February 26, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

It certainly was quite a week. It started with the tragic news of Mickey Renaud’s death in Windsor. It captured the hearts and attention of pretty much everyone involved in hockey. By all reports he was quite the young man both on and off the ice; a credit to his family, his team and his town. An impressive impact in 19 short years.

The Ottawa 67s were on the road for one of those hard 3-in-two-and-a-half day swings through the Western Conference. Not quite the results they had hoped for (again). I didn’t listen or watch any of the games so can’t offer any summaries. They lost 4-1 in Guelph on Friday, won 5-4 in a shoot out on Saturday in Erie and got blown out of the water on Sunday in Brampton 6 – 1. That can’t feel good.

As they do on Team1200 every Monday during the hockey season, Buzz and the Kulkster chat with Coach Brian Kilrea.

The team didn’t manage to put together a 60-minute performance at any of the games this weekend. Actually, from all descriptions it sounds like they barely put together a total of 60 minutes in three games together and they were lucky to get the two points that they did against a team that is in last place in the league. Killer said it wasn’t any one or two particular players who underperformed but rather the entire team more or less (although he had some good things to say about Chris Perugini – more on that later). There were too many mistakes and too many of the same mistakes (it’s OK to make mistakes – just make new ones I guess). He thought that the defensive corps did pretty well considering the amount of pressure they had to deal with all weekend; the forwards were not putting any pressure on the other teams. Killer made a comment that caught my attention when talking about how the younger players are working so hard because they think they’re not good enough. He mentioned that some of the older players think they are better than the really are. The heads of too many players are not in the game and he wonders what these guys think will happen come draft day (my interpretation: one or more of the draft eligible players are pretty high on themselves and may not be focusing on the tasks at hand. If continued, they may be in for a nasty crash to earth in June).

Killer thought that Chris Perugini played well, particularly coming in cold on Sunday in Brampton. Chris could feel pretty good about himself even though the team results are lousy. He’s working hard and pushing Adam. Goalies need competition to stay sharp and it’s to the point where Killer thinks he has a 1 and 1A situation in goal. Chris certainly appears to be earning his keep and I would not be a bit surprised to see him get more time as the season winds down and the playoffs start.

The upcoming weekend has the Petes coming to town on Friday and the 67s on the road to play Mississauga on Saturday and Oshawa on Sunday which could be preview of the playoff bracket.

In case you missed it, Jason Bailey is done for the season. He has what is called a "sports hernia" and requires surgery. And so ends his Major Junior hockey career. That's a tough loss for the team and for him.

Since the 67s were on the road on Friday, we took a trip across the river to see the Olympique play last place Drummondville. We were hoping to see Claude Giroux but he had just returned from his brief call-up to the Flyers. Well, it can happen to any team and on Friday it happened to Gatineau. Having beaten the Volts the previous Sunday 9 – 2, they lost in overtime on Friday. The arena staff was very helpful in finding me a good spot to take pictures and I was right beside the Drummondville bench. They were some excited about gutting out a win against one of the top teams in the league. One of 10 wins this entire season for Drummondville. The Bob is one of those great character arenas and it’s fun to catch a game or two each year. Before the game started, they observed a moment of silence in memory of Mickey Renaud.

Sorry this is late and kind of rough – I wasted over $200 and four hours of my life at Scotia Bank Place last night instead of doing productive stuff like writing this blog. That was pathetic.

So, let the people you love know it ‘cause you never know….and let’s all look forward to better efforts all around. With luck, the success will follow.

Go 67s Go!

February 21, 2008

Mickey Renaud Tributes

Mickey Renaud's life is going to be remembered and celebrated in a number of official ways.

The OHL and the Spitfires have developed a tribute video to be shown before the next home game in each OHL city. The 67s are on the road this weekend so it will be a while before 67s fans get to see it. Here is what I believe to be the video:

Also, all OHL players will wear a commemorative #18 sticker on their hemets for the rest of the season.

In Windsor, players will wear a special jersey crest for the rest of the season and Mickey's jersey will be retired; plans will be announced in September.

These are just a few of the many ways this young man is being remembered.

February 18, 2008

Interview with the Coach

Armchair Coach Monday once again with the Team1200 Over the Edge gang.

The discussion started with the game against London yesterday. The third period was their undoing and too much went wrong. The team certainly has to take advantage of every scoring chance, but let the forwards got to the net. But yesterday a defensemen (not named in the interview) got caught up-ice and it lead to an easy goal. Then a lost face-off resulted in another goal. Just too many mistakes. The momentum shifted to London and the Ottawa boys were unable to respond.

