By Lindsay Kramer
Bobby Goepfert insists he has a smile on his face when he’s working. It’s just that you can’t see it because he keeps his head down and goes about his business.
As a 5-foot-10 goalie who has been underestimated all his career, that’s probably the wisest strategy.
“Nobody really believes in smaller guys. It hasn’t been easy. That’s for sure,” he said. “I don’t know how I would handle it if it was easy.”
Goepfert should feel as comfortable as an old catching glove in the Charlotte Checkers system. He’s traveled a long way to probably sit in a traffic jam there. Goepfert, 27, has signed an AHL/ECHL deal with the Checkers after playing last year in Germany. Right now, that drops him into the five-hole on the Carolina Hurricanes’ impressive depth chart, behind Cam Ward, Justin Peters, Mike Murphy and Justin Pogge. Ward is on an NHL deal while the last three have NHL/AHL pacts.
“I’m not going to show up in training camp, push guys out of the net, ruffle feathers,” Goepfert said. “It (returning from Germany) was more about opportunity than anything. I feel like Europe is always going to be there. I understand my role. I’m the fifth guy. I’m preparing for my chance, whether it comes in October or February.”