Wednesday, January 31, 2007

OUCH!

It's a re-occurring bad dream at the CC tonight . . . 6-1 final. The Broncos have given up 25 goals in their last four home games and the skid continues. At least there was a mini line brawl to take the attention off the result.

Full recap tomorrow morning, for now I'm off to bed. Long day tomorrow that finishes off in Brandon as the team heads up a night early.

When will this end?

Have a good night, check back in the morning.

Jon

Extra, Extra Read All About It

First of all, thanks for all your visits and comments, this blog continues to grow in popularity everyday thanks to you out there. Thanks for your daily visit(s).

This "blog phenomena" is rapidly becoming the fastest growing media outlet around the world .
. . a new one is born every second. Most members of the media - especially at the national level have integrated the blog into their daily routine - most are linked right off their company's website. This is only the tip of the iceberg folks. Like I was once told, "either you're in or you're in the way."

Well the Broncos wrap up a five-game homestand tonight as the Red Deer Rebels pay a visit to meet Swifty for the 4th and final time this season.

The Rebs are entrenched in their own playoff battle in the Central division. They are in a tight three-way race with Calgary and Lethbridge for the last two playoff spots. Can you imagine the Rebels missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons?

The Rebs have had a one-dimensional offensive attack against the Broncos - the top line of Martin Hanzal, Kirill Starkov and Brandon Sutter. In fact, the Coyotes 1st rounder from 2005 Hanzal was picked up 2 goals and 8 assists in three previous meetings.

The Broncos plan to counter that line with the defensive pairing of Myles Rumsey and RJ Larochelle. Most of those points have come on the PP so discipline has to be stressed again tonight! Daniel Rakos also had an interesting take on that line "play them physical because European forwards don't like physical play." Umm, Danny, you're from the Czech Republic! Rakos should know a bit about Hanzal, they were teammates at the World Junior Championships where they finished 5th.

Despite three straight losses on home ice, I got the sense the Broncos are still a confident crew. Yesterday after practice they were in good spirits and ready to go - you could have never figured they're on a skid. Kyle Moir made the comment that Sunday's game vs Moose Jaw is old news and the goaltending tandem is ready to bounce back.

For the first time in awhile the Broncos were bounced out of 2nd spot in the east division last night as Regina beat Lethbridge 5-4. The Pats jumped a point ahead. It could have been worse but Kamloops rallied to beat Prince Albert 6-4. A Raiders win would have pushed the Broncos to 4th.

I chatted with former Bronco goaltender Jeff Harvey last night. He's on the latest season of "Making the Cut" - the series where hockey players get a 2nd chance at making it big. In typical "Harv" fashion, he had some choice words for the "reality show". He's under contractual obligation to not give away the ending or some of the details. He was upset over how the show was "fake". The producers were like: say this, act like this, use this facial expression . . . most was staged. He also took some shots at GM "Iron" Mike Keenan. Harv says he was MIA for most of the tapings. Don't miss his interview Friday night before the Broncos play in Brandon. The pre-game show starts at 7pm You can also catch the show on Global TV Saturday nights. To the winner goes a $250,000 RBK hockey endorsement deal. Nice.

Go Broncos Go . . . face-off at 7:30pm, we'll have an action packed pre-game show on the Eagle 94.1 FM starting at 7pm.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fellow "Foley Crescent Crusher" Burning up the AHL


So, last night was the American Hockey League All-star game from Toronto. Plenty of WHL alumni representation, even former Bronco Jason Jaffray is on the squad. Other former WHL snipers Clark Macarthur, Dustin Boyd, Troy Brouwer and Thomas Fleischman fill a spot on the exclusive roster.


Hey, who's that in the starting line-up for Team Canada? It's Lanigan kid Sheldon Brookbank. "Bill" as we used to call him back in the day is having a breakout season with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL. He's captaining the team and leads all AHL defenseman in scoring. He's not afraid to mix it up, with the last name Brookbank you have no choice.


Sheldon, plus older brothers Wade and Leigh grew up right across the street from me on "Foley Crescent". We had a make-shift road hockey league for a couple of years where we would take on different streets and parts of town in some hard-fought battles in front of our houses. We were young, real young, so excuse the immaturity of all of this. We were the "Crushers" we had the farm kids that would come to town called the "Farm Team", we had the Vetshome Drive Veterans (always in the league cellar, right Kevin) and the Calvert Crescent club too. I'm sure a lot of readers can relate to something similar to this growing up, it's just part of being Canadian.


Usually only minutes into the Saturday afternoon tilt, gloves and equipment would be strewn all over the road as the "play" fights broke out. Line brawls, not nifty passing plays was the norm. We used to call the Brookbank's mom Paula "the Commish". She would sit in the living room bay window observing the game until it got out of hand. She would come out of the house and tell us to clean it up a bit and play hockey! We listened for awhile, but all it would take would be a scrum in front of the net after the tennis ball was covered up by one of the goalies. Then "the Commish" would call the game and we'd all go home. It's funny because most times their dad Murray would pull up to the drive-way and see the carnage on the street and not bat an eye on it . . . for the most part it was harmless.


Sheldon had it rough actually. Usually he was traded to another team in town just so big brother Wade could goad him into a fight or run him through the next door neighbour's hedge (Horbul's house).


Wade was a year older than me, and three years older than Sheldon. Wade, who never had much of a scoring touch always excelled with the gloves off. He would later go on to be the enforcer for the Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks, and is now presently in the Pittsburgh Penguins system.


So now it's young "Bill" emerging in his 2nd year in the AHL and all those battles on Foley Crescent has definitely made the kid tougher. He racked up 232 PIMS last season in Milwaukee and has now added the offensive touch to his game to the point where's he an all-star in the American League.


He often played up with our midget team as a first year bantam. He was always hands down our best defenseman. As a goaltender I always calmed down a bit with Sheldon on the ice.


So maybe one day a retro-road hockey game on Foley is in order. The Vetshome Vets versus the Crushers in a best-of-seven clash. Who are we kidding, best-of-seven? We all know The Commish would put an end to the festivities sometime before the series shifted to Vetshome Drive for games three and four.


Good work Sheldon.



Monday, January 29, 2007

Season Slipping Away

I hate to use that term, but unless the Broncos turn things around in February, it won't be a very happy late March.

Last night, as Broncos Assistant Coach Dave Hunchak said it in the post-game show "just when you think you have all the holes in the boat plugged, a new one spouts up some where."

Last night it was goaltending. Nine goals against on 34 shots chased both starter Travis Yonkman and then his replacement Kyle Moir in the 2nd period back in favor of Yonkman. Dean Chynoweth has made a "Mike Keenan like" eight goaltender changes in the last six games! Maybe they will start making goaltending changes on the fly, a brand new six skaters on the ice at a time.

Steven Gillen will never forget last night. His 4g,3a is no doubt a career WHL night for him now in his 20 year-old season. Former Legionnaires defenseman Cody Thoring chipped in with five assists as the two teams traded goals throughout.

Tied 3-3 after one, then 6-6 after two, it was the Warriors who kept the pace up in third period scoring three more times for the 9-6 win. The loss is also the Broncos third in a row on home ice.

The loss moves the Broncos to 9 points from being completely removed from the post-season even though they still sit in 2nd place in the east division.

How about Nathan Wieler and Sheldon Dean last night in the stripes? Halfway through the game the powerplays favored the Broncos 9-1. Rule of thumb says eventually the powerplays will get evened up, but how do you even up the PP's at that point? Easy. The rest of the game the powerplay favored Moose Jaw 9-1! When the game ended the chances were even 10-10, unbelievable. Has anyone else noticed how drastic the games are when there's two referees instead of one? I prefer just the one ref, the game seems to flow better.

The Broncos host the Red Deer Rebels Wednesday in their 4th and final meeting of the season. Red Deer has won all three. In the three previous games Martin Hanzal, Kirill Starkov have had a points smorgasborg. If they are stopped so are the Rebels.

Have a good week,
Jon

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Are You Gillen Me??

Yikes.

Seven points for Warriors captain Steven Gillen, this after just losing his "C" for off ice issues. 9-6 Warriors hand Broncos 3rd straight loss.

No recap tonight, I better sleep on this one. I'll just say, I think this team is in trouble. We'll see how I feel in the morning and if my tune has changed.

Recap tomorrow, good night all,
Jon

Enough is Enough


Tonight's game against the Warriors could be a crossroads for this Broncos hockey club.

They need to end this little funk tonight against a team that has had their number recently. The Broncos have also lost four straight against divisional opponents which has allowed the pack to catch them.

With Prince Albert losing in Vancouver and Regina getting only a point in a shootout loss last night in Moose Jaw, the Broncos are still clinging to 2nd place. The Warrriors remain in last in the east but are playing better hockey lately.

Their new look lineup featuring Jason Reese, Brady Calla, Cody Thoring and Michael Hengen has brought them some results. The Warrriors big line of Reese, Calla and Riley Holzapel will need to be looked after.

Yesterday was a nice day, my first day off in '07. It's been a busy hockey schedule with the Broncos, plus throw in a couple "AAA" Legionnaires broadcasts in the new year. Broncos Athletic Therapist Paul Ayotte and I went down to the Riverdene outdoor rink and shot some pucks around for a bit. Then there was last night's successful Field of Dreams Sportsmans Dinner hosted by the Swift Current Indians. Riders d-lineman Scott Schultz is sure a character. You ask him anything about his teammates, or the football season and he'll give you an honest answer. It's easy to see why he's on the sportsmans dinner circuit picking up some extra $$ along the way.

Broncos need this one tonight . . . a game recap will follow.

Enjoy your Sunday,
Jon

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Just to clarify

First of all thanks Trina, Joel and Kim for your comments, I appreciate them very much. I should clarify though that the harsh comments came from somone who may or may not be with the paper. It was an anonymous post that sounded like an inside job from an employee but I don't know that for sure so I just call him the "Booster Guy". Who knows really.

