Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Things That Make Me Go Hmm....

  • Mikael Backlund played 28 regular season games with the Rockets this season. Was it worth the pick in the 2007 CHL European Draft? Maybe I should ask that question after the playoffs? Would you take Luke Moffatt for one season if he decided to join the Rockets after being drafted by an NHL team - as per Chuck Kobasew. My opinion is landing a player like Backlund, even for a short period, was worth rolling the dice. Even when he plays a quiet game, he continuely is on the mind of the opposition as a scoring threat. Outside of his point totals, Backlund's presence and influence on his teammates is of great value.
  • Offensive depth is hard to play against when the opposition is attempting to have their top defensive pairings out on the ice to match up against the Rockets #1 line. And if your top two defenseman are also your leaders in generating offense from the back end, how much energy do they have after chasing the puck all night long?
  • Some of the most entertaining playoff series are often found in the opening round. The WHL this season is no exception. How about picking a winner between Lethbridge and Saskatoon? How about Seattle and Spokane? Swift Current and Medicine Hat won't be a cake walk either. If you can find an underdog in those three series, let me know.
  • I am not sure how to react to the Edmonton Oil Kings inclusion into the WHL playoffs. Credit the Oil Kings for earning the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with last night's 2-1 overtime-tie breaking victory, but the loss ended the junior career of Justin Bernhardt. The former Rocket had an exceptional 20 year-old season, racking up 92 points, good for 5th in league scoring. Let's hope 'Bernie' can catch on with a pro team next season after gaining some confidence with a solid overage season.
  • So while I hate to see Bernhardt's junior career come to an abrupt halt, former Rockets Torrie Jung and Brett Breitkriuez will play another day. While those two have junior eligibility next season, its nice to see those two rewarded with a birth in the post season. Unless Jung stands on his held though, the post season will be a short one against the best team in the WHL. That said, teams like Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina, Portland, Chilliwack and Red Deer would give up their left skate to be where the Oil Kings are today.
  • Would Torrie Jung have been able to put up the impressive numbers he did this season had he remained with the Kelowna Rockets? Jung proved this season that he is a solid number one goaltender, and the environment he was placed had something to do with that. In Edmonton he had to be at his very best every night, not occasion, for the Oil Kings to have success, something that would have not been the case had he remained in Kelowna Rockets colours. I am just glad that things worked out for both parties. Jung went to Edmonton and the Rockets landed Mark Guggenberger. How odd is it that Guggenberger had the 5th best goals against average in the league, just slightly better than Jung's?
  • Most often a change of scenery is what's best for a player. Just ask Jung, Bernhardt and Milan Kytnar, three former Rockets who had exceptional seasons.
  • Gregg Drinnan did some solid work on his WHL Power Poll, naming Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton as top dog among those that guide this great league of ours. Drinnan's name on that Power Poll should also be included. He does a great job of informing the public on the going-ons in the WHL, yet always keeps a critical eye on what's happening, and isn't afraid to say it.
  • Speaking of Drinnan, it's a shame I won't see his smiling face at Prospera Place for the opening round series between the Rockets and the Blazers. The Kamloops Daily News - Drinnan's employer - is tightening up the purse strings by not allowing Drinnan to travel with the team. Drinnan will still be able to cover the series by phone when the Blazers are on the road, but it's simply not the same as physically being in the building.
  • What does that say when four of your award winners are American born players? Colin Long (California), Collin Bowman (Colorado), Adam Brown (California) and Mitchell Callahan (California) all picked up team awards at the Kelowna Rockets banquet Tuesday night. Throw in Tyler Myers, who was born in Texas, and technically five players born in the great U-S-A took home hardware. Times are a changing, and for all the right reasons.
  • Last night the Rockets recognized the careers of 20 year-olds Tysen Dowzak, Ryley Grantham and Ian Duval. Here is a video of Dowzak at the podium.

1 comment:

apsco17 said...

Luke Moffat for "maybe" one season vs. a 1st rounder who was committed at the time of the bantam draft to coming to the WHL? Moffatt will have to have a pretty good single season to be better than having, say, Brett Connolly for 3.