The Regina Pats are busy re-tooling their line-up after a pair of deals today.
The Pats, the biggest under-achievers in the WHL this season besides the Prince George Cougars have pulled off a six player deal with the Kelowna Rockets. Headed to K-town, is 18 year-old problem child Justin Bernhardt, Jason Mcdonald and list player Kyle St. Denis. The Regina Pats get 19 year-old European Kaspars Saulietis ( a skilled forward who I was impressed with in Kelowna), Troy Ofukany (gritty 18 year old with some scoring), and Kurt Hill (throw-in).
Regina wins this deal simply because of their circumstances. They received great value for a player who walked off their team (Bernhardt). Usually when that happens, the players' stock plummets big time. The Pats were able to get a skilled Euro which was lacking after the departure of Petr Kalus and Denis Tolpeko. They were able to get some good grit mixed with scoring in Troy Ofukany. Good deal for the Pats. Granted I don't know much about this St. Denis kid but on the surface the Pats made out very well.
The other deal was a one-for-one swap of 18 year olds with Prince Albert. Headed to P.A. is forward Ryan Macdonald for forward Josh Elder. Not sure what brought out this deal. A simple swap, a change of scenery, who knows. The only extra element to it is that Macdonald is a Prince Albert kid and would be heading home. Regina is looking to change things up as much as possible and this just emphasizes the point.
Hey, hey Broncos . . . three straight wins. Last night in Prince Albert, the powerplay took over thanks to seven straight man-advantages midway through the game as they skated to a 5-2 win with three PP goals.
Some thought is was a sloppy-played game but I thought it was fine. Matt Tassone tied it early in the first with his 4th of the season. It was one of the weakest shots on goal after he drove hard to the net from the side boards. He fanned on it or something but it squeaked past Jesse Deckert to make it 1-1. Is this why the Raiders brought Deckert back? The Raiders initially re-assigned Deckert to Salmon Arm of the BCHL in favor of two young 17 year old 'tenders in David Aime and Tyler Esau. But because of some poor play by the young tandem, the Raiders fetched Deckert back. Now get this, the WHL isn't even cooperating with the Raiders' plans. Minutes ago Aime was just named the WHL goaltender of the week. Someone in the WHL head office likes controversy. Talk about confusing in P.A.
Kyle Moir was solid making 35 saves for the win. The powerplay then took over with 11 man advantages. Dane Crowley, Dale Wiese (5 on 3) and David Stieler all scored on the PP. Kyle Bortis added an empty netter with 7 seconds left to seal it.
It was extra special for Moir, here's why. The Nashville Predators didn't sign Moir after they drafted him in 2004 making him a free-agent. The Preds then gave Deckert a free-agent try-out. Talk about a slap in the face. What was Nashville thinking?
The Broncos are in Moose Jaw Friday and Brandon Saturday as they continue their inter-divisional battles.
Wow. Is this ever catching on! The latest voting numbers were released today from the NHL. Rory Fitzpatrick continues to climb the Western Conference defensemen voting for the all-star game in Dallas.
Here's the latest numbers: He's jumped seven spots in a week to 5th.
Scott Niedermayer ; Anaheim 329,657
Nicklas Lidstrom ; Detroit 317,373
Chris Pronger Anaheim 219,372
Dion Phaneuf ; Calgary 208,945
*Rory Fitzpatrick ; Vancouver 144,819
Sergei Zubov ; Dallas 110,562
Mattias Ohlund ; Vancouver 110,146
Scott Hannan ; San Jose 108,757
Mathieu Schneider ; Detroit 88,449
Rob Blake ; Los Angeles 83,814
Robyn Regehr ; Calgary 77,205
John-Michael Liles ; Colorado 71,360
Lubomir Visnovsky ; Los Angeles 57,928
So, if you haven't voted or want to vote again feel free at NHL.com. For those you don't know what this is about check out the "Vote For Rory" post just below on Keen's Korner.
Broncos rolling . . . . hope to see all the Bronco fans making noise in Moose Jaw tomorrow night. If you're on the fan bus headed for MJ leave a comment.
A soon as I clear it I'm going to post a Karl Benke update. Something's up with the big d-man. More later,