PART 3 OF 3
Hitmen on the Ropes
drama posed by the second installment of a hit. If the first four games of ICE/Hitmen II – The WHL Freezes Over, are any indication, somebody
should call Hollywood because we’ve got a genuine hit on our hands.
series shifted back to the cozy, hostile confines of the Memorial Arena. Needless to say, more than 10.000 fans in the Canadian Airlines
Saddledome does not compare to 1703 fans jam-packed into the ‘Silverdome’. No, it does not compare in the obvious shear numbers advantage
enjoyed by the Hitmen faithful in the Saddledome. No, it does not compare with the comfortable seats, $5 beverages and popcorn and a
Jumbotron that tells you when you can cheer. Where it also doesn’t compare is it’s sheer ability to add another dimension to the home team’s
effort against the opponent.
Mr. Fire Chief you can put your hand down) were on hand to witness what was in all likelihood the two most exciting games seen in these parts Read more»
Kootenay over Broncos/ICE – Hitmen Part II
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.
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»
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.
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.
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.
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?