Thursday, April 30, 2009
Head Scout and Director of Player Personnel Jamie Porter is happy with the selections: “Our philosophy is that we want to be a team that skates as well as possible. We see that in our players selected. The forwards selected are speedy and skilled and the defensemen are mobile and move the puck well. The goaltender we selected is a kid we’ve had an eye on all season long. We wanted to add depth at all positions and take the best players available.”
I will have a more detailed look at the later picks soon...
More on the Broncos picks below....
He's 5'11 and 165 pounds. He scored 22 goals and added 21 assists in 23 games with the bantam "AAA" Notre Dame Hounds.
The Leaderpost's Greg Harder recently did a story on him heading into the bantam draft back in March. Here's that story:
By Greg Harder,
Shea Howorko was hoping to be a scene-stealer in his audition for the 2009 WHL bantam draft.
The grand finale came on the weekend when Howorko took part in the annual Sask First tournament, which featured the top 160 players from around the province who are eligible for the April 30 bantam draft.
"Playing with the best (players) in your zone, you're showing your stuff and what you can do," said the 15-year-old forward, who's the top-rated player from Zone 1 (Regina). "Some guys (on opposing teams) are going to be good. You can see if you're better than them or find out what you have to work on to be better than them."
Howorko was pegged to be among the players to watch at the Sask First tournament, meaning his performance was closely scrutinized by the legion of WHL scouts and general managers in attendance at the Sherwood Ice Sports Centre.
It's heady stuff for the youngster, but he knows it comes with the territory. Scouts have been attending his games and calling his house all season long.
"I personally don't mind (the attention)," said Howorko, who had 22 goals and 43 points in 23 games with the Notre Dame Hounds this season. "You can't really get it all on your mind thinking you're good or anything. You still have to play hard. Just because they're talking to you doesn't mean you're going to totally make the team or anything."
Howorko said his goal is to "go high" in the upcoming bantam draft. According to multiple scouts who were informally polled by the Leader-Post, he's expected to land somewhere in the bottom half of the first round or in the second round.
"He's a good player -- good skater, good size," said Regina Pats director of scouting Todd Ripplinger. "He has a chance to be a player. He's still young but he has potential."
If Howorko does land in the first round, he would be the first player from Regina to do so since Cody Hanson (16th overall) in 2005. Hanson is one of just three Reginans to be selected in the opening round since 1992, joining Aaron Boogaard (14th, 2001) and Garth Murray (13th, 1997).
"Whatever happens, happens," said Howorko. "I still have a long ways to go, so we'll see."
Although he has "always wanted to play in the 'Dub," Howorko admits he hasn't decided if he'll accept an offer to play in the league or if he'll go the junior A route before heading south to the NCAA. That indecision may hurt his draft stock as well.
"Playing in the 'Dub would be fun," he said, before adding, "I don't know. With college, you get your schooling done right quick but WHL is a good opportunity. It's kinda 50-50, I guess. I haven't decided quite yet. I've still got some decisions."
Here's his thoughts on the small but skilled Evan Richardson...
"Evan is a quick, very skilled. We thought he was the fastest player in the draft by a long shot. We are excited that he has a 2nd and a 3rd gear and he can make plays with the puck at high speeds."
Our reports is that he's a highly skilled, goal scorer....
"Absolutely, he is very gifted around the net. We're very excited at the opportunity for him to come and and play with our group. He matches our team speed and he will elevate our skill level up front. He might be the fastest player on the team once he makes the roster."
What about his commitment to the WHL and Swift Current?
"We've had some discussions with the family beforehand. We've spoke with his coach who is former Bronco Evan Marble. We've had nothing but good feelings from the family. We don't think there will be any concerns (of him reporting)."
I sensed a lot of excitement in the voice of Jamie Porter. Richardson is coming into a very stable organization.
At 5'6, 135 he's not the biggest player but no doubt the league has opened up again for the smaller, skilled forwards.
A side-note, he's a red-head... sounds a lot like a younger version of Cody Eakin??
By Graham Perkins /
Experience can go a long way when it comes to winning games, but sometimes an injection of talented youth can be just what the doctor ordered.
That’s the situation the Nanaimo Bantam AAA team finds itself in, with talented rookie Evan Richardson leading the team’s offense heading into the Christmas break.
