Wednesday, October 31, 2007
A dominating third period was led by the Bronco top scorers' Keegan Dansereau, Erik Felde and defenseman Mike Wilson. They all scored to put the Broncos up for good. Zack Smith had three assists in the final period. The Broncos outshot the Pats 14-4 in the 3rd for their 3rd straight win and a share of the division lead with Regina.
The game turned chippy in the final frame with the Broncos up by four. Major meltdowns from Troy Ofukany and Colton Tuebert had the Broncos on the powerplay to close off the last 10 minutes of the game. Both Pats players were obviously frustrated with the way the third period turned out.
The chippiness turned into scraps with a minor three-on-three bout. The Broncos had both their 16 year-olds in the mix with Joel Rogers and Cody Eakin. Rogers wrestled with Pats defenseman Nick Ross while Eakin somehow paired up with Pats tough guy Josh Elder. Elder realizing the situation didn't really get it going as the two just hugged each other. Doyle and fiesty Pats 16 year-old Garrett Mitchell turned out to be the most spirited affair.
Moments later R.J. Larochelle and Troy Ofukany dropped the gloves as both players took turns being the aggressor. Score it a draw for the two tough guys.
"I think Regina has a lot of pride, and they don't want to be embarrassed and I think in many facets of the game we embarrassed them tonight," remarked Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler in our post game Coaches Show.
Later in the frame Cody Hanson attempted to jump Ryan Molle but the linseman intervened right away leading to a Bronco four-minute powerplay as they closed off the game on a 5-on- powerplay advantage. It was clear the wheels had fallen off the Pats following the Broncos 5th goal.
The two teams will get two months to cool their jets. Their next meeting isn't until New Year's Day in Regina. The Pats could be involved in another battle Friday night when they host the Moose Jaw Warriors at the Brandt Center. The Broncos depart Thursday afternoon for Brandon to battle the Wheat Kings Friday.
- Bronco defenseman Ryan Molle scored his first of the season to open the scoring. It was an unassisted goal off the rush.
" That's the big joke with the coaches here. If I keep on putting up points sooner or later they're going to half to put me on the powerplay," Molle laughed after the game.
- My apologies to defenseman Mike Wilson. He was fantastic last night and was all over the ice. He was deserved of some recognition if not the first star of the game. Is he the biggest surprise of the 1st qaurter of the season? Easily.
- Dale Wiese was assessed a major penalty for charging after he ran into goaltender Linden Rowat while attempting to drive towards the net. It was a major league collision to say the least. Wiese made contact with Pats defenseman Colton Tuebert while cutting towards the net.
- The Broncos now feature four players in the WHL's top 20 scorers. Erik Felde - T-4th, Zack Smith T-10th, Keegan Dansereau 18th, and Mike Wilson 20th. Keegan Dansereau has also scored in four straight games.
- Bronco "fans" have to quit with the throwing of bottles and garbage on the ice. That's the 2nd time if six home games that's happened. It makes us look junior "B" and I can't stand it. Bottom line here these are young men aged 16-20 and you do not have the right to endanger their safety with that type of display. I know it's been going on for years but that doesn't make it right. Anyone caught throwing debris should be banned for the season. Remember, our boys have to play on the road too. Rant over.
- Moose Jaw Warriors Head Coach Dave Hunchak was in attendance doing some scouting before Friday night's clash with the Pats. He was our 1st intermission guest. It was a home-coming of sorts for Hunchak who took his first look at the on-going renovations inside the I-plex.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
- Ryan over www.ryanswitzer.blogspot.com has a good bit on Dean Chynoweth. Go check it out when you're through here.
- Is Dale Wiese and his thumb ok? He was blasting one-timer's today at practice (Ian White style as he would say) when a high screamer shattered the glass behind the net. Sounds like he's just fine. That's two panes of glass in the last week at the I-plex. Strange.
- Had a chance to sit down with Travis Yonkman and Ryan Molle tonight for Monday Night Meet the Broncos at the Modern Restaurant. A few fans stopped by including Garny Behm (who tells me he's a regular reader of the blog, thanks Garny) and his son Kade who doubles as a Broncos stick boy when he's not playing goal for the local pee wee rep team. We had a good time, had some laughs and some supper. The guys devoured onion rings, cheese toast. some soup, a full rack of ribs and some baked Halibut. A little ice-cream to finish off and that was that.
We went live on the radio a few times and the guys always tell me they hate doing it, even though they did a good job with it. I tried to lighten the mood by telling the guys about some of the interview gems the Broncos have had over the years - good and bad. There's been some real beauties over the years. Aaron Rome, Jeremy Williams, Matt Trojovsky and Ian White to name a few.
-I chatted with Warriors Head Coach Dave Hunchak today. The Warriors quietly have picked up points in 10 straight games. Sounds like they're having fun and playing well. He and his staff may take in the Broncos/Pats game Tuesday night at the I-Plex. The Warriors next contest is against Regina Friday night at the Brandt Center. If you see Hunch congratulate him on a quick start to the season.
- The other east division contender - the Brandon Wheat Kings, will host the Broncos Friday night at the newly named Westman Communications Center. I'm looking forward to seeing the revamped Wheaties.
- Trouble with the local Legion of Doom.. The "AAA" boys hockey club lost their head coach Gary Janke over the weekend after he resigned from the Legionnaires following a pair of losses to the Saskatoon Blazers. He's had enough. Players, parents, pressure.... it would be enough to drive anyone crazy. Janke's coaching numbers will never get him into the local sporting hall of fame. He'll finish his tenure with a very Washington Generals esq record of 15-69-4-4. I'm told assistant coach Kent Woods will take over on an interim basis for the rest of the season.
- Halloween trick or treating is Wednesday night. Living in a new neighborhood now in Swifty means a whole lot more kids. We're expecting upwards of 100 or so, small by some standards around town but still a lot mini chocolate bars to be handed out. Halloween candy consumed by Jon so far: 0 . I'm expecting that number to rise dramatically in the next 48 hours.
- I had one of those "wow" moments in the sporting world tonight. The Packers/Broncos Monday Night game went into overtime tied 13-13. On the very first play, Packers superstar qb Brett Favre went over the top for an 85 yard touchdown strike. Game over. There's something special about sudden death overtime. In my opinion hockey still has the most exciting o.t. experience. Nothing beats an o.t. winner in the playoffs.
- I think I have a male gym stalker. For some reason this guy is always there when I'm there which is no big deal really. We must be on the same daily schedule. But whenever I go in and change out I can pretty much set my watch to it. In he comes to chat about whatever is on his mind. Usually we talk Broncos which is all good. I just find it strange, it's like every time I end my workout, so does he. Weird.
