Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Alberta Bound

The Blazers are pulling out of ISC this morning and headed to Alberta for a trio of games beginning Wednesday in Red Deer against the RNH-less Rebels.  Here's a few thoughts and opinions heading into the swing....

- There's not too many things the Blazers want to carry over from last season but one thing they'd love is for their success in Alberta to continue.   Last year the Blazers were 7-1-1 in wild rose country including a 1-0 win in Red Deer and a 4-3 OT loss.  The only game the Blazers lost in the province in regulation was a 5-4 decision to Lethbridge.  The Blazers led that game 4-1 in 3rd period as well until the 'Canes scored three times in a span of five minutes to tie it up and eventually win it.

- Here's a stat dug-up from Blazers Director of Communications Tim O'Donovan.  In the seven Blazer wins this season...the Blazers have seven different players with game-winning goals.

-Apparently the media in Edmonton are on the Blazer bandwagon.  Check out this link here for more on that.

- Reassigning G Taran Kozun was really the only conceivable option. Granted, he's the goalie of the future but for now G Cam Lanigan has appeared to come back this season re-focused and committed to the task. 18 year-old rookie Cole Cheveldave is showing why he was the top goaltender in the AJHL last season in his four starts in goal for the Blazers.  Taran's time will come...if not later this season.

- You never asked but I'll tell you what's surprised me so far this year....there's actually a couple things. 
1)The commitment of the guys to the "team" concept has been a lot stronger
2) Import F Tim Bozon He's come in and hasn't really missed a beat.  He's only going to get better as the year goes on.  Speed, size, vision and involvement in the play has all been excellent. You really never know what you're getting in the import draft.  Most times you're going on the word of a player agent.  Bozon can play.  He will get drafted this summer if he keeps his game going.

- The most exciting line to watch has been the Bozon/Smith/Lipon line.  They've created a lot of offense and have found some chemistry.

- The crowds at ISC have been down in the opening seven games home games...and to some extent I think it was expected with the hangover looming from last season.  The folks that have been there this year have been thoroughly entertained and there's a lot of positive energy in the building as the guys leave the ice at the end of periods and games. It's been great to see and hear.

 I'm confident word will spread...and the fans will come back to see what everyone's talking about.  It won't happen overnight though.  Being in Kamloops for over a year now I've sensed a cynical mood in the community when it comes to the team's past performances.  Some if it has been fueled by media but for the most part lacklustre play and a failure to make a run (or win a game) in the playoffs for years now.

Here's what I propose:  Don't listen to what you've been hearing or reading...grab some tickets and check it out for yourself and form your own opinion. The Blazers next home game will be a doozy.  The Kelowna Rockets come back for a rematch October 28th

- Is WHL Trade-ageddon over with for the time being?  There's been a flurry of moves this week as teams look to fill some holes and clean out some dead weight.  The Blazers haven't been involved to this point and seem to be happy with the early chemistry.

- We had Medicine Hat Tigers GM Brad McEwen join us for an intermission Sunday night.  He says teams are out there sniffing around...there's deals to be had.  Lethbridge is undergoing a fire sale and there will always be GM's looking to take advantage of some blow-out pricing.  When team's panic, that's when rash decisions are made.

- The Vancouver Giants also shook things up in a two-for-two swap with Prince Albert.  The Giants attempting to add some size and toughness with Austin Connor.

- We're on the air Wednesday night from the Red Deer Centrium with our Radio NL pre-game show at 5:30 and the pbp at 6pm. The team is looking forward to spending a few nights on the road and getting out of town for awhile.  Let's hope they can grab some points along the way...

- For the latest info from the road check out twitter @JonKeenNLSports


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