Warning. Self serving blog post ahead.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Warning. Self serving blog post ahead.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I'm thinking a lot of Bronco fans caught tonight's game on Shaw TV so there is video evidence this game actually played out the way it did. A game that will go down as one of the wildest contests I've seen over the years as the Broncos play-by-play broadcaster.
The Broncos scored a season high seven goals. Problem is, they gave up a season high nine.
Bottom line, if you score seven times against the #3 ranked team in the nation you better win. It didn't happen as the Broncos surrendered the lead on four separate occasions to lose their 4th straight game away from home ice.
When was the last time the Broncos gave up nine goals? It might take me awhile to track that down. When was the last time Calgary gave up seven goals on home ice?
Here's some "believe it or not" post-game notes.
- Hitmen goaltenders went 31 minutes without making a save. Goaltenders Martin Jones, and Michael Snider gave up four goals on four consecutive shots spanning from late in the first period to early in the third. The Broncos scored on all three 2nd period shots.
- The Hitmen went 4 for 5 on the powerplay. Even the PP they didn't score on was in effect a PP goal as the penalized Bronco Justin Dowling wasn't back into the play yet as he came out of the box.
- The night was so strange even Broncos D Derek Claffey scored his first goal in two years. A powerplay marker on a big blast from the left point.
- The Broncos were the last team to score a shorthanded goal in the WHL. It came tonight courtesy a beautiful behind the goal line tuck by Matt Tassone.
- The Broncos and Hitmen had given up the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference heading into tonight's game.
- The Broncos have scored a combined 12 goals in their last two road games but haven't won.
- Broncos forward Taylor Vause had 375 tickets tonight for friends and family. Yes 375, He gave the contingent something to cheer about with a 2nd period breakaway goal.
- The Broncos finished the night with seven goals on 14 shots. Calgary scored eight times on 33 shots before their empty netter in the final minute. Who needs save percentage anyways....
- The Broncos and Calgary have played some real doozeys in Calgary over the years. There have been some outright wild and wacky ones. This one is probably at the top.
The "Pigeon Power" comeback win a couple years ago would give it a good run for it's money though.
- Raging Ramada. Both the Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors suffered losses tonight. Both are sharing the same Red Deer hotel this weekend.
- Former Bronco Kyle Bortis came up to me tonight and offered a "Happy Birthday" about 90 minutes prior to face-off. He then collected a four point night and might have been the Hitmen's best player tonight. Thanks Borty.
- Hitmen Head Coach Dave Lowry was a pre-game show guest. His son Adam is a Bronco bantam pick from this past summer.
"He wears the t-shirt and hat around the house all the time," Lowry said. " I keep threatening him I'm going to take the shirt and cut-out the crest," he added with a laugh.
He also congratulated me on my "Eric Doyle to the ADT Challenge campaign". I don't know if congratulations are in order. The plan was to get him to play in front of our fans, not the fans in Prince Albert.
That's enough blogging under a veil of darkness on the bus as we head North to Red Deer. More tomorrow....
The I-plex three hours before ADT game-time
The Russian Selects in pre-game warm-up
Myself during our-pre game show. Looks like I'm having some equipment issues of some sort. Call the station engineer!
Athletic Therapist Paul Ayotte and Dean Chynoweth of the Broncos. The only thing Bronco fans could call their own Wednesday night. Both got a big cheer in the pre-game introductions.
Sportsnet's Louis Jean talking with super agent J.P. Barry at ice level. Barry is the agent for Mats Sundin and gets asked the questions everywhere he goes.
Broncos pull their bus into the Red Deer Centrium last night. About half the rinks in the league you can drive right underneath and park. It beats unpacking in -30 C some nights. Can we add a ramp like this in Prince Albert please?
New video score clock in Red Deer. A big chunk of the million dollar renovation and upgrades this off-season.
Alright, time to get some work done.... we're on the air tonight at 7:30pm SK time with the pre-game show. Broncos defenseman Eric Doyle will give us his ADT thoughts from last night's game in Prince Albert to kick off the show.
Have a good day,
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Zach Boychuk also scored and was selected Player of the Game for Team WHL, who faced a much feistier Russian side in Thursday’s series finale than they did in Wednesday night’s 5-0 victory in Swift Current, SK.
“They played well,” said Team WHL head coach Willie Desjardins of the Russians’ far superior effort in Thursday’s contest. “They made some adjustments in their game, and I though they worked pretty hard.“We had some chances that we missed, but they had some real good opportunities, too, and we could have easily lost that game,” added Desjardins, whose side outshot the Russians 46-23 in the contest.
After a scoreless first period, Team WHL got on the board first with Boychuk burying a rebound off Colten Teubert’s point shot on the power play just over five minutes into the second period. Beach gave Team WHL some breathing room with a nice individual effort 12:16 into the third period.
The Chicago Blackhawks prospect drove hard to the net from the goal line and made a nifty move to slip one past Perchusky on his far side.Russia finally broke their goalless drought 16:28 into the third period when Vadim Ermolaev beat Tokarski, snapping the WHL’s shutout streak at over 116 minutes.
“We’ll take the win,” said Beach, whose line with Calgary’s Brett Sonne and Regina’s Jordan Eberle created the most opportunities for Team WHL on the night. “Anytime you get whipped like they did, you’re always going to come out much harder the next night, which is what they did tonight.“We knew what we needed to bring, and I though all the guys did well – even some of the guys who didn’t know they were playing until today,” he said.