The comments I made in no way reflect a certain employee or employees of the paper ,it was simply my thoughts on their philosophy of covering and reporting local sports. I have no beef with an individual although it may have come across that way. I would hope the e-mail directed to me was not by one of their employees.

I've heard the folks at the paper are quite rattled over this.

This blog in no way reflects the views of Goldenwest Radio or the Swift Current Broncos in which I am not employed by. It's just my personal thoughts and daily takes on the local sports scene and our Major Junior Hockey team.

Now, I'm off to the Field Dreams Dinner, say hi if you see me there,
Jon

Friday, January 26, 2007

Blanked!

Shutout on home ice. (Thanks Dustin for catching the mistake,it was the 2nd time this season)

The Spokane Chiefs came in and played a solid road game limiting the Broncos chances while making the most out of theirs in a 3-0 win.

The Chiefs did a good job of limiting the time and space of the Bronco puck carrier and made it difficult all night long. When the Broncos did create opportunities, goaltender Kevin Armstong was there to make a big save - 19 in all for the shutout.

Spokane's Michael Grabner is the real deal. I haven't seen him since he was drafted in the 1st round by Vancouver this summer. I remember being at the draft and hearing Dave Nonis step up the podium and say "the Vancouver Canucks select, from the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League, Michael Grabner." There was a hush that came across the crowd and the flock of Vancouver media. No one expected him to go that high, but that's who the Canucks wanted and it looks like it will be a good choice. He had a goal and one assist and was the best forward on the ice.

To make matters worse for the Broncos, both Regina and Prince Albert won to tighten up the east division race even more. Prince Albert can be in sole possession of 2nd by the end of the night provided they can beat Vancouver. Regina is now only two points back after a 6-4 win over Moose Jaw.

The Broncos have a rare Saturday night off after a full practice today. Moose Jaw is here tomorrow night to wrap up the weekend.

Good job by the organizers of the "Field of Dreams" Sportsmans Dinner. Tonight is a great night to host this event featuring Nancy Harvey and Scott Schultz. The event is sold out and will be a big fundraiser for the Mitchell Field lights project. Parceled right between a pair of Bronco home games, this is a super sports weekend in the city. The event will be emceed by Ryan Switzer which might be worth the price of the ticket there! I'll see you all there in a few hours.

To close, here's a comment left from the p.o.'ed Booster paper guy yesterday. I edited it a bit when he/she starts to tie into the players but it went like this . . .

"you are the play by play announcer of a whl hockey team...look in the dictionary under dream job and i can guarantee you your job will not come up. oh boy another 10 bus ride to brandon with a bunch of immature teenagers...sign me up!"

Hey, I love this job! Actually since I was in grade 9 this was my "dream job". At a young age, I used to volunteer at the local rink doing PA announcing for the minor and senior hockey games. I was never good enough to play in the WHL so I thought why not try another route? I went to radio college with the sole reason of doing sports pbp. They say it takes forever to break into the WHL as a young announcer, but four years into radio there I was.

And the bus rides all over western Canada? Love them. Imagine going on a road trip with 25 friends every weekend. You get a chance to see 20 other great cities from Seattle to Vancouver to Prince George and yes even Brandon! The people you meet the friends you get to visit, it's better than I imagined actually. So yes as you put it "sign me up!"

This website had a record number of hits the last two days so it goes to show you everyone loves a little controversy! Thanks for making this blog part of your daily routine.

Have a great weekend,
Jon

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Broncos/Chiefs Preview & Random Thoughts


Ok, we all know this isn't the Spokane Chiefs logo, but by all means it should be. Let's pay tribute to a classic hockey flick from 1977 that gave us so many great lines that will be quoted from hockey generation to generation. In fact, let's hear your best "Slapshot" quote, post it in the comments, but try to keep it clean. Here's mine:
[Referee skates over to Steve Carlson during the playing of the National Anthem] Referee: Got my eye on the three of you. You pull one thing, you're out of this game. I run a clean game here. I have any trouble here, I'll suspend ya.
Steve Hanson: I'm listening to the ******* song!

It's the Broncos and Chiefs later tonight at the Civic Center as the Broncos try to rebound following their first loss at the CC since December 15th. The Broncos were routed 7-2 Wednesday night by Regina as they catch the Spokane playing their last game through the east division. The Chiefs are 1-4 on their swing so far with losses in Brandon, Regina, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw with their lone win coming Wednesday night in Saskatoon.

This is the first and only meeting between the two clubs this season. So far the Broncos are 2-1 against teams from the U.S. division with wins over Portland and Seattle and a loss to Everett.

Make no mistake about it the Chiefs are a very dangerous team that is simply having problems on the swing. They have talent to watch out for tonight. Here's a quick sample.

Derek Ryan: 20 year-old forward with 41 points - tied for the team lead
Ondrej Roman (Czech) - 17 year-old future star also with 41 points
Michael Grabner (Austria) - Vancouver Canucks 1st round pick this past summer, 22 goals
Drayson Bowman - fresh off the top prospects game. Having a good season with 34 points
Justin Falk - draft eligible 6'5 225 pound defenseman the Chiefs are waiting on to get mean
J.P. Szaszkiewicz - you try saying that. How many z's are you allowed in a name anyways?

The Broncos welcome Levi Nelson back into the line-up tonight after he missed two games due to a suspension. Looks like Matt Tassone will be a ? after blocking a shot Wednesday. All other players with the exception of Kyle Bortis should be good to go.

It's game three of a five game homestand the Broncos have to make hay on. Two wins this weekend with Moose Jaw coming in Sunday night has to be the focus, anything less would be deemed a disappointment I think. The Broncos spent a good chunk of their time in video sessions today. Let's hope they sorted some defensive zone issues out.

I went for supper tonight with my friend Terry Pavely to Houston Pizza. The University of Regina Cougars mens hockey team stopped in. Local players Blair Stengler, Adam Ward, Matt Schultz and Clay Thoring were among the players who had a "homecooked meal" of sorts.

It's newspaper day across the southwest with the Booster and Prairie Post out so that means I get to weigh in with my two cents. The Booster just doesn't get it! Headline: "Smith scores shootout winner to overcome Hitmen". Are you kidding? Based on Wednesday night's performance the game vs the Hitmen is a distant memory. Thanks for the gripping recap. By the way, Elvis died too in case you're all wondering. They did have a good story on Jeff Harvey taking a shot at the Global TV series "Making the Cut". We'll save that, the rest is bottom of the birdcage material. The Prairie Post at least gets it . . . they had a preview of tonight's Broncos/Chiefs game. Now there's some timely news. Thank you. Prairie Post 1 Booster 0.

I'll stick to the blog.

Anyone want to take a shot at what to expect tonight? Let's hear it.

See you at the rink,
Jon


Broncos Chiefs Preview Coming Shortly

Have a quick check back later for a preview of Friday night's match-up between the Broncos and Spokane. Till then check out Switzer's blog at ryanswitzer.blogspot.com, he was an interesting piece on one of the more colorful radio personalities in Saskatchewan.

Broncos spent a long time in the video room today . . . hopefully they sort out some things before they take to the ice against Spoke.

Jon

Pats Supporting Cast Comes Through


What does Pats tough-guy Myles Stoesz and Euro forward Kaspars Saulietis have in common? Most nights, nothing. But last night, they both scored their first goals as members of the Regina Pats, in fact they each scored twice!

It was not a good night for the Broncos on home ice who were treating the game as a "playoff type game". That message came through in a couple of the pre-game interviews.

OK, mistake #1, we all know how Bronco playoff games have gone over the course of the last three years, so I guess in some way they got what they asked for. Outscored, goalie pulled, a lopsided result . . . kind of seemed like a playoff game afterall.

Kyle Moir was back in the Broncos goal, just a couple nights after being pulled in favor of Travis Yonkman in the Calgary game. Moir only made it into the 2nd when he was yanked for Yonkman. It marks the 4th straight game in which the Broncos have made a goaltending change in mid-stride.

The 1st period is hurting this team. They have now been outscored 52-27 in first periods this season. That is a big hole to climb out of. Their starts need to be better.

"It's embarrassing, we got outworked tonight, just look at the score 7-2. That doesn't fly with this team and we have to bounce back." spouted Jeremy Schenderling in our post-game show. The message was the same in other interviews with Broncos captain Myles Rumsey and Assistant Coach Dave Hunchak.

"You need to have a spine to play this game," was quipped by Hunchak in the coaches show. I have to ask the question where was the toughness with our team last night?

It seems players are content being a .500 hockey club this season who are right back to an even 24-24-1-1 through 50 games.

Broncos defenseman Eric Doyle left the game early after blocking a shot off his foot. His status for tomorrow night is unknown. The team will have Levi Nelson back in the line-up who sat out the last two because of suspension. The player he collided with knee-on-knee Dustin Kohn was back in the Brandon line-up Tuesday night in Medicine Hat - never missing a game.

Broncos and "who owns the" Chiefs tomorrow night at the Civic Center.

Back to my real job, it's time for the 7am sportscast, more later today.

Jon

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Rough Night, and it Ain't Over Yet

I post this in the 2nd intermission as the Pats have a shocking 6-1 lead here at the Civic Center. The dismal post-game report will follow shortly . . .

Back to the third in a couple minutes, can I open my eyes yet?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This Again??


So I see there's another raging debate on one of the Broncos message boards about revenue and profit/loss margins with this hockey club. Great. Some of the posters are starting to agitate me with their thoughts and takes on this subject which they know nothing or little about.

Hey I'm no expert on this either but inside team sources tell me that barring the Broncos missing the playoffs, the hockey club should post a small profit this season (knock on wood). Some people seem to think this team is going to lose 200k this year? Where are they getting this from. And all this talk about the SJHL Broncos returning in 5 to 10 years . . . enough. The Broncos, the City, the fans and business owners are in this for the long term. Civic Center renovations at the price tag of $13 million is a big step towards securing this team well into 2015 and beyond.

I understand the financial obstacles this team has to overcome but I'm a big believer in the people who support this team. With all this negative talk creeping in it's almost like some want to see this franchise leave again.

