SI Vault
 
Twin Peaks
Jon Scher
May 03, 1993
Grant Fuhr of the Sabres and Curtis Joseph of the Blues reached unexpected heights in leading their teams to shocking first-round upsets
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 03, 1993

Twin Peaks

Grant Fuhr of the Sabres and Curtis Joseph of the Blues reached unexpected heights in leading their teams to shocking first-round upsets

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3

Fuhr, a scratch golfer who has taken a few whacks at the Canadian pro tour and hopes to take a few more when he retires, quickly settled in after the trade, purchasing a home just off the golf course at the Country Club of Buffalo. By his own admission he has developed quite a taste for Buffalo cuisine, i.e., chicken wings. Judging by his spare tire, he's not kidding. He likes the town, and he's planning to stay awhile. "I figure I'll play five or seven more years," he says, apparently ruling out six. "I still have a few more people I want to torment."

Fuhr's knee ought to be shipshape when the Sabres take on the survivor of the Quebec Nordique-Montreal Canadien series (page 36). He definitely has big aspirations. On the rear portion of his mask he recently had an artist paint five miniature Stanley Cups, like notches on the handle of a gun. "It's a reminder to me," he says. "But mostly it's a reminder to everyone else." His unspoken message: There's room for more.

So far, the back of Joseph's mask is virgin territory. Joseph was amused to hear about Fuhr's headgear. "Maybe I should put five little baby bottles on mine," he says while balancing his 16-month-old daughter, Madison, precariously on his lap in his Manchester, Mo., home. "Or how about the last five diapers I changed?"

CuJo, as his teammates call him, is about as far from being a mad dog as a person can be, although Tim Cheveldae, the Detroit Red Wing goalie, might beg to differ. In the midst of a melee earlier this season in St. Louis, Joseph pounded Cheveldae into submission at center ice in one of the unlikeliest fights in NHL history. "I've got it on tape," Joseph says. "Want to see?"

If the Blues meet the Wings—who, at week's end, were tied 2-2 with the Maple Leafs—in the Norris Division finals, don't expect a reprise. The former combatants have buried the hatchet. Cheveldae has even invited Joseph to speak at his goalie school in Detroit. The way things are going, Joseph ought to think about opening a school of his own. He could teach courses in patience and perseverance, not to mention genealogy.

Growing up he was known as Curtis Joseph, but legally he was Curtis Munro, the name on his birth certificate. Five days after he was born in a Toronto hospital 26 years ago this week, his unwed 17-year-old mother, Wendy Munro, handed him to a nurse who had befriended her. He was raised by the nurse, Jeanne Joseph, and her husband, Harold, and most of the time he used their last name. He didn't officially change it until he signed with the Blues in 1989. "It was a big decision for me," he says.

Many adopted children want to find their biological parents, and Joseph, with the help of his adoptive mom and dad, did. He visited with his mother, who lives in a Toronto suburb, three years ago; he met his real father, Curtis Nickle, in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the first time this year. Joseph also discovered that he has a large extended family, including three uncles on his father's side, and a half-brother and a half-sister on his mother's side. The Christmas card list maintained by Joseph and his wife, Nancy, keeps getting longer and longer.

"I didn't have very many relatives to start with," he says. "Now I do. We're not close friends or anything, but maybe, eventually, we will be."

Joseph figures if he waits long enough, good things will happen. A late bloomer, he didn't attract any interest from NHL scouts while he was in high school, so he did a postgraduate year at a Saskatchewan prep school. It paid off. He was offered a scholarship to Wisconsin, where he was all-everything as a freshman in 1988-89. As an unrestricted free agent he was suddenly very popular with NHL teams. He chose the Blues, with whom he signed a four-year, $1.1 million contract.

Two mediocre seasons later, St. Louis was ready to send him along with former Blues forward Rod Brind' Amour to the New Jersey Devils, who were owed compensation because the Blues had signed restricted free-agent forward Brendan Shanahan. At the time New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello called Joseph "an average, overpriced goalie...of no use [to the Devils]." In what was then considered a disaster for the Blues, an arbitrator awarded All-Star defenseman Scott Stevens to New Jersey instead. "I realized it was a business decision," Joseph says. "I was very expendable."

Continue Story
1 2 3