Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Top ten and other things on my mind

  • So the Kelowna Rockets are the 7th best junior team in Canada are they? NHL scouts who picked the pre-season CHL Top 10 rankings think so. The Rockets were one of three WHL teams to make the top ten. Portland (3rd) and Red Deer (9th) were also recognized. I can't argue with the latter two considering the Hawks have 15 players going to an NHL camp while the Rebels should be a force with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returning after a long look by the Edmonton Oilers. No question the Rockets will turn some heads this season, but this team could be one of the youngest in the entire league. The defensive core alone has just two-19 year-old's and overage defender Kevin Smith.
  • I like what head coach Ryan Huska said about the rankings. "I think they are kind of silly at this time of the year. I think it says a lot about the players and what people think of our players but our team has done nothing to deserve that or earn that honor of being rated. It is something I don't want our guys to actually pay attention too."
  • A deadly crash that killed 34 members of a KHL team rocked the world on Wednesday. When you hear that Brad McCrimmon was killed on that aircraft, the impact is even greater for those who follow and love the Western Hockey League. Brad McCrimmon is the brother of Brandon Wheat Kings General Manager Kelly McCrimmon, who is as well respected as any executive you will find in our game. My condolences to Kelly and his family during this difficult time.
  • My one and only encounter with Brad McCrimmon came in March of 2010 when the Detroit Red Wings made a stop at Prospera Place for a practice during a Western Conference road trip. Brad was an assistant coach with the Wings at the time and was smiling both on the ice and outside of the dressing room as the media gathered around coach Mike Babcock. I spoke to McCrimmon about the success of his brother Kelly, who was guided the Wheat Kings at the time as both gm and head coach. He had nothing but glowing things to say about his younger brother and the success he has had at the major junior level. Who would have thought that 17 months later he would be involved in a plane crash that would claim his life. If I can find the audio I will post it.
  • Former Rockets' head coach Marc Habscheid was a teammate of McCrimmon's for one season with Detroit while Kelowna resident Glen Cochrane also suited up alongside McCrimmon when they were with the Philadelphia Flyers (1984-85). Cochrane is now a pro scout.
  • Brett Bulmer and Colton Jobke have left for Traverse City as the Minnesota Wild prepare for the start of training camp. Bulmer is a second round pick of the Wild while Jobke signed a deal with them last fall after attending camp as a free agent.
  • Rockets forward Jessey Astles leaves for Pittsburgh Penguins camp Thursday while Mitchell Callahan is off to camp with the Detroit Red Wings.


jaz301 said...

I agree with what Huska has to say. You can't really judge a team by just there players and a few pre season games ( if they even count those). I will wait till the end of the season to see how the rockets rank in the CHL.

That plane crash was such a tragedy. The hockey world has already been hit hard with 3 NHL player deaths over the summer and now this happens. It is just heartbreaking. An entire team killed in the plane crash. It is so sad. My prayers are with the families.

As for the rocket players heading to NHL camps best to luck to them. Also Adam Brown is still playing in the prospects tournament held in Penticton with Edmonton, correct?

Regan Bartel said...

Yep. Brown will be there.

Malcolm said...

Why did Chapman and Gogol get a 1 game ban (and Kelowna & Victoria fined $250.00 each)?

Is fighting at start of a period not allowed pre-season, or is this a WHL rule?

Regan Bartel said...

Fighting off the opening face-off results in a one game suspension. They danced 7 seconds into the period.