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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

News to me!

Was checking out Lindsay Kramers blog today and check out what he had to say about stick brands in the AHL:

Not to whine about it, or anything, but he is very unhappy playing with the league-mandated Reebok sticks instead of his usual Bauer. Each AHL can hand out stick exemptions to three players, and right now the lucky Crunch skaters are Kris Russell, Derek MacKenzie and Mike York.

(Side note. I know that Reebok pays a ton of money to the AHL for equipment rights, and of course the sporting goods giant knows how to make quality products. They will work with each and every player to try to make a stick they like. But no one type of lumber is for every player, and it amazes me that AHLers are forced to use one brand of equipment for the most important tool of their trade. This doesn't happen in the NHL, of course, because the NHL players union would go nuts.).

Filatov said he is uncomfortable using the Reebok stick. He got to use Bauer once this season, against Manitoba, because MacKenzie was injured. Filatov went 2-1 in that game.

"I really don't say a lot, oh, I can't play with these sticks,'' Filatov said. "I know as a young player, I have no way out of this. It is so difficult for people who don't play hockey a lot, (to know) how you can feel them in the hand, how they grip, is the stick stiff or flexible?''


Filatov has the right attitude about the situation but still you'd like an offensive player with his kind of talent to pick his tool of preference.

Speaking of Filatov, head on over the AHL.com and vote for him as best rookie here!

You've got to feel a bit sorry for the St. Louis Blues (okay, not really). They just lost their leading scorer Andy McDonald for at least two months and he joins Erik Johnson (who is out of for the season) and TJ Oshie who is out with a high ankle sprain.

Don't sprinkle any of that injury dust Columbus' way.

According to Lindsay Kramer both Filatov and Mayorov are indeed in demand for their home country for the World Junior tournament this December:

Both Filatov and Mayorov are strong candidates to play for the Russian national team at the World Juniors in late December and early January in Ottawa. Filatov played for Russian in that tournament last year.

The Russian team has exhibitions in Guelph on Thursday and St. Catharines on Monday. They'd like Filatov and Mayorov to join them.

There are two catches. Syracuse has games Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That can be worked around. Chris MacFarland, assistant GM of Columbus, said theoretically the two players could be excused from Sunday's Crunch game against visiting Binghamton. It would still be a tough grind, though, as the players would be looking at four games in four nights and five in six.

The bigger issue is getting enough insurance to cover Columbus' investment in the two players in case they get hurt. MacFarland said that's the snag holding up the deal.

"We've got some insurance issues that need to be worked out,'' MacFarland said. "For the club, we have to make sure those contracts are covered.''

If either player makes the World Junior team, they will be allowed to leave Syracuse to play in the tournament.


I think its an excellent decision to let these kids represent their country in this high profile tournament for a number of reasons:

1. It will help smooth over relations from them coming to play in NA this season.

2. Its highly competitive high pressure tournament that every ogranization would like their prospects to not only play in but thrive in!

3. The kids want to represent their country and a little good will now could go a long way in the future in terms of loyalty and commitment towards the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.

4. The tournament is in Ottawa so the Jackets can keep a close eye on these two -- i.e. you always worry in the back of your mind that they could leave and not come back... highly unlikely in this case.

Of course the draw back is Syracuse loses a couple of their key offensive cogs for a bit but you have to think when they return they will be that much better of players with their confidence sky rocketing. That and even with these two gone Syracuse still has a fairly stout lineup.

-LTL

3 comments:

June said...

I think all the equipment has to be Reebok, not just the sticks.

I'm the one who left the comment about changing the decals on Filatov's sticks.

Alex said...

It's the same way in the ECHL too. Players can only wear CCM or Reebok equipment (with the exception of shoulder pads and shin guards) and use only CCM or Reebok sticks.

LTL said...

I like the way you think June!

Good info about the ECHL Alex.. first I've ever heard about mandated equipment in both of those leagues.. interesting stuff.

-LTL