Indeed, the score could have been a bit more lopsided for Team WHL if it weren’t for the play of Russian netminder Alexander Pechurskiy, who turned in a 44-save performance and earned the Player of the Game honors for his side.
However, Team WHL netminder Dustin Tokaski of the Spokane chiefs also had to be sharp, kicking out 22 shots to earn the victory. Tokarski, who once led the Prince Albert Mintos to the Telus Cup National Midget Championship, faced a stiffer test than Tri-City goaltender Chet Pickard did the previous night in Swift current.“You had to expect them to come out harder,” said Tokarski. “We dominated them last night, but they came out with a good effort tonight and threw a lot of pucks on net.”Tokarski, though, also was quick to credit a strong WHL defense in helping him claim the win in his first ADT Canada-Russia appearance.“It was a complete team effort, and my defensemen were always quick to clear out rebounds and clear out the front of the net whenever I had to make saves…Their goalie played great, too,” he said.
With the victory, the CHL wins the 2008 ADT Canada-Russia Challenge with a 5-1 record through the six-game series. The win also improves the WHL to 13-1 all-time versus the Russian Selects through the event’s six-year history.
We arrived at Red Deer about 9pm local time. We checked into our hotel and maybe half an hour later, the Moose Jaw Warriors checked into the same hotel. Weird.
They play the Rebels tomorrow night while the Broncos will base out of Red Deer and bus into Calgary for the game tomorrow afternoon.
I'll post something in the morning/afternoon...
Doyle has been added to tonight's Team WHL roster for the final game of the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge in Prince Albert alongside Raider forward Dustin Cameron.
It doesn't change the fact that Doyle wasn't part of last night's game but it sure is nice to see Eric get recognized for what has been an outstanding season.
Here's the press release:
"Swift Current Broncos’ defenseman Eric Doyle has been added to Team WHL for the ADT Canada/Russia game being held in Prince Albert this evening.
Doyle replaces Kootenay Ice defenseman John Negrin who is ill.
Doyle, 19 years old, from Calgary is currently leading the Broncos in points with 27 and is second in WHL scoring for defensemen. Eric is currently in his 4th WHL season and his second full season in Swift Current.
Doyle joins the top Western Hockey League players tonight for the 6th and final game of the 2008 ADT Canada/Russia Challenge. Team WHL defeated Team Russia 5-0 in Swift Current last night.
Doyle will be back with his Broncos’ team-mates Friday night against the Calgary Hitmen. "
In last night's pre-game show, I had Hockey Canada Head Scout Al Murray on. I asked him Doyle and why he wasn't part of the initial roster.
He told me the WHL and the CHL pick the majority of the players they want to represent their respective league and Doyle wasn't on the submitted roster. He did however give me his take on Doyle's play and season to date.
"All the defenseman that are here (ADT Challenge) are very good. Eric was in tough trying to get a spot against those players. Having said that it wouldn't surprise me if Eric was selected for the team. He's had a real strong season. I've been watching Eric for a long time and I think he's really matured his game. He's become much more assertive.
If there was ever a knock on Eric it was maybe a lack of compete some nights and consistency from shift to shift but he's certainly bringing that now and he's a big part of a real good junior team.
In all honesty, I think he is as good as some of the players that are here but not any better than the players that are here. I think there is qaulity guys here as well." - Murray
Last night was a lot of fun. Here are some notes and quotes from the post-game:
Seattle's Thomas Hickey picked up three assists on the powerplay....
"We were lethal tonight. You never know coming in with a group of guys that have never played with eachother before. Especially so many skilled guys, sometimes there's a tendency to be cute or try too many passes but we had the right mix of shooters and passers and it really showed."
The Pats Jordan Eberle on his two goals and an assist playing with Brandon Wheat Kings forwards Brayden Schenn and Matt Calvert....
"They (Schenn, Calvert) play well. Obviously they play together in Brandon and they have some chemistry and I just tried to fit in where I could. I asked them where (Scott) Glennie fit in on their line back home so I just tried to be like him. It turned out well tonight, we scored the only five-on-five goal tonight and we were happy about that."
Broncos Head Coach/GM Dean Chynoweth on the event and the atmosphere and fan support in the I-plex last night....
"I thought it was excellent. To put on an event of this magnitude and then to see it come off the way it did with fan support, the noise in the building... I just think it's tremendous. For our community here it really puts us again back on the map of one of the better places to play junior hockey"
The last two days also provided an opportunity to get a lot of interviews for the weekly WHL radio show "Whl This Week". The latest episode will be posted tomorrow on the WHL website.
Thanks to Cory, Jesse, Jeff and Ron from the WHL office for the nice words on the radio show to date. I appreciate it.
I was having a great time calling last night's game with Tim Kehler and Tim Tisdale until I surfed onto Rod Pedersen's blog in the intermission and read his post about this blog (Keen's Korner) apparently spurring on Bronco fans to boo the Pats players (Eberle/Teubert) in the introductions.
I don't think I have to dignify that post with a response as nothing could be further from the truth and I appreciate local and Pats fans alike coming to my aid in his comments section.
I dunno... some people listen to music on long bus rides to Kamloops, others watch movies, read or sleep....Roddy, you should try that.
But to those who read it right, and to those who heard Eberle in our pre and post-game shows last night you know I got nothing but respect for those two future NHL'ers.
Talk to you in Calgary.....
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Jordan Eberle had a couple goals and a helper for Team WHL and was named the player of the game for the WHL. His line along with Brayden Schenn, and Matt Calvert dominated for most of the night.
We had a good broadcast, things went off without a hitch in the rink and it was a great showing for the Broncos organization and city.
