August 31, 2004

Training Camp Roster

The 67s' Training Camp roster was released today. Training Camp starts this Thursday, Sept 2. Corey Locke is on the list. So are Akeson and Todd. Goodnough is not.

August 30, 2004

More On Wharton/Neil Incident

Listening to the TEAM 1200 this morning, Garry Galley is back co-hosting Sportscall with Dave Gross. A listener phoned in, and asked him what he thought about the Neil incident [since it was at his summer hockey camp].

He said that he's been involved in summer hockey for 18 years, and he has never seen anything like that happen before. He said it was unfortunate. He didn't see it personally, but he knew that Neil was upset, apologized to Wharton, and that Wharton accepted the apology.

He also said that Brian Kilrea and Kyle Wharton have every right to be upset, because it will affect Kyle's training camp and season. He said again that is unfortunate that it happened, and that it shouldn't happen when guys are just trying to prepare for training camp.

Former 67s Player In Trouble With Law

They are reporting on the TEAM 1200 20/20 updates, that former 67s defenceman Luke Sellars (Atlanta Thrashers organization), has been arrested along with Trevor Daley (Dallas Stars organization), for allegedly uttering death threats to a Toronto bar doorman.

Locke's Options Still Under Debate

Today on NOOF, another thread has sprung up offering opinions on where Locke will show up next. Some say Hamilton, some say Europe, but all agree that it would be better for him to move on, even though fans would love to watch him play another year.

A Little 67s History

Last season was definitely a "rebuilding" year for the 67s, a "rebuilding" year that any team would like to have. Despite losing several key players, they still managed to finish first in a weak East Division. This year their defence will be a year older, and they should have a lot of fire power up front, even with the loss of Corey Locke.

It's important to put last season in perspective. In fact, Ottawa has been spoiled with a batch of winning seasons recently. Here's a summary. In the past 9 seasons, they have:

  • finished 1st in their division 8 times (missing it by only 2 pts in 2001);
  • made it to at least the 2nd round of the playoffs 8 times (missed it only this past year);
  • gone to the OHL final 4 times, winning once in 2001; and
  • gone to the Memorial Cup twice, winning in 1999.

I'd say that's a pretty good record. In light of this recent history, expectations are high for this season.

2003-04 -- 1st in East Division, Lost 1st Round to Brampton

2002-03 -- 1st in East Division, Lost OHL Final to Kitchener

2001-02 -- 1st in East Division (tied), Lost 2nd Round to Toronto

2000-01 -- 2nd in East Division, Won OHL Playoffs, 4th at Memorial Cup

1999-00 -- 1st in East Division, Lost 2nd Round to Belleville

1998-99 -- 1st in East Division, Won Memorial Cup

1997-98 -- 1st in East Division, Lost OHL Final to Guelph

1996-97 -- 1st Overall in Regular Season, Lost OHL Final to Oshawa

1995-96 -- 1st in East Division, Lost 2nd Round to Belleville

**Update from StatsGuy, Sep 2/04**
It is important to note that this is the 67s record since Brian Kilrea came back from a brief "retirement" for a season in 1994-95.

August 28, 2004

I Know This Isn't Exactly . . .

. . . allowed, as per our agreed upon content for this blog, but I must comment on the game being played between Team Canada v Team Slovakia:

Watching Pat Quinn coach from the 'home' bench at the Corel Centre is just plain WRONG! [And Team C is losing 2-1 at this point.]

August 27, 2004

Pre-season Tickets Have Arrived

Pre-season tickets arrived in the mail today. StatsGuy was just asking if I had heard anything about picking up tickets. When I checked the mail, there they were. Another sign that the season is fast approaching.

The enclosed form letter from Jeff Hunt outlined the various changes that we can expect for this season, including the new theatre-style seats in the Civic Centre. These seats have reduced the overall number of seats due to their increased width, and some seat numbers no longer exist. [I'm curious to see if our seat space has decreased, as our section - 21 - had wider spacing than many other sections.]

Also, Hunt mentioned the veterans that would be returning (Will Colbert, Bryan Bickell, Kyle Wharton, Peter Tsimikalis, and Julian Talbot), and the two new "European sensations" (Lukas Kaspar, and Jakub Petruzalek). No over-ager was mentioned (Jeremy Akeson, Greg Goodnough, and Brody Todd). Interesting. Training camp decision, I guess. Also, no goalie mentions (Danny Battochio and Anthony Guadagnolo). One notable absence is Corey Locke, though most have assumed he would be moving on to bigger and better.

The Season Ticket Holder Pick-up Night will be on Tuesday September 28 from 1700 to 2000h at the Civic Centre.

I'll be interested to see how the 67s will be affected by the upcoming NHL lock-out. Ottawa is a hockey crazy city and I think that if there is no NHL, people will come to see the 67s play. Here's to another season of record-setting attendance.

Can't wait.

Killer's P*ssed And So Are We

The Ottawa Sun has published an article today regarding Wharton's injury. According to the story, Wharton was playing in a scrimmage match with Ottawa Senator's defenceman Chris Neil. They were taking part in a summer conditioning camp run by Garry Galley. The two got tangled up around the net area when Neil slashed Wharton over the left arm. Neil says that it was not intentional, but instinctive. [Yeah, that makes it better. Your first instictive reaction when a younger player gets in your face is to lash out physically. He's such a tough guy to be able to take out a junior!]

