Friday, April 20, 2007

Finally! / Player Memories

Finally....


A Dallas Stars overtime victory. Last night's OT win kept their playoff hopes alive against the Vancouver Canucks. OT has been the death of the Stars in recent history. Brendan Morrow changed that last night.



The last 5 of 6 Dallas Stars losses in the playoffs have come in OT. Marty Turco is now 2-8 lifetime in the extra period.


How 'bout the plight of the Canucks fans? They've only seen one home-team goal at GM place in the last 10 periods. Borrrrinnnng. So the "soccer series" continues tomorrow night back in big "D".


Enough talk about my Stars...I'm sure only Rod P. in Regina and Big Ern can relate to this team's recent overtime woes.



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Hey, if you get a sec, check out Regan Bartel's blog at http://www.reganbartel.blogspot.com/ . For us broadcast play-by-play nerds, there's a little write-up on each from Regan's perspective. It's something I would consider doing. I just don't think it would generate much interest outside of us broadcasters. I would no doubt have some good things to say about a few individuals who really helped me along the way including Regan in Kelowna, Les in Saskatoon, Brad in Calgary and even Joe in Vancouver who I did color commentary with for three seasons.


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I thought I would blog about some of my favorite player stories over the years....there's a lot to choose from but I'll pick from four today. Aaron Rome, Alex Leavitt, Bryn Brucks and Jeremy Williams.



Aaron Rome.... just exudes confidence. He's been the best defenseman to come through these parts in years...maybe a tie with Ian White. Romer was a man of his word. He would say something and then go out and do it. The day before the first meeting between the Broncos and the Everett Silvertips (SilverBroncos), Rome was at his best.



The 'Tips featured five Broncos from the season before including rough and tough d-man Mitch Love. The day before the game in an interview Rome made the bold yet refreshing statement "Mitch Love will not be a factor....at all, we're not concerned with Mitch Love" He wasn't a factor and Rome was the neutralizer. Not that Love would beat you on the scoreboard but he was a big part of the team the year before. Rome added a goal and an assist and was the #1 star.


Harley Love (Mitch's dad) has been a longtime scout for the Broncos and does a great job up in Northern BC.


Rome did the same thing in Prince George....he told me before the game that Jonathan Filewich would get nothing tonight. I believe Filewich had an 17 game point streak going in - the same as Bronco forwards Tyler Redenbach and Jeremy Williams. Rome shut him down all night and while both Redenbach and Williams kept their streaks alive in a 7-2 romp.



There are several off the ice stories on Romer...they're colorful and we'll leave it at that. Good luck to him and the Ducks as they continue their playoff run.




Alex Leavitt- No doubt one of the most intelligent players to pass through this organization. Too smart almost to a fault. Although he had a fall from grace with this organization I'll never forget a night off in Prince George four seasons ago.



I was killing some time at the casino attached to our hotel, who comes up and sits down? Alex Leavitt. Leavitt is a numbers guy... a Rain Man if you will. He sat down to play a quick sleeve of cards. He was slick... a card counter. He was computing things in his head with the five decks of cards in play. He sat down with $40 bucks....left with $500 - one sleeve, that's it. "Good night, everybody", is all he said as he got up and left the table to head for the cash out window. Wow.








Jeremy Williams - Another confident kid with one of the best shots I've seen. Williams had recently signed with Leafs as a 20 year-old and was back in town for Broncos training camp - even though he was pro-hockey bound.



He hitched a ride with me and Switzer to Saskatoon for the annual Ice-Breaker tournament (he wasn't playing, just taking in the action). We stopped for supper and drinks.... the bill was maybe $100 bucks. "I don't have any money on me!" is what Willy said. Ryan and I were laughing... how could that be. Here's a guy who was just floated about a $600,000 signing bonus from the Leafs and us poor radio guys had to pick up the tab? Haha, we gave it to him about that. I'll give him credit, he's been pretty wise with his $$$, no Cadallic Escalade a week later for this guy.


He's a good Saskatchewan kid. I hope he can soon crack the Leafs roster on a full-time basis.



Bryn Brucks - Wow. Hands down, the biggest character I've seen - and he was only here just over a month! Where to start with this guy?? He was as tough as nails.... not overly bright but as tough as they come.

He was injured upon arrival from P.G. and sat out the first few weeks. He was supposed to make his debut a couple weeks into being here but ended up twisting his ankle when he stepped on a soccer ball the guys were kicking around in the pre-game....out two more weeks.

Patience began to run thin with Brucks from the coaching staff at the time (Randy Smith/Bryan Glynn). Brucks wasn't contributing and was being a pain off the ice at the same time. His demise came in Vancouver when he picked a fight with a toilet in his hotel room for some ungodly reason. He apparently got pissed off and ripped the toilet from it's anchors on the floor leading to water everywhere. A real mess.

The Broncos took a bus to Kelowna the next day. Brucks took a Greyhound north back home to Williams Lake. BC. Good morning, good afternoon and good night.

But here's my favorite story from this guy. We were bussing home after a loss in Prince Albert - about a four hour ride.... in silence.

Brucksy said the first words on the ride home directed to Broncos Assistant Coach Bryan Glynn about 20 minutes outside of Swift. Here's how it went to me recollection... picture Brucks near the back of the bus and Glynn in the first seat at the front.

Brucks: "Pssst, Glynner...... Glynner, Glynner......."

Glynn: (just waking up from a sleep in an owly voice at 3 am)..... "What.... what do you want Brucksy?"

Brucks: "Oh nothing..... just checkin' for a**holes...."

Glynn: (shaking his head, while attempting going back to sleep....didn't say anything. He didn't have too)

It was Brucks attempt at humour....wrong place, wrong time. He was obviously trying to be funny but c'mon Brucksy what were you thinking?? The people on the bus from that day four years ago still talk about that story and shake their head. What a guy!

That's just a sample.... I'll tell more stories on another slow day....
Tee-time at 12:40pm this afternoon can't wait. Even if it's 10C today.
Jon

3 comments:

Kim Johnston said...

Hey man, great Brucks story. CLASSIC.

If you're driving to the 'Hat this aft., take care. Heavy snow advisory for MH, Suffield, Bow Island areas.

I'm on location 'til 4 today. Swing by if you're in the city.

-KJ

Jon Keen said...

KJ,

No trip to the 'Hat tonight. There's a big college fundraiser event. Maybe tomorrow. We'll see.

Thanks for the weather heads-up.

Jon

Anonymous said...

Are you trying to say my blog is boring??
Keener I give you all of this praise and you kick me in the teeth!!
I am going to cry Kenner. I can't take criticism you know. lol.
Snow in the 'Hat'. What's with that?