It's been a long day, I'm spent and I have a lot of work to do before boarding the bus for Calgary/Red Deer tomorrow afternoon.
Good job Swift Current,
Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane will not play due to injury. Instead, Calgary Hitmen forward Brandon Kozun will now play in both games instead of just tomorrow night's match-up in Prince Albert.
You have to think this was the CHL/Hockey Canada's chance to add a Bronco to the roster... but no dice.
Both teams have pre-game skates set for late morning/early afternoon at the I-plex.
We're on the air (Eagle 94.1 FM) with the pre-game show at 6:30pm, play-by-play shortly after 7pm.
I heard a few tickets remain for tonight's contest. If you want to go, you might want to call the Broncos office early this morning at 773 - 1509.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Just watching game four of the event in St. Catherine's, ON last night added the extra element for me. Team OHL deafeated the Russians 3-2 giving the CHL teams a 3-1 series advantage.
For a lot of markets in the WHL there's a "been there, done that" vibe when it comes to the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge but for Swift Current it's still all shiny and new.
The local team, the Niagara Ice Dogs were represented by two players. It no doubt added to the experience for the hometown fans last night. The fact the Broncos are not represented in tomorrow night's game is a big reason for discontent personally. It's the only thing missing from an otherwise slick production.
In fact the more I think about it, how could there not be a player from the Broncos on the roster? From a marketing, fan relations and entertainment aspect it's makes perfect sense. Usually the CHL is pretty savvy in this regard.
The roster has more to do with Hockey Canada than the CHL I'm assuming.
Also, I would take the Broncos Eric Doyle over almost all the defenseman on the Team WHL roster, forget about the hometown charity factor.
It's not going to happen unless there is a sickness, injury or travel connection issue for the out of town players
Realizing this, I think an extra effort was made to have a special ceremony before the game to honour the Four Broncos who passed away back in 1986 with the Broncos Bus Crash.
Honorary captain Darren Kruger will also help give the night a local feel.
It's going to be a great show... and we're proud to be the only radio station carrying one of the six games in the series. We're on the air at 6:30pm with an extended pre-game show. Face-off should be around 7:17pm after the pre-game ceremonies conclude.
Rogers Sportsnet will carry the game. Gene Principe will provide the play-by-play along with colorman Sam Cosentino. Louis Jean will be used as the Game Host.
I shared a flight with Gene to Columbus, OH for the NHL draft a couple years back. He covers the Oilers like a blanket and is a real friendly guy. Make sure you welcome him into our city.
I've never met Sam Cosentino but he knows his stuff. He can do it all from hockey to baseball broadcasts. I'm looking forward to meeting him.
Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler will join our broadcast team for a period or two tomorrow night. He will provide the "Dennis Miller" factor.
Tim Tisdale will be on board will be at ice level beside the Team WHL bench for a large portion of the game as well.
The former WHL coach will grab some end of period interviews with the Team WHL Coaching staff.
How will our fans react to some of the rival WHL players tomorrow night?
Regina Pats D Colten Teubert hasn't exactly been a fan favorite the last couple of seasons inside the Credit Union I-plex. I'm sure he will get a spattering of boos when he's introduced in the pre-game ceremonies.
Other than Teubert, I don't think there's another player on the roster who our fans would have a history with.
I think it's a great chance to cheer for these guys for a change. Including Jordan Eberle of the Pats who is a class act both on and off the ice and is one of the biggest snipers you will find in the CHL, end of story.
There's a handful of Saskatchewan-born players to get behind too including Dustin Tokarski, Jared Cowen, Joel Broda, Jason Bast, Keith Aulie, Matt Calvert, Brayden Schenn and Eberle.
At last check there were some tickets left for the game. They are $25 dollars apiece but will jump in price tomorrow.
Some of the WHL and CHL dignitaries arrive later today. Team WHL Players and the Russians also arrive later today.
There's a pre-game skate set for both teams late tomorrow morning/afternoon.
The Western Hockey League in association with the Canadian Hockey League today announced that the ‘Four Broncos’ who died in a tragic team bus accident in 1986, will be honoured during the pre-game ceremony at the ADT Canada Russia Challenge game between Team WHL and the Russia Selects in Swift Current, Saskatchewan on Wednesday, November 26th.
Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka and Brent Ruff were killed December 30th, 1986 when the Broncos team bus crashed just outside of Swift Current on its way to Regina. The accident occurred in a snowstorm when the bus lost control on an overpass and slid into the ditch, flipping on its side. The Broncos have since retired the jerseys of the ‘Four Broncos’ and their numbers are crested within a Shamrock on every Broncos player jersey and displayed in a memorial at the Credit Union i-plex Arena in Swift Current. During the 1987-88 season the Western Hockey League re-named its most prestigious individual award the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy which is presented each year to the WHL’s Player of the Year at the League’s annual Award Luncheon.
Taking part in the pre-game ceremonies and representing the families of the ‘Four Broncos’ is Darren Kruger, brother of the late Scott Kruger, and current Assistant Coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers. Darren joined the Broncos the year following the tragic accident (1987-88) and played alongside his twin brother Trevor for two years. Both Darren and Trevor played pivotal roles with the Broncos during the 1988-89 season that saw the Broncos win the WHL and Memorial Cup Championships.
The ADT Canada Russia Challenge is an important part of the selection process for both Russia and Canada’s National Junior Team before their final selection camps for the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships that will be hosted in Ottawa, ON. Canada has won four straight gold medals, including defeating Sweden in the 2008 tournament hosted in the Czech Republic. Canada beat Russia in the gold medal game three straight years from 2005-2007.
