When Roberto Luongo suffered an upper-body injury against the New York Islanders on November 13th, it set in motion a series of events for the Vancouver Canucks.
Backup Cory Schneider moved into a starting roll and Eddie Lack was recalled from the Chicago Wolves to back him up when the Canucks faced the Chicago Blackhawks. Lack was called up and sent back down within a 24 hour period, he did not practice with the team because coach Alain Vigneault said the Canucks have “a lot of great other goaltenders that can step in and block some shots.”
Cue Jamie Hendricks and Dave Zarn.
The domino effect of Luongo being unable to practice was that Hendricks, Vancouver's assistant equipment manager, and Zarn, the assistant athletic trainer, strapped on the pads to tend twine.
They each manned the net for a practice in November and while their performances were admirable, they were the talk of the dressing room thereafter.
Here are 6 things you should know about being the backup, backup’s backup and his backup.
BACKUP PLAN A
Assistant equipment manager Jamie Hendricks
“The first time I went in, Marc Crawford asked me to do it and I just put the pads on and started stopping pucks. Every time I go in it’s a huge thrill and a rush because you get to live the childhood dream for half a second. We have a good view obviously being on the bench for the game, but when the puck is coming at you from the Canucks, you appreciate how talented they are. It’s fun to have a guy shoot at you. If Sami Salo comes up and winds up a slapshot and you stop it, it’s an accomplishment. I have stopped a couple of his shots and it stings, if you catch it in your glove it hurts your hand, he shoots the puck hard.”
BACKUP PLAN B
Assistant athletic trainer Dave Zarn
“This was the second time I’ve ever done this, first time was last year. The first time was awesome. As soon as the boss said it was okay, I was like a little kid again. It’s a big thrill going out with the guys and you realize just how hard they shoot and how fast they skate and how quick things happen. They don’t take anything off their shots in practice; Sami Salo and Alex Edler, they’ve got some bombs, but they both know pretty much where it’s going. Edler blew one through my glove today. It hit the pocket, snapped my wrist back and then it went into the net. There’s no point in trying to be a hero, they’re going to beat you no matter what.”
SHOOTING TO SCORE
Forward Cody Hodgson
“I was always taught to shoot to score, even in practice, so I was shooting to score and I always do, no matter who is in net. In the first practice I went out there and was doing a few of the normal drills and I went down and picked my head up at the last minute before a shot expecting Lu to be there and I see a lot of net, so I knew it wasn’t him or Schneider. Zarn robbed me a few times and so did Jamie the other day, so I give them credit for getting in there and giving it everything they have.”
THRILL & AGONY
Forward Alex Burrows
“Having those guys in practice is good for your confidence, that’s for sure. There’s normally more room so you try to pick corners. Sometimes even just a shot along the ice might go in, but against Lu those ones never go in. The only thing is that when you don’t score, you really start doubting yourself and if you’re ever going to score a goal again. They’ve been doing a good job, it’s not their first job, they haven’t worked out as many times as we have, they go in there and they face the shots and you Sami and Kes coming in and taking clappers and they’re hanging in there, so it’s a lot of fun.”
Backup goaltender Cory Schneider
“We’re turning into a goalie factory, we’re just pumping them out left and right, if it’s not one guy, it’s another. I will say this though, what they lack in height and skill and conditioning, they make up for in heart and determination. That’s my view from the other end. I do feel terrible for them. Guys are just teeing them up and they see them in net and their eyes light up a bit, which isn’t too fair, but I think for them it’s fun too to get in there and I’m sure they enjoy it.”
THE BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP'S BACKUP
Forward Dale Weise
“That’s a good question, if the backup, his backup, his backup and his backup all went down, could I step in. I was a pretty good street hockey goalie back in the day, so I feel like I’d be okay. I’ve only strapped on the pads twice on the ice, I wasn’t very good, it wasn’t really my calling, but as the backup, backup, backup, backup, backup’s backup, I’m pretty sure I’d be one of the best in the league.”