Wednesday, February 1, 2012
That was fun
The CHL/NHL skills competition last night at Prospera Place was a lot of fun. A good crowd of 55 hundred watched Team Orr defeated Team Cherry 15-9, but the score meant little to those in attendance. What the fans saw was a good display of skill and a better appreciation of what these young draft eligible players offer to the scouts that are evaluating their every move.
Here are the highlights:
The one thing that stood out for me was the breakaway move by Kamloops Blazers forward Tim Bozon. Before I talk about the move, I should clarify that the first shootout attempt by all of the players involved was a trick move. Bozon picks up the puck at centre ice, approaches the blue line, puts the puck on the blade of his stick, and with one arm extended, raises it high in the air over his head and waves it around as he skated towards the goaltender. Unfortunately as he attempts to tuck it past the goalie, he loses control of the puck and it goes wide of the net. Several players attempt trick moves as well, but if my memory serves me correctly, no one scored in the 'trick' portion of the shootout.
Here is the link to the move: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=614609&print=true
"To be honest I didn't work a lot with this move", said Bozon after the skills competition. "I try when I have time back home in Kamloops after practice to work on this move, just for fun with the guys. I discussed this move with my roommate Colin Smith and he said just do this, so I tried it and it was a good move and I just missed the net".
Did he see fellow countryman Nino Niederreiter's shootout move at the Top Prospects Game?
"Oh for sure. I saw him two years ago. He had a pretty good move and he won it. I tried to be creative like him, even if I didn't score."
Even Kelowna Rockets forward Colton Sissons was impressed.
"I think he had the most impressive move. It surprised me. We play against 'loops' quite a bit. I didn't know he had that skill on him, so that was pretty cool. He almost had it in the net too, which would have been the cherry on top".
Seattle Thunderbirds forward Branden Troock was just edged out for the fastest skater. Troock's time (14.542) was just tenths of a second slower than Francis Beauvillier of Rimouski.
"I thought I did pretty well coming in second. I was a little bit nervous going around that last turn there, I lost an edge almost, but I was happy with my performance. The ice was a little soft. I forgot to get my skates sharpened before, so that probably would have helped a bit".
Kelowna Rockets Damon Severson had a time of 14.547 in the fastest skater competition.
"It was a strong start out of the gate. I just tried to get quicker around the corner and was doing my crossovers and getting power from my legs. I just tried to do my best. Going around the last corner I caught an edge and it kinda threw me off, but overall I think it went pretty well."
Gianluca Curcuruto of the Sault Greyhounds and Scott Laughton of Oshawa each hit 4 of 5 targets Then in a tiebreaker, Curcuruto hit his target while Laughton missed. The most impressive WHL player was Edmonton Oil Kings d-man Griffin Reinhart who hit all four targets in seven attempts. He also hits three goal posts, so he was so close to hitting all four in just four attempts.
Nick Ebert of the Windsor Spitfires won the hardest shot competition at 94.7 MPH.
Here are the results of the other WHL shooters:
Regina's Chandler Stephenson: 94.1 MPH
Saskatoon's Dalton Thrower: 92.4 MPH
Red Deer's Matt Dumba: 91.8 MPH
Swift Current's Coda Gordon: 84.2 MPH