Saturday, January 30, 2010
Vause scored the winner after a great play from Justin Dowling to buy time for a line change and allow Taylor Vause to come off the bench to score the winner. Dowling gained the Blades zone 1-on-3 as the Broncos changed. He then worked the puck along the end wall before getting it to the front of the net where Vause jammed it home. It really was a thing of beauty from Dowling, and an effort that shouldn't go unrecognized.
The Broncos hadn't settled a game in overtime all season up until this week. Now they have back-to-back OT wins.
For the Broncos it was the third time they've played well in Saskatoon but the first time they've been rewarded for it. The Broncos tied it with just over five minutes to play on a Michael Stickland goal.
The Broncos outshot the Blades 43-34 but going 0/7 on the powerplay kept the game close.
Cody Eakin scored his league-leading 36th goal of the season on a shorthanded breakaway in the 2nd. Stepan Novotny added his 22nd as well.
The Broncos played the role of slump breakers for the Blades PP. It was 0/45 entering tonight's game but went 2/3 against the Broncos.
It was a big two points to begin the weekend. The teams meet again in Swift Current Saturday night to conclude the home-and-home set.
Friday, January 29, 2010
I had a Q and A with Mac T talking about everything from junior hockey to the struggles with the two Alberta based NHL teams. He had an interesting take on the Oilers struggles calling it "exactly what the Oilers need"
Anyways here it is....
On running Bronco practice this week....
"It's just fun. Sometimes you need a break from the regular routine. We just wanted to come out and have a little fun, and talk a little about hockey, and pass on some things. We weren't out here trying to split the atom or anything (laughing), but it was a good, fun day."
On being back on the ice with Mark Lamb....
" We probably talk every couple of weeks about what's going on. I still have plans to work with Mark down the road in some capacity. He's really enjoying what he's doing and has a wealth of information to pass on to these kids...some great experiences both as a player and a coach. They're lucky to have him."
On being around junior hockey....
"It's a fun time. These kids have so much enthusiasm and are so motivated to work on their game. It's good to see."
On the struggle with the Edmonton Oilers...
"This is in my estimation of exactly what the Oiler organization needs. They need to bottom-feed a little bit and pick up a Taylor Hall or a Seguin or a Cam Fowler. Those are really good solid stars. You can compete but you can't win unless you have some real solid superstar power. This pain and suffering will be worth it once the final buzzer rings."
On the Flames troubles....
"When you don't have the natural offense, you're going to be subjected to periods and spells like they are now. They will come out of it. Sometimes it's hard....it's a tough league."
On the Broncos current situation of being in 9th in the Conference and fighting for a playoff spot....
"The pressure game in and game out can be intense. Even the year we (Oilers) went to the Stanley Cup final, no one remembers that intense battle we had to just make the playoffs. The minute we got in, the play improved exponentially. The players were able to relax and it really reflected positively in the way we played. I see the same potential here with the Broncos."
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The former Oiler Head Coach is set to run Broncos practice later today. I'll try to take some of it in and take some pics. For those wanting to check it out. the Broncos skate daily at 2:45pm.
After last night's win the team was treated to first-look of "On Home Ice". It's a TSN feature that will air SuperBowl weekend.
Mac T had a DVD copy of the behind-the-scenes process of selecting Canada's Olympic team for the upcoming games in Vancouver. It was thrown into the DVD player on the bus for the way home.
It was pretty neat to see some big hockey heavyweights (Mike Babcock, Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff) debate player selections, and game strategies.
Watch for the hour long show SuperBowl weekend on TSN.
Thanks to Dustin Dion (Country 100.7 FM Moose Jaw) morning show host for providing color commentary last night. D.D. came through and provided some solid work on the broadcast.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Former Edmonton Oiler player and coach Craig MacTavish is joining the Broncos later today.... more on that below this post.....
The Broncos head into Moose Jaw tonight to play the Warriors. The Broncos lead the season series 4-1 but are struggling as they begin a new week.
Goaltending has been thrust into the spotlight with the recent merry-go-round in the Broncos crease. Both Morgan Clark and Mark Friesen are handling the added pressure well.
The two were praised for the Broncos December winning streak but now find themselves on the other side of it.
"We're not different goalies then we were when we where making those extra saves, we're the same guys and we know that. We just have to keep our heads up and keep battling," commented Clark after practice Monday.
G Mark Friesen says it's a team game.
"That's the way it is sometimes. It doesn't matter what's going on, we win and lose as a team. There are good games and bad games. No one in the dressing room is pointing the finger at each other. It's a team effort."
The two 'tenders have become mirror images of each other. Morgan Clark's 3.26 GAA and his .894 save % is nearly identical to Friesen's 3.27 GAA and .894 save % split between here and the Chilliwack Bruins.
I spoke with top Broncos prospect F Evan Richardson last night. the Nanaimo, BC native is having a great season with the North Island Silvertips of the B.C. Major Midget League. He remains the Broncos top recruiting priority.
He will be our guest on tonight's pre-game show from Moose Jaw. Richardson was slated to join the team earlier this month but couldn't make it based on his exam schedule.
He plans to be at training camp in August. His future though is still very much undecided.
Junior "A" and the NCAA route is very much a possibility.
You can hear our chat tonight at 6:30pm before the Broncos/Warriors game.
The lack of emergency lighting at the Credit Union i-plex was addressed at Swift Current City Council last night...
Director of Recreation and Parks Dean Robson addressed the issue during a six-minute media scrum after the meeting. He did have this to stay in regards to the issue which was at the fore front Saturday night during an hour long power outage at the Broncos/Pats game.
"As I understand it, we have two systems in there. One is the old system which has been there a number of years. The old emergency lighting came on as well but wasn't as bright as the new expansion emergency lighting when we did the expansion. Both systems are tested. Those areas will be addressed."
