Saturday, December 13, 2008
If you played hockey at any point in your life for fun, you know what happened, especially when you were a kid: usually the biggest dude just got thrown right in front of the goal because it was hard to get the puck (or if you played in the street, the ball) around him.
Now, I know Brett Leonhardt played goalie at the Div. III level, and when Jose Theodore had a hip flexor problem, the Washington Capitals had to call up a backup from the AHL -- but someone had to fill in until the guy got into town. So, Leonhardt, the team's web site producer (gotta stay around hockey in any way you can, right?) suited up, took some shots in front of the net, and was ready in case something happened to starter Brent Johnson.
Man, can you imagine actually being able to get into the game? Hey, you might be the weak link, but you'd try your hardest. If he'd gotten in and done well, there's a movie script right there.
The 26-year-old Leonhardt played two years for Oswego State in New York and two years for Neumann College in Pennsylvania before graduating in 2007. He has worked for the Capitals’ website for about a year and has taken part in drills during practices when the team needed an extra goalie. He wore one of his college masks from Neumann during warmups.
His chances of playing Friday weren’t exactly remote. Johnson had a sore hip from a fall during Wednesday night’s victory over the Boston Bruins.
Even if he had played, Leonhardt wouldn’t have received an NHL check. The special amateur contract pays nothing.
“I should pay them for being able to do this,” he said.