Saturday, October 8, 2016

Everything's Edmonton?

Michael Herringer is named 1st star
  • Big venue. Big score-clock. Big win. The Kelowna Rockets are riding a modest two game winning streak after a 1-0 win last night in Edmonton. Michael Herringer, who still doesn't get the respect I believe the 20 year-old deserves, made 38 saves and was solid in his 4th career shutout. Herringer was simply sharp, didn't overplay shots and let them hit him in a controlled and calm manner. Honestly, Herringer was tested too much for my liking as the Oil Kings manufactured some significant scoring chances. The Rockets too had some great chances and were foiled by Kelowna born Oil Kings netminder Liam Hughes. The 17 year-old's best save came against Kole Lind, who was stuffed by the right pad of Hughes on a second period breakaway. 
  • The majority of the Rockets quality chances came either 5 on 5 or when the teams were playing 4 on 4. The power play just seems to be a step out of sync right now, but we are only 7 games into the regular season. It wasn't much of a threat last night and needs to be in a tight hockey game. The Oil Kings only made four trips to the penalty box and were successful in killing all of them off.
  • Calvin Thurkauf continues to impress. The 18 year-old's wrist shot has to be one of the best on the team and his accuracy with it is impressive. Thurkauf has three goals and four points on this road trip after scoring twice in Lethbridge Wednesday night. Let's be cautious here though. Thurkauf scored three goals in his first 7 games last season and then went 12 games without finding the back of the net. Let's see if the extra year of maturity enables him to play a consistent game. I should mention, Thurkauf was involved in his first career WHL fight last night with Branden Klatt. Thurkauf took a couple in the tilt but had a huge smile on his face on the bus after the game. My only concern was Thurkauf throwing punches with Klatt's helmet firmly on his head. A knuckle dislocation or a break can happen with a quick punch to the opponents headgear.
  • If Kole Lind could score for every opportunity he creates, the draft eligible forward may have five goals this season. Jake Kryski may be in the same boat. Both players are snake bitten, with Kryski having an open shot on his off wing in the second period that he fired into the mid section of Oil Kings goaltender Liam Hughes.
  • Nolan Foote, the 16 year-old brother of Cal Foote made his WHL/Kelowna Rockets debut last night in Edmonton. With limited ice time, I thought he looked pretty good. He was around pucks and his first shift of the game may have been his best. You have to remember Nolan Foote hasn't played a competitive game for a long time. Foote missed the pre-season and the first 6 regular season games with mono. 
  • It was my first experience inside the 480 million dollar Rogers Place. Of course it was impressive. The WHL visitors dressing room was huge and the building itself is massive. It is easy to get lost in there. The broadcast location is very nice with individual booths and has more of a high end feel than the other NHL arena where a WHL team calls home - the Saddledome in Calgary. It isn't fair to compare those two buildings because the 'Dome' is 33 years older, but you get the idea. Rogers Place has a 'modern' almost office feel to it. At least that's my take from ice level, where I was able to walk through the dressing rooms before taking the 8th floor to the broadcast location. 
  • I find the location of the broadcast booth a little far from the ice for my liking. It isn't the height off the ice that is so much the problem, its the fact the broadcast booths are back off the ice so the distance is far greater. In Calgary, while high from the ice, at least you are over top of the action. That is only a minor complaint though. I am sure in time, one would get used to the distance from ice level.
  • Oh, a nice video screen recognition on the first stoppage of play for Rockets head coach Jason Smith. With the video screen showing Smith on the bench, the public address announcer welcomed the former Oilers captain back to Edmonton.   

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