Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Enemy #1

He might as well just wear a bulls-eye.

Levi Nelson is no doubt at the top of several "hit lists" around the Western Hockey League. Let me see . . . Regina, Calgary, Prince Albert, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and unmistakeably the Brandon Wheat Kings as proven last night. The Wheat Kings were motivated as they skated to a 6-3 win thanks to four powerplay goals.

Agree or disagree on this but Levi's role of trying to get under the oppositions skin has hurt this Broncos hockey club lately. It is serving little purpose right now. I like Levi and think he's a great kid, I love his pre-game enthusiasm but I can't condone his chippy play. Especially when it hurts his game and the team's chances of winning. I much prefer the Levi Nelson who is out getting points and flying up the ice with the puck. Not the one looking over his shoulder for the next opposition player about to take a run at him.
As I mentioned on the broadcast the other night, Levi can either put up points or agitate, but can't do both at the same time. He has to find the right mix.
Here are a few things from last night's game that caught my attention.

1. Levi is hit hard by Darryl Boyle early in the 1st period. No penalty on the hit but Jeremy Schenderling is forced into retaliating for his linemate. The end result. A Wheaties PP (which they score on) and a total of 17 minutes of penalties for Schenderling. How can we have one of our 20 year-olds in the box for 17 minutes?

2. A scrum breaks out in the third period with the Wheat Kings again going after Nelson. Linemate Brady Leavold (our January Player of the Month) is the one to drop the gloves in his defense. Leavold's night is done. It's not like Levi steers clear of the penalty box in these situations either. As is the case, Nelson does enough talking while being saved by the linesman to pick up a 10-minute misconduct.

3. He's awaking a sleeping giant. Why are we trying to rattle powerhouse teams like Medicine Hat and Brandon up? Let sleeping dogs lie. We should try and limit the chances of these top notch PP's. They are seemingly dissecting the Broncos penalty-kill most nights. The Broncos haven't proven they can win the intense playoff-like games this season. The more the game turns into a war, the more I don't like their chances.

There are other aspects too. Nelson has already been suspended two games for a knee-on-knee hit on Brandon's Dustin Kohn. He can't help the team in the stands.
Levi has many positives but they have to start out-weighing the negatives. Teammates I'm sure are getting tired of going to war for him just so they can spend some quality time in the penalty box together. Referees in this league have caught on, they aren't naive They are aware of how these things start.
I would compare it to a Derek Dorsett situation. Referees are always watching for him. He can't get away with much anymore. The difference is the more Dorsett is involved in a game, the more he will hurt you. He can score, fight, hit - all while rattling the opposition.
I haven't talked to one fan that has said "I sure like the way Levi is playing right now". Ok, that's not true, Big Ern must be loving this.

Am I out to lunch here? Do you agree or disagree? This is open for debate.


Joel said...

I have a feeling that pretty soon, the like of Leavold, Schendo and RJ will not be coming to the aid of one Levi Nelson. Dont get me wrong we have some players who like and or love to fight but for their own reasons not for coming to the aid of Levi. If he would stay in the battle they would back him up. It just seems that whenever their is a battle that he is in the middle of he skates away chirping. I have no problem with him playing like he does but he needs to stay in the fight if wants his teamates to have his back. Sooner or later he is going to get his butt kicked and their will be no one to back him up. They will sit back and watch.

ernie said...

Yes, for the most part Keener, you're out to lunch. I don't think there's a player on the bench who wants to win more than he does, and has such a passion for the game. Everyone gets in a funk, and makes mistakes. If Levi was with a team like Brandon or Medicine Hat, he'd have 90 points. Here, he can't do that. He feels he has to do everything. Unless Dale Weise is out there with him, Levi really can't get set up to score properly. That's what I'm saying. Also, Leavold has a chemistry with him. But I think right now, he's trying to do too much. That's what is hurting him.
Of course, it's a matter of opinion. And you'll notice Keener, that I'm blunt on this issue....SORRY DOG....