For the rest of the season, Killer is looking for some players to improve and show that they are ready to take on a bigger role or they will be sitting out. The return of Jason Bailey and Jon Carnevale may lead to some others watching rather than playing.

The best line for the last little while has been Methot, Kiriakou and Nesbitt who have been pretty consistent. The team needs two scoring lines…the other expected scoring line needs to get on with it.

Lots of kudos to Nesbitt who took a load of stitches in repairs on Friday both inside his mouth and on his face and came back to the game. With all the troubles on the right wing, Thomas has been working hard and double shifting at times. It was disappointing that his hard work was wasted in the loss.

Speaking of the right side, it has been quite the year for injuries on that side and it’s a challenge to adjust. It’s not just a matter of shifting someone else to that side.

On the subject of Logan Couture and whether he’s back up to speed, Killer thought that he had a lot of jump in the game yesterday (I thought I actually saw Logan getting physical too but I might have been imagining it). He skated pretty well but that whole line needs to get better results; they need a better two-way game.

As for Chris Perugini and the goaltending decisions for the stretch, Killer is not about to decide who will get the nod in the playoffs. It’s too early with something like 12 – 13 games left. Who ever gets hot will get the nod. It’s likely that both players will get starts this weekend.

Tough road trip ahead to Guelph, Erie and Brampton. It’s a tough trip but all the teams get these weekends (witness London’s weekend) so nothing unfair about it and the good teams succeed at it.

And that’s about all the key points I picked up in the chat. I expected a grumpier Coach Kilrea after those two losses but he seemed to be in a rather good mood….considering.

On a much more serious note, and not discussed during the interview, later today we learned the tragic news of the sudden death of Windsor Spitfire captain Mickey Renaud. The NOOF is about the best place to keep up with this news.

Words fail at this time to express one’s feelings. A life lost so young. Heartfelt sympathies to the family, team mates, friends and fans.

February 17, 2008

Heavy Sigh! London 6 – Ottawa 4

This is the second time these two teams met this season. London had a decisive 8 – 2 win over Ottawa in London back in October. This was London’s third game in three days as they completed their swing through the Eastern Conference. London lost 4 – 6 to Kingston on Friday and pulled out a 4 – 3 overtime in Belleville yesterday. In the last 5 years, London has beaten Ottawa 9 out of 11 meetings.

Game Day Set-Up
Ottawa 67sLondon Knights
East – 5thConference – RankWest – 4th
14th - .0181PP – Rank and %6th – 0.208
8th – 0.827PK – Rank and %15th – 0.787

Top Guns - Ottawa
Jamie McGinnLW45262652+12
Logan CoutureC38193150+15
Thomas KiriakouC55142337-8

Additional Ottawa Player Notes: Tyler Cuma was back in the lineup but Ottawa was still missing the usual suspects: Jason Bailey (hip flexor), Jon Carnevale (mono) and Matt Lahey (shoulder). Chris Perugini (aka J.T. Petit) was in the nets.

Top Guns - London
Patrick MaroonLW52324880+19
Akim AliuRW53232952+7
Phil VaroneC55103848+15

Additional London Player Notes: missing in action were D-Scott Aarssen (what you call a fire set by a pirate – aarssen!), D- Steven Tarasuk, F-Jadran Beljo, D-Matt Clark, F-Cody Smith, and F-Jordan Shine.

Game Summary
For a team playing with a short bench and for the third day on the road, they sure had a lot of jump. And troubled child Akim Aliu started it with a quick goal just 26 seconds into the game picking up a rebound and going top shelf on Chris. Daniel Erlich got the assist. I was sitting by some London fans and they mentioned one nickname for this diminutive hockey player (5’6” and 150 lbs) is Timbits. He may be small but his hockey skills seem concentrated.

Back to the game.

Ottawa responded quite well despite the early goal, killing an early penalty, getting physical and checking aggressively. In their first penalty kill, Ottawa actually had the better scoring chance when they put one off the mask of Jason Guy. The delay to fix his mask and the faceoff in the London zone gave the Ottawa defenders time to rest. And right off that face-off, Justin Taylor tripped Couture to end the London power play.

With the Ottawa penalty expired and the 67s on the PPLogan Couture tipped a Michael Latta shot into the back of the net. Julien Demers got the second assist. So, just four minutes gone in the game the score was tied at one a-piece.

