Kyle Beach Interview

https://od.lk/f/ODVfMjQ0ODY0NV8

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Rockets Game Notes vs. Giants


Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Giants are meeting for the 7th time this season. The Rockets are 1-4-1-0 against the Giants this season having been out-scored 23-7. The Giants have out-shot the Rockets 200-97 in five games. The two teams will conclude the seasonal series March 10th at Prospera Place. The Rockets are coming off a 3-0 loss in Seattle on Sunday. The hockey club has four wins in their last 11 games overall (4-6-0-1), and have points in six of their last twelve games. After tonight’s game the Rockets heading back on the road with back-to-back games in Prince George this weekend.

Watching the Wack: The Rockets trail Chilliwack by 2 points for the fourth and final playoff spot in the B.C division. The Bruins have 8 games left in the season, 6 at home and 2 on the road. The Bruins have 3 games left against Vancouver, 2 more with Kamloops and single games with Seattle, Portland and Spokane.

Improving with Age: Cody Almond is one of a handful of Rockets that have improved their offensive totals from a season ago. Almond has 30 more points than he had last season. Colin Long has 20 more points than he had in his rookie season. Myles MacRae has 12 more points than he did all of last season. Luke Schenn has 14 more points than he did all of last season.

Road Rash: The Rockets are winless in 12 straight road games (0-10-1-1) which is a franchise record. The previous mark was 10 straight road games without a win from December 13/1998 to February 14/1999. The Rockets have been shutout five times in those 12 games and have been out-scored 47-13 overall. Of those 13 goals scored over that period, 8 have come on the power play.

Sick of the Shutout: The Rockets have been shutout 11 times this season. Nine of those 11 have been suffered on the road. Portland leads the way having been shutout 13 times this season. If you think that’s bad just look at the Swift Current Broncos. In 2004-2005 they were shutout a whopping 17 times.

Rocket Tidbits: The Rockets have scored the fewest amount of goals on the road this season of any team in the W.H.L (57)…The Rockets have 18 wins this season, with the teams lowest total in franchise history being 24 set in the teams expansion year when they had 24 wins and 53 points….Chris Ray has missed the last four games with a badly bruised shoulder. The Rockets are 1-3-0-0 in those games…The Rockets have registered just 19 shots on goal combined in the third period in the last five games…The Rockets have given up a shorthanded goal in 3 of their last 7 games…The Rockets are 6 for 30 (20%) on the power play in their last six games…Four members of the Rockets are attending the under 17 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon. Brandon McMillan, Evan Bloodoff, Riley McIntosh and Tyler Myers are at the event and will likely miss 4 more games….The Rockets have just one win in their last 17 road games (1-13-2-1) and are riding a 12 game road losing streak…The Rockets are 12-15-2-0 in 29 games against BC division opponents this season…The Rockets have been involved in 22 – one goal games this season. In those games the Rockets are 7-6-5-4…The Rockets have been held to a single goal 16 times this season, 7 times at home, 9 times on the road….The Rockets have lost 36 times this season. The teams highest loss total is 40 set back in the 1999-2000 campaign…Torrie Jung has started 10 straight games with a record of 3-6-0-1 over that stretch…The Rockets have technically five players attending the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse. Kyle St. Denis, who they picked up in a trade with Regina in December, is also a part of Team BC…Rockets defenseman Luke Schenn has his younger brother playing at the games. Brayden Schenn is with team Saskatchewan.

Time Ticking Down: With 9 games left in the regular season the Rockets have 6 games at home and 3 games on opposition ice. The Rockets have 8 games left against BC division opponents and just 1 games against US division clubs.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Cody Almond has 5+2=7 in his last 6 games and points in 5 of his last 10. Luke Schenn has just one point (1A) in his last 13 games and hasn’t scored since December 13th. Justin Bernhardt has 3+5=8 in his last 13 games. David Schulz has 3+7=10 in his last 13 games. Myles MacRae has just one goal in his last 15 games. Colin Long has 1+4=5 in his last 7 games.

A 'Giant' Leap of Faith?


I know what your thinking.

Like a serial killer, the Kelowna Rockets are walking along death row towards their demise.

The death sentence has been cast, the electric chair awaits!

While the Rockets face the Vancouver Giants tonight in what appears to be a losing battle before it even starts, I'm taking a bit of a different approach to this game.

Losers of 3 in a row, the Rockets are not setting the league on fire with their less than superior play, yet the way this team has played against the teams in the upper crust of the Western Hockey League, I have a good feeling heading into this one.

Of the 18 games the Rockets have won this season, they have beaten the Blazers three times, and Everett, Medicine Hat and Vancouver once.

That means 33% of the Rockets wins this season have come against team on or near the top of their respective divisions.

The old saying 'you play to the level of your competition' truly apply to the Rockets this season.

That's why I have been somewhat critical of them when the work ethic hasn't been there against teams they should beat.

When they play hard, no matter who is in the lineup, they don't just compete, but by george they can win!

I also truly believe their is a genuine 'fear' of being embarrassed, and that's why this team seems to elevate it's play against the top dog's.

How else can you explain it?

Chris Ray's return couldn't come at a better time.

The captain has missed the last four games with a badly bruised shoulder, and the Rockets have subsequently gone 1-3-0-0 with the 20 year-old out of the lineup.

I was told that Ray did skate yesterday, but not with the team, telling me the Rockets third leading scorer may be a game time decision, or the training staff will let him heal for another two days before he hits the road with the team for games in Prince George this weekend.

Frankly if Ray was even at 90 percent I'd put him in the lineup, and let him take key face-offs, and in a worse case scenario have him just sit on the bench and apply his strong leadership to a team that needs the veteran's presence at this juncture of the season.

The coaches can say all they want to calm the waters of a team trying to keep their head above water, but Ray is the man with the life preserver in his hand.
He is the team's emotional leader, and is needed desperately with 9 games left to go, and time running out.

With 8 of those nine against teams from the BC division, Ray can be a valuable asset to a young team looking for answers.
It may answer questions as to why he wasn't dealt at the W.H.L trade deadline, pointing again that his value goes far beyond just point totals.
A former N.H.L coach once said "Will beats skill".
That saying should be entrenched in the players minds with 9 games left to go!
If they truly take that motto to heart, it will be the Chilliwack Bruins, not the Kelowna Rockets going to the executioner when the regular season comes to an end.
Side Note: Rookie Tyson Barrie is expected to be back in the Rockets lineup tonight.
Barrie has already played 4 games with the team as an underage player, but because of the Rockets shortage of players because of injury and the Canada Winter Games, the league has granted him an additonal 5 games.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Odd's and Ends

Fans like to argue until they are blue in the face on which conference is better, the East or the West.

Statistically speaking the East scores more goals, while the West is a touch more defensive.

The Eastern Conference has scored 2198 goals this season, while the West has 1816 goals. The means the East has scored 382 more goals this season.
The Central division scores the most goals (1108), while the BC division scores the fewest (903).

11 of the league's top 20 scorers reside in the East.

Defensively it's a different story.

The West has allowed 320 fewer goals this season than it's Eastern cousins. The West has allowed a total of 1847 goals as compared to the East's 2167.

If you are looking for less than stellar defense, check out the Eastern division which has allowed a league high 1244 goals.
Surprisingly the U.S division has allowed the least with 899.

Game preparations is always a part of what a broadcaster does. Here are some of my findings;

The Kelowna Rockets are the only team in the W.H.L without a european born players.

Everett Silvertips forward Kyle Beach is the second cousin to Oakland A's pitcher Rich Harden. Harden was born in Victoria, BC while Beach was born in Kelowna, BC.

Chilliwack Bruins forward Mark Santorelli was originally drafted by the Tri City Americans in the 6th round in 2003. The Am's took Jonathon Toews with the first pick that year, but elected to go the NCAA route.

