Scott Foster

NHL to potentially discuss emergency goalie rules at general managers meetings

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USA Today

NHL to potentially discuss emergency goalie rules at general managers meetings

The NHL general managers meetings are set to begin next week and one of the topics on the docket to be discussed may be emergency backup goalie (EBUG) procedures. The recent interest in reevaluating EBUG rules come after 42-year-old David Ayres suited up to play for the Carolina Hurricanes in their 6-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs this past weekend.

The issue of EBUGs comes up so rarely that NHL GMs don’t typically give it much thought. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke about EBUGs this Tuesday during the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets game.

“It's something we've given some consideration to over the years. As recently as last year, we discussed [it] with the general managers. It happens very, very rarely, but when it happens, it obviously raises everybody's attention to the issue and whether there are fixes that need to be made to that particular issue,” he explained. “We have to work with the [NHL] Players' Association. Who's a player? Who's not a player? What qualifies all of that? But obviously we want what's best for the game, and we want to make sure people aren't putting themselves in danger by playing goal in a National Hockey League game. ... So that's obviously something we have to continue to work through."

Currently, the 2019-20 NHL official rules state, “if both listed goalkeepers are incapacitated, that team shall be entitled to dress and play any available goalkeeper who is eligible."

Ayres drives the Zamboni at the Mattamy Athletic Center in Toronto and frequently practices with the Leafs. Ayres stepped in the net after Hurricanes goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were both injured. He made eight saves and is the oldest goalie in NHL history to make his regular season debut.

The Blackhawks had their own instance of needing an EBUG in 2018 against the Winnipeg Jets. Scott Foster, a then-36-year-old accountant stepped in the net at the United Center after Corey Crawford and Collin Delia were sidelined by injury. Foster saved all seven shots on goal, making him the first EBUG to make a save and a hometown hero in Chicago. 

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David Ayres joins Scott Foster in making emergency backup goalie history

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USA TODAY

David Ayres joins Scott Foster in making emergency backup goalie history

David Ayres is a 42-year-old Zamboni driver and, as of Saturday night, he is a man who has won a game as a netminder in the NHL.

Ayres is the emergency backup goalie (EBUG) for the Carolina Hurricanes, who are currently locked in a tight playoff race in the Eastern Conference. On Saturday, Ayres was thrust into action when Carolina suffered injuries to both starting goalie James Reimer and backup goalie Petr Mrazek. This, of course, made us think back to Chicago's favorite EBUG, Scott Foster.

Foster, an accountant, became a household name when he donned the No. 90 EBUG jersey when he debuted for the Blackhawks in 2018. Chicago was down a goalie when starting goalie Collin Delia — who was filling in for an injured Corey Crawford — went down early. This led to Foster making his unlikely seven-save debut. He was the first EBUG in NHL history to actually make a save and the fact that Foster was a perfect 7-for-7 in his time on the ice made the story even sweeter.

On Saturday, Ayres didn't maintain a perfect 1.000 save percentage like Foster but he did make some history of his own. Ayres was rattled at first, giving up two goals on the first two shots he faced but he did enough down the stretch to help the Hurricanes hold on to a quite important 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. With the win, Ayres is the first EBUG in league history to net a win, as Delia was credited with the win in Foster's debut in 2018.

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Scott Foster on emergency appearance with Blackhawks and his most tense in-game moment

Scott Foster on emergency appearance with Blackhawks and his most tense in-game moment

One year ago today, history was made at the United Center.

It was March 29, 2018. Anton Forsberg was expected to be the starter vs. Winnipeg but got injured before the game, which forced Collin Delia to make his NHL debut earlier than anticipated. And with 14:01 left in the third period and the Blackhawks leading 6-2, the unthinkable happened.

A 36-year-old accountant named Scott Foster entered the game for an injured Delia as the emergency goaltender. He stopped all seven shots he faced to preserve the victory for the Blackhawks, and was named the No. 1 star of the game. It was epic. 

And then Foster went dark. He disappeared from the spotlight and we didn't hear from him again.

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle sat down with Foster for nearly 30 minutes to relive that memorable night and took us behind the scenes of what transpired.

Here's a snippet:

On getting the nod:

"The first thing I remember is, we’re watching the game on TV and I was actually sitting beside Forsberg and [Corey] Crawford at the time, and Delia takes a shot," Foster said. "And there’s probably like a joke or something made about where he got hit with that puck and that it kind of shook him up or something like that. That’s when he goes down and now he’s not getting up. That’s when your heart rate starts going and you start to think, ‘There’s gotta be another guy between me and him, right? One of these two guys suits up and goes in for this game, right?'

"And then a trainer came running down and told me to start to stretch, which is something that probably doesn’t happen too often at men’s league. Then [assistant coach] Kevin Dineen’s running down the hallway, yelling at you to get your helmet because now you’re going in. So I had to make the walk down the hallway into this locker room and start grabbing my gear and my helmet and gloves and start getting ready to make the journey out the tunnel.”

On what he did during TV timeouts:

“Those were probably my most tense moments on the ice, actually. When the game is going on, you have something to focus on, you’re playing, you’re just trying to do your thing. But then there’s these moments in time where you can either glance around the crowd, do you skate to the bench? I remember just trying not to get run over by the ice crew. And I think I pondered actually going to the bench and I’m like, ‘Well then these guys are going to start talking to me and that’s probably the last thing I need to do right now.’

"I even remember trying to grab a drink of water and I let my eyes glance up through from the ice level up to the rafters in the United Center and I was like, ‘OK, no more of that! This place is huge. That’s a lot of cell phones taking pictures of you right now. Let’s not do any of that anymore.’ It was just kind of, take a moment to yourself and honestly just try to block a lot of stuff out.”

Listen to the full 1-on-1 interview here.

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