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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Jacques Cloutier

(Born January 3, 1960) -- Someone once said that Jacques Cloutier looked a little out of place in a professional sports locker room. He was on the small side (5-foot-7) and didn’t exactly have a “ripped” physique. Cloutier could stop the puck, though.

The Quebec native patiently waited his turn to play in the NHL. He was drafted in 1979 in the third round by the Sabres, but didn’t make it to the big club until 1981-82. He saw action in seven games, and won five of them.

The Sabres always seemed to have a good goaltender in front of him - Don Edwards, Bob Sauve, and Tom Barrasso. Cloutier finally appeared in 40 games in an NHL season in 1986-87, a year best remember for Buffalo’s last-place finish in the overall standings.

In the 1988-89 playoffs, Cloutier faced the Boston Bruins in Game One of the series ... and his career postseason goals-against average didn’t budge. It stayed at 0.00. He never won another game as a Sabre, as he was traded before the 1989-90 campaign.

Cloutier spent one year with Chicago and four with Quebec before retiring. He moved smoothly into the job of goalie coach, and helped Colorado win two Stanley Cups in that position.

--- Budd Bailey

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