Remember that wonderful story from Saturday evening about the Zamboni driver named Dave who hopped in net for the Carolina Hurricanes and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs? That was super fun for all of us, right? Well, maybe not for everyone because on Tuesday NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to the media that they will be revisiting that “issue” when the general managers begin meetings this Monday in Boca Raton, Florida.
My first reaction? Of course, the NHL would discuss the future of one of the best things in the league when the GMs all meet on a Monday…in Florida.
Daly spoke with Tom Gulitti at NHL.com about the emergency backup (EBUG) goalie procedure. Daly said it’s something that they’ve “given some consideration to over the years. As recently as last year, we discussed [it] with the general managers. It happens very, very rarely, but when it happens, it obviously raises everybody’s attention to the issue and whether there are fixes that need to be made to that particular issue.”
The only reason that it draws attention to the issue is that it is so much fun. Come on, a 42-year-old Zamboni driver named David Ayres coming to the rescue for the Canes after James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were both injured? What a blast! Plus, Ayres was all over the news and got great coverage. He was a guest on NHL on NBC Sports, he was a guest on the TODAY show, he was honored in Raleigh and cranked the siren before puck drop, and more. You would think this press would warrant a positive response from the NHL, but I guess not.
When pressed on the issue, Daly told the media that they will have to work with the NHL Players’ Association and will need to consider questions like, “Who’s a player? Who’s not a player? What qualifies all of that?”. Daly closed by saying, “obviously we want what’s best for the game, and we want to make sure people aren’t putting themselves in danger by playing goal in a National Hockey League game. … So that’s obviously something we have to continue to work through.”
The story of Ayres was exciting. The Capitals relied on a goaltending coach from the University of Manitoba’s women’s hockey team. The Blackhawks called up an accountant. And there are other stories that take you for a ride. It’s a great time to watch a “regular person” live out an NHL dream while the rest of us sit at home and take the moment in with them.
Please, NHL. Let us have fun. Don’t ruin the best part of the game.
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Headline photo courtesy of Sportsnet
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