Remember when the Wild were out of goalies last season and 51 year-old Paul Deutsch got the call to be the team’s emergency goalie?
That remarkable set of circumstances that led to that very rare one-game signing has inspired the team to do something fun while the lockout rolls on: They’re going to do something like American Idol and hold a contest to see who can be their next emergency goalie.
The team invited 11 goalies from around Minnesota to try out for the chance to possibly ride the bench or, gulp, see real NHL action out of the blue. Tomorrow, Wild goalie coach Bob Mason, Wild color analyst and former NHL goalie Mike Greenlay, as well as Deutsch will judge the auditions of those 11 and pick out two finalists.
How will the finalists be judged? The best goalie in a celebrity shootout during the Houston Aeros game at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday wins the job.
Considering the good press the Wild got for their scramble to get Deutsch signed and how perilously close he was to actually playing, this kind of contest should be an annual event.
How does a goaltender earn the first star of a game after allowing 13 goals? Well, it helps if you’re normally a forward.
There have been times in the NHL where an injury to a goaltender prior to the start of a game has forced a team to take extraordinary steps so that their team still had a backup goaltender in case the worst happened. For example, back in November, the Minnesota Wild inked 51-year-old Paul Deutsch to an amateur try-out contract because Niklas Backstrom was unavailable. But for the Wild, that’s where the story ended, because Deutsch never actually had to play between the pipes. The OHL Erie Otters were not so lucky on Sunday.
With their normal backup goaltender unavailable before the game began, the Erie Otters were forced to list forward Connor Crisp, who had been sidelined all season because of a shoulder injury, as their number two netminder. However, starting goaltender Ramis Sadikov lasted a mere 1:45 minutes before the Otters had to resort to their worst case scenario: put Crisp in goal.
Crisp put on Sadikov’s skates, which were “three times too small and not wide enough” and did his best to block shots. All things considered, it actually might have gone a bit better than expected. Crisp faced a staggering 45 shots and his team ended up losing 13-4 to the Niagara IceDogs. However, he won over the IceDogs fans, who gave the 17-year-old a standing ovation following the game.
“It was appreciated so much — beyond words,” said Crisp. “Honestly, it was embarrassing to let some of those goals in, but I think the IceDogs fans knew. I can’t say enough about how fun and classy that was today.”
Crisp is eligible to be selected during the 2012 NHL entry draft, although we think it’s safe to say teams won’t be looking at him as a goaltender.
(Photo from ontariohockeyleague.com)