Broncos and Pats will lock it up Tuesday night at the I-plex. Face-off at 7:30pm, action on the Eagle begins at 7pm.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
- The Broncos depth continues to be evident. In the words of Kevin Constantinue, "you always tend to see other teams' greatness while seeing only your limitations." A very true statement. However, with this Broncos team I haven't felt that way.
- Getting back to that aforementioned depth. You add Geordie Wudrick and Dale Wiese back in the line-up this week and there may not be enough pucks to go around for this team! You can take a big piece of this team through injuries or penalties.... but there's still an awful big piece left. Whenever one of the younger players has to fill in on one of the top two lines they do a great job and make a good case to remain there. The same holds true on the blueline. I am completely comfortable with whichever of the seven defenseman are on the ice in all situations. There isn't a player from top to bottom that can't get the job done.
In back-to-back nights it was those "depth players" making the difference. David Steiler in Red Deer and Matt Tassone in Edmonton. Both were deserved 1st stars.
- Are there any nicer kids out there than the Czech import players we have seen over the past few years here? Matej Trojovsky, Danny Rakos, David Steiler, and Jan Dalecky are/were nice kids first, good hockey players second. Maybe it takes a mature person to leave home and go overseas to play hockey. It must play a role on some level.
- Im going to enjoy myself this season. No reservations here. Sometimes you can rebuild for three of four seasons just for that one year. The Broncos are at the top of their current cycle. Enjoy it fans, we've waited long enough. This group isn't too far away from championship calibre. It still may be missing a piece or two but what current contender isn't?
-Speaking of my last post and the "Sutter Way". If you ever get a chance to talk to Dean Chynoweth. Ask him about "The Chynoweth Way". He should be eager to tell the story.
- Caught up with the Lanigan folk at the West Ed Mall Saturday. Most of them didn't have a voice left after a wild Riders/Eskimos game the night before. West Ed was nuts to say the least. So much going on there, so many people, so much traffic in and out. I was happy to get out of there after a few hours. Lots of Riders gear on display from fans at the mall. I noticed Eskimo apparel was all 50% off at Jersey City. haha.
Looks like the regular staples of the mall are all doing well... Bourbon Street, the ice rink, waterpark, Fantasyland....etc. One major change - no more dolphin show. They've been replaced by sea lions. Sea lions?? Boo. I was just happy to find the plethora of coffee shops. I picked up a Skinny vanilla Latté and life was good.
- I was happy to be off the hook today for our "AAA" Wildcats broadcast in Prince Albert considering we arrived home sometime after 5am. Young Donovan Fehr and Alexis Van made the trek up there for the inaugural Wildcats broadcast of the season. The game ended in a 4-4 tie.
- I had take-out delivered tonight. The delivery guy asked what I was up to, I told him I was going to watch the World Series game tonight considering I've missed the first three. He then told me he was happy the Broncos game was presently on his car radio. I pondered that for a second and wondered aloud "how could that be?" He said it was tied... I think he had his teams mixed up. At least I hope so.
- Is there any correlation to the amount of powerplays a team draws to their overall team speed? Short answer, yes.
Everett - 108 pp chances
Swift Current - 105
Lethbridge/Regina - 104
Calgary - 102
Brandon - 101
Conversely, slower teams mean less of a chance to wind up the powerplay.
Edmonton - 76
Portland - 80
Kamloops - 81
Kelowna - 82
Another Monday night Best Western Meet the Broncos takes us to the Modern Family restaurant. Travis Yonkman and another player TBA will join me from 5-7pm. Come on down.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
The Broncos were happy to have escaped with victory in Red Deer but several of the guys are wondering just how that game was close.. A 5-4 winl in regulation thanks to David Steiler's powerplay goal late in the third period to break the deadlock.
The Broncos stormed out of the gates with goals by Keegan Dansereau just 39 seconds in and Brad Hoban/Erik Felde's marker at 2:27. Its still unclear who got the 2nd goal. The replay apparently says Hoban (for his 1st ever WHL goal) but he tells me Felde got it.
The Broncos let the Rebels back in the game with some careless penalties. J.D Watt scored on a 5-on-3 in the first, Scott Doucet scored a 5-on-3 marker in the 2nd.
With the Broncos up 4-3 going into the 3rd thanks to goals from David Steiler and Levi Nelson, the Rebels tied it with 12:53 left on a goal by Dallas Jackson seemingly out of nowhere. The defenseman picked up a loose puck behind the Broncos defense and put it over the shoulder of Ian Curtis.
The Broncos received a late powerplay with five minutes left to play and made the most it when Steiler scored his 2nd of the night on a rebound.
The Rebels pressed thanks to a late powerplay but the Broncos held off the struggling club for the 5-4 win. The Rebels are now 1-6 on home ice. Tonight was the first non sell-out on a Friday night dating all the way back to 2001. Still a crowd of 5733 took in tonight's contest.
Levi Nelson was at his agitating best. A couple untimely penalties hurt the club but Levi was physically dominant at times with several huge hits all over the ice.
Christian Magnus played well in his WHL debut but saw limted ice especially in the third period with the game so close. The 15 year-old 1st round bantam pick impressd Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler in our Coaches Show postgame.
The Broncos departed for Edmonton following the post-game meal to hang up their equipment at Rexall Place. From there it was over to the downtown hotel for some rest.
A bunch or rowdy Lanigan folk are in Edmonton for the Riders/Eskimos game. A group of 12 made the trek today from Saskatoon and my cell phone hasn't stopped ringing since about 11pm on. Im going to try and track down the crew tomorrow. They've had way too much fun tonight by the sounds of it and I'd be too far behind to catch up. It's always good to see those guys and girls... maybe I can talk them into coming to the Broncos game tomorrow night at Rexall. I have a feeling they may be spending their day at the West Ed Mall. Hockey is good in all, but it's The Mall and I will understand.
Looking back on my highlight of the night it was without a doubt my pre-game chat with Red Deer Rebels head coach Brian Sutter. The 11 year NHL player and 13 more as an NHL head coach is as well spoken and thoughtful as they come. Certain people have this presence. He's one of them.
We didn't talk about their home ice struggles or the rebuilding process they are going through...we talked about life, priorities, hard work and things that are most important to success. It was like listening to the “Sutter Way” being dictated to you as if it was being read from the family manual. It was impressive. I truly felt educated and better off for our five minute chat which I aired on the pre-game show. For any of the other WHL broadcasters who surf on here from time to time let me say this: One of the best coaches interviews you may ever have. Knock on his door and introduce yourself. You will be glad you did.
Junior Hockey Lessons
After getting into it with some of the vets after the game with some friendly jabs, I knew something was coming for me in the post-game meal.
Even though I was watching for it, a Rider overtime touchdown on the Boston Pizza TV's diverted my attention away long enough for the infamous “ shoe check” to be delivered. A little ketchup on the dress shoe was the payback as the veteran players usually get one of the rookies to do their dirty work.
