LOOK: Retired NHL G Arturs Irbe suits up as Sabres' emergency backup

Sabres goalie coach Arturs Irbe traded in his suit for goalie pads Tuesday night. (USATSI)
Sabres goalie coach Arturs Irbe traded in his suit for goalie pads Tuesday night. (Getty Images)

On a wild night in Buffalo, that saw many Sabres fans brave comically large amounts of snow to make it to the game, things stayed pretty crazy on the ice, too. When starting goaltender Michal Neuvirth suffered a lower-body injury and was unable to come out to start the second period, the Sabres needed an emergency backup just in case next-in-line Jhonas Enroth also got hurt.

Who ya gonna call? How about former NHLer Arturs Irbe? The Sabres got their new goaltending coach in the pads and he stood in the tunnel just in case he was needed. The 47-year-old hasn’t played an NHL game in over a decade, but it’s a good thing he was in the building.

Heck, they even had a jersey with a name bar and everything. Injured goalie Matt Hackett was on hand and snapped a picture of the Sabres’ emergency backup.

Teams have a lot of flexibility when needing an emergency goalie, particularly when one gets hurt either during or in close proximity to the start of a game.

Irbe, who was known for his remarkable story of making it to the NHL from humble beginnings in Latvia and also for his relatively silly looking goalie mask, played in 568 games over his NHL career. He spent most of his career with the Carolina Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks, the team the Sabres were playing Tuesday night.

Irbe put up an .899 save percentage and 2.83 goals-against average over a 13-year NHL career. His last game came on April 4, 2004 with the Hurricanes.

Sadly, the Sabres didn’t need Irbe as Enroth saw the team through a 4-1 victory over the Sharks.

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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