TORONTO - Maple Leafs veteran goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere has been there before. Rookie James Reimer hasn't. Not yet anyway.
And we're not talking about winning a Stanley Cup or playing in an NHL all-star game. No, we're talking about going toe-to-toe with another netminder.
Ah, goalie fights. There’s been some great ones over the years. Remember former Leafs goaltender Felix Potvin and irascible Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers hammering away at each other back in November 1996? And who can forget Colorado Avalanche great Patrick Roy and Chris Osgood of the Detroit Red Wings pummeling each other in 1998?
Now you can add New York Islanders’ Rick DePietro and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Brent Johnson to the list of padded pugilists. And while it won’t go down as one of the all-time great fights -– it only lasted one punch, with DePietro being on the wrong end of a Johnson left –- it was still pretty exciting to see the Penguins netminder skate all the way down into the Islanders’ end on Wednesday night to take on DePietro.
Giguere, who tangled with another ’keeper back in his AHL days, says he doesn’t have a problem with goaltenders fighting, just as long as nobody gets hurt.
“You have to be careful because somebody can get hurt pretty bad,” Giguere said after the Leafs morning skate on Thursday. “Whenever two goalies fight, it’s always pretty awkward looking so it makes for a good show.”
Reimer, who is starting against Carolina tonight, said he has never been in a fight before but thinks he would fare pretty well -– and he seemed pretty pumped at the prospect that it might just happen some day.
“Not yet, but who knows. In the years to come, maybe,” the affable Reimer said with a shrug and a smile. “I’ve never really had the opportunity. No one’s skated across the ice to fight me, and I’ve never skated across the ice myself.
“I’d like to think I’m a bigger guy, so I think I might be able to hold my own.”
Giguere doesn’t have to wait to see how things would turn out for him, he already knows. “I can’t remember his name, but it didn’t last very long,” Giguere said of his fight. “He was way taller than me. He kicked the s--t out of me.”