Ottawa had a number of scoring chances but they just couldn’t finish. I lost count how many times one of the players just could not find the puck with an open net yawning in front of him. It was a fast-paced, up and down 20-minutes with lots of ooh-ahh moments. You sure couldn’t tell that London was playing its third road game. After 20 minutes Ottawa had out-shot London 15 – 5 and had pretty much dominated.

Thomas Nesbitt got things going early in the second period when the London Knights turned over the puck and he took a shot at Jason Guy. Jason made the first save but Matthieu gave Ottawa the lead just 2 minutes into the second period he swatted the rebound while sprawled on the ice. Thomas Kiriakou got the second assist. This was followed up a few minutes later when that line struck again with Thomas Nesbitt setting up Thomas Kiriakou with a pass from intercepting a London clearing attempt. Kiriakou beat Guy with his shot from the face off circle and put Ottawa up by 2.

For some reason, it was London that got all fired up after the goals and they turned up the pressure. But Ottawa was still working hard. At the end where I was sitting, there was a lot of body pounding along the boards including one series where Tyler Cuma was shoving London players hard on the boards to gain possession. But slowly and surely London was gaining more control of the play as Jason Guy made good saves, the Knights cleared the front of the net and completely shut down Ottawa’s only penalty of the period.

London’s overager Sean O’Connor got London back within one at 13:05 minutes in with the assistance of Tony Romano and Kevin Montgomery. Perugini made the first save but was unable to corral the rebound. Tyler Cuma was clearing a London player and the puck bounced past him and a sprawled Chris Perugini.

But with just under 2 minutes left in the period, Matthieu Methot scored his second of the game and 22nd of the year when Thomas Nesbittmade a perfect pass from the boards right to the stick of Matthieu who finished for the goal. Thomas Kiriakou had the other assist.

But that would be it for Ottawa goals for the game.

The period ended with Ottawa up by two (4 – 2) and the shot count at 28 – 19 for Ottawa. Both teams had put a lot of pucks on the opposing goalies that period (13 for Ottawa and 15 for London).

One might have forgiven London if they would have been tired in the third but it appears they didn’t get that memo. London took the play to Ottawa and severely limited any chance for Ottawa to set up any sustained offence. And their reward was four unanswered goals. You could just sense that Ottawa was going to get this one get away as the period unfolded.

Just like he started the first period, Akim Aliu scored relatively early in the period. Nineteen year-old rookie (!) Patrick Maroon got the assist. Then it was followed up with goals by Kevin Montgomery (Andrew Wilkins), Sean O'Connor (Patrick Maroon and Akim Aliu), and finally Sean O'Connor with the EN (Patrick Maroon with the assist). Chris Perugini made some great saves to keep the game as close as it was.

Unlike the game on Friday where Belleville was clearly the better team, this was a game that Ottawa could have and should have won. Despite the first shift, Ottawa played quite strongly for the better part of two periods but for some reason could not close the deal with a strong third period. Plus, they just couldn't finish on the many chances that they had.

They looked more than PO’d with themselves at the end of the game and they should have been. The game ended with London winning 6 – 4 and shots 38 – 31 for Ottawa.

But, having been at the Senators – Devils game the night before, I must say that this game was by far more entertaining. (the first period last night was dead booooring not the least bit helped by Ottawa not bothering to show up)

Rather than the usual player in profile, for the first intermission they had London trainer Don Brankley in profile. He’s been with the club for close to 40 years and has decided to pull the plug at the end of this season. Brian Patafie got his start in this field after a chance encounter with Don a long time ago here in Ottawa with an offer to be a stick-boy. He’s almost 60 years old and had decided to go while he was still enjoying it. His interview included several shots at Windsor just to reminisce about the rivalry. Trash talking, even by the bench, is clearly part of the game, done in good spirit. As Buzz gave Don the names of a few players, Don had good things to say about each of them. A guy leaving the game with a lot of memories and having made quite the impression on many – some of them a bit irritating.

Talk about getting scoring from the secondary – three of four Ottawa goals came from the line of Methot, Kiriakou and Nesbitt. Nice work gentlemen. Unfortunately the top six forwards were also on the ice for pretty much all of the London goals.

So with this loss and Mississauga’s win, Ottawa drops to 6th in the Conference with another long road trip coming up with games against Guelph, Erie and Brampton next weekend. Hopefully they will have Jason Bailey back and they can figure out how to play strong for 60 minutes.