Richardson showed what he’s capable of early in the season in a shootout competition in Abbotsford: he went 7 for 7, using a different move on every attempt.
“Top corner, five-hole, backhand, forehand, the kid is incredible. When he zeroes in on the goalie he’s just deadly. It’s like he’s in the Matrix or something,” said coach Brad Mitchell.
Richardson is one of five first-year players on a team that prides itself on a dogged work ethic.
I didn't get a chance to blog the draft thoughts of Broncos Head Coach / GM Dean Chynoweth but here's a quick recap...
Chynoweth says they will take the best player available at #15 regardless of position and/or geographic location.
He's confident in the program the team has established and that it sells itself when it comes to recruitment of players. He says they will draft a player even if he's not committed to the Western Hockey League or Swift Current because they are confident in the quality of the organization.
When asked about trading up or down, Chynoweth says it's possible move they would look at. The asking price to move up in the first round is usually a 3rd round pick. I don't see the Broncos moving up in the draft today but I could see them moving down in the first round in order to recoup a 3rd round pick in which they don't presently have.
I'll have thoughts from Broncos Director of Scouting Jamie Porter later today.....
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Calgary, AB - The Western Hockey League announced the 2008-09 winners of the annual WHL Awards presented Wednesday, April 29th at the WHL Awards Luncheon held in Edmonton, Alberta.
WHL Player of the Year - Four Broncos Memorial Trophy
Brett Sonne (Maple Ridge, BC), Calgary Hitmen
Casey Pierro-Zabotel (Kamloops, BC), Vancouver Giants
WHL Rookie of the Year - Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy
Brett Connolly (Prince George, BC), Prince George Cougars
Jordan Weal (North Vancouver, BC), Regina Pats
WHL Goaltender of the Year - Del Wilson Trophy
Chet Pickard (Winnipeg, MB), Tri-City Americans
Braden Holtby (Marshall, SK), Saskatoon Blades
WHL Defenceman of the Year - Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy
Jonathon Blum (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) Vancouver, BC
Paul Postma (Red Deer, AB), Calgary Hitmen
WHL Scholastic Player Award - Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy
Stefan Elliott (North Vancouver, BC) Saskatoon Blades
Tyler Maxwell (Manhattan Beach, CA) Everett Silvertips
WHL Most Sportsmanlike Award - Brad Hornung Trophy
Tyler Ennis (Edmonton, AB), Medicine Hat Tigers
Colin Long (Santa Ana, CA), Kelowna Rockets
WHL Humanitarian of the Year - Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy
Taylor Procyshen (Emerald Park, SK), Tri-City Americans
Ian Barteaux (Fort Saskatchewan, AB), Kootenay Ice
WHL Coach of the Year - Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy
Don Hay, Vancouver Giants
Lorne Molleken, Saskatoon Blades
WHL Executive of the Year - Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy
Kelly Kisio, Calgary Hitmen
Scott Bonner, Vancouver Giants
WHL Marketing & Communications Award
Mike Bortolussi, Medicine Hat Tigers Marketing
Grant Riddle, Spokane Chiefs Marketing
WHL Top Scorer - Bob Clarke Trophy
Casey Pierro-Zabotel – (Kamloops, BC) Vancouver Giants
WHL Top Official - Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy
Chris Savage (Medicine Hat, AB)
HL Regular Season Champions - Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy
WHL Scholastic Team Award
Prince Albert Raiders
WHL Alumni Association Achievement Award
Professional Hockey recipient – Trevor Linden (Medicine Hat Tigers)
Academic recipient – Daniel Hulak (Swift Current Broncos/Portland Winter Hawks)
I'll have an instant recap of the Broncos 1st round pick and hopefully talk to the player they draft at some point.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Former Bronco captain Zack Smith is back home in Maple Creek following a strong rookie season with the Binghamton Senators.
Smith collected 24 goals and added 24 assists to go along with 132 PIM's. His season highlight was no doubt a November 29th NHL call-up to the Ottawa Senators in which he made his NHL debut.
Here's some of his thoughts on his first pro season:
"I think it was what I expected. Obviously guys are older and a lot stronger and the game's pretty fast. At the start of the year I gained some confidence coming out of Ottawa Senator camp. When I got down to Binghamton I was able to put up some points earlier and build some confidence."
