So Donn Clark was let go as General Manager of the Prince Albert Raiders today. The only question I ask is.... What took so long?
The Raiders have struggled in the new era where big, rough and tough isn't the consistent winning formula anymore. The Raiders will miss the playoffs this season and that should come as no surprise. Sure their was heavy optimism for them to grab a spot headed into the season but their roster just didn't stack up to some of the other teams in the conference.
Although there is a slight chance they can grab a spot before seasons end, thoughts in Raiderville have turned to next year... or maybe the year after. Looking at who they return and who they will lose, playoffs could be a longshot next season.
To Clark's credit, he claims the team is in much better shape financially than when he took over. In small market WHL hockey that's just as important as wins and losses.
So after eight years, the Raiders are moving on. Bruno Campese has been named the interim General Manager. From all my dealings with Bruno in the past, I think he's a smart, intelligent individual who people will cheer for to get things turned around.
My dealings with Donn Clark have been limited at best. I have a pretty good story on a conversation that went down in the media room we had in my first year in the league. Ask me about it sometime. I won't share it on the blog.
I listened to today's news conference from the Ches Leach lounge on CKBI 900. It was short, to the point and rehearsed. In and out.
Meanwhile on the home front, the Broncos are still searching for the way they need to play to be successful on a consistent basis. There's no doubting the talent that has been assembled. It's just a matter before it clicks and the light bulb goes off.
They played well in Regina Saturday night and probably deserved a better fate. Regina found a way to win, the Broncos didn't, plain and simple. Five on five the Broncos were the better club but it wasn't enough to knock off the Pats for a fourth time this season.
It seems they always have one piece of the puzzle missing. Some nights they lack a nose to the net, sometimes they can't get that key save, sometimes they're uninspired. Any one of these elements working against them is often enough to cause a stumble.
Home ice has been better lately with three straight wins at the I-plex. They will try to run that streak to five by the end of the week with a game Wednesday against Red Deer and a Saturday night tilt with Vancouver (who they catch on the final game of their six game road swing).
Ryan Molle was full contact today in practice and should be cleared to go Wednesday night leaving the Broncos with eight healthy defenseman (knock on wood).
Mark Guggenberger has been put through the paces pretty hard the last couple days trying to get back in game shape. Don't expect the 18 year-old charismatic goaltender to get a start for awhile...maybe a couple weeks. I asked one of the guys how "Gugs" has looked so far in practice. "Awwe, he's sick!" which in teenager terms is a good thing.
Mike Wilson and Cody Eakin were our guests tonight for our Monday Night Meet the Broncos at Kabos Family Restaurant. Thanks to Steve for hooking us up on the evening!
Finally, here's clip from the rough and tumble mid 90's in the NHL. Old time hockey on display here between the Bruins and the Devils. Gotta love the line match-up. The Devlis are down 3-cobb early and send out Lyle Odelin, Mike Peluso, and Randy Mckay for a spark. Watch the bout that takes center stage at mid-ice. Anyone look familiar?