Sitting close to Czech import Jan Dalecky I questioned him right away knowing he wasn't the guy who delivered the goods....
“Was that you Jan?”
“Whah, Whaht you mean?”
“ Shoe check.... did you do that to me?”
“ Nah, it was... was....Hoban, over there.”
Thanks for the info Jan. I file that away for later this season Brad....haha.. Jan didn't know it at the time but after ratting out a teammate he was in big time trouble with the guys. Within seconds, Jan's right shoe had the markings of a “ shoe check”.
Eric Doyle filled in Jan afterwards.... “never rat out a teammate”. It was the junior hockey lesson delivered to the soft spoken Czech.
Broncos and Oil Kings Saturday night. We're back on the air at 6:30pm with the pre-game show.
Friday, October 26, 2007
A lot has transpired since my last post. Here's a quick recap:
- Levi Nelson is the lone Bronco named to Team WHL for the Canada/Russia ADT Challenge series which will see games in Medicine Hat and Kootenay at the end of November. The game is more than a Canada/Russia clash, it's also an audition for these players in their attempt to get an invite to the World Junior selection camp. He is set to make his return to the line-up tonight after sitting out the last week with a leg injury.
Wouldn't it be good to have one of these games at the I-plex? It's coming. Apparently it was offered by the WHL this year but knowing the renovations would not be ready, the team had to decline. Hopefully the offer is still on the table for next season.
- Broncos 1st round bantam pick from this summer Christian Magnus will make his Broncos debut tonight in Red Deer. The 15 year-old out of Saskatoon had an impressive training camp. He's playing this season for the Saskatoon Blazers of the Sask. "AAA" midget league. I'm eager to see him play for a glimpse into the future.
- The Broncos have had a recent run of injuries at the forward spot. Not sure who is in and who is out yet. Some of the players could be game-time decisions. You'll have to catch tonight's pre-game show to get the latest. It starts at 7pm.
I was told the Bronco lines will look a little different tonight. They are breaking up the Dansereau-Smith-Felde line for the time being as they look for a little more scoring balance. Some of the younger players like Cody Eakin and Brad Hoban may take on a more prominent role with their recent performance.
The Rebels play the first of three games this weekend. They also have a home and home with Lethbridge before all is said and done. They also get 20 year-old J.D. Watt back tonight after serving his six game suspension for his high hit on Saskatoon's Teigan Zahn.
The Broncos didn't have a lot of success in Red Deer last season dropping both games and being shutout in one of them. They will look to put the brakes on this mini three-game slide. The Rebels haven't played their best on home ice. With limited offense in their barn they are 1-5 so far. Their only home ice win coming against the Edmonton Oil Kings in a shootout.
We should see a little bit of support for the Broncos tonight in Red Deer. It will no doubt be cut in half with the departure of Paul Postma to the Calgary Hitmen. The Postma clan routinely filled a section when the Broncos were in town, and they were loud. With Derek Claffey a Red Deer native and several Calgary players there should still be a lot of Bronco colored jerseys in the stands of the Centrium. I have not heard of any fans making the weekend trip from Swifty.
The Riders are in action tonight too... just up the road in Edmonton. The Broncos head North following tonight's game in preparation for tomorrow night's game against the Oil Kings.
Have a great weekend,
Thursday, October 25, 2007
It was a good game, and I thought Linden Rowat was spectacular in the Pats' goal. He made some key saves to stymie an attempted 2nd period rally in which the Broncos threw some quality chances his way and came up empty handed.
The Broncos kept coming in the third despite a deficit which grew from two to four goals in a matter of 39 seconds.
Not like he needed it, but Linden Rowat received some help from his posts as the Broncos rang iron at least four times in the third period. Then Keegan Dansereau was robbed point blank on a cross-ice pass one-timer on a 5-on-3 powerplay.
I thought the game lacked physical play considering the teams were involved in a tough six-game playoff battle just months ago. Expect that side of the game to develop as the season series continues.
Jordan Eberle is the real deal. The Pats 17 year-old had a quiet three points including the empty-netter in the final minute to make it 5-2. He has more to give, and that's a bit scary.
Overall the Pats are a similar team to last year. I like their top four d-men in Tuebert, Pyett, Ross and Valach. Their goaltending is top notch with Rowat. I think they've lost a little depth on offense over last year with the departures of Garrett Festerling, Kyle Ross, and Kaspars Saulities. They will look for some of the 2nd and 3rd year players to fill that void.
16 year-old Broncos rookie Cody Eakin was the best Bronco...again. That's good and bad. It shows the veterans didn't have a large impact in the game but also shows that Eakin will develop into a premier player in the WHL. He did it all last night and was the 2nd star on our broadcast.
The whirlwind tour doesn't slow down. The team leaves this afternoon for Red Deer. They play the Rebels tomorrow night then head North to Edmonton to play the Oil Kings for a third time in three weeks Saturday.
The Broncos are expected to have Levi Nelson back in the line-up this weekend. Just in time as rookie Mike Brown went down with an upper-body injury in last night's contest. The return of Dale Wiese will be questionable as he recovers from a broken thumb. An x-ray today may shed more light on his situation.
Broncos/Rebels tomorrow night... we're on the air at 7pm with the pre-game show, play-by-play at 7:30.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
With last night's loss to the Raiders still close to heart, the Broncos head into Regina in the first of six head-to-head games this season.
Regina has been a tough place for the opposition this season. The Pats hold a 7-1 mark on home ice with their only loss coming against Red Deer in what must have been an off night. The Pats boast the league's best powerplay at 27.0 %. That will pay some bills. Jordan Eberle has a league high 13 goals in 12 games and is really on fire lately. He's the trigger man up front while Logan Pyett remains the go-to guy on the back-end. You talk to coaches and G.M's around the Conference and the majority would say Pyett is the most dangerous d-man in the East.
Both teams will be short some bodies. Although I saw CTV interviewing Troy Ofukany last night in anticipation of tonight's game, I think he's still on the shelf with a knee injury. He hasn't played in a couple weeks. The Broncos will likely have Dale Wiese and Levi Nelson still in suits. Dean Chynoweth says both could be ready by the weekend.
It was quite the six-game series last spring between these teams. It seemed the Broncos had all the momentum in their favour after the game five victory to send the series back to Swifty for game six. Even in that game they came after the Pats only to have Brett Leffler score in overtime to win it. Had it gone back to Regina for a game seven, I liked the Broncos chances.
We're on the air at 6:30pm with the pre-game, play-by-play at 7pm.
