VANCOUVER — Artem Anisimov has played 770 NHL games as a forward, so seeing him fully dressed in goalie equipment in the Ottawa Senators locker room on Saturday generated a lot of laughter from his teammates.
Anisimov was next in line to play goalie for Ottawa against the Vancouver Canucks after scheduled starter Anton Forsberg was injured warming up and Matt Murray left with a lower-body injury 4:27 into the second period. That put Marcus Hogberg, who was on the taxi squad, into the game, and Anisimov, also on the taxi squad, into the goalie equipment just in case.
“Definitely loosens up things a little bit after the game in the locker room to see him dressed up as a goalie,” Ottawa defenseman Thomas Chabot said following the 4-2 loss. “It’s weird stuff happening, guys get hurt, and obviously to see him dressed up, it was pretty funny. The guys definitely had a good little laugh at it, but I mean it’s good on him, good for ‘Arty’ being ready to play goalie in case we needed him.”
With NHL teams not using an emergency backup goalie (EBUG) this season, the Senators were left short of options after Murray was injured.
“We didn’t have anyone left,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “A lot of people would think Zac Bierk, the goalie coach who played in the NHL, but he had three hip surgeries, he’s got a bad ear from shot in the head as a player, so he’s not an option. I know (general manager) Pierre Dorion played some net at the Christmas skate a couple years ago. We were mulling that over. It’s a tough situation.”
Hogberg made 18 saves finishing the game in relief of Murray, who made 12 saves.
Anisimov has scored 180 NHL goals, two in 18 games this season, his second with Ottawa. The 32-year-old was put on waivers in February, and did not play from March 11-April 2.
Senators forward Colin White, asked where to shoot against his 6-foot-4 teammate, said, “Anywhere, I would think.”
“If he ended up coming in, who knows, maybe it would have been like last year in Toronto (with EBUG David Ayres), but stuff like that happens in hockey and it’s next man up,” White said.
COVID-19 concerns, including a taxi squad with a third goalie, changed the NHL emergency backup rules for this 56-game season.
Previous rules (dating to 2015-16) mandated there be one emergency backup goalie with no prior professional playing experience in every arena for every NHL game. An EBUG played three times in more than 6,200 NHL games under those conditions.
Ayres played for the Carolina Hurricanes in a 6-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 22, 2020 after in-game injuries to Carolina goalies Petr Mrazek and James Reimer. The 42-year-old Toronto practice goalie played the final 28:41, made eight saves, and became the oldest goalie in NHL history to win his regular-season debut.
Scott Foster, a 36-year-old accountant, made seven saves playing the final 14:01 for the Chicago Blackhawks in a 6-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on March 29, 2018. Foster dressed as the backup after Forsberg, then with Chicago, was injured before the game, and entered in the third period after Colin Delia left with cramping.
Jorge Alves, a 37-year-old equipment manager for the Hurricanes, played eight seconds in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 31, 2016. He dressed as the backup after Eddie Lack became ill that day, and replaced Cam Ward to finish the game.