Thursday, December 28, 2006

The goalies of the West

I don't have an answer for this one, but I'm curious what knowledgeable hockey fans think of this one: Why, all of a sudden, are all the great up-and-coming goaltenders coming from Western Canada?

Historically, Quebec is this country's goaltending factory (15 of the NHL's 74 current goalies were born there), but with Carey Price and Leland Irving in goal for the world junior club, that makes two years in a row the team's netminding position has been a Western sweep.

Western goaltenders (by birthplace) currently in the NHL:

Chris Mason
Jamie McLennan
Chris Osgood

British Columbia
*David Leneveu
*Michael Wall


Ed Belfour
*Barry Brust

Cam Ward

UPDATE I didn't mention it yet today because I was assuming most readers had seen it, but if you haven't read the Canadian Press piece on Price from earlier today, it's a must.


At 8:17 p.m., December 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One theory I'll just throw out: The smaller population of the West (compared to southern Ontario) has created more awareness at the grass-roots levels that goaltending talent is a finite resource. So maybe, on a subconscious level, more work is put into training good goalies.

In Ontario, a AAA coach might have 10 goalies to choose from... in rural Manitoba, you might get 3-4.

That segues into one phenomenon I saw when I worked out west was: Big disparities in the size of various communities' player pools. That leads to some undermanned teams, and maybe creates some goalies who get a real baptism by fire

How many of those goalies are from small towns?

At 12:22 a.m., December 29, 2006, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

Jamie McLennan? David LeNeveu?

Kinda stretching it, aren't we? I don't think Quebec will want to take credit for Dany Sabourin or Martin Brochu

At 12:24 a.m., December 29, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Stretching what?

I'm just pointing out how thin the Western crew is, which makes the fact the WJHC goalies are from out West all the more surprising.

At 9:09 a.m., December 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this mean Canada can stop humouring the province of Quebec and kick them out?

Duceppe is losing a bargaining chip...

At 9:26 a.m., December 29, 2006, Anonymous BDH said...

I'm too busy trying to figure out why 29 teams passed on Yannic Perreault for $700K.

At 11:08 a.m., December 29, 2006, Blogger McLea said...

"Does this mean Canada can stop humouring the province of Quebec and kick them out?"

This is an excellent point. I always figured that this was the only reason we bothered keeping them around.

At 11:12 a.m., December 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barry Brust may have been born in Manitoba, but he played his minor hockey in Westbank, BC. I know this, because I competed against him every year... and beat him out of several camps haha. I guess this is his way of getting back at me ;)

At 11:37 a.m., December 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering the Leafs' situation now I wish Perrault had been given another go-around. He sure looks like an inspired pick-up by the 'Yotes.


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