Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Lump Of Coal As A Pre-Christmas Gift

  • The Kelowna Rockets were hoping to give their fans an early gift with a win in their final home game before the Christmas break, but instead of a victory they were handed a lump of coal instead. The Swift Current Broncos scored three times in the second period and then clamped down defensively in the third (they were out-shot 14-2) in a 3-1 win.
  • The Broncos are just the fourth team to beat the Rockets at Prospera Place this season. They join the likes of Saskatoon, Brandon and Vancouver in that elite group. It's interesting that three of those losses have come to the hands of Eastern Division team.
  • Rockets head coach Ryan Huska didn’t mince words on the AM-1150 post-game show when he said many of his players showed that they “didn’t give a rats ass” in evaluating the effort put forth Friday night. Huska pointed out that Colin Long and Brandon McMillan were two bright spots in a disappointing effort.
  • If the Rockets were looking at using the ‘No Benn-No Myers Card’ they played it on the first night with those two key players out of the lineup. The Rockets had no jump, no jam, and looked like a team that was playing their third road game in four nights with a great degree of travel along the way.
    One problem though.
    It was the visitors that were in that predicament. It was the home team that should have been fresh and ready to expend some energy in an effort to win their 20th game of the season.
  • Broncos goaltender Travis Yonkman is quoted as saying on the Broncos website that he enjoys playing games in Kelowna because he likes performing in front of a big crowd. Yonkman’s love affair for Prospera Place showed, as the veteran netminder made some terrific saves including taking what appeared to be two goals away from Brandon McMillan. If Yonkman can play like that consistently the Broncos may want to think twice about moving the Saskatoon resident at the deadline. I am not saying they will, but with four overage players on their roster something has to give.
  • While Yonkman was arguably the best player on the ice for both teams, you can’t take away the solid effort put in by Rockets goaltender Kris Lazaruk. I thought Lazarak made some nice saves and had no chance on a laser beam wrist shot that Matt Tassone took to open up the scoring.
  • Tyson Barrie was hurt in the 3rd period of last nights game after cutting towards the net and getting a shot away before getting what appeared to be elbowed in the head. Barrie was helped off the ice by his teammates and will likely be a game time decision Sunday against Calgary.
  • Stepan Novotny played on a line Colin Long and Mitchell Callahan. Novotny will play Sunday in Calgary before leaving for Brampton Ontario, the site of the Czech Republics world junior evaluation camp. Close to 40 players will be battling for a spot on the team.
  • I often like to point out two players from the opposition that I liked, as I believe more than just Rockets fans gravitate to this blog site. The two Broncos outside of those you’ll find on the score sheet last night that caught my eye were 17 year-olds Joel Rogers and forward Taylor Vause. Don’t crucify me Bronco fans if these two have been disappointments this season, but Rogers made two significant hits including sending Rockets forward Evan Bloodoff flying with a well executed hip check in the first period. I just loved Vause’s willingness to complete. For a kid that weighs just 158 pounds, he worked his tail off at both ends of the ice.
  • The Rockets traveled to Calgary after the game for the start of three games in four nights prior to the Christmas break. You can’t blame rookies Curt Gogol and Aaron Borejko for being excited to board the bus. The two defenseman are Calgary residents. Even veteran goaltender Kris Lazaruk gets to play in his hometown when the Rockets close out the road trip Wednesday in Edmonton.


g.k said...

Regan if the Rocket's don't put in a better effort than they did last night this will be an 0-3 road trip for sure. Merry Christmas.

T.D. said...

I've been chirping on this all season long (to anyone that will listen). They currently have the tools to be an above average team, however they're missing few key ingredients to become an elite team. Namely:

1) Another forward that can score. Sorry to say but only Long and Benn have been consistent in this regrd. I'll give a nod to St. Denis because he was also cotributing when he was healthy, but that was half a season ago. They need the other forwards to stop waiting for Long and Benn to get it done, and to start consisently contributing towards the offense. Since that hasn't been the case, the team needs to pick up another scoring forward.

As a side note, I think it's amazing Long and Benn can continue to score when they are seeing the best defenseive forwards and d-men every night. They're continued production is a testament to their talents.

2) An older defenseman (someone who is 19/20). The blue line is too young. They need additional experience back there to take the pressure off of the 17 yr olds. The chinks in the armour of Barrie and Bowman are showing. Those guys will be great NEXT year. That's not say they are not good this year, but this is a year they should be learning to be the top d-men. Personally, I believe they are seeing too many mins, and that the additional playing time is beating the heck out of these guys. I also believe that the mins they are being asked to play will really start to get take a toll in Feb/March. Get another older D-man to take the pressure off of the younger guys on the team.

3) There remains a question as to whether they are strong enough in goal. I like Brown, but a 16 yr old will not carry this team to the promise land. Consequently, Lazarek has been given the reins but I don't know if he's strong enough (i.e. confident, and instills cofidence in his team) to be #1.

I am hopeful that if the team deals with issues one and two, that number three will resolve itself (because I don't see the team trading for another goal tender).

Unless these issues are addressed, and resoved, I do not believe this team will go far in the post season.