Ondrej Pavelec

CHL will phase out European goalies


In just a few years, there might not be a single European goaltender in the Canadian Hockey League.

That’s because of a new CHL initiative that will impact Canada’s the three major junior leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL). If a team wants to select a goaltender in the 2013 CHL import draft, they’ll only be able to do so in the first round.

After that, they won’t be able to get a netminder through the import draft under any circumstances, according to the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox.

These measures reflect a fear that Canadian goaltending has been on the decline. As Cox explains:

All three finalists for the NHL’s Vezina Trophy this season are Europeans, while a Canadian hasn’t been the first goalie selected in the NHL draft in five years. Of the four Memorial Cup finalists, only Halifax, the eventual champion, started a Canadian goalie, and Russia’s Andrei Makarov of the Saskatoon Blades was the tournament’s outstanding goalie.

The top goalie in the CHL this season, meanwhile, was from the Czech Republic.

It’s worth noting that none of the three European-born Vezina finalists played in the CHL.

Meanwhile, who will play between the pipes in the 2014 Winter Olympics will be the subject of heavy debate in Canada. With Martin Brodeur getting older and Roberto Luongo losing the starting gig in Vancouver, there’s no clear-cut choice.

At the same time, 28-year-old Corey Crawford has certainly thrown himself into the mix along with 23-year-old Braden Holtby. Then there’s James Reimer, who bounced back nicely from his sophomore slump.

Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman suggested that Canadian goaltending was in a transitional period and maybe that’s part of it. At the same time, he didn’t seem entirely opposed to the policy that the CHL later enacted.

“The bottom line is goalies need to play,” Yzerman told the Toronto Star in May. “They need minutes. There are only so many nets.”


Report: CHL considering ban on European goalies

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.