Up until Kamloops forward Reid Jorgenson went for surgery on his elbow, he had scored 28 of his 39 goals at home. Man could they use him in the 1st round of the playoffs with that type of home ice success.

Speaking of injured players, Garet Hunt had 16 fighting majors this season until be broke his leg in a game against Kamloops. Hunt fought 12 times at home, and just 4 times on the road.

Conversely Blazers tough guy Matt Kassian has fought 18 times this season, with 9 of his tilts on opposition ice. Kassian had 19 fighting majors all of last season.

James McEwan of the Rockets leads the league in fighting majors with 24. McEwan has 12 of those fights on the road.

6 out of the last 9 seasons has had the W.H.L champion come out of the Western Conference.

Rockets rookie Evan Bloodoff is the 2nd youngest player in the W.H.L this season.
Seattle's Sena Acolatse is the youngest, just 7 days younger than Bloodoff.

One other note:

Two former Rockets were traded at the NHL deadline today.

Scott Parker is back with the Colorado Avalanche again after spending the past couple of seasons with San Jose.
Parker was orginally drafted by the Av's in the first round (20th overall) in 1998.
Joe Kwiatkowski is on the move.
The Florida Panthers dealt him to Pittsburgh for a 4th round pick.
And what Rocket from the 2005 Memorial Cup team in London was traded today in the N.H.L?
Mike Wall was shipped from Anahiem to Colorado.
Wall was a backup to Kristofer Westblom at the 2005 M.C.

Coach ! What were you thinking?

It’s the players that are often blamed for losses.

But two odd moves by Western Conference coaches on the weekend have you scratching your head.

On Friday night the Kamloops Blazers are facing the
Chilliwack Bruins.

While the Bruins are battling with Kelowna for the final playoff spot in the BC division, the Blazers enter the weekend in a dog-fight with Vancouver for first place in the division.

What goes Blazers Head Coach Dean Clark do in such a big game for both teams?

He starts 15 year-old James Preistner who gets shelled for 6 goals in the Bruins 6-5 overtime win.

The move baffles me considering points are paramount at this time of the year, and in my opinion first place is extremely huge, especially for the Blazers, who if they finish 2nd and play 3rd place Prince George in the opening round, are setting themselves up for a first round upset.

The overtime loss, has the Blazers reeling.

Not only are they now 6 points back of the Giants for first, but the team has lost 6 in a row.

Why Dean Clark didn't start veteran goaltender Dustin Butler in an important game like this is beyond me.


The move appears to have cost the Blazers the regular season division title.

It looks like the Blazers miss team captain Reid Jorgenson as much as the Rockets are feeling the ill effects without Chris Ray.
Jorgenson is out of the lineup after having surgery on his elbow after an infected cut got out of control.
Jorgenson has 39 goals until he went under the knife.


So as you scratch your head over Dean Clark’s decision to start a 15 year-old rookie, who up until that game had absolutely no W.H.L experience, Everett’s Kevin Constantine was doing one better.

Saturday night in Seattle, Constantine is off to his old antics by pulling his goaltender twice in a 4-1 loss.

What doesn’t make sense was Constantine pulls his goaltender for the extra attacker with his team down 2-0 with about 10 minutes left in the game.

The T-Birds subsequently score to make it 3-0 before the Tips get a power play goal just minutes later to make it 3-1.
Had the Tips not surrendered the empty netter, it would have been a one goal game, not a two goal game because of the crazy move by the coach.

Constantine would pull the goaltender again with time ticking down, and again the T-Birds would score into the empty net to make the score 4-1.

It’s not often you see a team score two empty net goals in one game.

League disciplinarian Richard Doerksen was busy on the weekend handing out suspensions.

He threw a two game suspension at Red Deer’s leading scorer Martin Hanzal for a gross misconduct against Medicine Hat last week.

The Prince George Cougars may not have d-man Chris Vanduynhoven in the lineup this weekend against the Rockets.
Doerksen has yet to hand out a suspension for Vanduynhoven’s checking from behind major he received Saturday against Kamloops.

15 year-old Evander Kane left his mark with the Vancouver Giants Sunday night in a game against Kamloops.
The league suspended him for one game for a kneeing incident.

Funny thing is Kane has played the maximum 5 games for the Giants this season as an under-age player, meaning his suspension may have to be carried over to next season when he becomes a full-time member of the Giants as a 16-year old.

And how does this work?


The Everett Silvertips play the Prince George Cougars tonight.
The game will feature essentially 2 games in one, as the 3rd period of a suspended game October 28th will be played before a regular 60 minute match between the two teams will proceed.

Earlier this season a game between these two teams was suspended after two periods because of unsafe ice at Prince George's CN Centre.

What is in question is what the Tips do with forward Dan Gendur.

At the time of the suspended game, Gendur wasn’t a part of Tips, but played with the Cougars.

Does that mean he plays that one period as a Cougar before changing sides and slips on his Tips uniform?

Or does he not play at all in the remainder of that game, before appearing in the second game?

Odd circumstances too say the least.

Monday, February 26, 2007

I'm not Joshing, Gorges has been traded

San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Craig Rivet, along with a fifth round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Josh Gorges and San Jose’s first round selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Rivet has played 12 NHL seasons with the Canadiens and is currently fourth among Montreal defensemen in scoring with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 54 games this season, along with 57 penalty minutes. He played in his 600th NHL game on Oct. 6, 2006 at Buffalo and is fourth on the team in blocked shots (95).

Last season, he posted career highs in points (34 [seven goals, 27 assists]), assists, power play goals (5), shots on goal (122) and penalty minutes (109). He also led the team in blocked shots (135) playing in all 82 games.

The six-foot-two, 210-pound Rivet was the longest current-tenured Montreal player with 692 regular season and playoff games. In 653 regular season games (27th in Canadiens history), he registered 151 points (39 goals, 112 assists) and 795 penalty minutes (16th in Montreal team history). He has also appeared in 39 Stanley Cup Playoff games, notching 11 points (one goal, ten assists) and 24 penalty minutes.

The North Bay, Ontario native was originally selected by Montreal in the third round (68th overall) of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft.

Gorges was signed by San Jose as a free agent on Sept. 20, 2002. This season, he had four points (one goal, three assists) in 47 games. In 96 NHL games, all with San Jose, Gorges registered ten points (one goal, nine assists).



If I had a magic wand I'd...


If I had a magic wand and could change something about the way each member of the Kelowna Rockets plays the game, this is what I'd do.

Clayton Barthel: I'd make him meaner. I'd get 'Bart's' to fight more, and play like the s.o.b he was to play against when he first broke into the league. He has mellowed considerably since then and it's hurt his prospects for playing at a higher level.
Why he doesn't fight more is beyond me?
He destroys anyone he has every dropped the mitts with, would put the fear of God into anyone who dares to go into the corner with him, yet he simply doesn't play with that chip on his shoulder.

David Schulz: Carry the puck my friend...carry the puck. My magic wand would see him skate the puck the length of the ice, creating offensive opportunities every chance he got. Instead he is mostly content to gain the red line and dump it in or shoot from just inside the blue-line. His skating ability is amazing, yet I am not sure the confidence level is there for him to feel assured that if he gives up the puck while going to the attack, that someone can cover his butt if the opposition goes the other way with it. A physical specimen, I'd get him to play with more courage.

Tysen Dowzak: I would make him play the 'big man's game'. When you are as big as he is, you need to play with power, strength, and put the fear into an on-coming forward that he will pay the price if you dare stick handle around me. Dowzak is such a nice guy, that his personality gets the best of him on the ice.

Colin Joe: My magic wand would give him added confidence. He is so hard on himself that the mental side of his game is taking over the physical side. I would give Joe a better shot, as his inability to get quality hard shots on goal is likely the result of only one goal in his career over 170 W.H.L games.

