I didn’t think it would be that hard to keep up - but I didn’t know a virus was going to claim my computer during the figure skating competition. I lost everything, including book marks and passwords. I lost so much stuff I don’t know what I lost.
But, back to reality. While watching novice pairs skating and trying to keep up, I found a great tale about the Tri-City Americans’ goalie and his one-day trip to the NHL, which I pasted below, courtesy of Gregg Drinnan’s blog. I haven’t found a link to the Chiefs’ 4-3 loss, although I’m still searching - and bingo, here it is and it wasn’t that hard when you remember what team they played (Did I lose a day, a team, a game somewhere during this figure skating competition?). One other thing to check out is Alan Caldwell’s blog and a comment/link to an incident involving the captain of Team Canada’s World Junior team.
Now, back to the the skaters who don’t check.
The Alexander Pechurskiy fairytale continued Saturday night.
Pechurskiy, a 19-year-old goaltender from Magnitogorsk, Russia, joined the Tri-City Americans over Christmas and has gone 4-1-0-1 with two shutouts.
His most-recent WHL appearance was Friday night when he helped the Americans post a 3-2 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds of Kent.
Earlier Friday, Pechurskiy was on the receiving end of a phone call from Pittsburgh Penguins star centre Evgeni Malkin. The two share the same hometown and Malkin just wanted to see how Pechurskiy was doing. Little did he know that the two would be teammates come Saturday.
After Friday’s game, Pechurskiy was informed that the Penguins, who had selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2008 draft, wanted him in Vancouver for Saturday night’s game against the Canucks.
The Penguins, it seems, had almost run out of goaltenders. Starter Marc-Andre Fleury had a broken finger. Backup Brent Johnson, although eligible to return off the injured list, hadn’t played in a while because of an undisclosed injury. That left John Curry, who had been recalled earlier in the week from the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Pechurskiy, along with his billet, Michel Pelletier, got to Vancouver in time to take part in the morning skate and to sign a one-game pro tryout agreement. (By the way, Cpl. Pelletier used to be a techncian with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, the world-renowned Canadian demonstration team.)
Well … Curry started against the Canucks, and he got the hook early in the second period having given up five goals on 14 shots.
That means that Pechurskiy got to make his NHL debut in front of 18,810 fans at GM Place in the second game of a Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader. And he did it while wearing a pair of pads belonging to Fleury; it seems that Pechurskiy’s pads don’t meet NHL requirements.
He also did it while wearing No. 40 and with his name spelled ‘Pechurski’ on the back. And his name wasn’t in the game program, so the chances are the fans had no idea who he was when he left the bench and headed for the net.
“We needed a change, regardless of who was the backup,” Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters after the game. “I think that’s the definition of being thrown into the fire.”
Pechurskiy finished up with 12 saves on 13 shots — he had no chance on the Ryan Kesler tip of a point shot with the Canucks on the PP — and was saluted as the game’s third star. Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby also was seen giving Pechurskiy the game puck after the final buzzer.
Matthew Sekeres of The Globe and Mail wrote: “In the post-game dressing room, Pechurskiy’s emotions were clear, even though he doesn’t speak any English. He hugged a friend and patted his heart several times.”
The Canucks won the game, 6-2, but the Russian goaltender turned out to be the story.
Later, with D Sergei Gonchar translating, Pechurskiy told reporters: “I was very surprised. I didn’t know I would play, but at the same time I was happy that I had a chance to play. It’s like a dream come true, playing in the NHL.”