Also, all these "ways to get more fans to the rink ideas". It's a nice thought but we all know what the biggest factor is in that, should I spell it? W-I-N-N-I-N-G. It's the best marketing tool a team can have. Just think what a nice playoff run would do for this city and the fans. The entire community rallying together as one - us against them. Business signs with "Go Broncos Go". Bronco fever taking over this city and the south-west. Just think what that would do for this team. It would be a revitalization of Bronco nation.

I was a part of the 2000-2001 playoff run (color commentator) that saw the Broncos battle Red Deer in the Eastern Conference Final. That was something special. We need another post-season to remember in the next two years. No doubt it will do a wonder for the team's bottom line.

Longtime Bronco fan/stickboy/colorman Ryan Switzer and I had a chat about this today. Nowadays there are just too many entertainment options out there. Staying home is a treat. With satellite TV, DVD players, home theater systems, video games, the internet, it's just too easy to spend the night at home. Back when the Broncos average crowd was 2500, there wasn't too many entertainment options out there. Going to the Broncos game was the event of the week. Now it gets lost in the shuffle with driving around the kids to different events and activities, and just trying to keep up with the quicker pace of life. Ryan pointed out that back in the 80's and 90's other groups in town and senior hockey leagues in the southwest would schedule their events around the Broncos home-ice sked. Times have changed. We just have to make the most of them. It really is up to us.

Anyways, just my thoughts, please feel free to agree or disagree in the comments portions.

On an unrelated note I just heard Peter Loubardias from Sportsnet refer to Colton Yellowhorn as the "Brocket Rocket". Choose to believe this or not, but Ryan S. actually came up with that one night when Yellowhorn was visiting the Civic Center as a 17 year-old with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. It spread like wildfire around the league, now Loubardias is telling it to the nation on Sportsnet tonight. That's great.

Broncos and Pats tomorrow night 7:30pm face-off. We're on the air at 7pm.

See you at the CC,
Jon

Nelson Handed Two Game Suspension


I'm sure all Bronco fans have heard about this by now.

I was in Brandon, I saw the hit and it didn't look good. Was Nelson's knee intentional? No. Was it reactionary? Yes. I also saw it several times on the way home in slow-motion, reversed and replayed. I can handle the two game suspension.

However, why is it the only two game suspension handed out by the league this season on similar plays? There has been nine other suspensions dished out for kneeing majors - all just a single game. Is it the Dustin Kohn factor, one of the new WHL goldenboys? If the hit was on Brandon 4th liner Nathan Green would the suspension be the same?

The WHL's injury report is out today. I'm guessing Kohn, who hurt the same knee in Swift Current December 2nd, will be week-to-week with a knee injury but I'm not exactly sure on his status.

One thing I've noticed is that every time a suspension is put on a Bronco, it's always twice the amount of time than anyone else in the league. Who remembers Matty Trojovsky against the Tigers or Alex Lentowich in the same series. What about Brandon Tidball in last year's post-season?

How about Colin Stone's WHL career being ended from a blatant charge from Ryan Hollweg? Nothing. Not one game for Hollweg. It just seems there's a different standard when it involves the Broncos.

I don't understand? Can someone please help?

Monday, January 22, 2007

"Send the fans home happy Smitty . . ."


Was the last thing I said before Zack Smith scored in round five of the shootout to give the Broncos another improbable comeback win at the Civic Center and the 2nd straight shootout win on home ice.

I should maybe take a page from Big Ern who never loses faith regardless of the situation (see comments from last post). He's an optimist, I'm a realist I guess. Ern's "always confident of victory" attitude seems to be the way to go lately - especially on home ice. Ern doesn't see this team on the road, and their 9-16-0-1 record away from the Civic Center has jaded me just a little.

Great comeback win last night with the Broncos' backs to the wall. Without leading scorer Levi Nelson (suspension), Jeremy Schenderling (back), and Kyle Bortis (ankle), the odds didn't look good against a Calgary team determined to make good after last Sunday's blow-up at the Saddledome. The Hitmen might be the most fragile squad in the WHL who dropped their 7th game in their last 8 - most of those losses coming after blowing a third period lead.

Did anyone else see that pigeon watching the proceedings high above the ice surface? Haha, not last night but it was a very pigeon-esqe comeback with the Broncos trailing 3-cobb in the 2nd period.

First it was Danny Rakos who snapped a long scoring drought with a PP marker midway through the 2nd period. For Danny it was a big goal. How about his effort last night. His best game in weeks IMO.

Just over three minutes into the 3rd period, defenseman Eric Doyle would snap home a shot coming off the rush. His "jump into the glass" celebration shows that he picked up a few things in Everett along the way. That move is commonplace in Tipsville. Good to see Eric get excited for the first time as a Bronco in what was his home-ice debut.

With just over five minutes to go the Broncos would tie it thanks to Derek Claffey's first ever goal in the WHL. His slapper deflected off a Hitmen in front to knot the game 3-3. It was good to see the Broncos go after the puck for Claffey for a nice WHL souvenir. "I just threw it on net, t bounced off of . . . Someones skate or something, slid in and I don't know. Good feeling, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, I had to re-focus." Claffey commenting on our PDQ Autobody post-game show.

The Broncos would seemingly hold on for overtime to grab the one point and then roll the dice for the extra one.

Some great saves from Travis Yonkman in OT, especially a nice right-pad save on a one-timer from Ryan White. Travis Yonkman deserves full credit in the Broncos goal after replacing starter Kyle Moir in the 2nd period after the Hitmen made in 3-0. He would finish with 21 saves for the win.

Off to the shootout where Freddie Petterson got it started with a pretty back-hand deke to open the scoring. After misses on both sides, the Broncos looked for rookie Geordie Wudrick to have the "clutch-touch" to extend the shootout to a 4th round. Wudrick in the post-game recalled the play. "Actually I did the same move on (Calgary goaltender) Jones a couple years ago on a breakaway. Dean called my name, my heart was just racing, it was my first shootout chance all year . . . I just kinda just faked the backhand and went to the forehand and squeaked it in."

Turns out, Wudrick and Martin Jones have known and played with eachother for years out in BC.

Round five, and it's Zack Smith again. Game over, good night, drive home safely - his 2nd straight shootout winner on home ice. The Broncos have now won 8 of their last 9 on home ice.

A few other thoughts on the game. First of all, thanks to referee Chris Savage for not being the star of the show. His ability to ruin a game is legendary. Last night he stayed out of it.

Also, if you want a different kind of game-night recap visit my buddy Switzer's blog www.ryanswitzer.blogspot.com

After the game, apparently the Hitmen's Ryan White was a bit agitated. The WHL's 2nd leading scorer with 60 pts got into it with the Broncos Brady Leavold in the lobby area. There's no need for this after the game. White was clearly upset he was held off the scoresheet. One thing I've noticed about White (and heard first hand) is that he's one of those "play for the name on the back, not the name on the front" type players.

I don't know exactly what was said but there were a few verbal barrages and an invitation to drop the gloves in the final meeting of the season set for the Civic Center February 11th.

What a game, what an ending.

Jon

Sunday, January 21, 2007

This is getting bad . . .


Not much to get all rah-rah about this afternoon.

The Broncos host Calgary in three and a half hours and I wonder how many players the team will ice tonight. Safe to say this seven games in ten night stretch in KILLING the Broncos.

Don't expect Levi Nelson to play tonight. The league is now in the process of reviewing last night's knee-on-knee hit delivered on Dustin Kohn. I'm not an expert and I'm not Richard Doerksen (WHL suspension man) but Levi will be suspended anywhere from one to three games. My guess would be two but we'll find out in an hour or two.

Jeremy Schenderling probably won't play tonight because of a bad back. Kyle Bortis remains out with that ankle injury, Spencer McAvoy is a ?, and so is R.J. Larochelle after blocking a shot in the wrong spot Friday night in Moose Jaw.

Last night in Brandon, not only did the Broncos get outplayed for the majority of the game, they didn't get any breaks, didn't get much help from referee Derek Herman and fatigue caught up to this team in the 3rd period.

They might have outchanced Brandon in the 1st period only to be down 2-0. Levi Nelson scored on a great passing play in front . . . but into his own goal. I've seen the replay 10 times now and I still can't figure that one out.

The Danny Rakos parade to the penalty box continued with two more minors away from the play. He's not getting it. Sit him down? Can't. Why? They can't go into a game with 16 skaters.

Tyler Plante did play well in the Brandon goal and didn't give up the token soft one we've seen from him over the years.

Have you checked the standings lately? The Broncos still sit in 2nd spot in the division but are now only 8 points up on a playoff spot after Saskatoon won last night over Calgary 3-2. In fact 2nd to 6th is only an 11 point gap. Can you hear the footsteps yet?

Thank god for home ice tonight. The Broncos have won seven of eight on home ice but will need to come up big to beat a po'ed Calgary team after what happened last Sunday in the Saddledome.

See you tonight, 7pm face-off. We're on the air at 6:30pm on the Eagle 94.1 FM.

Jon

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Warrior Woes

Brandon- Another tough night at the Crushed Can.

For some reason this Broncos team struggles in Moose Jaw. Last night the Warriors built a 4-0 lead after two periods and then went on to the 5-2 decision - the third time the Broncos have lost in Moose Jaw this season. It's also another game where a team lower in the East division standings picks up the win. That has to stop.

It seems this club needs a spark to get going. After Jeremy Schenderling's goal 1:12 into the 3rd period, the Broncos were all over the Warriors. They eventually beat Kurt Jory a 2nd time in the 3rd to cut the gap to 4-2 before an empty-netter with five seconds left led to the 5-2 final.

The Warriors are a much better team than their East division basement record of 16-26-3 would indicate. The Broncos will host them next Sunday at the Civic Center and nothing short of a Broncos win will be acceptable from the coaching staff.

