A sold-out crowd, the first for Kootenay this season, the Red Deer Rebels, the defending Memorial Cup Champions, the top team in the league and perhaps the country again this season, in town on a Saturday night, Kootenay coming on strong as a club that was starting to fulfill its early season hype as one of the top contenders in the CHL. Hollywood scriptwriters couldn’t set the stage any better.
Of course they could always leave out a few key actors.
One look at the game-night roster and there is a stunning omission; Duncan Milroy and Shaun Norrie, two huge cogs in Kootenay’s success in recent weeks, are healthy scratches. Western Conference All-Star and steady overage d-man Craig Weller and emerging winger Richard Hamula would be left in the stands of the Red Deer Centrium the following night and two more, defensemen Cole Fischer and forward Colin Sinclair will sit out Friday’s game in Portland against the WinterHawks. All suspensions the result of disciplinary action stemming from the six players breaking club rules of being in one of the Key City’s fine drinking establishments the Thursday prior to the weekend’s action.
The weekend’s results? A 6-4 Rebel win Saturday that was a seesaw shootout from the start with only an empty-net marker by Rebel forward Boyd Gordon to seal the win. Sunday’s tilt was a low scoring 3-2 affair in which two quick tallies by the Rebels halfway through the final frame earned the club the weekend sweep of the ICE. Although the games were hardly one-sided without the key personnel in the lineup, one wonders with the aforementio Read more»
Is Mikael Tellqvist the real deal?
The average goaltender in the NHL doesn’t ever start to make a mark in the big time until he’s 24, 25 years old. Some take longer. Evgeni Nabokov, last season’s Calder Trophy Winner is a prime example of what is the normal incubation time for a starting netminder. Yes, there are exceptions like Robert Luongo and Tom Barrasso, both who were starting games before they were old enough to drink, but that’s what they were, exceptions. Jocelyn Thibault was thrown to the dogs at the age of 20 and although his won/loss record looks impressive this season, questions still abound. Jose Theodore, the league’s hottest puckstopper going into the Olympics was in the NHL at an early age but was well cocooned in Montreal behind Jeff Hackett and Thibault and it’s showing now.
Now take Mikael Tellqvist. He turned 22 last September before he’d ever played a game in North America. Many, upon hearing of his signing had already anointed him the Leafs back-up goalie for the 2001-2002 season, or at the very least the starter in St. John’s. Now he’s struggling in the AHL to the point that Sebastien Centomo, an afterthought in the Leafs pipeline, has stolen his thunder. What happened? First off, we we’re all to guilty of knee jerk reactionism, in that we expected so much from the kid, anything less than the Vezina would have been a disappointment.
Let’s be realistic here. Tellqvist had never played the North American game, Centomo had a lifetime’s worth of experience. Was it any surprise that the latter out-performed the former thi Read more»
It’s getting close. The end of the year is not far away and things are only getting better as the season goes along. The playoff races are starting to take shape.
In the Eastern Division the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders still are the leader of the pack with 61 points. But the RoughRiders have fallen on some rough times and their mettle is being tested. The problem for Cedar Rapids is their closest competitors; Des Moines and Green Bay have games in hand. Currently Cedar Rapids has a six-point lead over Des Moines (55 pts) and a ten-point lead against Green Bay (51 pts). What does this all mean? Maybe nothing but if Cedar Rapids should fall from the Division lead and go into the playoffs without the coveted Division Title and number two seed, problems are abound for the ‘Riders. Cedar Rapids then would likely face a grueling series against Omaha, Sioux City or Sioux Falls, and give them home ice on top of that. Cedar Rapids has not fared well against those three teams. Cedar Rapids is collectively 0-7 against Omaha, Sioux Falls and Sioux City. Five of their remaining 14 games are against those same teams. The Buccaneers have been hot but still have not proven they can win consistently on the road. If Des Moines is going to overtake Cedar Rapids for the Division lead and win in the playoffs, they’re going to have to win on the road. Green Bay is a lock for the playoffs but hasn’t been exceptionally impressive lately. The Chicago Steel appears well on their way to a playoff birth in their 2nd year of existence. Waterloo and Rochester will simply fig Read more»