Big Ern

Anonymous said...

I agree he isn't helping the team. He needs to play hockey, he's a great player.

loud and proud said...

Jon, this time I agree with you completely! Nelson has the potential to be a very valuable player for this team but lately he has been a dangerous liability. If he doesn't get his game figured out someone is going to get seriously hurt whether it be on another team or one of his team mates who feels the need to defend the selfish Mr. Nelson. Dean's comment of "You live by the sword, you die by the sword" only works if you're willing to follow through and Nelson is not. Bench him! He has been criticized off and on all season for playing for himself and not the team so lets see some follow through!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with keener on this one... Levi Needs to get back to the way he played last year. Like Jon said he can't be both an agitater and scorer He's no derek dorsett. One thing that rattles me is how he can talk the big game but sure doesn't seem to want to back it up. LEVI. Step up or sit down son. Time to pull your socks up and start playing the way we all know you can.

pat from regina said...

If Levi played with Brandon or... you have got to be kidding me Ernie! Do you think one of those teams wants someone who can't fight for himself and puts his team in a shorthanded position/ Maybe he is just feeling the pressure of Swift. Being way over their heads in second spot for so long, it has likely put undo pressure on him to step up. Now if the Bronks would have been down at the bottom, where they will eventually end up anyway, the pressure wouldn't be there. So hope you had a good time cheering in the fall cause you won't be in the spring. Keener i can't believe you chopped one of your Bras up like that. pederson wouldn't do that, at least not until we traded him away.(lol)

ernie said...

Hey Patty,
Have you heard the latest media hype? Apparently, the Pats have a farting problem on their team bus. That's not a very nice rumour to be tossed around about a team. I don't blame Pedersen if he's a bit off track.....riding in that gas for 10 hours??!! You've got to be kidding me! I say, make sure the farts aren't coming from Brent Parker. To me, he looks like a guy that wouldn't hesitate a second to let one go if it came on.
And yes, Swift Current is headed for playoffs. What gets me though, is the fact that the Pats or PAT-FARTERS as I call them now, are in a race for first place in the dub's weakest division. Before the season, with the way the Regina media was talking, you'd think they would take first in the conference! Not by a long shot. They sucked to start the season, and wait until they get to Medicine Hat on Saturday! LOOK OUT!!!

pat from regina said...

Like I said before, Cheer hard in the fall cause in the spring there will be silence. Really Ern, bringing up farting? As I would expect from The Brokes favorite son, very childish!

Mole said...

JK, you hit the nail on the head on this one. A team is made up of a number of components, and if everyone knows there role, and sticks to what they do best, then you have a successful team. However, Levi has Theo Fluery complex. Acts tough when the linesmen are between him, but can't backup a thing. As far as Ernie's comments about a 90 point season; Levi has the potential to put up good numbers in Swift Current, but it is hard to be an offensive presence if you are to preoccupied with other garbage while on the ice. In the media, there is so much talk about "complete players" who will score, hit, fight - Do it all. These are players like Brendan Shannahan or Bill Guerin. These players are 6'3", and 220lbs, and they pick their spots, not 180lbs. Let the boys who are there to mix it up mixit up.

ointhecreek said...

Sorry, Ernie, but I think you're in a very small minority on this one. Nelson could put up the numbers here to if he would concentrate on scoring and forget about the yapping.

ernie said...

Chuck it, all of you. I'll stand on this even if the entire rink is up against me. He tries hard every night. That's what matters. And in the Brandon game, he got hit from behind, and turned around and went right at the guy that hit linesmen near. It was late in the third. SO THERE!!! And he did get a point in that one, and a goal in P.A., remember? SO THERE!!!

Anonymous said...

No one questions whether he tries hard or not, but when his PIMs are that high without being a fighter, he is just hurting the team far too often because of his lack of discipline.