Brady Leavold had a strong game after he turned it up in the 3rd period picking up two assists and setting up numerous other scoring chances. The Broncos big scorers just didn't seem to have the hands last night. Levi Nelson had a couple of great scoring chances but couldn't get a clean shot away. Dale Wiese and Mike Wilson had 1st period breakaways which were stymied by Jory in the Moose Jaw goal. Daniel Rakos fumbled the water bottle in the middle of the bench - a place where he was relugated to for the 2nd straight game for uninspired play.

The Broncos did show some character. Leavold went after Ryan Stanton after he took a run at Nelson. Leavold may have sent a message, but he spent the next 17 minutes in the box after picking up the instigator and misconduct. Myles Rumsey scrapped with Martin Grundling and was more than able to handle himself with the clear win. In the fight, Rumsey took an errant thumb to the eye. He did return for the third period.

Travis Yonkman's heroics also ended in goal. After giving up the 4th marker, he was replaced by Kyle Moir in the 2nd period. Not to say Yonks was bad, he just wasn't spectacular like he was in the Calgary and Seattle game.

Tonight, a tough test against a Brandon team that has something to prove against the Broncos. The Broncos have won every meeting this season between the teams including a 2-1 win in overtime back in December in the last meeting. That was the game where Jeremy Schenderling tied the game with 6 seconds left and Dane Crowley won it in overtime. The Wheat Kings now hold an 8 point division lead over the Broncos after a 1-0 win over Spokane.

The Wheaties made one move at the deadline as they dealt their overage captain Teegan Moore to Portland to get even more scoring in Rob Klinkhammer. The Wheaties have the biggest offensive weapons in the division but still lack depth on defense. That's where the Broncos have went after them in the past.

More injuries for the Broncos just as it looked they were turning the corner on the injury front. RJ Larochelle and Spencer McAvoy blocked shots last night in the wrong places and returned back to Swift last night following the game in Moose Jaw.

The Broncos always seem to respond well after a bad game, we'll see who steps up tonight.

We'll be on the air at 7pm with the pre-game show, play-by-play at 7:30.

See you all tomorrow night when the Broncos host Calgary to wrap up the weekend.

Jon

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Prairie Post Blog "Plug" and Latest Prospect News

First up, thanks to Prairie Post Editor Ryan Dahlman for writing his editorial this week about the different journalism mediums. He included some nice words about Keen's Korner in his article, and I quote "Hey Jon Keen, back at ya. A couple of people sent me his recent blog and I found it quite interesting and I agreed with him on many of his astute observations. The popular Swift Current radio personality was giving his impressions on how the Western Hockey League's trade deadline day progressed in regards to media coverage and gave a view of what the future may be for media."

He was referring to the "Trade Deadline Recap" post from a week ago. Thanks for the plug Ryan. If you want some help in setting up your own blog I'd be more than willing to help. Afterall, this "blog" medium is much more closely related to print media than broadcasting. Hence the bad grammar and spelling mistakes on my part.

Anyways, the Broncos have seen a good share of their prospects the last while with players Justin Dowling, Cody Eakin, Mike Brown, Kris Foucault, James Martin and David Greyeyes all taking in their first Broncos game action. Just think of the log jam at next year's training camp. Looking at the depth chart I counted about 11 defenseman and 16 forwards I would be comfortable with on next year's team. The Broncos have one of those "good problems" you hear about.

Time to look at some the prospect stock on the rise and fall.

RISING:
1. Justin Dowling - F (16) - His two home game performances were more than the Broncos were hoping for. His solid contributions have raised his status on the Broncos depth chart.
2. Mike Brown - F (16) - Calgary forward made his Broncos debut in Calgary against the Hitmen. His strong performance will bode well for next year's camp.
3. Cody Eakin - F (15) - Played well in his Broncos debut. The highly touted prospect competed and played hard. Remember, he's only 15. It was good to see him on home ice. He's a smart kid who is a natural point producer.

FALLING:
1. Ian Curtis - Goaltender (16) - Once called "the best young Bronco prospect I've seen" by yours truly. The fact he's just been average in the BCHL concerns me. Word is he has a long way to go and is by no means a lock to make this team next year once Moir departs. Let's hope he gets it together.
2. Kris Foucault - F (16) - Will need to learn to compete harder every shift. Has to elevate his work ethic to the WHL level.

These players will be just fine and are still very much a part of the Broncos future. There were just my thoughts on their progress.

Broncos in Moose Jaw Friday night to battle the new look Warriors. Another killer weekend for the hockey club as they will depart after the game for Brandon to play the Wheat Kings. From there, they return home to host a ticked-off Calgary team Sunday night. Word is the pigeon problem in the Dome has been taken care off.

We're on the air Friday night at 6:30pm with the pre-game show, play-by-play at 7.

Have a great weekend,
Jon

Doyle's Stock on the Rise

Anyone see new Broncos defenseman Eric Doyle in the prospects game last night in Quebec City?

I thought he looked pretty solid out there. Relaxed, confident and not trying to be too flashy. He even picked up a pair of assists in the 5-3 win. A solid outing for Doyle who entered the game ranked 19th amongst North American skaters by Central Scouting.

Remember Akim Aliu a couple seasons ago? Well now he's one of the top rated prospects in the OHL. It wasn't long ago that Steve Downie was chasing him all over the ice (and off) in that Windsor Spitfires hazing incident. That's right, the player Downie was trying to get to fall in line was Aliu.

The Broncos take on the Moose Jaw Warriors tomorrow night in the Crushed Can. It'll be the first time the Broncos have played the Warriors since they acquired Brady Calla and Cody Thoring from the Everett Silvertips, plus Michael Hengen from Calgary.

The Broncos should have most of their injured bodies back in the line-up. They did pretty good the last two games despite missing several players.

Join us for the Broncos pre-game show tomorrow night at 6:30pm, play-by-play at 7pm.

Till then,
Jon

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fans Treated To Another Home Ice Beauty


Wow. Another great game for Swift Current fans as the Seattle Thunderbirds and Broncos made their only meeting of the season count last night.

Travis Yonkman put up his 2nd straight spectacular performance in goal as he made 36 saves plus five more stops in the shootout as the Broncos skated to a 2-1 win over the T-Birds.

For Yonkman, his performance comes 48 hours after his best game ever as a Bronco - a 49 save effort in Calgary to defeat the Hitmen 3-2 in overtime.

He is rolling, let's see if the Broncos keep going back to him this weekend for three games in three nights in Moose Jaw, Brandon and then back home to host Calgary Sunday.

How 'bout the kids last night? A good game from the 4th line of Gervais/Tassone/Dowling plus some solid help from 15 year-old Cody Eakin playing in his first ever WHL game. Defenseman David Greyeyes also made his Broncos debut. He saw limited ice-time but did his job when he was out there. I'm happy to say that all of these players were highly touted on the Keen's Korner Top 10 prospects post awhile back.

Jeremy Schenderling was our best forward. Why does this guy get such a hard time from some fans? He works his butt off every game and has upped his game this season. The points may not say so but, he has really elevated his work ethic the last couple months. He scored the only goal in regulation for the Broncos and had the best chance in overtime before Derek Yeomans stopped his breakaway attempt in sudden-death.

The Broncos have now won seven of their last 8 at the Civic Center and have entertained the fans big time lately. Just look at some of the home games lately - a 9-0 win over rival Regina, a big 5-2 over the Tigers on December 30th, and a last second goal to force OT with Lethbridge December 13th which led to a shootout win.

Speaking of shootouts, what is up with Seattle? Last night's shootout loss was their 11th of the season. They are an unbelievable 0-11 in shootouts this season. They should just start heading to the room after OT. At what point does this come almost comical from a T-Birds perspective. You have to do a lot of things wrong to lose 11 straight shootouts.

Derek Yeomans and Bud Holloway really impressed me on their squad. Scott Jackson, one of the leagues top d-men had a rough night out there. It was a game he will rather forget I'm sure.

And finally for all the Bronco fans who heard the Calgary broadcast, I do apologize for seemingly packing it in a bit early in that one. About 30 people have given me the gears for almost writing off the Broncos when they were down 2-0 late in the third period before the miraculous comeback win. Some even asked if the Broncos had brought pack the pigeon to the Civic Center, haha. Great idea.

So what did you think of the game last night? Let's hear it!

Regards,
Jon

Monday, January 15, 2007

Future Is Now . . . Eakin to Make Broncos Debut


Just got word from the coaching staff that 2006 first round bantam pick Cody Eakin will put on the Broncos jersey for the first time in the regular season tomorrow night.

The banged up Broncos have recalled a trio of players to help out the cause. Eakin is a highly touted 15 year old who is ripping up "AAA" midget in Winnipeg.

Over the weekend a pair of 16 year-olds Kris Foucalt and Mike Brown made their Broncos' debut. They both played well especially Brown who impressed me on the Saddledome ice. In talking with the scouting staff, Brown has progressed by leaps and bounds this past year and his upside might be unlimited.

Eakin, Broncos debut, that right there could be worth the price of a ticket.

Broncos and T-Birds, face-off at 7:30pm. Our pre-game show is set for 7pm. For those that missed Sunday's almost miraculous comeback over Calgary the pre-game show will have a recap from some of the key players and coaches. Included in the recap will what Dean Chynoweth called "pigeon power" . . . more on that tomorrow, it's worth checking out.

See you tomorrow,
Jon

Calgary Sun Story - Broncos/Hitmen

This is from Scott Fisher, sportswriter from the Calgary Sun.

He covered another angle in which we chatted about briefly in the broadcast. Here it is.

