Wednesday, 13 January 2016

WHL People's Power Rankings #7

Without further ado, the post trade deadline People's Power Rankings
Eastern Conference
1. Lethbridge Hurricanes - EVEN - Did not make a significant deal at the deadline, 9-1 in their last 10, standing pat might be enough.
2. Red Deer Rebels - UP 1 - Brought in Helewka, DeBrusk and Philp before the trade deadline. Did not improve Defense or Goaltending. Rylan Toth is hot right now, will it be enough?
3. Brandon Wheat Kings - UP 1 -  Suffered worst lost in 17 years (10-0 to Red Deer) but have since played better. Bolstered line up in a deal with the Blades. 
4. Calgary Hitmen - DOWN 2 - Did not seem to keep pace with the division leaders at the break. Added Matteo Gennaro from Prince Albert.
5. Prince Albert Raiders - EVEN -  Dealt Gennaro to Calgary for players that should help the roster while the try to keep pace with the Wheat Kings and the Warriors on their tails with Point back in the lineup.
6. Moose Jaw Warriors - EVEN - Traded imports with Kamloops but their biggest deal at the deadline was to keep Brayden Point. This team wants to win NOW. Playoffs should be on the horizon, 5 point lead on the Pats as of writing for the last divisional playoff spot.
7. Edmonton Oil Kings - UP 1 - In the head scratcher of the deadline, the Oil Kings held on to all of their 19 year old talent instead of improving their team for the future. Will need to cling to the hopes they are not passed by the Tigers or the Blades. Lead is just 4 points.
8. Regina Pats - DOWN 1 -  Made the biggest splash on the actual deadline, landing Cole Sanford from the Tigers. Should allow the Pats to make the playoffs albeit in a wild card role. Adam Brooks is on fire.
9. Medicine Hat Tigers - UP 1 - Despite their season long struggles with goaltending, injuries and a trade demand from Cole Sanford, the Tigers sit just 5 points back of the Oil Kings for a wildcard playoff spot.
10. Saskatoon Blades - DOWN 1-Not playing very well of late (4-6-0-0) in the last 10, the Blades made a few moves in the hopes of making a sprint to the playoffs. Its a tight race, do they have the legs? US Division road swing starts now.
11. Swift Current Broncos - EVEN - 10 points back of the final playoff spot with 30 games to go seems too far to climb with 3 teams in the way. Traded top player DeBrusk and began the build to the future. Surprisingly kept Martin as an overager.
12. Kootenay Ice - EVEN - 20 points out they traded away assets to improve for future seasons. Landed a great prospect in Sidaway and draft picks from the Rebels. Will look to not be embarrassed as the season closes out.

Western Conference
1. Kelowna Rockets - EVEN - Rockets keep a stranglehold on first despite losing three forwards to the WJCs and starting goalie Jackson Whistle to injury.
2. Everett SilverTips - UP 4 - Playing in this many tight games (six of last nine have been one-goal games), should prepare them for the playoffs.
3. Victoria Royals - DOWN 1 - Royals have cooled off as of late and there lead over P.G. for second in the B.C. and home ice is diminishing.
4. Prince George Cougars - DOWN 1 - Chase Witala has 16 points over his last 10 games, giving the Cougars the consistent scoring they need.
5. Seattle Thunderbirds - DOWN 1 - Light schedule helped them as they were without Barzal, Eansor and True for part of the last two weeks. Their new additions (Bow and Leth) are helping them even more.
6. Kamloops Blazers - UP 1 - No Gage Quinney and they still found a way to win two straight in Portland over the weekend.
7. Spokane Chiefs - DOWN 2 - Blowout loss to Regina a sign of a tailspin coming for the Chiefs. Fans will get a glimpse of the future as first overall 2015 Bantam Pick Ty Smith joins the team for a five-game stint.
8. Portland Winterhawks- EVEN - Missed out on a huge opportunity to get themselves out of the wild card and into the U.S. bracket. Just when you think this very talented team is putting it together, they do something like last weekend (0-2-1).
9. Vancouver Giants - EVEN - Right on Portland's heels in this ranking. Ty Ronning is increasing his draft value every day, as he keeps sniping goals for the Giants.
10)Tri-City Americans - EVEN - Refusal to trade Brandon Carlo at the deadline is a little bit of a head-scratcher. With the talent their 16-year-olds have shown, why wouldn't you want to build for the future?

