An injury to Manny Legace in the Oct. 24 game vs. Los Angeles gave Ben Bishop his first chance to play in the NHL (Getty Images).
Ben Bishop is right back where he started.
After leaving his St. Louis home as a junior in high school and then playing college hockey at the University of Maine, a recent call up by the Blues has the 6-foot-7 goalie back home in Des Peres.
“I might be the only player in the NHL living with my parents,” Bishop joked Monday.
Living at home or not, on Friday, Bishop had to grow up fast.
A lower body injury to Manny Legace on Friday gave Bishop a chance to play in his first NHL game, one which he stopped 15 of 17 Los Angeles’ shots.
“I thought Ben got in there and made some good saves right away for us,” said Blues coach Andy Murray.
“You never want to see any of your teammates go down like that,” Bishop said. “I hope (Legace) gets better as fast as he can. It was an awkward situation, but I was just trying to keep my team in the game there.”
With Friday’s game, Bishop became the tallest goalie to ever play in the NHL, topping New York Rangers’ netminder Stephen Valiquette, who stands 6-foot-5.
Bishop grew up in St. Louis and was drafted by the Blues with their third round pick (85th overall) in 2005. He used his size to dominate the college ranks, recording 55 wins and a 2.29 goals against average in three seasons in the NCAA. He signed his first pro contract last year and was called up from the Peoria Rivermen last Sunday as Chris Mason recovers from emergency appendectomy surgery. While he knows his stay in St. Louis is temporary, Bishop said he’s trying to learn as much as he can.
“I take it day-by-day, try to learn as much as I can while I’m up here,” he said. “I’m pretty fortunate to be up here right now.”
While the Blues will evaluate Legace’s injury before making a decision, it’s possible Bishop will get a chance to make his first start when the Blues host the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
“It was a great honor to be on the ice and hear the fans scream like that,” Bishop said about Friday’s game. “It was pretty cool.”