The reporter spoke with Brian Kilrea, who was not pleased and had some harsh comments for Neil. "I just feel it's one of those things where it's unnecessary to prove how tough you are. He had to prove he's Chris Neil." [Way to go Killer!]

I just want to say that I'm so sick of athletes that react violently (i.e., Bertuzzi, Perezhogin) and then try to explain it afterwards by saying it was instinctive. If that level of violence is your first reaction, you've got a BIG problem.

August 26, 2004

Wharton Gets Another Break

Today on the TEAM 1200 they are reporting that Kyle Wharton will be sidelined for up to a month with a broken wrist. Apparently Wharton sustained the injury during a scrimmage. No news yet on the 67s official site.

If the story is true, this will be the second consecutive season he will miss time due to broken bones. (Last season Wharton missed 25 games due to broken ribs.)

August 20, 2004

Mark Mancari

Another big guy on the team is Mark Mancari. He's come a long way since his arrival in Ottawa. His first year he barely got off the bench and when he did he would usually come screaming up the ice and take a wild slap shot from outside the blue line. Sometimes it even went in! But, he's learned to be more patient. Killer's always liked him, and that belief in him has paid off.

He still plays on defense sometimes when he's needed - he's pretty solid there, but this year he really shined when he was playing on the wing with Corey Locke. He's got good speed, works hard, and can put the puck in the net on a regular basis. He and Locke had a good system where Locke would take the puck out of their own end and feed it up to Mancari who was streaking up the right side. Mancari was able to charge into the zone with the puck and keep it in to make a play.

The talk on the discussion boards is that Mark will be made Captain this year. That should be a good choice, and it would be great to see him take on the leader's role on the team. He's developed well over the last three years - he finally looks comfortable in his 6'4" frame, and if he continues to progress at the current rate, we'll be talking about him a lot this year. I hope we do.

The players up for 'A's on their jerseys this year include Tsimikalis, Akeson, maybe Todd if he comes back, Colbert, and Wharton. Personally I see Wharton developing into a future leader on this team. I think he's got a lot of the traits that made Brendan Bell a great Ottawa 67.

August 19, 2004

Bryan Bickell

Yesterday I mentioned Bryan Bickell in my posting. This guy has all the skills to be a dominant power forward in the OHL. He's got the size, and he's got the hands. It was good to see him score his first OHL hat trick last season against Mississauga. Unfortunately, he styles himself as a bruiser and he just likes to run around hitting people. He takes a run at defensemen after they've made their pass up the ice, which means that Ottawa players who pick up the puck and try to come back into the offensive zone have to wait for Bickell to get back on-side. He gets caught like this at least once per shift. If he played a little smarter he'd help himself and his line mates rack up some big points.

The great thing about junior hockey is that you see players progress and get better. So hopefully with an extra year of maturity, Bickell can fulfill his potential and show everyone why he was picked in the second round of this year's NHL draft. He should be getting people's attention with his scoring, rather than just relying on intimidating with his size.

August 18, 2004

Season Schedule

The 2004-05 season schedule is posted on the Official Ottawa 67s website. They have pre-season, Home and Away games listed.

The first pre-season game is an Away game against the Kingston Frontenacs on Wednesday September 8 at 1900h.

The first pre-season Home game is against the Belleville Bulls Friday September 10 at 1930h.

Czech Stars En Route To 67s

According to an Ottawa Sun article yesterday, our two Czech imports are on their way. I have high hopes for both of these guys. Kaspar and Petruzalek will both be expected to put points on the scoreboard. Who knows, Killer may even keep them together as line mates on the first line? Kaspar clearly has the talent, but some scouts have questioned his desire. They say he'll be another floater like Bickell. We'll have to wait and see.

Only two more weeks to Training Camp!

August 17, 2004

Corey Locke

Well, it only seems fitting that our first post should be about Corey Locke. He's been the dominant player on the team for the past two years. Unfortunately, it looks like he won't be back this year. He would be an overager this year, and with the impending NHL strike/lockout, he could come back if he wanted to. But, he's probably proven everything he can at the junior level, what with being the leading OHL scorer two years in a row. There's other better opportunities out there. In decreasing order of preference, he could get signed with the Habs' AHL franchise (unlikely), join the WHA's Hamilton team (if the League gets off the ground), or go to Europe. Any of these options would bring him up to the next level of competition - something he needs at this point.

I'd hate to see Locke end his career as just a junior superstar, and never move up in the sport. But, Locke has always been only average when you take away his time and space. I think this is why he has been left off of World Junior teams and wasn't selected higher in the draft. It will be interesting to see if he can adapt as he plays against higher calibre opponents. There's no question that in junior hockey he was one of the most dangerous players on the ice. If you forget he's there for just a minute, he'll find the back of the net, or find a team mate who's wide open.

He gave us some exciting hockey here in Ottawa. I'm sad to see him moving on, but I wish him all the best. This year's team seems to have a lot of depth, so hopefully others can take over some of the offence we'll be losing.