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

WHL People's Power Rankings #6

Welcome to the post Christmas edition of the WHL People's Power Rankings. Let's not waste any time and get right to it.
Eastern Conference
1. Lethbridge Hurricanes - Winners of 11 of the last 14 before the break. 18 PPG in those 14 games. Handily beat Red Deer in their last game before Christmas. Doesn't look like a team that needs to buy at the deadline.
2. Calgary Hitmen - 15 wins in 19 games puts them in a tie with Red Deer for 2nd in the division. Possibly getting Virtanen back is insurance. Will be a contender if he returns.
3. Red Deer Rebels - Play of late has not been up to par, extended stay near the top of the conference helps them immensely here. Play does not appear inspired for Memorial Cup hosts.
4. Brandon Wheat Kings - Still appear dominant often but have lapses in stretches. When McCrimmon returns to the team he will look to tighten up their game to last year's lofty standards.
5. Prince Albert Raiders - Keeping pace in a tight race with Brandon and Moose Jaw. Goaltending is their biggest asset will they look to add a defender or a forward come deadline day?
6. Moose Jaw Warriors - Missing Brayden Point for so many games and yet they are still keeping the division leaders within their grasp. Team game is key here and the continued growth of forwards not named Point. Sawchenko is a rock in the net for this team.
7. Regina Pats - Struggling to produce wins, having just 1 in the 8 games preceding the break. It is possible they move some parts around to build for next season.
8. Edmonton Oil Kings - Streakiest team in the league. Finding this team has a very "me first" attitude, definite drop off from the top 3 divisional teams. Likely stuck in one of the 2 wild card spots.
9. Saskatoon Blades - A very interesting team with plenty of gimmicks to bring fans into the arena but the on ice product is suffering. Have not won more than 2 games in a row all season.
10. Medicine Hat Tigers - Just can not find a winning combination. Had won 4 of 5 before the break and a few against the Oil Kings but are just too far back. At least they have the new Arena right?
11. Swift Current Broncos - 2 and 14 over the last 16 and traded their best asset to the Rebels. Things couldn't be much worse could they?
12. Kootenay Ice - I guess things could be worse. 12 straight loses and only 6 wins on the season. Nothing doing here.

Western Conference
1. Kelowna Rockets - Lost back-to-back for the first time this year, but still maintain a healthy five-point lead for best record in the WHL.
2. Victoria Royals - Royals are dropping Divisional games consistently without head coach Dave Lowry and d-man Joe Hicketts.
3. Prince George Cougars - They appear to be setting up an epic battle for the number two seed and home ice advantage in the B.C. division with Victoria
4. Seattle Thunderbirds - Really hurting without their top three centers, who are all at the World Junior Championships
5. Spokane Chiefs - Suffered through Adam Helewka's six-game suspension and a slew of injuries. They will need some wins in upcoming games vs. Portland, who is right on their heals in the U.S.
6. Everett Silvertips - Flailing a bit lately and will need some points out of two huge games vs. Kelowna this week.
7. Kamloops Blazers -5-1 road trip through the prairies has the Blazers right in the thick of the playoffs
8. Portland Winterhawks - Welcomed the return of two of their top-six forwards with an epic OT win over T.C. A few big wins and fans might want Hawks to start buying at the trade deadline
9. Vancouver Giants - Red-hot Giants are now only four back of Portland for the final playoff spot
10. Tri-City Americans - Deal for McKenzie Stewart adds some size up front, but what does it mean for their other three overage players?

