“I don’t even know who Craig Billington is, that’s a name you just made up.” – Joel.
Here at 4th Line Towers, we answer the questions that other podcasts (and their affiliated websites) dare not. In episode #202, Carl made a reference to Craig Billington, a former Colorado Avalanche goalie that Joel believed to be a fabrication. While not one to usually question Carl’s knowledge about one of his beloved teams, I had to admit that I’d never heard of Billington either.
Is Craig Billington Real?
Yes. Not only is he real, but he also tended the goal of the Colorado Avalanche between 1996 and 1999. Billington’s career didn’t start in Denver though, he was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 1984. The Devils traded Billington to the Ottawa Senators in 1993, in 1995 he was traded to the Boston Bruins. In 1996 the Florida Panthers acquired him as a free-agent but he was claimed on waivers by Colorado later that same month. The Avs got three seasons out of Billy, as his friends might called him, but was then traded to Carl’s Washington Capitals in exchange for the greatest insult of all… future considerations. In 2003, Billington retired. He now serves as assistant GM for the Avalanche.
Why hasn’t Joel heard of him?
Probably the same reason most of the rest of us haven’t heard of him. Despite playing 15 seasons in the NHL, as well as in an NHL All-Star Game and for Team Canada in the World Championship, Billington wasn’t a household name. He spent most of his career as a back-up. Ottawa fancied him as first choice, giving him 63 games in the 1993-94 season, but the Senators aren’t known for making great decisions. The other teams that Billington represented decided that he was best suited to warming the bench and he rarely played more than quarter of a season.
So Billington is definitely real, was he any good?
*insert shrugging noise here*
You don’t play 15 seasons in the NHL by being bad (although the current Detroit Red Wings team may prove me wrong), but he wasn’t ever going to win a Vezina. Billington’s career save percentage was .877 and he allowed 3.63 goals against (average). That said, the dude played on some reasonable teams and enjoyed playoff hockey a number of times. That’s more than anyone who gets drafted by Arizona can hope for.
Have you ever heard of Craig Billington? Let us know on the below poll!
— The 4th Line Podcast: Writing (@4thLineWriting) October 18, 2018