Netminder Al Jensen was a solid NHL performer throughout the 1980s. He was an experienced amateur and international player who also excelled during the short time he spent in the minor leagues.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Jensen enjoyed three stellar years with the OHA's Fincups when they were based in the Steel City and St. Catharines. Jensen led the OHA in shutouts twice and his 3.35 goals against average in 1977-78 was the lowest in the league. During his junior career, Jensen represented Canada at the World Junior Championships in 1977 and 1978. He was also voted on to the OHA second all-star team in 1977 and the first team in 1978. The Detroit Red Wings chose the promising youngster 31st overall in the 1978 Amateur Draft. Jensen credited his stellar play in junior in part to his changing to a wire mask after his fibreglass model was stolen after a game in Niagara Falls.
Jensen excelled for the Kalamazoo Wings of the IHL in 1978-79 and led the AHL in minutes played the following season with Adirondack. In 1980-81, he gave up seven goals in his only start for Detroit but led the AHL in shutouts and backstopped Adirondack to 27 wins.
On July 23, 1981, Jensen's career shifted dramatically when he was acquired by the Washington Capitals. He played 26 games in 1981-82 as the backup to Mike Palmateer posting an 8-8-4 record on an improving Caps club. Over the next two years, he and Pat Riggin formed one of the top goaltending tandems in the game and shared the William M. Jennings trophy in 1984. In 1984-85, he was hampered by an injury and only took part in 14 games.
Jensen returned in 1985-86 to post a 28-9-3 mark and help Washington set a franchise record with 107 points. The next year his fortunes changed as the Capitals went with Bob Mason in goal and traded Jensen to the L.A. Kings for veteran defenceman Garry Galley. He retired in 1988 after playing 20 games for the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL.
*Bio Courtesy of Hockey Hall of Fame