CALGARY – Cam Talbot has a confession to make.
“I always wanted to be in a goalie fight,” said the soft-spoken Flames netminder Monday.
“I was joking the other day that now I can retire happy and cross that one off the bucket list. But my wife always said, ‘if you ever fight Smitty (Mike Smith) or (Robin) Lehner, I’m going to kill you,’ because they are so big. And, of course, the first guy I fight is Smitty.
“My wife wasn’t too happy after the game. She drove to the game and after it happened I had to drive her car home. She ended up having a couple drinks to settle herself down she was so mad at me, so I had to drive home.”
It happened Saturday night in a centre-ice scrap at the Saddledome that has since been viewed more than The Irishman.
Everyone (except Kelly Talbot) loves a goalie fight, especially in the midst of a renewed Battle of Alberta that had never previously seen one.
The NHL hadn’t seen one since 2013 when Ray Emery and Braden Holtby went at it.
Little did Talbot know his bout put him one step away from joining an exclusive club of goalies with career Gordie Howe hat tricks.
Yeah, it’s a thing.
Five of the 12 NHL goalies who have scored a goal also managed to add a fight and an assist to their resume, including Smith.
The other four include Billy Smith, Chris Osgood, Jose Theodore and, predictably, Ron Hextall.
“I’m actually surprised so many guys have done it,” said Talbot, 32.
“I guess it makes sense given all the brawls back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. It kind of makes sense for guys that have scored goals to grab somebody at some point.”
So, does it make sense for a guy with two of the three elements to try adding the hardest one?
“Maybe I’ll have to go for it,” laughed Talbot, who said his only scoring attempt came in junior hockey when he hit the post.
“If we’re up by two goals it might cross my mind. I wouldn’t do it with a one-goal lead.”
He was also bang on to follow the outstretched finger of former teammate Darnell Nurse, who alerted Talbot that Smith was waiting at centre to dance.
“’Thanks for that buddy’ – I think they knew how it was going to work out for me,” he laughed of Nurse’s gesture, which followed a melee late in the second period when Talbot and teammates took exception to a Sam Gagner stab at a puck underneath the goalie.
“I was already in the fights, and (Smith) was waiting, so, ‘let’s go.’ I’ve seen him, he’s a big boy, so I knew it wasn’t really going to work out well for me. But at the same time, it’s just one of those things where it felt like it was the right thing. I felt like I needed to do it.”
Outweighed by 25 pounds by the six-foot-five Smith, Talbot was on the receiving end of some solid rights in a bout he clearly lost.
In the eyes of his teammates, he was a winner for showing up.
In the eyes of an enthralled hockey world, no one lost.
“I got a couple messages from guys on their team and they just said (Smith) respected me for meeting him out there, and I respected him for doing the same,” said Talbot, whose phone blew up minutes after the tussle, which was live on Hockey Night in Canada.
“They didn’t tell me I wasn’t going back in until the refs settled it with five minutes left in the intermission. By the time I got my gear off I had, like, 45 messages. It was people back home and people from here. It was crazy the reaction we got.”
Talbot said he did better in his only other hockey scrap, which came as a junior star.
“I fought a player in junior and we had a line brawl and we were on the penalty kill so I had to grab somebody,” said Talbot, who fought a player that night, not a goalie.
“I got suspended the last two games of the season.”
While he and Smith were kicked out of the game for their fight, there will be no suspensions.
His wife is still dealing with the repercussions though.
“First thing in the morning they turned on the TV and that highlight was on and (the kids) saw it – ‘daddy and a bad guy,’” he laughed.
“I wasn’t down there but my wife told me.”