Saturday, 28 March 2015

Show 'Em How It's Done, Coach! - The Sequel

Recognize this Bruins netminder? If you don't, you're excused. He didn't dress for tonight's game, but he ended up on the bench wearing #70, a number he's never worn in his career. That, readers, is 50 year-old Bob Essensa, better known as the Bruins goalie coach, dressed and ready for action. If we're learning anything about NHL goalies, it's probably a good idea to have a goalie coach who isn't too far from his playing days in case one of your team's two netminders goes down with an injury in the game.

Bob Essensa's last game came as a member of the Buffalo Sabres where he unfortunately posted an 0-5 record in nine appearances. His 2.91 GAA wasn't overly terrible, but his .850 save percentage left something to be desired. He called it quits after that 2001-02 season.

Thirteen years later, Bob Essensa is back!

Ok, not really. Tuukka Rask had been suffering from symptoms of dehydration which flared up during the first intermission, so Claude Julien did the smart thing and yanked his starting netminder. That left an empty seat on the bench as Niklas Svedberg replaced the ailing Rask just ten seconds into the second period. NHL rules state that you need to dress a backup netminder, so the emergency goaltender rule was enacted and Bob Essensa returned to the NHL!

Having been around for Winnipeg Jets v1.0, I can tell you that he's still held in high esteem in the city of Winnipeg. He never truly got the respect of some of his goaltending peers at the time, but he was one of the more memorable Jets thanks to radio play-by-play man Curt Keilback's calls of "Great save, ESS-SENZ-ZA!"

He was traded from Winnipeg to Detroit along with Sergi Bautin for Tim Cheveldae and Dallas Drake in what was one of the more lopsided trades that went against the Red Wings. Bautin and Essensa hardly played a large part in the Red Wings' success while Drake and Cheveldae became fan favorites in Winnipeg.

While Essensa won't be suiting up for the Bruins for the remainder of the season, it's always nice to see one of those players that you grew up with back in the spotlight. While the gamesheet won't show Essensa as contributing on the ice, the Bruins can take comfort in knowing that he's there if and when a goaltender is needed once more.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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