Monday, March 05, 2012

Otter-ly Deplorable


(Yes, I do pun headlines. Deal.)

While he may not make the AGM ranks, Connor Crisp was thrown into a situation he probably never thought he'd be in; emergency back-up. A center by trade, Crisp went from the press box to the goal crease in a span of 20 minutes. You can read the great write-up by Neate Sager at Buzzing the Net for all the details, but it's interesting how this all came to be and why it will may not happen again.

First and foremost-- props to Crisp for man-ing up and taking on the task of doing this. Second, props to the Ice Dogs for not celebrating goals and then giving Crisp his props at the end.

The problem I have isn't with the Ice Dogs putting up 13 goals in all of this, because they aren't going to let up because it's major junior and every game is supposed to matter. You could tell the players were pissed off as anyone from having to face against a returning-from-injury forward having to be put into net, as it is a brotherhood out there at the end of the day.

My problem is with the Erie Otters' management and how they actually didn't call up someone who had experience in net, even if they are from the Junior A ranks or minor-midget ranks to just sit and be a back-up. You shouldn't have to throw a player, who has been injured most of the season, into a situation like that-- even though the Otters are going to be last in the OHL this year.

Otters' GM Sherry Bassin had this to say:
"Late last night, our backup goaltender (Devin Williams) failed a concussion test. I looked at our alternatives; one of our goaltenders (Adam Wood) was playing in the Ontario Junior C Championships, the other (Corey Foster) in the Midget Ontario Championships. I studied our alternatives based on the 2000 or so games I've been involved in. This turned out to be a bad decision. I accept full responsibility and apologize publicly for the embarrassment to the league and the sport of hockey that I love. I have deep respect for our league and sport."
Though he did take blame for this, you have to figure that the OHL will have more to say about this. It's one thing to have not enough skaters to actually field a solid team, but it's another thing to only bring one legitimate goaltender with you on a road-trip. Even as a last place team, you need to have some dignity for the game. This isn't your local beer league where you can do this and have guys yuk it up. A lot of these guys  want to have a future in hockey on a higher level and display their skill-- which won't fully happen against a forward going into goal.

While this is a fun story, you have to bet that not only the OHL, but the entire Canadian Hockey League will have a new rule to actually carry two ACTUAL goalies suited up for their games. Honestly, the team shouldn't have been allowed to play when there was no back-up on the bench or out there for warm-ups. Yet, since there's no rule against it-- they let it happen.

The OHL got some decent press because of this story, it was for the wrong reason in the end. After you get past the great story of Crisp actually getting in there, it makes it a sideshow that could and should have been prevented. Especially since Crisp is coming back from a serious shoulder injury, which could have gotten re-aggravated in this little stunt. Then it would have been much, much worse.

By the way, Crisp saved 32 of 45 shots in his 58 minutes of action, which will probably be his last between the pipes.

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