He says the solution may be a simple one.
"It may be as simple as replacing all the batteries on the circuit line for the old lights over the arena but we take this very seriously not only with a World Curling event coming up but for any event."
He says it might be part of upcoming budget talks.
While we're on the subject... apparently this blog and Ryan Switzer's are becoming regular stops for the city's mayor and councillors. Easy fellas, this is just a sports blog not cnn.com.
But I do have one question. What is with all the little note passing back and forth in council chambers during meetings? Where's the teacher to intercept the note and read it in front of the class?
The city has been taking some heat about the lack of snow removal lately. Ryan addressed that issue yesterday. Scroll down a bit on his blog to see what that's about.
One more city related note, has Stacey Ellertson fallen of the face of the earth? Has there been any post-election sightings?
I still think an internet orientated TMZ Swift Current would be a hit... maybe that's a new business venture for someone?
More on Craig MacTavish joining the Broncos below.
Talk to you tonight from Moose Jaw.....
Monday, January 25, 2010
The Broncos welcome special guest Craig MacTavish tomorrow as he joins the team for a few days as a guest of Broncos Head Coach/GM Mark Lamb.
He's making the trip to Moose Jaw with us. What's going to be like? Well, maybe some of that old 1980's Oilers magic will be re-kindled.
Mac T was a prominent player on the Oilers in the behind-the-scenes documentary. Mark Lamb played only two games with the Oil that season as he spent the majority of the year in Nova Scotia with the farm club.
More with Mac T later......
For now here's the music video promo for The Boys on the Bus...classic stuff. Kind of has that Rocky montage feel to it...
How about this from the Vikings Play-by-Play crew after the Favre interception late in the 4th quarter.
Passionate about the team or over the top? Scroll down to the "One last thing on Favre"
What else could go wrong? From past experience sometimes it's only the tip of the iceberg and even pondering that question is asking for trouble.
The Dominican looks like a pretty good option about right now......
Speaking of "Big League".... Thanks for the texts Saturday night from the East Coast Dean Chynoweth.
Glad to hear you haven't forgot about us folks in Swift Current. Also glad to hear Keen's Korner continues to be one of your regular surfing stops.
I'd share some of the texts, but they are coming in my tell-all book in a few years. You will have to pay to find out....
Ryan Switzer and I often laugh that it would be fun down the road (like in 20 years) to co-host a Bronco or Swift Current Sports banquet/fundraiser. The stories we could tell from some of our experiences would keep the mood light and the party going...
The people you meet and associate with, the time on the road, some of the players and characters you encounter all make for a pretty interesting time.
It's a good thing we have these blogs to chronicle and archive some of this stuff, otherwise I probably wouldn't remember half of it.
The Broncos are struggling to get a save right now. Goaltending was a focal point in our Saturday night post-game coaches show with Tim Kehler.
"We're not getting bailed out in net right now. I think when we were at our best - winners of six of seven (in December), I think Friesen gave us some outstanding goaltending but when we're coming in 2nd I think we have to look between the pipes as well. They have to be better and I think they would be the first one's to admit it." - Kehler
The Broncos PP has also froze up. It's operating at about 8% the last eight games. Good thing their Penalty Kill remains near the top of the league.
I had to laugh when I heard there was two plastic rats thrown on the ice at the Brandt Center before the Pats/Broncos game Friday night. One said "KEEN" on it, the other said "SWITZER".
Tim Kehler texted me in the intermission "Hey, your name was written on one of the rats!"
I guess the playoff battles between the two teams is still fresh in some fans minds. The fact we've ingrained ourselves in the Regina sport scene is pretty amusing and flattering.
There are fans out there (in Regina) that take this blog stuff as the Spoken Word. This is their bible. Like honestly, who cares about the radio guy right? Wrong.
It proves to me as well we got into Pats fans' kitchens and rattled them up pretty good.
Speaking of those playoff battles, I hear Pats Management is still fuming over an alleged incident two years ago in the playoffs...here's how it went down.
The Broncos won a crucial game five in the Brandt Center to take a 3-2 series lead. Upon the Pats arrival the next night in Swift Current for game six, they arrived to a bag of golf balls taped to their dressing room door.
An incensed Pats GM Brent Parker apparently ripped the bag off the door and wanted to use it to rally the troops to stave off elimination. Whatever the case may be, it didn't work, the Pats were down 3-cobb before the ice was even dry in the 1st period.
Now, this is where I come in. The Pats thought that I was responsible for the bag of balls taped to the door! They were/are under the impression I DID IT!
Although funny, I can't take credit for it, nor would I do something like that in my position with the Broncos and the WHL. I do know who did it, and it's always good for a laugh when I see the fella.
But honestly, assuming the other teams broadcaster would stoke the flames like that is pretty silly.
Another story for the banquet tour...
From the "this isn't going to help things file" I ripped the phone jack clean off it's mount Friday night in Regina in the visitors booth.
The phone line chord is our lifeline to broadcast games from WHL rinks. It got tied up in chair legs and shoes underneath. When I got up in the intermission the line came with me. I stood there in disbelief.
The staff at the Brandt Center tried... but they couldn't breath life back into the situation. I did the rest of the game, 3rd period, OT, Shootout, post-game show wuth the blackberry...
Downtown streets in Swift Current are a mess... if you have a car you might want to let it sit today. Trucks and SUV's have a chance but that's about it.
To our listeners out there Saturday, due to the lack of a generator we were unable to broadcast during the power outage at the Broncos game.
Our listeners were in the dark, literally. When the lights go out, sadly so do we. It's not exactly what you would call an ideal situation.
It's days like today I love my SUV. A couple year back my decision was between a little sporty car or a big 4x4 off-road, big tire SUV. The latter was the choice.
If you need a ride today text me. Serious. I'll do my part to help out....