The ADT Canada-Russia Challenge continues tonight in St. Catharines, Ontario as the Niagara IceDogs host game four of the series. (7:00 p.m. on Rogers Sportsnet).The two WHL games will be hosted in the province of Saskatchewan by the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday, November 26th and the Prince Albert Raiders on Thursday, November 27th. Game tickets are available at the Prince Albert Raiders office (306) 764-4263 and at the Swift Current Broncos office (306) 773-1509 Ext. 1.
Seattle Thunderbirds defenceman Thomas Hickey has been named Team WHL captain for both games of the ADT Canada Russia Challenge in Swift Current and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The 19-year-old from Calgary, Alberta is playing his fourth season in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Hickey, who was selected in the 1st round – 5th overall by the Los Angeles Kings’ at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, also wears the ‘C’ for the T-Birds and is participating in his second straight ADT Canada Russia Challenge.
Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Tyler Ennis (Medicine Hat Tigers) and Dana Tyrell (Prince George Cougars) have been named as the assistant captains for Team WHL. Boychuk and Ennis are also assistant captains on their respective Clubs, while Tyrell is the Cougars team captain. All three players competed in last years’ ADT Canada Russia Challenge.
The WHL is also pleased to announce that Vancouver Giants forward Mikhail Fisenko will be joining the Russian Selects for the two ADT Canada Russia Challenge games in Saskatchewan. Fisenko, an 18-year-old from Magnitogorsk, Russia, was selected 51st overall by the Giants at the 2008 CHL Import Draft and has recorded six goals and 11 points in 22 games thus far this season.
The ADT Canada Russia Challenge is an important part of the selection process for both Russia and Canada’s National Junior Team before their final selection camps for the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships that will be hosted in Ottawa, ON. Canada has won four straight gold medals, including defeating Sweden in the 2008 tournament hosted in the Czech Republic. Canada beat Russia in the gold medal game three straight years from 2005-2007.
The ADT Canada-Russia Challenge continues on tonight in St. Catharines, Ontario as the Niagara IceDogs host game four of the series. (7:00 p.m. on Rogers Sportsnet).
The two WHL games will be hosted in the province of Saskatchewan by the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday, November 26th and the Prince Albert Raiders on Thursday, November 27th. Game tickets are available at the Prince Albert Raiders office (306) 764-4263 and at the Swift Current Broncos office (306) 773-1509 Ext. 1.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
- This will go down as probably the most entertaining weekend of hockey on the season to date. Last night's game was a fun one. Good goaltending, great offensive chances, some overtime and then a shootout to close it off. Awesome game!
- When it mattered, goaltenders Travis Yonkmand and Dustin Tokarski where lights out. A couple of goals against in the first period and that was it the rest of the way. Tokarski finished the night with 39 saves while Yonkman finished with 37 saves. Tokarski, who was at one point in his career cut by both the "AAA" Legionnaires and the Broncos admitted in the pre-game show that he's uses that as motivation. Tokarski has been cut from several teams in his career both at the "AAA" midget and WHL level. Have to think everything happens for a reason. He eventually landed with the P.A. Mintos and won a national midget championships. A couple years later he wins a Memorial Cup in Spokane.
- The Broncos young defense took a giant step this weekend. They proved they can handle some of the most offensively gifted players in the WHL. With three veteran defense and 18 year-old rookie Andrew Hewett injured, young d-men like James Martin, Jordan Evans, and Joel Rogers filled the void. It's weekends like this where you can see these players grow their game.
- Bronco fans saw a preview this last week of several players set to star in the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge. Thomas Hickey, Colten Teubert, Jordan Eberle, Jared Spurgeon, Jared Cowen, and Dustin Tokarski have all been at the I-plex this week in advance of Wednesday's game.
- Speaking of the game, preparations are now fully underway to transform the I-plex. New ice logos, different board signs, increased lighting.... it's a long process. It's a 7pm face-off Wednesday but will be more like 7:17pm by the time all the pre-game festivities are over.
- We want Eric Doyle!
- I've been told the chances are slim at best of Doyle being added to the Team WHL roster. It will only happen if one or two of the 22 player roster went down with an injury this weekend.
More tomorrow morning... I guess it's Grey Cup time, although I'm not too enthused about it this year for some reason.
Friday, November 21, 2008
The Broncos snapped a five game losing skid Wednesday with a 3-2 win over visiting Seattle. The Pats come in after a 2-0 win against Spokane. This is the first of eight straight games on the road as they vacate their building for the annual Western Canadian Agribition.
It's Pack the 'Plex night with a sell-out crowd expected for the battle.
The Broncos will limp into this contest with as many as six regulars out of the line-up because of injury.
Broncos D Jesse Dudas is expected to be back with the team today although he's still 1-2 weeks from playing coming off his MCL knee injury.
Face-off at 7:30pm, action on the Eagle 94.1 FM begins at 7pm with our pre-game show.
Here's a story I put together for our affiliate www.swiftcurrentonline.com regarding the City's stance on the scheduling conflict re: Broncos/2010 Ford World Womens Curling Championships:
The 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championships set for March 20-29, 2010 for the Credit Union I-plex will send the Swift Current Broncos packing for the 1st round of WHL playoffs next season.
Up to four home playoff games will need to be played in another WHL market to make room for the Championships.
The Broncos have publicly voiced their displeasure with the timing of the event, now the City is responding. Parks and Recreation Manager Dean Robson is hoping to work something out but admits the event was too big to pass up.