By SCOTT FISHER, CALGARY SUN

The last time Travis Yonkman started a game at the Saddledome, he left with a broken collarbone.
Last night, he broke the Calgary Hitmen's hearts.
Yonkman made 48 saves, many of the acrobatic variety, to backstop the visiting Swift Current Broncos to a 3-2 overtime victory.
"Before the game, we were joking around about me playing the puck," said Yonkman, who suffered the injury after he made a pass and was run over by former Calgary ruffian Darryl Moscaluk.
"I said I wouldn't tonight."
He didn't have time. The 18-year-old 'tender was too busy diving all over the crease to stymie the Hitmen time and time again.
Calgary, which dropped its fourth straight, led 2-0 with under four minutes to play on goals by Ryan White and Keegan Dansereau.
But Brady Leavold potted a powerplay marker with 3:26 left and, with Yonkman on the bench, Geordie Wudrick tied it up with 22.5 ticks on the clock.
Leavold won it 1:26 into sudden death and Yonkman left the building in a totally different state of mind than he did Oct. 23, 2005.
"I was in a lot of pain on the ice and after I went to the dressing room," he recalled.
"I sat upright in my seat for six hours on the way home, rocking back and forth. It'll be a lot better bus ride tonight."
The loss for the Hitmen was costly as they gave away a crucial point they could have desperately used in the tight Central Division.
Calgary (24-17-1-3) remains in fourth spot, just three points ahead of the surging Lethbridge Hurricanes. White, who is two points off the league scoring lead, said his club needs to find a killer instinct before it's too late.
"That guy played well," White said of Yonkman. "But we've got to bear down.
"We had 50 shots. We can't just be scoring two goals. We had to bury these guys when we had the chance in the second period.
"Lethbridge is creeping up on us and if we don't turn it around, it's going to be a short season."
Calgary starter Martin Jones, who was just minutes away from picking up his first WHL shutout, made 18 stops as his record fell to 5-3-0.
The Hitmen enjoyed a large territorial advantage in the scoreless opening period, outshooting the visitors 17-5. Yonkman made a brilliant stop with a second to play, sprawling to rob Derek LeBlanc on a rebound attempt from the side of the net.
Calgary came up empty on a flurry of chances before White finally golfed a rebound over the goal-line near the midway mark of the second period on the club's 30th shot on net. White's 21st of the season ended a scoreless drought of 97:37 on home ice for the Hitmen.

What Just Happened!?

I woke up this morning thinking to myself "was last night a dream or did that really happen?" Insane. Luke Hunter was up in the booth with me and couldn't believe it either. Sure I've seen comebacks before, but not under these circumstances and with the game being played the way it was. I pretty much giggled through the entire post-game show as I thought back to the overtime winning goal ending. As the Broncos piled onto the ice to celebrate with their goalie Yonkman and Leavold who scored the OT winner I felt like yelling "quick boys, hurry off the ice before they decide to take the win away!"

In case you missed it the Hitmen were all over the Broncos from puck drop. A tired and beat-up Broncos team did their best but it wasn't near far the level of play it had to be in order to compete.

After three or four highlight reel saves from Yonkman in the first period, the Broncos and the Hitmen were still scoreless. Off to the 2nd where the Yonkman show continued until midway through when Ryan White finally scored on a third opportunity after a botched 2-on-1. Yonks again did all he could but the Hitmen pressure was too much. 1-0 Calgary after two periods.

With no Myles Rumsey, Dale Wiese, Kyle Bortis, Matt Tassone, and Ryan Molle who left the game early with injury, you knew the Broncos wouldn't have much left for the third period.

The Hitmen's top rated powerplay made in 2-0 four minutes into the third period. Another sensational save sequence led to a Keegan Dansereau goal.

After that goal, the Broncos sagged even further and the Hitmen on-slaught was on. Yonks was called on again to make an unbelievable save off Brodie Dupont as he reached across the crease to deny the Hitmen's power-forward. I thought to myself, wow, if we get outta here down 4 or 5 nothing that would be an accomplishment.

After five straight Hitmen powerplays the Broncos were then awarded a late PP with five minutes to go. I said on the broadcast if the Broncos want to get back in this game this might be the chance they've been waiting for.

Then the strangest thing. A pigeon started flying around the Saddledome around the rafters, down to the score-clock and around the upper sections. The fans totally lost focus of the game and maybe so did the Hitmen, I know I did. The fans were making all sorts of noise and in talking to the Broncos coaching staff after the game, they had no idea what was going on, no clue. Sure they heard the crowd but they didn't see the bird, they had a powerplay to run.

Midway through the man advantage a Paul Postma point-shot rebounded to Brady Leavold who snapped it home to give the Broncos some life as they broke up the shut-out bid of Martin Jones in the Hitmen goal with 3:26 to play. Calgary was po'ed to say the least. They had let a team back into a game that they have dominated from the opening face-off.

The Hitmen stepped up their pressure and for the next two minutes the Broncos had trouble getting the puck out of their zone. The first chance the Broncos had to get the puck near center was with 1:10 left in the game. Travis Yonkman sprinted to the bench for the extra attacker. The Broncos battled hard to keep the puck in and control it inside the Hitmen zone. After an initial chance in front, Geordie Wudrick fired home the tying goal with 22 seconds left! Pandemonium on the ice and in the broadcast booth. All the while this lone pigeon continued to circle the stands.

Before the game I said to Geordie "hey, giving me something to cheer about Wuddy." He didn't let me down.

It was off to overtime and the Broncos were now destined to win this game. The first chance they had inside Calgary territory, Levi Nelson fought hard in the Calgary corner to get a puck to Brady Leavold who then jammed it home on the side of the goal . . . game over! Leavold from Nelson with a special assist from the lucky pigeon who seemed to hover over the celebrating Broncos in the Hitmen corner. It was a shocking ending. Just ask the 9,000+ who took in the game.

After the game I was loading my gear under the bus when Geordie came up and replied, "how was that for something to cheer about Keener?"

What an ending, what a game. I'm going down to pick up a Calgary Sun newspaper to get their take. It will be great to get it from a Calgary perspective.

Three stars announced in the building:
3. Ryan White - scored the lone Hitmen goal
2. Travis Yonkman - according to the homer shot clock, 49 saves. His best game ever as a Bronco
1. Brady Leavold - 2 goals and one assist in his first game back since the break. Great effort.

It'll be tough to top that but the Broncos will try again tomorrow night when they host Seattle . . . the Thunderbirds. Speaking of birds, is their any chance we can get ours from the 'Dome? Sorry Charlie Horse but you have company.

Still shocked,
Jon

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Broncos In A Funk; Injuries Mount

Red Deer - It's not good in Broncoland folks.

Five straight road losses and and a growing injury list will make things tough on this team the next couple weeks.

Already without Kyle Bortis,Matt Tassone and Brady Leavold (who may play tonight in Calgary), you can add injuries to Myles Rumsey and Dale Wiese.

Rumsey spent the night in hospital for observation after taking a puck to the throat while blocking a pass last night. We wants to play but I don't think he will get the clearance. Dale Wiese slid hard into the end boards and banged his knee pretty good. He won't play either.

It's a tough one in Calgary in a few hours time as the Hitmen try to snap a three game skid. The Hitmen played last night in Kootenay and lost 5-2.

Their powerplay is ranked tops in the league and that might be trouble for a banged-up penalty kill.

Calgary also beat the Broncos 8-0 in their last meeting as the Broncos played their third game in as many nights.

Special shout-out to the Postma Clan . . . John, Janet and the family. They were out in full force for last night's game in Red Deer cheering on Paul. They tell me they read the blog everyday. If there's a friendlier family in the WHL I haven't met them.

Broncos and the Hitmen on the Eagle tonight beginning at 5:30pm, play-by-play at 6.

Hold on tight,
Jon

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Rough One in The 'Bridge

Red Deer - It finally caught up to the Broncos last night in Lethbridge. Seemingly having the Hurricanes number all year, finally the offensive stars for the 'Canes took over. Mitch Fadden's hat-trick and Zach Boychhuk's 1g,3a. Maybe the 'Canes were overdue for this win considering in their first meeting this season Kyle Moir made 50 saves in a 2-1 win at the Civic Center.

Hey, don't get me wrong, the Broncos didn't play that great but the Hurricanes have some fire power that is at par with the top teams in the WHL. Defensively, they're not even close to a top team and that could be their downfall.

If the 'Canes keep it up, they should finish 3rd in the Central just behind Kootenay and Medicine Hat. They do however struggle on the road and that's where they will find themselves for most of the last two months of the season.

Newly acquired defenseman Eric Doyle made his Broncos debut last night. He seemed to struggle at times and then make a superstar play the next. Must be tough to be handed a sheet of paper outlining a team's powerplay and other systems about two hours before face-off.

The Broncos have struggled on the road lately now with four straight losses. They just haven't been able to keep the puck out of their net. They've given up 23 goals in those four losses. Way too many.

It doesn't get any easier tonight. The team pulled into Red Deer just before 2am to unload their gear at the Centrium. After a good night's sleep they're on the ice for a light skate this hour. The Rebels are one of the top teams on home ice in the league at 12-1-3-3. The last time the Broncos were here they were beaten 4-0. Martin Hanzal has 1g, 6a vs the Broncos in the two previous meetings. Red Deer last played Thursday night in Calgary posting a 4-0 win over the Hitmen. Tomorrow night they play in Medicine Hat.

It was a WHL crossing of paths on the way to Lethbridge yesterday. The Broncos and the Vancouver Giants were virtual lunch partners in the 'Hat. The Broncos stopped for a pre-game meal in Medicine Hat and just as they were finishing, the Giants showed up. The new look Giants lost to the Tigers 3-2 on a game played across Western Canada on Shaw TV.

Broncos and Rebels on the Eagle 94.1 FM tonight beginning with the pre-game show at 8pm featuring Everett General Manager Doug Soetart. The play-by-play is at 8:30pm.

Jon

p.s. Thanks for the comments Big Ern, and yes this is basically your blog. I'm sorry for posting actually. HAHAHAHA LOL - That's for you Ern.

Friday, January 12, 2007

No Thrills and Frills Tonight

Tonight's broadcast is going to be a tough one. Not feeling 100% and the voice is half there. I hope I can pull it together for three games in three nights. Please bare with me tonight!

Seven games in 10 nights . . . here we go.