Luke Schenn: My magic wand would turn him into an instant leader. I would make him vocal in the dressing room, and despite being 17, get in the faces of others who are not pulling their load. He wouldn't be the best teammate to be around because he would call a spade a spade, but his in-your-face style would surely make others accountable. Ryan Cuthbert was that way and he is the best leader this organization has ever had.

Tyler Myers: I would turn him into a more urgent player. Often times to calm with the puck for my liking, I'd give him the ability to make hard passes and get that puck in the forwards hands quicker. He too would play with more of an edge, not necessarily by fighting, but by throwing some huge body checks. When you are 6'7 you need to use your girth to your advantage.

Riley McIntosh: My magic wand would turn him into a player that isn't satisfied with being a rookie. McIntosh would strive to get better, and put pressure on Dowzak and Joe, that if they don't play up to par, I am waiting in the wings to be more than an adequate replacement. Pushing other teammates to excel can be a rookies greatest contribution to a team. Being a second class citizen by not standing out is the worst thing you can do.

Cody Almond: I would make the game of hockey fun again. I really don't think Cody is having much fun. I would put a smile on his face more often, and make him more of a leader. Almond has the tools to be a good one, and even at 17 can have a huge impression on his older teammates.

Evan Bloodoff: Don't question this kids heart, keep it intact. Give him more strength so he can stand up to those more physically mature than him, and you have a gem.

Lucas Bloodoff: His work ethic is infectious, his shot is tremendous. Give him a touch more play making ability and you've got a beauty as Don Cherry would say.

Brett Breitkreuz: My magic wand would make him more selfish. Brett you are a goal scorer with some bite to your game. You'll fight if you have too, but all good goal scorers are selfish. Jesse Schulz and Justin Keller were greedy on the ice, and that's the reason why they were both 50 goal men. Can you be a 50 goal man? Maybe. A 30 goal man? Guaranteed!

Dylan Hood: Energy. I'd give him an extra injection of energy and the mindset to make a contribution every shift by hitting everything that moves. He's physically stronger than many of his 16 year-old teammates, and needs to bring that energy to the lineup consistently. The goals will come my friend...the goals will come.

Colin Long: I would change his calm, cool demeanor. He needs a shot of urgency, excitement in his game if you will . Blessed with all the skills in the world, Long could also be a little more selfish and shoot the puck more. My magic wand would give him increased strength so he can have more success battling for pucks in the corners. Without a doubt he is the most skilled player on the team. My wand would help him pick up his intensity.

Myles MacRae: My wand would transform him into a Mr. Vocal. While he tells me he is loud and proud in the dressing room, my general impression is MacRae is a player who is reserved and doesn't believe he can make an impact on others. Quite the contrary Myles, you need to be an impact player as a third year guy. Do it vocally and on the scoreboard.

James McEwan: My wand would give him an greater ability to skate. You can't question this guys heart or determination. He will do whatever to takes to win, but if his foot speed was better he would be a royal pain in the a** on the forecheck.

Brandon McMillan: I would give him added confidence to be an impact guy, despite being just 16. I really thing McMillan can be a tremendous junior player. Built like a brick **** house, McMillan can be a physical force and has a great mind for the game. My wand would have to do little work on him.

Chris Ray: My wand would make him 3 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier. Give him a slight upgrade in hands around the net, and he's surely be playing in the N.H.L down the road. Just a little to small, his leadership qualities and desire to win can't be questioned.

Torrie Jung: Mark my words, he will play in the N.H.L. My wand does not need to change that. I would give him the ability to bounce back from a soft goal with greater determination to be a game breaker. He has the ability to decide a game on his own. He is that good.

Kristofer Westblom: He will play pro, their is no denying that. A tremendous leader, no one, and I mean no one including Chris Ray wants to win more. My magic wand would heal him instantly of his knee injury which would undoubtedly force the Minnesota Wild to sign him to a pro deal.

Matt Brusciano: My wand would give him a increased mean streak. A very quiet, reserved person off the ice who is liked by all, the magic wand would turn him into a more fierce competitor. He'd use his big body more to separate forwards from the puck.

Justin Bernhardt: My wand would change his attitude. I still believe he has a bit of a 'no care attitiude' which needs to change. A gifted player when he wants to be, his mental game is his downfall. My wand would change it instantly so it doesn't rub off on others.

Jason MacDonald: Better hands. My wand would give him more touch around the net. He works so hard, but often doesn't get alot accomplished. He could use an upgrade in courage as well as he tends to shy away when things get rough.

I know what your thinking.

Oh sure Bartel you can use your magic wand on all these players, but what would you do if the magic wand could be used on you?
You aren't perfect either!

My wand would give me more hair, the kind of long blonde locks that Colin Long's Dad has.
I'd make myself taller, like Colin Long's Dad.
My wand would give me a deep voice, like Colin Long's Dad.

Ok I'm just going to come out and say it, 'I want to be Steve Long'.

Shutout in Seattle

The losing is getting old.

Real old!

It was another road loss, this time to the T-Birds in Seattle by a 3-0 score.

Derek Yeomans, yes the former Rocket, earned his 15th career shutout in the win.
But it wasn’t that overage player that did the Rockets in, it was 20 year-old Aaron Gagnon that had the natural hat-trick in the T-Birds 8th straight victory.

Should we be surprised at the outcome?

Last night the Rockets met arguably the hottest team in the Western Conference at this juncture of the season, while the T-Birds were meeting undoubtedly the coldest team in all of the Western Hockey League in what appeared to be a miss-match on paper from the very beginning.

I was hoping the T-Birds would take the Rockets lightly, especially after a solid 4-1 win over the Everett Silvertips one night earlier.

But if I was looking for an emotional letdown, it wouldn’t happen with the T-Birds because captain Aaron Gagnon, who was playing in his 311th career game last night, wasn’t about to let it..


Gagnon would score just 4:07 into the game and his fellow T-Bird teammates followed the veterans lead in bringing together enough determination to limit the Rockets to few quality chances on Yeomans, who other than a good save off of Cody Almond in the first, sleepwalked through this one.

It was Gagnon's show of leadership that has you thirsting for the return of Rockets forward Chris Ray.
No one needs their captain more than the young, inexperienced Rockets.

Was the Rockets effort better against the T-Birds than it was one night earlier against Chilliwack?

Sure it was.


But the bottom line is it was a loss, another costly loss considering now the Rockets have just one game in hand against the Bruins.

It was another night of few players wanting to make a difference, and others just waiting for something to happen.

The four players for my money who made a significant contribution every shift were Lucas Bloodoff, Luke Schenn, Torrie Jung and Cody Almond.
I'm not saying others didn't put in an effort, but it was spotty at best.
Four players working their tails off consistently won't cut it, especially at this time of the season.

With 9 games left, including 3 against Prince George, and two against Vancouver, it will take a complete team effort to earn that final playoff birth.

I asked Head Coach Jeff Truitt if he could use one word to describe what he wants from his team with 9 games left to go, he pointed to the word 'energy'.

It's up to the fans to decide if this team is exuding the maximum energy needed to propel them into the final playoff spot.

For me, there is still more the players can give!

Regan’s Ramblings:

Rockets Assistant coach Ryan Huska as fond memories of the Key Arena in Seattle.
Back in 1991, at the tender age of 16, Huska won his first Memorial Cup title as a member of the Kamloops Blazers.
The Blazers would beat the Ted Nolan led Soo Greyhounds in the championship game.
Huska admits he got one shift in that game.

Jason MacDonald is trying something new.
He’s growing a mustache.
Don’t tell his teammates, but the 18 year-old is giving it a go, admitting he hasn’t had much success in the past.
MacDonald said he tried to grow a playoff beard last season with the Regina Pats, but it was less than Grizzly Adams like.