How small is this city? I was driving Saturday when my lid popped off my Tim Horton's coffee cup. Of course I spilt it everywhere. When I stopped at the next intersection I took a few seconds to clean up the mess. I may have inconvenienced a couple cars behind me for a few seconds.
I get to the rink and some of the Broncos are all over me..."Hey Keen, were you driving Miss Daisy today" or "sweet driving today".
So it just happened to be a couple of the players behind me while I cleaned up the mess....
Have a great week and look for something positive to build on despite the all-consuming blizzard. Hopefully this post can brighten your day a little....
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The way it shook down tonight at the Credit Union i-plex has me a bit sour. Not so much for the on-ice performance but off....
A power outage for over an hour brought a boat load of confusion to everyone in attendance. Security guards began kicking the crowd out the building like bouncers at the bar when the light comes on.
While the prospects of seeing the third period actually being played began to dim, security took it upon themselves to clear the building (in total darkness mind you). Maybe they were mandated to, maybe they got some bad info but minutes later we were playing hockey again but to just a handful of fans. Ironic considering it was Pack the 'Plex night.
While I'm on the topic of darkness, I couldn't believe (I'm not alone) the lack of back-up lighting in the building. It was dark... I mean pitched black. I guess the $13 million upgrade didn't include the emergency light option.
Granted, I've watched games in the building for over 10 years and nothing like this has ever happened. Still, when it does, you have to be prepared. Security guards with a flashlight and a thirst for authority not withstanding.
Just my two cents, but I'm thinking a lot of people will remember tonight for all the wrong reasons.
I do feel for Sask Power and S.C Light and Power. I was on the phone with a Sask Power contact out of Regina during the outage. He was keeping me updated but admitted they didn't know where the problem that knocked power out from Chaplin to Eastend was originating from.
Due to the blizzard and a build up of ice and snow, transmission lines in the Regina area apparently went down causing the outage across southwest Saskatchewan.
The story even hit the TSN website here.
Bronco fans, you were there. Some of you left, some stayed What are your thoughts? What happened?
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Pats lead 2-1 after two periods.
Sask Power says a outage affecting the main distrubition lines near Regina cut power to most of southwest Saskatchewan. Blizzard conditions are thought to be the main reasons for the outage.
The Pats forced overtime and then the eventual shootout as they picked up the extra point tonight in a 6-5 ending at the Brandt Center.
The Broncos led 2-0 after the first period on goals from Justin Dowling and Dillon Wagner (although Matt Tassone was credited with the goal).
The Pats used their potent powerplay to tie it seven minutes into the 2nd on goals by Garrett Mitchell and Colten Teubert. The Broncos restored a two-goal lead on tallies from Adam Lowry and Michael Stickland a little later on in the period but Jordan Eberle cut the lead to 4-3 with his 35th of the season with just under two minutes to go in the period.
The Broncos scored what I thought was going to be the back-breaker as Cody Eakin found Michael Stickland on the 2-on-1 to give the Broncos a 5-3 third period lead four minutes deep.
The Pats had other ideas as Mitch McColm scored four-on-four on the set-up from Eberle minutes later. Cass Mappin tied it with 12 minutes to play as he trailed the play and took the pass from Mitchell.
Despite a few chances, the teams played a scoreless stretch from there to send the game to overtime tied 5-5.
The Pats had a great chance to end the game in overtime when Matt Tassone took a penalty with three minutes to go in OT. The Pats pressured but couldn’t find the winner and we were off to a shootout for the 2nd time in a row between these teams.
Eberle and Weal beat Mark Friesen while both go-to shootout studs for the Broncos Cody Eakin and Brad Hoban were both stopped by Damien Ketlo. Those two shooters beat Ketlo last Saturday but not on this night.
The Broncos get a point out of Regina but had a chance to get both. Instead the Pats get both and stay alive in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.
My not so smooth move on the night happened in the 2nd intermission. I inadvertently tore the phone line jack right off it’s mount and cut the broadcast off. I call it pulling a “Karl Benke”. A few years ago the lumbering defenseman sat beside me in Cranbrook and got his size 14’s tied it up in all my cables and lines underneath the desk. When he stood up he pulled the whole broadcast unit of the ledge and knocked us off the air.
Despite the feverish work of an in-house tech and the Pats Dan Plaster trying to come up with a solution for my “Benke”, I called the rest of the game and post-game show with my cell phone.
That would be a first for me.
The Bronco host the Pats tonight in the rematch of the home-and-home set. It’s Innovation Credit Union Pack the Plex night. Let’s sell out the joint!
Broncos and Pats – face-off at 7:30pm
Friday, January 22, 2010
- The Broncos are in Regina tonight to continue their summit series with the Pats. The Pats actually end up playing the Broncos in three consecutive games while the Broncos played Kootenay Wednesday to break-up the head-to-head match ups a little.
I'm not going to tell you how big this weekend home-and home set is, everyone knows that already. The fact the Broncos stole the first meeting last Saturday in come-from-behind fashion was huge.
We asked Bronco F Matt Tassone about the weekend set...
"We just have to giv'er. This is our playoffs right now. This is four crucial points against Regina and we need to have them. There is no 2 or 3 points out of this weekend, it's four and we need them. We have to bear down win these next two games."
I attempted to contact Broncos top prospect Evan Richardson in Nanaimo, BC yesterday. If you've followed the blog then you know he's having quite the season in the BC Major Midget League.
I missed his call back last night. I hope to talk to him Monday when he gets back from a weekend in Prince George and get the latest.
He's a talented player, one you could compare to Cody Eakin at 15 and probably even more skilled at that age. Does he have Cody's heart and determination? If he does, he's going to be a heckuva player.
