Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

  • Why not play 15 year-old Shane McColgan alongside Colin Long when the Rockets number one bantam pick makes his WHL debut next week? With Jamie Benn competing for a spot on Team Canada, why not have Long center a line with McColgan and rookie Mitchell Callahan? All three are American born players. I have a name picked out for that line already. American Express? Or how about the MCL line? McColgan, Callahan, Long! Ok, scratch that idea.
  • McColgan doesn't turn 16 until January 1st. Yep, he was a new years baby.
  • McColgan and his midget team play in a tournament in Pittsburgh this weekend. Once the tournament is over the Rockets will fly him into Edmonton where he will join the team for a game in Red Deer December 16th.
  • The Kelowna Rockets may want to ask the Saskatoon Blades how to beat the Calgary Hitmen at home. The Blades are the only team to beat the Hitmen in Calgary this season. The two teams hook up Sunday afternoon in Cowtown.
  • Sure the Rockets will miss Jamie Benn when they face the red-hot Hitmen but the home team will also have a key player out of the lineup. Brett Sonne is attending Team Canada's main camp in Ottawa too. What does Sonne mean to the Hitmen? He just leads them in points/assist and plus-minus.
  • When the Rockets meet the Hitmen this weekend, the home team will have the advantage in the amount of offense produced from the blue line. The Hitmen have a combined 103 points from the defensive core this season. By comparision the Rockets have 52 points from the back end.
  • Marcel Dionne is coming to Kelowna. The NHL great will be at the Rockets game Friday night and will then be signing free autograph's Saturday at the Ramada Lodge Hotel from 10 am until 1. West Coast Authentic is bringing him in for a guest signing appearance. Dionne scored 50 or more goals 6 times over his career, including five straight seasons where he hit the mark between 1978 and 1983. Dionne was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 1992, yet never won a Stanley Cup.
  • How good of a player is Regina Pats forward Jordon Weal going to be? Ok he's already good, but how much better is the 16 year-old going to get? Can you say Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year. Weal has 39 points (9+30=39) after 34 games. By comparision last years rookie of the year, Brandon's Brayden Schenn, had 34 points (15+19) after 34 games a year ago. The Pats 4th round bantam pick collected an assist in his one and only appearance this season in Kelowna last week, but clearly he has the skill level of a much older player. It will be interesting to see how his stock increases as the 2010 draft approaches.
  • If you think the Rockets can pick up a Brady Leavold type of player at the trade deadline, don't hold your breath. Those player are extremely tough to find. Either a player has skill or grit, but you won't find many with both of those attributes available at the deadline. Teams that have them know full well how valuable they really are. I often think Leavold was a freak. You just don't find that type of a player that can dance with the oppositions tough guy and then dangle around the teams best defenseman and score a goal once he comes out of the penalty box.
  • These two teams usually don't make excuses, but if they were, both the Rockets and Swift Current Broncos could go this direction prior to Friday's meeting at Prospera Place. Allow me to make a suggestion. I'd advise the Rockets to use the loss of Benn and Myers to the World Juniors as a crutch. For the Broncos I suggest them to use travel. By the time the Broncos are in Kelowna Friday night they will have traveled 22 hundred and 56 kilometers for just three road games. Think about the time spent on that Bronco bus. Swift Current to Edmonton (7 hours :47 minutes driving time), Edmonton to Prince George (7 hours 46 minutes driving time), Prince George to Kelowna (7 hours 55 minutes driving time). Either the Broncos will bond together like never before by the time they hit Kelowna or will hate one another when the team bus hits the back alley at Prospera Place. Only in the Western Hockey League. The players in the OHL and QMJHL don't know how good they've got it...or do they? That's why I've always suggested that fans out West probably didn't see the best from the visiting teams from the East Conference and vice versa. Yet it amazes me at the success the road teams have had over the years.
  • I anticipate Stepan Novotny playing against the Broncos Friday. Novotny attends the Czech Republic pre-conditioning camp in Brampton Ontario on Monday.

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