"If we can't cater to numerous gatherings, organizations and sporting events then I guess we shouldn't be spending 15 million dollars (for renovations). In the initial report it was renovated and expanded to showcase our city and identify Swift Current as a destination point. The Broncos are our most high profile tenant and they are and have been huge partners. Right now it's darned if you do and darned if you don't."
"If you were going to host a world event and the people of Swift Current and southwest Saskatchewan said oh you didn't and why didn't you? (We would have responded) Well we might lose the first round of playoffs for the Broncos and that's important. I wonder how many people would have responded with boy you guys are crazy (not to host the event). Having said that, partners work it out. We're assuming we can work it out between the Broncos and the WHL and try to find a fit that is best for everybody."
Chairman of the Broncos Board of Directors Joe Arling will join me tonight on the Broncos pre-game show for his thoughts on the matter.
See you at the rink tonight...
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Back-to-back delay of games calls against the T-Birds put the Broncos up two men. From there, Keegan Dansereau's bottom of the circle one-timers tied the game and then put the Broncos ahead. Dansereau is simply deadly from that spot on the ice. He scored similar goals in Brandon and Saskatoon in the past two weeks from the same angle.
- Hello Hockey Canada....have you surfed onto the blog lately?
Broncos defenseman Eric Doyle added two more assists last night while logging probably 27-30 minutes of ice. His two assists temporarily gave him the most points for a defenseman in the WHL. That is until D Jon Blum in Vancouver single-handily dismantled the Chilliwack Bruins with three goals and one assist in a 4-1 win later in the evening. Blum leads all D in scoring with 27 points, one more than Eric Doyle's 26.
I've been making a push for Doyle to be added to the Team WHL roster for the upcoming ADT Canada Russia/Challenge set for Swift Current and Prince Albert next week.
My lobbying on the blog and on-air caught Broncos Head Coach/GM Dean Chynoweth's attention on our pre-game show:
" Well the last time I looked you didn't have a vote, so you're pushing with an immovable object here Jon.... Hockey Canada has decided this is the last showcase to make sure the right guys are there potentially for the try-out camp at Christmas. They want to make sure they have the best players available to them.
It's unfortunate, but there is a slight chance. Obviously you don't wish an injury upon anybody but if one of those (roster) players does get injured we should have first crack at a forward or defenseman. Eric would definitely be one that would qualify. I think he's had a very good start offensively to his season, he's pretty much done what I thought he would do when we traded for him when he was 17." - Chynoweth
- Dean also talked about being forced out of the building for two weeks for next year's 1st round of playoffs with the 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championships coming to Swift Current March 20-29th of 2010.
To say he's not happy would be an understatement.
"From my standpoint, I'm extremely disappointed with the lack of communication with the City who is a partner of ours with this renovation that they have made come to fruition. Playoff time is a critical time for our hockey club. I know the league is not happy with it... and neither am I."
Broncos Chairman of the Board of Directors Joe Arling will be our pre-game guest tomorrow night before the Broncos/Pats game. Safe to say his feelings echo those of Chynoweth.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The Broncos concern is that they are being evicted for two weeks in March in the same time frame as the 1st round of playoffs. No building equals no home playoff games which is cause for concern.
This is a major event, no doubt about it - one of the biggest the city has ever hosted. A quick call for some feedback on the post below has generated quite the varying of opinions.
It's too bad the relationship between the City and the Broncos is destined to take a hit - if it hasn't already.
The 10 day time frame wouldn't bother the Broncos any other time of the year but March 20-29 comes at the worst possible time of the season.
Over the days we will present the different angles. The Broncos have deferred to Chairman of the Board of Directors Joe Arling to handle their view. I'm trying to line him up for a radio interview and Broncos pre-game show for Friday night.
The City will also get a chance to have their say. Although the contact was unavailable today and is back in the office presumably tomorrow.
In the mean time... click on the comments below and add your thoughts too.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Broncos will be forced out of their building for the 1st round of playoffs next season because of the 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championships March 20-29th.
At first, it wasn't initially brought forward at today's media conference the event would be held in the Hockey Rink...not the new Curling Facility as originally thought.
It was an out-of-town delegate from the Canadian Curling Association who told me the plans after the initial news conference. It was just assumed the new facility would host the International event, not the hockey rink at th Credit Union I-plex.
So, why did we get this new curling facility if it can't host events like this?
This is about to blow up I'm thinking. Granted, the Broncos still need to make the playoffs next season for this to really take flight but when you look at the potential scenario, this could be a devastating blow to the hockey club for a couple of major reasons:
1) Home ice advantage wouldn't exist
2) The Broncos opportunity to generate post-season revenue would almost certainly be chopped at least in half if not more.
You would think the City would have to compensate the Broncos financially for this and talks are presumubly underway.
So, the big question is where would the Broncos host their "home" playoff games? Three potential scenarios here:
1) A WHL non-playoff market. A Moose Jaw, Medicine Hat, and perhaps Regina although this isn't an easy proposition to host a playoff game in another market. It would need approval from that team, and the facility. As mentioned, that team would also need to miss the playoffs in order to be a potential destination.
2) A WHL approved neutral site. The league would take the opportunity to test-drive a potential WHL market, ie. Victoria perhaps?
3) All the playoff games in the first round would be played in the Broncos' opposition rink.
Personally I don't like any of the options. How do you think the Broncos feel?
Sound off time. What do you think? This story is only going to get bigger but will really take off next season.
This is going to be a huge task to pull off. It's going to take a big effort from the people here in the city and the local organizing committee co-chaired by Barbara Walter and Brian Tallon.
