Wednesday, July 27, 2011

John Gibson to the OHL

For the second straight year, Michigan has lost their incoming goalie recruit to the OHL. Mike Spath has confirmed via text from John Gibson that he'll be headed to the OHL instead of Michigan.
 
That's just.....wow.
 
Campbell leaving didn't piss me off that badly, even though at that point we didn't know that Shawn Hunwick was amazing. At least he changed his commitment a full ten months before he was due to set foot on campus. Had Michigan wanted to bring in another goalie for the 2010-11 season, they likely would have been able to. Instead, they focused on Gibson and were able to land him for the 2011-12 season. Or so we thought.
 
Now, here we are roughly a month from the start of class, and he's opted to go the Major Junior route. Really, really nice timing there. Spath has a call in to Gibson right now, and I can't wait to hear the answer to the question "Why now?"
 
This leaves the Wolverines with Shawn Hunwick as the starter and Adam Janecyk as the backup. Clearly the Wolverines are fine with Hunwick in net, but instead of having arguably the strongest duo in the country, there's nothing but question marks should Hunwick get injured. Janecyk has USHL experience, which is good, but he played just 1:32 last season, making one save. It also means that the Wolverines will almost definitely be starting a freshman goalie in 2012, unless someone out there is looking to transfer. Also, it means that Red needs to find two goalies for 2012, unless they've seen (or will see) enough in Janecyk to be comfortable with him as the backup for another year. The problem is, if you hitch your wagon to one goalie and you get whammied for the third straight year, you've got Janecyk as the starter and no backup.
 
On the bright side, this does open the door to look for the "supers" again, if Red is so inclined. There aren't a whole lot of situations that would be more attractive than coming in as, likely, the unquestioned starter (except, evidently, the entire OHL).
 
This is getting old. Again, I'm trying to keep it in perspective as these kids are making decisions for what they think is in their best interest moving forward. But man, it takes some brass ones to say all along that you're coming, the draft didn't change your status, no, really, I'm coming, Michigan is the place for me, and then bail with a month to go before the start of the season. You knew the OHL was there all along. You told McKeen's in February that you didn't really look into it that much because "Michigan is where I chose to go." You knew Michigan's goaltending situation all along. You knew how many games make up the NCAA schedule all along. It's one thing to back out before you sign your LOI and when the team still has a chance to find a replacement if they want to. It's completely another to bail a month before the season and leave the team hanging.
 
Just lovely.

20 comments:

Paulie M. said...

Was gibson recruited by Pearson? Maybe some potential issues there?

Geoffrey Chiles said...

You're right, Tim. That takes a lot of guts to do that, especially after maintaining you're committed. That is a low blow to The University of Michigan, and to the hockey program.

Unbelievable.

Brandon said...

Screw the OHL and, to some degree, screw John Gibson. How are we supposed to compete with a league that can poach our players whenever, but we can't poach theirs? And I know Gibson is 17/18/19, but it's still a dick move to back out after you signed the LOI and you basically committed to play for the university in the fall. Thanks for screwing us over. At least Campbell gave us a heads up

Anonymous said...

What a shame; Red and the hockey program do not deserve this type of treatment. As bad as it was that Campbell decommitted at least he did it the right way (if there is such a thing) by not signing a NLI and then going back on his written agreement and leaving the team high and dry a month before school starts. There should be a rule against going back on a NLI (in our dreams).

Anonymous said...

As long as the NCAA keeps their stupid rules in place, the CHL will be able to poach whenever they want. These kids should be paid and should be able to play as many games as time will allow. They are in school to get an education - with a major in Hockey.

Brandon said...

@Anonymous. Paying players opens up a whole new realm of sports that the NCAA won't get involved in. I think the NCAA just needs to relax some rules for hockey to allow us to recruit players earlier like the CHL can. Maybe even allow former OHL players to flip to the NCAA. That would be huge

Runninwiththedogs said...

"Maybe even allow former OHL players to flip to the NCAA."

No way. That hurts college. Then we get MORE elite kids going to the CHL and get the washouts in return.

Kevin Holt said...

How is this allowed? How is the LOI not binding enough for this to stop occurring?

Is there any potential for Red to call him up and convince him? I know Red is a very rational figure, bordering on fatherly. If I were Gibson, I would be swayed a lot easier by Red than by some Jack Reilly scumbag type coach (yes, that is a Mighty Ducks reference).

Screw this.

Tim said...

It is obvious from Gibson (& the other recent college commits to switch to the ohl) that the nhl teams that drafted them had influence on theory decisions. The ohl has a more nhl type schedule & gives kids the opportunity to concentrate more on hockey, instead of hockey & a full academic schedule like @ Michigan. As far as Gibson stating his commitment to Michigan even as soon as a little over a month ago, I'm sure he was being honest in those statements. The US Hockey program does not let their players visit with ohl teams while they are with the program for fear that the ohl will buy out the last year of the usntdp. US Hockey also (for lack of a better word) steers their players to college for obvious reasons. If you look at the roster of the usntdp, every single one is committed to a college. It is once they get out of the program & meet with the nhl teams (and ohl teams that own their rights) that most of these kids are changing their minds.

