Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is Adam Brown the best ever?

  • Is Adam Brown the best goaltender the Kelowna Rockets have ever had? In my opinion, the answer is yes! Kelly Guard has a WHL title and Memorial Cup crown to his credit but he also played in front of a team that scored 311 goals in 2002-2003 and then a season later was the last line of defense on a team that was committed in taking care of things in their own zone and set a WHL record with 125 goals against in 2003-2004. Adam Brown has a WHL title to brag about, but he played a secondary role in 2009 to starter Mark Guggenberger. Brown has played 31 more games than Guard over his career but has faced one-thousand 575 more shots. That's about six shots more per game. Brown faces on average 24.6 shots per night while Guard had 18.9 shots directed his way in 115 career appearances. No disrespect, but Brown faces way more quality shots than Guard ever did. But as the old adage goes, until you win the big game (Memorial Cup) you won't be considered the best. Kelly Guard's resume is without question an impressive one. Adam Brown can add to his own resume Sunday when he will undoubtedly be named the team MVP at the Rockets year end awards banquet.
  • Jessey Astles has taken two big runs at opposition players over the last three games in an attempt to make a huge open ice hit. On Friday he leveled Blazers d-man Josh Caron and then on Sunday he just grazed a Chilliwack player and was assessed a charging penalty. It's that type of physical penalty that I will take any day of the week. Anyone willing to step up and lay a hard hit, often times against the teams most aggressive player, should be applauded.
  • A quiet 20 goals for rookie Zach Franko? Franko now has three goals in his last five games after scoring just twice in the month of February. A 50 point season is nothing to sneeze at though for the fresh face. Not even Justin Keller, who would score over 50 goals as a 19 year-old, had that many points at 17.
  • How good will the Rockets be when Brett Bulmer and Colton Sissons return to the lineup on Wednesday? Bulmer will most likely reunite with Mitchell Callahan and Shane McColgan. That line can generate some good things in the attacking zone. If Wudrick, Bloodoff and Sissons continue their impressive play, two lines generating quality chances and a third and fourth line chipping in makes this a scary team to play against.
  • I really appreciate the Rockets efforts on the road this season. Twenty-one wins on opposition ice is impressive, especially when I look back to the 2001-2002 season. That year the team won just 11 road games in 36 attempts. I guess it could have been worse. The expansion Vancouver Giants won only one road game that season. Ouch!
  • Go Everett Go. I have my Everett Silvertips hat and jersey on as they fight with Prince George for the 7th seed in the Western Conference. No, I actually don't have those two items, but you get the idea. If I had a choice of where to spend the opening round of the playoffs, I would choose a trip to Everett over the long ride to Prince George. I expect the Rockets coaches and players are secretly thinking the same thing. The atmosphere in Everett is second to none and the playoff vibe in that city can't be touched. It's a good set up there and I would like nothing more than to be sitting in the broadcast booth at the Comcast Arena for games three and four later this month.
  • Warning! If you are facing Chilliwack in the opening round....look out! Marc Habscheid has this team playing the way I anticipated them performing at the start of the season. Some people thought I was sniffing glue when I picked them to win the BC Division at the start of the season. This team is very good, yet do Chilliwack Bruins fans realize it?
  • Soft calls being made by a referee in the third period of a tied game. Why does that happen? Why does that happen this late in the season? I would hope by now the officials would be at the top of their game with the regular season winding down. Unfortunately, some of them clearly are not.
  • It appears to be a more relaxed celebration to the end of the season when the Rockets hold their annual awards banquet this Sunday at the Coast Capri Hotel. It is an afternoon affair where coffee and desert will be served rather than the formal supper and banquet that traditionally is held on a Monday evening. Frankly, I like the idea of the relaxed approach. More teams are handing out team awards on the ice surface during the final home game of the season which allows all the fans a chance to celebrate the team and individual achievements. I am not sure I would endorse that change here, but a more casual approach is a step in the right direction. It's an evening to let our hair down - if we have any - after an exciting yet stressful regular season.


Daryl said...

Kelly was a bigger body in the net with amazing D-men in front of him and was known for putting pucks in his own net during the playoffs... Adam just stops pucks... lots of them...
This addition of the Rockets has the potential to go far... excellent goaltenders, quality defense and 3 lines that can score with some added toughness on the forth... Go make us proud boys... :)

Regan Bartel said...

One of the main reasons for Brown's success has to be goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh. The Rockets had nothing close to his expertise when I first arrived in the fall of 2000. It's unfortunate that Josh Lepp was unable to use 'Dilly' when he came on the scene.

Ryan said...

Have to agree Regan, Brown may just be the best. Still I think Aaron McDonald was the best and if Florida wasnt so stupid and had him back in Kelowna for one more year, we really would have saw that.

We were known for have rather stinky goalies for a long time and Swanson, Guard, McDonald kind of stood out from the rest. Guard's numbers were great but the soft goals he let in, also stood out. Brown has been unreal this year and to think of him as an OA next year puts a smile on your face for sure.

Jared Comeau said...

Regan...One has to now wonder. What happens last May if Huska starts Brown over Guggenberger? Does the game still get decided in the first 10 minutes? Or do the Rockets hang in for a little longer? Or do the Rockets hang another white banner over the Prospera Place Ice?

Interesting things to ponder.

MG said...

Lepp's had massive potential but his mental game was really off. He needed a sports psychologist. Interestesting that most elite teams recognize the need to work on the mental game and have these guys as part of the full time coaching staff.

Brown is the best we have ever had period and Cooke may be right behind him in time. How would the world junior's played out if Brown was in net for the US team ?