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Penguins recall goalie Emil Larmi from WBS because Casey DeSmith lost his passport

The Penguins recall a different goalie than they planned on due to a missing passport.

Pittsburgh Penguins Headshots

This morning, the Penguins announced that they have recalled goaltender Emil Larmi from the Wheeling Nailers and forward Thomas Di Pauli from the WBS Penguins. Casey DeSmith, who was expected to join Pittsburgh, was unable to do so due to a lost passport.

Oh to be a fly on the wall when Jim Rutherford had to be told that the team needed to recall a goaltender because of a missing passport of all things.

Casey DeSmith was initially set to meet the team in Montreal and back up Matt Murray. The plan was to leave Tristan Jarry back in Pittsburgh to face Florida on Sunday, and save both goaltenders from needing to travel.

This was a good idea, but had a wrinkle thrown in by DeSmith’s apparent loss of passport. Of course, in his defense, DeSmith’s life has been unsettled since the Pens waived and sent him to the minors this fall. And in the minor league — the AMERICAN Hockey League — it’s not like a player needs a passport....Unless his team comes up with a tricky idea to save Jarry from needlessly traveling up to Montreal and back with a 5 PM Sunday game looming (not to mention a cross-country flight to Las Vegas on Monday quickly approaching).

But it looks like the Pens tricked their own goalie by not being able to have their minor league goalie with NHL experience available tonight, since without a passport on hand one can’t clear customs and enter Canada when they’re coming from America. Instead, Pittsburgh will turn to 23-year old undrafted rookie Emil Larmi to be on the bench tonight.

Larmi only has five AHL games under his belt, and it hasn’t gone well (4.43 GAA, .863 save%). He’s faired much better in four ECHL games with Wheeling (1.51 GAA, .959 save%). This would be a weird and unusual story with another twist if somehow Larmi got pressed into action tonight. (And he would also join a pretty rare club to play at the ECHL-AHL-NHL levels all within the same season).

In a way, this could be a bit reminiscent of a story from almost a decade ago on January 16, 2010 when 19-year old rookie Alexander Pechursky had to be an emergency recall from the WHL when the Pens were in Vancouver and Marc-Andre Fleury got hurt. The plan was for John Curry to play the game, but after giving up four goals the Pens threw the kid in. He played really well, stopping 12 of 13 shots but Pittsburgh didn’t mount a comeback. That brief flash from Pechursky would be short-lived as it was his only North American pro experience.

We’ll see if there’s a similar crazy twist if Larmi is pressed into NHL action tonight (hopefully not — because that likely means it’s going to be a bad night for the Pens!) but as of now it’s already a weird start to the year being as the Pens can’t turn to the goalie they thought they could in DeSmith due to a passport issue.