Usually, any time an injury happens to any franchise, there is plenty to worry about and the main focus is on the negativity surrounding it. Instead, the Blues got a fantastic story out of an emergency situation.
The St. Louis Blues lost Carter Hutton to a sudden injury the morning before their December 7 game against the Dallas Stars. Normally, that would be the main focus and there would be much consternation over what the team would do.
There is still plenty of time for that to happen. The Blues officially put Hutton on injured reserves just one day after the injury, so he’s going to miss at least a week and maybe more.
Then there is all the stuff of what happens in goal. Do the Blues just ride Jake Allen, even with back-to-back games right on the horizon? Do they trust in Ville Husso enough to give him a game and trust the defenders will step up their game in front?
Personally, I hope they give Husso his shot. I won’t say he’s earned it, because his career is too young. I just think there is enough promise and talent there that the team should see what they have.
Regardless of all that, there was a truly fascinating story to come out of the Hutton injury. As an example of dreams really can come true, the Blues gave a brief shot to a guy that was literally off the street.
Tyler Stewart was signed as the team’s emergency goaltender. Most people in that position figure it is more an honorary role and they’ll never actually have to be called upon.
The vast majority of the time, that is true. Usually teams know about these things well in advance and can recall a player from the minors to fill in.
The Blues tried that, but Husso was not going to arrive in time. In theory, the Blues could have gone through warmups without a backup goaltender, but you can also throw off the normal structure of the skaters warmups if you do that.
Enter Stewart. A season ticket holder, Stewart told the media that he keeps his gear in his wife’s car, just in case. Just in case came for him on that night.
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Stewart suited up in the 98 sweater and got to live the dream of almost every Blues fan. He got to be part of the roster, skate with the world’s best and take some shots as well.
It’s been widely discussed that he was flabbergasted at the opportunity. I mean the guy go to sit next to and talk to Vladimir Tarasenko, which would floor even the crustiest of fans.
"“I got to listen to the pregame speech with [Mike] Yeo,” Stewart said. “It’s crazy how loose they are. You would think they’d be tight a little, but they’re joking around like you wouldn’t even think they’re playing a hockey game. It’s a cool environment, nothing like I’d ever experienced before.“I sat next to Tarasenko. He was awesome. Him and [Vladimir] Sobotka were asking me how to spell scissors because they were confused about the spelling. They were saying it as Caesar, like Caesar salad. It was pretty funny. They just talked to me like I was one of the guys. It was pretty cool.”"
Just imagine what would have been going through his mind. He’s suddenly in net, taking shots against some of his sports heroes. There are people that pay thousands of dollars to do those kinds of things in fantasy camps. This guy got to do it for free and might have even been given a check for it (I’m not completely sure how these emergency contracts work, especially since he did not see game time).
During the game, this scenario brought up all sorts of interesting possibilities. Husso did not arrive until the first period was almost over.
What would have happened if Allen broke a skate blade for the second game in a row? That’s extremely unlikely, but it was unlikely that he would have broken it in the first place. Can you imagine the butterflies Stewart would have had if he actually had to play? Insanity.
For now, the story is a fascinating example of what makes hockey so interesting. What other sport does that?
Football does not have an emergency quarterback. Nobody is warming up on an NBA court ready to go in if the last point guard gets hurt. Only in the NHL could you see this sort of thing.
It is scary from a fan standpoint to think some guy off the street could have ended up in net. Still, it’s an amazing story that makes you believe that something magical can happen to any one of us.