Monday, March 26, 2018

Things that make me go hmm.....

Nolan Yaremko's beard has him walking on water
  • Did you notice Americans forward Michael Rasmussen being taken over by emotion after scoring his first goal of the playoffs Thursday night? The 19 year-old first round NHL draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings was being consoled on the bench by teammates even minutes after he found the back of the net. The reason? I asked him before game two. "A good friend of mine passed away back home, so I dedicated that goal to him. I am going to miss him very much. It is obviously very emotional". I had never met Rasmussen before. At the end of the interview he thanked me by name. Impressive.    
  • Speaking of Rasmussen, I asked him how tall he is. I have seen various reports out there he is 6'5 and some suggesting he is 6'6. Rasmussen says he is a tad over 6'6 and I don't doubt him. I think he and Rockets d-man Braydyn Chizen should have a slam dunk contest before game three. Chizen also towers well over 6'6. 
  • How would you like to be Jake Bean? Acquired from Calgary at the WHL trade deadline, the 19 year-old first round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes doesn't have to be flashy by producing offense with his new team. All he needs to do is play steady defensive hockey and make solid outlet passes. For Cal Foote, it is a completely different story. Foote has to defend like a junk yard dog and then look to generate offense at the other end of the ice. Foote's responsibilities far exceed Bean's. That my friends is why Cal Foote is the Rockets MVP and the Western Conference defenceman of the year.
  • Bean is former teammates of Kelowna Rockets overager Carsen Twarynski. Neither were selected in the WHL bantam draft. Bean is a first round NHL pick while Twarynski just signed an NHL contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. Those two are great examples why you should never quit believing.
  • How about Kaedan Korczak's goal in game two? Oh, it was ugly, but what 16 year-old d-man (Yes I know he turned 17 in January) has the balls to skate up ice, dump the puck in and chase it and then try for a scoring chance? Who does he think he is, Tyson Barrie? Wonderful to see. As quiet as a field mouse, I am going to work on him with more interviews until he leaves us after his 19 year-old season. Trust me, Tyler Myers struggled behind the mic when I first interviewed him as a 15 year-old in Lethbridge. Now he can chat it up with the best of them. I'm targeting you 'Korzy'!
  • Players and coaches of WHL teams don't read this blog do they? Not a chance. 
  • Director of Officiating Kevin Muench took in both games one and two of the Rockets/Americans series and was a prominent fixture in the video replay booth at Prospera Place. My hope is to interview him either before game three or four. I always glean some valuable information from him when we sit down and chat. Muench has to have one of the toughest jobs considering everyone, typically, has nothing good to say about he or his vast array of officials. I am not a referee hater. Trust me on that. I will call a spade a spade if a call is questionable, but I find it extremely weak as a broadcaster to hack on them endlessly over the course of a game.    
  • Rockets blue-liner Braydyn Chizen hit Americans forward Isaac Johnson hard in game two. While Johnson was helped to the bench by teammates, it will be interesting to see how effective he will be in game three. So far, Johnson has done more than asked with three goals in this series. 
  • Best playoff beard in this series. Americans forward Nolan Yaremko of course. But lets remember he has been working on that beard all season long. Dillon Dube started the week before the playoffs and would give Yaremko a run for his money if both were clear shaven. I am not sure if you saw the Americans Halloween pictures, but Yaremko was dressed as Jesus. I thought it was awesome. So far, the 19 year-old has been walking on water against the Rockets with the hat-trick in game two.  
  • The Rockets are 8-4 with 1 overtime loss in their last 13 playoff appearances at Toyota Center. While that may not mean much in junior hockey where turnover is great from season to season, it still shows that the team has had more success than not in that building. 
  • We on media row were discussing the Americans power play proficiency numbers after game one. While the stat sheet says 3 for 3, that isn't accurate. Yes, they scored three power play goals but at the end of the day they should have been 3 for 5 and conversely 5 for 8 in the two games. Whichever way you want to write it up, it is darn impressive regardless.  
  • Americans Head Coach Mike Williamson, one of the best interviews in the game, told us his defencemen, as a group, were slow in moving pucks in game one, resulting in a 39 save performance by 20 year-old Patrick Dea. I will admit they were much quicker in getting the puck into the forwards hands and the fore-check of the Rockets was less effective in game two. "Sometimes those thoroughbreds always want to make strong plays. I think at the start of the game, simple and safe is probably the route we need to go", Williamson told Evan Cooke before game two. 
  • I really believe the Americans feel fortunate to be up 2-0 in the series. Mike Williamson said it himself, the score could have been reversed in game one had Patrick Dea been average. 
  • When to pull a goalie and when not too. It is a hard read for any coach. Damned it you do. Damned if you don't. As much as I didn't like the fourth goal that Rockets goalie James Porter Junior surrendered in game two, my belief is the call to lift him from the game was purely to change momentum after the Americans scored four unanswered goals. I am not saying the fourth goal wasn't a factor, because it was as Brodan Salmond came into the game in a relief appearance. Porter will be just fine. 
  • The Rockets have given up 14 goals in two games. While needing to play cleaner in their own zone, defending isn't purely the defencemen's responsibility. The forwards play a massive part in defending. If the forwards are going to cheat the zone and leave prematurely before puck possession is established, you are not playing for the better good of the team. I don't like it. It is selfish hockey. You MUST defend first. NHL coaches won't touch you with a 10 foot pole if you don't commit to defending. I will be watching that very closely in game three and won't be afraid to tell you on the radio who is committed and who is cheating.
  • Anyone being hard on Cal Foote this season should give their head a shake. While one of the best defenders ever to wear Kelowna Rockets colours, Cal Foote will make mistakes. They all do. Who gave up the puck to Nolan Foote on his second period breakaway goal? Jusso Valamaki, a second team Western Conference all-star and a first round NHL pick of the Calgary Flames. No one is exempt from the occasional miscue. Trust me, I called the Toyota Centre in Kennewick the CN Centre the other night on the radio. Sadly, that was error #136 on my broadcast.
  • I'm off to Kennewick tomorrow in our AM 1150 Community Cruiser. I never travel with the team in the playoffs with affiliated players and other personnel filling the seats on the Kelowna Rockets bus. What I have learned in my travels in Washington State is don't go over the speed limit, even by a smidgen. The Washington State Highway Patrol have shown no grace in the past. Trust me, I know. ;)

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