- The Kelowna Rockets have 17 wins in 28 games this season. Last season the team didn't win its 17th game until game number 41. That win came January 7th against the Victoria Royals in a 4-3 shootout victory.
- Last season the team played in 15 shootout games. This season - just one . It came in a 4-3 shootout loss in Medicine Hat on October 24th.
- A lot of NHL scouts are following the Kelowna Rockets these days and this is what two of them had to say about draft eligible Madison Bowey and teammate Mitch Wheaton. Let's start with Bowey. "He is a do-all defenceman. He is a fantastic skater for a big guy. He can play in all situations and is getting better". Here is what another NHL scout thought of defenceman Mitch Wheaton. "He got off to a slow start, but I thought he was excellent in Everett the other night when I saw him. He is not as smooth a skater as Bowey but plays an intelligent game". The reason why these two NHL scouts were not identified is they often are less apt to speak their mind if they are outed. This way we get an honest opinion on how Bowey and Wheaton are evolving as prospects.
- The Kelowna Rockets only have two players that have a chance of playing in all 72 games this season. With Colton Sissons sitting out Saturday's game in Seattle with an injury, only Myles Bell and Dylen McKinlay have played in all 28 games this season.
- Jeff Finley used to be an assistant coach with the Kelowna Rockets. Finley is now a scout with the NHL's Detroit Redwings. Finley is as frustrated as anyone with the NHL lockout. Finley, who played 15 seasons (708 games) with various teams, had his NHL career ended by the lockout in 2005. That I did not know. Finley, 38 at the time, had shoulder surgery in the off season and went to play in Europe and never made it back to the NHL again when it resumed in 2005-2006.
- Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman Morgan Rielly made a visit to Kelowna last week and I spoke to him about his name being mentioned in a trade with the WHL deadline in early January. "I am pretty comfortable in Moose Jaw. I am not to worried about the trade deadline. I think if it came up, I wouldn't be the only person that would hear about it. I just want to be a leader to all these guys and be a positive example in practice and games." Rielly was the Toronto Maple Leafs first round pick, fifth overall, in this summers draft. That is the same spot former Kelowna Rockets defenceman Luke Schenn was selected when the Leafs picked the Saskatoon resident in 2008. "Anytime their is an 18 year-old (Schenn) that played in the league, it gives hope to other prospects. He is a great player and to see him jump right to the pros at 18 is pretty impressive."
- MacKenzie Johnston and Cole Martin are two Kelowna Rockets defenceman that often don't get the attention and credit they deserve. You won't see them on the score sheet often, and you don't have media types like me hunting them down for interviews because they don't play the type of game that has hockey fans jumping out of their seat in excitement. What they are is steady, stay at home defenceman. I asked Cole Martin if it is frustrating that he doesn't get the credit he deserves."If you look at it, you could feel that way. I am not here to get the press from everybody. I am here to help my team win and shut down the other teams top line."
- Speaking of defenceman, how good has 18 year-old Damon Severson been this season? Now in his third season in the WHL, Severson's point totals are down significantly from last season but the New Jersey Devils draft pick is playing more like the 2nd rounder they made him this summer. Severson's decision making with the puck has improved significantly from a year ago and his calm demeanor without it has made him a valuable asset to a team that implements two 17 year-old's and one 16 year-old back on the blue line.
- The Swift Current Broncos visit the Kelowna Rockets Wednesday night. Rockets assistant coach Dan Lambert still holds a Broncos franchise record. Lambert holds the team record for assists in a career with 244, set between 1986 and 1990.
- Best quote of the weekend came from Kelowna Rockets Swedish import Henrik Nyberg (pictured) when I asked him about his roommate Carter Rigby's mustache. The question came about with the conclusion of 'Movember'. "It is pretty good. I think he dyed it. Don't say anything", he said sheepishly. Nyberg made the remark while doing a radio interview, so obviously the cat is now out of the bag.
- Seattle Thunderbird forward Luke Lockhart played in his 300th career WHL game Saturday against the Rockets. Who was the last player to hit the 300 game plateau wearing Kelowna colours? It was Geordie Wudrick two seasons ago. Dylen McKinlay has a chance to hit 300 games played in the new year. If he stays healthy, McKinlay will celebrate his 300th game, at home, against Victoria on January 31st.
- Zach Franko is the third highest scoring second round bantam pick the Kelowna Rockets have ever drafted. Franko has 119 career points, which puts him 58 points behind Blake Comeau, who holds down second spot after being drafted in the second round in 2001. The team's top scoring second round bantam pick is Jason Deleurme. J.D had 313 career points in five seasons with Tacoma/Kelowna. Deleurme was a second round pick in the 1992 WHL bantam draft. Safe to say, no one will knock Deleurme off that pedestal any time soon.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
News, notes and a couple of quotes
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