The Next Phenomenon: Jay Bouwmeester

by Trenton Allen
on

When you see this kid play, you know you are seeing greatness. He can
skate with the best of them, make tape-to-tape passes blindfolded, and his
vision of the ice and the play that is unfolding is unsurpassed. Who am I
talking about? Who else. Jay Bouwmeester.

This 16 year old star in the making of the Medicine Hat Tigers has just
finished his first season in the WHL. Few defensemen before have stepped in
at his age and done as much as this young man. Quarterbacked the powerplay,
got to play some shorthanded situations, and was often a catalyst on a team
that many nights was severely lacking in the offensive department.
Bouwmeester finished his season with 64 games, 13 goals, 21 assists and 34
points. The assists total would have been much higher on a team that had a
few finishers. Next year, with players such as Ryan Hollweg gaining in
experience, watch that total rise. Probably the best part of watching him
play is that you get the felling that, as good as he is, he’s capable of so
much more. When ever he gets the puck you get on the edge of your seat not
know if your going to see just another dump-in, or watch Bouwmeester make a
brilliant end-to-end rush. Probably the best thing about watching him play,
and the worst thing for all other teams in the WHL, is that you know that
he’s only scratched the surface of what he can do.

If any reporters are reading this article, here’s a little advice about Read more»

Future Captain Scott Hartnell

by Trenton Allen
on

I recently had a chance to speak with future top draft choice Scott Hartnell of the Prince Albert Raiders. He’s a good kid with a smart head on his shoulders. You know this kid is going far in the league just by talking to him.

To watch this kid play is what it must have been like to watch Trevor Linden, Dale Hunter, or even Rod Brind’amour play at this age. He’s got the skills, desire, and the leadership to be just as dominating as those three. It is obvious that what ever team drafts him in Calgary, on June 24, is going to be in for a real treat. This is the interview with Scott Hartnell.
HF: How has the pressure of the upcoming entry draft affected your play?

Scott: I don’t really try to think about it when I’m on the ice. You just go out and play your game the way you’ve been playing it for the past 10-15 years. Don’t try to change anything, just go out and play your style of hockey and that’s all you can ask for.

HF: Some people say that you are a good potential power forward, but they say your offensive upside isn’t as good as some of the other top ranked prospects. How would you comment on that?

Scott: I don’t really try and think about it. I just try to block it out of my head and do the best I can out there. I’m not very offensive like some of the other draft prospects, that’s pretty obvious through my numbers. I just go out there and score if I can and just do what I can do out there.

HF: So would you say that’s an unfair statement?
Read more»

The Second Season

by Jeff Bromley
on

After each of the WHL’s 18 member teams have finished their grueling 72-game schedule, a league total of 648 contests to eliminate four teams
from playoff contention, the fourteen remaining teams start a playoff odyssey that will culminate in one of them making the trip to Halifax for the
Memorial Cup some ten weeks from now. That being said it is now time for all pucksters, pundits and fans alike to enjoy what has become an
annual event by the ‘Fan – Playoff Predictions.
Starting in the Western Conference where there’s an opinion that there is not only a noticeable drop off in the quality of teams seeded one
through six but also a sizeable discrepancy in caliber in comparison to the Eastern Conference clubs. In theory that should make predicting the
winners of the first round of series’ that much easy right? Yeah, just as easy as picking the ‘Lotto’ numbers every week.

Spokane vs. Tri-Cities. If you were looking for a first round upset in the West then this series won’t be it. Most of the season I have thought
that Spokane has been somewhat overrated (against the Eastern conference teams) but in the Wild West the WHL’s most improved team over
last season (53 point improvement) has settled in to become the favorite to the win the West. The Americans sold their soul at the trading
deadline last year and are paying for it now. Give the Americans one game. Chiefs in Five.

Read more»

A look at Ryan Craig

by Glen Crichton
on

I had an oportunity recently to ask Brandon Wheat Kings forward Ryan Craig a few questions. This is the jist of what I got out of this interview.

The season has been for Ryan Craig, like most of his fellow Wheat King teammates, a dissapointment. Due to injuries and an overall poor team talent wise to play with, Craig has seen his stock for the June NHL entry draft fall. An enlarged spleen (brought on by a case of mononucleosis) forced him to miss the under-18 tournament in August and a shoulder injury sustained after the Top Prospects game forced him out for another three weeks. At the beginning of the season, Craig was being touted as a potential first-round pick. However the injuries, combined with lower then expected numbers on the score sheets this year, has led to Craig’s drop in the rankings.
Read more»

WHL West Division: At The Half

by Glen Crichton
on
Here are the standings for the Western Hockey Leagues West Division just past
the half way point on the schedule.


GP W L T RT GF GA Pts

Spokane Chiefs 37 25 10 2 1 139 101 53
Prince George Cougars 39 18 17 4 4 141 132 44
Seattle Thunderbirds 36 16 16 4 2 125 112 38
Kamloops Blazers 37 17 16 4 0 125 119 38
Kelowna Rockets 39 17 21 1 2 109 114 37
Tri-City Americans 39 14 20 5 1 135 156 34
Portland Winterhawks 39 9 25 5 0 94 147 23

The Spokane Chiefs are a surprise to me and many others to be leading the division with a nine point bulge, however, they are starting to make
believers out of many as they’ve maintained their strong start and continue to make progress and pull away from the pack. A solid trade to pick up
twenty year old offensive defenceman Scott Roles from the Kootenay Ice along with the addition of another overager, sparkplug Brent McDonald who
was picked up after he became a casualty of the twenty year old numbers crunch in Prince George, have added offence and experience to a solid young
nucleus of players. Eighteen year old Tim Smith has led the charge offensively for the Chiefs, amassing 48 points in thirty-six games, thirty four of Read more»