I had a great talk with Colin Joe prior to Sunday’s game in Seattle.
He spoke about his third season in the W.H.L and how frustrating it has been for him personally.
Joe says he often thinks about what he did right and what he did wrong hours after a game is over, and mentally beats himself up over his low offensive totals.
Joe is arguably his worse critic, but it was nice to see him vent and left me with the feeling he really cares about his play, the play of his teammates, and the deep desire he has to help this team reach the playoffs.

Bartel’s blunder of the night: On the T-Birds first goal I said “Farmanara passes it to Gagnon, he scores”.


That was my natural reaction even though Farmanara (a former T-Bird) now plays in Lethbridge.
Prab Rai actually passed Gagnon the puck, but I subconsciously called the name Farmanara.

The reason?

Rai and Farmanara are both of East Indian decent.

Yes, the players are wearing helmets but skin color, even in the broadcast booth, can be easily detected from high above.

Rockets 15 year-old rookie Jesse Paradis got clocked by T-Birds d-man Scott Jackson in the second period of last night’s game. While Jackson got a penalty for roughing on the play, he lined up Paradis and flattened him.
What I liked most was Paradis got back up and kept skating.
The hit didn’t intimidate him, it’s almost like it didn’t even phase him.

In the last five games, the third period for the Rockets has been a complete disaster.
The team had just 4 shots in the final frame last night against the T-Birds and have generated just 19 shots on goal combined in the third period in those 5 games.
They've been out-shot 59-19 in those five games, or if you want to get specific have generated on average 3.8 shots on goal in the third period over that stretch.




Sunday, February 25, 2007

Getting Whipped in the Wack

The Kelowna Rockets showed pure-raw emotion last night in a 4th place playoff battle against the Chilliwack Bruins.


One problem though!

It came with the Bruins holding a 5-0 lead with 7 minutes left in regulation time.

The Rockets got involved in two fights in the third, including one that saw James McEwan handle Matt McCue.
McCue got in some early punches, but McEwan waited like a veteran fighter should and landed some significant blows that cut McCue and sent him bleeding as he headed to the Bruins dressing room.

Why didn’t we see that in the first period from the Rockets when the game was on the line, not out of reach?

Up until those fight’s, not much distaste was shown by the Rockets for the Bruins in what should by now be a divisional foe.
Yet the Rockets played with little urgency in an important game which saw them fall into the basement of the B.C division, two points back of the Bruins with 10 games to play.

The Rockets came out in the early stages of the game trying to take the physical play to the Bruins, which seemed to be a good game plan.
But those efforts came from a select few.
Luke Schenn had a nice hit 3 minutes in, but it fell off dramatically after that.

The no-hit approach the Rockets implemented the rest of the way played into the hands of the Bruins, who simply don’t like to play that type of game from the get-go.
The result of a lack of contact was a late first period power play goal followed by an Oscar Moller marker midway through the second period followed by a painful five goal explosion in the third to make it 7-0, which meant ‘lights out’ for the Rockets.


David Schulz would score late in the game to make it a 7-1 final.

The result - the effort – disappointing!

I could go further, but it’s best to leave it at that.

Regan’s Ramblings:

I was shocked that last night’s game wasn’t a sell-out. The Bruins are in their first year in Chilliwack, so interest should be high.
But the fact that the Bruins are wrestling with the Rockets for the 4th and final playoff spot should have been reason enough to sell-out Prospera Centre.

David Michaud and I had the pleasure of having Rockets General Manager Bruce Hamilton sitting directly beside us at last night’s game.
The antics were interesting to say the least.
Hamilton was fuming after several Rockets miscues over the course of the game, and openly vented his displeasure over the work ethic of several players.
We won’t name names!
Hamilton wants to win badly, and if some of his players had the same type of fire as the G.M, they’d likely be better off.

Justin Bernhardt played the first period of last night’s game before taking off his gear because of an infected foot.
Bernhardt is taking antibiotics to get rid of the infection on the top of his ankle.
Will he play tonight is anyone’s guess?

Tyson Barrie played his 4th and likely final game this season with the Kelowna Rockets Saturday night.
Barrie is headed back to Victoria to continue his playoffs with his midget team.
The scary thing was the 15 year-old and new-comer Collin Bowman could have been the Rockets two best d-men last night.

I ran into Dale Cory last night.
Dale who?
Dale Cory was a prominent media man at Swift Current radio station Magic 94 FM when I was in my early teens.
Cory was the sports director at that local radio station, before moving to the big city of Regina where he did sports on CKTV.
Cory was not only a familiar on-air personality, but he was my ball coach at one time in Swift Current.
Now he’s a sports writer in Chillwack.

I promised in an earlier blog that we would have an interview with Director of Hockey Operations for the Western Hockey League Richard Doerksen during the pre-game show last night.
Things change, as David and I spoke candidly instead with Rockets G.M Bruce Hamilton on ‘W.H.L Primetime’.

If you missed the conversation, Bruce voiced his displeasure over his 4-16 year-olds playing at the Canada Winter Games.
Hamilton says the four players would get more exposure playing in the W.H.L, rather than missing 6 games to play at the tournament where the respective provinces are represented by the best 16 year-olds in the country.


“They (Hockey Canada) claim it’s for exposure, but they (players) get more exposure playing in our league. All of those guys have had a long year already and it’s been a tough adjustment for these young players to compete at this level, and now they have to go way up there for basically two weeks.”

Hamilton says that tournament should be for 15 year-old players, not 16 year-olds involved in the Western Hockey League.

Bruce also spoke to us about a lack of Europeans on his team’s roster this season.
Hamilton will be attending the World Under 18 Championships in April.
Last time Hamilton was overseas, he grabbed a player by the name of Tomas Slovak.
Hamilton assured us that the euros he picks in this summers C.H.L draft will be older players. He says his team is far too young to add two imports to the roster next season that are 17 or 18 year olds.
In case you’re wondering the Rockets are the only team in the W.H.L without an import this season.
The interview with Richard Doerksen will be played tonight during the pre-game show at 4:30, just prior to the start of the Rockets-T-Birds game.

Captain Chris Ray could play Wednesday against Vancouver.
Ray won’t play tonight against Seattle meaning he will have missed 4 games with a badly bruised shoulder.

It will be interesting to see how Torrie Jung reacts to the 7 goals he gave up in last night’s loss.
Jung can’t be faulted for all of them, and it will be interesting to see how he handles it mentally, as he regroups to face the Seattle Thunder Birds tonight.





Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rockets Game Notes vs Chilliwack

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Bruins are meeting for the 8th and final time this season. The Rockets are 4-3-0-0 against the Bruins this season having out-scored them 17-14 in the first seven games. The Rockets are coming off a 5-3 loss at home to Lethbridge last night, snapping a four game home ice winning streak. The Rockets have four wins in their last 9 games overall (4-4-0-1), and have points in six of their last ten games. The Rockets are playing three games in three nights this weekend. The Rockets conclude the weekend in Seattle Sunday afternoon.

Who’s the road Warrior? Rockets leading scorer Justin Bernhardt has collected 15 of his 34 points (44%) on opposition ice this season. With the Rockets, Bernhardt has 7 of his 16 points on the road since being acquired from the Regina Pats. Chris Ray has 13 of his 30 points (43%) on the road while Cody Almond has 12 of his 31 in the opponents building (38%). David Schulz has just 5 of his 19 points on the road (26%) while Clayton Barthel has just 6 points on the road this season.

Road Rash: The Rockets are winless in 10 straight road games (0-8-1-1). The franchises longest winless streak on the road is 10 games, with the mark originally set from December 13/1998 to February 14/1999. The Rockets have been shutout four times in those 10 games and have been out-scored 37-12 overall. Of those 12 goals scored over that period, 8 have come on the power play (8/58=14%).

