- We are in the final week before the start of the 2012-2013 Western Hockey League season. After six pre-season games and numerous player moves, the Kelowna Rockets appear to be ready to open things up Friday night against Kamloops. The Rockets begin the season against the defending BC Division champions and are my bet to win the Western Conference title this season. How do they match up against the suggested top team in the West? We are about to find out in a home and home series with the Blazers this weekend.
- It will be odd watching the Blazers lift a BC Division banner to the rafters Friday night. The Rockets have never been at the ISC to watch a banner raising ceremony of any kind. Let's hope it inspires the visitors to play hard and spoil the party.
- Talk about making a strong first impression. Twenty year-old J.T Barnett scored three times in a 8-1 win over the Tri City Americans Saturday night. It was only a pre-season game, but the 20 year-old looked enthused playing in his first game with his new team. Barnett can play, he really can, but like so many skilled players, the question must be asked about where his desire to compete level is at? If it's high, like it was Saturday night, Barnett may be a steal in a trade with Everett on Thursday. Rockets head coach Ryan Huska will reward the Arizona product with first line minutes if he plays hard and competes. In his final season of junior, isn't that the only thing he would want to prove to himself, and others, that he's still got it?
- General Manager Bruce Hamilton is usually quiet at the trade deadline but this has to be the busiest the Rockets have been before the puck even drops on a new season. Hamilton has essentially made four player moves in a week! It all started when goaltender Jackson Whistle was acquired from Vancouver and included deals for 20 year-old's J.T Barnett and Dylen McKinlay. The other player move was convincing d-man Mitch Wheaton to join the team. Throw in this summers trade with Saskatoon for Ryan Olsen and the Rockets are vastly different from one season ago.
- With two player moves last week to acquire Barnett and McKinlay, the Rockets now have the depth at forward they were lacking. Those two should log big minutes in crucial situations while taking the heat off the 17 and 18 year-old age group. The Tyson Baillie's of this world can now play against the other teams second or third d-pairing, not the top unit.
- Speaking of Baillie, the about to turn 17 year-old led the team in pre-season scoring for a second straight year. Baillie had 3+3=6 while Austin Ferguson had 2+3=5 in six games.
- Do you notice something different about 20 year-old Dylen McKinlay? McKinlay has the tongue of his skates out, something few if any of his teammates do. It may be old school, but I like it. When I think of the tongue out of the skates look, I think of one player. Joe Sakic.
- Who scored the first goal for the Rockets on opening night in Everett last season? Tyson Baillie opened the scoring just five minutes into the first period.
- In the last 10 seasons openers, the Rockets are a dismal 2-5-2-0 with one tie.
- In the last six seasons, this season included, the Rockets have used 18 overage players to fill the allotted three 20 year-old spots. Of those 18 players, 12 have been acquired via trade. The six players that were original Rockets property are: Mitchell Chapman, Adam Brown, Evan Bloodoff, Lucas Bloodoff, Tyson Dowzak and Kristofer Westblom.
- Barnett, McKinlay, Cody Chikie, Brett Lyon, Zak Stebner, Geordie Wudrick, Dallas Jackson, Mark Guggenberger, Riley Grantham, Ian Duval, James McEwan and Brady Leavold were all acquired in trade and played as 20 year-old's.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Things that make me go hmm....
- Wearing a Hawks jersey in the broadcast booth
- Cooke's game saver and Franko's game winner
- Getting shut out on the road sucks
- Playoff foes meet again
- What went right and wrong on weekend
- Rockets game notes for Friday. Ready yet?
- Mail bag. Ask me a question.
- Five reasons for optimism
- Schenn may participate in Rockets practice
- Things that make me go hmm....
- Rockets reduce roster
- Audio with Dylen McKinlay
- An upgrade at the overage spot
- Rockets pick up two 20 year-old's
- Mitch Wheaton audio
- Rockets land big fish
- Whistle while you work
- Things that make me go hmm
- Smart decision by intelligent player
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