Tuesday’s game for the Florida Panthers brought up a horrifying (or exhilarating) scenario for goaltending coaches in the NHL.
What if both your netminders got hurt, and you have to strap on the pads and play? All of a sudden nostalgia and adrenaline set in. You’re about to go in and re-live your glory years. And the first save you make … you pull a groin, because you’re in your 40s and haven’t tended pro net in years.
Florida’s Robb Tallas almost went through this, before being saved by the injured Roberto Luongo after Al Montoya pulled a groin in relief of Luongo.
The NHL is going to address this ‘third goalie’ problem in its upcoming general manager’s meeting according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston:
Bill Daly figured it was bound to happen eventually.
As unlikely as it seemed when the Florida Panthers lost both of their goalies to injury during Tuesday’s game against Toronto, the NHL’s deputy commissioner revealed Wednesday that the league recently held talks about altering the protocol governing such situations.
Those discussions took place when the general managers met in November. Daly said there’s “no doubt” the topic will be revisited when the GMs gather again in Boca Raton, Fla., later this month.
But this got us thinking. Which goaltending coaches could step in and at least provide some relief for a period or two?
There actually are a few distinguished former NHL netminders turned goaltending coaches (and a couple of great ones who are with orgs, though not as goaltending coaches) who aren’t too far out of the game.
We listed several below who have NHL experience and may be able to make a few saves to keep their teams in the game, along with honorable mention of goaltending coaches we would like to see play in relief. Apologies for any snubs, but don't look at it as a referendum on your skill. We just haven't seen you play in 20-30 years.
Patrick Roy, Colorado Avalanche
He’s not a goaltending coach, but if you’re Colorado and both your goalies go down, how do you not put in the arguable GOAT. For him we make an exception.
Sean Burke, Arizona Coyotes
The 48-year-old Burke has won a total of 324 games and played in 820. He’s somewhat current, his career ending in 2006-07 when he played 23 games with the Kings.
Bill Ranford, Los Angeles Kings
You’re the Kings. You’re in the playoffs. Jonathan Quick goes down. Then Martin Jones gets hurt. Fortunately you have Ranford, a former Conn Smythe Trophy winner. He looked spry playing ‘Action Jim Craig’ in the 2004 film “Miracle.”
Dwayne Roloson, Anaheim Ducks
Roloson was the ageless wonder, seemingly forever. His career ended in 2012, and was an All-Star as recently as 2004 with the Minnesota Wild and led both the Oilers and Lightning deep in the postseason way late in his career.
Arturs Irbe, Buffalo Sabres
The 48-year-old Irbe last played in the NHL for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2003-04 and played in Europe in 2005-06 and 2006-07. He actually suited up as an emergency replacement earlier this year for Buffalo.
Jimmy Waite, Chicago Blackhawks
Waite, a former first round draft pick, played in Europe as recently as last decade, so you know he can still move. And at 45 he’s not super old.
Roland Melanson, Vancouver Canucks
At 54 years of age, can he still stop a puck? But he's a Stanley Cup champion with the Islanders -- so that's a winner's pedigree.
Wade Flaherty, Winnipeg Jets
Maybe the 47-year-old Flaherty can rediscover the form that saw him post a 2.35 goals against average and .928 save percentage in 45 games with the Utah Grizzlies in 2001-02.
Robb Tallas, Florida Panthers
The 42-year-old Tallas was primed and ready Tuesday night when both Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya went down. Maybe the horror of this experience will be enough to shock Tallas, who last played in the NHL in 2000-01, into shape.
Chris Terreri, New Jersey Devils
He basically ranks second in all of New Jersey’s major goaltending categories – behind Martin Brodeur. But if he came back, would he rock the old school Cooper helmet?
Mike Dunham, New York Islanders
He and GM Garth Snow are good friends … and both former NHL goaltenders. Could you imagine if the GM got called in to play goal? Nah, Dunham would probably have to take one for the team.
Mike Bales, Pittsburgh Penguins
A former Ottawa Senators goaltender who played pro for 18 years, Bales could totally pull a Jean-Claude Van Damme a la “Sudden Death.”
Clip contains some strong language
Corey Schwab, San Jose Sharks
Another former Brodeur backup, but not quite Terreri levels. He once played 40 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Jeff Reese, Philadelphia Flyers
He’s 48 years old and has playoff experience. But his career numbers? A 3.66 goals against average and .879 save percentage. And if that doesn't work there's always GM Ron Hextall.
Jim Corsi, St. Louis Blues
Experience (hasn’t played in the NHL since 1979-80) and age (60) regardless, he would at least think the game from an analytical perspective. Lest we forget Martin Brodeur is sort of part of this organization now.
Mitch Korn, Washington Capitals
This would be like seeing Yoda fight the Emperor in "Revenge of the Sith."
Bob Essensa, Boston Bruins
The 50-year-old Essensa is a true link to the real Winnipeg Jets, where he started 67 games in 1992-93.
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