Neat little Swift Current note to the World Series tonight. When Canadian Jeff Francis starts on the mound for the Rockies it will mark this first time a Canadian born pitcher has started a World Series game since 1975. That year Swift Current's own Reggie Cleveland got the start for the Boston Red Sox in a 6-2 loss in game five to the Cincinnati Reds.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The Raiders come in losers of six in a row and have battled some internal problems this week. Their leadership group except Jeff May were all stripped of their letters
Here's some news from Gregg Drinnan's blog at www.gdrinnan.blogspot.com
Captain Ryan DePape and alternates Mike Gauthier and Ryan McDonald all lost their letters. In fact, only D Jeff May was wearing a letter — an A — against Regina. “Obviously there is some surrounding issues with discipline and whether it’s discipline (problems) on the ice or off the ice, it’s been very clear that it’s not going to be tolerated,” Campese told the Prince Albert Daily Herald. “Guys are going to have to understand really quick that we are not going to tolerate any actions that (are) to the (detriment) of the team. It’s a different kind of culture here and the players have to realize that and what they are here to do.” . . . During the game, Campese sat Dustin Cameron and McDonald for all of the second period after they took what were deemed bad penalties. . . . The Raiders (3-9-2-0) have lost six in a row and GM Donn Clark is out scouting. He watched the Kamloops Blazers play twice on the weekend. . . ."
These teams can put a scare into you. You never know just how much of an impact the message has on players and how they will react to it in their next game. We will find out tonight at the i-plex.
As for the Broncos they will be short some bodies for tonight's game. Dale Wiese is practicing with the team but is still more than likely a week away from getting the ok to play after his broken thumb. Levi Nelson is skating with the team and looked good at practice yesterday however it's doubtful he will play tonight. Dean has said they are shooting for the weekend.
After going 8-0 against the Raiders last season, the Broncos dropped the first meeting of this year in Prince Albert 4-1. Put that on top of the Broncos 5-4 shootout loss to Prince George Saturday night and the club should be dually motivated for this one.
The Broncos have picked up at least a point in their last seven games. It's the longest streak of that nature in the Chynoweth era. Back in 2003-04 with the likes of Williams, Redenbach, White, Rome, etc., the team rattled off eight straight games with at least a point. Late in the 2002/03 season the club had a 10 game streak from February 23rd to March 17th.
Before face-off tonight, I will be joined by voice of the Regina Pats and Roughriders Rod Pedersen. We will talk about tomorrow night's clash between the Broncos and Pats at the Brandt Center. Rod always gives you something to chew on and our chat will be no different. He really lets you know what's going with the Pats, the Riders and city of Regina as a whole. Pre-game show at 7pm, play-by-play at 7:30pm.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
- Honorable mentions to Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler who told me in the post-game coaches show to "cheer up Keener, it could be worse".
- The Broncos held a Community skate today at the I-plex. From what I hear it was well attended. Tomorrow I'll be joined by Broncos Spencer McAvoy and Matt Tassone at Smittys restaurant from 5-7pm. The boys should be comfortable considering it's a regular breakfast hang-out spot.
- Despite the shootout loss last night the Broncos still have picked up at least a point in seven straight games.
- Do you love it or hate it? The dreaded shootout made the Broncos losers for a 2nd time this season. The shooters are 1/8 while Travis Yonkman has stopped 5/8 attempts.
- The Broncos can't seem to string together an extended winning streak. Their longest streak in the last four years is four games in a row which happened near the end of last season - March 9th to the 16th. Dean Chynoweth's career coaching longest winning streak is seven games back in the 2002-03 season. February 15th to March 3rd, 2003.
- The Riders are 11-5 after today's win and will host a home playoff game for the first time since 1988. The revenue from one of these games is estimated at $750,000. Their Touchdown Lottery is again a sell-out too. Brings a new meaning to the Riders fight song "Green is the Color".
- I saw a raging debate on one of those fans message boards about the best WHL broadcaster. My vote? Regan in Kelowna. He can make a good game sound great and a bad game sound good. He does a fine job of selling the product and making it fun to listen to. After all, shouldn't the game be entertaining? That's the business we're in.
- Busy nine days ahead for me but it's just par for the course at this time of the year. Monday night meet the Broncos at Smittys tomorrow. Tuesday night it's the Broncos and Prince Albert from the I-plex. Wednesday the Broncos are in Regina. Thursday they leave to Red Deer to get comfortable before Friday's game. Friday night it's the Broncos and Rebels from the Centrium. Saturday it's the Broncos and the Edmonton Oil Kings from Rexall place. After a long drive home I may have to be in Prince Albert the next day Sunday for a 2pm "AAA" midget broadcast (depending on the health of Kenny Audette). Monday night it's Meet the Broncos from Boston Pizza then Tuesday the Broncos host the Regina Pats. Phew.........
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The Broncos didn't help matters. Their 4-1 third period lead evaporated quickly - mostly because of the lacklustre "this game is in the bag attitude".
Here's how the Cougars defied the odds:
- They were down 4-1 and scored three to tie it up.
- They killed off four third period powerplays including a 5-on-3 for 1:42. They also didn't get a third period man advantage.
- They killed off a full two minute 4-on-3 powerplay in overtime.
- They lost their best defenseman Ty Wishart for the 2nd half of the third period after he took a 10 minute misconduct.
- It was their sixth and final game of their long east division road swing. Fatigue was supposed to be a factor. It wasn't.
We can rip on the Broncos all we want for the way they shut it down in the 3rd but I think the bigger story is how impressive the Cougars comeback really was.
Friday, October 19, 2007
This should be a great venue to showKeegan Dansereau's two unbelievable goals this past week that will be (in my bias opinion) #1 and #2 hands down.
Dansereau's penalty shot goal against Edmonton was the nicest one I've seen. His "Tuesday night toe drag" around the Lethbridge defenseman complete with his top shelf shot in one motion takes the cake from this past week.
We will see where they factor in when/if the Broncos submit the highlights on Monday.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Over the next 72 hours I have a trio of play-by-play broadcasts to handle beginning tomorrow night with the "AAA" midget SC Legionnaires in Moose Jaw, followed by a Friday afternoon 9 man provincial high school football game in Gull Lake before wrapping up the stint with the Broncos / PG Cougars broadcast Saturday night from the iplex. A bit of a stretch considering I'll have to rise and shine at 4:30am the next two mornings for the radio station morning sports run and the "Breakfast Boys" morning show on the Eagle.
There isn't any amount of radio work that I will ever look at as being excessive. I still consider this line of work to be somewhat of a privilege. And after working a year of construction right out of high school in every condition possible from +40C t0 -40C and all weather patterns in between, I don't consider what I do "work".
Maybe when I have a family my priorities will change...well I know they will change, but for now it's full steam ahead.
The radio station treats me well and return I give them my best effort every day. For the record, I'm not in favor of unions. You work hard, do your job and you'll be rewarded. Bottom line.
Enough about me though, I thought I would compile a quick WHL plus/minus list as we are now almost a month into the season.
