Thursday, September 03, 2009

From Greg Harder's Slap Shots


The Great Goalie Debate Part II (plus some Sillinger news)

Another year, another goalie dilemma for the Regina Pats.
Last season, it was a choice between Linden Rowat and Jeff Bosch for the starter’s position while Damien Ketlo and Derek Tendler battled for the backup job. Tendler outplayed Ketlo in camp, but age worked against the youngster, who was sent back to midget. Meanwhile, Bosch didn’t play well enough to unseat Rowat, who retained his starter’s job because he proved to be the most reliable option.
Will history repeat itself? Perhaps, but the landscape has changed. As previously stated, the Pats may not be deep enough as a team this season to use one of their 20-year-old spots on a goaltender. Ideally, Regina would be better served giving that spot to an impact skater (Matt Strueby and Mitch Czibere are the current in-house options but a trade isn’t out of the question, either). The key to the equation is whether one of the younger goalies (Ketlo, Tendler or Dawson Guhle) can jump up and grab the starter’s job. So far, that hasn’t happened, but the pre-season is young. In a perfect world, the situation will sort itself out over the next four exhibition games.
Regardless, the Pats don’t want a repeat of last year when the situation lingered into November, at which point the team was backed into a corner and ended up making a bad trade (Bosch for Neal Prokop). Having depth at the game’s most crucial position is indeed a nice problem to have, but it’s not always an easy one to solve. All four netminders are of WHL calibre. At least one, if not more, might turn out to be a stud. It’s up to the Pats to identify the best one-two combination under the circumstances and turn the leftovers into assets. No easy task, but it’s likely the most important decision facing the brass at this juncture.
“We want to try to do something sooner than later,” GM Brent Parker said recently. “We’ve had some talks with some teams. We’d like to get it resolved. We’ll make a determination after watching some teams about what’s going to be best for all the parties involved. Getting what’s best for all the parties involved to line up is what’s going to be the difficult part. Everyone is going to have a little bit of a different agenda. All those kids wanna play and they wanna play a lot and give their best. It’s going to be difficult to find a way to do that for all of them.”
Asked if the goalie market will be as challenging as it was last season, Parker said: “There’s always teams looking for quality goaltenders. Prince George did something with their situation recently (getting James Priestner from Brandon). I don’t have any doubt that if we decide to move any of those guys that we’ll be able to get a real good draft pick or possibly a player.”
Stay tuned.

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Jordan Eberle is in good hands with the hiring of Mike Sillinger as the director of hockey development with the Edmonton Oilers. Sillinger has also made it known to the Pats that he's willing to lend a hand now that he's a full-time Regina resident.

Here's the media release from the Oilers:

Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the appointment of Mike Sillinger to the position of Director of Player Development.
The 38-year-old native of Regina, Saskatchewan, moves into the position after playing 17 seasons in the National Hockey League.
“We are very excited to have Mike fill such an important role with us,” said Tambellini. “We know his experience of 1,000-plus NHL games will benefit our younger players and the development of their careers.”
As a member of the Oilers Hockey Management Team, Sillinger will work closely with all Oiler draft picks in the junior, college and European ranks. He will also be working with Edmonton’s prospects in the AHL and ECHL.
Sillinger has seen action with 12 NHL clubs, most recently suiting up for the New York Islanders last year. Originally drafted 11th overall in 1990 by the Detroit Red Wings, Sillinger began his NHL career in Detroit before continuing on to play for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and New York Islanders.
Internationally Sillinger represented Team Canada on two occasions, winning a gold medal at the 1991 World Junior Championship and leading his country as their captain at the 2000 World Championship.

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