Sick of the Shutout: The Rockets have been shutout 10 times this season. Eight of those 10 have been suffered on the road. Chilliwack and Portland lead the way having been shutout 12 times. If you think that’s bad, look at the Swift Current Broncos. In 2004-2005 they were shutout a whopping 17 times.

Rocket Tidbits: The Rockets have given up a shorthanded goal in 3 of their last 5 games…The Rockets are 6 for 20 (30%) on the power play in their last four games…Four members of the Rockets are attending the under 17 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon. Brandon McMillan, Evan Bloodoff, Riley McIntosh and Tyler Myers are at the event and will likely miss 6 games….The Rockets have just one win in their last 15 road games (1-11-2-1) and are riding a 10 game road losing streak…The Rockets are 12-14-2-0 in 28 games against BC division opponents this season…The Rockets have been involved in 22 – one goal games this season. In those games the Rockets are 7-6-5-4…The Rockets have been held to a single goal 15 times this season, 7 times at home, 8 times on the road…Schulz had two assists Tuesday against Chilliwack setting a new career high in points with 21 after recording 19 with the Swift Current Broncos during the 2004-05 season…15 year-old Tyson Barrie earned his first W.H.L point with an assist on a Brett Breitkreuz power play goal in last night’s game…15 year-old forward Jesse Paradis made his W.H.L debut last night against the Hurricanes. Paradis is the Rockets 4th round pick from the 2006 bantam draft.

Time Ticking Down: With 11 games left in the regular season the Rockets have 6 games at home and 5 games on opposition ice. The Rockets have 9 games left against BC division opponents and just 2 games against US division clubs.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Cody Almond has 5+2=7 in his last 4 games and points in 5 of his last 8. Luke Schenn has just one point (1A) in his last 11 games and hasn’t scored since December 13th. Justin Bernhardt has 3+5=8 in his last 11 games. David Schulz has 2+7=9 in his last 11 games. Myles MacRae has just one goal in his last 13 games. Colin Long has 1+4=5 in his last 5 games.

Power Play woes of a Different Kind

The Kelowna Rockets power play has finally awoken from a season long slumber, but it still is biting the team in the behind.

While the Rockets have 6 goals in their last 20 chances (30%), the team has given up three shorthanded goals in their last 5 games.

Last night against the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Rockets were trying to get into the game trailing 3-0 when veteran defenseman Clayton Barthel made an ill advised pinch at the Hurricanes blueline resulting in a two-on-one which resulted in Carter Bancks scoring to make it 4-0.

Your saying, big deal, the game is out of reach at 4-0?

Not true.


The Rockets rallied with 3 straight goals to make it a 4-3 score before Kris Hogg scored with 5 minutes left in the third to seal the deal.

That shorthanded goal by Bancks, was the game winner.

Ouch!


It's the second time in three games that a shorthanded goal has proved to be deadly for a Rockets team which again is tied with Chilliwack for the final playoff spot in the BC division.

Yes the Bruins used overtime in a 6-5 win in Kamloops on Friday.

Remember last Saturday in Seattle?

Gregg Scott would score the game winner shorthanded in the T-Birds 2-1 win.



Giving up a shorthanded goal has been costly for the Rockets of late, and is a real momentum killer.

Here are some good and bad thoughts from last night's loss, the Rockets 34th setback of the year:

The Good:
Cody Almond has come alive without linemate Chris Ray.

Almond had 2 goals last night and now has back-to-back two goal games, and has 5 goals in his last 3 games.
Almond now has 33 points, 30 more than a year ago.

The power play was solid, scoring 2 goals in the loss.
The Rockets have scored 2 power play goals in a game, in 3 of their last 4 contests.
Not bad for the worst unit in the W.H.L.

15 year-old defenseman Tyson Barrie earned his first career point on a power play assist in the second period.
Barrie was playing in just his 3rd W.H.L game.

15 year-old Jesse Paradis made his W.H.L debut last night for the Rockets, seeing limited ice time.
Paradis was the Rockets 4th round pick in the 2006 bantam draft.

The Bad:

The Rockets have just 8 shots on goal in the third period in their last three games.
They had just 2 shots on goal against the Hurricanes last night, just 5 in a 4-1 win over Chilliwack on Tuesday and just 1 against Seattle in the third period of last Saturday's loss at the Key Arena.

Torrie Jung allowed a bad goal from Kris Hogg that put the game away in the third period when it looked like the Rockets would get the equalizer.
Jung faced just 2 shots in the third, one of which beat him short-side, blocker-side.

Colin Long had two assists last night but was a -3.

Regan's Ramblings:

I spoke to W.H.L Vice President of Hockey Richard Doerksen at last night's game.

I asked Doerksen about the two referee system this season, and he is pleased the way it has been going.
Doerksen says fans will see the two-referee system used extensively in March in the run-up towards the playoffs.
All playoff games this season will use the 2 referee system.

I also asked him about video replay.
The Ontario Hockey League is using it for all regular season games this season, but Doerksen says it won't be coming to the W.H.L anytime soon.
He said it will be used in the respective conference finals and the league final, but not during the regular season next year.

Doerksen also brought me up to date on the health status of W.H.L Chairman of the Board Ed Chynoweth.
Chynoweth, the Father of Swift Current Broncos Head Coach Dean Chynoweth and Kootenay Ice General Manager Jeff Chynoweth is battling cancer.


I will have that interview with Doerksen tonight on WHL Primetime at 6:30.

The Rockets are off to Chilliwack today to face the Bruins in another playoff-type game at Prospera Centre.

The Rockets desperately need to win this one, yet the team has just 5 wins on the road this season and haven't won on the road in 10 games.

Who was the last team the Rockets beat on the road?

Yep, the Chilliwack Bruins!


To say the Rockets are do is an understatement.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Rockets Game Notes vs Hurricanes

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Hurricanes are meeting for the final time this season. The Hurricanes were a 4-0 winner back on October 6th with Kris Hogg leading the way with two goals in that hockey game. The Rockets are riding a season high 4 game winning streak at home, with the team’s last loss coming January 31st against Prince Albert. The Rockets have four wins in their last 8 games overall (4-3-0-1), and have points in six of their last nine games. The Rockets are playing three games in three nights this weekend. The Rockets are in Chillliwack tomorrow night before traveling to Seattle on Sunday.

Hurricane History: When was the last time the Hurricanes won a game in Kelowna? Last season the Hurricanes fell 2-0 at Prospera Place, but earned a 2-1 win October 15, 2003 when they managed just 15 shots on goal in a 2-1 victory.
Hogg has an Idea: Lethbridge overage forward Kris Hogg knows a thing or two about the Kelowna Rockets. Hogg has faced the Rockets 30 times over his career, most of those games as a member of the Kamloops Blazers. Hogg has been terrific against the Rockets, collecting 8 goals and 6 assists including a hat-trick effort as a member of the Blazers in a 3-0 win over the Rockets February 28, 2004. Hogg would score all three goals in the second period. Hogg is playing in his 330th W.H.L game tonight.

Cook’n @ Home: The Rockets have won 4 straight games at Prospera Place, having out scored the opposition 14-3 over that period. Over those four games the Rockets have shutout both Vancouver and Portland. The Rockets have scored a power play goal in each of the four games. The power play during those 4 home games is 8 for 34 or 24%. The Rockets have allowed just one power play goal against in 24 kills.

Who’s the road Warrior? Rockets leading scorer Justin Bernhardt has collected 15 of his 34 points (44%) on opposition ice this season. With the Rockets, Bernhardt has 7 of his 16 points on the road since being acquired from the Regina Pats. Chris Ray has 13 of his 30 points (43%) on the road while Cody Almond has 12 of his 31 in the opponents building (38%). David Schulz has just 5 of his 19 points on the road (26%) while Clayton Barthel has just 6 points on the road this season.

