Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bus Blogging

The hockey club hit the road for S’toon at nearly 3pm today… about a half hour behind schedule due to a broken hose clamp, which was replaced just outside the rink….

Not a bad Saturday drive ahead… mostly cloudy with a nice temperature is delaying the inevitable winter.

Tonight’s game against the Blades should be a good one. Despite the Blades last place East division record; they are playing decent on home ice with a record of 5-2. It’s the dismal 1-10-1 road record that has hurt them to this point.

A pretty formidable top line faces the Broncos tonight in Gillies/Durand/Fiala. In fact the Blades have decent depth at forward and their lack of scoring is a bit puzzling.

Their depth and experience on the blueline and some shoddy goaltending at times has hurt them.

The Blades gave the Broncos big problems last season and I’m sure that has stuck with some of the players and coaching staff.

The Blades are going to take their time dropping the puck tonight. They’ve planned a lengthy pre-game ceremony, which will push a 7:05pm face-off to around 7:20 if it goes as planned.

With that in mind expect some longer coaches interviews and a couple players to fill up some time in the pre-game show. After talking to Dean 20 times already this season in the pre-game show it can be tough to squeeze 5 or 6 minutes out of it.


I was reading the blog of Everett Silvertips’ broadcaster Jon Rosen. He’s doing a daily commentary on his travels through their Central division road trip. Apparently some of the fans in Lethbridge were getting in his face below his broadcast location. Taunting, cheering and clapping in front of him when the Hurricanes would score. It was a good read and I can sure relate to some of that stuff.

It’s par for the course in the WHL. It’s no big deal. Most of us broadcasters could care less while others take it personally. I tend to lean on the personally side a little bit. Those who know me know me as a pretty competitive guy. When someone is giving it to me below the booth I tend to try and give it right back.

The worst case came in Vancouver a couple years ago. The broadcast booth and media area is situated between a couple of sections on the lower bowl near center-ice. This donkey fan was all over me in a Giants third period comeback. I shut my headset mic of a few times and had some words for him… he was drunk, I don’t think it mattered what I said. He was in his own world. He tried to hop over the concrete wall and get at me… I was hoping he was going to make it over…I was fired up after a Chris Savage refereeing sideshow that night and like a player was looking to take out some frustrations on someone. He would have worked nicely. Security pulled him down and dragged him to the bottom of the steps where he proceeded to do a little victory jig for me.

Prince George is a common place for fan on broadcaster dialogue. Luckily we’ve handled the Cougars quite well in their rink the past few years and the Cougar faithful haven’t had much to cheer about with the Broncos in town.

It was different last month in PG. Most of the fan taunting was directed towards the booth beside me in a Broncos 6-1 win. Cougar’s G.M. Dallas Thompson was sitting next door and hearing it from fans. Now there’s one guy I wouldn’t want to tick-off.

Moose Jaw’s Civic Center has its moments too. However most of the talk back and forth is good-natured. No harm intended.

My colorman Ryan Switzer has a little something going with the Medicine Hat fans. Especially the motley crew that sit behind the Tigers bench. They are harmless though, and we are at least 50 feet above them.

I’m sure the other broadcasters around the league could reference similar stories…


Good effort last night by both the Broncos and Tigers in a 3-0 Broncos victory. The game appeared to be on fast-forward most of the night. Two good skating clubs back and forth resembled two European club teams battling it out. The Broncos scored on their chances while the Tigers didn’t have much luck in front of Travis Yonkman. He made all 22 saves and was brilliant at times.

Derek Claffey was skating well and moving the puck last night – his best game of the year. Claffey deserved a star – if not #1. The defense-first defenseman shined in both ends of the rink.

Erik Felde was flying too. He seemed to be winning every foot race which created several scoring opportunities. He was clearly hooked on a breakaway in the third period but no call was made. I couldn’t believe it. When a player is hooked around the arm and pulled off the puck from behind that’s a penalty shot. Referee Pat Smith was well behind the play created off a neutral ice turnover and I don’t think got a good look at it. Overall Smith called a pretty good game I thought.

Zack Smith had nearly 50 fans in attendance from his hometown of Maple Creek. A fan bus made its way down to the I-plex to check out their native son. Smith didn’t disappoint with a goal and a helper to tie him with Eric Felde for a team leading 24 points.

I’ll try and post a recap of tonight’s action from Saskatoon.


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