Canadian goaltending crisis or much ado about nothing?

Someone on a Canadian radio station pointed out that this year is going to be the year of the champion;all
4 teams remaining in the tournament are Cup champs from recent years (Kings
last year, Blackhawks the year before, the Bruins and Penguins).  Two of the 4 goalies hail from Europe
(Czechoslovakia and Finland) and the other 2 are from here and the US.

Corey Crawford, who is somewhat of an underdog in this company, I am please to say isn’t just ‘not European’ but unless Pitssburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury makes an appearance in his series, Crawford is the lone Canadian puckstopper in the final 4, hailing from Montreal, Quebec. Interestingly enough, the last time Crawford’s Blackhawks made it this far, they were backstopped by Nikolai Khabibulin (USSR).

When
David Branch, commissioner of the Canadian Hockey League met with Hockey Canada
officials recently, one of the topics on their agenda was the 60 major junior
teams across Canada will consider banning all
European goaltenders from playing in the league to give more opportunities to
Canadian talent.

“One of the ideas put forward was eliminating goalies from the import draft to allow more focus on North American goalies,” says Branch in a recent interview. “This is something we’re exploring.”

Ron Tugnutt, a former NHl goalie and consultant for Hockey Canada said he would be in favour of a ban to help promote homegrown netminders.

“There’s nothing wrong with goalies in our country and there’s nothing wrong with how we’re developing them. (But) they’re just not getting a chance to step up to the plate.”

This
is a topic that Don Cherry could easily spend an entire segment of Coaches
Corner, going on and on about how the ‘Canadian League’ should be kept for the
Canadian players. For as long back as I can remember, Cherry has always been
against the European players coming to North America, particularly Canada, and
stealing some Canadian kid’s job. The first case of this I

recall was when Teemu Selanne came to Winnipeg and won the NHL Calder Trophy.

Anyways, now the European hockey player debate really is on the ‘national’ stage.

The amount of criteria building up to support the case that the Europeans are taking over (at least in the nets), is astounding:

-As previously mentioned, Chicago’s Corey Crawford is the lone starting Canadian goaltender in the NHL’s final 4. The other 2 represent Finland and Czechoslovakia. Pittsburgh’s Tomas Vokoun is actually taking the place of Pens’ usual started Marc-Andre Fleury (Sorel, Quebec).

-Also somewhat astounding is the 3 finalists for the League’s Vezina Trophy are all Europeans. Henrik Lundquist (Sweden), Antti Niemi (Finland) and Sergei Bobrovsky (Russia).  For some reason there is no mention of Carey Price (British Columbia), James Reimer (Manitoba), Brian Elliot (Ontario),

What I also found out while putting this together, is that according to www.espn.com, the only NHL club with 2 dependable goaltenders on the roster who were both born in the Canada, is the Maple Leafs. Reimer, in Winnipeg and Ben Scrivens hails from Spruce Grove, Alberta. Anyone recall a guy named Grant Fuhr.

Someone
from the QMI Agency reported a few days ago and Don Cherry and Ron McLean
talked about it a bit on Coaches Corner on Hockey Night in Canada, the goalie
situation in the CHL. Hockey Canada wants to put a ban on European netminders
who make CHL teams, all 60 of them. After a few hours of researching it, what
is Hockey Canada talking about? According to the CHL websites (WHL, OHL and
QMJHL), there are a grand total of less than 10 European goaltenders playing in
Canada. There is a German goalie playing in Barrie and a second European plays
in Brampton and a Russian with the Saginaw Spirit.

That is it for the Ontario league. Three European goalies. Big deal. The Western league has a total of 4. Saskatoon, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Victoriaville. I see no reason for concern.

For more on anything hockey, follow me on Twitter @Game7overtime.

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