ICE in Eastern Conference Final against the Hitmen

by Jeff Bromley
on

Kootenay over Broncos/ICE – Hitmen Part II

It has been said that revenge is a dish best served cold. Perhaps that dish might even taste better served on ICE. It’s been one year since an
upstart Kootenay ICE club took the eventual Memorial Cup finalists to seven games in the opening round of the playoffs and it looks as though the
1999-00 edition of the ICE are going to be able to add another chapter to the epic known as the Kootenay ICE/Calgary Hitmen rivalry. Hopefully
this time with a better conclusion.

Going into the Eastern Conference final on a high note after overcoming the Swift Current Broncos in six games, the ICE/Broncos series
warranted being a proving ground to test the mettle of the Kootenay ICE players. Having to overcome series deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 against the
Broncos, the team survived and adjusted their game to match and defeat a talented, hard working, well disciplined Swift Current hockey club. A
key adjustment was made earlier in the series after the game one shocker in which the Broncos tenaciously forechecked the ICE and forced them
into bad decisions in their own zone. When they did get out of their own zone they found the neutral zone as crowded as a nightclub on cheap
night as the Broncos performed their own version of the ‘Left-wing lock’ and impeded the ICE’ transition game between the blue lines.
Responding to that defensive tactics of the Broncos, the ICE proceeded to make sounder and quicker decisions in their own zone and got the Read more»

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»