Let's hope it goes a little better than today's two-bit news conference to officially announce the event.
Swift Current has little to no experience in International events and this isn't small potatoes.
I thought it was particularly entertaining when one of the members of the Canadian Curling Association talked about all the major TV networks from around the world covering this event..."Including a broadcast team from Japan which will carry all of their games for their viewers back in China"
Yes, we have lots of work to do.
On a bright note, I can't wait to say Dordi Nordby over and over again on our local sportscasts. Go get'em Dordi!
More to come.....
What goes around comes around in the WHL. The Broncos finished off their U.S. swing in Seattle last year in what was for me the low light of the regular season. A mentally and physically tired Broncos club limped into Seattle and lost 8-3 in the final game before the Christmas break.
Now Seattle will finish their six game swing in Swift Current and the Broncos have a chance at a little payback. I'm thinking the Broncos have other things to worry about than payback though. Focus will be on their own game and trying to right the ship.
That's one way to put the Broncos/Blades game Sunday. After a four goal outburst in the first eight minutes, the Blades rallied back and eventually won 6-5.
A pair of shorthanded goals closed the gap and then the Blades added two PP goals in the third.
Make no mistake, the Broncos effort from some of their players wasn't there. But you could also chalk some of it up to a series of unfortunate events.
Numerous times on the PK the team failed to clear the zone when they had uncontested opportunities. The back-breaker (literally) came when Keegan Dansereau's clearing attempt on the PK hit teammate Matt Tassone right in the back along the wall near the line. The puck stayed in and the Blades eventually scored.
Also, with the Broncos down a man, two players (Toulmin, McAvoy) both had their sticks broken in the defensive zone putting the Broncos down to only two players with sticks on the ice. The Blades scored the eventual game winner in that sequence.
A positive for me was the play of Keegan Dansereau. The Broncos sniper had a first period to remember scoring twice and setting up the nicest Bronco goal of the year with a behind the back spin pass to Geordie Wudrick in the slot. You will see that in Friday's WHL Plays of the Week. If not, check out the highlights on the Saskatoon Blades website.
The push to get Broncos D Eric Doyle a spot on Team WHL for the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge is gaining some momentum. The WHL Office knows about the local "push" from this blog.
The numbers and his play speak for themselves. Eric doesn't need my help. I just think adding him would give our fans a bit of a treat with some local content for next Wednesday's game. Plus, Eric deserves it. He's tied for the league lead in defenseman scoring and his been strong in his own zone all season long.
The decision lies with Hockey Canada. Don't hold your breath. But for me the move is a no-brainer.
Still expecting Jesse Dudas at some point this week. He could resume practice shortly with the team as he comes off his torn MCL injury.
Dudas is getting a bunch of inquiries from around the league in a top four defenseman starved market. Not sure what it will take to pry Dudas from the Broncos but there are some offers coming in.
We will let this play out over the next two to three weeks.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Despite outshooting and outchancing the Silvertips, it was the road team that made the most of their opportunities scoring three times on 19 shots including a 5-on-3 powerplay goal midway thru the third period to add some insurance.
Justin Dowling added his 2nd goal of the game to cut the lead to 3-2 with 6:42 to play but the Broncos never could get that one great opportunity for the tying goal.
In talking with some of the Silvertips brass, they've been on the other end of this type of game a couple times on their east division swing. The Law of Averages made a correction last night. In fact, some of the breaks the Broncos were getting in their 14-5 start are now going the other way... such is life in a 72 game schedule. Breaks, good luck, bad luck, deserved to win, didn't deserve to win... it all has a way of evening out in the long run.
Here's some random thoughts:
- Jordan Peddle is ok and was back in the Broncos dressing room after being carted off on a stretcher early in the third period. His open-ice collision with Pail Van de Velde away from the puck left Peddle unconscious on the ice for about a minute. He regained conscience but protocol in the situation is to take every pre-caution including stabilizing the spine and using the stretcher.
Both players saw each other late and there was no avoiding the collision near the 'Tips blueline. There was no intent from Van De Velde.
Peddle has a concussion and will be out of the line-up for an undetermined amount of time. By my count that's six concussions this season sustained by Broncos.
- Cody Eakin also left the game late with a leg injury as he crashed hard into the end boards after driving hard to the Everett goal. His status is also unknown for Sunday's game.
- D Eric Doyle was again the Broncos best player on the ice. The league and Hockey Canada need to recognize it and make him part of the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge in Swift Current November 26th. What's taking so long?
Last night I asked him in our pre-game show about being left off the roster and his desire to play in the game.
"First of all Jon, I appreciate the support. It would be really nice to be able to get on that team in front of our home crowd. I definitely think I belong in that group but it's up to Hockey Canada and the WHL and there's not really anything you can do other than play hard and show them you belong there." - Doyle
- Everett General Manager Dout Soetaert was our pre-game guest. He addressed several issues including the long trading history between the Silverips and Broncos. "If shoe fits" was the way he described the relationship between himself and the Broncos Dean Chynoweth.
- Speaking of Dean, I thought his take on the Everett Silvertips road trip raised my eyebrows a little. I asked Dean about taking advantage of the Silvertips fatigue factor playing their last game of a six-game swing. Here was his response:
"They are the one team that financially can afford to come out and spend the extra time out here. Most teams come out and play five games in seven nights but Everett comes out and plays five games in two weeks. I don't think fatigue is a factor." - Chynoweth
- Regan Bartel, broadcaster of the Kelowna Rockets reports that Broncos Assistant General Manager Eldon Moberg was in Vancouver last night taking in the Giants/Rockets game. Regan also points out the Rockets have only two over-agers on their roster and have room to add one more. The Broncos are about to be one over the limit in the next two weeks. It appears Jesse Dudas has garnered a lot of attention around the league. I've heard as many as five teams have shown interest.
