Without Charlie Lindgren available due to injury, the Capitals were facing a conundrum heading into their final game of the season against the New Jersey Devils. The team is capped out and could not call up a goaltender from AHL Hershey to back up Darcy Kuemper.
So the team made a call to Curry College goaltender Reid Cooper and signed the student to an amateur tryout offer.
Cooper took the ice for the Caps’ morning skate on Thursday. In the locker room afterward, he said that the Capitals first made contact with him while he was watching The Bourne Supremacy — the second movie of the Matt Damon Bourne series — with his college roommates. He added that he was sitting on the couch, which feels like an important detail to note.
Goaltender Reid Cooper meets with the media after signing an amateur tryout agreement with the Capitals. Cooper will serve as a backup today versus the New Jersey Devils. pic.twitter.com/rWGsqKzmui
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) April 13, 2023
Cooper’s biggest moment of the morning came not when he put on his jersey for the first time, but when he stopped an Alex Ovechkin shot during practice.
“I wanted him to go as hard as he could,” Cooper said laughing.
Cooper appears to have been targeted by the Capitals due to a prior relationship with Darcy Kuemper whom he skates with over the summer.
Questions are edited for clarity and briefness.
How did your signing come about?
Reid Cooper: “Well I was sitting on the couch at home watching a movie with couple roommates and I got a call from (director of player recruitment) Danny Brooks from the Washington Capitals. Popped right off of my couch and went from there.”
How surprising is it to get this experience?
Reid Cooper: “Yeah, well I saw it happen with Toronto there and I guess, same thing happened with the Caps. I saw Lindgren went down and then I got the call right there. So, pretty thankful for this opportunity. It’s been great so far.
Where were you exactly when you got the call?
Reid Cooper: “I was at my house, in the living room with my roommates.”
Reid Cooper: “Norwood, Massachusetts. Close to Boston.”
What movie were you watching?
Reid Cooper: “Bourne Supremacy. Jason Bourne movie.”
This isn’t even something you sit around and think about happening or dream about happening right?
Reid Cooper: “No. I mean, you see it happen every once in a while. You see how lucky those guys are and then it just kind of happened to be me. Just really thankful. Can’t thank the Caps enough for the opportunity.”
What’s your connection to Danny Brooks?
Reid Cooper: “Before that, none. I had no connection. He just kind of hit me up out of nowhere.”
You played with Clay Stevenson (current Bears/Stingrays goalie) in the BCHL.
Reid Cooper: “Yeah, in Coquitlam.”
Have you had a chance to chat with him?
Reid Cooper: “No, I haven’t. No, phone’s been blowing up a bit so I haven’t had a chance. I’m sure he’s busy himself too, but I’ll probably connect with him soon.”
How’s the reception been, meeting everybody and then taking shots from Ovechkin?
Reid Cooper: “Yeah, first shot was from Ovechkin, so. Lots of handshakes today. Everyone’s been so nice. It’s been great so far.” [laughing]
Did you want him to go full on his shot?
Reid Cooper: “I wanted him to go as hard as he could, yeah.” [laughing]
Did you stop it, or did it go in?
Reid Cooper: “I stopped it! Stopped it. Glove, yeah, cuffed my glove.”
What’s the future look like for you in terms of continuing to play?
Reid Cooper: “Well, I mean my dream’s always been to play in the NHL. I guess we’ll go from here. This is obviously a great opportunity but we’ll see what happens throughout the summer.”
Did you grow up a Caps fan?
Reid Cooper: “Honestly, I never really had a team. Kind of rooted for goalies the whole way.”
Why’d you play goalie?
Reid Cooper: “When we were younger, players would switch through. Each guy would take turns playing goalie, and when it was my turn I was, I don’t know, five or six? I just fell in love with it right then and there.”
Have you had any summer camp invites from NHL teams? Any feelers?
Reid Cooper: “I’ve had a few minor league teams reach out, but no NHL yet.”
Is that your goal? Would you like to go pro?
Reid Cooper: “My goal is to play pro at the highest level possible.”
Did you model your game after any specific goalie growing up?
Reid Cooper: “Well I grew up loving Luongo. He was my favorite goalie, so I guess a little bit of structured-ness and then doing whatever it takes to stop the puck, too.”
Have you thought about the possibility of going into the game like Jett Alexander did last week?
Note: Jett Alexander played the final 70 seconds of Saturday’s Toronto Maple Leafs game as an ATO goalie
Reid Cooper: “It’s popped into my head. I’ll be ready if it happens, but we’ll see.”
Did you ever meet Darcy or any of the other players?
Reid Cooper: “Yeah, actually I’ve known Darcy for a little bit. We’ve skated in summers before because we’re both from Saskatoon. I’ve kind of known Darcy for a couple of years.”
Does that help, coming into the locker room today?
Reid Cooper: “Yeah, definitely seeing a familiar face and a fellow goalie, it definitely helps a lot.”
Is 97 (Cooper’s number in practice) a birth year or?
Reid Cooper: “No, that was just given to me. 98 is the birth year.”
Are you a big Connor McDavid fan?
Reid Cooper: “Oh yeah, how can’t you be? I mean when I saw I got the number I was pretty pumped. It’s pretty cool.”
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