Broncos and Hurricanes, We're on the air at 7:30pm with the pre-game, 8pm play-by-play.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

As Tough As It Gets

It's one of the toughest road trips there is the WHL. The Broncos hit up Lethbridge, Red Deer and Calgary this weekend. Three games in three nights all in barns where visitor wins are few and far between. Check out these home ice records:

Lethbridge: 17-6-1-1
Red Deer: 12-1-3-3 (only one regulation loss!)
Calgary 16-7-0-1

So, as you can see the Broncos have their work cut out for them. We'll be on the air at 8pm with the Bronco Big Show Friday night from Lethbridge. We'll break down the deals that were made, one that wasn't and here from the new kid in town Eric Doyle. Hey, Saturday don't miss the pre-game show where we will talk to the General Manager of the Everett Silvertips Doug Soetart. He says some interesting things about Doyle, about their chances and the ultra-tough Western Conference. Doug was spotted many a times in Swift Current the last couple months. Now we know what he was looking at.

Speaking of the Western Conference. How tough is the first round of the playoffs going to be there? Only the BC divisions 1st place team will have a cake-walk in round one. The BC division champ will get either Chilliwack or Kelowna in round one. Bring out the brooms. Other than that. There are good teams in Vancouver, Kamloops, PG (if they get their act together), Everett, Seattle, Spokane, and Tri City.

Flipped open the SW Booster this afternoon. Gotta love a Wednesday afternoon trade deadline. They had one story on the transactions . . . the Craig Cuthbert deal. Nothing else. Can you imagine next Thursday's headlines "Broncos Trade Crowley!" Yawn, old news. That's why I love the blog. It's instant news, updated from anywhere, anytime. I hate to say it but the ol' newspaper is becoming obsolete. I do like what George Bowdich does though for the Prairie Post. Instead of focusing on timely news that gets dated quick, he focuses more on people stories and profiles. That's the way to go in a weekly paper. Don't try to be "scoops" just do what works best.

George should also handle the game previews and Bronco news. It must be tough for PP editor Ryan Dahlman to form an opinion on the Broncos all the way from Medicine Hat. Even if he is on the right track, fans here will never give him the benefit of the doubt because he lives there, reports from there and is never seen here at the rink.

Here some info on the Broncos injury front. Brady Leavold has recovered from sickness and will make the trip. However, he will not play Friday night in Lethbridge. Derek Claffey is feeling better but may also miss Friday's game. Daniel Rakos is MIA after messing up some travel arrangements. Some of the players were joking today that something might have happened to him like in the movie Hostel. I think that movie was based in Slovakia wasn't it? If he hurries, he may get to Lethbridge in time for the game but how effective could he be after what will be severe jet lag? The ankle injury to Kyle Bortis should keep him out of action this weekend. So with that said, expect a couple of young affiliated players to make their Broncos debut this weekend. A kid I liked at training camp out of Calgary Kris Foucalt (16) should see some ice this weekend, maybe even Mike Brown (16) if needed.

Go Broncos,
Jon

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Complete Trade Deadline Recap; Q and A with Dane Crowley

Well, another WHL trade deadline has come and gone . . . and again the Broncos are right in the mix, and perhaps made the biggest deal on deadline day.

In case you missed it the Broncos have traded 19 year-old defenseman Dane Crowley, 16 year-old prospect Jordan Mistelbacher and a conditional draft pick to Everett for 17 year-old defenseman Eric Doyle.

From an outside perspective it appears we gave up a lot. I think Dane Crowley is a super defenseman and great team guy. He has made leaps and bounds in a year. To think, he was basically discarded by the Saskatoon Blades at last year's deadline. He then has a great 2nd half with the Broncos, gets drafted by Tampa Bay and now was on every contenders "want list" on deadline day. Good for you Dane, great year. The Broncos also believe he will be playing pro hockey next season somewhere in the Tampa Bay system. That's where the conditional pick comes in. If Crowley is back in the WHL next season then the trade goes as is. If he turns pro, the Broncos will have to give up a 3rd round pick in the 2008 bantam draft. I chatted with Dane moments after he was told of the deal. Safe to say he was rocked by the news. More on that later in the Q and A with Dane Crowley below.

The Broncos decided to hold on to goaltender Kyle Moir after the right deal didn't materialize. A deal to Prince George was speculated at the last minute, but the Broncos decided to hold on to Moir and ride him now all the way to the end. There was a lot of speculation he would end up going to Vancouver but the deadline offer wasn't good enough. Now, he'll finish his career here and have a great chance to break Jeff Calvert's record for most games played ever in the WHL as a goaltender.

Here's a recap of all the details and my opinion on a few:

-- The Western Hockey League has announced the transactions from the Trade deadline on Monday, January 10, 2007.A total of 13 transactions were made involving 24 players and 13 Bantam Draft selections.Here are the transactions from Monday's trade deadline:-

The Tri-City Americans traded D Ryan Gillen to the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for a 7th round pick in the 2008 Bantam Draft.- Looks like Calgary adds some size to their back-end. 6'7" Gillen will provide that. Gillen became expendable after the Americans acquired Roman Tesliuk from Kamloops and T.J. Fast from Denver College.


The Calgary Hitmen traded Michael Hengen to the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for a 5th round pick in the 2007 Bantam Draft.- Can you believe that? Michael Hengen has now played for five teams in a year! Swift Current, Saskatoon, Chilliwack, Calgary and now Moose Jaw. Wow, that has to be some sort of a record!

The Moose Jaw Warriors traded F Andre Herman to the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for a 5th round pick in the 2007 Bantam Draft.- Seattle picks up a veteran forward.

The Spokane Chiefs traded D Dan Mercer to the Calgary Hitmen in exchange for D Curtis Kelner.- Swap of d-men. Change of scenery for both.

The Kelowna Rockets traded F Craig Cuthbert to the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for a 4th round pick in the 2008 Bantam Draft.- The Kelowna Rockets just didn't get the production from the Swift Current kid. Cuthbert, a former 1st round bantam pick gets closer to home and should fit in well with the Blades young group.

The Prince Albert Raiders traded D A.J. Thelen to the Vancouver Giants in exchange for D John Flatters and D Nathan Deck.- The Giants never did upgrade their goaltending so I guess the next best thing was to upgrade their defense. Maybe their plan is to not allow any shots on goal. It's quite conceivable considering the defensive core they now have.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes traded F Michael Wuchterl and a 5th round pick in the 2008 Bantam Draft to the Vancouver Giants in exchange for F Kyle Lamb and a 4th round pick in the 2008 Bantam Draft.- The Giants had to make room for the extra 20 year old in A.J. Thelen.

The Tri-City Americans traded D Nicholaus Knudsen and a 6th round pick in the 2008 Bantam Draft to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for D Mitch McColm and an 8th round pick in the 2008 Bantam Draft.- It appears to be a routine swap of defensemen.

The Chilliwack Bruins traded F Myles Stoesz to the Regina Pats in exchange for D Brayden Metz.- The Pats add some toughness to help protect some of their smaller forwards.

The Portland Winter Hawks traded F Robert Klinkhammer to the Brandon Wheat Kings in exchange for F Teegan Moore and a 2nd round pick in the 2007 Bantam Draft.- Brandon gets a little more offense with Klinkhammer but they never did get that defenseman they were hoping to get at the deadline.

The Saskatoon Blades traded F Michael MacAngus and their 3rd and 5th round picks in the 2007 Bantam Draft to the Regina Pats in exchange for F Derek Hulak and a 4th round pick in the 2007 Bantam Draft.- This trade was made to get Hulak home for personal reasons.

The Portland Winter Hawks traded F Sasha Golin to the Kamloops Blazers in exchange for F Matt Schmermund. - Kamloops adds a veteran forward to help their stretch run.

There's a breakdown of all the deadline deals.

As I said earlier, I had a chance to talk to Dane Crowley before he left the team for good this afternoon. Here's a transcript of our conversation.

JK: First of all Dane, you're no stranger to the trade deadline. What was your reaction to today's trade?
DC: (voice quivering) Not again, that's what I thought. I didn't want to leave this place, I love Swift Current, I like the fans, the players, coaching and a they've shipped me off to Everett so I just want to make the most of this opportunity.

JK: Tell me how you heard the news, or when you were told?
DC: I was at the rink, I was in the training room . . . and Deano came up to me and said "Crow I need to see you" and I thought, not again. He came in and said this is the best opportunity for me. So hopefully it comes through.

JK: Everett is a team with a lot of talent. You've seen them first hand. No doubt this is a great chance for you to go deep into the playoffs and make an impression.
DC: definitely, um, we'll see what happens. I'm not concentrated on that right now but more of how I'm going to get there and stuff. We'll see what happens.

JK: Obviously you were the guy that everyone wanted. How does that make you feel?
DC: It's good that everyone wants me, I think last year when I got the call (to come to Swift Current) I was devastated, but they (Saskatoon) told me it's not a bad thing to be traded, at least somebody wants you and it's true so hopefully I go there (Everett) and they play me.

JK: What has the reaction been from your family?
DC: They are supportive. My dad was pretty pumped I'm going to Everett, you know my mom was speechless. My girlfriend is pretty upset because it's an extra couple hundred dollars for a plane ticket, (laughing), but they are supportive and excited I'm going to a WHL championship contender.

JK: When it comes to next year, the Broncos think you very well might be playing pro hockey instead of playing out your final year of junior hockey. For you to finish this year and sign a contract, is that your goal?
DC: Yeah well, Deano told me that part of the reason they traded me was for an opportunity for me to play for Constantine's pro style of a team and for a pro-type coach. The Broncos also talked to the Tampa Bay Lightning and they said that more than likely I won't be back to junior next year and sign a contract this summer so, I guess they are building for next year so they needed to ship me out.

JK: What a year, you've come a long ways. You were pretty much discarded from Saskatoon and all of a sudden here you are a year later, the reigning Broncos defenseman of the year and now a crack at the WHL championship. You must look back and say what a year it's been for you.
DC: Exactly, and getting drafted and the Bronco defenseman of the year and now this trade to Everett so, things are going good.

Your thoughts Bronco fans?

Crowley Traded!

Dane Crowley has been traded. Confirmed. He's off to the Everett Silvertips. There's more to this trade. More later.

Also, Swift Current native and former 1st round bantam pick Craig Cuthbert was traded from Kelowna to the Saskatoon Blades for a 4th round bantam selection.

