Accountant by day, beer-league goalie by night, steals show for Chicago Blackhawks
On a night that was supposed to be all about celebrating Brent Seabrook's 1,000th NHL game and watching the debut of ultra-talented forward Dylan Sikura, it was a 36-year-old beer-league goalie who stole the show at the United Center on Thursday.
Oak Park's Scott Foster, an accountant by day, was forced into action during the Blackhawks' 6-2 victory over Winnipeg after Anton Forsberg went down with a pregame injury and Collin Delia was injured with 14:01 left in the game.
"I don't think I heard anything other than, 'Put your helmet on,' " said a dripping Foster while surrounded by a throng of media at his locker stall.
Foster has attended 12-15 games this season, always sitting in the press box in case a scenario like this develops. After Forsberg was injured, Foster was called down and he sat in the Hawks dressing room in full gear just in case.
And then it happened. Delia cramped up after making a save, and after he was helped off the ice, in came Foster.
"It's funny. You think there'd be a lot of pressure," said Foster, who played 55 games for Western Michigan in the early 2000s. "But really, tomorrow I'm going to wake up, I'm going to button up my shirt and I'm going to go back to my day job. So what pressure is there for me?"
Foster made a pad save on a shot by Tyler Myers 61 seconds after entering and also made impressive stops on Dustin Byfuglien and Paul Stastny with 5:39 and 4:38 remaining. The crowd was chanting "Foster! Foster! Foster!" down the stretch and absolutely erupted when he was named the No. 1 star of the game.
That's something you'll never forget," said Foster, who finished with 7 saves. "You understand what's happening and they're going to have a lot of fun with it, so you might as well too."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Delia should be fine to play against Colorado today and that Forsberg is likely done for the season. The Hawks called up J-F Berube from Rockford less than an hour after the game ended.
"Opening day for baseball, but we had to go to the bullpen a couple of times today," Quenneville said. "One of those interesting things you don't see very often. Both goalies played extremely well."
Delia stopped the first 20 shots he saw and finished with 25 saves.
Sikura, who signed a two-year contract Monday, had 2 assists, finished with 4 shots on goal and played almost 14 minutes.
"It was a pretty special night," Sikura said. "It was Seabs' 1,000th (game) and that ceremony got pretty emotional for some guys. And with the goalie changes, it was pretty crazy. It's something I'll never forget."
Brent Seabrook became the fifth player in Blackhawks history to play in 1,000 games with the franchise Thursday, and the organization honored the three-time Stanley Cup champion with a 15-minute pregame ceremony emceed by Troy Murray.
Patrick Sharp presented Seabrook with the traditional Silver Stick given to players who reach 1,000 games. Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane then unveiled a painting with three different images of Seabrook.
Before the gifts were handed out, a video was played that showed some of Seabrook's biggest goals and also featured tributes from Sharp, Kane, Keith, Jonathan Toews, Andrew Shaw, Andrew Ladd, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Marian Hossa.
"It was pretty special," Seabrook said. "Being here for so many years since I was a 17-year-old baby, they had some pretty good footage."
Seabrook was joined on the ice by his mom, dad, brother, wife and three kids.
Coach Joel Quenneville said John Hayden and Jonathan Toews, both out with upper-body injuries, are improving and might be able to skate Friday.
Blackhawks vs. Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center, 8 p.m.
TV: NBCSCH • Radio: 720-AM
The skinny: This game is huge for Colorado, which has lost two straight and is in a battle with St. Louis, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Dallas for the final two playoff spots in the West. ... Since beating the Hawks 5-1 on March 20, the Avs have scored a total of 4 goals in their last four games. ... Defenseman Blake Hillman will likely make his NHL debut for the Hawks.
Next: St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center, 7 p.m. Wednesday
-- John Dietz