Brad said...

Primary blame for these type of situations usually falls on the "family adviser" (i.e. agent). Their purpose is of course to make as much money as quickly as possible, therefore they advise their clients (er, "friends") that playing a longer pro-type schedule in major junior will get them to the NHL faster (and thus, the agent paid faster). And if the prospect washes out, so what? There's always the next guy.

Anonymous said...

I live about 10 miles away from where the Saginaw Spirit play. Kitchener plays there on Sept. 30, and I am seriously considering going just to rag this kid. Cruel and immature, I know, but this is ridiculous. For the record, I have the same question as Kevin Holt: How is this allowed?

Anonymous said...

I know that the OHL denies it, but I can guess that there was a large sum of money that changed hands in this deal as a signing bonus. For most of these kids and their parents, money talks. It's not about getting an education - it's about going pro, and it certainly has nothing to do with giving someone your word and signing that LOI. I still think if you're that good and the NHL wants you, they will wait until you finish your college career. I wonder what the percentage of players that are taken early in the NHL draft that never play in an NHL game is?

Shawn C. said...

I'm sure that the team that drafted him wanted him to go to the OHL instead of UM & there are two reasons so.
1. The best way for a goalie to develop is to face shots & as many as possible. Going to UM, Gibson would be splitting an already shorter schedule & would be playing behind one of the best defences in college, all which would limit the shots he faces. In the OHL, he will be starting around 60 games in a league that features offense over defence. His stats might have been better @ UM, but the Ducks will take shots faced & save % over GAA any day.

2. The Ducks will want to take part in the develop of Gibson as a goalie. If he went to UM, the NCAA restricts the contact between the two. Going to Kitchener, I'm sure the Ducks goalie coach will be able.to meet & be more hands on with the coaching he is getting.

So while I could bet that Gibson wanted to go to UM. Once the Ducks management sat down with him, they nudged him to Kitchener. What kid in the position he is in would go against the suggestion of the team that spent the 39th pick in the draft on him.

Anonymous said...

So after we're done bitching, who does the staff go after, goalie-wise for 2012? Or even 2013? Anybody good left uncommitted? Do we try to steal somebody away from another college? I don't like that second one so much, but if a guy would rather come here and since Michigan was left in the position it was left in, I'll deal with the somewhat shady ethics of it...

jughead42 said...

Too funny. Maybe Michigan should consider recruiting college age kids and having them sign letters of intent when they're ready to go to college instead of coercing children into agreements that aren't legally binding anyway. Sucks to be you...again! ROLF!

Packer487 said...

Someone want to tell Jughead that Gibson signed a LOI and was a month away from enrolling in school?

Thomas said...

Gibson isn't as good as Campbell was, and he would only be at Michigan for a year or two. He'd hurt recruiting in that it would appear to a kid that they were set in goal for the next four years, and then when he left Michigan after his sophomore year, they'd be where they are now.

Gibson made the right choice. It's good for him, it's good for Anaheim, it's good for UM, it's good for USA Hockey (he takes a starting job from a Canadian kid, and his job at UM will be filled by an American).

What YostBuilt didn't tell you (for obvious reasons) is that Gibson ordered Kitchener pads months ago. He had made his decision back then and just didn't bother saying anything until now. It's bush, plain and simple.

I'd rather Michigan go after a good goalie who will stay for four years than a potentially great goalie who will only be here for a year or two, like MGoBlog said.

Chin up, gents. Having seen Gibson a ton over the past two years, I can tell you that this is no big loss. UM is better off in the short term (UM doesn't have to give Gibson starts he doesn't deserve to keep him around) and will probably be better off long-term.

Packer487 said...

@Thomas:
I've heard that "he ordered pads a month ago" thing from too many people for me to not believe it. If that's true, I wish that kid absolutely no success for the rest of his career. I typically wish decommits well (except Bryan Lerg for obvious reasons). I've even got a signed Jack Campbell puck in my puck case to prove it. But if that kid knew he was going to the OHL months ago and kept up that charade, I hope he gets lit more than Snoop at the Hash Bash.

It's really not that big of a deal that Gibson left if the following two things pan out:
1) Shawn Hunwick stays healthy this year.
2) We find ourselves a quality goalie (or two) for 2012.

If Hunwick gets hurt, we're pretty screwed unless we can catch lightning in a bottle with a walk-on twice. I certainly haven't seen enough of Janecyk to know if he's at all capable, but I'd kind of prefer to not find out.

And clearly we need a goalie for 2012. I have to believe this is an attractive position. The problem is, what happens if you land your guy and then Michigan gets left at the alter for a third straight season. It's scary to think about. We pretty much have to sign two.

@Anon: I'd imagine that The Wolverine will be the best source for "Who do we go after for 2012?" I'd imagine that Bob or Mike will have something for us before too long.

(ann)arborvitis said...

I personally know John & know for a fact that he did not make his decision until last week & definitely did not order Kitchener pads.

Hail Victors said...

Anybody notice that Jack Campbell and John Gibson have the same agent? Makes you wonder right?