On getting the early call-up to the Sens:
"It was unbelievable. Two years ago I wouldn't have expected to be where I am now. I was excited to say the least when I got the call."
On his push to stick with the big club next season:
"They told me in my year-end meetings that I have to push for a spot. The biggest think is strength-wise. It's even another step up from the NHL. The guys are faster and stronger and definitely smarter. It's going to be a big summer for me. I'll have to be focused and know what I want (to accomplish) going into next year."
On his summer plans:
"I want to stick close to home for the summer. I'm not sure where I'll be training this year but being that far away from home for awhile I kind of want to relax and stay at home for a bit before I get down to the hard work just before camp. I haven't decided (what I'm going to do) but I'll definitely be around."
Monday, April 27, 2009
We're just about two weeks away (May 13) from the Broncos 20th Anniversary of their 1989 Memorial Cup Championship.
20 years since Tim Tisdale deflected home a point shot in overtime in Saskatchewan Place.
At the radio station, we are doing a few things to commemorate the feat which was the last time a Saskatchewan based team has won the Cup.
Personally, I'd like us here at the station (in conjunction with the Broncos) to organize a Memorial Cup party. We could take over one of the local pubs here in the city, have some featured guests and slap on the 1989 Memorial Cup final game between the Broncos and Blades on the big screens.
We can just go about our business with the game going on in the background as a way to turn back the clock 20 years. It may take some quick planning to pull it off on May 13th. Maybe we could host it as a way to kick-off this year's Hall of Fame Weekend in July?
Former Bronco Zack Smith is back in the southwest after his first season of pro.
Smith put up 24 goals and 24 assists in his first season in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators.
I tried calling Smitty all last week but his phone was going straight to voicemail. Turned out he pulled off an impromptu trip to Mexico and is now finally back home.
When I talk to him, I'll try and post some of his thoughts here on the blog.
How about Mark Guggenberger in Kelowna? Back-to-back shutouts has him a win away from taking the Rockets to the WHL Championship series.
I'm planning on being in Calgary this coming weekend. Hopefully I'll catch one or two of the opening games from the 'Dome. They've yet to set the Calgary Hitmen home games because of the pending Flames schedule I'm guessing. I'm thinking games one and two will be either Friday/Sunday or Friday/Saturday.
How about the Humboldt Broncos?
What a come back to win the Anavet Cup. After being down 3-1 in their series to the Portage Terriers, the Broncos won game five 12-2, then took game six in overtime leading to yesterday's dramatics...
The Broncos were down 4-1 in the third period in game seven and then it was rally time. A five minute powerplay saw the Broncos convert twice to bring them within a goal. Then, with 47 seconds left the tied it 4-4. Shortly into overtime the Broncos completed the comeback. Wow.
NHL playoff observations....
-Despite not having any of the Blackhawks in my pool, they have become my favorite team to watch in the post-season.
Full of verve and energy the Hawks are led by several former WHL'ers - Cam Barker, Troy Brouwer, Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, are the ones I can remember off the top of my head. Throw in young stars Jon Toews and Patrick Kane and that is quite the group.
- I need the Sharks to keep going. With Travis Moen, Patrick Marleau and 1/3 of my pool invested, I need these guys to get past the Ducks.
One favorable thing about the Ducks moving on would be former Foley Crescent neighbor and minor hockey teammate Sheldon Brookbank getting to round two and continuing his chase for the Cup.
For all the abuse Sheldon took being the youngest of three brothers in the Brookbank basement I'm happy to see him flourishing.
- The most boring series? Carolina and New Jersey hasn't been all that interesting despite going seven games.
- I'm upset that Torts was suspended for game six of the Capitals/Rangers series. This is the playoffs! I was shocked to hear the NHL ruled that way. The league has to stick up for their personnel a little better than that.
- The more and more the playoffs continue, the more I'm disliking the Vancouver Canucks. Maybe it's the company I keep, maybe it's the fact they've battled the Dallas Stars in a few playoff wars in the past... I'm not sure.
Maybe it's because I don't think they're really that good. Granted, they have a goalie.
Since this blog is read locally somewhat, I thought I would praise a few local businesses that have gone above and beyond lately. It's tough to find good service in this day and age but some kudos are in order.