Personally, I would love to have Dudas as a Bronco this season. He brings so much to the team and has the ability to be a marquee player in the league. He would instantly become the Broncos most physical defenseman (hands down). He would rival Eric Doyle in his offensive upside and would be add some jam into a sometimes soft line-up. And he's tough.
Everett Silvertips Head Coach John Becanic weighed in on a couple of things in the pre-game coaches show.
On being picked to finish near the bottom of the standings in the Western Conference this season in several polls....
"You gotta love the media, if they pick you to win it all and if you don't you're considered a failure. This year they picked us to get 10 wins if we're lucky and so everyone is congratulating us on what a great season we're having. Our standard has always been pretty high here in Everett. we feel accountable to our season ticket holders and our corporate sponsors to put a good product on the ice."
On coaching a strong personality in Kyle Beach a Chicago Blackhawks 1st round pick.....
"Kyle is a challenge in different ways. He's a very bright individual that thinks the game real well and sometimes over thinks the game and it makes it more challenging for you as a coach to keep him on task. He's really passionate about the game and understands the game.
He's nowhere near in the Sean Avery category and unfortunately some people compare the two. He's not a handful to deal with. We've had other great players here like Peter Mueller and Zach Hamill. Any time you get a player that's a premiere player with a strong personality they're going to be a task to handle. I think every team has those types of players. It's what makes your teams great sometimes and makes coaching a challenge.
Kyle is a fun player to be around I can't emphasize that enough. He keeps things light at times, he adds stress at times and I think any great player does that and you have to accept that. From this level on to the National Hockey League you have to learn how to deal with those types of players and manage them. The coaches that manage their star players the best are the ones that seem to hang onto their jobs.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Adding Eric Doyle to Team WHL for the Canada / Russia ADT Challenge needs to happen.
He not only deserves it but the lack of local flavour has created a lack of buzz about the game.
In Swift Current, there is a little bit of noise, but not as much as I expected being two weeks away from the event. Don't know what the status is in Prince Albert but something needs to be done to create a little excitement.
Eric's numbers and play on the ice speak for themselves.
Let's hope the right decision is made.
Just a heads up, the Eagle 94.1 FM will carry that game on the air November 26th as Team WHL takes on the Russian Selects. Right now the only Russian I know is Nikolay Volkov and his pet russian bear from the old WWF days.
Seriously, last year's russian roster included names like Nikolay Lukjanchikov , Marat Fakhrutdinov, and Yacheslav Solodukhin. Yup, I'm in big trouble.
The broadcast team that night will include myself, Tim Tisdale and a Russian translator if we're lucky. It's gonna be a blast. I'm looking forward to it.
I'll have a preview of the Broncos / Everett Silvertips match-up later tonight or tomorrow morning.
The last game between the teams featured a 3-1 Broncos win in Everett last December. The last time the 'Tips were in town they skated circles around the Broncos and won 6 Hoo-rahs to none in the 06/07 season. The game also featured the ejection of 'Tips Head Coach Kevin Constantine with his team up six goals in the third period. Seriously. It happened.
Broncos defenseman Eric Doyle and newly acquired Matt Ius will also sqaure off against their former team. I asked Ius about the "Kyle Beach Show" that accompanies the Silvertips. He had some interesting thoughts. I'll post them later.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Defenseman Jesse Dudas is set to make his return to the Broncos coming off his MCL injury Friday, November 21st. At that point the Broncos then have two weeks to get back down to the allowed three over-age players.
F Keegan Dansereau, D Spence McAvoy, and G Travis Yonkman are presently the three 20's on the roster.
The off-season was full of questions regarding the three spots with the possible return of Dale Wiese and Zack Smith. But after the two signed NHL contracts, the situation became more clear. Then with Dudas suffering the knee injury in Oilers training camp, the three spots were all of a sudden set in stone.
So now what?
Keegan Dansereau isn't going anywhere. The captain for the month of November adds some much needed offense. G Travis Yonkman is still the #1 goaltender in theory and I don't think the Broncos are prepared to move him, especially with the current market on goaltenders being down. Too much supply little demand.
That leaves D Spencer McAvoy and D Jesse Dudas. Spencer has really played well in his role this season and was great yesterday in a 2-1 loss to Calgary. He was our 2nd star on our broadcast. I've never seen him log more ice-time in his career. He agreed post-game.
Jesse Dudas in my mind is one of the top defenseman in the Conference and adds size, toughness and a little swagger on the back-end. I've likened him to former Broncos d-man Aaron Rome in the past and I stick with that comparison.
It may come down to who holds more trade value in a defense-hungry market around the WHL. There's no doubt Dudas will fetch more value than McAvoy.
My take is that adding Dudas into the Broncos top four d-rotation gives them one of the best top four in the WHL (Doyle, Claffey, Dudas, Molle/McAvoy). But the Broncos have proven they are fine defensively without Dudas in the fold.
Plus, at some point you have to give some quality minutes to younger d-men like Joel Rogers, James Martin, Jordan Evans, and Andrew Hewett to help their development.
Nine defenseman is too many. Somethings gotta give.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I was officially 0 for 3 at sporting events on the weekend.
A couple of Bronco losses on the road book-ended a disappointing Riders game Saturday at Mosiac Stadium.
