Thursday, July 9, 2015

Who is the next HC of the Kelowna Rockets?

  • How odd does that image to the right look? That is Dan Lambert wearing a track suit with the Buffalo Sabres logo on it. Nope, it isn't a dream. Lambert isn't a guest coach at Sabres prospects camp. Lambert is now an assistant with the NHL team. I am still trying to come to grips with it. I didn't want to see a coaching change on so many levels. 
  • Close to 50 resumes have come across the desk of GM Bruce Hamilton over the last two days after Lambert's shocking announcement. That can't be a surprise. Kelowna, and specifically the Rockets organization, has to be one of most highly coveted coaching gigs in all of major junior hockey. If you are a family man, the lifestyle alone is a massive attraction and the successful track record would have any coaching wanting to throw his resume into the ring for consideration.
  • So who is the new coach? Bruce Hamilton has made it clear it won't be assistants Kris Mallette or Travis Crickard. Without knowing who has and who hasn't applied, is Ryan McGill not the first name that comes to mind? It was suggested McGill was up for the Vancouver Giants job, which Lorne Molleken ultimately won. While Kelly McCrimmon was being courted by the Toronto Maple Leafs as early as last month, McGill's name resurfaced again as a possible successor to McCrimmon with the Brandon Wheat Kings. McGill is familiar to both Hamilton and Rockets director of player personnel Lorne Frey. The 46 year-old's father Bob was a scout for the Rockets for several years and Ryan is a former player with the Swift Current Broncos, the team Frey was an assistant coach with during the 1986-87 season.
  • Lambert appeared on CJOB Winnipeg's 'Sports Show' with Jim Toth this week. Lambert admits he spoke with Sabres HC Dan Bylsma at the NHL draft and five days later he was offered an assistant coaching job with the Sabres. 
  • It is nice to see Jackson Whistle participating at Vancouver Canucks prospects camp this week. Isn't it interesting that the Canucks have shown a real interested in the West Kelowna resident when the Vancouver Giants didn't? Ok, that's not exactly fair considering it was the Giants that drafted Whistle in the fourth round of the WHL draft in 2010. The Giants traded Whistle on September of 2012 to the Rockets for a third round bantam pick. The Canucks invited Whistle to Penticton last fall for the Young Stars tournament and elected to invite him back for development camp this week. It will be interesting to see if Whistle impresses to the point that he indeed finds himself wearing Canucks colours again at the Young Stars in September.
  • Ironic to see defenceman Mitch Wheaton traded on the same day as Dan Lambert's announcement to leave the team. It was Lambert who was a major factor in recruiting Wheaton. The big defenceman was on the fence about coming to the WHL after being a 10th round pick of the team back in the 2010 bantam draft. Lambert was a trustworthy voice in persuading the St. Albert product to leave the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) and join the Rockets for the start of the 2012-2013 campaign.
  • Either Tyson Baillie has come into Calgary Flames prospects camp this week in wicked shape or it's a misprint. My guess is a misprint. Baillie is listed as 5'10 and 165 at Flames prospects camp. Baillie was listed at 5'10 and 195 pounds with the Rockets this season. If it were the case that the 19 year-old weighed just 165, Baillie would be the lightest forward on the Flames prospect camp roster.
  • Josh Morrissey is attending Winnipeg Jets prospect camp this week. He told the Winnipeg media that he took three weeks off from skating after the Memorial Cup, the longest he has ever spent away from the rink in recent memory. Here is the link to a story on Morrissey from Ken Wiebe, a Winnipeg Sun sports writer I had the privilege of meeting in Brandon during the WHL finals in April.
  • NHL Central Scouting released it's 'futures watch' for the 2016 NHL draft. Kelowna Rockets Lucas Johansen and Dillon Dube are on it. Johansen doesn't turn 18 until November. Dube doesn't turn 17 until July 20th.
  • What does colour analyst Gord McGarva do during the summer off-season? Gord is in Scotland, where he spends the majority of the next three months golfing and caddying. Since joining me in the broadcast booth for the start of the 2009 season, it has been common place to see him head overseas for some r and r. As hard as I try to scare him away, McGarva routinely shows up in September for the start of another Kelowna Rockets season.
  • Congratulations to Justin Bernhardt and his marriage last weekend. 'Bernie' played just 53 games with the Kelowna Rockets between 2006-2008 before being dealt to the Prince Albert Raiders. Bernhardt will always go down as one of six players involved in a massive trade between the Rockets and Regina Pats on December 7, 2006.


g.k said...

Hey Regan if I recall correctly wasn't Dan Bylsma a guest coach at a few Rocket practices during or just before the playoff's? I would presume that is when those two started their discussions if & when Bylsma got a coaching position he would consider Lambert as his assistant. Makes sense to me. Have a great summer!! Not enjoying mine so much -- Riders are 0-3!!

Regan Bartel said...

They are former teammates also. As for the Riders, I feel your pain.