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Website producer dresses as Caps' backup goalie

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The Canadian Press
12/12/2008 6:52:29 PM
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WASHINGTON - A six-foot-seven website producer for the Washington Capitals prepared to dress as the team's backup goalie for Friday night's game against the Ottawa Senators because of an injury to Jose Theodore.

Brett Leonhardt, who played Division III hockey in college, signed an amateur tryout contract before the game. If he were to actually get on the ice, he would tie the record for tallest goalie ever to play in an NHL game.

Theodore suffered a hip flexor injury during the Capitals' morning skate, and Simeon Varlamov was recalled from Hershey, the team's AHL affiliate, to back up starter Brent Johnson.

But Hershey happened to be on the road in San Antonio, and Varlamov's plane wasn't expected to land in the Washington area until close to the 7 p.m. ET game time.

So the Capitals received special dispensation from the league to dress three goaltenders. Varlamov was to take Leonhardt's spot on the bench upon arrival.

Leonhardt, 26, played two years for Oswego State in New York and two years for Neumann College in Pennsylvania. He has worked for the Capitals' website for about a year and has taken part in drills during practices when the team needed an extra goalie.

It's a similar situation to the one faced by the Vancouver Canucks in December 2003. After starter Dan Cloutier suffered a groin injury just before a home game against Pittsburgh, the Canucks were forced to call up Chris Levesque - the third-string goalie from the University of British Columbia.

He was on the ice for warmups and backed up Johan Hedberg, but never appeared in the game. Levesque returned to his university team the next day.

Brett Leonhardt (Photo: Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)
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