Four years of hard work will reach its pinnacle when Coyotes backup goalie Al Montoya makes his NHL debut on Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche.
“It’s everything I have worked for,” said Montoya, who learned he would make his debut after Tuesday's practice. “This is what I have been preparing for in practice. The goal was to get called up and the goal was to play. I’m excited (to play) for the first time.
“This is why you play the game,” said Montoya, who will have family watching his debut on television in Chicago. “... Getting my chance to play in the NHL will come tomorrow and I will take full advantage of it and be ready when the game starts.””
Coyotes Assistant Coach Doug Sulliman knows the importance of a strong start against Colorado on Wednesday, especially with a debuting goalie in the net.
“You don’t mind shots from the outside,” Sulliman said. “What you don’t want is a point-blank opportunity immediately in a hockey game. I think initially we are going to offer as much help as we can until he settles down. In the first 10 minutes, the adrenaline will be flowing and he might be a little nervous.”
Sulliman said this is a great chance for Montoya, who was recalled from the team's top affiliate in San Antonio on March 23.
“We hope he does well," Sulliman said. "We would love to have the goaltending position solidified. He has been worked so hard by (Goaltending Coach Grant) Fuhr. He has been doing a lot of lateral movement and side-to-side stuff in practice. He has been working hard. This is probably the hardest he has been working all year.”