Jeff Zatkoff has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins every step of the way this season. He's been the consummate teammate, too: he started the playoffs for the Pens. When Matt Murray was ready to go, he stepped aside - but not before picking up his first playoff win along the way.
Now, with Murray officially holding the starter's reins and Marc-Andre Fleury back on the bench, Zatkoff has been relegated to the pressbox for the Stanley Cup Final. It's not necessarily where he wants to be - but it's giving him a new perspective for the game, as he explained in his Cup Final blog for NHL.com.
It was emotional for me to sit up there in the press box and watch. It's so hard sometimes.
I love being around the guys but I'm up there by myself. When we score I don't know who to go to in the press box. I'm not on the bench to celebrate. And when we get scored on I'm just mad, like I would be on the ice.
It's a different experience. I've never been in this situation when I've been up there in the press box like that. The most difficult thing for me is not being in the locker room during the games. But I do have a chance to get here early, warm up with everyone and try to keep the mood light, joke around before the game starts.
Then after the game, being in here in the dressing room, it's just great to celebrate with the guys. Every game is so critical and I think the emotions are the best part of these series. To be able to experience it, be a part of it, words can't really explain it. I'm really fortunate.
While he's kind of been reduced to the role of a cheerleader, as Zatkoff notes, he's still incredibly lucky. We're all used to cheering the Penguins on from afar; he gets to actually celebrate with them for every big win.
It'll be really cool to see what else Zatkoff will have to write as the series goes on - because things are undoubtedly about to get much more intense.