I become the best listener when I'm in Regina. Pre-game in the media room is always entertaining. When you have guys like Rod, Mitchell Blair and Kelly Remple sitting around a table talking sports it's hard to get a word in anyways. But I can't get enough of Regina media stories. It's like a soap opera based on sports... and I love it. What do you have for me tonight fellas??
While I'm at it, here's a shout-out to Gerry Wood in Regina... the best darn media room host in the league.
Did you see Rangers Head Coach John Torterella go off (again) last night on Larry Brooks of the New York Post? I can't help but love when these two get at it.
The print media is a strange breed...not all, but most. You know what I'm talking about if you are in the business....
Did you ever see that one Simpsons episode with Dan Rather as the guest voice hosting a roundtable discussion? One of my absolute favorites.
Here's how it played out:
More on that....
I thought the scene in Anchorman where all the rival media in San Diego meet for a back-alley brawl is bang on. No doubt the writers of that show had some consultants from the broadcast industry. Too funny.
I'm bringing my mace and lance to Regina tonight.....
I love talking to the CTV Regina sports guys too. I feel for Chris and Lee. They're damned if they do, damned if they don't when it comes to covering the Pats, Warriors and Broncos. They can't win. They always seem to offend some viewers with their coverage of a rival team. Hang in their fellas.
Did anyone hear Broncos assistant Coach Tim Kehler in our post-game coaches show Wednesday?
I said "well let's hope for a better effort in Regina Friday...."
Tim cut me off and quipped " Well we can't be hoping. We have to go in with an expectation to execute and play well. Hoping is for people in the stands hoping they have the winning 50/50 number, you hope your wife has made you dinner when you get home... you hope for these sorts of things. We are going to go in Regina and expect to play well and get the result we deserve."
Pack the Plex tomorrow night at the Credit Union i-plex. One lucky fan could win nearly $3000 if we sell the place out... got your tickets yet? They're going fast. Call the Broncos office 773 - 1509
We're on the air at 6:00pm with the pre-game show on the Eagle 94.1 FM live from Regina.....
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
For the 8th straight game the Broncos surrendered the first goal and this time it took only 58 seconds to do so. In the end, the Broncos gave up a season high eight goals and lost 8-6 to the streaking Ice.
Sure the Broncos weren't very good in their own zone in the first period as the allowed a season high five goals but I think a save here and there would have went a long way too.
G Morgan Clark was chased after giving up the fourth goal of the period on 11 shots just 11:25 into the opening period. My thoughts? He wasn't prepared to go.
The Broncos couldn't capitalize on a rare off-night from G Todd Mathews in the Kootenay crease. Mathews was eventually relieved in the 3rd period after the Broncos 6th goal on 17 shots.
Kootenay's top line of Kevin King, Dustin Sylvester, and Steele Boomer combined for 12 points. Broncos captain Derek Claffey talked about their big line in our post-game show.
"That's ridiculous, it's embarrassing. They outplayed us plain and simple."
In the end it was the Broncos 3rd straight home ice loss while Kootenay skated to their 13th win in a row.
Offensively Cody Eakin scored in his 5th straight game and now has 34 on the the season. That's one shy of the league lead held by Chilliwack's Ryan Howse. Eakin is also riding a 13 game point-streak.
Matt Tassone had a good game scoring twice and adding an assist.
The Ice are playing a lot different than what we saw earlier in the season. Lets give credit to them, they are a team on a role and are exuding a lot of confidence in their game.
Head Coach Mark Hollick is doing a great job with these guys.
At last check there is just over 800 tickets remaining. Call the Broncos office if you want to get in on the action 773 - 1509.
The challenge was to see which of the eight teams could sell the most Bronco tickets for upcoming games. The Sharks and Flames were the winners and took on the Broncos yesterday.
Here's some pics:
The Broncos host the Kootenay Ice tonight at the Credit Union i-plex. The Ice are the hottest thing going right now. They've won 12 in a row entering tonight's game. On the other side, the Broncos have won the last six head-to-head meetings against Kootenay going back to last season.
More on the match-up later if I have more time this morning....
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The Swift Current Broncos along with Golden West Radio will be raising funds for the Mennonite Central Committee’s Haiti Relief Fund at tomorrow night’s Broncos game against Kootenay.
There will be a display in the lobby at the Credit Union i-plex where fans can help the relief effort in Haiti with donations to the cause. The Broncos will also be donating auction items with the proceeds aiding in the relief efforts.
Monday, January 18, 2010
He's also leading the BC Major Midget League in scoring at 15 years-old collecting 26 goals and 23 assists in just 26 games.
Last year Red Deer Rebels rookie star Ryan-Nugent Hopkins led the same league in scoring. The year before it was Jordan Weal.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I briefly spoke with Zack last night. He wasn't sure he scored initially thinking it went off the cross bar and out. Here's a clip of the highlights.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
The shootout wouldn't have been possible if not for a big comeback by the visitors. The Pats jumped on the Broncos early and led 3-0 just 12 minutes in. It was enough to chase starting G Mark Friesen in favour of Morgan Clark - that's another story I'll get to.
The Broncos rallied with three 2nd period goals from Cody Eakin, Justin Dowling and Travis Bobbee with 19 seconds to play in the frame.
The teams played a scoreless third and overtime thanks to some clutch saves on both sides.
In the shootout, Morgan Clark stopped both Jordan Eberle and Matt Strueby while the Broncos collected goals from Eakin and Hoban.
Morgan Clark was sensational coming in just 12 minutes into the first. Clark would make all 31 saves to back-stop the Broncos to the win.
The Broncos have now won five straight shootouts while the Pats lost their first shootout in five attempts.
The Broncos host Kootenay Wednesday - the hottest team in the WHL.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Zack is still up with the Sens and will likely play tomorrow night against the Habs.
More at 7...
Thursday, January 14, 2010
How about this?
