Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rockets reduce roster/Gatenby's good day

  • The Kelowna Rockets paired down their main training camp roster significantly Wednesday afternoon prior to an upbeat scrimmage. It looks like the majority of the 15 year-old players (born in 1998) were returned to their respective club teams. These players were obviously ineligible to play with the Rockets this season, outside of a mid-season call up for a five game look-see. The only 15 year-old still at camp, from what I understand, is first round draft pick Dillon Dube.
  • Dube will likely put on a Rockets uniform Friday night when the Kamloops Blazers are at Prospera Place for the first pre-season game for both teams.
  • With the roster numbers down considerably, the first half of the 5:45 pm scrimmage that I witnessed today was high tempo. I thought both teams worked hard in an effort to win a game that looked anything but meaningless. That's where many people get it wrong thinking training camp means nothing. These athletes want to compete no matter what the circumstance and those that don't or who are out there holding back are often exposed. 
  • Who did I like in the afternoon scrimmage? One player in particular caught my eye in the morning scrimmage and then brought his game into the 5:45 pm game. Sixteen year-old Joe Gatenby looked solid. Clearly Gatenby can skate. He is very agile on his skates and does a good job to recover if he is caught out of position. What I liked about Gatenby was his active stick. I don't know if today was his best day at main camp but he was noticeably. Gatenby had a thunderous hit in the morning scrimmage that should be noted.
  • With Gatenby impressing and 17 year-old Dalton Yorke doing some nice things physically back on the blue line, I would hate to be the coaching staff deciding on who goes and who stays. Both rookies have an ideal chance of staying around for an extended look with d-man Mitch Wheaton sidelined after undergoing shoulder surgery. Once Wheaton returns it is any ones guess if both stay, if one goes or does a veteran moved because of Gatenby or Yorke's impressive play?
  • Myles Bell took his intensity up a notch in both scrimmages and was constantly around the puck. The veterans should be noticeably, but sadly that often isn't the case. 
  • Nick Merkley has gotten better as camp has rolled along. Some of that may have to do with the line mates he is playing with? Let's face it, when you are a gifted play maker like Merkley is you need a winger or two that can find holes or seams so you can get them the puck. 
  • One of the goalies still at main camp is 15 year-old Brendan Barry. Barry is the son of NHL agent J.P Barry who calls Kelowna home. Barry is expected to play with the Okanagan Midget Rockets this season.
  • Skating will not be one of Austin Glover's weak points in his game. The 17 year-old has a strong stride and looks just a little quicker than a season ago.
  • Cole Linaker has had a good camp in my opinion. He has had a propensity to drive with the puck towards the net in the scrimmages I've witnessed. We saw little of that in his rookie season.


Justin McCartney said...

What rules would apply to Gatenby if they were to send him back to the Okanagan Rockets? Would they be able to recall him whenever needed, since he's a Kelowna resident? As I understand it, if the Rockets aren't committing to Joe for the full season, they can still recall him as long as he's not missing school to be with the team. Can you clarify this, Regan? I'm picturing something similar to what the Rockets did last year with Justin Kirkland, only with even more flexibility.

Regan Bartel said...

The Rockets can move him up and down from midget as needed. I don't think they would do that with a prospect like Gatenby though. It is heart wrenching for the player going up and down.