The National Hockey League has been quite the roller-coaster ride for many young players trying to break into a professional team's roster. And when you're a goalie, the opportunities to make it as a starter are much slimmer, and you better be ready to fight for that spot.
However, when you see the main netminder being traded off to another team and find yourself in the spotlight to replace him; you're ready for anything. That was the case for Louis Domingue in Arizona, when buddy Mike Smith was traded off to the Calgary Flames. The 25-year-old was ready to take the lead in between the pipes, but the club acquired Antti Raanta and it was back to the bench for Domingue.
The story got even more interesting for Domingue after the Coyotes lost 5-4 to the Anaheim Ducks on opening night. He then finished October with an 0-7 record, .856 save percentage and was put on waivers, where he went unclaimed and sent to the AHL.
“They wanted to keep me at home while they were trying to deal me somewhere, or trying to find me a spot,” Domingue told Matt Sammon and Brian Engblom on the Lightning Power Play Podcast.
“For a good week and a half, I was left without ice or a gym or any support from the team. I was just home waiting for a call. And they told me to rent my own ice. And I was there – I gave a call to my old friend Shane Doan and he came out with me on the ice in the afternoon with his son.
“I rented the ice at midnight just to shoot pucks and skate around because I was tired of being at home.”
Options, what other options?!
Domingue could count on the help of former Coyote Shane Doan, who practiced with his son to give the young goalie a hand. But Domingue struggled while looking at other options like Europe or the Olympics, and even considered quitting hockey.
“If you would have called me a month and a half ago or so, I was going to Europe in my head. We were trying to work an out-clause where I could go to Europe. I called the league trying to go to the Olympics.
“I was looking for answers. I didn’t…I almost quit honestly. I almost quit hockey.”
Then, a miracle took place. On November 18, Domingue was traded off to the Tampa Bay Lighting. Domingue has been quite successful with the Syracuse Crunch. In 18 games in the AHL, he has recorded two shutouts, and recorded his first win with Tampa on Jan. 7 against the Detroit Red Wings.
And he is quite at peace with the move and what took place in Arizona, saying he does not hold any hard feelings towards the Coyotes, who are in a different frame of mind at the bottom of the standings.
“I mean, you see the difference right away. It’s an organization that they don’t accept losing,” he told the Lightning Power Play Podcast.
And it shows as they are still first in the league.