Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Goalie Things Noticed

The image to the left? A thing of beauty. Marc-Andre Fleury donned his once-familiar yellow pads again as the Penguins took to the ice in their throwbacks, and he looks outstanding. Of course, looking the part means nothing unless he can play the part, so Fleury needed a big game against the Leafs tonight. Sidney Crosby was two points away from 800 in his career, the Leafs wore a special Pat Quinn patch, and Blake Comeau went off. In other words, Fleury's pads became a back story once this game started.

Crosby added a pair of assists to become just the third player in Penguins history to hit 800 points, Blake Comeau's hat trick goal in overtime was the difference, and Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 301st win in his yellow pads as the Penguins downed the Maple Leafs by a 4-3 score.

For Comeau, it's the first hat trick he's recorded since March 2, 2010 when he was a member of the New York Islanders. "I'm getting a good opportunity to play with some really good players and it feels really good to contribute offensively," Comeau told reporters. "Things are going well right now at the start of the season."

Comeau had just five goals with the Blue Jackets last season. He already has eight this season. Clearly, playing alongside Evgeni Malkin is paying off for Comeau.

Who Is That Masked Man?

There was an unidentified masked man sitting on the Buffalo bench last Wednesday during the Sabres-Sharks game, but it was almost fitting. Michal Neuvirth was hurt during the first period of the game, forcing Jhonas Enroth into the game. However, that left the Sabres without a backup netminder with two periods to play. Who did they turn to in their time of need? Goaltending consultant Arturs Irbe!

Irbe has played for a few teams in his career, but he broke into the league with the San Jose Sharks back in 1991 - the same team the Sabres were playing last Wednesday. Irbe wasn't pressed into action, but the 47 year-old former NHL netminder didn't seem to mind suiting up for the Sabres for a couple of periods. It's been seven years since he played in a serious hockey game as a goalie, but he strapped the pads on and looked the part. "I said, 'Ted, I haven't donned a uniform in seven years,'" Irbe said, recalling the conversation he had with Sabres coach Ted Nolan during the first intermission. "And he said, 'It doesn't matter. Now you will.'"

So does Irbe just keep a set of pads lying around the arena in case the Sabres need another goalie? The answer is no. Irbe used Enroth's backup set of pads, Ryan Miller's old blocker and catcher he left in Buffalo after being traded last season, and the equipment staff provided him with the helmet.

"Once a goalie, always a goalie," Irbe said with a wide grin. Ain't that the truth!

Opportunity Granted

With the St. Louis Blues in need of another netminder after Brian Elliott was injured, the Blues began looking for some help for Jake Allen as he prepares to assume the starting role. Who did they turn to in their time of need? NHL all-time wins leader Martin Brodeur!

Brodeur will practice with the Blues as they evaluate the netminder's play, but you have to know that Brodeur will take this opportunity very seriously in order to continue his career. While it's doubtful that the Blues will sign Brodeur to a one-way deal this season, it's a chance for the future Hall-of-Fame goalie to practice and get some work in with an NHL team.

Brodeur will join the Blues on Friday for the morning skate before the game against the Edmonton Oilers that night, but it's expected that he won't be suiting up with Allen getting the start and Jordan Binnington backing him up.

While I may have called for him to retire earlier this year, apparently there still might be work for the 42 year-old Brodeur yet. And he'll certainly try to make the most of it.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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