Road Rash: The Rockets are winless in 10 straight road games (0-8-1-1). The franchises longest winless streak on the road is 10 games, with the mark originally set from December 13/1998 to February 14/1999. The Rockets have been shutout four times in those 10 games and have been out-scored 37-12 overall. Of those 12 goals scored over that period, 8 have come on the power play (8/58=14%).

Sick of the Shutout: The Rockets have been shutout 10 times this season. Eight of those 10 have been suffered on the road. Chilliwack and Portland lead the way having been shutout 12 times. If you think that’s bad, look at the Swift Current Broncos. In 2004-2005 they were shutout a whopping 17 times.

Rocket Tidbits: Four members of the Rockets are attending the under 17 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon. Brandon McMillan, Evan Bloodoff, Riley McIntosh and Tyler Myers are at the event and will likely miss 6 games….The Rockets have just one win in their last 15 road games (1-11-2-1) and are riding a 10 game road losing streak…The Rockets are 12-14-2-0 in 28 games against BC division opponents this season…The Rockets have been involved in 22 – one goal games this season. In those games the Rockets are 7-6-5-4…The Rockets have been held to a single goal 15 times this season, 7 times at home, 8 times on the road…David Schulz made his Rockets debut against the Hurricanes in Lethbridge October 6th….Schulz had two assists Tuesday against Chilliwack setting a new career high in points with 21 after recording 19 with the Swift Current Broncos during the 2004-05 season.

Time Ticking Down: With 12 games left in the regular season the Rockets have 7 games at home and 5 games on opposition ice. The Rockets have 9 games left against BC division opponents, 2 games against US division clubs and one against Central division foes.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Cody Almond has 3+2=5 in his last 3 games and points in 4 of his last 7. Luke Schenn has just one point (1A) in his last 10 games and hasn’t scored since December 13th. Justin Bernhardt has 3+5=8 in his last 10 games. David Schulz has 2+7=9 in his last 10 games. Myles MacRae has just one goal in his last 12 games. Torrie Jung’s last eight starts he has stopped 109 of the 227 shots directed his way. The Rockets are allowing 28.4 shots on goal pre game over that period.

'Hogg Wild' to play the Rockets

Kris Hogg has to be licking his chops heading into tonight’s game against the Kelowna Rockets.

The pride of Sicamous, BC will not only be playing his final game in the Okanagan as a junior aged player, but Hogg has had success against Kelowna dating back to his days as a Kamloops Blazer.
Hogg has played in an amazing 30 games against the Rockets over his career, scoring 8 goals including a natural hattrick as a member of the Blazers in 2004.

Hogg has been around forever, or at least it feels that way.

In fact Hogg is playing in his 330th W.H.L game tonight.

Hogg is having a career season as one of the Hurricanes overagers with 35 goals and 60 points.

But the player to watch tonight is Zach Boychuk.

This guy is just 17, yet leads his team in scoring with an impressive 25 goals. You think that's good? Check out the assists with 49.


That’s 74 points for a second year forward?

No sophomore jinx for him.

You would think Boychuk would be a 1st round pick of the Hurricanes from a couple of years ago with those type of numbers?

Nope!

How about a 5th rounder in 2004, 88th overall.

The Hurricanes picked 5 other guys before selecting Boychuk.
Boychuk was taken 8 picks after the Rockets selected Cody Almond in round 4.

Watch Boychuk tonight. He’s small, just 5’9, but this kid can play.

On the Rockets front rookie Tysen Barrie is back in the lineup tonight for the Rockets.

The 15 year-old defenseman will be playing in his 3rd game with the Rockets this season, and may see quite a bit of ice time now that Tyler Myers and Riley McIntosh after attending the Canada Winter Games.

Evan Bloodoff and Brandon McMillan are also out of the game, participating at that same tournament.

The coaches have told me all four will miss about 6 games.

It makes you feel bad though for Dylan Hood.

Hood never made team BC, so won’t be joining his fellow 16 year-olds at the games.
Maybe he can score his first W.H.L goal tonight?
That would take away the sting from not making team BC.

It’s a big weekend for the Rockets with three games in three nights.

A win tonight would set them up nicely for Saturday’s game in Chilliwack. Tonight the Bruins are facing Kamloops, so if everything works out right, the Rockets could carry a 4 point lead into that game tomorrow and could bury the Bruins chances of a playoff spot on home ice.

In case you are wondering, Chris Ray won’t play at all this weekend with a badly bruised shoulder.



One other thing while doing some research for tonight's game I noticed the Hurricanes had a terrible bantam draft in 2002. They had two-first round picks that year and traded them both.

Check it out.

First round - Michael Kaye - traded to Tri City

First round - Ken Petkau - traded to Chilliwack (expansion draft - left unprotected)

Second round - Chase Henitiuk - not on roster (Former Rocket Joel Henitiuk's younger brother)

Third round - Judd Blackwater - traded plays in Spokane

Fourth round - R.J Larochelle - traded him to Swift Current

The only other player to play in the W.H.L that the Hurricanes picked that year was Phil Magistrale, who was selected in the 6th round, but was traded to Tri Cities where he played 43 games with both the Americans and Spokane Chiefs last season.

That draft in 2002 may explain why they are dead last in the Central division this season?


Come to think of it, the Hurricanes have to be on cloud nine that they have 29 wins this season with a draft they'd certainly like to forget.

But before we Rockets supporters get too cocky, the team has just one player around from that 2002 draft.

Who is he?

Answer - Kristofer Westblom!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Players you hate - but would love to have!

I often hear fans across the Western Hockey League talk openly about players they simply love to hate.

Of course these are the players that tend to harass the team you are cheering for, and always seem to be in the middle of pushing and shoving after stoppages of play.


Don't you love that?

These players won't end up on the offensive score-sheet that often (except for my first example), yet play a pivotal role in a teams success.

I thought I'd look at some players in the BC division I don't necessary like, but would love to have on my team.

Prince George Cougars Eric Hunter:
Let me first of all state I have met Hunter on numerous occasions and find him great to deal with.
From a media standpoint, he is always good, speaks his mind and appears to be a very confident individual.

While he is likely hated by most fans, I love the way this guy plays.
When he plays on the edge he's most effective. While he has matured over the last couple of years and doesn't take as many penalties as in the past, he can play gritty, but has the ability to score. I've always thought with some different coaching, Hunter could have been not just good, but dominate, yet in Prince George has been hampered by being the leader of a team often in turmoil. I'd take Eric Hunter on my team any day.



Vancouver Giants Garet Hunt:
I know he's injured, but when he's healthy he's effective. Ya he's a little bugger,but he has to be hard to play against. He fights anyone despite being just 5'8 and trash talks with the best. Just ask Rockets rookie goaltender Torrie Jung. He plays his role to perfection. He has limited skill but as an energy guy, I'd put him on my roster.


I know I've stated before he didn't impress me when he grabbed his crouch at centre ice and taunted the Rockets bench after the Giants clinched the regular season title last season.
But the bottom line is he plays with emotion, raw emotional that sometimes gets the best of him, but it's that intensity that I'm sure coaches would love to see rub off on some of the more skilled players.


Victor Bartley - Kamloops Blazers:


Surprised I picked him aren't you?

Matt Kassian would be the easy target, yet when not provoked Kassian often times just stays on his wing and plays a relatively silent game. It's only when someone takes a cheap shot at a teammate, does Kassian get involved.

The younger brother of former Vancouver Giant Mitch Bartley, Victor is an in-your-face type of player. Skilled, with good speed, Bartley won't fight often but likes to get his nose dirty after whistles.
The Blazers #1 pick from 2003 was a good one in a draft year that has seen the majority of first round picks dealt elsewhere.

