Monday, January 6, 2014

Notes, quotes and anecdotes

  • I sure liked Tyson Baillie’s comments when I spoke to him after being named the WHL Player of the Month for December. I asked him if the superb month had anything to do with being snubbed from the CHL Top Prospects game later this month in Calgary. “Ya, that gave me a lot of motivation. It kind of pissed me off actually. That is when I play my best when I am angry and pissed off.” You have to appreciate his honesty.
  • I had to chuckle last week when guest coach Cam Paddock watched with amazement at practice as  Myles Bell was shooting the puck. “I’ve never seen someone in junior shoot that hard, and that accurate”, Paddock said. The 30 year-old spent over 300 games with the WHL, 16 games in the NHL and hundreds of games in AHL and Europe, so he has a pretty good grasp of who has a heavy shot and who doesn’t. Paddock has seen many teammates shoot the puck, but not like Bell.
  • It has to be awfully tough for the coaching staff to break up the line of Tyson Baillie, Tyrell Goulbourne and Myles Bell now that Nick Merkley has returned after winning a silver medal at the Under 17’s in Nova Scotia. Merkley has been primarily playing alongside Bell as more of a set up man with the 20 year-old. Goulbourne has been a nice addition playing with the team’s top two goal scorers. “I love it.  I am playing with two great players. I am really close with them off the ice. I can’t get away without playing my role but it is nice to have two guys that can put the puck in the net,” Goulbourne added.
  • Will the Rockets make a trade at or before Friday’s WHL trade deadline?  I spoke to Director of Player Personnel Lorne Frey about his team’s lack of movement at the deadline in subsequent years. “If I was doing this, I would never trade. I hate trading. There are exceptions but I don’t think it gets you too much.” 
  • Trading partners with the Rockets would want to get their hands on Nick Merkley, Rourke Chartier and Justin Kirkland, but Frey says that won’t happen. “There is no way we are going to give up a good young hockey player. There aren’t too many places where you can trade yachts for canoes,” Frey said.
  • I had to laugh the other day when some of the players were shooting baskets outside the hotel in Portland. One player comment, “Oh, no here comes Heff”. They were speaking of 19 year-old forward Colton Heffley. Why would it be a problem if Heffley came out to shoot some hoops? Because he’s good at everything is what I was told. I knew Heffley was a good baseball player but that obviously goes far beyond the hockey arena and the diamond.
  • Tyson Baillie is my kind of hockey player. No pretty boy here who admires himself when he skates along the glass during warm up. Baillie loves the game and wants to win. On determination alone he will play pro hockey. Will he ever play in the NHL? The 18 year-old will die trying. That motivation is often lost in more skilled players. That may be a reason why I want Baillie to succeed so much. It’s  because he really wants it.
  • Why does Tyrell Goulbourne work so well with Baillie and Bell? The 19 year-old – on a straight line – is arguably the fastest skater on the team. “I find myself moving my feet more. I am in a better position when I am playing with those guys because I am more sharp, because I have to be,” Goulbourne admitted.    
  •  While the majority of the Rockets road trip through the Central Division is all work and no play, the team has a chance to attend the Edmonton Oilers home game against the St. Louis tomorrow night at Rexall Place. The Oilers made this happen. Thanks to them. 
  • I always like to see how players mature before my very eyes over the time they come into the organization until the day they walk away to pursue a pro career. I remember my first interview with Tyrell Goulbourne. To put it mildly, it was pretty rough. He just couldn’t find the words to express himself. Yet when the tape recorded was put away, ‘Goulby’ was well spoken. Now three years later, Goulbourne is one of the better interviews. I asked him what changed?  “Just a little bit more confidence. You kinda scared me a little bit when we first started doing it”, Goulbourne said with a laugh.           

1 comment:

lovintherockets said...

Great blog today Regan. Love to read the thoughts of the players as the year progresses. And Lorne Freys comments....Classic!!