Boston Pizza - last night our young waiter did a fine job despite our table of seven which included three kids two or under. The rest of the restaurant was packed too. The young man did a great job.
Culligan Water - Great customer service every day of the week. They put
Care Dry Cleaners - superb at both locations in the city and Bronco fans to boot.
A neat story out of the Comp High School last night....
Saskatchewan Roughriders QB Coach Jamie Baressi spent some time last night working with Colts QB's Mike Nicholson and Josh Siemens.
On his own time, and asking nothing in return, Baressi came down and worked with the duo for a few hours. Good story. Thanks for the info BB.
Speaking of the Comp, City Councillor Stacey Ellertson lobbed some pretty big shots in it's direction at City Council Monday according to the weekly Prairie Post paper.
Ellertson was referring to a rampant drug problem which he claims has taken over the school saying part of the problem is the local RCMP.
Ellertson has never shied away from a reporter - he loves to see his name in print and hear it on the radio. Now I'm blogging it. He must be in heaven.
It will be interesting to see where this goes.
From what I've been told, Ellertson is planning a run at the Mayor's chair next Civic Election.
I'm planning a BC golf trip for later this summer. Is there any "must play" courses someone will vouch for? Lemme know....
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I had a chance to talk to former five-year Bronco Chad Beagle on capturing Senior Hockey's top-prize the Allan Cup.
Beagle played from 1994-1999 with the Broncos which has before my time here. He is fondly remembered by Bronco fans for his heavy hits and outgoing personality.
Here's some of his thoughts on winning the Allan Cup on the weekend with the Bentley Generals:
On the championship season:
"(Coach) Brian Sutter did a wonderful job of bringing it all together and he had a game plan from the start. It was an unbelievable season. We had lots up ups and tons of downs but it all come together in the end for us."
On local product and Generals teammate Curtis Austring:
"Curtis Austring is one of the most unbelievable men I've ever met in my life. He's absolutely the nicest guy. He came into our room with a ton of character. He's a gentleman, a class guy from a class family out there in southwest Saskatchewan."
On his memories of being a Bronco:
"The Swift Current Broncos are still next to my heart. I'm on the Internet everyday checking out the stats and who is doing what. I still have a connection with (captain Derek) Claffey's brother Dustin playing with us on the Generals this year so I got to keep in touch with how the team is doing through the Claffey family."
I've been trying to keep track of the WHL playoffs but my interest has waned somewhat since the Broncos were eliminated. One of the players I find most intriguing is Hitmen forward Kris Foucault.
The Broncos drafted him in the 5th round of the 2005 bantam draft 85th overall. It was a good draft year for the team. Here's some of the highlights of that year which included current and former WHL'ers Geordie Wudrick, Ian Curtis, Phil Gervais, Eddie Friesen, Jordan Mistelbacher and Clayton Cumiskey.
In the middle of the pack was Foucault.
Foucault came to rookie camp as a 16 year-old and was heads and tails above the pack along with Jordan Mistelbacher in the rookie scrimmages. The future was looking bright.
If Foucault did have a knock it was his conditioning and commitment to being in shape.
Too many forwards for the Broncos and a lack in Kootenay led to a trade with the Ice. Foucault for a 6th rounder if I remember correctly.
Foucault apparently had the same issues with the Ice. The Ice have an after practice work-out team dubbed " Fat Club". Foucault was a staple in it.
Earlier this season Foucault split time between Kootenay and Canmore of the AJHL. It was a trade to Calgary which has seemingly sparked the untapped potential of Foucault.
A personable kid, Foucault now leads the playoffs in goals scored with 10 after scoring twice last night in Brandon to help the Hitmen win 4-3 in OT.
You could make a strong case to say he's been the Hitmen's playoff MVP so far with their 11-0 record.
Many people in the WHL may be surprised with his rise but not some of the Broncos who played with him. Broncos G Travis Yonkman said to me earlier this season Foucault always had a heavy shot and good hands, he just had to put it together with his dedication off the ice.
The Hitmen can wrap up their series with Brandon tonight. Brandon will try to stave off elimination but winning four in a row against the Hitmen would be a miracle at this stage.
The Broncos pick 15th overall in the WHL bantam draft a week from today in Edmonton. I'll post the Broncos draft day thoughts in an upcoming post.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I'm not going to post the video here but it's all over youtube. A quick search will bring up four or five different versions.
