Leighton talks famous goal, trying to earn time with Blackhawks

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The jokes just wrote themselves when the Chicago Blackhawks signed Michael Leighton for what amounts to goaltending insurance in the 2014-15 season. The journeyman netminder told the Chicago Sun-Times that he’s OK with a few ribs from that 2010 Stanley Cup Final (especially Patrick Kane’s surreal and memorable Cup-clinching goal).

“There’s probably going to be a couple jokes around the locker room,” Leighton said. “But I’m over it, and I’m looking forward to being part of the Chicago Blackhawks again.”

(Believe it or not, the Blackhawks made him the 165th choice in the 1999 NHL Draft.)

Leighton, 33, seems aware that he’s likely to start the season in the AHL, stating that all he can control is to out-play Antti Raanta and Corey Crawford. Either way, that two-way contract gives Chicago some valuable flexibility.

The veteran goalie also provided a few interesting details about that goal from 2010. First, take a look at it:

  • Leighton admits that he did know the puck went underneath him. The Sun-Times notes that three people might have known it went in, then: Leighton, Kane and Patrick Sharp.
  • He provided no answers to the mystery of where, exactly, that Cup-winning puck is. Understandably, Leighton said it was “the last thing on his mind” at that time.

Leighton put up nice numbers in the KH with Dunbass last season, generating a 1.74 GAA and .933 save percentage in 42 games. He didn’t see enough action to really note in his last bit of NHL action in 2012-13, but those KHL stats at least make an argument that he could be a serviceable backup if things don’t work out for Raanta.

Considering that Leighton was a sixth-rounder, it’s actually a fun story that he can remain relevant enough to bring up those old jokes and treasured memories for Blackhawks fans.