It's former hulking Bronco D Matez Trojovsky (2002-04) from Plzen in the Czech Republic. His hockey career recently came to end because of re-occurring knee problems. It's the same knee problems that kept him out of the Broncos line-up for time to time. Listed at 6'5" 230 pounds in his playing days, Matty was as strong as they come.
He is one of my favorites to come through the organization. Always a personable guy and always entertaining. He's a former 4th round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes
He'd like to say hi to Bronco fans. He tells me he's planning a trip over here this summer.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Although not the only reason the Broncos lost 2-1 on this night, it was a contributing factor. The main reason could be linked to a slow start which led a 2-0 Hurricanes lead.
The Broncos have given up the first goal in the last five games and have been chasing from behind way too much. The Broncos haven't led a game in regulation since New Year's Day.
With that said, they have managed a pair of shootout wins during the dry spell.
How dry is it? Opposition goaltenders have posted a .962 save percentage on the Broncos the last five games.
Cody Eakin cut the lead to 2-1 in the final minute of the 2nd period on a 2-on-1 set-up from Brad Hoban.
Again a late push would produce a quantity of chances and two cross-bars but no goals.
Brad Hoban and Matt Tassone seem to be the hardest hit with bad luck around the net. Stepan Novotny would be up there too.
The Hurricanes played a solid road game despite giving up 39 shots. They played hard and determined and did a good job of killing penalties.
Next up, Saskatoon is here tomorrow night.
What was the price tag for Regina Pats F Jordan Eberle at the trade deadline? Blades G.M/Head Coach Lorne Molleken admitted in our pre-game interview they were in the hunt for the Pats superstar but elected not to bite.
Although he wouldn't get into specifics, the rumoured price tag was two first round picks, a top prospect 16 year-old and another roster player - a price they weren't willing to pay.
Molleken said they've been through enough growing pains in the past to realize a huge hit like that would impact the future greatly.
In Saskatoon last night, the Broncos used the same dressing room as the Americans did for the World Junior gold medal game against the Canadians. There was still some reminisce of their presence in the room. The words "What if there was no tomorrow?" was plastered in red, white and blue lettering surrounded by stars above the dressing room door. It was an indication of how they played at the event.
Someone please wake-up the online scorer in Moose Jaw for the WHL website. Much appreciated.
Broncos goaltender Mark Friesen is sporting a new paint job on his helmet. The artwork includes the two older Bronco logos including the horseshoe logo and the cartoon horse they used for the 90's and up until the past few seasons. I'll try to get some pictures and post them on the blog.
Broncos and Hurricanes tonight..... have a great day,
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Stanford made save after save in the final minutes as the Broncos threw everything his way including 17 shots in the third. His stop with a minute left on Cody Eakin on the side of the goal will be replayed in the Blades highlight package for the rest of the season. Down and out, Stanford sprawled across on his side and grabbed the puck out of mid-air.
The Broncos had a late powerplay due to a foolish penalty to Curt Gogol in the last three minutes of the game but couldn't find the mark either.
The Blades jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period on a bank-job goal off the Broncos Brad Hoban just 33 seconds in. Gogol scored on a screen shot mid-way through the first period.
The Broncos got on the board 20 seconds into the 2nd when Cody Eakin finished off a 3-on-2 rush for his team leading 30th of the season. Stepan Novotny tied it on a high slot shot five-hole at 4:47 to even the score 2-2.
The Broncos made a gaffe while on the powerplay late in the 2nd that led to the eventual game winner. Derek Hulak finished a 2-on-1 shorthanded break at 15:26 of the 2nd.
The game was physical and nasty at times but the Broncos didn't back down from the "Bridge City Bullies" all night long. The Broncos coaching staff was pleased in that regard.
The penalty kill was outstanding for the Broncos who were 7/7. They killed a 1:39 long 5-on-3, a double-minor to Matt Tassone and a Major penalty served up to Michael Stickland for a boarding check on Josh Nicholls.
Brad Hoban led the way with several marvelous chances including a point-blank post late in the third period.
The Broncos will head home to host Lethbridge Wednesday night at the Credit Union i-plex.
Monday, January 11, 2010
The American Hockey League today named Wolf Pack right-wing Dale Weise the Reebok AHL Player of the Week for this past week. He is the first Wolf Pack player to win the award this season.
Weise scored goals in all four of the Wolf Pack’s games on the week, totaling five goals, the longest goal-scoring streak by a Pack player thus far this year.
In Wednesday night's game against Lowell in Newark, NJ, a 3-2 defeat, Weise's goal at 6:43 of the third period tied the score at two, after the Pack had entered the third session down 2-0. The second-year pro then notched his third two-goal game of the season Friday night, in a 5-2 win in Worcester, earning Third-Star honors. Saturday night in Albany, Weise netted his fourth shorthanded goal of the season, which was the only Hartford tally in a 3-1 loss. Weise then finished the week with a power-play goal in Sunday's 2-1 overtime win at Providence.
With six goals and an assist in his last six games, Weise has upped his totals on the year to 15-14-29 in 41 games, good for second on the Wolf Pack team in goals and third in points. A 6-2, 209-pound native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Weise, 21, was a fourth-round draft pick of the parent New York Rangers in 2008.
Perhaps the biggest move at yesterday's trade deadline was the moves that didn't happen.
Jordan Eberle and Colten Teubert staying put in Regina, the same for Brandon McMillan in Kelowna.
The biggest deal was D Travis Hamonic headed to Brandon. Warriors Director of Hockey Operations Jeff Truitt showed he can drive a tough bargain. He will stock the shelves in the coming years with a a first round bantam pick and two second round picks. Throw in 17 year-old defenseman Dallas Erhardt as well.
But Kelly in Brandon gets his guy. The feeling was he needed a defenseman to compliment an overwhelmingly talented group of forwards. If the Wheat Kings want to go head-to-head with the Windsor Spitfires at the Memorial Cup, they are going to need Hamonic at the very least.
