For former Calgary Flames – and now Toronto Maple Leafs’ – goalie David Rittich, were the two days prior to his start on Tuesday night the wackiest in NHL history? Maybe not, but I can’t think of another situation anywhere near as odd as the one he was involved with at the beginning of this week.
Here’s Just How Strange Rittich’s Situation Was
In an interview after the Calgary Flames 3-2 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the question Shawn McKenzie asked Chris Johnston was how impressive David Rittich was in his debut performance as a Maple Leafs’ goalie. But first, Johnston couldn’t help himself from talking about how really strange the situation had to have been for Rittich.
First, Johnston acknowledged that it had to be a really odd last 48 hours for the former Flames’ goalie. He specifically pointed to the fact that it had to be “unprecedented” for Rittich to fly into Toronto with his suddenly “former team” to join a new team – in fact the team that his old team would play in their next game.
Then, in addition to that strange trip, to then actually face play your former team in net? Johnston noted that “it had been 20 years since any goaltender had played his first game after a trade against his former team.”
It’s been a strange pandemic-impacted season and unlike any other Johnston could think of. Nor anyone else, really!
Assessing Rittich’s Play in Goal
So, how did Rittich do under those circumstances? Johnston’s assessment was that the Czech goalie “certainly played very well.” Although to note just how odd the situation was, Rittich himself noted that “he had one moment when he was almost scared by a Blue Jersey because he was thinking that he was on the other side.”
Still, Johnston noted that “given all that he faced, I thought in the third period he (Rittich) made some nice saves to help the Leafs hang around this game and get a point.” That’s certainly something to build on for Rittich, because “who knows how many starts he will get?”
Honestly, Rittich could find himself languishing on the bench, or he could be thrust straight into becoming the Maple Leafs’ starting goalie. No one outside the Maple Leafs’ organization (and perhaps even within the organization) knows what’s going on Frederick Anderson or even with Jack Campbell. We know Andersen is injured; but, there’s some feeling by team watchers that Campbell isn’t close to 100% and that the Maple Leafs are managing his time as a way to promote healing from his lower-body injury.
Because Campbell has “been rolling well,” David Riddick had “to put a good foot forward here initially and I think he managed to do that well.” Although the Flames spoiled Rittich’s first start with an overtime goal, it didn’t suggest that the new goalie had played poorly.
Listening to the McKenzie & Johnston Interview
Listen to Shawn McKenzie and Chris Johnston discuss both the situation with the Flames going forward – asking if there’s a chance that Calgary could make the playoffs – and discussing Rittich’s first start in goal for the Maple Leafs.
/ 5 hours ago
After a Game 1 loss in which they allowed five goals, Joel Quenneville has...
/ 22 hours ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs are getting a few players into their lineup, while also...
/ 4 days ago
Reports are Adam Larsson is close on a three or four-year extension with the...
/ 5 days ago
TSN's Darren Dreger notes that Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie is likely to test...
/ 6 days ago
Kevyn Adams didn’t seem angry, but he did seem a bit annoyed that there...
/ 6 days ago
After John Davidson and Jeff Gorton were fired by New York Rangers owner David...
/ 1 week ago
The Edmonton Oilers are making ground on a four-year extension with defenseman Adam Larsson.
/ 1 week ago
As per reports by multiple sources, John Tortorella has agreed to leave the Columbus...
/ 2 weeks ago
George Parros says he doesn't want the gig as head of NHL Department of...