Cade Fairchild, who played for Minnesota from 2007-11, made his NHL debut last night for St. Louis.
Former Gopher Cade Fairchild made his NHL debut last night with the St. Louis Blues. Fairchild, who played for the Gophers from 2007-11, was called up from the AHL after regular Alex Pietrangelo fell ill.
Fairchild, who blocked one shot, took one shot and had one hit in 10:31 of ice time, arrived at Verizon Center in Washington D.C. about 10 minutes before pregame warmups.
"I certainly didn't expect to be playing here when I woke up," Fairchild told the St.Louis Post-Dispatch last night after the Blues' 2-1 win. "Traffic killed us on the way here, but made it in time. I felt pretty good. It almost kind of helped that everything was a whirlwind today."
Teammate Barret Jackman liked what he saw of Fairchild.
"He played great," Jackman told the paper. "He had great vision, made some good passes ... he moved his feet well for a guy that got in 10 minutes before the game."
Gopher head coach Don Lucia was able to watch the game last night as well.
"It's always a thrill because that's ultimately their goal," said Lucia. "Every kid dreams of playing in the National Hockey League and Cade put in his dues from leaving home early to go to Ann Arbor with the National Team Development Program to the four years he spent here preparing himself for this opportunity. I'm sure it was thrill for him and his family.
"I thought he played terrific last night. When your first game is against the Washington Capitals, it must have been exciting."
Fairchild had 21 goals and 72 assists in 149 career games at Minnesota. He led team defensemen and finished tied for third on the team last year with 24 points. He led the Gophers with 18 assists.
At the time of his recall, Fairchild was leading the AHL with a +16 rating.
"Cade had a great summer preparing himself to become a pro," said Lucia. "He was off to a terrific start in the American League. He had the best plus/minus in the American League before his call-up and I think that's a credit to him and how far he came and what a smart player he is. His hockey sense is one of his strengths."