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

People's Power Rankings 5th Edition

Welcome to the 5th Edition of

1) Prince Albert 104 pts. UP 1 (3-3)
- Up and down recently, put together a better string with wins against Lethbridge and Red Deer in the last week.
2) Lethbridge 94 pts. UP 3 (5-1) 
- Biggest mover with PG this edition. Only loss was to PA Raiders in the last 2 weeks, beat Calgary, Red Deer and Brandon. 
3) Red Deer 85 pts. DOWN 2 (3-3)
 - Back to back losses against Lethbridge and PA have the team reeling just a little bit. 3rd time they have lost 2 straight this season, have yet to lose 3 in a row. 
4) Brandon 82 pts. DOWN 1 (3-1-1)
- Is this team toying with everyone until after Christmas? Stretches of dominance followed by surprising loses. Right in the mix for top spot, but are playing better on the road than at home.
5) Calgary 72 pts. DOWN 1 (4-1-1)
- would be higher ranked but everyone is playing well around them. Points in 10 of the last 11 games, has them in a tie for 1st in the East Division following a TERRIBLE start.
6) Moose Jaw 61 pts. EVEN (4-1-1)
- went 2-2-1 through the US Division despite missing Point for all 5 games. Won their 2 home games over the past weekend.
7) Regina 55 pts. EVEN (4-2-1)
- Finished up their 9 game road trip a respectable 4-3-2-0 
8) Edmonton 41 pts. UP 1 (4-0)
-the only team to not lose over the period, seems no one has noticed the 4 game win streak (now 5 at time of writing)
9) Saskatoon 35 pts. DOWN 1 (1-6) 
- traded goaltender Nik Amundrud to Calgary, proceed to lose 3 straight. Team appears to be sinking quickly. 
10) Medicine Hat 25 pts. EVEN (1-5)
- Returned from BC with just 1 win which came against the Blazers. Shut out to the lowly Giants. Trades are just not panning out, goaltending situation is still not resolved.
 11) Swift Current 19 pts. EVEN (0-3-2)
- just 2 points out of a possible 22 over the last 11 games, no wins. Are the Broncos the first team to put up the for sale sign for the coming trade deadline?

12) Kootenay 11 pts. EVEN (0-7)
- Injuries are piling up, trading future draft picks to fill roster spots. Appears this team is folding up the tent for next season already.

1)Kelowna 80 pts. EVEN (5-1) *UNANIMOUS VOTE*
-Rockets lead the WHL with 22 wins through their first 29 games. Now that they have a healthy Rourke Chartier in the fold, this could be their spot to lose for the duration of the season.

2)Victoria 67 pts. UP 1 (3-1)
-They Royals have been trading the two spot with Seattle over the last two weeks. They will assuredly be without star defenseman Joe Hicketts for a month while he plays for Canada at the World Juniors, how will they hold up without him?
3)Seattle 66 pts. DOWN 1 (2-3)
-Escaped Seattle Metropoltians' night with a win over Tri-City, saving themselves from a disastrous two weeks.
4)Prince George 58 pts. UP 3 (5-0-1)
-The net is now firmly in the hands of WHL goalie of the week Ty Edmonds. He came into a game vs. Portland after backup Nick McBride was pulled and still was able to leads the Cougars to a win.
5)Everett 49 pts. EVEN (4-2)
-Dealt for Buffalo Sabres' prospect Brycen Martin, giving up a lot of their future to do so. The offensive d-man has been pointless through his first three games in Everett and will need to start producing in the absence of Noah Juulsen.
6)Spokane 37 pts. DOWN 2 (3-2)
-Their 7-1 thrashing of top U.S. Division team Seattle served as a message to the rest of the division, that they are a contender.
7)Portland 29 pts. EVEN (2-4)
-Injuries have ravaged the forward unit so much, that d-man Keoni Texeira played forward for the first time in his WHL career.
8)Kamloops 29 pts. DOWN 1 (2-2-1)
-12 game road trip through Saskatchewan should tell us a little bit more about this Jekyll and Hyde squad.

9)Tri-City 15 pts. EVEN (2-4)
-Slowly getting healthier and it has shown on the ice with a big 4-1 win over Everett this last week. Yet another team that will be missing a big-time defenseman for almost a month as Brandon Carlo figures to be a big part of Team USA at the World Juniors.

