Far be it from me to disparage things in minor league hockey, because I think it should all be in embraced– but the spin that 14News’ sports anchor Joe Downs puts on the Evansville Icemen signing of Justin MacDonald is amazing. MacDonald was signed from the Federal Hockey League’s Watertown Wolves and has 44 goals in 46 games. I’ll say that the FHL is a bit better than beer league hockey, but Downs is going crazy about MacDonald:
To put MacDonald’s season in perspective, the NHL’s leading scorer, Patrick Kane, has 64 points. The AHL’s leading scorer, Teemu Pulkkinen stands at 57 points. Chad Costello, the ECHL’s leading scorer is the closest to MacDonald’s numbers with 26 goals and 59 assists for 85 points. The SPHL’s leading scorer, Corey Banfield has mustered 54 points, four less than the number of assists that MacDonald has. MacDonald leads his closes competition in the Federal League by 21 points.
Look, I’m all for trying to hype up a guy coming onto a team who sits last in their division and second to last in scoring in the league, but to say that MacDonald’s accomplishments in the FHL is any way a comparison to any other league is a bit eye-rolling. It’s almost as if Downs thinks that MacDonald will keep the the scoring clip he has in the Federal Hockey League.
That said, any help to the Icemen is going to be welcomed in the last month and some change before the post-season. They are 29 points out of a playoff spot in their division and Jarret Lukin is the leading goal and point scorer for the team, as the Icemen have acquired a lot of guys through the season that have more points total, but not all with the Icemen. ECHL All-Star Game MVP and first year pro Myles Bell has been off and on with some stints in the AHL with Albany; so to have a consistent player with goal-scoring capabilities– MacDonald can only add to the Icemen line-up.
Yet, it’s almost a little bit of a misnomer and false hope to the Evansville fanbase to say that the 44 goals and 102 points MacDonald posted in the FHL is going to be the turning point for the Icemen. They have a lot of a ground to make up and this is obviously just an audition for MacDonald for next season and to see if he can stick to the ECHL or have to work his way back up through the ranks.