J.T. Brown received a pass from the blue line, drove to the net down the left wing side and ripped a quick shot as the final seconds ticked off the clock. That was the last save Scott Greenham made in a professional game for quite some time. The date was April 21, 2013. He wouldn’t see game action again (postseason, exhibition, or regular season) until the fourth week of October 2013.
“It was nice to be able to prove to myself, not just the coaches there, but to myself that I can still play at that level,” said Greenham. “You always kind of doubt yourself if you haven’t played there in a while so it was just nice to know I still could do that.”
On Saturday, October 26 the Ottawa, Ontario native drew his first assignment since his 11-minute relief duty as a Binghamton Senator. This time Greenham donned the Elmira Jackals sweater and took the ice against the defending Kelly Cup Champion Reading Royals.
“I was pretty nervous going in,” said Greenham. “I tried to gather my thoughts to make sure my head was focused on the game and keep positive reinforcement by telling myself I could do this.”
With such a long layoff from game action it was important to make the first save and settle in early. Greenham was determined to make the first save to calm his nerves and ease himself into the game.
“On the first shot of the game I always look to make the first save,” said Greenham. “It was a different first save of the game. It was a dump in from just inside the red line that took a weird bounce and went off my pad. I made a nice rebound save on Louie Caporusso so that helped me get into the game to have those two quick saves.”
Although Greenham doesn’t necessarily prefer to see plenty of rubber he benefited from a busy start last Saturday.
“I always feel more sharp when I am continuously getting more shots,” said Greenham. “That was beneficial for me to see that many shots early in the season and get my confidence going.”
The 26-year-old netminder faced 47 shots against Reading and stopped 46 of them. Accepting the responsibility of keeping his team in the game isn’t easy on any occasion, but doing so without playing in the preseason or the first two regular season games can be especially daunting. Yet Greenham was able to prepare himself in practice and when the opportunity presented itself he was ready to answer the call.
“I tried in practice during certain drills to make sure I was sharp,” said Greenham. “I worked hard in those drills and did well so I knew I had that edge. I always play better in games than I do in practice so I was hoping that would come out in the game and luckily it did.”
Greenham also attributed his preparedness to his summer workouts with the Ottawa Senators. He contacted current Senator Chris Neil and inquired about attending camp. The opportunity was open and for the third straight year Greenham had the chance to compete with NHL players.
“Usually when the Ottawa goalies would come into town I would get booted out but this past summer since I signed with the organization I was able to stay there right up until training camp,” said Greenham. “That really helped especially when all their main guys like Spezza were coming back and I was able to go against them which prepared me for this season.”
The competitiveness and game-like action contributed to Greenham’s honed skills this year. He also picked the brains of Criag Anderson and Robin Lehner and learned from their techniques and how they handle themselves on the ice.
The extra effort over the summer was put on display this past Saturday through Greenham’s stellar performance. After a six month wait the 6-2 190-pound goaltender was pleased to earn the victory, but was humble about his personal success.
“It was definitely a relief to get the win,” said Greenham. “Nothing personal there, it was just nice for the team to get the win.”
Although unpredictability is the only thing we can predict over a 72-game season, Greenham has a tremendous mindset for the remainder of the year.
“I’m just going to try and approach every game like I approached last game and stay mentally strong throughout the season,” said Greenham.