Wings' Coreau banking on 'home' support in Ottawa start
Ottawa, Ontario — There probably wasn’t a ton of hockey fans inside Canadian Tire Centre cheering for Red Wings goalie Jared Coreau.
Ottawa Senators fans were in full force, as usual, but especially with Thursday’s game being the game the team raised Daniel Alfredsson’s No. 11 to the rafters.
But there was one special Coreau fan.
His grandmother Patricia, all of 92 years young, who will be attending the game to watch her grandson.
The fact Patricia was expected to attend was one of the exciting aspects of the evening for Coreau.
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“She’s pretty occupied with knitting and going to Tim Hortons on her motorized scooter,” Coreau said. “She likes to keep up with things. She’s got a lot of grandchildren.
“I’m hoping I’m one of her favorites.”
Thursday’s start was one Coreau will remember on many levels.
Coreau grew up in Perth, just 40 miles outside of Ottawa, and attended games at Canadian Tire Centre.
He even participated in a goaltending clinic one summer at the NHL arena.
Coreau was more a fan of particular goalies (Curtis Joseph was his favorite) but pulled for the Senators as a youngster.
“I liked going to Sens games, especially when they had those good years,” Coreau said. “The year they went to the Finals (in 2007, losing to Anaheim), it was exciting.”
Family and friends were in attendance Thursday as the Red Wings opened a seven-game road trip.
“Pretty cool,” said Coreau of the chance to start. “Whether I start or not I’ve got family that’s going to the game. I’ve got some buddies coming. Either way, it’s going to be a neat experience.
“It’s the rink I used to go watch NHL games.”
The fact Coreau earned the start in Ottawa wasn’t surprising considering goaltender Petr Mrazek’s ineffective performance (four goals on 22 shots) in Tuesday's loss to Buffalo.
To some, it was mildly surprising coach Jeff Blashill didn’t go back to Coreau Tuesday after the young goaltender defeated Florida Friday, 4-3 in a shootout.
“A step in the right direction,” said Coreau of the victory over Florida, in which he stopped 31 shots and two of three in the shootout. “Towards that confidence to go onto each game and be a winner. You watch the best goalies that have winning records over their career, they just play every game, they come in, don’t look jumpy and they don’t look out of sorts.
“It’s just a step towards that ultimate goal of being comfortable every game and playing my best every night.”
Blashill, and Coreau’s teammates were impressed with the way Coreau shut the door on Florida, after Coreau lost a two-goal lead against Pittsburgh during the third period in his NHL debut Dec. 3.
“He’s a big goalie and he wants to play at his level,” forward Thomas Vanek said. “The biggest thing was he battled hard. And just the way he battled, the guys in front of him did so. I felt good for him.”
Said Blashill: “He played well, he made big saves in the third period to allow us to get the win in the end. You have to find a way to win and he found a way to win.”
Coreau wants to carry over his success this season in Grand Rapids to the NHL.
“When you start winning, for me, I started winning down in the AHL (with Grand Rapids) and I kept winning, you just go into every game with a confidence to win,” Coreau said.