- Are you still shaking your head at what you saw Saturday night at Prospera Place? Feelings are mixed about the bottle tossing incident that Rich Preston was involved in after his Lethbridge Hurricanes fell 5-3 to the Kelowna Rockets. I have to say, I loved it. I find no fault in Preston snapping after a goal was taken away from his team when a linesman made a penalty call and informed the referee's of the infraction after the Hurricanes scored. The way Preston handled himself despite being irate at the call was impressive. He got his message across at how upset he was (ie: bottle throwing) without looking like a one year-old that just got his favourite toy taken away from him. His calm demeanour, outside of his 30 second verbal encounter with referee Klein, has to be applauded. He littered the ice, but could have stomped and banged his way as he exited the Hurricanes bench. Instead he calmly left the situation and made his way to the dressing room. If people want to suggest he embarrassed himself, they haven't seen the coaches that take their clothes off as the result of a bad call or jump up on the boards and slam a stick in protest. Preston's antics were nothing close.
- What is Preston's punishment? Will a 25 hundred dollar fine do the trick? I can't see him being suspended for the outburst.
- After further review it looks like Rockets defenceman Zak Stebner was the one that was speared by Hurricanes forward Graham Hood. Color Analyst Gord McGarva points out the infraction on video before the play continues up the ice. The fact is Klein never called it and play continued. So if he saw it as a non-infraction, the waters get even muddier when the linesman suggests it was a spear and essentially overrules the referee.
- I know they are allowed too, but should linesman have the authority to call penalties outside of two many men on the ice calls? If two referee's don't see the infraction on the ice or believe that its a non-call, shouldn't it remain that way? My belief is these type of calls by a linesman at the WHL level are rare and we hope it remains that way.
- I understand the camera crew in the building are getting a bad wrap for the video coverage of Preston's outburst. During the altercation, the camera crew often move away from the Hurricanes bench and show pictures of the goaltenders, the Rockets bench and even the crowd. I am told the video crew has a long document that they must adhere too when 'shooting the game' and when incidents like this occur. I don't have all the details of those guidelines, but not to embarrass the opposition team is roughly part of those requirements. If the camera/video crew had free reign, can you imagine what type of damage they could do with additional graphics?
- The biggest concern for me on the broadcast was painting the picture of Preston's outburst without overselling it. The video evidence is available for everyone on YouTube with our commentary as part of the package. Any time an opposition coach is sour at a call that was made by an official, I always ask myself how would I react if the shoe was on the other foot.
- Lost in the bottle tossing incident was Tyson Barrie's two goal effort. Barrie scored for the first time in 20 games. Going 19 games without a goal had to be in the back of the mind of the offensively gifted defenceman, especially with his buddy - Stefan Elliot of the Saskatoon Blades - was celebrating his 30th goal from the blue line on the weekend.
- The biggest difference between the teams fighting for their playoff lives and those in the middle of the pack is consistency. Lethbridge isn't that bad of a team nor is Chilliwack, yet both teams are fighting for their playoff lives. When both teams work hard and execute, they have a great chance of winning. Getting that consistent effort is often the problem.
- The Rockets now have a six point lead on Vancouver for first place in the BC Division. The Giants also lost their top point getter Brendan Gallagher to a concussion. I've met Gallagher several times and am impressed by how he carries himself and how hard he plays the game. He's a fun player to watch and a great asset to the league. Sure he plays for Vancouver, but that doesn't mean you can't appreciate what this player brings to the arena on a consistent basis.
- Wheat Kings broadcaster Bruce Luebke informs me that his 'Best of the East' poll will be released later this week. This is obviously the same poll that is conducted in the Western Conference by the Tri City Herald. You can hear the results of the survey when Luebke provides us with an audio feature during Wednesday's broadcast.
- The Swift Current Broncos needed a win desperately on the weekend and they got it. A 2-0 shutout over Calgary was a must. Even with a strong run down the stretch, teams like Prince Albert and Brandon would have to buckle under the pressure for the Broncos to even have a prayer.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Things that make me go hmm...
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- Rockets advance to second round
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