Broncos Head Coach / General Manager Mark Lamb weighed in on the Brown and Verdino trades. He talked about the acquisition of Kyle Verdino
"He's a '91 defenseman that can also play some wing. What we've heard about him from our scouts is that he's real good player. I'm thinking this bodes well for the future."
As for Mike Brown headed out Tri-City?
"Good for Brownie, he's gets an opportunity to go to a real good team on the other side."
What a day across the online world. WHL fans, players and management were surfing up a storm looking for any kind of information they could get their hands on.
Keen's Korner had a record number of hits approaching 1600. That's a one-day record for this part of the internet world.
Yesterday's totals narrowly eclipsed last year's trade deadline day and that summer day in June when Dean Chynoweth announced he was headed off to join the New York Islanders as Assistant Coach.
Had a good chat with Edmonton Oil Kings G.M. Bob Green. It was really the first time I ever sat down and talked hockey with the veteran WHL executive. It's something I'll try to do again in the future.
As much as I like what I do, I think an opportunity to mold and shape a team would be a great job. Heavy pressure and job security aside, I think WHL G.M.'s have a great job.
I'll stick to arm-chair G.M.
I'm pretty good at it.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Verdino, from Phoenix Arizona, is a versatile player that can play either forward or defense. This season he has 5 points in 26 games.
In essence, the Broncos swap F Mike Brown for D Kyle Verdino as they use the pick they get in the Brown deal from Tri-City and move it to Kelowna for Verdino. Genius.
As for Verdino, one source tells me the Broncos get a bigger bodies, not overly physical defenseman who is just starting to play his best hockey.
The past while I think there was a belief from him he needed an opportunity to play more and not in a 4th line role. Not sure the American's depth will allow anything more for him though. He was a healthy scratch in last night's game against the Oil Kings.
Good luck Mike.
It appeared as if the Broncos were never going to beat Oil Kings G Torrie Jung on this night. Then 7:37 into the third period and on their 37th shot on goal, Justin Dowling tied it 1-1 to send the game to overtime and then the eventual shootout.
Jung would finish the night with 46 saves while Broncos G Morgan Clark made 28 stops in his first start in a month. Mark Friesen had started the last nine straight games.
Cody Eakin scored in the first round of the shootout and Clark kept all three Oil King shooters at bay for the shootout win.
The Broncos have won six of their last seven games but haven't really made any jump in the standings.
Next action, in Saskatoon Tuesday night.
Broncos F Taylor Vause is in Calgary and had surgery today on a broken finger sustained against the Red Deer Rebels.
Taylor's ring finger nearly disintegrated blocking a shot in the 3rd period. The finger is ok but the injury could keep him out a month.
Alright, hold on to your hats for WHL trade deadline day. Who knows what the day will bring. I'll keep you posted here if the Broncos do anything today.
There's a feeling that a few deals around the league may be done, but the teams involved had to get through the weekend games before they could officially sign off on the trades.
More later, stay tuned.
Finally, former Bronco captain Zack Smith played in his 2nd career NHL game after being called up by the Ottawa Senators. He got in a fight with Bryan Allen and apparently got a plug from Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada.
Smith, the Maple Creek native is expected to play tonight in Carolina.
Thanks to Melinda for the updates....
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Nothing to report on the Broncos front although as reported earlier the team does have their hands in a few things around the league.
Broncos Trainer Jaime Leblanc has been around a few trade deadlines in his day. The sewing machine was packed just in case he had to do up some new name bars/numbers this weekend.
There's a lot of speculation out there across the league. Edmonton Oil Kings General Manager Bob Green will be a pre-game show guest as we go to air at 7:30pm tonight on the Eagle 94.1 FM.
The Broncos enter tonight's game winners of 5 of their last 6. While the Oil Kings have dropped six-in-a-row. The Oil Kings are 2-1 against the Broncos this season. This is the fourth and final meeting.
The wins you enjoy the most are the ones you seemingly pull out of mid-air. Last night the Broncos were by no means sharp for two periods. They flipped the switch in the third to rally back to force overtime and then the eventual shootout win.
Lots of parents and family following the Broncos this weekend. Red Deer is a nice central point for the Alberta families. Earl's last night was stuffed post-game.
More tonight from Edmonton.....
Friday, January 08, 2010
The Broncos were flat and looked rusty through two periods of play but somehow found their game in third outshooting the Rebels 15-3 in the third. Cody Eakin's PP goal on a top circle blast brought the Broncos within a goal just 2:18 in. D Derek Claffey tied it on a slapper from the left circle just 1:13 later.
Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler talked about the Claffey blast that tied it in our post-game show.
"I like to bug Claff a little... he has the dipper and the riser. The dipper is a bit of a knuckle puck I give him a hard time over.... but he got the riser away and it turned out to be a big goal for us," Kehler joked.
The teams would trade a couple chances the rest of the way but the teams would go to overtime tied 2-2 . The Broncos outshot the Rebs 5-0 in overtime but couldn't find the winner.
The shootout would go four rounds with Brad Hoban and Justin Dowling scoring the Bronco goals while Landon Ferraro opened the scoring for the Rebels.
The Rebs pulled starter Darcy Kuemper for the shootout in favor of Kraymer Barnstable.
The Broncos wrap up the weekend tomorrow night in Edmonton.
Hello from Red Deer. Above the Broncos work out the bus legs with a pre-game skate at the Centrium.
It's -8 here but it feels like 15 above with the recent weather back home. Last night when we arrived it was brisk too. I think the crew has finally thawed after walking a few blocks for a pint last night.
There's a lot of trade deadline talk going around the WHL these days. Phone calls are being made, offers are going back and forth and there has been a lot of watching and waiting.
