from Emily Kaplan of ESPN,
The NHL is a league of time-tested traditions, and one of the players' favorites is the rookie solo lap. Last week, before Florida Panthers goalie Spencer Knight made his NHL debut, it was his turn.
"Usually guys are excited, pumped up, going full speed," said former NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo, who now oversees the Panthers' Goaltending Excellence department. "I was watching Spencer, and he was just like strolling around the rink. Casual."
After the game -- in which the 20-year-old Knight stopped 33 shots in a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets -- Luongo went down to congratulate the rookie in the locker room.
"I was talking to him for a couple minutes, asking him, 'So, how do you feel? Were you nervous?'" Luongo said. "And he was like, 'Oh, no, I was good.'"
Luongo laughed recalling the moment. "I mean, my first game I was so nervous I could barely hold it in," said the 42-year-old, who ranks third all time among NHL goaltenders with 489 wins. "But Spencer was like, 'I just told myself to enjoy the game, and I did.' ... I was like, oh my God, this is great."
Hype and hoopla have surrounded Knight ever since he played for Avon Old Farms prep school as a first-year student.