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Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour
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Eddie's Prediction

I Believe...

Belfour: I'll win another Cup

Belfour vents, vows to prove critics wrong next year, in Dallas or elsewhere

04/15/2002

By CHUCK CARLTON / The Dallas Morning News

DENVER Ed Belfour could care less what his critics think or say.

He believes in his ability, even though he's in a distinct minority after a disappointing and chaotic season that has left his future with the Stars uncertain.

He will regain his status as an elite goaltender, Belfour vowed Sunday after the Stars ended their season with a 2-2 tie against the Colorado Avalanche.

"I don't have any doubt about that," said Belfour, who will be an unrestricted free agent July 1. "I'll come back and I'll prove everybody wrong, and I will win another Stanley Cup, whether it's in Dallas or someplace else."

Stars general manager Doug Armstrong said he plans to make a decision about his goaltending within the next several weeks.

Belfour, who will be 37 on April 20, has suffered through his worst season since signing with the Stars in 1997. He finished 21-27-11 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .895 save percentage.

Backup Marty Turco is 26 and has put together impressive numbers in two seasons. The Stars could also pursue a top unrestricted free agent such as Toronto's Curtis Joseph.

AP
Mike Modano (right) battles with Colorado's Chris Drury.

Belfour acknowledged that he's not sure what the next several months will bring.

"I know I'm more motivated than ever to prove to everybody who has doubted me and not been in my corner or betrayed me or not been loyal to me ...," Belfour said. "I'm more motivated than ever to prove to those people and the doubters how wrong they are. I've done it before in the past and I'll do it again."

Belfour said his performance was hurt by decisions to pull him from games, something coach Rick Wilson did in four games, including Friday's 4-4 tie with Minnesota. The Stars blew a three-goal lead and Belfour surrendered two goals in a 21-second span in the third period.

"Every time you let in a goal, you're looking over at the bench to see if you're going to get pulled out of the game and wondering if you're going to get a chance to get back for the next game," Belfour said. "I need to be in an atmosphere where I'm going to play my best."

AP
Pierre Turgeon (front) tries to get away from the hold of Colorado's Chris Drury.

Belfour, who helped the Stars to consecutive Stanley Cup Finals and won the Cup in 1999, sometimes clashed with former coach Ken Hitchcock. He briefly walked out on the team last season following a morning skate in Boston, and he trashed the visitors' dressing room in Vancouver after he was lifted this season.

If Belfour was targeting his anger at Wilson, it might be misdirected.

From the day he replaced Hitchcock on Jan. 25, Wilson called Belfour "the lead horse ... who will carry the mail."

Wilson said his opinion never wavered about Belfour as the team's No. 1 goaltender.

Belfour started 21 of the 32 games that Wilson coached. He compiled a 7-10-5 record in those appearances (including one tie in relief of Turco).

Another factor in his performance was the lack of a contract, Belfour said. He and the team held serious negotiations before the Olympics, but the talks were put on hold. Belfour's history shows he's struggled in contract seasons.

"It's always been a problem in my career," Belfour said. "I think most everybody has known that. It doesn't help."

Belfour did say one of his fondest memories would be the support of Stars fans.

"It was a lot of fun to play in front of them and hear the chants," Belfour said. "It's something I'll never forget."

I wish Eddie the best and hope that he wins at least one more Cup.  Not allowing Eddie to play in the last two games was a disgrace and I will be traveling to see Eddie play instead of purchasing season tickets for the Stars.  I hope that he will land in a town that is a contender!  Best of luck Eddie and thanks for all of the banners hanging at AAC.  Without you, there wouldn't be any championship banners.