The Broncos may have their hands in a few deals but don't expect a blockbuster like we've seen in the past. If anything there will be some minor tweaking.
Head Coach / GM Mark Lamb will be pretty cautious through his first deadline. I would expect the team will likely make a move, two if the stars all align. That's not based on inside knowledge, that's just the nature of trade deadline weekend.
Rumours of the Broncos moving a Justin Dowling or a Cody Eakin are ludicrous at best. I've been asked by some people about them... I don't know where these things start. I'm assuming message boards and other blogs.
The guys read everything unfortunately. A mere mention of there name somewhere in the online world can send their world upside down. Some handle it better than others while some let it take over their thoughts. After all, they are 16 to 20 year-old.
But, this is what makes this time of year exciting for fans and for media alike.
"Struggling as a team near the trade deadline is like going shopping for groceries when you're starving."
I like that. That's what Lamber said earlier in the day as we talked before today's skate. A team panicking right now can make some big mistakes around deadline time. Thankfully the Broncos have been playing some of their best hockey lately. But some teams/GM out there might not be so fortunate.
So avoid the box of cookies or the 4L pail of ice cream...put the tostitos back on the shelf...
I spent some of the morning hanging out with Rebels broadcaster Cam Moon. I've said it before...but he's one of my favorites on the trail. The Rebels wrap up a homestand tonight and then get set to be road warriors for awhile through B.C.
Had a good chat with Rebels assistant coach Dallas Gaume as well. He spent some time in Swift in his playing days. He's always been good to talk to when the teams meet.
Safe to say this is the biggest game of the season for the Broncos tonight in Red Deer. Both teams are in the playoff hunt and points are going to be crucial down the stretch.
This is also a big one for three hometown boys. Derek Claffey, Michael Stickland and Graeme Craig all call Red Deer home. For Claffey and Stick playing at home isn't a big deal anymore. For Craig it'll be his first time back. He will be on our pre-game show. Graeme is pretty calm and cool guy. He should be just fine tonight despite the many friends, family and curious on-lookers in the stands.
Broncos Director of Player Personnel Jaime Porter is on the trip no doubt lending some support for Mark with the trade deadline Sunday.
I have family in Central Alberta so I'll be seeing some of them over the next couple days. It may cut in to the blogging time. But, if the Broncos do make a move. It'll be on here in no time.
The Swift Current Broncos will have a special guest in attendance at their next home game. Saskatchewan Roughriders’ running back Wes Cates will be at the Wednesday January 13th home game against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Cates has been a member of the Roughriders for the past 3 seasons and was the team’s rushing leader in each of those seasons. He will be on hand for the Broncos Faith Night where he will be signing autographs, posing for pictures and answering fans’ questions.
The Broncos will also be auctioning off great items including a Jarome Iginla signed Team Canada jersey, a signed Flames team jersey and a signed Mikka Kiprusoff stick. The auction proceeds will go to the Broncos’ chaplaincy program.
There are special group rates available for this game, which include: a discounted ticket price, popcorn and game programs.
Please call the Broncos office at 773-1509 to get your tickets and check out www.scbroncos.com for more info.
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
- I didn't know too much about USA Head Coach Dean Blais before this tournament but he certainly grabbed my attention at the event.
He's a good coach, well spoken and got the job done all along while praising the Canadian style of hockey and implementing it into his team.
His show of emotion during the gold medal ceremony was genuine. Even through the emotion of the victory he was still coaching. Did you see him yell "hat's off" to his team when they were lined up on the blueline before the anthem? Always coaching, even with tears in his eyes.
And a shout out to Canadian Head Coach Will Desjardins. Will took some heat from some of the national media folks for not really "giving them anything" over the course of the week.
He didn't do one-on-one interviews and Hockey Canada's media reps kept him very close and kept the reporters at bay for the most part.
I put the word into one of the H.C. media reps I needed him for a couple minutes after Coaches podium news conference. He said it wasn't going to happen but they would pass the message on to him anyways.
Willy finished up with the hoard of national reporters and caught up with me behind the curtain. He granted me the one-on-one for the WHL This Week radio show.
Considering the circumstances, I wasn't expecting it. Thanks.
It's funny how these events bring the WHL media together. I saw a few of the guys from around the league and watched the gold medal game with the Warriors crew of James Gallo and Chad Kletzel. Safe to say there was some high-fives going on when Jordan Eberle tied it late. Go figure, a Regina Pat making rival broadcasters from Moose Jaw and Swift Current rejoice. Nice.
Sask Place / Credit Union Center has never seen that type of atmosphere and may never see it again. I would think only John Slaney's go-ahead goal in 1991 against the Russians would have rivaled the feeling in the rink.
I was at Sask Place for the 1993/94 league final with the Kamloops Blazers that went the distance. That was good, amazing actually. Norm Maracle was starring in the Blades crease in a relatively new building. But last night's atmosphere when Eberle scored back-to-back goals to tie it was off the charts.
Broncos Head Coach and General Manager Mark Lamb is in the middle of his first WHL trade deadline. I spoke with him about that and his trade deadline plans.
"We're making some calls but for the most part we've made our trades already this season. If something comes up to better our team we're going to do something.
What kind of calls are you getting?
"I've got a lot of interesting calls. When (other GM's) are calling they are looking for your best players and they're wondering what direction we're going to go. I like our team, I like a lot of things about our team...our youth. Our youth is the key to the future and we're aren't going to give up the future."
What kind of deadline around the league are you expecting?
"That's really hard to say. There's been a lot of big deals already like in Regina and Brandon. Saskatoon probably thinks they need to add something just because the others have. If you have a good team you have to keep your team together. It's hard to say. There's some teams from the West that are looking to compete with the Brandons of the world and they're looking to better their teams also."
What's your first trade deadline like? A bit of a learning experience?