10)Vancouver 10 pts. EVEN (3-3)
-Season is officially in the toilet after the only General Manager the team has ever know: Scott Bonner stepped down.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Top & Bottom 5s: November 30th

Here we go again with another edition of WHL Top & Bottom 5s. I have added a twist for everyone and for all the Rebels fans.

Top 5 Shooting Percentages (doesn't include Shootouts)
1. Kelowna Rockets 13.307%
2. Lethbridge Hurricanes 12.121%
3. Kamloops Blazers 12.077%
4. Victoria Royals 11.453%
5. Seattle Thunderbirds 11.321%

7. Red Deer Rebels 11.183%


Bottom 5 Shooting Percentages
1. Kootenay Ice 7.768%
2. Swift Current Broncos 7.965%
3. Everett Silvertips 8.495%
4. Edmonton Oil Kings 8.553%
5. Vancouver Giants 8.824%

Top 5 Save Percentages (doesn't include Shootouts)
1. Everett Silvertips .933%
2. Victoria Royals .917%
3. Swift Current Broncos .914%
4. Portland Winterhawks .910%
T5. Prince Albert Raiders .908%
T5. Kelowna Rockets .908%

T10. Red Deer Rebels .905%


Bottom 5 Save Percentages
1. Medicine Hat Tigers .865%
2. Tri-City Americans .872%
3. Saskatoon Blades .877%
4. Vancouver Giants .884%
5. Edmonton Oil Kings .885%

Top 5 Goals For Per Game
1. Lethbridge Hurricanes 4.00G/PG
2. Kelowna Rockets 3.96G/PG
3. Red Deer Rebels 3.85G/PG
4. Seattle Thunderbirds 3.60G/PG
5. Brandon Wheat Kings 3.58G/PG

LEAGUE AVERAGE 3.21 Goals Per Team Per Game.

Bottom 5 Goals For Per Game
1. Kootenay Ice 2.04G/PG
2. Swift Current Broncos 2.42G/PG
3. Vancouver Giants 2.65G/PG
4. Everett Silvertips 2.70G/PG
5. Edmonton Oil Kings 2.79G/PG

Top 5 Goals Against Per Game
1. Everett Silvertips 1.83GA/PG
2. Victoria Royals 2.26GA/PG
3. Red Deer Rebels 2.74GA/PG
4. Brandon Wheat Kings 2.75GA/PG
5. Seattle Thunderbirds 2.76GA/PG

LEAGUE AVERAGE 3.20 Goals Against Per Team Per Game

Bottom 5 Goals Against Per Game
1. Medicine Hat Tigers 4.09GA/PG
2. Kootenay Ice 4.07GA/PG
3. Saskatoon Blades 4.04GA/PG
4. Tri-City Americans 4.00GA/PG
5. Vancouver Giants 3.85GA/PG

Saturday, 28 November 2015

2nd Time This Week: Game Day Blog #27

The Rebels return home to face the Regina Pats, again.
Cam Ward Bobblehead Night! Presented by Carpet One Red Deer

The Rebels return home after going 2-0 on a mini Central Division road trip. They are coming off a 6-4 win in Medicine Hat last night. Regina is coming off an exciting 4-3 Overtime win in Calgary last night. They are now 3 points back of the Moose Jaw Warriors for 3rd in the East Division with 2 games in hand.

Red Deer's Ivan Nikolishin is now on a 6 game point streak, with 6 goals and 6 assists in that time. He is 5th in WHL scoring at 39 points (17G, 22A) Conner Bleackley has points in 4 straight (2G,3A)

Adam Brooks - Regina Pats
Regina's Adam Brooks is 15th in WHL scoring, he has points in 6 of his last 8 games for a total of 14 points (4G, 10A)

The Rebels have the 3rd ranked Power Play, scoring on 27 of 109 chances (24.8%), while the Pats are ranked 21st, scoring on 15 of 111 chances (13.5%) In the 2 games played thus far Red Deer is 2 of 12 on the Power Play against Regina (16.6%) while Regina has scored 3 on 12 chances (25%).

