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NHL To Re-examine Emergency Goaltender Procedures

After what many are calling a black eye on the NHL, the Emergency Backup procedures for goaltenders are going to be looked at during the next GM meetings.

It’s been a great story and the success of David Ayres has gotten the NHL more promotion than they likely ever could have dreamed of. The problem is, the promotion the NHL is getting is being viewed by many as a black eye on the league. After all, in what other professional league can a player essentially come out of the stands and suit up having never played a professional hockey game before in his life?

Not only that, but in what sport does that player come from one team and wind up playing against them? Had things gone differently and Ayres been lit up for 10 goals against, there would have been more than a few people crying foul and suggesting the player lost intentionally to give his home team an important win.

Clearly, that didn’t happen here but it could have.

Frank Seravalli was a guest on TSN 1260 and suggested the NHL is aware they have an issue that needs addressing. How they solve the issue is unclear, they only know they need to.

Seravalli suggested each team be allowed to employ their own third-string goalie, one who travels with the team and works in other areas as an employee when not called upon to be an emergency backup. They could work in the locker room, let players shoot on them in practice and even help with travel. In a $5 billion per year league, at $100k per goalie, that’s a mere $3.1 million the NHL would need to allot for this to happen. There would be no goalie potentially playing for both teams, players would be familiar with their guy and each NHL team could employ someone with some experience. Ayres, for example, had never played higher than Junior B and was a Zamboni driver before being tossed into action.

Even crazier, Ayers was barely paid a dime for the work he did. The Carolina Hurricanes players actually pooled some money together to pay him since the NHL wouldn’t. Ayres probably didn’t care, considering he got the memory of a lifetime and his promotional appearances since that game will put some money in his pocket, but that’s not really the point.

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman confirms that the league’s EBUG situation will indeed be on the docket next week at GM meetings in Florida.

Friedman explains:

A couple of years ago, there was a movement to making every team hire an additional assistant/video coach with recent college/junior/professional goaltending experience. That person would be required to travel, so if this occurred, each team would have its own relatively young third goalie. (In the playoffs, teams travel with three.) The associated cost scuttled the idea.

What do you think? Is this is a real issue for the NHL or does it happen so infrequently that it doesn’t matter?

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