Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Things that make me go hmm...

  • Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. That would best describe my thoughts about the impending WHL trade deadline. The Kelowna Rockets need a tweak. They need something. Whole sale changes won't happen. I haven't seen GM Bruce Hamilton deal with his team that way in the past and I don't anticipate anything huge this season. Whether he adds a player or sends a veteran packing for a future prospect, my belief is a move will be made on or before January 10th.
  • I have no knowledge of this, but how cool would it be for Hamilton to come home from the World Junior's with the announcement that Teemu Pulkkinen was joining the team in the second half? That one significant addition would change the direction the team is headed. Hey, it is a long shot but it is still fun to dream. What makes the situation more probable is the fact the Rockets have only one import on their roster. Is that by design?
  • I still get questions asking me why Hamilton didn't trade Tyson Barrie last season for a future prospect. The clear answer is Barrie gave everything he could to the organization and consistently worked his tail off thanks to his inner drive and pride in the Rockets jersey. Barrie was a positive figure both in the dressing room and on the ice. It is those type of veterans you want to keep around in your dressing room because they are 'special players' and are not looking for the easy way out. The easy way out is for a veteran to put in a half hearted effort over the final three games before the trade deadline in the hopes that you are traded to a contender. Sadly, many of today's players have that mindset. I will be watching with interest this week on which veteran players play with passion and heart in an effort to stay on the team.
  • Everett Silvertips GM Doug Soetaert has been quoted as saying he will not trade 18 year-old defenceman Ryan Murray. This falls in line with Hamilton's philosophy that this elite player is of more benefit to his team by the way he competes and carries himself than trading him away for a handsome sum.
  • The Rockets will be on the road when the WHL trade deadline happens. The team will be on the bus headed to Portland that day. It will be interesting to see who is on the bus and who surprisingly is told to stay behind as the team heads south of the border.
  • Being traded while on the bus does happen. In my first season with the Rockets, J.J Hunter was told he was traded to the Prince Albert Raiders while the team made a stop in Cranbrook. Seeing the tears coming from his eyes when he was told the news made for a miserable day as you witness first hand the affect the trade deadline has on a player involved. While we usually hear of the excitement a player feels going from a pretender to a contender, it is often a sad day for a player that is shown the door.
  • Get ready to hit the road. Following the Rockets home game this Wednesday against Spokane, the Rockets will play 16 of their next 26 games on opposition ice.
  • It was interesting to touch base with Calgary Hitmen defenceman Collin Bowman before Sunday's game. Bowman was the Rockets second round pick in the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft. It is a amazing to look at the picks the Rockets made in 2006 and come to the conclusion that the majority of those players, outside of Tyson Barrie, were eventually traded. Bowman (2nd rd) was sent to Moose Jaw, Jesse Paradis (4th rd) was also traded to the Warriors, Aaron Borejko (5th rd) went to Red Deer, Kyle Verdino (6th rd) was shipped to Swift Current and Curt Gogol (8th rd) was dealt to Saskatoon.
  • Another milestone for Adam Brown. The 20 year-old goaltender will hit the 10 thousand minutes played mark against Spokane tomorrow night. It is a huge achievement. No Rockets goaltender has ever played that many minutes. Only Calvin Pickard of the Seattle Thunderbirds has played more minutes of any active goaltender in the WHL.
  • Zach Franko may be frustrated, but shouldn't teammate Filip Vasko be the most frustrated shooter on the roster? Vasko has yet to score his first career WHL goal despite some glorious chances. The bad news is he hasn't found the back of the net. The good news is he is getting quality chances and the dam will eventually break. As for Franko, the 18 year-old has one goal in his last 16 games.
  • Oh, a fairly significant game takes place in Calgary this afternoon as Team Canada faces Russia at the World Juniors. AM 1150 has the semi final game at 5:30. I hope to see Ryan Huska and Jeff Thorburn battling for gold later this week and then welcoming them back to the team at the Victoria airport this weekend.


Ryan said...

I am sure Brandon fans and Swift Current fans are pleased with Eakin and Schenn being moved seeing what they hauled in. Much better in the long run and gives guys like Barrie a chance to end on a high note.

Ian Ross said...

Regan, is there anybody on this roster that is untouchable going into the deadline?

Regan Bartel said...

Ryan, Schenn saw his Saskatoon Blades eliminated by Kootenay in the second round of the playoffs after winning the league title. But yes, Eakin did win a WHL title.

Ian, I wouldn't say anyone is untouchable, but marquee players like Adam Brown and Shane McColgan are sure bets to be with the team after January 10th.