Thursday, November 22, 2012

Four Rockets have added motivation this weekend

If you are Myles Bell, Ryan Olsen, J.T Barnett or Cody Fowlie, you are jacked to play this weekend. For the first time ever all four members of the Kelowna Rockets will play against the teams that traded or released them outright. They will all likely play down the fact they want to show their former coaches and teammates that they should have been a big part of the future of their organizations, but no doubt all four will have a little extra jump in their step in an effort to leave the impression on their former team that they would look a heck of a lot better in their jersey than the red one with the angry looking Ogopogo on the front.

Myles Bell: For Myles Bell (pictured at right at 16 years-old), the move from Regina to Kelowna was necessary. The Pats did the best in accommodating the now 19 year-old and they wouldn't be shocked on the player Bell has become. The Pats made Bell a first round bantam pick in 2008 and the Calgary resident didn't disappoint in two plus years in Regina. I applaud the Pats organization for sending a player to a place where he can excel and chase his dream of playing pro hockey.
Had Bell remained with the Pats, he would likely still be playing defense. With his hockey career in Kelowna, Bell is the leading scorer of his team as a forward.

Ryan Olsen: I am not sure how Ryan Olsen feels about his departure from Saskatoon, but the trade this summer from the eventual Memorial Cup hosts had to hurt his pride. Olsen too was a first round bantam pick of the Blades and should have been a bright part of their future. Did the Blades not believe they could be as competitive with Olsen as they are now with what they received in return? When the Blades are offered another teams leading scorer and a tough, gritty player is also a part of the package, that's pretty  tough to pass up. If they could redo the trade, considering the 11 goals Olsen has scored this season, maybe they would take a mulligan? But in saying that, would Olsen have flourished under Blades coach Lorne Molleken, or has the change to a player friendly coach brought out the best in Olsen?

J.T Barnett/Cody Fowlie: You would think both 20 year-old's will have a lot of jump in their step Sunday afternoon when they visit the Comcast Arena in Everett. The former Tips return to face a team that didn't see them as good enough to fill the three overage spots each team is allotted. Can you blame Everett management? Not in Barnett's case. The Arizona product was often hurt and their was no assurance he would be healthy enough to play this season. On top of that, Barnett underachieved as a 19 year-old and any good team needs 20 year-old players that make a significant contribution in one form or another. Fowlie's departure may be the bigger surprise because of the 14 goals he scored with the Tips last season as a 19 year-old. As an energy guy, Fowlie played on a Tips team last season that won just 22 games. It would be safe to say scoring chances for Fowlie and his teammates were significantly reduced last season because they were spending so much time in their own zone defending. Now in Kelowna, Fowlie is playing more at the other end of the ice and has 6 points (5+1=6) in ten games with the Rockets this season.  

Regardless of what the final scores may be this weekend, it will be fun to watch these four players prove they are making significant contributions on a new team that has welcomed them with open arms. Funny how a person flourishes when they know they are wanted.