Here's a few points from the notebook as the Blazers prepare to host the Prince George Cougars tonight:
- The Blazers shoot for their 5th straight home ice win after last night's 4-3 shootout victory over the Spokane Chiefs. The Cougars come in after defeating the Regina Pats 5-3 last night. F Troy Bourke had a hat-trick for the Cougars.
- Will the Blazers get their letters back? Last night the team played without a single letter "A" or "C" on the jerseys. Captain Chase Schaber sat out his third and final game due to suspension while the other assistants had their letters taken away following the loss in Spokane Wednesday. It sounds like Schaber will wear the "C" tonight but the rest of the letters could be up for open audition again. The Blazer assistants included Corey Fienhage, Jordan DePape, Bronson Maschmeyer and Austin Madaisky. If there is a letter shuffle, could players like Dylan Willick, Brendan Ranford or Shayne Neigum factor in?
- Chase Schaber came up for a 1st intermission chat on "Hockey Talk". I was surprised to hear that Schaber ( a Red Deer native) will be cheering for the Riders in tomorrow's Grey Cup. Schaber says his younger brother is the football player in the family. He's the quarterback of his high school football team. He says the brothers have transformed to be a part Rider Nation over the years.
- Who's the Player of the Month for the Blazers in November? If you look at the numbers, it's perhaps F Brendan Ranford or F Chase Schaber. F Jordan DePape had a decent month on the stats sheet too. Maybe F Dylan Willick gets some consideration based on the style of game he plays and how valuable he's been to the team. Or, does G Jeff Bosch factor in?
- Last night's delay before the shootout was painful. In fact, both shootouts this season at ISC have come with lengthy delays following the end of overtime. On both occasions it was the ice crew having to come back onto the ice to fix something after the gate was shut. Personally, I don't mind the shootout. Especially when we see something new and unique come out from the shooters. But last night's delay really took the spirit out of it.
- You had to feel for F Brendan Ranford. His name was announced four times before he actually got to lead-off the shootout. On the third announcement he actually picked up the puck and began skating towards the net but had to put the brakes on as the ice crew was still making their way off the ice.
- The Blazers are loving their new game-winning celebration. I thought I saw glimpses of something different when they beat the Pats last week. Last night, the celebration was embraced by the entire team. Call it the "NHL 94" celebration. The guys are modelling it after a video game from the 90's in which players would celebrate around their goalie at the end of the game. The boys may have the year wrong...I'll have to confirm later today at the rink.
- The Blazers are 9-0 when giving up three or less goals. Head Coach Guy Charron made us aware of this stat during our pre-game show.
- The PG Cougars could be hit hard by the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships. They will likely lose their best forward and top defenseman. F Brett Connolly has to be considered a favorite to grab a spot on Team Canada. D Martin Marincin will no doubt play for Slovakia at the event.
- Game-time tonight at 7pm from ISC. Pre-game show at 6:30pm at www.radionl.com . The Blazers won't play after tonight until next Friday when they host the Saskatoon Blades.