If you recall, Michal Neuvirth was supposed to start for the Capitals on Friday night. However, Neuvirth hurt himself during warm ups. Luckily, Braden Holtby was able to start at the last minute and lead the Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Canadiens. Now, what would have happened if Holtby got injured? Video coach Brett Leonhardt would have had to step in. Here’s a closer look at Brett Leonhardt.
I was first introduced to Brett Leonhardt when I went to the 2011 Capitals Alumni Game at Kettler Iceplex. He was a last minute add to the alumni roster, playing goalie for the red team.
I was an avid Capitals fan (and still am one), but I had never heard of him. There were two things about Leonhardt that intrigued me. First of all, I had never heard of him, but he got a ton of cheers from the crowd. Secondly, as you can see from the photo, Brett Leonhardt is very tall. I had to know more about him. I found out about how he technically WAS a Capitals alumni, as he had suited up for the Capitals on December 12th, 2008 as the backup for Brent Johnson when Jose Theodore suffered an injury during the morning skate. Since Semyon Varlamov was in Texas at the time, he had to fly in. The Capitals signed Leonhardt to an amateur try-out contract once they realized that Varlamov might not make it in time for the game. For 9 minutes and 3 seconds that day, Leonhardt was the backup for Johnson.
Naturally, I was curious as to why Leonhardt was chosen to be the backup goalie. Not only was he the Capitals’ website producer at the time (a position that he served from 2007 to 2011), but he actually had experience as a goalie. He played several years of Division III hockey at The State University Of New York at Oswego and at Neumann University.
Brett Leonhardt currently serves as the Capitals’ video coach after spending two years as the NHL’s video manager for hockey operations. He is 6’7″, which is almost comically tall for a goalie. Had he played on December 12th, 2008 or last night, he would have tied Ben Bishop as the tallest goalie in NHL history. I was rooting for him to be put in the game on Friday so that his dedication to the Washington Capitals could be documented in history.
One might think that serving as a “backup” goalie for one night would be the equivalent of having a night off from work. Wrong. Leonhardt did not derelict his duties as the video coach.
2nd intermission for Stretch. pic.twitter.com/Yj14X2UJ7u
— Sergey Kocharov (@SergeyKocharov) November 30, 2013
Here’s to you Brett Leonhardt, unsung hero of the Washington Capitals.