The Game's Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200
1st Star2nd Star3rd Star
Akim AliuMatthieu MethotSean O’Connor
no show

Team1200 Hardest Working 67s: Thomas Nesbitt

click on any picture to see a larger image

Go 67s Go!

February 16, 2008

They’re Not in First Place for Nothin’: Ottawa 2 – Belleville 5

This was the 7th of 8 regular season games between these two clubs with all previous games decided by one goal and the series even at 3 apiece.

Game Day Set-Up
Ottawa 67sBelleville Bulls
East – 5thConference – RankEast – 1st
14th - .0185PP – Rank and %3rd – 0.226
8th – 0.826PK – Rank and %11th – 0.810

Top Guns - Ottawa
Jamie McGinnLW44242650+11
Logan CoutureC37192948+14
Thomas KiriakouC54142337-5

Additional Ottawa Player Notes: Tyler Cuma (ankle), Jason Bailey (hip flexor), Jon Carnevale (mono) and Matt Lahey (shoulder) remained out of the line-up. Adam Courchaine got the start in nets.
Top Guns - Belleville
Matt BeleskeyLW51373875+29
Shawn MatthiasC39234366+20
Adam PerryLW54263965+19

Additional Belleville Player Notes: Out for Belleville were Robert Stellick, Stephen Johnston, Tyler Randell, Michael Neal and Andy Bathgate. Parker VanBuskirk got the call between the pipes.

Game Summary

Well, like the headline says, Belleville isn’t in first place for nothing. They are an old team by OHL standards (9-19-year olds) and loaded for a run at the Memorial Cup. They have some guys with serious experience in Shawn Matthias (WJHC and at least one call-up to the NHL) and P.K. Subban (WJHC) and university drop-out Andrew Self. Belleville clinched a playoff spot a week or so ago and they currently enjoy a 7-point lead over John Tavares’ Oshawa Generals. Belleville was also ranked 5th in the entire CHL in the last rankings.

For their part, Ottawa is returning from a 5 – 4 road win in Peterborough last night. They battled back from one-goal and two-goal deficits and took the lead for good on Adam Zamec’s goal late in the third period. It was a long trip back with bad weather so the team was playing today a tad short on good rest. Chris Perugini got the win in Peterborough.

The first period wasn’t so good for the 67s as it seemed that the Bulls were better able to control the puck and keep the play in the Ottawa end of the ice. And that was despite Ottawa having 4 power play opportunities. The only goal of the period came at about the mid-point on an odd-man rush with Eric Tangradi notching his 21st goal of the season with assists going to Andrew Self and Nigel Williams.

Adam Courchaine kept the game close with some good saves including a situation where he lost his stick, the puck was still in play and he still managed to make the save. Before the period was half over, Thomas Nesbitt went down in the corner in Belleville zone and it looked like he might have been clipped in the face by a skate. From the report on the broadcast, it took 20-stitches to repair the damage. He was back on the ice later with a full cage to protect his face (click on the picture to see a larger image).

They started the second period with their 5th power play but were again unable to get past Parker VanBuskirk. But they did manage to put some sustained pressure on the Bulls with better puck control in the offensive zone. The play was pretty good, up and down and some good transitions and it was the transition that resulted in the second Belleville Bulls goal. The defense collapsed on Courchaine and he was screened on Nigel Williams’ shot. Again, Nick Pageau and Keaton Turkiewicz got the assists. And with that goal, the momentum turned to Belleville. It was a better period for the 67s but they were unable to get on the scoreboard. By the end of two periods the shots on goal were 18 – 22 for Belleville.

The third period was Ottawa’s strongest yet it was Belleville that did most of the scoring. The Bulls went up by 3 when Shawn Matthias was left alone at the side of the net and took a nice feed from PK Subban and he had the easy goal into pretty much an empty net. Cory Tanaka had the second assist.

But the 67s didn’t give up. Their first goal wasn’t pretty but there’re no pictures on the game sheet. It was quite the goal-mouth scramble and VanBuskirk was down because Michael Latta was pushed on top of him by a Belleville player. Jamie McGinn was in the right spot to put the puck in the net. Logan Couture and Michael Latta got the assists.

Belleville’s captain, Matt Beleskey was seriously PO’d about the goal being allowed and complained vociferously including pushing the net off its moorings to start his diatribe. The ref didn’t appreciate Matt’s approach and gave him a couple of minutes for a quick remedial lesson in communicating under stressful conditions. Ottawa had a couple of good scoring chances on the power play but VanBuskirk was able to stop them all.

