Friday, March 7, 2008

My Magic Wand Reappears

If I had a magic wand, this is what I would do to change an aspect of every player on the Rockets roster.

Colin Long: Can you change anything in the league's top scorer? I would give him an extra 2 inches in height and an extra 15 pounds of girth. If he had those two changes in his physical appearance, he would be considered in the first three rounds of this summer's NHL draft, not in the 5th or 6th round.
Jamie Benn: My wand would heal him instantly from his ankle injury. Outside of that, my wand would give him an extra burst of speed. Benn has adequate skating ability at the junior level, but is it good enough for the pro game? His shot certainly is, and his mean streak is an added bonus.
Brady Leavold: My wand will give him the ability to turn the other cheek. Leavold has been programmed to fight first, and think responsible second over the first four years of his WHL career. A gifted play maker and goal scorer, Leavold has to play with that same type of intensity, but pick his spots better when dropping the gloves. He is of greater value on the ice than sitting 5 minutes in the box with the oppositions slug. Be a pain in the a** for the opposition Leo by creating chances for you and your line-mates. If you are going to be sitting in the box, take the opposition's best player with you!
Cody Almond: My wand would sprinkle a consistent amount of intensity on this talented player. When Almond is playing intense, pissed off hockey, he can dominate. We've seen the best of Almond in the second half, but he's not the same lately. Somebody step up and get this guy mad! Unlike the Incredible Hulk who says "you won't like me when I'm angry", the reverse is the case with Cody.
Tysen Dowzak: My wand would enable him to transform into the player he was in the first half of the season. Dowzak was one, if not on some nights, the Rockets best defenseman. That hasn't been the case lately, but that doesn't mean he can't find his old form. Dowzak needs to play like Seattle's Benn Olson. Play nasty, keeping opposition forwards honest.
Luke Schenn: Schenn is the Rockets best hitter. That said, I'd like to see him 'hit to hurt'. Shea Weber played that style, and wouldn't just hit you, he would make you apart of the boards. Opposition forwards would think twice before crossing the Rockets blue-line.
Brandon McMillan: My wand would give him the ability to score more easily. McMillan works his tail off for everything he gets and is usually never rewarded for a garbage goal. McMillan's speed to the outside is tremendous. I just want to see it more often.
Tyler Myers: My wand would work on his metabolism. Myers can consume a ton of calories and won't see a change on the weigh scale. Tall and lanky, I would give him more of a weight problem. That said, Myers will fill out in the future providing an instant cold sweat for oncoming forwards. If you want to compare his body to a former Rocket, just think of Troy Bodie. If Meyers has to remain lean, at least be lean and mean.
Tyson Barrie: Much like Colin Long, a height and weight issue will be the only stumbling block between Barrie playing pro hockey down the road. Yet smaller d-men have played at the NHL level and prospered. Say hello to Duncan Keith and Ian White. He could play with a little more caution and not take as many risks offensively, but then again, isn't that what makes him so fun to watch? It's risk vs. reward, and this smallish d-man is rewarding the Rockets with some offensive punch from the back end.
Milan Kytnar: I would give him a little more offensive touch. I think he has the ability to score but rarely finds himself in ideal shooting areas. His work ethic can't be questioned, and he's been one of the best Rockets forwards in the second half of the season.
Dylan Hood: Hoody has an amazing shot, one I'd like to see more often. Often shy to initiate body contact, I'd give Hood a sprinkle of courage. He doesn't have to bull people over, but being second to loose pucks has to change.
Kyle Verdino: My wand would help him score his first WHL goal. Verdino sits behind me in the bus, so I've gotten to know the rookie fairly well. Likable, mature and just a great teammate, my feeling is Verdino could be a solid forward in the future. Verdino has a great shot, so with a little more playing time next season that first WHL goal is surely close at hand.
Colin Joe: My wand would allow him to get more of his point shots through. How many times have we seen C-Joe shoot a puck into the oppositions shin pads? And if the shot does get through, it goes wide. That said, Joe is a defenseman that truly cares. He wants to win badly, takes losses hard and is a great teammate who can lighten the mood in the dressing room with his sense of humor.
Torrie Jung: My wand would help him improve his play in shootouts. With just two career shootout wins, Jung needs to be better in one-on-one situations with the shooter. I can't give him any tips to improve in that area, that's why I'm using my magic wand. Maybe more time with goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh will improve that area? Jung's mental makeup is his greatest strength. He never gets to high after a big save, nor to low on a bad goal. You won't hear me knocking this guys ability as a WHL goaltender. He will be a starter in this league next season, and will be a good one.
Evan Bloodoff: My wand would give him more stability on his skates. Still just 17, Evan has great speed and his hustle is tremendous, yet he is often knocked off the puck easily by bigger players. My sense is Evan's stability will improve much like Colin Long. Remember Long getting knocked off the puck easily last season? That sure isn't happening this season is it?
Lucas Bloodoff: I think Lucas can play a tougher, grittier game than he's showing. I can't knock him for his 21 goal season, and his desire to cause trouble in front of the opposition net. I would like to see him play more of a mean game though. That may be a lot to ask though, considering Lucas always has a smile on his face and is one of my personal favorites because of his genuine love for life.
Kristofer Westblom: My wand would improve his rebound control. When his rebound control is good, it's going to be a bad night for the opposition and a great night for Westblom. When it's an off night and rebounds are creating second chances on goal, Westblom looks anything but an elite overage goaltender.
Riley McIntosh: My wand would give him one of two things. Intensity and the ability to find his place on the Rockets defensive core. McIntosh's theme song should be Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy". Where he fits into the teams plans is beyond me as he gets increased playing time as a forward.
Collin Bowman: This first year d-man has exceeded my expectations. For Bowman to play as many games and log as many minutes in his rookie season blows my mind. If my wand could do some magic on him, it would improve his skating. Sadly it's his greatest weakness and will be the reason that NHL scouts will question him next season in his draft year.
Kyle St. Denis: I don't mind his size. Sure he's small, but his low center of gravity makes him hard to bump off the puck, and he can spin away from a d-man with the puck on a dime. If my wand could preform some magic on him, I would give him more of an edge. Do you remember Thereon Fleury in his hay day? Skilled beyond belief, but he was a little prick on the ice. St-D could play the same way and be extremely effective.
James McEwan: I would make him tougher! Just kidding. Show me a better middle weight who attempts to play like a heavy weight in the WHL? McEwan's hustle and heart cannot be questioned, but his inability to get to pucks or opponents quickly is a downfall. My wand would give him greater foot speed.
Myles MacRae: Myles could also use a splash of intensity in his game. The 19 year-old has been a health scratch several times this season for not paying the price, being second to pucks and playing a lacklustre game. MacRae was blessed with a body that is 6'1 and 192 pounds, yet plays well under that weight. It must make players like Kyle St. Denis, Tyson Barrie and Evan Bloodoff shake their heads.
Jesse Paradis: My wand would give him the ability to create more scoring chances for himself and his teammates. Paradis will be a key piece of the Rockets offensive puzzle down the road, and something tells me the real Jesse Paradis will emerge once his first full season in the WHL is over. How can you knock a player who has just 39 games under his belt this season?

1 comment:

Jared Comeau said...

Hey Regan, i just read the article on J-Mac on the Rockets website. I don't know how you feel, but i think James is one of the BEST off-season aquisitions the Rockets have ever made in their history. The guy played with Seattle for more than half his career and comes to Kelowna and plays like it's his 5th straight season in the black white and teal.