THE MacBETH REPORT:
D Shawn Belle (Regina, Tri-City, 2000-05) signed a two-year contract with Färjestad Karlstad (Sweden, Elitserien). He had two goals and seven assists in 42 games with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL) this season. . . .
G Tomas Vosvrda (Medicine Hat, 2007-08) signed a tryout contract with Olomouc (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). He had a 3.38 GAA and a.890 save percentage in 11 games with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) before being assigned on loan to Benatky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). There, Vosvrda had a 2.59 GAA and a .904 save percentage in 30 games. . . .
D Logan Pyett (Regina, 2003-08) signed a one-year contract with Vityaz Chekhov (Russia, KHL). He had seven goals and 32 assists in 74 games with the Connecticut Whale (AHL) this season.
On Monday, at about 8:30 p.m. PT, Darren Millard (@darrenmillard) of Sportsnet tweeted: “Major move by @CHLHockey. Import goalies only eligible in 1st round of next month’s draft. Goalies will be excluded from the 2014 import draft.”
Oh, what a terrible protectionist decision!
CHL teams are businesses — each one of them is in the entertainment business. Yes, they also are in the business of developing players. But when you charge admission, you should be doing all you can to provide your customers with the best possible product.
In the case of a CHL team, if that means using a goaltender from Finland or Russia or Czech Republic, so be it.
And if a Canadian goaltender wants that spot, well, he’s just got to be better.
It’s called competition and when you get to junior hockey you should be prepared to face it. At this level, the competition only serves to make you better.
Of course, this decision flies in the face of every coach who preaches the value of competition and how that relates to improving a team.
But there is another side to this debate, too.
Last night, I received an email from a fan of one of the WHL’s American teams.
This fan had heard CHL president David Branch talking about the goaltending issue during a Memorial Cup broadcast on 92.9 The Bull, the Saskatoon radio station on which this issue first surfaced.
The fan writes:
“He was talking about how important it is for the CHL to develop players for the ‘national teams.’
“Should the teams in the CHL be worried about developing players for the NHL? Yes.
“Should the CHL be worried about developing players for Team Canada? HELL, NO? That's Hockey Canada's job.
“Does Mr. Branch realize that the fans of the eight American teams in the CHL root for Team USA over Team Canada most of the time? I don't spend my hard-earned money going to the games in hopes that the Canadian-born goalies have a great game so that they can make Team Canada down the line
“So . . . what's their great solution? Ban Euro goalies.
“Give me a freaking break. Hey, Mr. Branch, news flash for you. I still believe the majority of the teams in the CHL rely on ticket sales as their No. 1 source of revenue. So why would you not want your teams putting out the best possible product?”
Perhaps someone from the CHL can explain to the fans of those eight American teams, who already now that their teams never will get to be the host team for a Memorial Cup, how their teams won’t be allowed to use European goaltenders because Hockey Canada is concerned about the quality of goaltending in Canada.
Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports has his take on the CHL’s decision right here. In brief, Sager calls it “self-serving, scapegoating, shortsighted, protectionism-writ-large, wagon-circling overreaction.”
1. Dan Russell, the voice of the WHL on Shaw TV, returned to the CKNW airwaves last night after being away for about a month. He is the host of SportsTalk, CKNW’s long-running three-hour nightly show. . . . Russell’s contract won’t be renewed by CKNW when it runs out later this summer. But that had nothing to do with his absence. Rather, his father and mother died within six days of each other as the WHL’s championship final was ending. . . . Russell tweeted Monday morning: “Unfortunately I lost both of my parents in a span of six days last month. My Dad's passing was expected, my Mom's was totally unexpected.”
2. Drake Berehowsky was introduced as the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Monday morning. Berehowsky signed a three-year contract after spending this season as head coach of the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. Berehowsky, 41, is a former NHL defenceman who has coaching experience with the OHL’s Barrie Colts and Brampton Battalion as well as the Solar Bears. . . . Berehowsky, the 12th head coach in Hurricanes history, replaces Rich Preston, who was fired after the season. . . . CTV Lethbridge’s report on the Berehowsky hiring is right here.
3. The hiring of Berehowsky and the anticipated announcement later this week that Kevin Constantine will be back for a second go-round with the Everett Silvertips means each of the WHL’s 22 teams has a head coach. . . . At least for now. . . . We await word from Saskatoon where Lorne Molleken, the general manager and head coach of the Blades, is said to be reading the tea leaves as he decides whether to continue behind the team’s bench.
4. Red Smith was one of the greatest of all sports writers. He was there the night Reggie Jackson of the New York Yankees hit three home runs in one game in the 1977 World Series, “the baseball championship of North American,” as Smith calls is. . . . Right here is a look back at the column Smith wrote.
5. Over at The New Yorker, Masha Lipman is writing about one of this month’s more intriguing story, the divorce of Russian president Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila. . . . Was the announcement scripted? . . . That piece is right here.
6. There is an incredibly emotional video right here that is wrapped around the death of Mike Maniago, who was killed in 2008 on a pizza run in Calgary. Maniago, who was a WHL goaltender, and his brother Matt were in a vehicle that was hit by a vehicle that was being driven by an impaired driver. Cst. Randy MacDonald of the Calgary Police Service, who was Maniago’s godfather, is involved in a promotion — involving Facebook and Twitter — that is aimed at getting the anti-impaired driving message through to people. . . . You really should take six minutes out of your day and watch this video.
7. Joe Coombs, an assistant coach with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints, is the new GM and head coach of the NAHL’s Rio Grande Killer Bees, who play out of Hidalgo, Texas, according to juniorhockey.com. . . . Coombs had been with the Fighting Saints since 2010. . . . The Killer Bees have relocated from Wenatchee, Wash.
From The Goalie Guild (@TheGoalieGuild): “If ‘playing games’ is so important, why are more and more NCAA goalies earning spots at the pro levels while playing half as many?”
From Neate Sager (@neatebuzzthenet) of Yahoo! Sports: “Only two import goalies have ever been named top goalie at the world junior. #CHLEuroBan #NotACrisis”
From The Goalie Guild, again: “I wonder how many of these new empty spots for goalies in the CHL will end up being taken by American goalies.”
From Craig Button (@CraigJButton) of TSN: “Why stop at goalies? Ban foreign defensemen & forwards too! While you're at it, ban all foreign imports of everything! #LiveInIsolation”
From Craig Button, again: “With respect to CHL ruling on European goalies; It's a simple choice; embrace competition or fear it! I don't like protectionist policies.”
From Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas) of Yahoo! Sports): “There are times when the CHL acts like a junior league in all sense of that term. This is one of those times. #pathetic”
From Sunaya Sapurji, again: “This is no doubt a Hockey Canada directive... Y'know the same people who thought Nathan MacKinnon was some fourth line plumber.”
From James Mirtle (@mirtle) of The Globe and Mail: “Reality is that out of the 70ish goalies that play significant amount in CHL, only nine or 10 are European. Fear is number will keep rising.”
From Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) of the National Post: “The CHL banning European goalies will probably fix everything that's wrong with Canadian goalies, as soon as the NHL does the same thing.”
From Bruce Arthur, again: “Oh, and American goalies. If the NHL bans American goalies then Canadian goalies will really shine. Oh, and scoring will go kaboom.”
From Portland freelancer Scott Sepich (@SSepich): “I can't muster up too much sympathy for Canada's goalie situation when Calvin Pickard didn't even make it to WJC camp.”
From Scott Sepich, again: “I'm looking forward to the CHL completely banning all non-Canadians by 2017. That's clearly the only way to not lose to other countries.”
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