Preston Kopeck - Red Deer Rebels
The Penalty Kill for Red Deer is another story, ranked 15th in the WHL at 79.0%. They have been scored on 22 times while killing off 105 short handed situations. Regina is again 21st in the league at 73.6%. Teams have scored 29 goals against them on 110 opportunities.

While Rylan Toth allowed 4 goals last night against the Tigers, I would guess that he will be the starter again tonight. He has only lost 2 games out of his last 8 and both losses were against the Pats. He will look to have turn around game and lead the boys to victory. Look for the Pats to start Tyler Brown (5-7-0-0, 3.39GAA, .910sv%)

Tonight is Cam Ward Bobblehead night at the Centrium brought to you by Carpet One Red Deer. It is suggested you arrive early if you want one as they are limited to the first 1500 fans.  Doors open at 6PM tonight, puck drop is at 7PM. The game will be on 106.7 the Drive here in Red Deer and Phil Andrews will have the game in Regina on 620 CKRM about 25 minutes prior to puck drop with the Pre-game show.

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Cats Meow: Game Day Blog #26

The Rebels traveled to Medicine Hat following Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Ice.

Red Deer Rebels (17-8-0-0) 34pts. AT Medicine Hat Tigers (7-11-2-1) 17pts.

The 1st place in the Central Division Red Deer Rebels take their 8-6-0-0 road record into Medicine Hat where the Tigers are 6-6-0-1 at the CanAlta Centre. Their new arena has not been as kind as the old Medicine Hat Arena.

Ivan Nikolishin enters tonight's contest riding a 5 game point streak. He has 6 goals and 4 assist during the streak. Add Conner Bleackley to the list of hot players as he has a 3 game point streak heading in the 'Hat. (1G,3A).

I expect that Rylan Toth will get the start tonight in the Rebels net. He is 12-6-0-0 on the season with a 2.62 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. Against the Tigers he is 1-0-0-0 in 1 start with a 1.00 GAA and a SPARKLING .976 save percentage.

Medicine Hat has been struggling this season all around. Their biggest concern appears to be in net as they have a league low .865 team save percentage. The fans of Medicine Hat have been so accustomed to the great goaltending Marek Langhamer provided. Mack Shields was brought in after Austin Lotz went down with an injury and it still hasn't turned the teams fortunes around. I presume he will be the starter this evening. His record with the Tigers is 1-2-0-0 with a .854 save percentage and 4.02 GAA.
Adam Musil -

In the head to head contests Red Deer is 2-0-0-0 and Medicine Hat is 0-1-1-0. Adam Musil and Evan Polei lead the charges in Red Deer with 2 goals and an assist each. 5 players have 2 points each. On the Tigers side of the ice, Steven Owre has 1 goal and 3 assists and leading scorer Chad Butcher has 1 goal and 2 assists. 2 others have 2 points each. Don't forget Cole Sanford who was injured during the 2 games against the Rebels. He has 5 points in 6 games since his return.

Steven Owre -

Red Deer will be without Kayle Doetzel, Brayden Purtill and Josh Mahura. Medicine Hat has only 2 players on the injured list, Forward Zach Fischer (week-to-week) and Goalie Austin Lotz (indefinite). Alex Mowbray will be back in the line-up after serving his suspension.

Tonight's game is underway from Medicine Hat at 7:30 PM. The game is on 106.7 the Drive in Red Deer. Medicine Hat will have the game on 94.5 CHAT FM.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

People's Power Rankings #4

Welcome to the 4th Edition of the People's Power Rankings.

