Rob Laurie hasn’t played professional hockey since the 2001-02 season, but on Sunday night he got the chance to sit on an NHL bench for the second time in two seasons. The 43-year-old goaltender was signed to a professional tryout by the Vancouver Canucks, and backed up Eddie Lack while Roberto Luongo missed the game against the Anaheim Ducks with a lower-body injury. Last season, Laurie made a brief appearance as an emergency backup for the Ducks while Jonas Hiller battled the flu and there were delays in getting an AHL netminder to the arena. This time, he was on the bench for the entire game, and there had to be some crazy thoughts going through his head when Lack was bowled over and took a minute to get back up.
After four years at Western Michigan University, Laurie spent most of his pro career in the ECHL, playing for the Dayton Bombers, Johnstown Chiefs, Greensboro Monarchs, Toledo Storm, Tallahassee Tiger Sharks, and the Huntington Blizzard. His career also included stops in the WPHL, CHL, UHL and a one-game trip to the AHL with the Adirondack Red Wings. He won 30 games for the Fort Worth Brahmas (WPHL) during the 1997-98 season, and won 35 games for the Flint Generals (UHL) the following season. The Canucks’ AHL affiliate is located in Utica, N.Y., which made getting one of their players to Anaheim by game time unrealistic.
Lack made 45 saves on Sunday night, but the Ducks took the win in overtime thanks to a goal from Corey Perry. Luongo is recovering after he was run into by Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings in a loss on Saturday. Prior to that, he had missed three games with a groin injury. Lack has a 7-3-2 record this season, with a 2.16 goals-against average and two shutouts.