First up . . . Who's In Trouble in Sports Today??
The Regina Pats, Brandon Wheat Kings and Saskatoon Blades, ouch!
The three teams featured from the East division (everyone's favorite punching bag), have now lost a combined 18 games in a row! Saskatoon has lost nine in a row, Regina four straight and Brandon five. Granted three of the five Brandon losses have either been in a shootout or overtime, still when you lose in ot, it still feels like a loss no doubt about it.
The Broncos had a fun ride home from Brandon after that big 2-1 overtime win. Jeremy Schenderling made good after missing a wide open net in the dying seconds. He later tipped home a Dane Crowley centering feed with six seconds left to force overtime before Crowley leaned into one and blasted it through Tyler Plante for the game winner. Safe to say the boys were excited and for good reason.
The Broncos (17-16-1) host the red hot Lethbridge Hurricanes Wednesday night at the Civic Center. The 'Canes have won five straight including weekend wins over Medicine Hat and Regina. It's the third last game before the Christmas break.
There is no reason why the Broncos shouldn't compete for a division title in the 2nd half. Every team in the East division is flawed - some severely. Even though a division crown wasn't thought possible at the start of the season, (most pundits had the Broncos finishing 4th or 5th in the East), after the first half it appears like it's very possible. The Broncos have a chance to close off the first half with 4 to 6 more points in their final three games. It's a chance to really turn the heat up once the schedule resumes at the end of the month. The only thing I worry about is the inevitable injuries that might hurt this club down the stretch.
To close off, for fans around the WHL, don't believe everything you hear. I'm not saying I'm a hockey guru or anything but some of the WHL broadcasters around the WHL (mostly color commentators) struggle at the best of times with the details of the game and what is actually happening at ice level. I've often heard the term that WHL color commentators are no less than "common fans" who get into games for free and chow down on complimentary media room pizza.
I've had the chance recently to watch some WHL webcasts from around the league and actually see and hear some color commentators describe the action . . . let's just say they've been interesting interpretations.
In Lethbridge Friday night, a few fights broke out at the end of the game between the Hurricanes and the Medicine Hat Tigers. The 'Canes had just held on for a 4-3 win when Derek Dorsett and Michael Wuchterl scrapped and then Chris Stevens and Yashar Farmanara went at it. According to this unknown colorman and play-by-play host (Marlon Martens), the Tigers were "absolutely disgraceful", "it was not called for", "Will Desjardins (Tigers Coach) should be absolutely embarrassed about their team's actions". Talk about a one-sided view!
Here's what happened from watching the video replay. Wuchterl (Leth) went at Dorsett (MH) just as the horn sounded and actually started the scrap. When it became one-sided with Dorsett getting the upperhand, Farmanara (Leth), made a break for them and actually came close to intervening. This is a big no-no in hockey. Stevens (MH), then jumped in to make sure Farmanara would not be the third man in. So, as I see it (from a totally unbias view), Lethbridge was responsible for both fights at the end of the game.
That makes me even more upset for a WHL "common fan" colorman to get on the airwaves and call Medicine Hat's Will Desjardins "embarrassing". Who is this guy to call one of the best junior coaches in hockey "embarrassing"? Mr. Colorman either never saw Farmanara try to intervene or he did see it and is oblivious to the severity of Farmanara's actions.
The night that Jeff Glass blew is lid at the Civic Center attacking David Murray, my colleague from Kootenay Ice radio, didn't see any of it because "there was a giant beam in his way" making it impossible for him to see what happened. I find that view suspect at best.
Sadly, these types of unfounded comments are common places on WHL radio. Maybe myself and colorman Ryan Switzer are guilty of this from time to time but I'd like to think we have a better grasp of the situation than most. Even if I miss something behind the play, I trust Ryan's viewpoint of what exactly happened. Almost always, he's bang on.
There are some fantastic broadcasters in this league . . . Cam Moon in Red Deer, Brad Curle in Lethbridge, and Regan Bartel in Kelowna just to name three of many. I would trust these guys judgment, maybe even over mine!
So to wrap-up, don't necessarily "take our word for it" when it comes to home broadcasters around the league . . . err on the side of caution.
A game preview between the Broncos and Hurricanes is on the way later,