TORONTO – Alex Bishop is ready to make his dream come true.

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The Maple Leafs have their fingers crossed at the University of Toronto The goalie does not run from the end of the bench.

Bishop will serve as a backup for starter Jack Campbell against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

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Petr Marzek has been sidelined with a groin injury, and the team is facing a salary cap as a result.

The situation is compounded by the unavailability of the rescue team to play Justin Hole due to illness.

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Toronto could send a player who does not need a waiver to the American Hockey League and goalkeeper Michael Hutchinson – the club’s third substitute last season – was recalled as No. 2 behind Campbell, if Hall was healthy.

The organization instead signed 24-year-old Bishop of Richmond Hill, Ont. with experience from his three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, for an amateur effort and hoped Campbell would not meet the evening.

Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe attempted to explain the reasoning, “There’s a lot of stuff that, to be honest, isn’t my department, and I’m not really aware.”

“But really it just comes down to the fact that the flat (salary) cap has created some conditions here that are a lot more difficult to manage than a year ago when they had a taxi squad and a third goalkeeper.

“We’re passing through here now.”

Hall has cold symptoms and test results for COVID-19 were not returned until Saturday morning, Keefe said, but even if they were negative, Hall was not close enough to suit against the senators.

In good news for the Leafs, who are tight-lipped for hats, Marzek’s evaluation for a groin problem caused by Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Senators in the nation’s capital continues.

Since Marzek was not placed on injured reserve – a move that would have freed up cap space for a recall to Hutchison – it points to Toronto’s optimism that Marzek’s illness is not serious.

“That’s the situation,” Keefe said. “Last season a lot of teams have already gone through this and I suspect that this season the rules will be normal and not necessarily COVID relaxations.

“That’s where we are at.”

The Leafs have experienced awkward goalscoring moments lately.

They were rivals when two Carolina goalkeepers, including Marzek, were injured on Saturday night in Toronto on February 22, 2020.

This forced emergency backup David Ayers into action.

The then 42-year-old Zamboni driver allowed a goal on the Leafs’ first two shots after entering the field on that memorable night, but Ayres stopped the next eight in a surprise 6-3 Hurricanes victory that earned him the people’s attention. brought into sight. .

Toronto defenseman TJ Brody said he couldn’t imagine the thoughts that came to Bishop’s mind when he got the call.

“I’m sure the nerves are probably going,” he said. “But it’s exciting.”

Keefe said the situation should not affect his team’s outlook against Ottawa.

“Whether you’re a coach or a player, you don’t think much about the backup goaltender,” Keefe said. “It has nothing to do with what we’re trying to focus on.”

Leafs winger Alexander Kerfoot said Bishop looked good as he skated on Saturday morning.

“To be honest, I haven’t even spoken to him yet,” he said when asked about his temporary partner’s behavior. “I saw him on the ice, and I didn’t score any on him, so he looked great.”

The six-foot-four, 205-pounder Bishop spent the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons playing for U of T, but his last game of action was on February 16, 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Varsity Blues do not begin their 2021-22 regular season until next month.

“It’s a quick turnaround,” Kerfoot said. “It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s a good opportunity for him.

“We’re lucky to have him here. It’s just about enjoying the experience and enjoying it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on 16 October 2021.