Friday night in Brandon, the Broncos put themselves in a position to win in Brandon for the first time since December 9th, 2006. Cody Eakin's 2nd goal of the game a minute into the third gave the Broncos a short-lived 2-1 lead.
A tying goal from Darren Bestland led to a powerplay marker from Matt Calvert and the Wheat Kings wouldn't look back as the Glennie/Schenn/Calvert line took over the game from that point on for a 5-3 Brandon win.
The Broncos are now winless in Brandon in eight games. Yes, Kelly McCrimmon... this is what I was referring to in our pre-game interview.
Kelly downplayed "the Wheat Kings have the Broncos number" statement in our pre-game coaches interview. But the statement holds merit.
A bright spot in the Broncos loss was Cody Eakin. The 17 year-old potted his 2nd hat-trick of the season accounting for all three Bronco goals.
A Saturday afternoon bus ride through Elkhorn, MB for lunch turned out to be the highlight of the weekend. Full of turkey and some cake and ice-cream to finish it off, the team headed into Regina for a 4pm skate at the Brandt Center.
The bus dropped me off on the east side of Regina just off Victoria Ave. so I could stop at a friends house, grab my Riders ticket and a vehicle. I raced to Mosiac Stadium while listening to what was left of the 1st quarter on the radio. I could tell things weren't' going well at that point as the Riders had already turned the ball over four times before I got to the stadium!
I found my friends on the east side grandstand. It was early in 2nd quarter and watched in disbelief the rest of the way.
We all know what happened so I'm not going to go into a recap.
Sunday morning I showed up at the team breakfast in my Broncos track-suit, obviously missing the "dress attire" memo.
Not good. The weekend was going from bad to worse.
After a relaxing day, the Broncos departed for the Brandt Center for the 6pm face-off.
It was my first look at newly acquired forward Matt Ius from Everett. The 18 year-old forward made his debut on a line with Keegan Dansereau and Cody Eakin.
In fact, it was Dansereau who opened the scoring 8:33 into the first on a nice move around a Pats defender and then a quick snapper low blocker from the right wing side to beat Linden Rowat.
That goal was a milestone of sorts for the Broncos. The Broncos have now not been shut-out in 100 straight games. A streak dating back to late in the 06/07 season. It's the longest streak of it's kind in the WHL. Who knows where it ranks all-time... I'll have to look into that.
The only reason I mention this streak is because It's something I don't want to take for granted. Considering the Broncos were blanked 19 times in the 04/05 season alone. There were some long nights in the broadcast booth that year.
Back to the game...
It was all Pats after that. Brett Leffler tied it midway through 1-1.
The Pats added a Jordan Eberle goal and then a 5-on-3 marker from Michael MacAngus to give the Pats a 3-1 lead after two.
The Pats skated to a 5-1 win in the first meeting since the playoff series back in April.
After the game acting Broncos Head Coach Tim Kehler is absence of Dean Chynoweth commented on the effort:
"There was just a number of guys that were lacking some emotional intensity... didn't seem to be want to be on the ice when the game was on the line, didn't seem to want to be out there and do the things we needed to have done. At least, not in enough numbers to beat a quality team like Regina tonight. I think there were too many guys at those key moments that were either soft on pucks or nowhere to be found on the ice."
For Tim, it was his first loss as Head Coach. He was 3-0 on a fill-in basis up until last night.
For the Broncos it was a weekend of breakdowns in their own zone. A team that has played pretty well defensively all season, gave up too many pucks and too many chances. A team that gave up only 41 goals in the first 19 games, gave up 10 in a two-game stretch this weekend.
With the upcoming ADT Canada/Russia game at the end of the month I'm pushing for a Bronco to crack the roster.
I have to ask the Hockey Canada powers that be this question.
Why not Eric Doyle?
The Broncos defenseman has been stellar all season both defensively and in his own zone. Doyle is tied for 3rd in defenseman scoring and has always been a top prospect.
His plus/minus rating of +14 not only leads the Broncos, it's 9th best in the WHL.
He deserves to be there but at who's expense is the question.
The d-roster includes three NHL first rounders and a projected 1st rounder in Jared Cowen.
Maybe he could replace an injured Jared Spurgeon of the Spokane Chiefs. Spurgeon is week-to-week with a foot injury and has only played in 10 games this season.
I think Hockey Canada and the WHL should seriously consider this move right now. Doyle deserves to play and the hometown fans deserve a local player.
Talented Raiders defenseman Ryan Button in Prince Albert could replace Spurgeon the following night to give the Raiders a player for their fans.
It's a simple move. Now we will wait and see.
Friday, November 07, 2008
The Swift Current Broncos have re-assigned forward Oliver Jokel back to his Junior team in his hometown of Kosice, Slovakia.
Jokel appeared in 14 games for the Broncos this season after being selected in the CHL import draft this past off-season.
Sadly, Oliver Jokel didn't work out for the Broncos as he went pointless in 14 games. The Broncos adding F Matt Ius also meant someone had to be heading out.
Barring a trade, the Broncos will go with one import forward of the allowed two. However, 18 year-old forward Jan Dalecky remains out with a concussion. He could be back next weekend if all goes planned.
It's been tough for the Broncos over the years to have two impact European players on their roster at the same time. That's the case around the league for the most part. More and more, a proposed one European player and four over-agers (20 year-olds) for next season is making a lot more sense for a team like the Broncos. It seems to be something that would favour some of the smaller markets across the CHL.
Time will tell if it's something that is adopted by the CHL or is left on the cutting room floor.