Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Erie Otters selling Connor Crisp T-shirts for charityThe Erie Otters aren't retreating from the horrible mistake that led to forward Connor Crisp going in goal — they're owning it. And for a Crisp U.S. $10 dollar bill, you can own the T-shirt commemorating the centre's unlikely turn in goal on Sunday.

While the Otters attempt to find two goalies for their game Wednesday, the Ontario Hockey League franchise announced today it's selling Connor Crisp No. 1 jersey T-shirts. All the proceeds are going to charity, as well it should, since

The Otters are selling one-of-a-kind Connor Crisp jersey t-shirts for a limited time, with proceeds benefitting Shriners Hospitals for Children. The shirt features the temporary goalie number worn by Crisp (#1) rather than his usual number of #23. The t-shirts are $10.00 US plus shipping and come in sizes medium, large and extra large.

... Crisp's game-worn jersey from Sunday's goaltending appearance will be auctioned off later today, with proceeds from the auction also going to Shriners Hospitals for Children. (ottershockey.com)

Crisp' pinch-hitting between the pipes was a tremendous one-off whether one views it as a travesty or just plain awesome or a little from Column A and a little from Column B. Filing it under awesome seems like the best way to view it, since it's not likely to happen again and it most of the attention both Crisp and the Otters players received for soldiering through a no-win situation was positive.

Meantime, the club has another game Wednesday vs. another division-leading team, the Plymouth Whalers, and no firm idea of who will start in goal and who, if anyone, will be the backup.

Erie Otters selling Connor Crisp T-shirts for charityFrom Victor Fernandes:

Don't expect to see the goaltending duo of Ramis Sadikov and Devin Williams, either. They are coping with apparent concussions suffered this past weekend.

... Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, has no immediate answers for his team's goaltending dilemma.

"We've got to get some people in," Bassin said.

... Adam Wood, an eighth-round pick in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection who played three games for the Otters the past 2 seasons, has led Clarington to the Central Ontario Junior C Hockey League finals against Lakefield. The best-of-seven series begins [Tuesday night]. Clarington's last series ended Saturday night.

Bassin won't seriously consider Corey Foster and Millcreek Township native Nate Miller, a pair of 2011 draft picks, because playing in an OHL game could jeopardize their chances to play NCAA hockey. (Erie Times-News)

One would expect Wood would have to be pressed into action. After his Junior C team's game on Tuesday, the series doesn't resume until Saturday, leaving enough time to get to Erie, Pa., and back to appear in one contest. Of course, if Sadikov and Williams are sidelined for more than a few days, which is quite likely, the Otters will need someone to help them finish out the last six games of the OHL season. It's also not really fair to the Clarington Eagles if they should lose their No. 1 goalie in the middle of their league championship.

Bassin has apologized for the situation ever happening. There is no precedent for this with respect to a fine, but this does fall into the area of making the league look unprofessional. It's similar to the incident last season when the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants were fined after failing to pack their jerseys for a road game, which forced them to wear their opponents' practice jerseys. In that case, though, the game was still a legitimate contest. In this case, it really wasn't, with all due respect to how hard Crisp tried in a no-win situation.

From Dave Pollard:

The Otters, one way or another, should have brought a second goaltender to Niagara. By not doing so, Otters owner/general manager Sherry Bassin embarrassed himself, his organization, the IceDogs and the OHL and hung Crisp out to dry in the process.

Bassin found himself without a second goalie after backup Devin Williams, who was hurt Friday, failed a concussion test "late" Saturday night. Two prospects, Adam Wood and Corey Foster, were unavailable.

That, Bassin said, left only Option C, Connor Crisp.

"I studied our alternatives based on the 2,000 or so games I've been involved in. This turned out to be a bad decision," Bassin said in a statement on the team's web site. "I accept full responsibility and apologize publicly for the embarrassment to the league and the sport of hockey that I love. I have deep respect for our league and sport."

Regardless of how Bassin feels after the fact, the league needs to act to prevent this from happening again.

The Otters must be punished for making a mockery of the game. (QMI Agency)

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (image: Erie Otters; photo: Terry Wilson, OHL Images).

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