues have been in a tailspin since - losing 11 straight and burying themselves at the bottom of the stinky pile.
Sanford shot himself in the foot by turning down a three-year contract offer from the Blues last summer. He was gambling he could say healthy enough, long enough, to push Manny Legace into the veteran backup role and take over the number one job. Those things did not happen, and Sanford, God love him, just can not be trusted to stay off the IR long enough to go on a two-month run like Legace has done this year.
Curtis Sanford who has shown the ability to be good against bad teams.
Sanford was picked up by the Canucks and had an unimpressive stint with them before playing in the AHL for a couple of years where he put up pretty good numbers. He was last seen in 2011-12 playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets. His performance wasn't terrible but the team he was behind certainly was terrible and he only won 10 out of 36 games. He hasn't been in the NHL since.
Curtis Sanford is playing for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL. You may have heard of them. He has respectable, but unimpressive stats for Lokomotiv, where he goes by Сэнфорд Кёртис .
So, the goalie that got our hopes up a couple of times during a period when there was scant hope to be found is on the run from justice in Russia where he is working as a mediocre goalie for a team desperately in need of hope as they rebuild and recover from a dark page in their history.
I guess history does repeat itself.
On a related note, Chevy is a sponsor of http://hclokomotiv.ru/stats/lokomotiv/. Apparently they only sell really tiny crap in Russia.