- Kelly Macrimmon and the Brandon Wheat Kings. They are the surprise of the league so far. A consensus pick for the WHL's Eastern division basement, Macrimmon is getting the most out of his handful of returnees and high flying rookies. Their 7-2 start wasn't predicted by anyone... not even Macrimmon I'm sure.
- The Kootenay Ice. I don't know what the situation is in Cranbrook with the Ice. Their 3-8-1 start is baffling. They have the tools up front to be successful but haven't put it together. Is it the loss of Cory Clousten as Head Coach? Or have we grown to hold the Ice at a higher standard simply because of their success and numerous 40-plus win seasons? They will figure it out eventually and then they could go on a tear.
Brian Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels. The former Jack Adams award winner for NHL Coach of the Year has been a treat to deal with this season from all media accounts. There is no feelings of being above this league or it's individuals. He's been great to his young team, WHL media and fellow coaching colleagues. I will get a chance to talk to him next weekend in Red Deer and I'm looking forward to it.
Portland Winter Hawks. With one win in their first nine games and only 16 goals scored, I have to ask the question. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? If so how far away is it? Their PP is a league low 3.6%. They been outscored 3-2 while they've been on the man advantage. "Portland has declined the penalty, we will remain five on five."
Andy Kemper took over as their play-by-play broadcaster this season. Hopefully his spirits are still high. There's nothing more frustrating for a radio guy than a team that has no scoring punch. The 2004-05 Broncos hold the CHL record for fewest goals in a season with 135.... I know first hand how tough that can be. Surprisingly the Broncos still won 22 games that year and would have made the playoffs under the current conference ranking format. Portland has been almost mathematically eliminated a month into the season. Prove me wrong Hawks!
Dave Hunchak and the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Warriors have seemingly figured it out and have won five straight after losing the first five of the season. We will see if they can keep it going on the road (1-3) this season. They have a long B.C. trip set to begin.
The Medicine Hat Tigers. Their start of 8-2-1 has surprised many but not me. Will Desjardins is a great coach and they will always play well in their building. They have a lot of youth but they are playing well. Tyler Ennis will score 50 plus this season. Bank on it.
The Swift Current Broncos put on another good show for the I-plex crowd in a 5-2 win over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes to improve to an east division best 8-2-0-1.
The result isn't what Bronco fans will be talking about. Rather the two first period goals from Keegan Dansereau and Erik Felde will be the talk. Felde's coast to coast goal to get the scoring started was also his team leading 8th of the season. What did we give up for this guy again? Right now he's the most explosive player in the WHL. His 16 points ties him with fellow teammate Michael Wilson and Medicine Hat's Tyler Ennis for the league lead.
Keegan Dansereau's "toe-drag" around Luca Sbisa moments later brought the fans off their seat a 2nd time. Dansereau won a race for the puck and then undressed Sbisa with a pretty move and a shot all in one motion. It was almost a "Matrix" like slow-motion moment when Dansereau danced around the d-man for his first of two on the night.
Ryan and I were talking about that goal every commercial break into the 2nd period. I'm sure it's already been downloaded to the Broncos year end highlight file.
Lethbridge didn't go away. They scored a 5-on-3 goal in the 2nd to pull within one. They thought they tied it with a goal at the end of the 2nd period after time had expired. A long shot trickled over the line as time expired. Although clear to us that it was "no-goal" referee Chris Crich signalled a goal and the fans went nuts. The four officials on the ice would convene and eventually wave it off. Upon replay, it was closer than I initially thought but still not in by the time the clock read 0:00.
The third period was a good period for the Broncos as they increased their lead on a 5-on-3 goal from Keegan Dansereau set-up from a nice cross-crease pass from David Steiler. The Hurricanes got the goal right back moments later on a short-handed 3-on-1 break.
Zack Smith off the rush put home an insurance marker with 2:11 to play. Shortly after, Cody Eakin put it away with an empty-netter in the final minute.
- Bronco fans have been treated to three exciting home games this season. We will see if they can keep it up Saturday night when they host the Prince George Cougars. The Cougars will be playing their 6th and final game of the East division road swing.
- An update now to that Colton Tuebert hit in the last post. The league has handed him a two-game suspension which he will serve this weekend. He popped Moose Jaw's Riley Holzapfel in open ice Sunday night away from the puck. Holzapfel was a scratch in last night's Warriors game.
- After a six game playoff series last year, the Broncos and Regina Pats will play their first of six head-to-head meetings a week from tonight from the Brandt Center.
- Through all of the early success the Broncos are doing it with little to no fanfare. No WHL Player of the Week or any honourable mentions, no CHL Top 10 rankings, and a wait and see attitude from around the league. I think this is the way they prefer it.
And finally I will leave you again with my favorite pre-season prognostication from a few weeks ago.
"The Swift Current Broncos might be the biggest enigma in the division. They haven't scored more than 200 goals in a season since 2003-04 and they'll again be offensively challenged." 5th place in the East. "
Cory Wolfe - Saskatoon Star Phoenix
Getcha popcorn Cory,
Monday, October 15, 2007
Watt has sat out two games of the six. It appears the WHL is taking blows to the head more seriously. The hit in the Blades corner left Zahn unconscious as he laid motionless on the ice. The hit isn't visible from the webcast replay but the aftermath sure is. They must have had a different angle to review at the league level.
Could there be another suspension coming? Colton Tuebert of the Regina Pats hit Moose Jaw star Riley Holzapfel in open ice away from the puck last night. Moose Jaw didn't like the hit and took exception to Tuebert's action twice. Once when the incident happened and another at the end of the game when Riley Grantham attempted to get at him. It's a tough call. Not sure what the league will choose to do on this one.
We had our "Monday Night Best Western Meet the Bronco" tonight at Kabos Family restaurant. Dale Wiese and Erik Felde were our guests from 5-7pm. We had some supper, talked to some fans and did some cut-ins.
I've known Dale quite well over the years and we always talk pretty open. It was my first real chance to talk to Erik other than the pre-game interview or casual chat on the bus.
Erik knows what he wants - team success which will equal personal success and a pro contract next season. I like to think I have a pretty good feel for someone who is able both mentally and physically to play pro next season and Erik fits the bill for sure.
He told me a lot about growing up in Anchorage, AK and his road to the WHL. It's quite interesting. He excited for our U.S. swing in December - he can act as our tour guide.
Dale was there sporting his thumb cast. He might be in action by the end of the month if all goes well but we'll wait and see. He just started to get hot when he suffered the thumb injury. I always get a sense of leadership and confidence with him.
He knows this year's team has the tools to be a contender. He calls our top two lines probably the best in the WHL right now. 40 goals in 10 games can back that up. Of course he's a big part of the that top six forward group and he will be missed.
Next week we will be at BP's... come down for a visit.
