The Home Stretch
There was definitely going to be a collision between Weeks Major Midgets forward Mark Vokey and Cole Harbour Wolfpack goaltender Rowan O’Brien during their meeting Sunday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
The extent of it was up to the players.
Both were racing to the puck with O’Brien playing it just before Vokey got his stick on it. A split second later the collision took place with O’Brien’s mask coming off before his head hit the ice.
This isn’t the first time Vokey has collided with a goaltender this season, but the last time it happened out past the hash marks and, although it was actually a bigger collision than the one that happened Sunday, it wasn’t as uncalled for.
O’Brien was outside the crease, approximately four feet. Although both were moving towards each other it was clear, especially looking back through photos, that Vokey had little, if any, intent to stop.
It’s unclear why this happened or what the goal of this was, but all I will say is it was uncalled for and I believe it was his full intention to hit the goalie. He is one of the best hockey players in this county for his age as evidenced by his four goals and 12 points, tied with Cody Johnston to lead the Weeks Major Midgets.
He received what I believed were the proper in-game penalties for what he did (five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct). Personally I’d sit him out in future games, if it was my call, because there is an obviously an issue there that needs to be addressed.
When the coach says it’s “one of the worst charges on a goalie that I’ve seen playing or coaching,” you know it’s a pretty big deal. Hopefully that’s the last time we see something like this and O’Brien is OK.
Pictou’s Joey MacDonald was assigned to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat on Sunday by the Calgary Flames. Reto Berra now joins Karri Ramo between the pipes for the Flames. I’m sure he’s their “saviour.” Well likely not so much, but who knows, maybe he will.
I understand it’s part of the game and business of hockey to constantly be making chances until you find something that works, but when the Flames brought in MacDonald to play last season it wasn’t necessarily an indication they were going to put some faith in him; them signing him over the summer was though.
He was reassigned after playing seven games with the Flames this season, posting a 3-3-1 record, 3.17 GAA and 0.885 save percentage. His counterpart Karri Ramo was 2-3-1 with a 3.49 GAA and 0.888 save percentage.
A quick numbers game and simply comparing the number of highlight reel saves between the two and it’d appear that Ramo should be the one going to Abbotsford.
Run a few numbers and you can see why MacDonald drew the short straw on this one. He’s four years older than Ramo and is making $1,675,000 (USD) less. It’s definitely hard to justify paying $2,600,000 (USD) to have your “No. 1” goaltender in the AHL.
Adding to this whole ridiculousness that is the Flames goaltending situation, Berra won his first game after being called up from the AHL.
He allowed two goals on 44 shots in the Flames 3-2 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 3. Whoop dee-doo, you won one game in the NHL. Lead us to the Stanley Cup Reto – until you flop and then we’ll call MacDonald up again to do damage control.
Again, I understand it’s part of the business to try to figure out what will work best, but I think that trying to get some consistency is better than playing time being all over the place. We started the season in Calgary with Ramo being the proverbial No. 1, but MacDonald patched that up starting five straight after their season opener.
Ramo made a comeback with back-to-back starts, but he wasn’t anything spectacular.
This is all a bunch of patchwork on a sinking boat by the Flames front office staff, but eventually the boat is going to be sending S.O.S. signals before it completely sinks.
Christopher Cameron is the sports reporter for The News and can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NGNewsChris. His column runs weekly on Wednesdays.