Thursday, January 22, 2009

January Jam..Almond's Got It

  • Nobody on the Kelowna Rockets roster has more 'Jam in January' than Cody Almond. The best player on the ice for both teams Wednesday night, Almond created great chances for his teammates, dropped the gloves to fight James Wright when the Giants forward jabbed his stick in the chest of line mate Mikael Backlund, and was dangerous with the puck or on the forecheck in an attempt to get it back. Almond's January success has the Minnesota Wild noticing. Can you say pro contract? Almond has points in 7 of the 9 games played during the month, and has 8 goals in those 9 games.

  • Almond is no stranger to offensive success in the month of January. Last season, Almond had 7 goals and 11 assists in 13 games in January of 2008.

  • You have to love Ian Duval. With just four games under his belt with the Rockets, the overage forward is tough not to notice. I especially like his work ethic and his hunger for loose pucks. The fact that he had a three point night against the Giants isn't much of a surprise considering he is always around the puck. I didn't know exactly what the Rockets were getting when they picked him up at the trade deadline, but he's been a great addition.

  • It was nice to see Mikael Backlund involved offensively Wednesday night. He didn't dominate, yet showed that he is getting more comfortable with the junior game. It was nice to see his emotion once he scored his first WHL goal.

  • Look for the line of Benn, Long and Novotny to bounce back this weekend. Three quality players may have had a rough night Wednesday, but they are simply too good not to bounce back quickly. It's that depth that makes the Rockets lethal if more than just one line is showing up on the score sheet.

  • Let's also remember that the Benn, Long, Novotny line was often times matched up against Casey Pierro-Zabotel's unit. That's no easy feat for a trio that is offensively gifted.

  • Has Spencer Main caught your eye yet? The rookie forward is playing extremely well, and has really turned the corner in his development. With his recent efforts, that first WHL goal is close at hand.

  • Let me explain what I mean when I say, 'make a save'. At this level you have to make the routine saves, but against elite competition, in my opinion the goaltender is required to make a save that either takes away a goal or erases a good scoring chance. An example would have been Sexsmith's save off of Tyson Barrie in the first period of Wednesday's game. Barrie has a point blank chance on Sexsmith, and the goaltender shuts the door. Had Barrie scored, it would have been 2-0 for the home team. I am looking for a Rockets goaltender to steal a goal, not steal the game. Trust me, Guggenberger can take away a goal and has the ability to steal a game. He wants to be a difference maker, and will make an impact in a Rockets uniform.

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