Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kelowna "Barries" The Hitmen In A Classic

If you are a WHL fan and you missed last nite's game between the Kelowna Rockets and the Calgary Hitmen, you missed not only the last game of the season but maybe the best game of the season. The two teams staged what might have been the best junior hockey game I have ever seen and I've seen many of them over the years. Great saves, great hits, end to end rushes, it had it all. In the end, Tyson Barrie converted a Jamie Benn feed and buried one behind Martin Jones midway through overtime to give the Rockets a 3-2 win and the Ed Chynoweth Cup. Of course the Rockets had led this series 3-0 at one time and you know if they don't win this one, they probably don't win Game 7 so it was really do or die for Kelowna. The only thing I didn't like about the game is Barrie's goal was scored on the power play and I thought the call was a little chintzy---especially in overtime.
Its always special seeing a trophy get presented to a team. Seeing the relief on the faces of those as they parade around with the prize is something special as far as I'm concerned. We all dream of hoisting the Cup when we are growing up and only a chosen few get the chance to actually live out that dream. Can Kelowna go on to win the Memorial Cup??? We will see. Being the WHL champs, I won't bet against them. Hey, if they knocked off Calgary, they can beat anyone at anytime.
I do have one problem with the Rockets though. If you are going to be called the Rockets, do not have a logo of a fictional sea-monster on your jersey or at centre ice!!! Call me stupid if you will but I could not figure out what the hell that thing was at center ice at Prospera Place. I have seen games from Kelowna this year and I couldn't figure out why they had a picture of a dragon at center ice. Of course it was relayed to me Saturday night that the dragon is none other than "Ogopogo". For some reason that never clicked on me. Just after I was informed what it was, SHAW's Dan Russell said a Calgary scoring chance had gone right into the Ogopogo logo of the Rockets goalie just to confirm it.

By the way, kudos to SHAW for once again bringing the WHL into our living-rooms this year. Its great to see the other teams in the league every now and then---especially when not all the teams come to Saskatchewan. There are things I wish SHAW would do, but when it comes right down to it, you can't complain because there is no other way we would have seen the classic we saw last night. I hope the partnership between the network and the league continues for a long, long time.
I guess we will find out what the Capitals and Canucks are made of on Monday. Both need to win on the road to force a Game 7 at home after losing the pivotal Game 5 of their series at home. Pittsburgh beat Washington 4-3 in overtime with Evgeni Malkin getting the winner thanks to Tom Poti who had the puck go in off his sliding body. In Vancouver, those plucky Hawks get a pair from Dustin Byfuglien as they knock off the Canucks 4-2. The more I see that Chicago team, the more I wonder if the future is now for them and if perhaps they can't get to the Cup this year. They just refuse to lose and I don't know if they know they aren't supposed to have this kind of success in their first playoff run.
If you read The Regina Leader Post on Saturday, you saw a great article and sort of a sad article from the overly obnoxious but all around good guy Murray McCormick on former Rams quarterback Teale Orban. He was drafted by the Riders last year and had his ups and downs while at camp, but he did impress Ken Miller and Eric Tillman. Not enough though to get a contract for this year. Orban is the latest Canadian quarterback to be snubbed. With the proper direction and coaching, Orban has the tools to be a CFL quarterback---maybe not a starter but certainly a backup or at the least a clipboard holder. He says he is considering finding a job playing Arena Football in an attempt to get another chance north of the border. Is that what has to be done for a Canadian QB to play in the Canadian Football League. I realize the CIS isn't teeming with great quarterbacks but when a guy like Orban comes out, there should be a job for him.

With no disrespect to the University of Regina Rams, I wonder if Marc Mueller should be playing for them if he wants to keep playing pro football when he is done. Frank McCrystal runs a great program but no matter what Mueller does, he won't get a chance --at least a proper one to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather--the iconic Ron Lancaster. Not unless something changes. Would it suit Mueller better to play NC double A football whether it be division 1 or division 2 in order to make a name for himself. Sadly right now the answer is likely yes and Mueller is not the only one in that boat.
CFL commish Marc Cohon needs to do something to reward teams who have a Canadian quarterback on their roster. There are great Canadians all over the league with the exception of the key position and I think that's wrong.


The Guy Lafleur story is a sad one and it may be getting worse. There is talk the Montreal Canadiens great could be stripped of his Order of Canada after being convicted this month for giving contradictory testimony at his son's bail hearing. Lafleur's legal troubles began in 2007 after testifying at his son Mark's bail hearing that his son always respected his court-ordered curfew and never consumed drugs and alcohol on his watch. But that was discounted in a subsequent hearing when the court heard the elder Lafleur drove his son to a hotel for an intimate encounter with a 16-year-old girlfriend on two occasions.
Some question why Lafleur was even given Canada's highest distinction in the first place, but he has been and if he is just an accomplice to something and not the sole perpetrator of a crime and a heinous one at that then I ask why bother. Yes, Lafleur did something wrong but he didn't murder anyone, he didn't steal anyone's money, he didn't make any racist statements. I say taking the honour away from him because of this would be foolish.


Whatever you do today, make sure you call Mom!!!!



Anonymous said...

Kelowna-Calgary was the best game I've seen this year. Then again after watching the Pats play 36 times this year..................

Brian H

Anonymous said...

Ogopogo in Kelowna never clicked on you until last night. Shame on you!!! It is a good question though as to why a team named the Rockets has a sea creature as its logo. Then again I'd rather have that then Bullwinkle after a night at JD's. That was a great game last night. I don't know if its the best junior game I've ever seen but it certainly did have everything.

I couldn't agree more with you when it comes to Orban and Mueller. Marc might be better than Teale but in the end they will end up in the same spot. He should go south!

Keep up the good work.

Tim Underwood

Anonymous said...

First of all Hockey legend Howie Meeker in his book "Stop it there back it up" considers Lafleur the greatest hab ever and if you would learn another language you would also know many other quebec historians also consider him the best ever.In terms of his Order of Canada award Lafleur has raised millions of dollars for sick and dying children in quebec and has received numerous awards including a top jewish award in quebec for his work for the poor.And he received a top honour from the canadian military for his good deeds with Quebec and canadian soldiers.Lafleur has never been a yes men like gretzy or beliveau and if you ask people in Quebec who they respect more it's lafleur by a mile

Anonymous said...

Pro Football is not an employment equity business. You can either get it done or you can't. The only player I have ever witnessed stay on a roster long past his best before date was Rocky Butler. Teale couldn't carry that guys jock strap. Teale Orban had many opportunities to go the NCAA. There he would have received superior coaching, and would have thrown the ball to faster receivers. It is no different than U.S born Hockey Players coming to Canada to develop. You want to play against the best to develop. To do that you have to play where you will get the proper coaching and development. Let's face it. If there was not a Canadian content rule in the CFL there would be zero Canadians on the roster. Where the U.S players have to play their way on the team, the Canadians have to play their way off.

Teale's a nice guy, but I noticed there were 7 other teams in this league that didn't want him. I heard this Canadian QB stuff, back with Darryl Leason, and he was playing Junior Football a league below the CIS. It's Pro level, and the best players play period.