"I'm enjoying it. This is the part for me that's really fun, I enjoy talking to these guys around the league. I'm not going to do anything too crazy. I've been fairly patient since I've got here. We've got a lot of good things going on here. If we can add, we will add but we're not going to change the whole make-up of our team."
Monday, January 04, 2010
What could the Regina Pats get for Jordan Eberle should they decide to move him at the trade deadline.
It's a good question and one I think may set a new precedent should a trade take place.
His stock has never been higher. He's a player, a gamebreaker and someone a team lives or dies with. He makes that much of a difference.
A few years ago the Saskatoon Blades traded Devin Setoguchi for defensive prospect Stefan Elliot and the Cougars 1st pick overall in the 2008 bantam draft which turned out to be D Duncan Siemens (3rd overall).
Although a bidding war may dicate his final value, (again, if he's traded at all) I think the ransom in return should easily exceed what the Cougars paid.
Is he worth two first round picks in consecutive years plus a 16 year-old top prospect already playing in the WHL?
Perhaps it's a 1st round pick in 2010, a 3rd round in 2011, a 16 year-old prospect and an 18 year-old depth forward/defenseman?
Is this too much to ask?
There's a part of me that wants to see a move happen just to see how big the final price tag is.
What would you pay for his services? It's a question I'm going to ask in the days leading up to the trade deadline.
Spent the day in Saskatoon for both semi-final games. A group of us hit the road for the semi-final double-header.
I swear half of Swift Current is at the tournament in Saskatoon. A ton of tickets were scooped up by local hockey fans. You couldn't walk 10 feet without bumping into someone from the city.
We arrived just after the Czech Republic defeated Latvia 10-2 in the relegation round. Broncos F Stepan Novotny had a goal and an assist in the win. It hasn't been very smooth for the Czechs though. They are big-time disappointed to be on the relegation side. I spoke with Novo following the game.
Novotny (pictured above) does an interview for a Czech media outlet post-game. "You don't want to be in this one," he laughed. "This one all in Czech."
Later, in English he talked about the tournament.
"It's been a lot of fun. It's always to see these guys," commented Novotny after a 10-2 win over Latvia Sunday afternoon.
"Everyone you grew up playing with and against, it's always good times. It's been nice."
Novotny and the Czechs have won game remaining today against rival Slovakia.
"Obviously against Slovakia is going to be a bragging rights game. It would be nice to win hopefully end it in a good way and have a good performance."
Truth be told, Novotny looked pretty disappointed with the whole thing. Considering they had to battle in relegation to make sure they stay in the "A" pool for next year's tournament.
Novotny will re-join the Broncos Wednesday.
Lots of familiar faces in the rink including former Broncos Head Coach Randy Smith. I chatted with Randy in between games. He's back in the coaching game.... with the Saskatoon Blazers "AAA" midget team.
I haven't seen the guy in years.
He left with some bitter feelings here after being dismissed after only one season as Head Coach. I gave him the quick Swift update. I'm not sure he wants to get back to the WHL or if he could pull it off now being removed for so long. The coaching game is not for the faint of heart.
Lots of good media folks hanging around the rink too. Guys I worked with in Saskatoon I haven't seen in ages and familiar folks from the WHL circuit.
I sat with Sportsnet's Pete Loubardius for the Canada/Swiss game. He said some real nice things which I appreciated.
The guy is a junior hockey encyclopedia. Here's a guy who has to keep tabs on the WHL, OHL and Q for his CHL coverage on Sportsnet. He's plugged in, works hard and is well-respected in every junior hockey circle. All this while following the Flames as their play-by-play broadcaster for Sportsnet.
Pete and I had a good chat about one of his calls that will live on for the ages.... remember this?
One more thing from the World Juniors. The apparent death of the Pepsi "Eh O Canada Go" chant makes me feel good. I haven't heard one positive take on it.
They tried again in the Can/Swiss game. It didn't fly. It's done. Move on Pepsi.
Hats-off to our savvy hockey fans.
Now to the Broncos.....
Like clock-work, he makes his way over during the post-game show, looks up, and gives me the "thumbs-up" after a Tiger win on home ice.
For seven years...every game. Win or lose. I BBM'd this pic to my former colorman Ryan Switzer moments after Saturday's game.
"HAHAHAHA! Epic." was his repsonse.
The Broncos lost 4-1 in the 'Hat Saturday to end their season-high four game winning streak. It was a game where G Devan Dubyk stole the show making 33 saves to be named the 1st star.
It was a game the Broncos deserved to win based on scoring opporunities and play. It didn't work out that way - perhaps hockey justice for Friday's Bronco home-ice win over the Tigers in which they had the bulk of the shots and chances.
Assistant Coach Tim Kehler summed it up nicely in our post-game show:
"This game is so inherently fair. Both individually and as a team."
The Broncos play in Red Deer Friday in their next game.
Have a good week!
Friday, January 01, 2010
The game was delayed two hours and 15 minutes because of white-out conditions forcing the Medicine Hat Tigers to pull over on the side of the road near Maple Creek, SK on their way to Swift Current.
After being roadside for nearly two hours, conditions cleared up enough for the Tigers to continue their journey.
Once they arrived at 3:35pm for the 2:30pm game, the puck was dropped a league mandated hour later.
For the 2nd straight game, Brad Hoban scored the winning goal late in the third period. Hoban's shot from the top of the right circle deflected home to give the Broncos a 3-2 lead with 5:16 to play.
G Mark Friesen again backstopped the Broncos to victory making 32 saves. He got some help from his posts and crossbars late in the game to preserve the win.
Micheal Stickland and Jordan Peddle's first of the season were the other Bronco goal scorers.
It marks the first time the Broncos have won four in a row all season as they leap-frog into 6th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Broncos head into Medicine Hat tomorrow night to conclude the home-and-home set.