Eastern Conference

1. Red Deer Rebels - 96pts. (3-1-0) EVEN
The Rebels continue to play well, finished East Road Trip with wins against Prince Albert, Brandon and Moose Jaw. Home record is 9-1-0-0.
2. Prince Albert Raiders - 85pts. (3-0-1) UP 2
Remain at the top of the conference in points despite having a 3 game losing streak. Recently turned it around with a better last 3 games.
3. Brandon Wheat Kings - 84pts. (3-2-0) DOWN 1
Wheat Kings are better of late, had a 3 game losing streak earlier in the month for the first time this season.
4. Calgary Hitmen - 70pts. (5-0-0) UP 2
After making a pile of moves this team is finally turning the corner. 5 game win streak has them right back in the thick of the Central Division leaders. Back to form?
5. Lethbridge Hurricanes - 66pts. (2-4-0) DOWN 2
'Canes are struggling in their last 10 games. Need to find the goaltending and the offensive magic of the first 10 games.
6. Moose Jaw Warriors - 54pts. (1-3-1) DOWN 1
Definitely falling back to earth after their hot start. Point being injured is worrisome as the team is already fairly thin on offense beyond the first line.
7. Regina Pats - 51pts. (3-1-1) UP 3
Had won 3 straight before a season long 9 game road trip. Visit the Eastern Conference #1 ranked team twice this week.
8. Saskatoon Blades - 38pts.(1-3-0) DOWN 1
3 games in 3 night on the road lead to 3 losses, road game is suffering.
9. Edmonton Oil Kings - 33pts.  (1-5-0) DOWN 1
Lost 5 of 6 on BC Division Road Trip. Only win came against the lowly Vancouver Giants.
10. Medicine Hat Tigers - 22pts. (2-4-0)  UP 1
The loss of Lotz is still showing, no changes made in net since he went down. The team is just not playing up to its usual standards in their new rink.
11. Swift Current Broncos - 19pts. (0-6-0) DOWN 2
Have lost 6 straight, including all 5 games on the US Division Road Trip. Injury to Martin proves very costly.
12. Kootenay Ice - 10pts. (2-3-0) EVEN
Playing better of late, remain in the basement despite better play. Injuries to 7 line up regulars.

Western Conference

1. Kelowna Rockets - 69pts. (4-0-1) UP 1
Tyson Baillie’s seven point week was good enough for player of the week honors. Rockets have not lost in regulation since October 30th.
2. Seattle Thunderbirds - 64pts. (5-0) UP 1
The Thunderbirds are taking a six-game winning streak into a showdown with Kelowna this Wednesday night. Could this be a Western Conference final preview?
3. Victoria Royals - 56pts. (2-2-1) DOWN 2
Two straight losses to Seattle at home had to sting. Both Alex Forsberg (24) and Joe Hicketts (25) are in the top five in the league in assists.
4. Spokane Chiefs - 42pts. (4-1) UP 1
Adam Helewka’s return to the lineup has definitely helped the Chiefs. He has nine points over the last four games for Spokane.
5. Everett Silvertips - 39pts. (1-2-0-1) DOWN 1
The Silvertips have lost three games in a row by a one-goal margin.  They already have an astounding nine games that have been decided by one goal. Riley Sutter scoring his first WHL goal in front of his family in Medicine Hat was a feel good story.
6. Kamloops Blazers - 36pts. (2-0-3) UP 2
Three-on-three hockey is apparently not their cup of tea. Only blemishes on their record over their last 10 games have come in extra time.
7T. Portland Winterhawks - 29pts. (4-1) EVEN
Missed a huge opportunity in Kent on Saturday, falling to the first place T-birds. Lost key cog Alex Schoenborn to an upper body injury which hurts.
7T. Prince George Cougars - 29pts. (4-1) DOWN 1
Only loss over last two weeks was by a whopping eight goals to Kamloops. New acquisition Nick McBride has been stellar since being acquired (except the Kamloops game of course).
9. Tri-City Americans - 14pts. (3-3) EVEN
They gave up eight goals over their last two first periods combined. They need better goaltending from Evan Sarthou, whose season GAA is 3.66 and save percentage is 0.881.
10. Vancouver Giants - 7pts.(1-4-1) EVEN
It’s not even December and they are already eight points out of the last playoff spot. They have only won two of their last 17 games overall and it appears that G.M. Scott Bonner is running out of moves.