Shawn Lalonde restored the three-goal lead shortly after than when he knocked down the puck and beat Courchaine with an unassisted goal.

And just a minute and a half later, Jamie McGinn scored his second of the night when his shot found its way through VanBuskirk. Logan Couture and Sean Ryan got the assists and Ottawa was back within 2.

With a Belleville penalty for tripping with just over two minute left, the Ottawa 67s called a timeout and came back to the ice without Adam Courchaine for the extra attacker making it a 6-on-4-man advantage which again was rebuffed by the Bulls.

With the penalty successfully killed, it was back to 6-on-5 play. Shawn Matthias beat Paryzek to a loose puck and scored the EN to seal the deal. Cory Tanaka got the assist.

And so, despite a pretty good effort from the 67s, who were still missing a couple of key players (Cuma and Bailey) and after a road game last night, they couldn’t beat the faster, bigger, older Belleville team. Neither team scored on the powerplay which is more telling for the 67s as they had 7 of the 9 powerplay opportunities. Ottawa ended up out-shooting the Bulls 36 – 31. The 67s didn’t lose for lack of trying – it was a good effort.

The Game's Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200
1st Star2nd Star3rd Star
Nigel WilliamsEric TangradiJamie McGinn

Team1200 Hardest Working 67s: Sean Ryan

click on any picture for a larger image

Go 67s Go!

February 12, 2008

Interview with the Coach

This will be really quick. As usual, the guys gathered for a Monday-morning look-back at the weekend where Ottawa took 3 of a possible 4 points.

Coach mentioned that on Friday, all the pieces of the team were back but not quite gelled (as one might expect). He thought the team played really well but just didn't get the bounces like they did on Sunday.

But the good news didn't last too long as Cuma was out on Sunday with a swollen ankle from the shot he blocked on Friday and Bailey was also out on Sunday with a hip flexor problem. If Jason listened to the program he heard Killer say that Bailey would not be playing this weekend either. Team staff want to give him the time to heal up properly and be ready for the playoffs. Seems they are taking a page out of Alfie's book on taking the time to get it right.

Killer agreed that with all the injuries, the rookies are getting much more time and in more situations than one might have normally planned for them and he is really pleased how they have risen to the task.

Among the notable rookie performances is Chris Perugini who will likley get more than the 1000 minutes that was planned for him this year. The team had targetted him in the draft but Brampton had indicated to Chris that they were going to pick him. Brampton had 2-3rd round picks and when it came up for their first one, they took another player that came available. While they were on the phone assuring Chris that they were going to pick him with their second pick.....never mind...Ottawa just picked you. Killer likes the look of his goalie situation for the short and long term (for as long as it lasts in junior hockey). As with Bailey, Killer will likely play Chris more right now to let Adam heal his broken finger and be ready for the playoffs.

He is also very high on Latta who will continue to improve and be a force to reckon with (as if he's not already). He works hard, goes anywhere on the ice and will only get better.

The boys discussed the return of Logan and how he seemed to be targetted on the weekend, especially on Friday. The refs missed the head-shots and attempted head-shots. It's one thing to hit a key player but it seems that the opposing teams were aiming higher.

Another tough weekend coming up with a road game in Peterborough on Thursday with home games on Friday (Belleville) and Sunday (London). That Thursday - Friday part of the schedule is hard on the kids as they get home at about 2:00 am, have to get up for school later that morning and then play a game that night.

That's about it. Again, Killer seemed upbeat and pleased with his team.

Killer really likes what he has as building blocks for the future.

Go 67s Go!

February 10, 2008

Rode Hard and Put Away Wet: Ottawa 6 – Barrie 1

This was the third of 4 regular season games between these two clubs. Ottawa had won both of the previous outings by one goal with scores of 5-4 and 1-0.

Game Day Set Up:
Game Stats

Power Play

Penalty Kill

Top Guns - Ottawa
Jamie McGinnLW42232548+10
Logan CoutureC35182846+12
Thomas KiriakouC52142135-4

Additional Ottawa Player Notes: Tyler Cuma was out of the lineup today due to a swollen ankle from a blocked shot on Friday. It looked like it stung him pretty badly when it happened. Jason Bailey was also out – his problem is a strained hip flexor. With Alfie’s recent experience with that, we are all a little more informed about that part of the anatomy. Jon Carnevale was still out with mono and Matt Lahey with his shoulder.