We're on the air Tuesday night at 7pm with the Bronco Big Show. Jeremy Schenderling will be my pre-game guest. The first thing he said to me today was "what is up with the Broncos?" in a very emphatic way. He's been keeping track and is quite pleased with their start. His regular season in Augusta, GA with the Lynx starts Friday night.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The term basically refers to a complete reversal of reality.... and Bronco reality over the last few seasons has been a team short on offence. Enter Bronco Bizzaro World.
The Broncos lead the league in average goals per game:
Broncos - 4.00
Vancouver - 3.77
Calgary - 3.54
They have the league's leading scorer... and he's a defenseman.
Michael Wilson 1-15-16
Kyle Beach 6-9-15
Kruse Reddick 6-9-15
Mark Santorelli 4-11-15
I don't put a lot of stock into these stats. With so many categories you're bound to be leading in a couple. But these two in particular are quite odd based on the last few seasons.
It was funny, I read an article from a reporter talking about the Broncos coming in to face their team. He called them the "high flying" Broncos. I had to pause for a second to think if he was being sarcastic or not.
The Broncos at 7-2-0-1 are five games over .500 for the first time since late in the 2003-04 season. In other words, the first time in the Dean Chynoweth era. It hasn't done anything to separate them from the pack though. Both Regina and Brandon continue to win. The three teams have done a decent job from at least separating themselves a little from Prince Albert, Moose Jaw and Saskatoon.
All in all a good weekend for the team. 10-1 Friday night speaks for itself. Last night is was a bit of nail biter as Red Deer came at the Broncos full force in the third period to tie the game 3-3 forcing overtime. Geordie Wudrick salvaged the night with his third game winning goal of the season with the overtime winner.
The Broncos could have put the game out of reach in the 2nd period if it wasn't for several showtime saves from James Reimer in the Rebels goal.
There was some controversy on the overtime goal. The Rebels thought the puck was gloved ahead by Levi Nelson in the attacking zone in order to keep the play alive. I've seen the replay a few times. Levi Nelson goes into the corner along with a pair of Rebels. the puck was obviously touched by a Rebel player before it went to Wudrick thus negating any hand pass. Nelson was also the only Bronco near the puck when he was fumbling on the ice. The hand pass argument isn't valid.
Red Deer showed me some character. They had the Broncos on the ropes in the third period and came close to scoring the go-ahead goal late.
Good match-up tonight in Moose Jaw. The Warriors who have all of a sudden won three in a row, host the Regina Pats who are 7-3 to start the season.
As we speak the Riders are winning... getting closer to clinching that much sought after home playoff game. A win today and a Stampeders loss would do it... I've check the schedule and there will be no Regina roadtrip for me that day as the Broncos host the Prince Albert Raiders November 11th.
Tomorrow night is our "Monday night meet the Broncos" promotion at Kabos Restaurant. I'll be on location from 5 till 7 with a couple of the guys. Stop on down and ask some questions, hang out and have supper with us.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
It was nice to see the Broncos live up to the hype last night. Fans had waited a long time to see this team. It was their first home game since being bounced in game six in the playoffs by Regina back in April.
Fans were antsy to see this club perform and they were treated to an offensive showcase.
After talking up this team on the air, on the street, in the grocery store... all over town, I was pleased to see that performance.
I have some work to do in preparation for tonight's game so no recap of the action. I'll try and post tomorrow once tonight's game with Red Deer is complete.
Join myself and Ryan on the Eagle 94.1 FM beginning with the pre-game show at 7pm, play-by-play at 7:30 from the I-plex.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The pics are cell phone quality. Not exactly the best but you get the idea.
From top to bottom. "Showtime" Dale Wiese, Ryan Switzer pushes the i-plex boundaries and Dean Chynoweth chats after practice.
I had a much better feeling about tomorrow night's game after visiting the I-plex today. The seats were being cleaned and the parking lot has been cleared. Maybe it was just seeing the guys on the ice that made it more of a reality for me.
Its pretty easy to get rattled over the on-going construction because it puts you out of your comfort zone. Ryan had some good words of advice, " embrace the ubsurd" is what he told me today. He's right. The Broncos and the fans will just have to make the most of it until it's complete.
Some 20 year-old news today raised some eyebrows around the league I'm sure. First, Ken Petkau has apparently ended his "retirement" after Vancouver added him today. The Chilliwack Bruins announced his retirement when they released him.
His situation won't change though. A third liner in Chilliwack isn't likey to crack Vancouver's top six forwards.
Lethbridge traded an agitator for an agitator when they added 20 year-old Mike Wuchterl (a former 'Cane). To make room, they released Yashar Farmanara.
Does anyone know Kelowna's situation yet? It appeared as if Lyon Messier was the odd man out but I haven't seen any announcements.
Earlier in the day the Brandon Wheat Kings sent 20 year-old d-man Mark Louis to Red Deer for a 3rd round bantam pick. Perhaps Kelly Macrimmon and Dean Chynoweth are on a crime spree together after a couple steals of a deal this week.
Interesting note out of Prince Albert today as their website is reporting Cody Vann has left the team for personal reasons. There isn't a lot of the supporting cast left in P.A. Brent Ottman, Colin Scherger, Jarrid Dowhay, Lukas Zeliska, Milan Jurik, Cole Penner, Shane Malone, and David Aime have all been re-assigned, released or have left the team. That's eight players!
Broncos and the Oil Kings tomorrow night... bring your radios to the rink, 7pm Bronco Big Show, 7:30 play-by-play.
I remember the Blades in-stand announcer Jay Richards making his rounds in the Credit Union Center in a yellow hard hat to bring home the point. It was used to emphasize the workmanlike approach to the Blades players and games... in Swift Current we've taken on the literal meaning.
We've been informed I will have to wear a hard hat to conduct post-practice interviews at the I-plex today because of the on-going renovations and construction.
The Blades have nothing on us....
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The Swift Current Broncos have announced Wednesday afternoon that they have traded 17-year-old forward Phil Gervais to the Vancouver Giants for a 3rd Round pick in the 2008 Bantam Draft.
Gervais was originally drafted by the Broncos in the 3rd round, 52nd overall in the 2005 Bantam Draft and is in his 2nd season in the Western Hockey League.
This move gets the Broncos down to 22 players on the roster - a number they usually like to operate with.
The depth at the 17 year-old forward position allows the Broncos to do this. With Mike Brown, Geordie Wudrick, Justin Dowling, Jan Dalecky and a couple of prospects at that age, the Broncos are deep in 1990 talent.
PersonallyI think the Broncos received good value here - a third round pick is pretty good. It also gives them another trade tool to throw around at the deadline if they're in position to make a long playoff run.
The Giants have a pretty good group of forwards already. Phil will be in plenty of competition with the Giants for regular ice-time.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
The guys were excited to get back into their dressing room even though it
remains a construction zone inside the building. The team will hold practice inside the rink tomorrow as they attempt to get comfortable with their surroundings before Friday's home opener against Edmonton.
