Penguins video coordinator Jim Britt arrived at Southpointe Wednesday afternoon ready to log a day of work for the club. However, on this day he took on an atypical task.
With the Penguins having only one goaltender at practice as Marc-Andre Fleury
is still with Team Canada in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics, Britt was asked by head coach Dan Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero to suit up and tend the crease for the team.
"We talked about it a week ago or so knowing that Flower would still be away," said Britt sitting at his stall following practice. "Dan and Mr. Shero asked me. I did it a few times in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton when we were there and guys were injured, called up or whatever the case was, to fill practice for the day. It was fun."
Britt, who is in the midst of his first season in Pittsburgh, grew up playing hockey in the Philadelphia area. He played up to the high school level before opting to pursue an education, so he has some experience on the ice. However, high school hardly compares to facing shots from Bill Guerin, Ruslan Fedotenko, Jordan Staal
and Kris Letang
. Naturally, Britt came away impressed with the talent of the team.
"I get to see these guys play every day and it makes you realize how good they are," Britt said. "I grew up playing in Philadelphia, midgets and high school hockey, but it doesn’t even compare to the speed and skill that these guys have. They pick you apart. You feel like you’re getting good and have your angle down and they put the puck into a hole you didn’t know was there."
Britt spent the previous five years with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, including the past three as the team's video coordinator/manager of team services.
As video coordinator, Britt’s duties include breaking down pre-scout and game film, creating highlight videos and assisting the coaching staff with game preparation and video analyses.
And after stepping on the Southpointe ice surface, he can add backup goaltender to that resume.
"I was pretty rusty," Britt joked. "I was glad we did the 15 minutes of skating around, feeling the puck and guys were just hitting me with it. They were pretty good about letting me ease into it a little bit.
"It’s intimidating. (Equipment manager) Dana (Heinze) did a good job of getting me pretty big pads. I was well protected. It’s definitely intimidating that each of these guys could pick you apart. It was a lot of fun."