To Roger's credit, it's up to the producers to grab the right take. Obviously it was missed by the crew and went to air.
It happened to me one time. I was doing live-to-tape draft reports from Vancouver at the 2006 NHL draft. I was reporting on the Alex Tanguay trade to Calgary. I messed up something and said s**t. I then started over "3-2-1... the Calgary Flames have made a splash on draft day..." The guy back at the station editing the reports missed the edit and aired the entire recording across our network. I was a little red in the face to say the least.
Bottom line, It happens. Remember Minnesota Twins color analyst Bert Blyleven a few years ago?
I love watching the playoffs on CBC. No one pays attention to detail like the CBC does.
I love the tradition and the way they really bring out the cultural side of "Canada's game".
My favorite part is the playoff intro which usually airs on the opening night of playoffs. This year's was awesome! I've been trying to find it but haven't had any luck.
They also air another one before game one of the Stanley Cup Final. For hockey fans they are a can't miss.
I was also a huge fan of the "Chance May Never Come Again" montages they used to put together. Great stuff. It really sets the tone for the broadcast.
And play-by-play broadcaster Bob Cole is a legend. He's been taking some flak over the years but let's be honest, he is a huge part of Canadian history.
Many of Canada's greatest hockey moments are narrated by the CBC legend. Most every one's favorite playoff memory has been told by the veteran Cole.
Little known fact? Cole and Don Cherry are the best of friends.
Just hearing him call the Bruins and Habs last night was fantastic.
He's the best.
Finally, some free advice:
if you're leading your playoff hockey pool after two nights it's not even worth mentioning to the others in the pool. The draft isn't won in April. Come back and talk in two months. It's a marathon, not a sprint!
Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Today's blog post is unofficially brought to you by the good folks of Innovation Credit Union.
This isn't a multi-million dollar sponsorship package, nor will this blog be referred to as the "I-blog' but the marketing staff are good people and have been a big supporter. Thank you.
I caught the final minutes and then overtime of the Spokane/Vancouver game last night on Shaw. Good series, good ending. Vancouver and Calgary are one step closer to a WHL super series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. Let's see if Kelowna or Brandon have something to say about that in the next week.
I finally spoke with Broncos D John Negrin on Monday. Negrin's world has been turned upside-down the last two weeks since his Bronco season came to an end. Just three nights later he was in a Calgary Flames jersey playing in Minnesota.
He's played three games now and is enjoying every minute of it. I asked him about his "welcome to the NHL moment":
"There's been a lot. When I went out in warm-up (in Minnesota), half the building was already full. It was pretty amazing. I spent most of the time looking up in the stands and looking around. To see myself in the Flames jersey, and see the players I was on the ice playing with and against, that was probably the biggest moment. I kind of realized and was like wow, I'm here and I'm going to do this."
Negrin also played this past weekend in a home-and-home series against the Edmonton Oilers in the Battle of Alberta.
"With the Flames, it's crazy. Especially playing against Edmonton, the big rival. They were two really exciting games, pretty fast-paced, and I enjoyed it."
The WHL wanted to hear Negrin's story. He'll be featured on WHL This Week - Radio Edition when the new episode comes out sometime on Friday.
We had our annual radio station NHL draft last night. There was seven of us - down a couple from last year. The motley crew included Trent "Zoo" Redekop of CKSW morning show fame, Program Director Ryan Switzer, Colin Powers and Dono Fehr from the news department, Sales Manager Carla Congdon and Sales Rep Nancy Anderson's husband Dale.
We rattled off 16 rounds in about an hour and fifteen minutes. I'm all about the Bruins, Sharks and Devils with one or two Red Wings in the mix. I had the 5th overall pick and settled for the Bruins Marc Savard. I debated between him or Joe Thornton of the Sharks.
The strangest pick of the night belonged to Trent Zoo who selected the Wings Ville Leino with his sleeper. I'm not a Wings fan and I haven't paid too close attention. Who is this guy??
Switzer, with no allegiances to the Canucks whatsoever, took 10 of them. His plan was semi-foiled by Colin Powers who was able to wrangle Roberto Luongo with his goaltender pick.
Not one New York Ranger was taken - the only team to be shutout.