Jon

Two Minor Deals . . .So far.

A couple of deals so far . . .with more to come I'm sure.

The Moose Jaw Warriors have traded 19-year-old left winger Andre Herman to Seattle for a 5th round bantam pick.

Tri-City Americans have dealt 19-year-old defenseman Ryan Gillen to the Calgary Hitmen for a seventh round bantam draft pick in 2008.

I'm about to get very busy. I can tell. So with radio responsibilities my first priority is not the blog. I will update it when I can.

WHL Taking Time Releasing Details

Not a lot to report here early in the afternoon on the trade deadline front. Expect a flurry of releases after 4pm our time. As long as the league office has notification before 3pm Calgary time than all is good. I like it actually. It forces a team to worry about their own situation and not react to what another team may do on the deadline. We could see a huge surprise from a team. Maybe a mid-contender throws the next five years down the tube for a huge 07 playoff run? Unlikely but possible.

The Tri City Americans have added a very good defenseman to their roster:

Kennewick, WA – Tri-City Americans general manager Bob Tory today announced that 19-year-old defenseman T.J. Fast has left the University of Denver Pioneers of the WCHA to join the Americans immediately.The 6’1”, 190 pound Fast is from Calgary, Alberta was a second round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.“T.J. will give our team an element that was desperately needed,” said Tory. “He is a tremendous skater and can step right in and quarterback our power play.”In 2004-05 Fast earned all-rookie honors for Camrose of the AJHL while scoring eight goals, 36 points in 58 games. He was a plus 35 defensively. He led Camrose to the AJHL and Western Canadian Championships. In 2005-05 Fast was paired with current San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Carle. Fast is also an avid lacrosse player and played for the University of Denver’s lacrosse team in 05-06.Last season for the Pioneers, Fast appeared in 39 games and had one goal, seven points. In 17 games this season he had four assists.

More later,
Jon

Fitzpatrick's All-Star Bid Falls Short



Alas, Rory Fitzpatrick of the Vancouver Canucks will not be headed to the All-star game in two weeks.

Fitzpatrick fell about 23,000 votes shy of grabbing a starting spot when the Western Conference meets the Eastern Conference in Dallas.

Hey!, what a run though, he still collected 550,000 plus votes. This story has really been the focus of the all-star game so I guess it has accomplished something. So, as I conclude the "Vote For Rory" campaign let me just say one last thing . . . RECOUNT!

Here are the final numbers amongst Western Conference defenseman:

Scott Niedermayer, ANA 591,657
Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 573,069
Rory Fitzpatrick *, VAN 550,177
Chris Pronger, ANA 433,972
Dion Phaneuf, CGY 395,168
Scott Hannan, SJS 378,206
Mattias Ohlund, VAN 326,717
John-Michael Liles, COL 234,598
Sergei Zubov, DAL 225,094
Robyn Regehr, CGY 223,063
Rob Blake, LAK 187,952
Mathieu Schneider, DET 186,431
Lubomir Visnovsky, LAK 177,650

Thanks for playing.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Deadline Update

So, there's an internet rumor flying around about a player swap with Brandon. Disregard it for now. A reliable source has told me there has been nothing in the works with the Wheaties. Although the trade seems to be believable on paper, the flames are not being fanned on this end.

Also, here's something. Lethbridge Hurricanes colorman Dustin Nielsen is reporting the Hurricanes have sent 20 year-old Brad Werenka to the AJHL. Lethbridge now has a vacant 20 year old spot. What do you think that means?

To quote Kelowna Rockets General Manager Bruce Hamilton "trade deadline time is a like a week long liars convention"

More later as it happens,
Jon

Deadline Drama: 24 Hours Away


The Swift Current Broncos will do something at the deadline. Maybe it's already been done or maybe it's still in the works but the Broncos have or will make a deal.

I'm basing this on the activity around the team and my talk with Dean Chynoweth this morning.

Here's some excerpts from our trade deadline chat.

JK: How's the activity been around the league, lots of interest out there?
DC: There's actually not a lot of sellers right now. I think if you look at the standings and how tight everything is, I think, you know everyone thinks they have a chance right now. Guys are kind of throwing some lines in the water to see what might be out there but it's been pretty quiet and I don't expect a lot.

JK: As far as what you would like to do, maybe a little wishful thinking, but what would you like to do to the roster?
DC: We don't want to weaken our team, we'd like to be able to strengthen it for the future. I think a lot of teams think that we're just discarding our guys and that's the frustrating part because they don't really offer you anything for them. Of course they want Kyle Moir, of course they want Myles Rumsey, of course they want Dane Crowley, Levi Nelson . . . if it's a case of me over-valuing our guys than so be it, you know I like our dressing room and I don't want to tinker with it too much.

JK: You've been open about Kyle Moir all season long about a potential deal. Will he be moved by tomorrow's 4pm deadline?
DC: The one thing with Kyle, and he's made clear with our conversations and meetings, he wants to go to one place and one place only and that's for the obvious reasons for a chance to win a championship in Vancouver. With their aquisition of Wacey Rabbit it hasn't neccessarily closed that door but they'd have to move a guy like Kyle Lamb to be able to bring in another overage. But, from our standpoint if the deal isn't right for us, that helps us now and down the road . . . he's too valuable. I mean we've talked about the importance of goaltending. The one thing I'm excited about in the 2nd half is the possibility of competing for top spot in the division and getting into the playoffs in making some noise.

JK: With some of the players mentioned already, what's the chance of making a major deal before tomorrow's deadline?
DC: I'd have to say a 50/50 chance, there's still a day and a bit here. Our focus is on continuing to make strides as a hockey team and get better for the future - by future I mean immediate future, not draft picks and not players that won't play in the league for a couple of years. I like the direction we're going and you have to be real careful about the moves you make once your team starts to get to a certain point. I think we're nearing that point where our best years are ahead of us and we also want to have a strong finish to this season.

JK: What about some minor tinkering, a good chance that will happen?
DC: You've seen the players we've had up at certain times, I don't think minor tinkering I don't think will do much for us. If you take a long hard look at our list, I know people get sick of hearing this but we like the depth and skill in our youth and now you're starting to see this with guys like Justin Dowling coming up, James Martin on the weekend and Cody Eakin in the pre-season. I mean there are some good players there and if you go down that list of guys that played in the pre-season with guys like Kris Foucalt, Mike Brown, the Rodgers kid and Brad Hoban and these are guys that will push for spots next season. We only have so many spots. If you see the numbers we have we have a log-jam right now. It's fine to have a bunch of good players but they can't all play. It doesn't mean they can't play in the league it just means they all can't be Swift Current Broncos. Maybe one does become expendable in a larger deal.

JK: What about Ned Lukacevic? We saw Wacey Rabbit come back to the league from the AHL. Ned, is presently in the East Coast Hockey League, could we see him back with the Broncos or somewhere in the WHL.
DC: No. I've talked with LA at different times this season on Ned's progress and the one thing you find with some of the NHL teams theire theory is if they can't play in the American League they should be back in junior leading and playing in all situations. That's not the case with LA. They also own their East Coast team and that makes a big difference too because they need to fill bodies there. They don't expect him to be down that long, they think he will be back in the American League soon. So that option isn't one.

Well, there is all sorts of rumors coming at me today. I'm trying to get a hold of my good source in Brandon to confirm something that may take place tomorrow. The Wheat Kings are said to be one of the most active teams at the deadline this year.

Keep it here for the latest,
Jon

Monday, January 08, 2007

Let the Trade Deadline Fun Begin



It appears Saskatoon Blades former captain Wacey Rabbit is back in the WHL. His agent JP Barry worked out a deal to send him from Providence of the AHL back to Saskatoon so he could be traded to Vancouver and get a shot at the Memorial Cup.

Saskatoon in return gets 18 year-old forward Kenton Dulle (Craik, SK native) and a 2008 2nd round bantam pick. I would say pretty good value considering Rabbit had no intentions of playing for the Blades this season. So the Blades make a good deal for the future and no expense of their current roster or future plans. Good for Lorne Molleken, this is a good deal for the Blades.

So here we are, 38 hours to the WHL trade deadline and it appears the a Moir move to Vancouver is dead in the water with Vancouver filling their last 20 year-old spot with Rabbit. He will make his Giants debut this week in Medicine Hat against the Tigers.

So we'll see what the deadline will bring. I've had several fans the last couple days tell me about trades they have heard in the making. They are always interesting, not usually accurate but who's to say if they are fact or fiction. There's only a handful of people around the Broncos that know, I am unfortunately not one of them. Although I will chat with Dean Tuesday morning to get more of a feel for what's going on.

Someone had posted a comment asking how Brady Leavold was doing with his illness. I can tell you he has yet to re-join the team because of the strain he's picked up. The team doesn't want him hanging around if he is sick right? Let's just say he will more than likely not play this weekend. He is resting at home at his billets and hopefully tuning into Broncos hockey on the Eagle 94.1.

In other league news,

Garret Klotz . . . what are you doing?? He was served a gross misconduct and will face supplemental discipline from the WHL for "flipping off" the Prince Albert Raiders bench late in the game in Saskatoon. Klotz had just fought A.J. Thelen from the Raiders when he was being led off the ice by a linesman. Expect about 2 game sit-down for Klotz.

Former Bronco Jason Roberts is this week's CIS player of the week. Roberts plays with the Lethbridge Pronghorns. He was traded to Seattle from here and eventually player for the Camrose Kodiaks - the AJHL champion last season.

Finally, a special shout out to my old college buddy Heath Morin. He now teaches up in Pelly, SK and says he reads the blog everyday. Heath and I had a good time in Lethbridge together attending Broadcast Journalism from 1997-99. Besides broadcasting some local football and hockey games for the local Shaw TV station together, we used to attend most Hurricane home games. We would always cheer for whatever Saskatchewan team was in town that night! He would always get into it with Hurricane fans . . . he's a beauty. We also used to hang out with Jeff Urkevich who was also in our Program. He is now the Director of Communications for the WHL. We used to have some wild times in the basement. If you know Heath, ask him about the cross-check former Hurricanes Bart Rushmer laid on him in a game of basement hockey. He's was digging for the ball in front of the net when Rushmer just crushed him! It was great.

