Saturday, May 9, 2015

Scattered thoughts on game one

Best beard on the team? Sixteen year-old Dillon 'Hairy' Dube

  • Big win last night. They are all big wins at this time of the year but capturing game one in this 2-3-2 format in the WHL final is huge. I thought the Kelowna Rockets played like a team that hadn't been in a competitive situation in four days. They started slow, which is typical, but were better as the game went along. Leon Draisaitl really stood out for me and frankly should have received third star recognition for his efforts. You have to remember though, in a one goal game, the chances of the home team picking up two of the three stars are awfully slim.
  • While the Wheat Kings will look at the two shaky goals Jordan Papirny allowed in game one, how about the two massive saves he made on Rourke Chartier and Dillon Dube? I thought the Rockets had numerous chances to score...more than I anticipated. And to be honest with you, I didn't think Brandon created that many. Seriously, the golden chances they did get they scored on. Did Jackson Whistle make one big save? Did he steal a goal away from the Wheat Kings? If so, name it.
  • I thought the officiating crew did a great job in call game one. The Brandon fans won't like it because it doesn't allow their power play to dictate the outcome of the game. Nit picky calls aren't necessary when two clean, highly skilled teams are competing in this championship series. Little pushing or shoving was witnessed after the play. The officiating in the entire playoffs - for the most part - has been above average because they have allowed the teams to decide the game on the ice.
  • High five to the Brandon crowd. Game one was outstanding. Over 55 hundred strong took in game one and were loud and loving it. Great job Brandon!!
  • The only problem I see with the strong crowds is the washroom access in Westman Place. Crazy lines can been seen throughout the building as people patiently stand and wait for the use of the 'facilities'. Beer consumption is high in the building, or it appeared to be as I walked through the concourse attempting to find a washroom. I may have to bring a Slurpy cup up to the broadcast booth!! Kidding. For those who have no idea what that means...please move on.
  • I loved Bruce Hamilton's comment at the Friday press conference before the puck was dropped to start the Ed Chynoweth Cup. "Honestly it gets tiring hearing that he (Lambert) inherited such a good team.  (Lambert) has been hands on for four or five years with learning how to coach. (Lambert) has come along with a lot of these players.  He was tutored by a really good head coach and I think there is a lot of Ryan Huska in him".   
  • I ran into David Schulz' uncle in the hotel lobby. I was informed Schulz is now an RCMP officer in Manitoba. Schulz, who is from Winkler, was a member of the Kelowna Rockets during the 2006-2007 season.    
  • Nice running into WHL referee Jeff Ingram this morning. The embarrassing part was I didn't even know who he was as we made small talk in the elevator. The WHL really should have photos of these guys who do thankless work of calling games at this elite level. Two minutes in the box for 'no photo recognition'!
  • Great quote from Wheat Kings Head Coach Kelly McCrimmon before game one Friday night when explaining his teams confidence in scoring goals. They found the back of the net a league high 340 times this season. "We have to focus on defending their top end guys and they have to do the same. We always prepare in the playoffs for a 3-2 win. That's how we try to play. The confidence we have is that we have a lot of guys that can get us to three".
  • Gas in Brandon today? 97.9 cents a litre. Hello!!!
  • The sun is shining in Brandon. It is the first time it has been out and we are entering day four. It was rainy when we arrived and windy. Oh the wind. As a kid growing up in Saskatchewan windy days were a normal part of life. You didn't think about it. It was always present. Then I moved to BC, where windy days are rare. 
  • It was nice to bump into Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun at the morning skate. Wiebe will join me in the first intermission of tonight's broadcast. We will talk about Winnipeg Jets prospect Josh Morrissey and his impressions of Winnipeg born Madison Bowey. Wiebe told me he was listed by the Swift Current Broncos in the 90's.  
  • Does the ice at Westman Place not benefit the team holding the lead in the third period? It snows up so bad for the team attempting to find the equalizer, it is tough to execute when the ice is that bad. It looks snowy from the press box. Maybe it isn't so bad for those who are playing on it?  
  • Talk to you on the radio at 5 o'clock BC time. Kris Westblom will join me again as my special colour commentator. 'Westy' got his feet wet last night. Looking forward to having him on the airwaves for game two. 

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