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Blues tap local beer-league goaltender to be emergency backup against Lightning

As the emergency backup for Lightning home games, 23-year-old Kyle Konin dressed for St. Louis on Thursday at Amalie Arena.
St. Louis Blues emergency goalie Kyle Konin (31) was the first player on the ice for warmups before Thursday's game against the Lightning at Amalie Arena.
St. Louis Blues emergency goalie Kyle Konin (31) was the first player on the ice for warmups before Thursday's game against the Lightning at Amalie Arena. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Dec. 2, 2021
Updated Dec. 5, 2021

TAMPA — The Blues turned to a Tampa Bay area beer-league goaltender to be their emergency backup for Thursday’s game against the Lightning.

The Blues were scrambling when starter Jordan Binnington tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing him into protocols, and Charlie Lindgren could not be called up from the AHL until today.

For situations when teams do not have two available goaltenders, each home team is responsible for providing an emergency backup goaltender for the home or road team.

Lightning goaltender Brian Elliott (1), left, and St. Louis Blues backup goalie Kyle Konin (31) stretch during pregame warmups.
Lightning goaltender Brian Elliott (1), left, and St. Louis Blues backup goalie Kyle Konin (31) stretch during pregame warmups. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Tampa Bay’s emergency backup is 23-year-old Kyle Konin, a former goaltender at Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich., who does custom paint jobs on goalie masks at his business in St. Petersburg after being in Clearwater.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said the team recalled Lindgren from AHL Springfield but he wasn’t available Thursday because injuries and players unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols used up the team’s salary-cap space.

St. Louis instead turned to Konin to back up Ville Husso at Amalie Arena. Konin did not get into the game, which the Lightning won 4-2.

Armstrong said Thursday morning that he and coach Craig Berube spoke with Konin and welcomed him to the team.

St. Louis Blues backup goalie Kyle Konin (31) warms up in net before Thursday's game against the Lightning.
St. Louis Blues backup goalie Kyle Konin (31) warms up in net before Thursday's game against the Lightning. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

“(We) had a good conversation,” Armstrong said. “He had a morning skate with his beer-league guys, and he said he was on fire and ready to go. So we’re excited to have him in here, he’s excited, and it’s just one of those things you have to roll with.”

As the Lightning’s emergency backup, Konin attends every home game. He also was the Lightning’s goaltender in the offseason when players showed up early to start training and skating at TBH Ice Plex in Brandon before the start of camp.

Emergency backups gained mainstream notoriety in 2020 when injuries forced one-time Zamboni driver David Ayres into duty for the Hurricanes in a win over the Maple Leafs at Toronto. Ayres made seven saves in 28-plus minutes of play to earn the win.

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