The team has to be happy with their start 5-2-0-1 on the road to begin the season and a spot in first place in the east division. They couldn't have asked for much more - first place and they`ve yet to play at home.
With that in mind I thought I would compile a 1/9th of the season report card covering all facets of the game.
Both Travis Yonkman and Ian Curtis have provided eight solid starts in goal for this team. There hasn't been one goal that I thought has been soft or they should have had. Of course these two can be hard on themselves and feel as if they could have made some of those saves but all in all. Goaltending has been excellent. Here are the combined numbers:
GAA: 2.36 Save % .916 W/L 5-2-0-1
The group lost a little of its depth when Paul Postma was traded away but they have a very capable group of seven. Aside from a few mental errors, the defense has been outstanding both in their own end helping out offensively.
The seven rear-guards are led by Mike Wilson's 1-11-12 and +8 rating, Eric Doyle's 2-5-7 and key defensive work from Derek Claffey, Spencer McAvoy, Ryan Molle, R.J. Larochelle and Joel Rogers (used sparingly).
So far this season the Broncos are averaging 3.25 goals per game. Over one goal more than last year at this time. The forwards have been good most of the time but a couple of inconsistent performances keep them from getting an A.
Dale Wiese and Erik Felde were amongst the best forwards on the recent five game road trip. They still have to sort a few things out with line combinations and I think will only get stronger as the season progresses.
The group of youngsters have received praise from the coaching staff including Cody Eakin, Mike Brown, Justin Dowling and Brad Hoban. Rookie import Jan Dalecky has played well and will only get better as the season progresses much like David Steiler did last season.
It seems there is a trend developing here. Either the PP is really good or really bad. Regardless of that the numbers don`t lie. 22.0% is a solid number and they have yet to allow a shorthanded goal. Any powerplay clicking over 20% deserves an A.
Stability on the point has been the key to it`s success. With capable PP quarterbacks like Eric Doyle, Mike Wilson, and Erik Felde, the team is in good hands but may live of die with how the qb`s perform.
PENALTY KILL: C
The PK has yet to find it`s groove in the early season. It`s struggling but slowly getting better. At 79.2% and ranked 17th out of 22 teams, it`s the only area of concern for me. The answer to the PK getting better will be a little but more tenacity and fight to win battles for loose pucks.
The PK unit it doing a great job of taking away shooting lanes and that`s been the strength.
There has also been too many failed clearing attempts in the early going. If you have room and space you have to make sure you get the puck out of your zone.
This includes things like chemistry, attitude and making sure you are prepared to play every night. With a couple of trades early in the season this team still has to come together as a group. That will take time and it`s up to the leaders of the team to make the effort to bring it all together. The eight straight games on the road has helped.
The Broncos have announced their capacity for the home opener will be limited because of the on-going renovation and construction process. Including standing room, only 2025 tickets will be sold. Get your tickets quick. Call the Broncos office at 773-1509.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
The Broncos departed from Prince George to Edmonton this morning after packing up their gear at the rink fresh off a 6-1 win over the Cougars the night before. They weren't alone. The Calgary Hitmen were also underneath the stands of the CN Center getting organized for their game against the Cougars which happened earlier this evening (5-3 Hitmen win).
It was strange to share the same space with another WHL team as friends from each team talked and had some laughs. It also gave Hitmen players Kyle Bortis and Paul Postma a chance to talk to their old 'mates in a relaxed environment.
The Cougars were also getting ready for their pre-game skate. It felt like one of those weekend tournaments with teams all over the place.
It was great to chat with Hitmen play-by-play broadcaster Brad Curle the night before. Curly has always been one of my favorites. He was the Hurricanes play-by-play man when I was going to College in Lethbridge. He's one of the best out there.
The Broncos made their way through some morning rain into Jasper for about an hour stop for lunch and a quick look around. Great scenery highlighted the day when the sunshine broke through the clouds around the Alberta/BC border. Simply gorgeous.
Bus driver Dan had to show some patience as a herd of mountain sheep made the highway their home just outside of Jasper. With the sheep out of the way, the hammer was down for Edmonton.
Winning on the road into an off-day is enjoyable for everyone. The mood is always relaxed and the guys seem to enjoy themselves as they occupy their time in the back with who knows what.
The team arrived in Edmonton just before 7pm for supper. After that it was a hop, skip and a jump over Rexall Place to unload the bus and hang up the gear. The job took a little longer than usual due to the guys wanting to get out on the ice surface and gaze around to check out the surroundings of an NHL building. I've been to Rexall probably six or seven times but this was different. Seeing the the rink from ice-level and from the benches is always a highlight. It doesn't matter how many NHL rinks you've been to, each one has it's own uniqueness and character.
The old Northlands Collesium may be dated but it's a special place stuffed with great hockey memories and moments which bring goosebumps. Like Gretzky's 50 goals in 39 games in the 1981-82 season. Or more recently during the 2006 playoffs when the the fans took over Oh Canada in a show of Canadian and hockey pride.
Monday afternoon's game will also be a home game of sorts for Matt Tassone, Phil Gervais and Spencer McAvoy. The three from the Edmonton area will have a ton of support at the game from friends and family.
A win would give the Broncos an almost unimaginable 6-2 finish to their eight straight games on the road to begin the campaign. With wins in tough places like Moose Jaw, Medicine Hat, Kamloops and Lethbridge, the team has a chance to close off on a high note.
One last thought. Being away for a week I haven't been able to judge if fans back home are getting excited for the season and our home opener yet or not. Of course Ryan Switzer has a pulse on the situation at home and tells me people are jacked but I personally haven't heard it.
Let's hope our fans come and show their support for this upcoming five game homestand. Counting pre-season, it's been 14 straight games on the road. It's time the boys hear some encouragement from their hometown fans. Let's hear you Friday.
One more thing, Happy Thanksgiving!
Don't look now but Wilson is at the top or near the top of several WHL statistical categories.
He leads the WHL in defenseman scoring with 12 points. He's 2nd only to Tri-Cities Kruse Reddick in overall scoring. He leads the WHL in assists with 11 and leads the WHL in plus/minus with a +9 rating. He also has at least a point in all seven games this season. The longest scoring streak by a Bronco in a few seasons.
All this from Mike Wilson who is showing no signs of letting up. He should get serious consideration for WHL Player of the Week. He has my vote.
All this is secondary of course to the Broncos 4th win in their last five games as they routed the Cougars in Prince George. Six different goal scorers in the game included Dale Wiese, Zack Smith, Mike Wilson, Jan Dalecky, Keegan Dansereau and Mike Brown's first ever in the WHL.
Mike Brown played a great a game. He was physical, he scored, he fought.... it was the best game from a Bronco rookie yet.
