Thursday, January 3, 2008

Burke Watches Long Lead WHL Points Parade

  • Colin Long is now the leading point getter in the WHL. Long had three assists in last nights 4-1 win over the Vancouver Giants, moving one point up on Chilliwack's Mark Santorelli for the league scoring title. Once again, no Rockets player has ever won a WHL scoring title since the expansion franchise was born in 1991. While Long is anything but a lock on winning the scoring crown, it's pretty special to be sitting atop the leader board after 41 games. Long has been held off the score sheet just 7 times in 41 games this season. I would be shocked if no NHL team drafts him this summer with the point production he’s putting up this season.

  • It’s just another example of why players at this level need to preform at a high level every night, as you just don’t know who’s going to be watching. Last night Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke made a surprise appearance at Prospera Place. I spoke to Burke specifically about Tyler Myers and Luke Schenn, who are on the radar of NHL teams. Yet we shouldn’t exclude Colin Long, who deserves no less than a tryout with an NHL team after the season he’s enjoying.

  • Torrie Jung was solid in last night’s win. Celebrating his 50th WHL appearance, Jung deserves to start his 4th consecutive game Friday against Prince George. While Jung wasn’t overly tested, he can give his teammates credit for limiting the Giants to just 18 shots on goal. Against a talented team like Vancouver, allowing 18 shots against is no small feat.
  • The Rockets penalty killing unit has been a major concern all season long, but on Wednesday night it had to be applauded for it’s efforts. The Giants had the best power play in the WHL heading into last night’s game, yet was unsuccessful in 5 chances against a penalty killing unit that worked their tails off.
  • I really felt good for Brady Leavold in this game. Leavold was having fun playing on the Rockets number one line with Jamie Benn and Colin Long. Leavold had 2 goals and an assist in the game, and was full marks as the 2nd star. While I heard many negative stories about Leavold’s mental approach to the game, the 20 year-old is obviously in a great head space right now and should take some credit for helping Long attain his point totals this season. A castaway by the Swift Current Broncos, Leavold has far exceeded expectations in Kelowna, and has proven to be a solid pickup. It appears a change of scenery and a fresh start is all he needed. It looks like Leavold is following in the footsteps of Jesse Schultz, who couldn't do anything right in Red Deer, Tri City or Prince Albert.
  • The Rockets beat a team that had just 7 regulation losses coming into last night's game. The Rockets also ended the Giants streak of recording points in 10 straight games.
  • Last night's game proved again that when the Rockets are on their game, they can beat any team in the WHL. This team will be fun to watch in the final 31 games of the season.


g.k said...

Hi Regan ! So with Jung playing in 3 straight games, do you think the Rockets maybe showcasing him for a trade or the opposite, Westy sure could get lots of ice time with another team don't you think??

Regan Bartel said...

g.k, I think Jung is simply being rewarded for his recent play. I am not reading into the decision one way or the other. I think both goaltenders are needed for this team down the stretch, and I don't anticipate either goaltender leaving town on January 10th. That said, if a deal is too hard to pass up and one of the goaltenders is part of a deal that adds either a second line scorer or quality d-man, Hamilton will have to seriously look at it.