Trade deadline . . . let's hear your predictions!!

Keep it here for all the latest moves and deals.

Ciao,
Jon

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Busy Weekend Comes To A Close

Finally a chance to update the blog. It's been a busy weekend with two Bronco games and a "AAA" Legionnaires broadcast this afternoon at the Fairview West. The Battleford Stars picked up the 6-3 win to take both games of the weekend two-game set.

Last night it just wasn't in the cards for the Broncos who lost 6-2 to Regina. Although shots were even 36-36, goaltending was a factor in the Pats win. Travis Yonkman was given the hook 8 minutes in after surrendering the third Pats goal. Kyle Moir took over and made 26/29 saves in relief. Linden Rowat was also much better in the Pats goal than he was Friday night in that 9-0 loss.

Yonkman's struggles come at the absolute worst time. It makes it awfully tough to move Moir at the trade deadline Wednesday when you're not sure about your situation. It just wasn't this game for Yonkman, I didn't think he was very sharp against the Blades New Year's day either. At this point I would say it's 50/50 to see Moir being traded. That number isn't coming from the Broncos front office, is just my gut feeling on the situation.

Geordie Wudrick and Zack Smith scored for the Broncos in the loss who now have most of the week away from game action before beginning a three games in three night stretch in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes Friday.

Hopefully some line-up help will arrive. Daniel Rakos will be back from World Juniors. Kyle Bortis probably won't be ready to go with his ankle injury while Brady Leavold remains a question mark with illness. Derek Claffey should be ready to step back on the blueline after a bout with the flu.

Broncos 2nd round bantam pick in '05 James Martin made his Broncos debut last night. The 15 year-old defenseman saw a number of shifts and looked a bit over his head at times. Acting assistant coach Tim Tisdale called him "tentative" in the post-game show. Something he says is not good when you're a defenseman in the WHL. Martin, a Winnipeg native will be just fine. He has that look to him, you can just see that he will be a good one for the Broncos in years to come. He has a good attitude, a great kid and should grow even more before attending Broncos training camp next fall hoping to make the team as a 16 year-old.

Broncos Head Coach and General Manager Dean Chynoweth will be back in town tomorrow. I'm going to get a trade deadline preview for the radio sportscasts. I'll also post the transcript of our chat here too.

Till tomorrow,
Jon

Saturday, January 06, 2007

9-0

You're kidding right? That was the response I had from several people who asked me what the score in the game was last night. I guess if I wasn't there I wouldn't have believed it myself.

No one can really explain it but we'll take it. After a scoreless first period the Broncos went to work scoring five in the 2nd and four more in the 3rd for one of the biggest lopsided wins in years. In my time here I don't remember something like that. I will do some research here and check some things out today. I remember an 8-1 win over Brandon two years ago after the Broncos put up six goals in the third period.

Here what I liked from last night . . . eight different goal scorers. Dale Wiese (2), Levi Nelson, Dane Crowley, Paul Postma, Jeremy Schenderling, Matt Tassone, Phil Gervais and David Stieler. The boys had a fun night last night. Everyone worked together and tried to help eachother out. Did you see Levi Nelson going well out of his way to get Bronco rookie forward Justin Dowling the puck in the third. Dowling, who made his Broncos debut last night looked good but afterwards admitted the pace of the game was very fast compared to what he's used to in the Alberta "AAA" midget league with the UFA Bisons. If you can remember the "Future In Good Hands" where I outlined my top 10 Bronco prospects, I believe Dowling was 2nd or 3rd behind Cody Eakin and Ian Curtis.

Dowling will not play tonight in Regina. He returned home today to play for his UFA Bisons team. He leads that league in scoring with 41 points. Hopefully we'll see him again soon.

I was very concerned with the injuries and sickness at forward heading into the game. No Bortis, Leavold or Rakos. Derek Claffey was sick as well to put a hole in the blueline. But guys like Grant Toulmin, Matt Tassone and Phil Gervais were excellent again. Toulmin didn't score but he deserved one. Tassone had a chance everytime he was on the ice and Gervais was rewarded for his hard-work with a seeing-eye goal in the 2nd.

How about Pats Head Coach Curtis Hunt coming back after a game like that. Here's Hunt, fresh off a World Junior gold medal as an Assistant Coach and his team gets shellacked 9-cobb. That would be tough to take.

Bronco fans, if you were there last night congratulations, that's a game fans will be talking about for a long time. The rematch will be tough tonight in Regina. It's on the Eagle 94.1 FM beginning at 6:30pm with the pre-game show. Former Bronco defenseman Aaron Rome will be our guest before face-off. He made his NHL debut this week with Anaheim. We'll chat about that big night and his time here in Swifty.

Lastly, how about Steven Mah from the Booster newspaper participating in the score-o challenge in the intermission on the ice. Are you kidding? Can you imagine the Leaderposts' Rob Vanstone tonight at the Brandt Center competing in some on-ice challenge? Don't get me wrong, I was cheering for Steve but c'mon man, you're covering the game and not a common fan! Oh well, I guess that's what makes Swifty unique! Switzer and I couldn't stop laughing . . . thanks.

See you at the rink,
Jon

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's Gold For Canada!




Back to back to back World Junior Champs!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Donkey of the Day


Keep smiling Patrik, keep smiling. Did you see him blow that empty net chance last night in Edmonton. He had an uncontested empty-net to salt the game away against the Oilers with 8 seconds and some how lost control of the puck! Edmonton picked it up, moved it 200 feet up the ice for an Alex Hemsky breakaway goal to tie 5-5 before regulation would end! Wild. Dallas made good by winning in a shootout after another Jussi Jokinen "Peter Forsberg" goal.

But if you saw that, you've just witnessed one of the biggest NHL 1st overall draft pick flops in history doing his thing. Way to go Patrik!

Everyone seen this already? It's a 13 year-old kid putting on a breakaway dangle show in practice. Does anyone know where this kid is from? Please post if you know.

Here's the link:
http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=4146

Broncos will have some key components still missing against the Regina Pats Friday night. Leavold is sick, sounds like it's worse than first thought. Bortis won't play because of that ankle injury and Daniel Rakos will not be back from the World Juniors until after the weekend. Good news is, R.J. Larochelle will return and should be in the line-up.

Ran into Kyle Moir today at practice. He wanted to correct my post . . . he's 0-5 not 0-6 in the playoffs. Sorry Moisy! But as he left for home he shouted "we're going all the way this year" That was good to hear. I love the confidence.

Tim Tisdale will be behind the Broncos bench this weekend as they take on Regina in a home and home series. Do you think Tissy is excited to take on his former team? I would say yes . . . most definitely. He will serve as an Assistant Coach with Dean away on a scouting trip.

Don't forget about the World Junior game. We'll have it on the Eagle at 12 noon.

Till then,
Jon

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Canada Proves Me Wrong! Romer Makes NHL Debut

Well, my Canadian World Junior prediction fell through today with Canada advancing to the gold medal game. I has said earlier in "Keen's Korner" that Canada would finish 3rd or 4th but today's win over the U.S. means they will place either 1st or 2nd. I must say Canada was on the ropes in that one and needed that goal with 8 minutes left in the 3rd to force overtime.

Was that shootout something else or what!? Jon Toews has made me a believer. His three snipes in the shootout to win the game was nothing short of spectacular. He went toe-to-toe with the WHL's biggest breakaway threat Peter Mueller and beat him.

You get some of the best 18 and 19 year old talent in the world, give them those slick one-piece sticks, add a god-given quick release and it equals no chance for a goaltender. That's the key in the shootout. Get into a good shooting position in the slot and wire it low or high to a corner. Don't waste time with a high degree of difficulty deke. The Broncos, who are 3-1 in shootouts this season, should've been taking notes today. Guys like Levi Nelson have caught on. He's just skates in and shelves it. Kyle Bortis, Brady Leavold and Dale Wiese should also should be near the shooters list with their ability to fire it.

Canada will play for the gold medal Friday. We'll carry the game against the Russians beginning at noon as we join The Fan 590's coverage.

It's about time for former Broncos defenseman Aaron Rome. He made his NHL debut last night for the Anaheim Ducks in Detroit. He played about 15 minutes and was a -1. He was on the ice for the Red Wings winner in the third period. As I said this morning on the sportscasts, It appears Chris Pronger's broken foot was Rome's foot in the door into the NHL.

Rome played here for parts of three seasons from 2002-2004. He might be my favorite Broncos defenseman in the seven years I've covered the team. Although sometimes he was the whipping boy for fans, Rome could do it all and do it well. Need a quarterback on the powerplay? Check. Need that big bone crushing hit? Check. Need a shut-down d-man to play against the oppositions best line? Check. Need someone to answer the bell and drop the gloves? Done, and done well. He was also a great interview. I'll never forget the time he declared in the pre-game show before the much anticipated game vs Everett that "Mitch Love will play no factor in tonight's game, at all". Or when as a member of the Moose Jaw Warriors when he would subtly mock the trade the Broncos made that sent him to the Warriors while on our broadcast. He knew it and we knew it.

When Rome was on the ice you just had the calming feeling. He was the man. Sure he had some swagger to him, maybe even some cockiness. But he could back it up. I have found out over the years that the best players I've been associated with knew it too. Sometimes in the hockey world it's "nice guys finish last". You need a certain amount of confidence and swagger to succeed at his level. Aaron Rome had it, so did his buddy Ian White. Jeremy Williams and Tyler Redenbach are also on that list. Throw in Nathan Smith, Layne Ulmer and Lawrence Nycholat.

Broncos and the Pats Friday night at 7:30pm from the Civic Center.

See you at the rink,
Jon

p.s. A shout out to former Eagle morning show co-host Kim Johnston in Medicine Hat who has told me he's an everyday reader of the blog. Thanks.