Penguins Notebook: Backup goalie Garon to make debut tonight
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NEWARK, N.J. -- The Zamboni crew pretty much had to chase Mathieu Garon and a couple other Penguins stragglers off the ice well into the team's morning skate yesterday at Prudential Center.
"I'm really excited," said Garon, the backup goaltender obtained in a Jan. 17 trade with Edmonton who is expected to make his first appearance with the Penguins when he starts tonight in Toronto.
"It's been a while since I played a game. I've been here awhile and I want to play. It's a good chance for me to play."
Garon last played the night before the trade, starting for the Oilers in a 3-2 win at Colorado. A one-time Edmonton starter, he was No. 3 in a three-goaltender rotation this season before he came to the Penguins for goaltender Dany Sabourin and a fourth-round draft pick in 2011.
"I've tried to get to know the guys and get to know the system," Garon said of his new team. "I was lucky that I got a chance to practice a lot before playing a game, so now I feel comfortable with it and I feel ready."
Matchup: Penguins at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:08 p.m., Air Canada Centre, Toronto.
TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WXDX-FM (105.9).
Probable goaltenders: Mathieu Garon for Penguins. Vesa Toskala for Maple Leafs.
Penguins: Have split two games with Toronto this season, both at home. ... Were 1-4 in past five road games before last night. ... C Sidney Crosby has 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists) in past eight games.
Maple Leafs: Broke four-game losing streak Thursday with 7-4 win at Colorado. ... Are 1-4-1 on second night of back-to-back games. ... LW Jason Blake has 6 points (3-3) in past three games, 11 points (6-5) in past six games.
Hidden stat: Maple Leafs have been outscored, 6-1, in four-on-four play.
Coming out of graduate school at Miami, Ohio, all Mike "Doc" Emrick wanted was a job broadcasting hockey.
"I sent tapes all over. I've got some real famous signatures at the bottom of letters of rejection that I've saved," said Emrick, the New Jersey Devils' TV voice.
The native of LaFontaine, Ind., ended up taking a job at Geneva College teaching speech and broadcasting and administering the campus radio station. He had enough spare time to cover the then-fledgling Penguins on a volunteer basis for a suburban Western Pennsylvania newspaper and attend several Pirates games, going to Forbes Field to root on the team he had followed closely for years.
"At that time in the late '60s, the Pirates were really good," Emrick said.
After two years at Geneva, followed by time spent earning a doctorate in broadcasting and calling some college games at Bowling Green, Emrick got a job describing games for a minor-league hockey team in Port Huron, Mich.
In his 19th season as New Jersey's play-by-play man and 36th calling pro hockey, Emrick was honored in a pregame ceremony last night.
He is this season's recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, the broadcasting equivalent of being elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Emrick also broadcasts NHL games for Versus and NBC.
After sitting out more than half the season without a contract, winger Brendan Shanahan played in his fifth game since signing with the Devils.
"He was waiting. He worked so hard to get back in the league," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said of the 40-year-old, who broke in with New Jersey in 1987-88 and played with four other teams -- most recently the New York Rangers -- before rejoining the Devils earlier this month.
He has three goals in his first five games after signing.
The Penguins' morning skate was optional. The only players who sat out were wingers Petr Sykora and Matt Cooke and defenseman Philippe Boucher. Cooke, who served the second and final game of an NHL suspension for a hit on Carolina's Scott Walker, was eligible to practice but was ill. ... Defenseman Brooks Orpik returned to the Penguins' lineup after missing three games because of a groin injury. Defensemen Alex Goligoski and Hal Gill were scratched.
First Published January 31, 2009 12:08 am