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Unforgettable experience

The Toronto Maple Leafs' decision on Saturday to put University of Toronto goaltender Jett Alexander into the net in the final minute of a game against the Montreal Canadiens can be seen in two different ways.


You can look at the way Montreal Canadiens defenceman Chris Wideman did, which was disrespectful to the Canadiens. I believe the opponents could construe this decision as a way of mocking them when the Leafs were already ahead in the game by a substantial amount. Basically, sending the message that even a university goalie can defeat your team. But I see it another way.

The Leafs have already clinched a playoff spot, and this university goalie will likely not be part of the team's playoff lineup, as the team has Ilya Samsonov, Joseph Woll and Matt Murray as more experienced options. With this being the case and the team only having a few games remaining in their regular season schedule, this was the perfect opportunity to give a young player an experience he'll never forget.

Whether Jett Alexander makes it onto an NHL roster full-time or not one day, this guarantees he can say to his friends, family, and other loved ones that he played in a game for an NHL team. What's even more special, is that he did it in Toronto, in front of a full crowd of Leafs' fans in a game against one of their historic rivals.

I think everyone needs to look at the facts here as well. The team was already leading 7-1 when Alexander was called into the net. Even if he allowed a goal in at that moment, it would not have mattered; the result would have still been a Toronto win. Also, the Leafs' last three opponents are teams either in a playoff spot or who are fighting for a playoff spot: Florida, Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers. The Canadiens are not a playoff team this season, and because of this, it opened the door for him to get a small glimpse of what it is like to play in the NHL.

To me, this is one of those feel-good stories. A young player gets to live out his childhood dream of playing in front of an NHL crowd. That's how I see it, at least.

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