Broncos F Cody Eakin appears to be a "role-player" at the U-18 Championships in North Dakota. Judging by his linemates and his ice-time, he's predominately playing a checking role. I know he won't have any problem with it but he's capable of putting up some offensive numbers if given the opportunity. He has two goals in the tournament so far.
It's probably the best fit for Eaks considering. If he continues to advance to the World Junior evaluation camp in a year or two, that's the role Hockey Canada would be trying to fit him into.
Canada won their pool with a 4-2 win over Sweden and a berth in the semi-finals.
More snow today. Looks like the golf clubs will be on the shelf for the time being. Have a good rest of the week.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Eakin is ranked 29th amongst North American skaters - up 23 spots from his mid-term ranking of #52. You can't help but think a strong 2nd half and solid CHL/NHL Top Prospects game has gone a long ways in leading him up the list.
For Justin Dowling, it's almost like CSB forgot about him in the mid-terms as he comes in at #101 in the Final Rankings.
The one negative was D Joel Rogers who was left out of the final rankings after being rankted 138th.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I know the radio station is full force but it seems like a lot of folks have the day off today. Oh well, I'll put in my morning sports, co-host a few breaks on the Eagle 94.1 FM with Chance and then it's North to the Landing for the first round of golf for the year.
I drove past it last night around 6:30pm on my way home from Easter weekend and the course looked great. Not exactly green, but it will do for April 13th.
I'm excited to get out there and try to keep it under 100 for the first round of the year.
Good on Johnny Negrin.
The Broncos defenseman gathered his first ever NHL point when he assisted on Jaime Lundmark's goal in a 4-1 Calgary Flames win over the Edmonton Oilers Sunday.
Negrin logged 14:55 of ice-time and was given some opportunities to showcase his game. No word if he will be on the Flames playoff roster or sent back to Quad City of the AHL.
Still waiting for that phonecall back Johnny....
Speaking of phone calls, how about San Jose Sharks forward Travis Moen getting back to me on Easter weekend to talk about playoffs?
I was 500 kms from the radio station and couldn't do the interview but hopefully we can do something here for his Sharks get locked-up with his former team the Anaheim Ducks in the opening round of playoffs.
Travis has always been real good to us, and we've always been a big supporter of his on the Eagle 94.1 FM. I'm hoping his Sharks win the cup and we can spend another day/night with it in our backyard.
When it comes to the NHL playoffs I have no idea this year.
I'm in a couple drafts and have no clue what direction I'm going to go. I haven't followed it enough form a strategy - I just learned of all the playoff match-ups last night when I got back to the city.
How does San Jose, Detroit and Boston sound as surefire teams to advance? The other series seem to close to call. Vancouver will be good to go if Bobby Lou can get going. Pittsburgh and Philly seem to close to touch. Calgary and Chicago will be another barn-burner.
I would like to rally around the B-Hawks this year just because of all the former WHL players on the team. They are smorgasbord of WHL grads and are a young team pretty easy to like.
Maybe I'll ride the Hawks for the draft mixed in my usual combo of Zetterberg/Datsyuk in Detroit. For some reason I always end up with one or both of them.
If you're an employee of GWR Swift Current, we're doing the draft tomorrow night in the boardroom at 7ish..... I'll send the email later today.
The WHL Playoffs continue and it's good to see Regan Bartel and the Kelowna Rockets still going strong. It sounds like they took advantage of a banged-up Tri City American team to win the last four games and take the series in six games.
Imagine a team missing their top defenseman, and two or three of their top scorers? That's what the Ams were down for most of the series. Sound familiar Bronco fans?
I don't think many Bronco fans minded the Wheat Kings sweep of the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 2nd round.
Now Calgary and Brandon meet in the Eastern Conference Final and rightfully so. In my opinion they are head and shoulders the top two teams in the East from what I saw this season. The Broncos were also a combined 1-11 against them so my opinion is possibly a bit skewed.
They are going to have a heck of a series. Shaw TV has plans to do the series but I'm told will do the Kelowna/Vancouver series if Vancouver can beat Spokane tomorrow night in game seven.
Speaking of the Hitmen, congratulations to former Bronco defenseman Paul Postma who signed an NHL entry-level deal with the Atlanta Thrashers, the team that drafted him in the 7th and final round of the 2007 draft.
