By the time Mike Rosati achieved his childhood dream of playing in the NHL, he had long forgotten about his dream.
"I went to Europe eight years ago and not once thought about coming back here" said Rosati after his only NHL appearance.
Rosati was drafted out of the OHL Hamilton Steelhawks by the New York Rangers in the seventh round in the 1988 Entry Draft. However Rosati was only drafted by the Rangers to fill a minor league role as the Rangers had three solid NHL goalies in their system - Bob Froese and youthful prospects John Vanbiesbrouck and Mike Richter.
Off To Europe
So after an injury plauged season in the minor leagues, Rosati left for Italy for 6 years and then to Germany for 2 more. Rosati was part of 4 national titles while in Italy and also played strongly in the 3 World Championships and 2 Olympics.
Following another strong season in Europe in 1998, Rosati was approached by Washington Capitals goalie coach about coming back across the Atlantic and giving the NHL a second shot.
"I was trying to get in as many years as I could over there (Europe) and make a career out of it. But Dave Prior had enough confidence in me to think maybe I could play in this league at least in a backup role. I was given a chance and it went well."
The Surprise Call From The NHL
Rosati went to the Caps training camp and played well, but not surprisingly was placed in the minor leagues. However he was soon recalled when Caps back up goalie Rick Tabaracci pulled a groin muscle.
A week later starting goalie Olie Kolzig was pulled after a sub-par effort in a game in Ottawa. Rosati, now 30 years old, entered the game at 11:49 mark of the 2nd period, with the Caps trailing 5-3. Rosati, understandably nervous, finished the game by turning aside 12 shots and skating off with an 8-5 come from behind win!
Thanks Kid! Get Outta Here
Rosati's moment of glory didn't last too long however. 48 hours later Rosati was returned to the minor leagues as Tabaracci returned from the injury list.
After the season Rosati opted to return to Germany as opposed to returning to an NHL training camp the following season. His time in the sun was short but sweet, and his name is immortalized in the record books forever.