Thursday, August 30, 2012

Good day for the goal scorers, not the goalies

  • It was a tough scrimmage for the goaltenders and a great morning for the shooters in day two of Kelowna Rockets main camp. No goaltender stood out, outside of a no quit effort from goaltender Jake Morrissey with the paddle of his stick before Austin Ferguson scored on a secondary chance. Ryan Olsen scored three times for Team Green and Tyson Baillie wasn't outdone with three of his own for Team Blue. Olsen has been very good in the scrimmages with GM Bruce Hamilton saying he looks "extremely good". It doesn't matter if he impresses me. If you are catching the eye of Hamilton, job accomplished.  
  • It was nice to see Baillie score and score often. The about to turn 17 year-old has a good release and can definitely cause headaches for opposition goaltenders. Scoring is all about confidence and Baillie likely lost some of that after leading the team in pre-season scoring. Now a year older and a season under his belt, let's hope Baillie finds the score sheet more often this season. 
  • The Rockets sent the majority if not all of their 15 year-old drafted players back to their respective teams for this season. That includes first round pick Nick Merkley, who is headed back to Calgary. Merkley will undoubtedly get a chance to wear Rockets colours sometime during this season as the club makes a trip through Alberta.
  • So with Merkley and Morrissey headed back home, the numbers drop significantly at training camp. Workable numbers for the team heading into their first pre-season game this weekend is likely between 25 and 27 players. I think the team would like to keep a large number of players around in case four to five members do indeed attend NHL training camps. Damon Severson, Colton Sissons, Ryan Olsen and possibly Myles Bell would be headed out of town to impress at the pro level.
  • If you are wondering where 20 year-old d-man Mitchell Chapman has been this week, he's been out of action with a sprained ankle suffered in practice. 
  • How many 16 year-olds will the team keep this season? It looks like Rourke Chartier and Riley Stadel have done enough so far to earn a spot, but that could change if they falter in pre-season. If Wednesday's workout was any indication, Austin Glover could make a pitch to join that group. The 16 year-old showed good skating ability in the morning session.    
  • Maybe a new look physically translates into a new approach on the ice for Zach Franko. The hair is a little fact a lot longer than in the past and the determination to prove he is better than his streaky performance last season appears to be on his mind. Now 19, Franko looks like a new man. 
  • The Rockets could carry as high as eight d-man to start the season. Bowey, Severson, Bell, Chapman, Martin, Johnston, Lees and Stadel would make up that group.
  • In the comments section I was asked about Myles Bell and Tyrell Goulbourne. First off, we are speaking about two players I really like off the ice. Bell and I get along real well and I think the d-man has some of the most God given hockey ability of anyone on the Rockets roster. Bell can do so many incredible things that many of us just haven't yet seen. Bell's shot is obviously pro like...we've witnessed that. Now he needs to ramp up on the intensity side of his game. That will happen this season. Mark my words. Goulbourne is a favourite for mine for many reasons. Sure, he will defend a teammate and has plenty of success when he scraps, but he loves playing the game and is a good character guy to have in the dressing room. My hope is 'Goulby' doesn't get too caught up in fighting and rounds out his game this season. Don't get me wrong, I want him to stand up and be noticed by the opposition, but he can do some real good things with his gloves on.

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