Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Things that make me go hmm..including deviled eggs

Deviled eggs in Vancouver are spectacular 

  • A nice touch by the veteran players who presented new head coach Brad Ralph with the puck after Friday's 4-3 home ice win over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. Ralph won his first game as a head coach in the WHL and then promptly won his first WHL road game a night later in a 7-3 win in Kamloops.
  • Adam Foote was all smiles Saturday night when I met him after the game outside of Sandman Centre in Kamloops. The NHLer witnessed his son, Cal, score his first career WHL goal. Can you blame him? It is nice to see parents being able to witness and share the milestone with their son. Cal told me afterwards it was nice sharing the moment with his team-mates. That statement alone tells me about the character of the Colorado resident and the hope that in the future, he can possibly wear the Rockets 'C' on his jersey like his father did with the Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets. 
  • Speaking of captain, who is the next captain of the Kelowna Rockets? No successor has been named following the departure of Madison Bowey. This is nothing new for the organization in not announcing a captain before the season starts. Bowey was named captain on November 1, which was a full month into the 2013 season. The last two captains (Bowey and Colten Sissons) each served two consecutive terms. Would that happen this season by naming an 18 year-old to the post? With 19 year-old Rourke Chartier such a strong candidate, I can't see them leaning that way.
  • Tyson Baillie can move into an elite group of Rockets players to dress in over 300 games with the organization. If he remains healthy and plays in all 72 regular season games, Baillie will end his WHL career with 331 played. Jason Deleurme is the franchise leader with 341 games played followed by Tyler Mosienko with 338. "Kelowna is the best place to play junior so it would be cool to say I've played in that many games and have been healthy and contributed every season", Baillie said. 
  • Goaltender Michael Herringer has new pads and a new mask this season. The white mask has a small decal on the forehead that shows he is with the Kelowna Rockets, but no paint job will be allowed on the mask. Owner Bruce Hamilton is a traditionalist and doesn't believe a painted mask is necessary for his goalies. Hamilton also forbids his players from wearing excessively high numbers, like #41 or #78 as an example. Does it sound picky? You can't argue with the results the team has had under Hamilton. The older I get, the more old school values I appreciate. It is nice to see Hamilton remains steadfast in his core beliefs when everyone else is showing little to no backbone.      
  • Opening night is pretty special at Prospera Place. Opening night while raising a division, conference and league banner is even sweeter. The Rockets organization do opening night right! If you don't believe me, attend an opening night in another building and make a  comparison.
  • Playing six of your first seven games on the road isn't easy for the defending WHL champions, but the public relations department had to be doing cartwheels when the schedule came out in July. Attendance numbers have been sluggish across the league in the first week of September and it appears not everyone is excited to head to a WHL arena just yet. The Rockets don't have to worry about that to a great degree until they play their second home game on October 9th vs. Victoria.
  • Second year defenceman Lucas Johansen told me before the season started that he was hoping to see more time on the power play. The 17 year-old got his wish. Johansen scored his first goal of the season, on the power play, in a 5-2 loss Sunday in Vancouver.
  • I asked Johansen what he wants to improve on heading into his draft year. "Gee....everything", Johansen laughed when looking at the big season that lies ahead for him personally. Johansen and teammate Dillon Dube are considered 'B' prospects for next June's draft according to NHL Central Scouting. 
  • The Rockets are in Red Deer Saturday for game two of their Alberta road trip. While the team doesn't mind visiting the Rebels in October, they would prefer to visit them in May when Red Deer plays host to the 2016 Memorial Cup. 
  • I am here to state and applaud the Vancouver Giants for having the best media room in the entire WHL. Hey, Spokane, are you listening? The variety of food items is excellent. Shaw TV colour analyst Bill Wilms led me to the secret of the delicious food items on the table. The deviled eggs are SPECTACULAR.  High 5's also go out to the Victoria Royals, Tri City Americans, Prince George Cougars and Kamloops Blazers for making an effort. All I am looking for is an effort to have some sustenance for the media/scouts to munch on before game time.  Seattle and Spokane are the weak sisters out West. Does my harsh critique bother them? Not one bit!

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