Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hockey makes for some of the most interesting stories

...and sometimes, they even happen in Pittsburgh. Well, Vancouver, but...oh, you get the point (courtesy of Shelly Anderson at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)...

"Alex Pechurski, a 19-year-old goaltender...made his unexpected, unscripted entrance into the NHL last night and played well in relief in the Penguins' 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place... injury crisis at goaltender meant that [Penguins head coach Dan] Bylsma was sending in a raw Russian rookie who had been in North America just a few weeks, doesn't speak English, had had just one morning skate with the club after signing an amateur tryout contract in a pinch and was wearing pads that belonged to No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Fleury was out with a broken finger, and regular backup Brent Johnson is out with an undisclosed injury. Curry, who was recalled from the minor leagues Monday, was playing in his fourth NHL game, first of the season.

No one really expected Pechurski to play, including him."

Play he did. The young Russian who doesn't speak English, who was on a one-game amateur tryout with the Penguins, who played the previous night for the Tri-City Americans (co-owned by former Caps goalie Olaf Kolzig, hence a Capitals connection), and who had to use Fleury's pads because his own did not meet NHL regulations, allowed only one goal on 13 shots in 23:43 and won the game's third star in a 6-2 Vancouver win.

Try to imagine being dropped into Moscow, not being able to speak Russian and playing goaltender for CSKA Moscow.

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