Alex Bishop lived out his dream.
The Maple Leafs exhaled figuring out the College of Toronto goalie did not have to maneuver from the tip of the bench.
Bishop dressed because the backup to starter Jack Campbell for Saturday evening’s 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators with fellow Toronto netminder Petr Mrazek sidelined by a groin harm and the group going through an early-season wage cap squeeze.
“That was fairly surreal,” Bishop stated of stepping on the ice for warmups at Scotiabank Area. “You by no means actually have a look at the flash of the cameras till you get on the market.
“It was actually cool.”
The weird scenario the Leafs discovered themselves in was compounded by defenceman Justin Holl’s absence as a consequence of sickness. Toronto might have demoted a participant to the American Hockey League and recalled goaltender Michael Hutchinson — the membership’s third choice final season — because the No. 2 behind Campbell if Holl was wholesome.
The group might have additionally despatched somebody down, introduced up Hutchinson, and performed with 17 skaters. Nevertheless it wound up deciding the most effective route was to signal Bishop to a one-day beginner tryout and hope Campbell obtained by way of the night unscathed.
“There’s numerous issues that, to be sincere, aren’t my division, and I am not likely conscious,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe stated in making an attempt to elucidate the rationale following Saturday’s morning skate.
Holl awaiting COVID take a look at end result
“However actually it simply comes all the way down to the truth that the flat [salary] cap has created some conditions right here which can be much more tough to handle even than they have been a yr in the past once they had the taxi squad and a 3rd goalie.
“We’re going by way of that right here now.”
WATCH | Mrazek goes down with groin harm:
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Petr Mrázek left Thursday evening’s sport versus the Ottawa Senators after struggling a groin harm on the finish of the second interval and didn’t return. 0:53
Keefe stated Holl had chilly signs, including his PCR checks for COVID-19 had but to return again as of Saturday morning. Nonetheless even when they have been unfavourable, he wasn’t going to be nicely sufficient to swimsuit up in opposition to the Senators.
The excellent news for the Leafs, who’re tight to the cap, is Mrazek continues to be evaluated for a groin downside suffered in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Senators within the nation’s capital.
Since Mrazek wasn’t positioned on injured reserve, a transfer that may have freed up cap house to recall Hutchinson, it factors to Toronto’s optimism Mrazek’s ailment is not severe.
Keefe stated Toronto will now have the ability to recall Hutchinson, who’s anticipated to be at observe Sunday.
“That is the scenario,” Keefe stated of getting to make use of Bishop. “Loads of groups have already gone by way of it final season and I think much more will this season with the principles going again to regular and never essentially having the COVID exemptions.
“That is the place we’re at.”
The Leafs have latest expertise with unusual goaltending moments.
Memorable evening for Zamboni driver
They have been the opponent when two Carolina goalies, together with Mrazek, have been injured on a Saturday evening in Toronto on Feb. 22, 2020.
That pressured emergency backup David Ayres into motion.
The then-42-year-old Zamboni driver allowed targets on the Leafs’ first two pictures after coming into the fray that memorable evening, however Ayres stopped the subsequent eight in a shocking 6-3 Hurricanes’ victory that catapulted him into the general public eye.
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The 7 Canadian groups are not all in the identical division, which leaves numerous questions. Rob Pizzo breaks a few of them down. 6:03
“It is not misplaced on me that it is a fairly uncommon alternative,” stated Bishop, a 24-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., with three seasons of Quebec Main Junior Hockey League expertise. “Not lots of people, if any, get to do issues like this.
“I am fairly fortunate.”
The commerce main, who has two midterm exams subsequent week, stated he normally tries to have a pre-game nap.
That wasn’t occurring following Saturday’s morning skate.
“I went house and knew there wasn’t an opportunity,” he advised a dozen reporters within the Leafs’ media room. “I studied just a little bit, I did some work for my midterm on Tuesday.
“Then took a bathe and obtained prepared and headed again over right here.”
The six-foot-four, 205-pound Bishop has spent two seasons enjoying for U of T, however his final dwell motion got here earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic on Feb. 16, 2020. The Varsity Blues begin their 2021-22 common season subsequent month.
Bishop had his dad and mom within the crowd — dad is an enormous Leafs fan — and obtained inundated with texts Saturday afternoon earlier than having to silence his telephone.
“I am nonetheless sort of soaking it in,” he stated when requested what he’ll bear in mind concerning the expertise. “However I believe simply the response from all my family and friends and those who I most likely have not spoken to in 5 or 6 years simply messaging me. That is what made me flip off my telephone, however it wasn’t a shot at them.
“Simply the help system I’ve, and my family and friends, it is nice to see.”