For those who asked, here's a couple of takes on what's happening in Iceland of late.
*Disclaimer* - I'm not covering the team anymore so I don't have, nor do I claim to have, any real inside scoop.
This is just opinion, pure and simple. Take it for what it's worth.
Congrats to G Peyton Lee, a Cranbrook product who moved away at 14 to play a higher level hockey at POE in the Okanagan, getting the win in the nets as the Giants beat the Ice 6-3.
Lots going on in the land of Ice these days, though, for the amount of bums in the seats at the Rec Plex - Western Financial Place for those looking to get some mileage out of the money spent on the naming - you wouldn't know it. For those keeping track the average attendance this season has been 2272 through 11 home dates including the two smallest crowds in the history of the building at 2116.
This is a young team and finally Kootenay won't likely make the playoffs after 14 straight seasons in the post-season, time to deal with it. Hopefully the fans will still hang in there. It's a deep draft this May and a top-five pick will fit in nicely to the club's rebuilding plans.
Projected Top Five Bantam Picks:
1. Kale Clague - D - Lloydminster Heat
2. Tyler Benson - F - Edmonton SSAC Lions
3. Dante Fabbro - D - BWC Bruins
4. Sam Steel - F - Sherwood Park Flyers
5. Jaeger White - F - BWC Bruins
Lots to talk about attendance-wise as always but it's been beat to death elsewhere.
And we move on......
Ice captain Drew Czerwonka's decision to move on with his life and retire from hockey to pursue a career in the Trades was something out of left field but not deep left field. There'd been speculation since before last season that he didn't like it here and was contemplating asking for a trade. Again, that's the scuttlebutt but realistically, it has to be the injuries. I would think that a quality guy like Czerwonka wouldn't bail on a team because of it's perceived fortunes this season. Two years ago he got a championship. Now, they won't likely make the playoffs but any player with an ounce of heart doesn't quit for that reason so I don't buy that. Good luck in his endeavours. Representing many, many tradesmen in the industry I'm in, god knows we need more of them so good luck to him.
As for McGill and his style of coaching. They better get used to it. It's his M.O. and he makes no apologies for it. Coaches are coaches and some styles rub the new generation the wrong way. Suck it up, I guess. As a player, you have to learn to play for different coaching styles or you'll never survive in the game.
I do ask this question though.... anybody seen Elgin Pearce's stats lately???? Hey, just asking. He's sitting 19th in league scoring with 19 points for the Tigers. There'll be a reunion tonight as the Ice are in Medicaint Hat. Dylan McKinlay is 29th in league scoring for the Rockets. Easy with the 20/20 hindsite but on a team that has a tough time scoring, one of them would be nice. Wonder how long the 20-year-old spot will be left open?
Couple of deals made of late though;
After seeing Zach Phillips last night play acquired from the Everett Silvertips early yesterday, I'm impressed. For a conditional 7th rounder? A steal if he can be consistent. He was Kootenay's top player last night, or one of them. He's a big body - 6'4", 200lbs and can skate and distribute the puck.
Jeff Chynoweth a couple of days ago got 18-year-old Austin Vetterl from the Vancouver Giants for 17-year-olds D Kyle Krabben and F Doug Morris. This one carries a bit of weight with it as Vetterl will be expected to contribute now for players that likely would've made the team next year. I thought Krabben was an excellent puck-moving d-man in camp and had him higher than one d-man that made the club. Morris was lighting up the AJHL and also played well here but a case of too much depth in Kootenay at that age group for him to get a chance here. Still thought that Morris was better than either of the Europeans. Not to get picky but if you bring in the import players they have to be Top-Six forwards or Top-four D-men. That clearly isn't the case here.
Okay, some more thoughts:
Don't like Descheneau on the point on the power play. He's too fast and a slick playmaker for that spot. Probably shows the real need for PP quarterback on this team more than anything else. Doesn't have the big shot needed for him being there.
Captain - Leach, Montgomery or Reinhart?
Loved Montgomery's answer to Darren Dietz of the Blades last night after a dangerous hit on his D-man (Wand, I think) coming to his aid but the 17 minutes he was off for the instigator really hurt. Still hate that penalty.
Is it me or has the big start to Jon Martin's season been toned down after the suspensions early on? He needs to play with an edge.
Just a thought but I still think looking into a video clock would improve attendance. Just a thought.
So all the talk about the Blades and the fact they're hosting the Memorial Cup next spring and, really, they're not very good. The oldest team in the league had a lot of trouble with the youngest last night and a couple of inches the other way and the Ice were up 5-2 in this one. Getting Nathan Burns from the Giants will help but Molleken paid a high, high price for a 6-7 forward, at best, with the first rounder in 2014, a 3rd round pick in 2013 AND Travis McEvoy this early in the season. A bit panicky for me. But realistically, this team is going to have to get a whole lot better just to make the playoffs, never mind being embarrassed at the Memorial Cup. If it wasn't for Makarov last night it might've been a blowout.
And finally the Giants are in town tonight for the first time in two years. No word whether they've called up Morris and Krabben to play as of yet but you would think that Giant coach Don Hay would give G Payton Lee of Cranbrook the start. He was called up from Richond Junior B when starter Liam Liston went down in Medicine Hat.
Gametime is 7PM. I'll miss most of it as the Bantams host Spokane at the Memorial at 6PM.