season already in the books, the
Kootenay ICE encountering some
adversity of late and crucial tests coming
up in the next two weeks with two home
dates against Red Deer and games
against Regina, Kamloops and Calgary,
these next two weeks will be a good
indicator of just how good a club the
Kootenay ICE are. That being said, here
is a player by player, coaching and
management report card of performance
so far this season. There are some raving
reviews, some needs to be addressed
and concerns to be dealt with and some
question marks. Play along at home and
see who’s making the grade.
Management – Bob Tory
Have to admit that the ICE headman has evolved
into one of the shrewdest traders within
the WHL and his record proves it. The
solving of the ICE twenty-yr-old
situation by bringing in DeCecco and
Evans establishes definite foresight.
Evans will prove to be the steal in the
deal. Questions still remain about
another big d-man and protection for the
skilled forwards – I don’t think that
Tory’s trading days for this season are
Grade – A-
Coach – Ryan McGill
This season we are seeing perhaps a kinder, gentler side
of McGill compared to seasons’ past.
That could also be because the club is
winning. If things start to go south, rest
assured McGill will let the team know
about it. Biggest improvement – line
rolling. Although at the beginning of the
season, it seemed that all we would see
is the Comrie line for the lion’s share of
the playing time, McGill has started to
get more of a balance out of his lines.
The third and fourth lines are seeing
more action in different situations. The
club has the depth and diversity, which
is slowly being realized. Also, the line
combinations. McGill has a bevy of
scoring punch to work with and it looks
like he’s found the right ones. A little
more motivation for the those high-
scoring forwards to back-check a little
more is in order.
Grade – B+
Goalies – Dan Blackburn and Jeff Harvey
This position has been somewhat of an enigma so far this
season. Dan Blackburn is a notch or two
down from the stellar rookie season he
had last season. A number of factors can
be attributed to this factor. He isn’t
seeing the puck as well. He might be the
super-goalie of the future but he doesn’t
have X-ray vision. The ‘D’ isn’t clearing
the traffic in front of the net as well as
last season. The groin injury has played
a role, is Blackburn 100%? The high
expectations of the NHL Draft in June.
Pressure? Expectations? This kid
doesn’t subscribe to pressure – definitely
not a factor.
Jeff Harvey in a relief role has played
admirably. Some shaky goals, some
brilliant saves. Confidence is a factor.
He will have to gain it in what little time
he is expected to play this season. If
Blackburn goes down for an extended
time, Harvey will have to learn fast.
Grade – B
If there are weakness’ to the
Kootenay ICE, some have said that the ‘D’
is it. It’s a bit of a bum rap, but there is a
steep learning curve to the blueline
corps. Holdovers from last year such as
Trevor Johnson and Dean Arsene have
been the glue for this young group so far
this season. Johnson is on fire on the
score-sheet and leads the league in
blueline scoring. Is strong in his own
end and works hard every shift. Arsene
continues to lead the club and has played
his steady self. Cole Fischer has shown
flashes of brilliance with his offensive
rushes but needs to concentrate on his
own zone some more – needs to play
more physical. Seventeen-yr-old Steve
Makway needs to use his 6’4″, 210 lb
frame in order to secure a place in the
line-up. Aaron Rome is fitting in nicely
and is getting more confident and better
each outing. Once again needs to use his
size more. Brennan Evans is playing well
and responding to the regular ice-time.
Rushes the puck well and plays physical
all the time. Biggest plus on the blueline
this season has to be sixteen-yr-old
Andy Thompson. At sixteen is one of
the best blue-liners for the ICE so far
this season. Hits, fights, can skate and
minimizes mistakes. Will have pro
scouts drooling over him next season if
his play keeps up.
Grade – B-
Not much of a bad thing to
say about this group. Averaging just
under five goals a game will do that for
you. But there is always room for
Mike Comrie – will rewrite the ICE
record book by about January at this
pace. Must try and not let continual
abuse by opponents get to him.
Jarret Stoll – for my money, the teams’
best all-around player. Doesn’t ever
seem to have a bad game.
Zdenek Blatny – All-around game is
improving. One of the league’s most
dangerous snipers. Is staying out of the
sin-bin and not taking bad penalties.
Jason Jaffray – Must be black and blue
for the beating in front of the opposing
net he takes game in and game out.
Never stops working
Bret DeCecco – is proving his worth to
the club. Plays physical, sound
defensively, has been snake bit around
the net but the points will come.
Tyler Beechey – improved play has seen
him on the top line for a spell.
Colin Sinclair – is another hard
worker that makes things happen while
hitting everything in sight. Must
continue to do so to be effective every
Pat Iannone – is another sparkplug
that plays bigger than his size indicates.
Also must play physical every shift to be
Richard Hamula – is starting to
develop into a strong defensive forward
not unlike Wade Burt was last season.
Tyler Dyck – sees a new role this season
as he has played more physical early on
this campaign and has found a roster
spot with his play.
Rookie’s Kyle Sheen,
Adam Taylor and Lance Morrison are
showing their worth. But all three will
need more ice time to accurately
measure their contributions. With the
Marek Svatos transfer situation almost
cleared up, his offensive prowess will
only add to the ICE firepower.
Grade – A
Quick Hits – Rumors are circulating
about the availability of Prince Albert
defensman Nick Schultz and Garrett
Prosofsky. Word has it that the Red
Deer Rebels are among the most
interested. Especially in Schultz…. The
Colton Orr rumors are making the round
in overtime now that the big d-man has
left the Swift Current Broncos and sits
at home awaiting a trade. The Kamloops
Blazers are said to be most interested…
The Kootenay ICE import forward
Marek Svatos is still not in the ICE line-
up. Confirmation of the successful
transfer was made by phone but not
received by the ICE on paper. The
talented forward has missed fifteen
games so far this season due to the
squabble over his release from the
Slovakian Hockey Federation.