Joey in the Pictou

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 11:37 AM ET

They stayed up late in Pictou, N.S., last night.

Joey MacDonald, one of their own, was making his NHL debut on Hockey Night in Canada.

MacDonald, 26, got the start in goal for the Detroit Red Wings against the Edmonton Oilers.

"It's been a long time, I was in the East Coast League, then the American League for four or five years," MacDonald said prior to last night's game. "It's exciting to get the opportunity, it's been a long time coming."

MacDonald is the Wings third-string goaltender. He practices with the club and backs up Chris Osgood on the nights Red Wings starting goaltender Dominik Hasek doesn't play.

But with Osgood hurt and Hasek having played the night before in Calgary, MacDonald got his chance.

"I told him on the flight (Friday) night that he better call his mom and tell her what time the game was on," said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. "This is a good opportunity for him. This was going to be Ozzy's start, we called up (Stefan) Liv to back up, and we're going to stick to the same plan.

"Dom doesn't play back-to-back games, at least not at this point of the season."

Hasek doesn't dress as a backup either. The Wings don't want to risk injury to their veteran goaltender if forced to enter the game in relief without an extended warm-up.

MacDonald had played just 45 minutes in the NHL prior to last night's start. He relieved Osgood in an October encounter against the San Jose Sharks.

He was excited to hear his name in the pre-game introductions.

"That will be good," he said. "It'll be better than hearing that instead of scratched."

The puck dropped last night at 11 p.m., Pictou time. Regardless, it's a good bet many of the residents of the town with an estimated population of 5,000 stayed up to watch.

"It's a very small town, it just has one street," MacDonald said. "But I grew up there my whole life so it's very exciting."


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