It was during his unexpected vacation that Fuhr hooked up with Kersee, the husband and coach of Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who holds the world record in the heptathlon. In addition to prescribing a stretching and conditioning regimen, Kersee cast a critical eye on Fuhr's diet. He outlawed fatty foods and instructed his client to drastically reduce his between-meal snacks: the graham crackers, the chips and dips, which Fuhr admits he was in the habit of consuming, usually in front of the boob tube, with Conehead-like gusto and efficiency.
It worked. Fuhr's face, once cherubic, is much narrower, his features much sharper. But never mind Fuhr's face—Keenan has empirical proof of Fuhr's newfound leanness. Like a commodities broker brandishing a crop report, he holds up a sheet of paper. It is the latest breakdown of each player's body-fat content. "Grant has gone from 20 percent to 12.1," says Keenan.
"I still sneak the odd burger," says Fuhr in a tone approaching defiance. "I still put cream in my morning coffee. Not two-percent milk. Not whole milk. Cream."
Well, you've got to live large once in a while, sympathizes a visitor. "I think I've done that," he says, flashing a brief, wicked grin. "I think I've got that part of it taken care of."
He is referring to his days as one of Alberta's foremost party beasts. Most of the time while he was winning Stanley Cups in Edmonton, his personal life was a mess. He would rent a VCR and forget to return it for a year. He once leased a car, then sold it, not realizing that this would become a problem.
Even as he spoke last week of how happy he is for his friend, Gretzky repeatedly referred to Fuhr as a kid, as in, "He's a real good kid" and "a real sensitive kid." Everyone who knows Fuhr agrees that he is a decent person whose personal problems derived largely from a combination of laziness and immaturity.
In the summer of 1989 Fuhr spent three weeks in a drug treatment center in St. Petersburg, Fla., and another week at the Betty Ford clinic in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He says he remains in frequent phone contact with some of the guys he met at Betty Ford. "Everybody's plugging along," he says. Well, almost everybody. "One guy jumped off a building. He decided he'd had enough of sobriety."
The NHL found out about Fuhr's cocaine use in August 1990 by reading about it in The Edmonton Journal. The paper's main source for the story was Fuhr's first wife, Corrine. (In July, Fuhr married Candice Haynes in Maui. She is his third wife. Their 2½-year-old daughter, Kendyl, is Fuhr's fourth child.) After admitting to the NHL that he had used cocaine from 1983 to '89, Fuhr was suspended for 55 games.
He was traded by the Oilers to the Toronto Maple Leafs the following season. There, he says, "I hurt a knee. Felix Potvin got a chance to play." Potvin, it turned out, was a huge talent. He beat Fuhr out and came to be known as the Cat.
The next season Fuhr was traded to the Sabres. He reinjured his left knee, opening the door for an unknown goalie named Dominik Hasek, who, it turned out, was a monster talent. He beat Fuhr out and came to be known as the Dominator.