I vividly remember packing up my gear from the draft floor in Columbus, OH and having Paul Postma's name announced over the PA system as Atlanta's 7th round selection. I was a bit surprised but told some of others who I was with that it couldn't have happened to a better kid.
Just two picks later Ryan Molle was taken by the New Jersey Devils at #207. It was quite the 7th round for the Broncos that year.
Golden West Radio isn't covering the NHL draft in Montreal this year. We will plan to do something else instead. After doing the draft for the last 9 or 10 years, it was time to try something else.
Hopefully Broncos F Cody Eakin can continue his assault up the rankings and "squeak" somewhere late into the 1st round. Most people I've talked to think Cody will taken somewhere between the 2nd or 3rd round.
He's currently representing Canada at the U-18 World Championships in Fargo, ND. So far he's collected two goals in lopsided wins over Germany and Switzerland. Canada plays Germany later today in their third round robin game.
Here's a nice pic on whl.ca of Eaks from the weekend:
Have a good Monday!
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Here's what I'm thinking today,
- Broncos forward Cody Eakin has played in two exhibition game for Canada's U-18 team at the World Championships going on in Fargo, ND and Moorehead, MN. Cody didn't factor into the scoring in either game. Canada beat Finland 6-5 in OT and Slovakia 5-2. They begin playing for keeps tomorrow. TSN will broadcasts a handful of games.
I had a chance to speak with U-18 Head Coach Mike Johnston yesterday following practice. He had good things to say about Cody after only seeing him play on a limited basis.
He explained the style of game they want to play at the U-18's
"We want to play with some pace to our game. We want to play with some tempo and energy but at the same time we want to be responsible defensively. We want to try and have a balanced attack but we want to play with some speed, tempo and pace."
I've been a quiet observer of the WHL's 2nd round of playoffs. It seems as if Calgary appears to be clicking and won't be stopped against Lethbridge. We will see how much fight the 'Canes have left with tonight's game four.
Hurricanes Head Coach Michael Dyck has been frustrated with the officiating in this series. He's made some read between the lines comments in this series. Maybe the 'Canes can get rolling but it appears to be too little too late against a powerful and motivated Hitmen team.
It appears Medicine Hat G Ryan Holfeld may have used up all his saves in the 1st round series against the Broncos. Holfeld, who was strong in the opening round, is having a tough time with the potent offense of the Brandon Wheat Kings. Holfeld's .790 save percentage through the first two games is a far cry from what he was doing in the opening round.
In the Tigers case... When Tyler Ennis has a five point night and you still lose, then you're in trouble. It's doubtful this series is headed back to the 'Hat with the next three games in Brandon.
Golf season is here. In Swift Current the Chinook opens up nine holes on Friday while the Elmwood will be on temporary greens for awhile. To the North, Sask Landing will be on all 18 holes on Friday. Last year's 60 plus rounds will be hard to top. I'll try my best. Looks like it's the Chinook Golf Club for me this year. Who has the belt? (inside joke)
I'm still trying to track down a Tigers jersey to make good on my bet with Rhonda Carlson. Maybe the Tigers can drop one off on their way back through town following their three-game set in Brandon.
D John Negrin was returned to Quad City of the AHL following one game with the Flames. I have a call into him to get this thoughts of playing his first NHL game. He hasn't gotten back to me yet. I'm guessing it's been planes, trains and automobiles for the 19 year-old since his junior season ended a week ago. I'll blog something when I hear back....
It's NHL Hockey draft season... not the one in Montreal this summer, I'm talking about the office pool. To be honest, I haven't paid a lick of attention to it. Who are the teams to beat? Darkhorse? Fill me in.
I do know one thing, our draft (and probably yours as well) will have the usual suspects:
"The Phone Guy" - You know, the one who can't attend in person so he's attending the draft via speakerphone.
"Unprepared Guy" - The one who's list of players he had going into the draft were all taken in the first two rounds... now he's scrambling around trying to make picks 3 thru 15 with no clue.
"Distracted Guy" - The one who picks a player taken three rounds ago. Or in some cases, one he picked in a previous round.
"I was gonna pick him Guy" - Every draft has a couple of these. He/She is the one that blurts out "I was going to draft him next!" right after the pick is made. That's why it's a draft, you can't have everyone.
