On a Thursday night that surely will be remembered as a highlight in the Scott Foster era, Brent Seabrook's landmark 1,000th regular-season game felt like old news by the time the Blackhawks finished off the Winnipeg Jets, 6-2, at the United Center.
Seabrook, a rock on defense since 2005, was honored with a fine ceremony featuring family and friends and flowers. He does not like the spotlight, so he had to be grateful that good old No. 90 absolutely stole it at the end of an evening that bordered on the occult.
"I'll be back at my desk tomorrow morning," promised Foster, a 36-year-old accountant who hadn't played a game that mattered since he toiled for Western Michigan University about the time Seabrook was breaking into the National Hockey League.
Foster is among a handful of men who rotate as potential emergency goalies for the Blackhawks. Thursday night he was headed to the UC for his customary invisible standby role when he got a call that Anton Forsberg had incurred a lower-body injury. So Foster would not be spending his evening in the press box. Rather, he would be employed on an emergency basis, just in case Collin Delia came up lame.
Well, 'just in case' happened in the third period. Delia, playing well in his NHL debut, cramped up and had to be helped off the ice. Foster, all dressed up in his No. 90 sweater, now had someplace to be.
BETWEEN THE PIPES OF A BLACKHAWKS GAME IN FRONT OF 21,839 PEOPLE!!!
With 14:01 remaining in the third, there was every possibility that the Jets, a very good team, might fill the net against Foster, a willing but absolutely anonymous fellow. He faced a couple practice whacks by teammates, but then had to face reality. There's lower body, then there's upper body, then there's out of body.
"It happened pretty quickly," said Foster, who still plays in a men's league that is not the NHL, the best league in the world. However, an utter stranger in the night, he stopped all seven shots thrust his way to start his career with a 0.00 goals against average, which is probably how it will end.
Video: Scott Foster's NHL debut
What's best, the crowd was totally into it. Every time Foster made a save, the roar of approval grew an octave or so. That is, until the fans opted to begin chanting "FOS-TER!! FOS-TER!!" At game's conclusion, his new teammates didn't just gather around Foster. They smothered him with love and affection and congratulations as though he was Seabrook.
"I have two young kids who are probably sleeping," Foster said. "My wife, she's also home. I don't know if she knows about this or not."
Tomas Jurco had two goals Thursday night. Dylan Sikura registered his first two NHL points, both assists. Forsberg is probably out for the year. Delia, whom Head Coach Joel Quenneville thought might return Thursday night to replace Foster, went on the team charter for Friday night's game in Denver, where he will be joined by J-F Berube.
Meanwhile, good old No. 90 was voted first star.
"Something I will never forget," said Scott Foster, accountant.