Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunwick to Columbus!

Earlier this year, the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Jack Johnson from LA. Now Wolverine fans have another reason to pay attention to that NHL team down South.

Shawn Hunwick is a Blue Jacket. Steve Mason took a puck in the head in warmup, leaving Columbus short a goalie for their game against the Red Wings tonight. They called Michigan to find out if Hunwick was available. So he's on his way down there to be the backup tonight. Columbus said that he could be signed for the rest of the year if Mason will miss more time.

Maybe this Cinderella story didn't end with the clock striking midnight in Green Bay. The goalie who sat the bench for 2 1/2 years only to become arguably the best goalie in the nation is headed to The Show. Similarly to how he was talking to D-3 schools and wound up at Michigan, he had just been discussing going to play overseas before getting this call. Maybe it will just be for this one game and he'll still end up in Europe. Or maybe history will repeat and this opportunity will lead to another chance state-side.

If Hunwick remains with the Jackets, he may face his brother Matt in their game against the Avalanche in the near future.

Congrats, Shawn


Anonymous said...

And he wore his Michigan helmet for warmups!

Brent said...

I'm thrilled that dude gets a taste of the bigtime...hopefully they'll extend him and give him a camp invitation for preseason, as well.
Funny thing, though...not THAT long ago the Atlanta Thrashers (who?) had a run of terrible luck with injured goalies, resulting in not one but TWO call-ups all the way from their ECHL franchise (conveniently located in the north Atlanta suburbs), both of whom ended up getting actual playing time (Michael Garnett and former University of Denver star Adam Berkhoel).
I guess the point is, goalie call-ups from the lower bus leagues, while rare, aren't unheard of, especially if all you really need to do is have someone open the door for shift changes. Seeing an NHL team sign an emergency back-up goalie ("E-BUG", we call them in the low minors) IS fairly unusual.
Is that a vote of no-confidence for their minor league affiliates, or was it just more cost-effective to see if Hunny's Ford Ranger would make the drive?
Playing devil's advocate, if I'm a goalie signed in the C-Bus organ-eye-zation, I'm having my agent get in touch with Donald Fehr and the NHLPA to file a grievance; I just missed an NHL payday and all the perks that come with it.