GMs to discuss emergency backup goalie protocol at Florida meetings

The panel breaks down the biggest new around the NHL, including Mike Gillis interviewing for the New Jersey Devils' General Manager position, Steven Stamkos' injury, and emergency backup protocol.

In light of David Ayres’ spectacular-but-polarizing stint for the Carolina Hurricanes last weekend, the role of emergency backup goalie will be among the topics on the docket at next week’s general managers’ meetings in Florida.

“One of the items that’s going to get a lot of attention, of course, is the emergency backup goaltender situation, if perhaps there’s a change to the protocol around that. And certainly, (there are) some varying opinions at the league level about what should be done there, if anything should be done,” said Sportsnet‘s Chris Johnston on the Headlines segment of Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.

The fact the 42-year-old Zamboni driver was pressed into service after the Hurricanes lost both of their netminders to injury in the team’s 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last Saturday has irked some critics and caused others to question whether the quality of the league is being diluted.

“I understand it just because of this situation,” Ayres told The Canadian Press earlier this week. “I also know and I’ve talked to a bunch of the other emergency goalies and I know how much they’re on the ice with the team.

“I don’t think people understand the behind the scenes.”

The resident of Bowmanville, Ont., has practised with the Leafs’ organization for eight years.

Ayres has received international attention after becoming the oldest ‘tender in NHL history to win his regular-season debut and the first emergency backup goalie to notch a victory.

Johnston said the GMs will also discuss whether a change needs to be made to offside coaches’ challenges, by making the blue line a plane, rather than a player needing to have their skates on the ice, as well as salary-cap projections.

With files from The Canadian Press

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