Brossoit getting busy Golden Knights goalie loving heavier workload

Laurent Brossoit is the busiest he’s ever been in the NHL.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/03/2022 (270 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Laurent Brossoit is the busiest he’s ever been in the NHL.

But you’ll hear no grumbling from the veteran goaltender, who is finally receiving the thing he’s desire most — a heavier workload — from his current employer, the Vegas Golden Knights.

And now, his assignments might really start piling up.

Head coach Peter DeBoer’s go-to guy has been Robin Lehner — with 38 starts — but the No.1 netminder returned to Vegas after sustaining a lower-body injury in Philadelphia and was seen using crutches early last week. Rookie goalie Logan Thompson was between the pipes Sunday in a 6-4 road defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

DAVID BECKER / ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO “It’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for my whole career,” said Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Laurent Brossoit.

Vegas ends a disastrous 0-4 road trip Tuesday in downtown Winnipeg against the Jets in a key Western Conference matchup. Brossoit is expected to face his old teammates at Canada Life Centre.

“(DeBoer) hasn’t said anything directly but I’ll make my assumption,” said Brossoit, during phone chat with the Free Press on Monday afternoon. “It’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for my whole career.”

There was no update on Lehner’s condition Monday, however, Brossoit’s comments likely suggests he’s going to be counted on to help guide the Golden Knights out of their current funk.

“You get pretty close to your goalie partner. It’s one of those weird things in the goalie world, there’s only two of you and sometimes the only way to get an opportunity is for the other guy to go down with an injury,” said Brossoit. “In a perfect world, that’s not the way you get your opportunity and it’s through other means, but in this case I have an opportunity to showcase myself and get into a rhythm and play each game, which is when I’m at my best.

“This is definitely going to be a fun couple of months for me.”

I have an opportunity to showcase myself and get into a rhythm and play each game, which is when I’m at my best. This is definitely going to be a fun couple of months for me.” – Laurent Brossoit

Some key contributors are nursing injuries, including Lehner, forwards Mark Stone, Reilly Smith and Max Pacioretty and defencemen Alex Martinez and Brayden McNabb, and Vegas is by no means a sure-fire playoff team. The Golden Knights led the Pacific Division at 22-12-0 on New Year’s Day but have since gone 10-13-4 since that time and lag 11 points behind the front-running Calgary Flames.

They also trail the Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers in the division, and are clinging to a one-point lead on thte Dallas Stars for the final wild-card spot in the conference.

Brossoit, who turns 29 in a week, said he’s spent the last seven seasons preparing for this moment.

“We have a less-experienced lineup right now, so it puts pressure on me. But it’s the pressure I’ve wanted my entire career, where you’re put in a position where you’re relied upon” he said.

ELLEN SCHMIDT / ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Laurent Brossoit (39) saves a shot on goal while Winnipeg Jets center Adam Lowry (17) watches the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Las Vegas.

Brossoit had a superb start to the year winning eight of his first 10 starts, but he’s been stuck in a rut since the calendar flipped, and is currently 10-8-3, with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage.

No one needs to point out the product of Port Alberni, B.C., who acknowledged his stint in Winnipeg resurrected his career, must be sharper.

“At the start of the year when you’ve got everyone healthy, there’s a bit more of a forgiveness with my mistakes,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to steal some games and be the rock in a vulnerable time in our season, so I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to being the stable netminder back there.”

“This is a great opportunity to steal some games and be the rock in a vulnerable time in our season, so I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to being the stable netminder back there.” – Laurent Brossoit

Brossoit inked a two-year with Vegas, with an annual cap hit of $2.3 million, a pricetag that far exceeded the Jets budget.

He made consecutive starts in Buffalo and Pittsburgh last week to eclipse the 20-start mark for the first time since he broke into the league with the Edmonton Oilers in 2014.

Playing behind starter Connor Hellebuyck, Brossoit was given consecutive starts from then-head coach Paul Maurice just once in three seasons (2018-21) in Winnipeg.

“I think Helly just had a slow start and I came out of gates hot and I think Paul might have used that to light a fire under Helly, which arguably did work. He won a Vezina,” he said, laughing. “Glad I could help.”

Brandon-born defenceman Zach Whitecloud maintains the squad feels entirely comfortable with Brossoit as the last line of defence.

Whitecloud, 25, from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, said Brossoit’s relentless work ethic and attitude have been duly noted since he signed with the organization last July.

“The first thing that comes to mind with LB (Laurent Brossoit) is how hard he works, how he approaches the game, how he approaches treating his teammates and the staff.” – Zach Whitecloud

“The first thing that comes to mind with LB is how hard he works, how he approaches the game, how he approaches treating his teammates and the staff,” said Whitecloud. “You really see that he’s a guy that wants to get better, and that kind of attitude spreads through our room very quickly.

“Having him back there, he gives us a ton of confidence. He handles the puck well, he talks a lot and he’s a goalie that comes up with huge saves for you when defensive things break down. We love to play for him and he does everything he can to give us a chance to win every night.”

jason.bell@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPJasonBell

GENE J. PUSKAR / ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO Vegas Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer.
ELLEN SCHMIDT / ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Laurent Brossoit inked a two-year with Vegas, with an annual cap hit of $2.3 million, a pricetag that far exceeded the Jets budget.
Jason Bell

Jason Bell
Sports editor

Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).

History

Updated on Monday, March 14, 2022 8:30 PM CDT: Adds Vegas to first reference.

Updated on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 7:00 AM CDT: fixes typo

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