Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Back to Blogging
I've noticed it's been since Saturday morning since the last update... time to get back at it.
Not much happening on the Broncos front. With no mid-week games the club is getting a good rest to prepare for a three-in-three weekend. They host Calgary Friday, Red Deer Saturday and then shuffle over to Saskatoon for a Sunday night game against the Blades.
Broncos Head Coach / GM Dean Chynoweth left the team following Saturday night's game vs Prince Albert to attend WHL Governor Meetings in Las Vegas. He's expected back tonight or tomorrow. More on the Broncos in a second...
Some interesting WHL news yesterday. Luca Sbisa makes his way back to the Lethbridge Hurricanes from the Philadelphia Flyers after appearing in 39 NHL games, and former Kootenay Ice Head Coach Cory Clousten has been named the Head Coach of the Ottawa Senators.
We will start with the Lethbridge news first. To me, there isn't a reason out there as to why the Lethbridge Hurricanes shouldn't start to take off.
With an NHL calibre d-man being added into the mix and a top six forward group that is as good or better than anyone, the Hurricanes time is now.
Currently tied for 6th in the Eastern Conference standings with the Kootenay Ice, I would expect the 'Canes to make a late season charge. Then again, we've been expecting that all season.
Good for Cory Clousten landing an NHL job.
I've never interviewed a coach in this league with their gameface on more than Cory Clousten.
There was never idle chit-chat, never a "hello how are you?" It was down to business immediately. Before the interview wrapped up he was usually already back in his office before I could say "Dean Chynoweth is our guest next..."
One thing for sure, he got results.
Everyone around the league will be watching to see if Cory can turn things around in Ottawa.
You have to think the Broncos first round opponent is going to be a big challenge. The depth is the top eight in the Eastern Conference is approaching that of last year's.
If you can recall, no first round match-up last year would have been considered an upset. Even the 1 vs 8 bracket didn't spell doom for the 8th seed. Calgary and Moose Jaw went into that series nearly on even ground. Calgary emerged with a six-game series victory. This year the teams couldn't have gone in a more opposite direction.
In my opinion, only this year's 1 vs 8 in the East will have a "favorite". Calgary getting bumped in the opening round would be a massive upset.
Yes, I'm declaring Calgary as the 1st seed in the Conference. I don't expect much of an argument there.
After that, it's open season.
Who's a potential 1st round opponent for the Broncos? First off, there's no guarantee of a playoff spot but then again I wouldn't bet against it either.
Here's four scenarios:
Broncos vs Medicine Hat - I don't mind the match-up. The season series was 2-2. Fans would be entertained immensely in this one. Home ice advantage would be huge.
Broncos vs Brandon - This series would put the Broncos as underdogs based on the season series. Brandon has played very well vs the Broncos this season. Their 5-0 record would back that up.
Broncos vs Saskatoon - This would be an intriguing match-up. The season series is 3-3 but the Blades have won the last three games. The team that gets no respect (Blades) would have to prove their regular season was no fluke.
Broncos vs Lethbridge - A scary match-up just based on the Hurricanes potential to be a top-flight team in the Conference. My feeling is none of the contenders really want to play the Hurricanes in the opening round based on what kind of a playoff they had last year and the chance they can recapture some of that magic.
We will see how the final six weeks of the regular season plays out, but one of these first round match-ups is the most likely case.
I can add "Curling play-by-play" to the resume.
I actually had fun.
Sask-Tel Max broadcast both the semi-final and final of the Provincial Scotties on Sunday from the Credit Union i-plex.
I'm not sure on the job we did as broadcasters (Clayton Wicks handled the color duties) but by the end it was like I didn't want it to be over.
We had some drama in the games, and a real match-up of country vs the city in the final as Stefanie Lawton defeated Rene Miettinen in the final 9-6.
We also had the skips and thirds mic'd up which added to it. When in doubt, just shut-up and let the ladies take-over with some of their dialogue. All except this gem from Amber Holland in the semi-final:
" I don't know if we should play that turn... if we go that way it'll probably just hit those f***ing rocks up top".
It was a good day, and the province is in good hands with the polished Stefanie Lawton rink headed to Victoria to play in the National Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
A good time at the outdoor rink last night... a couple of us from the radio station and some of the Broncos staff took to the A.C.T. rink on 4th Ave NE for some shinny. Plenty of toe drags and turnovers... no pucks to the face to report today though.