Thursday, May 29, 2014

Things that make me go hmm....

Moen walking with 'Lord Stanley' in 2007
  • I sure am feeling for Travis Moen these days. The former Kelowna Rockets forward has been a healthy scratch for all of the Montreal Canadiens games in the Eastern Conference final vs. the New York Rangers. The 32 year-old has been sitting in the press box for all five games after seeing spot duty in a second round series with the Boston Bruins. This is the time of year that any player with a heartbeat wants to make a contribution to the team. Moen has to be a good teammate and keep a positive face in the dressing room with the knowledge that unless someone gets hurt, he won't see the ice anytime soon. This obviously isn't Moen's best moment in the NHL. That moment would have to be in 2007 when he played a significant role in the Anaheim Ducks run towards a Stanley Cup title.
  • It is amazing how Josh Gorges has turned into one of the best shot blockers in the NHL. The captain of the Kelowna Rockets Memorial Cup winning team throws caution to the wind when he has a chance to get in the way of a puck coming off the stick of an opposing forward or defenceman. Unfortunately, Gorges likes to shot block so much that no less than three have gone off him and into the back of his own net in this years playoffs.
  • The Dustin Tokarski story is a good one. Not since Patrick Roy in 1986 has a rookie goalie for the Canadiens taken his team within two wins of a birth in the Stanley Cup final. The former Spokane Chiefs netminder is handling the playoff pressure like a true pro. The composure that he shows for a 24 year-old is absolutely amazing.
  • If a game seven is necessary in the Eastern Conference final it will take place in Montreal this weekend. That means the postponement of a concert by 80's Canadian singing sensation Corey Hart. Did I say singing sensation? I have to admit I still have one of his cassettes down in my basement. Or is it on my IPhone?
  • Overage forward Myles Bell is spending the summer rooming with Carter Rigby and former Kelowna Rockets goaltender Adam Brown. What could go wrong?
  • Speaking of Rockets spending the summer in Kelowna, goaltender Jordon Cooke is rooming with forward Colten Heffley. I wonder who does the cooking? Isn't Cooke your first guess?
  • The construction is almost complete in downtown Kelowna. I don't know about you, but I think it looks great. The sidewalks are wider, the lightning is nicer and the parking is better. It is a fresh new look. If I hear one person complaining about the finished product I will poke them in the eye. The wider sidewalks have allowed Starbucks downtown to significantly add tables and chairs in front of the store. The buzz on the streets is so much better. A high five to the local businesses that had to suck it up through all the construction. Sales likely took a beating but I hope the new look attracts more people downtown. I think it will happen.
  • If councillor Colin Basran would be as good a mayor as he is a street hockey player, we may have something here. Basran was the only member of Kelowna council who participated at the HNIC Play-On Celebrity street hockey game and proved he can play.
  • If the Saskatoon Blades have a short list of candidates to fill the GM/HC position with the team, I sure hope they knocked on Marc Habscheid's door and asked him if he was indeed interested in getting back in the game.
  • The spring radio rating's came out this morning and I am pleased to announce that Kelowna Rockets Hockey did extremely well. As our program director called it, the ratings for Rockets hockey were 'huge'. Thanks to you the listeners out there that spend time at the other end of the radio on winter nights. Gord McGarva and I love what we do and we try to put on an entertaining show for you. 
  • What goes a junior hockey coach do during the summer? Spending time with family and working on the golf game are two sure things. Rockets HC Ryan Huska is taking part in a coaches conference in Vancouver July 18th and 19th. Huska is one of the guest speakers. Huska's discussion centers on the penalty killing unit.  Makes sense considering the Rockets had the best PK in the WHL this past season.
  • NHL'ers that spend the summer in the Okanagan are slowly arriving in these parts. Edmonton Oilers d-man Justin Schultz - who calls West Kelowna home - is participating next month in a Chevy Source for Sports' minor hockey contest we ran on AM 1150/Sun FM this winter. The winner picked up a pair of new skates from Chevy's, hoodies for his entire team and a practice with an NHL player. Schultz is that player. I have the privilege to being apart of that contest. Time to slap on the pads and take a couple of hard-high ones from Schultz perhaps?
  • The Okanagan Rockets are using the BCHL's Penticton Vees as a landing spot for many of its graduating players. No less than three have decided to play with the South Okanagan team with two of them essentially snubbing WHL teams. Tyson Jost, a first round pick of the Everett Silvertips, has decided to play in Penticton rather than join Tips head coach Kevin Constantine as a rookie. What does that tell you? Reading between the lines, I don't think Jost believes he will be granted the ice time he needs to improve his game under the defensive minded coach. Constantine traditionally likes to ride his older players. I don't think Jost would get the type of minutes that Nick Merkley was granted under Ryan Huska in Kelowna this past season. I could be wrong, but I think I'm right.
  • Brendan Barry - the Okanagan Rockets starting goaltender this season - has also  committed to the Vees. Barry had a shot of being Jackson Whistle's backup this season with the Kelowna Rockets with the graduation of Jordon Cooke. Maybe Barry was looking for a guarantee from the Rockets that he would be granted the backup duties? Without that guarantee, the listed goaltender believes his option is better to play in the BCHL in an effort to play U.S college hockey down the road. Again, I am only guessing here.

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