Bartley has a pretty good shot, can pass well, plus he relishes in getting under people's skin.
That's the reason I like him so much.

Cody Smuk Chilliwack Bruins:


Cody who?

Give the guy a break. In only his first year in the WHL he knows that he has limited skill, but works his tail off.

Sure he is known lately for knocking down Everett's Kyle Beach with two quick punches to the melon, but he's a tough kid to play against.

Smuk won't shy away from the rough stuff, and why should he after putting up 156 minutes in penalties last season playing midget hockey in Saskatoon.


That's my short list of the players you love to hate in the BC division.

They won't win many popularity contests, but I'd take them all with the knowledge that the 'annoying bunch' would be a nightmare to play against.

WHL can't dump 'defense first' Mentality

The upcoming 2007 Memorial Cup in Vancouver will likely stay true to form with previous years.

The Western Hockey League rep's (the host Giants and league champs or runner-ups) will come from what is considered the 'defensive minded league'

While W.H.L Governors have worked extensively on ways of opening up the game by creating more scoring chances, the numbers don't lie when you compare them with their Canadian Hockey League cousins.

The W.H.L simply scores fewer goals than those in the Quebec and Ontario Hockey League's.

The W.H.L's leading point getter's are Ryan White of the Calgary Hitmen and Zach Hamill of the Everett Silvertips.
Both players have 81 points.

If you combined White and Hamill with the top scorers in the O.H.L, they'd rank 14th overall.

Patrick Kane of the London Knights leads the 'O' with 123 points, thanks to 53 goals and 70 assists.
The O.H.L has three-50 goal scorers this season while the W.H.L doesn't even have one.

Only three are likely to reach that bench mark this season.
Colton Yellowhorn of the Tri City Americans and Kamloops Blazer Reid Jorgenson have 39 goals each while Mark Derlago of Brandon has 38.

If you compared White and Hamill's numbers with the leading scorers in the Quebec league it's even worse.
Both players would have a share of 18th spot.
The leading point getter in the 'Q' is Francois Bouchard of Baie-Comeau who has an impressive 117 points.
How offensively orientated is the Quebec League?
Thomas Beauregard of the Acadie-Bathhurst Titan has 68 goals.

Amazing.

The Q.M.J.H.L has 16 teams with over 200 goals scored this season while the W.H.L and O.H.L have just eight teams with over 200 goals.

But true to form when it comes to defensive hockey and solid goaltending, the 'Dub' means defense.

David Reekie of the Everett Silvertips has the top goals against average in the league at 1.80.
The Q.M.J.H.L's goals against leader is Jonathon Bernier of Lewiston at 2.59.
The O.H.L's top keeper has slightly better numbers but no where near Reekie. Thomas McCollum of Guelph has an average of 2.39.

If that doesn't convince you enough, how about comparing the W.H.L with the two others when it comes to the number of goals allowed.

The 'Q' has 16 teams that have allowed over 200 goals against while the Ontario Hockey League has 11.

The Western Hockey League?

Just 6!

Which league will have the most success at the 2007 tournament in Vancouver?

Whether it's dandy defense or spectacular scoring, junior hockey fans will be in for a treat.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It sucked to be me - last night

I've often been told that embarrassing situations in your life make you stronger.

At least that's what I'm telling myself today after what happened to me following last night's hockey game at Prospera Place.

Feeling good about the Rockets 4-1 win, I left the arena in good spirits with the knowledge that the hockey club had a bit more breathing room in the fight for the final playoff spot.

As I turned the corner and walked towards the parking lot, I looked ahead to see my lovely Mazda 3 sitting.......what the heck, where did it go?

It's gone!

My blood pressure increased, the palms of my hands started to sweat and my mind started racing as to where my car may have gone.

Did I not park it here like I normally do? Is someone playing a joke on me?

I looked at the signage in front of the building where I parked my car and it say's 'authorized parking for those using mall businesses' - Your car will be towed away at the owners expense. No exceptions'.

Gulp!

Oh sure I saw the sign, but did I heed the warning? They don't actually tow cars away after 5 p.m, do they?

I can now tell you..they do!

I start mumbling to myself, "Ok I have no car, I need to find it."

I call the towing company who tells me where it is, but now I need someone to drive me there to pick it up.

The good news is my 'best buddy' (I use that loosely now) David Michaud lives a block from the rink, I'll get him to give me a lift.

I call his cell phone.
Nothing!
I go to his apartment.
Nothing.
He isn't answering his apartment phone either.

Oh that's right he is likely with his girlfriend, someone he can't be away from for more that 15 minutes.

Ok I sound bitter at Michaud don't I?

I am!

"Who else can I call at 10:30 at night"?

I have the cell phone number of Rockets Head Coach Jeff Truitt.

Fortunately for me, Truitt was just a block away from the rink heading home when he received my distress call.

Truitt picked me up, drove me to the location where my car had been towed, and because I had no cash on me at the time, used his own credit card so I could get my car released.

How much was the bill?

85 bucks!

Am I bitter about the business that called the towing company to have my car hauled away?

Absolutely.

Am I sour that I had to dish out 85 bucks?

Oh...Ya!

I could get nasty by telling everyone to boycott every business in that strip mall behind Prospera Place because they are cruel people who take great pleasure in bring pain to others.

But I won't because it's not a nice thing to do.

It would be about as nasty as someone waiting for the perfect chance to pounce on a victim, call up a towing company, and laugh as the victims vehicle is towed into purgatory.

Jeff Truitt won't follow Britney's Lead

Jeff Truitt won't have to shave the hair off his head.

He won't have to get a tattoo.

Nope, he won't even have to go into rehab.

He doesn't have to follow the lead of pop singer Britney Spears who has accomplished all three things over the last couple of days.

All Truitt wanted to accomplish Tuesday was a win over arch rival Chilliwack. He got it, meaning a meltdown for the Kelowna Rockets coach isn't necessary after a 4-1 win.

Truitt went home with a sense of relief after the victory.

Was he dancing for joy?

Not a chance, but he was pleased to see his team move back into sole possession of 4th place in the BC division, now just two slim points up on the expansion franchise.

The Rockets had some energy in this one, and looked pretty good in the first period by trying to set the physical tone early. I thought Clayton Barthel was the leader in that area.

With the game scoreless after one, I thought the Rockets elevated the play in the second period right after an abbreviated power play.
The Rockets coaching staff must have said something specifically to the defenseman, who stepped out of the comfort zone by rushing with the puck and at times actually initiating offense inside the Bruins zone.
I saw Clayton Barthel in a place I have never seen him this season...behind the opposing teams net.

Are you kidding me?

It was a sight to be hold let me tell ya. It was that extra threat from the back end that enabled the Rockets to dominate the 2nd period, and score 3 goals in just over 4 minutes to take a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes.

Frankly the period could have been better for Kelowna and worse for Chilliwack if Bruins goaltender Matt Esposito didn't make two huge stops on Colin Long and Justin Berhardt.

Speaking of Bernhardt, he played with a lot more determination and heart in this hockey game. He often appears lazy, and has no battle level while trying to move away from a defenseman while carrying the puck, or simply battling along the boards. He appeared to want to win puck battles, which was encouraging for a player who needs to step up with the absence of Chris Ray, who will likely miss games this weekend because of a sore shoulder.

While the third period saw the Rockets struggle in their own zone, the bottom line is they allowed just one goal in the game, so full marks are given for a solid defensive effort. While the Bruins tried to retaliate with a goal in the 3rd, you could sense this time around a collapse wasn't about to happen because the Rockets discipline was better, and they did a great job in getting in front of shooting lanes.

Regan's Random Thoughts:

We saw another piece of the Rockets future on display when defenseman Collin Bowman made his W.H.L debut. The Rockets 2nd round pick in the 2006 bantam draft saw spot duty on the Rockets defensive core.
Bowman is playing junior 'B' hockey this season in Spokane, Washington.