Erik Felde added three more assists. He has six points in four games with this club. His acquisition is looking good so far.
Lost in all this scoring was Ian Curtis in goal making 20 saves in his first WHL start to record the victory. I've been a big Ian Curtis fan since he was 15 and I've waited a long time for this (so has he). He was solid.
The Broncos are now 5-2 with one more game to go wrapping up eight straight on the road to begin the season. They conclude the stretch Monday afternoon in Edmonton against the expansion Oil Kings. A win in Edmonton would cap a great start to the season for this club coming back to home ice for five games in a row.
Safe to say the guys are all feeling pretty good. There is a good atmosphere around this team right now and winning is breeding confidence amongst this group.
Get your tickets.....
Saturday, October 06, 2007
The Broncos left Kamloops with more than just the two points, bus driver Dan Adrienne also claimed the 50/50 jackpot for over $1600 dollars. Nice.
That was the kicker to the night where the Broncos played a fairly solid game for the 2-1 win. They went into shutdown mode for the final period protecting the one goal lead while outshooting and outchancing the Blazers.
Some rough stuff to kick off the third period. The Blazers really wanted a piece of Geordie Wudrick after he took a whack at Victor Bartley when he laid on the ice in the 2nd period period. Sasha Golin was talking to him off the face-off when R.J Larochelle stepped up and delivered some solid lefts in a long scrap. Geordie eventually got jumped by Mark Hall during the same stoppage. Both were kicked out of the game. Bad trade for the Broncos there.
Spencer McAvoy also stood up for rookie teammate Justin Dowling after he was hit awkwardly into the glass at the penalty box by Tyler Shattock. Spence didn't fare so well but it was a good response to the dangerous check.
Cody Eakin probably didn't sleep much last night. His breakaway chance in the third resulted in him shooting the puck well over the net. Eakin was disappointed after the game. With his speed and sense he'll get more chances.
It was great to have Kamloops Daily News Sports Editor Gregg Drinnan on the broadcast last night. The fellow blogger at http://www.gdrinnan.blogspot.com/ has been covering WHL hockey for 30 plus years. He joined us for a 1st intermission chat.
The guys were treated to a nice Thanksgiving-like post-game meal afterwards. Some turkey, potatoes, gravy, salad.... it was fantastic and a nice touch from Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler who looks after planning the meals on the road.
Not sure what to expect tonight in Prince George. The team hopefully can get some downtime and some rest before face-off. It's a tough stretch playing in Kamloops and then P.G. in back to back nights. The Cougars didn't play last night and have been waiting for the Broncos since Wednesday's win over Tri-Cities. It was the Cougars first win of the season.
We're on the air at 7:30 with the Big Show, 8pm play-by-play. Former Broncos goaltender Kyle Moir will be my guest in the pre-game show. He's out in Thunder Bay at Lakehead University.
The Broncos are out to a solid 4-2 start with two more games to go in this string of eight straight to begin the season. Dean Chynoweth's target was 4-4. Hopefully he can re-work those numbers to a more attractive 5-3 or 6-2.
Time to go check out some P.G. scenery.....
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I maybe went off a bit too much on the officiating which I tend to do some nights. Bottom line is if you're chasing the other team around the rink and playing mostly in your zone it's tough not to take penalties and awfully tough to draw one. Bronco Assistant Coach Tim Kehler made that point in the post-game show.
Instead of recapping the negatives I thought I would throw a few positive thoughts from the outcome.
- Geordie Wudrick scored his 5th in goal in as many games. The 17 year-old is almost halfway to his total of 13 goals from last season and hasn't even stepped on home-ice yet.
- Mike Wilson has at least a point in all five games this season. His eight assists leads the team and puts him near the top of the top scoring defenseman in the WHL. His assist on Wudrick's goal kept the streak alive.
- Erik Felde scored his first goal as a Bronco showing nice finish from a pretty set-up from Zack Smith. Smith replaced Nelson as the top line center between Erik Felde and Keegan Dansereau after some undisciplined play from Levi.
-The Calgary Hitmen by all accounts played their best game of the season as their powerplay finally got going after an 0-for-20 slump heading into the game. With the personnel they have on the PP they can't help but be successful.
Make no mistake, the Hitmen are the class of the Eastern Conference. They still have three defenseman to insert into the line-up who are injured. Alex Plante, Keith Seabrook, and Dan Mercer. You put those three into the mix and they will be hard to beat.
Just after breakfast the CBC Hockey Night in Canada crew was getting organized for the Flames / Flyers game tonight. Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Scott Oake were mulling around in the hotel lobby, I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Jim Hughson and Chris Cuthbert share the throne for best hockey play-by-play broadcasters in North America. Jim once let me sit in for a period between the Flames and Canucks at G.M. Place from the very intimidating “Jim Robson Broadcast Gondola”. That was before he made the leap to CBC and was still with Sportsnet.
The thing that impresses me most about Hughson is his professionalism and delivery. He never breaks character and remains poised at all times. Even though he's done Canucks games for years you would never know he was the “home team broadcaster”. The series he called between Dallas /Vancouver during last year's playoffs was boring hockey but he made the most of it all while presenting it in an non-bias fashion.
The Broncos spent the night in Calgary before leaving this morning for Kamloops. A nice drive took the team through Banff / Lake Louise and into Golden, BC for lunch before continuing on to the 'Loops. A little snow was in the air outside of Calgary which turned to rain later in the day.
The Broncos will practice tomorrow morning at Interior Savings Center or Sportmart Place or whatever they're calling the rink in Kamloops these days. The name changes seemingly every other season. Kudos to the Broncos for locking up a 10 year deal with Innovation Credit Union for their naming rights.
Regardless of the rink's name, the Blazers are good. They feature some high end defenseman like Keaton Ellerby and Victor Bartley. They have some scoring too featuring Jusso “ The Goal” Puustinen and Brock Nixon. The Broncos will be in tough as they look to rebound from last night's 7-2 loss.
We're on the air tomorrow night at 7:30 with the Big Show. Prince George Cougars General Manager Dallas Thompson will be our guest as he gives us his thoughts on the Cougars hockey club. The Broncos head to PG following tomorrow night's game.
It seems some of the other broadcasters with blogs have picked up on a thought I had about “home team”goal judges earlier this week.
Rod Pedersen of the Regina Pats is on board. He's seen it far too often over the years. Les Lazaruk of the Blades described a strange scenario in Kootenay the other night where the goal judge flagged down the referee while play continued to plead his case for a Kootenay goal. After a chat it was deemed a goal. Even KootenayIce home broadcaster Jeff Hollick found it hard to believe. I was watching the WHL's webcast of the game when it happened and thought “here we go again”.
My thoughts on the subject can be read from a post earlier this week called “This n That” below.
Enjoy the weekend,