Blues Questioning Goaltending? NHL Decreasing Salaries by Terminating Stats?

Brent Johnson has not seen the ice since September 9th.

What’s the real reason why the NHL wants to stop keeping hits and blocked shots as stats? Denis Gauthier has his opinion…ST. LOUIS (CP) – Blues No. 1 goalie Brent Johnson hasn’t been on the ice since Sept. 9, suffering from a high ankle sprain.

“He’ll tell us if he’s ready to go,” head coach Quenneville told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Hopefully, he’s able to get some games in, but he doesn’t have to. … We want to make sure this (ankle injury) isn’t even an issue, not ever going to be an annoyance.”

NHL axes subjective stats but Gauthier says it’s salary related

CALGARY (CP) – Four years after it introduced an expanded statistical package, the NHL is axing six individual categories – hits, blocked shots, giveaways, takeaways, missed shots and zone time – for the 2002-03 season.

Officially, the NHL is doing away with at least two of those categories – hits and blocked shots – because they are too subjective to be tallied accurately.

But Calgary Flames defenceman Denis Gauthier suspects there’s also a financial factor involved for the NHL’s contingent of rugged rearguards – one that will almost certainly come into play during arbitration season next August.

“What the league doesn’t like right now is having those middle-tier guys making $1 million to $3 million,” Gauthier told the Calgary Herald. “Maybe that’s a way to keep those guys from going to arbitration, from getting up into that (salary) range. Maybe that’s part of their solution.

“Those are the stats I rely on to make a living, and to base my salary on. Those are crucial. They’re key. Blocked shots and hits, the intangible stats, give you an idea of how good a defensive defenceman is,” added Gauthier, who was credited with 194 hits last season, second on the club to Bob Boughner’s 239.

“It’s a little disappointing. Now, I’m going to have to fall back on points, plus-minus and ice time.”

According to NHL spokesman Frank Brown, varying notions of just what constitutes a bodycheck or a blocked shot among the 30 crews of off-ice officials convinced the league to make this move.

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I think it is pathetic for the league to cut the blocked shots. Hits I could accept, since sometimes it’s hard to judge if it was a real hit or not. But, blocked shots? Is it hard to judge blocked shots? That is one category that makes defensemen really valuable. There is no reason for the NHL to cut that statistic, and they simple just want to cut down on player salaries. This is their only way of doing so?

I think every team should have its own off-ice official to keep those kind of stats. It’s none of the NHL’s business to say something about it.

As for the Blues, I think they are fine with goaltending, but if things go the wrong way…they might want to get Hackett in there just in case.


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