Bruins forward Aki Kangasmaki has one if not the best name in the Western Hockey League, but his skating has something left to be desired. I can't believe a euro skates that bad.

Rockets Director of Marketing/Game Operations Anne Marie Hamilton wasn't at Tuesday's game against Chilliwack. She was home sick in bed. It's the first time she's missed a game in 14 seasons.
Anne-Marie's Husband Gavin Hamilton was joking that now G.M Bruce Hamilton may want her to stay home on Friday when the team hosts Lethbridge, considering the Rockets won with her absent from Tuesday's game.

'Nine was divine' for the Rockets in the 4-1 win over Chilliwack.
Cody Almond now has 9 goals on the season after scoring a pair in the win, while Lucas Bloodoff and Colin Long also scored their 9th goals of the season.

Justin Bernhardt and David Schulz were wearing bandannas during the team's 'sewer ball' game outside the dressing room before the game. Schulz would only say he got the odd looking bandanna at 'the dollar store', and they were not being worn as a good luck charm.
The way I see it, those two should wear them again before Friday's game.
Who knows, maybe that odd head gear has mystical powers?

Rockets defenseman Tyler Myers didn't play in Tuesday's game because of a groin injury. The training staff are not sure he will be able to play for team Alberta at the upcoming Canada Winter Games.
In total the Rockets have four players headed off to Whitehorse, including Evan Bloodoff, Riley McIntosh, Brandon McMillan and Myers.

League Commissioner Ron Robison was in Prince George last night.
Robison calls Prince George the most concerning market in the W.H.L.
“There’s no question it’s a major concern to the league,” Robison said Tuesday.“It’s been in a free-fall for the last number of seasons. Prince George used to be in the top four (attendance-wise), now it’s in the bottom four. We’re concerned particularly because there’s a much more competitive team on the ice this season.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Three Points for a Win Please!


National Hockey League General Managers are considering a new 3-point system.

It's a system where teams would be rewarded for winning a game in regulation time.

Here's how it would work: If you win in regulation time, you get three points. If you win after that — either in overtime or in the shootout — you get two points. If you lose after regulation time, you get one point.


And trust me if the N.H.L considers the new point system it would affect us at the Western Hockey League level.

The aim of the new point system is to ultimately create a more entertaining game.

Instead of teams either playing for overtime or the shootout, being rewarded with 3 points for a regulation win would undoubtedly product a better product on the ice over 60 minutes with teams wanting to generate offense by going to the attack to get that regulation game winning goal.

The bottom line is teams want the maximum amount of points.

How would it affect the Western Hockey League today if that 3-point system was in place?

Let's take a look!

I can tell you the Kelowna Rockets wouldn't like it.

Instead of being tied with Chilliwack for the 4th and final playoff spot in the BC division, the new system would have the Bruins with a 10 point lead because simply they have won more games in regulation time than the Rockets.

Spokane and Seattle are tied for the final playoff spot in the U.S division, but under the 3-point system the Chiefs would have a 17 points lead simply because of the number of points they would have earned through winning in regulation time.

How would the division leaders be affected?

In the U.S division the Everett Silvertips currently have a 19 point lead on second place Tri City. If the new format was used, the Tips would have a 39 point lead because they've won so many more games in regulation time than the Americans have.

In the Eastern division the Brandon Wheat Kings lead Regina by 13 points. If the new format was implemented, the Wheat Kings would have a 15 point lead on the second place Pats. Not much of a difference there!

The Medicine Hat Tigers would have a 18 point lead on second place Kootenay in the Central under the new format while the Vancouver Giants lead over Kamloops would be just one point, instead of the the four point difference that currently exists in the BC division.

So while in some cases the new 3-point system doesn't show dramatic differences when used with the games played under the existing formula, I am sure if coaches knew right from the start of the season that winning in regulation time would assure you 3 points, not 2, you would notice teams playing desperate hockey, not just down the stretch in the fight for a playoff spot but playing desperate hockey all season long.

Team's that want to win in regulation time would be rewarded for their efforts.

Conversely hockey fans would be rewarded with a more entertaining product.

Rockets game notes vs. Bruins


Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Bruins are meeting for the 7th time this season. The Rockets are 3-3-0-0 against the expansion franchise, with the two teams deadlocked in goals scored (13-13) in the seasonal series. In the last two meetings the Bruins have recorded back-to-back 1-0 and 2-0 victories, with the Bruins shutout streak against the Rockets now at 125 minutes 28 seconds. The last Rocket to score a goal against Chilliwack was Jason McDonald’s marker at the 5:28 mark of the third period in a 4-3 Rockets win. The Rockets have three wins in their last 7 games overall (3-3-0-1), and have points in five of their last eight games. The Rockets are entering a portion of their schedule playing 3 of the next 5 games on home ice. The Rockets host Lethbridge on Friday before traveling back to Chilliwack on Saturday and making a stop in Seattle on Sunday.

Road Rash: The Rockets are winless in 10 straight road games (0-8-1-1). The franchises longest winless streak on the road is 10 games, with the mark originally set from December 13/1998 to February 14/1999. The Rockets have been shutout four times in those 10 games and have been out-scored 37-12 overall. Of those 12 goals scored over that period, 8 have come on the power play (8/58=14%).

Since the Break: The Rockets have played 24 games since the Christmas break. The Rockets are 7-14-2-1 while the Bruins have also played 24 games and have a record of 8-15-1-0. Both teams have collected just 17 points out of a potential 48 since the break.

Sick of the Shutout: The Rockets have been shutout 10 times this season, including twice in the teams last five games. Eight of those 10 have been suffered on the road. Chilliwack and Portland lead the way having been shutout 12 times. If you think that’s bad, look at the Swift Current Broncos. In 2004-2005 they were shutout a whopping 17 times.

Number Crunching: The Rockets have won 3 straight homes games, and are coming off a 4-2 win over Kamloops February 10th. The Rockets last loss at home was a 4-1 setback to Prince Albert January 31st… The Rockets have recorded two shutouts in their last three home games… In the Rockets 17 wins this season the teams power play is 19.2% or 23 for 120…Chris Ray has failed to register a point in 5 games against the Bruins this season…Five members of the Rockets will be leaving for the under 17 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon after tonight’s hockey game. Brandon McMillan, Evan Bloodoff, Dylan Hood and Riley McIntosh will all play for team BC while Tyler Myers will play for team Alberta…The Rockets have just one win in their last 15 road games (1-11-2-1) and are riding a 10 game road losing streak…The Rockets are 11-14-2-0 in 27 games against BC division opponents this season…The Rockets have been involved in 22 – one goal games this season. In those games the Rockets are 7-6-5-4…The Rockets have been held to a single goal 15 times this season, 7 times at home, 8 times on the road.

Time Ticking Down: With 13 games left in the regular season the Rockets have 8 games at home and 5 games on opposition ice. The Rockets have 10 games left against BC division opponents, 2 games against US division clubs and one against Central division foes.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Tyler Myers has points in 4 of his last 8 games (4A). Justin Bernhardt has 3+5=8 in his last 10 games. David Schulz has 2+5=7 in his last 9 games. In Torrie Jung’s last seven starts he has stopped 180 of the 197 shots directed his way for a save percentage of .914.


Rockets Age Breakdown:
20 year Olds – 3 – Barthel, Schulz, Ray
19 year Olds – 2 - McEwan, Westblom
18 year Olds – 4 – Bernhardt, Dowzak, Joe, MacRae
17 year Olds – 8 – MacDonald, Almond, Long, Schenn, L. Bloodoff, Breitkreuz, Brusciano, Jung
16 year Olds – 5 - McIntosh, Myers, E. Bloodoff, Hood, McMillan