Shannon Szabados takes gold medal form to Oilers practice
Olympic goalie invited to practice after Twitter campaign
Talk at the Edmonton Oilers practice today wasn't just about who was coming and going as the trade deadline loomed, but who was in net.
"Just another player on the ice with just a little longer hair than the rest of them," laughed Canadian women's hockey goaltender Shannon Szabados. "Not a bad week and a half. Gold medal in Sochi and practising with the Oilers. Doesn't get much better. "
Many of her fans think so too.
When the team announced it was trading back-up goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, a campaign erupted on Twitter to employ Edmonton-area native Szabados to sit on the bench Tuesday night as back up to Ben Scrivens.
"Oilers have (mightily) disappointed me this year. I will forgive it all if they make shannon szabados the back up tonight," tweeted one.
Another: "Truth is she is a gold medalist, in game shape and from Edmonton. The Edmonton Oilers could do worse."
The team opted to go with University of Alberta Golden Bears goalie Kurtis Mucha, but Oilers general manager Craig McTavish noticed all the talk.
"I have seen her play against my son a couple of years ago at the midget level and I saw her shut him down a couple of times on a few glorious chances, so I have a good appreciation of her level as a goal tender."
Oilers coach Dallas Eakins invited Szabados to this morning's practice.
"She was good," said Oilers star Taylor Hall. "She obviously wasn't as big as some of the NHL goalies now, but she certainly can move around the net really well and surprised me with a few saves that she made."
The ones that got by she laughed about afterwards.
"I was bugging them," she said. "I said, 'You guys waited until I was tired at the end to take advantage,' but it was fun."