NHL general managers met in Boca Raton, FL, on Monday to discuss problems facing the league. One issue that would be brought up, according to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, was the protocol behind emergency goaltenders. Recently, David Ayres, a zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies, suited up for the Carolina Hurricanes and beat the Toronto Maple Leafs after Carolina lost both of their goaltenders due to injury. Ayres’ story became a heartwarming headline nationally (minus Steve Dangle) as his NHL dream was realized.
Daly said altering the emergency goaltender protocol was something that the NHL has “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.”
On Monday, however, GMs announced that there would be no change to the rule. CBC reported the news.
“It’s such a rare occurrence,” Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon said to CBC. “It’s only news because it recently happened. We’re comfortable with the way that it is.”
“A lot of guys have played college or junior,” Winnipeg Jets GM David Cheveldayoff added. “Being in the market that we’re in, we have certainly an opportunity to have lots of players that fit that criteria. In some places, there are tryouts. … Fortunately in Winnipeg, we have a lot of former college players and the like.”
“The better team won that game. That’s the reality of that night,” Florida Panthers’ GM Dale Tallon said. “It happened to us three years ago. Three times it’s happened in 50 years. Do you change the whole thing? … I think we did a good job of fixing it and it turned out for the better.”
NHL director of hockey ops Colin Campbell on EBUGs: “It’s a good human interest story. I think the process works… our general managers are fine with where it’s at right now.”
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) March 2, 2020
The NHL faced a wealth of criticism on social media last week after Daly brought up the possibility of the emergency goaltender procedure changing. Former players on Sportsnet, including Kris Versteeg, criticized the EBUG system on trade deadline day.
“If the Dallas Cowboys had three quarterbacks get hurt, they don't go downtown Dallas and see if any accountants can throw the pigskin around.”
While the David Ayres storyline was fun to watch, Kris Versteeg shares his thoughts on why it shouldn't happen again. #SNTrade pic.twitter.com/OXmu89YbHK
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 24, 2020
The Washington Capitals have used an emergency goaltender several times over the last decade, primarily relying on video coach Brett Leondhardt to fill in during warmups. During a 2018 road game in Winnipeg, college goaltending coach Gavin McHale became a member of the Capitals and served as a backup when Braden Holtby couldn’t suit up.
The Capitals let McHale keep his jersey and presented him with a game-used stick from Alex Ovechkin after the game.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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