Monday, January 25, 2010

Things that make me go hmm....

  • Look at these numbers. 1.92 goals against average. A save percentage of .930. Those are the statistics of Adam Brown in his last four starts. How can you not play him Wednesday against Seattle? When it comes to goaltending, it's all about playing the hot hand. Brown has it going on. The numbers don't lie.
  • Why should you show up at Wednesday's Rockets game against Seattle? To watch T-Birds goaltender Calvin Pickard of course. Pickard is the top rated North American goaltender for this summers NHL draft. Pickard, just 17, may have only 12 wins this season but has a goals against average of 2.86 and a save percentage of .917. Pickard has a great chance of being a first rounder.
  • Who's the best 16 year-old player I've ever seen? It was Todd Holt up until I witnessed Shane McColgan's play on a consistent basis. Holt was a raw 16 year-old with the Swift Current Broncos in 1989-90. Holt, the cousin of former NHL'er Theoren Fluery, scored 26 goals and collected 48 points in his rookie season. McColgan already has 53 points.
  • The T-Birds best 16 year-old player is likely Canadian Olympian Patrick Marleau. Marleau had 74 points in 72 games with the T-Birds in 1995-96. Marleau started the season as a 15 year-old. Two years later Marleau was playing in the NHL with San Jose.
  • The highest scoring 16 year-old forward I can think of in the WHL is Theoren Fluery. Fluery had 75 points with the Moose Jaw Warriors in 1984-85.
  • What do I like most about my job? Talking with former WHL players that have gone on to bigger and better things. That was the case Friday night when I spoke with Prince George Cougars assistant Jason Becker. Becker was a 20 year-old defencemen when I was calling my first season of hockey with the Swift Current Broncos in 1995. Becker is married, has a couple of young children and excited about pursuing his coaching career.
  • Did you know that Becker was a former teammate of Rockets head coach Ryan Huska? The two played briefly together in Kamloops in 1992-93.
  • Did Dean Clark envision his team in the cellar of the Western Conference when he took the Cougars job this summer? Clark obvious anticipated some struggles but could have never predicted the loss of leading scorer Brett Connolly for the majority of the season which forced the trade of top end players Marek Viedensky and Dallas Jackson. Had Connolly been healthy for more than just 12 games, maybe the Cougars would be in the hunt for a playoff spot. Instead the franchise finds themselves in the position of possibly setting new team records for fewest goals scored, most goals allowed and fewest wins.
  • I feel for the players in Prince George, I really do. You still have over 20 games left in the season and you won't make the playoffs. How do you motivate yourself for the remainder of the season when you know it ends March 13th in Kelowna in your final regular season game? Even when the Rockets missed the playoffs in 2006/07, the team didn't know they were eliminated from earning a playoff spot until the last week of the season.
  • The biggest disaster in Prince George this season has been the injuries in goal. When one of your goaltenders suffers a concussions after getting hit in practice, the only luck you have is bad luck.
  • I've received my Best of the West Poll survey and have been ordered to complete it by the end of the month. The 22nd annual poll is expected to be released by the Tri City Herald on February 14th. I am having a problem with one question on the poll. Any idea which one it is? Top referee!
  • I failed to mention Mitchell Chapman's strong play Saturday in a 6-2 win in Prince George. The Rockets rookie d-man was physical. Chapman found himself on the winning end of several big hits, many of which were initiated by the opponent. Chapman needs to bring that physical approach to the table consistently. If he does, his ranking by Central Scouting will surely improve.
  • Brett Bulmer had a solid weekend which didn't surprise me. I knew he was disappointed when he was unable to play against the Cougars in Prince George in November because of a shoulder injury. Now healthy, Bulmer had 2+2=4 in two games against the team he watched as a kid.
  • All is not lost in Prince George. The Caribou Cougars have one of the best midget programs in the province. Guided by head coach Trevor Sprague, the Cougars have supplied the WHL with players like Bulmer, Dylan Willick (Kamloops), Brett Connolly (PG) and Ryan Howse (Chilliwack) and Mitch Elliott (Seattle) just to name a few.


Jared Comeau said...

Top Referee is Easily Chris Savage. He calls a consitant game, no matter what. Best Ref in this league.

Regan Bartel said...

I don't have a problem naming one. But they want three possibilities.

Glen Erickson said...

Savage, Thiessen, Papp. (Why not give Papp some props? He's young and just keeps getting better. Just hope the 'Dub keeps him busy enough before he decides to get a real job!)
And next season Regan, I want you to attend a BC Hockey Officials Certification Course, then strap on the blades, a referee's jersey, and don't forget a whistle in each pocket. (I'll give you a pair of my referee pants just to get you started.) After about a half dozen games at the minor hockey level, your insights will be much, much different...guaranteed.

Cheers! :-)

Regan Bartel said...

I think McGarva needs to attend that referee clinic before I do. On second thought, he can't skate. I'll take the lead on this one. lol.

jaz301 said...

Picking the best ref is a hard one, yet they are asking for 3. I could think of the worst refs, but the best is a toughy. Good luck on finishing the Best of the West Poll survey.

Gord McGarva said...

My skating in much like Regan's golf.

Best ref Chris Savage, then Derek Herman, then Steve Papp. All three leave the ego at home when they put on the stripes.

Some refs make it look alot harder than it seems to be. I try to give credit when a good job is done, and express my concern when the calls are incorrect from my viewpoint. Always easier from the press box for sure Glen, but some nights I just cant help myself when the calls and egos are bad.

Why don't the linesman get selected for the "Best of the West"

MG said...

Glen obviously hasn't seen Smith ref a Rockets game....

Ryan said...

I love guys who cant accept that fans, players, coaches, announcers criticize refs. Gee, fans who criticize refs, hmm what a weird thing in sports. Bottom line is the WHL reffing has never been worse, especially your boy Papp, never seen a guy in over his head more than him.

Glen, maybe if you play major junior or pro then you will see things differently in your writing. You have alot to say for someone in your position.

bigkev said...

three top refs are

Derek Zalaski

Chris Savage

Andy Thiessen

Glen Erickson said...

Ryan, the best I could do was Jr. B. So, as a hockey player, perhaps that makes me guilty of being a “stiff”? But, I’m comfortable that my 35 years of involvement with the WHL in a few different ways helps in my writing.

You see, criticizing officials just comes so easily to so many people, yet I don’t believe they make as many mistakes during a hockey game as the players do. The only time I am prepared to question an official’s judgement is when he/she allows themselves to be caught out of position. They (we) owe it to the players to be in the best position possible out there.

If Steve Papp is really in over his head as a developing official, would it then be logical to suggest that there are plenty of young developing players in the league that are in the same boat?

Really, my hope for all of these guys, Papp included, is that they all achieve success.

Gord McGarva said...

Steve Papp is a good official and I too hope he moves on to the next level.

What I like best about Steve is his attitude and the lack of "ego", his feet/skates are firmly on the ground/ice. He has passion for the game of hockey, how do I know this? Ask him his travel schedule in the WHL, lots of miles and lots of games.

Great to see a Kelowna kid in the WHL.

Jared Comeau said...

There goes Ryan again. Criticizing people much more successful than him.

Regan do us all a favor and get rid of this joker.