"Pay Up Guy" - The one who doesn't bring his 20 bucks to the draft for the entry fee forcing you to hound him for the next two months.
Friday, April 03, 2009
Calgary Flames General Manager Darryl Sutter announced they have called up Swift Current Broncos defenseman John Negrin.
Negrin was initially assigned to the AHL’s Quad City Flames but due to injuries in Calgary, Negrin will suit up for the NHL club.
Negrin was selected by the Calgary Flames in the 3rd round, 70th over-all in the 2007 NHL draft.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Swift Current Broncos forward Cody Eakin has been named to Team Canada for the IIHF World Under 18 Championships in Fargo, North Dakota.
This will be Eakin’s second time representing Canada, as he competed in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament this past summer in Slovakia. Eakin completed his second WHL season in Swift Current totaling 24 goals and 24 assists for 48 points in 54 games. He also was awarded with the MVP for Team Orr at the CHL Prospects game in January.
Eakin will join Team Canada this weekend for the tournament that starts on April 9th.
"My plan is to be here. The Board (of directors) has made it clear they wanted to wait to see how things played out...they held the option year in my contract and they have exercised that option," commented Chynoweth from his office this morning.
From an outside perspective, it appeared the Board was contemplating making a change even though the team posted a 2nd straight 40 win season and a potential profitable season for the 2nd year in a row. Chynoweth, who was pretty much in limbo all season, wouldn't comment on that aspect.
"It doesn't really matter what I think. I have a job to do and am paid to do the job. We came up short this season. Now we will regroup and try to put ourselves into a position to be better next year."
Dean also talked about the playoff series with Medicine Hat and what he thought the difference was. I'll blog those thoughts at a later time.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Swift Current Broncos defenseman John Negrin has been called up to the Quad City Flames of the American Hockey League. Negrin will join the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate and will play Friday against Chicago.
Negrin was selected by the Calgary Flames in the 3rd round, 70th over-all in the 2007 NHL draft. Negrin has also been awarded with the Meyers Norris Penny Bronco playoff MVP award.
The Broncos may have outshot (40-20) the Tigers, but the chances were almost even. Long perimeter shots from the Broncos were gobbled up by a stellar Ryan Holfeld with no 2nd opportunities.
The Tigers were always to carry momentum by scoring the first goal at the games at the i-plex. It usually happened in the first few minutes.
You could say the Broncos deserved better fate in this one but it's not a one game series, it's a best-of-seven and the team that wins the series deserves it.
I'm proud of our guys. They are good kids. They had a great season.
We knew this series was going to be down to the wire, and that's exactly what happened.
To be honest, at about 1am at our post-game gathering you wouldn't have been able to tell who won or who lost that game. No need to dwell on it. It was another great year which I thoroughly enjoyed. Great staff. Great people.
Good luck to the Tigers. Will Desjardins is a class guy, so is their broadcaster Bob Ridley. I hope they can put up a fight in the 2nd round.
I'll have more of a season recap later this week. It's too early for that sort of stuff. The Broncos did some great things this year. 42 regular season wins - the most since 2001-02. Home ice advantage for the first time in six years and attendance up nearly 10% over last year.
Thanks to those people who have passed along some nice things about our broadcasts this year on the Eagle 94.1 FM. Tim and I had a great time this year and saw lots of hockey. I think we bring a good product to our listeners and sponsors.
Our broadcast ads and feature sponsors were sold-out again this season. We appreciate our sponsors and hope to have them back again next season.
Also a big thanks to the folks behind the scenes at the Eagle 94.1 FM. Our radio station and the Broncos have a solid partnership unmatched in the WHL.
Of course, to the all the loyal Bronco fans, friends, family, billets, Bronco parents....THANK YOU.
For me personally, I'm not sure if my season is done yet or not. There may be more opportunities in the coming weeks to broadcast more WHL games.
I'll also have to find a Tigers jersey somewhere... Rhonda Carlson should be able to help me out I'm thinking. I know one thing, she would have looked way better in a Broncos jersey than the alternative.
I'll be able to stay in the playoff loop somewhat with the weekly production of WHL This Week Radio Edition which the league will carry into late April or early May.
Enjoy the rest of the playoffs.....I know I will.