It wasn't too much fun in the 'Dome last night.... but after a night to sit on the 7-2 loss you move on.
I maybe went off a bit too much on the officiating which I tend to do some nights. Bottom line is if you're chasing the other team around the rink and playing mostly in your zone it's tough not to take penalties and awfully tough to draw one. Bronco Assistant Coach Tim Kehler made that point in the post-game show.
Instead of recapping the negatives I thought I would throw a few positive thoughts from the outcome.
- Geordie Wudrick scored his 5th in goal in as many games. The 17 year-old is almost halfway to his total of 13 goals from last season and hasn't even stepped on home-ice yet.
- Mike Wilson has at least a point in all five games this season. His eight assists leads the team and puts him near the top of the top scoring defenseman in the WHL. His assist on Wudrick's goal kept the streak alive.
- Erik Felde scored his first goal as a Bronco showing nice finish from a pretty set-up from Zack Smith. Smith replaced Nelson as the top line center between Erik Felde and Keegan Dansereau after some undisciplined play from Levi.
-The Calgary Hitmen by all accounts played their best game of the season as their powerplay finally got going after an 0-for-20 slump heading into the game. With the personnel they have on the PP they can't help but be successful.
Make no mistake, the Hitmen are the class of the Eastern Conference. They still have three defenseman to insert into the line-up who are injured. Alex Plante, Keith Seabrook, and Dan Mercer. You put those three into the mix and they will be hard to beat.
Just after breakfast the CBC Hockey Night in Canada crew was getting organized for the Flames / Flyers game tonight. Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Scott Oake were mulling around in the hotel lobby, I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Jim Hughson and Chris Cuthbert share the throne for best hockey play-by-play broadcasters in North America. Jim once let me sit in for a period between the Flames and Canucks at G.M. Place from the very intimidating “Jim Robson Broadcast Gondola”. That was before he made the leap to CBC and was still with Sportsnet.
The thing that impresses me most about Hughson is his professionalism and delivery. He never breaks character and remains poised at all times. Even though he's done Canucks games for years you would never know he was the “home team broadcaster”. The series he called between Dallas /Vancouver during last year's playoffs was boring hockey but he made the most of it all while presenting it in an non-bias fashion.
The Broncos spent the night in Calgary before leaving this morning for Kamloops. A nice drive took the team through Banff / Lake Louise and into Golden, BC for lunch before continuing on to the 'Loops. A little snow was in the air outside of Calgary which turned to rain later in the day.
The Broncos will practice tomorrow morning at Interior Savings Center or Sportmart Place or whatever they're calling the rink in Kamloops these days. The name changes seemingly every other season. Kudos to the Broncos for locking up a 10 year deal with Innovation Credit Union for their naming rights.
Regardless of the rink's name, the Blazers are good. They feature some high end defenseman like Keaton Ellerby and Victor Bartley. They have some scoring too featuring Jusso “ The Goal” Puustinen and Brock Nixon. The Broncos will be in tough as they look to rebound from last night's 7-2 loss.
We're on the air tomorrow night at 7:30 with the Big Show. Prince George Cougars General Manager Dallas Thompson will be our guest as he gives us his thoughts on the Cougars hockey club. The Broncos head to PG following tomorrow night's game.
It seems some of the other broadcasters with blogs have picked up on a thought I had about “home team”goal judges earlier this week.
Rod Pedersen of the Regina Pats is on board. He's seen it far too often over the years. Les Lazaruk of the Blades described a strange scenario in Kootenay the other night where the goal judge flagged down the referee while play continued to plead his case for a Kootenay goal. After a chat it was deemed a goal. Even KootenayIce home broadcaster Jeff Hollick found it hard to believe. I was watching the WHL's webcast of the game when it happened and thought “here we go again”.
My thoughts on the subject can be read from a post earlier this week called “This n That” below.
Enjoy the weekend,