Top Guns - Barrie
Alex HutchingsC53221840+7
Tomas MarcinoC33151934-5
Cory McGillisLW35-51429-3

Additional Barrie Player Notes: Out for Barrie were Kyle van de Bospoort, Stephen Gaskin, Daniel Michalsky, Adam Payerl and Jaroslav Kruzik. Vladimir Nikiforov was traded from Barrie after playing 36 games….he’s still the highest scorer for the Colts with 53 points.

Game Summary
It was more of a case of My Little Ponies than Wild Mustangs from the Barrie Colts today.

OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh. But to the victors go the spoils and that includes the spin of the game. In all fairness, it was much closer than the score would indicate for some of the game.

Ottawa started strongly, for about...oh I’d say ...the first 4 minutes? Then it was all Barrie. They pretty much played the rest of the first period in the Ottawa zone. They forechecked hard, they cycled the puck and they pretty much shut down Ottawa anytime they attempted to get anything started. Even with two power play opportunities, Ottawa only managed 7 shots on Hutchinson for the entire 20 minutes. Chris, however, saw a bit more rubber, 15 shots. As he was kicking out pucks and making saves, I kept thinking about the McDonald’s promo for their latest gimmick – mini goalie sticks:

Our mini goalie kept all pucks out of the net.

Early in the second period, with Stefan Della Rovere finally getting called for interference Jamie McGinn was in the slot when Logan’s shot rebounded off a Barrie skate right to him. He buried it for an unassisted goal and his 24th of the year. That was at about 4:30 into the game. You could see a change in the Ottawa game; the goal seemed to lift them. But the next goal they got was certainly not a pretty one. Less than two minutes later, former Ottawa 67s Tyson Aitcheson was being chased back into his zone by Logan Couture and somehow he made the mistake that all players dread – he scored on his own net. So Logan Couture was credited with Ottawa’s second unassisted goal of the game. For once a former player worked in our favour.

A mere 14 seconds after that, with Della Rovere sprung from the joint, Captain Jamie McGinn had a few words with him – with his fists. I couldn’t get any good pictures of this tilt as the officials and other players got in the way. It looked like a pretty good tilt (sorry Rose Ann), and although Della Rovere got the take down, it looked pretty even to me. I’m gonna give it to the home boy.

It seemed that one of Barrie’s strategies must have been to get in Chris’ kitchen ‘cause they were taking their runs at him. And it cost them a goal to be called back. At about the mid-way make of the game, Marcus Pepe pretty much straddled Chris which seriously limited his ability to attempt a save on a Barrie shot. The puck went in but it was a no-goal with Pepe getting the goaltender interference call.

It took Matthieu Methot 33 seconds to score. That too (or, more precisely three) was an unassisted goal. Ottawa was ahead 3 – 0 and the shots had crept up to 13 – 19 in favour of Barrie. And that spelled the end of the game for Michael Hutchinson. Having allowed 3 goals on 19 shots, he was pulled in favour of Peter Di Salvo.

Ottawa kept up the pressure and on one of their penalty kills, they generated more of a threat than the Colts did, including a great short-handed chance by Sean Ryan that went off the post.

After 2 periods it was Ottawa 3, Barrie zippo and the shots were 18 – 25 for Barrie.

So, what were we going to see in the third period? Well, a whole lotta penalties for one thing. 15 to be exact. Pretty evenly distributed too. Ottawa did a pretty good job of not only defending against the PP, but generating some offense too. They smelled blood and were going for the kill. Precisely what we wanted and needed to see. These ponies needed to know just who was riding who here.

Ottawa notched three more goals in the last half of the third and they were nicely spread around the roster. Matthieu Methot scored his 18th of the year on the power play when Michael Latta worked hard in front of the net, keeping control of the puck and eventually getting it to Methot who had the open net. Thomas Kiriakou got the other assist.

Then, 35 seconds later, Adam Zamec scored from his knees. Thomas Nesbitt got the assist on that one. And to round out the scoring for Ottawa, Martin Paryzek beat Di Salvo with a bullet from inside the blue line for his 2nd goal of the year. Logan Couture and Michael Latta got the assists.

But, before that goal, Dalton Prout and Thomas Nesbitt mixed it up. Nesbitt had been itching for someone to hit for quite a while and he had a taker in Prout.

The shut-out for Chris was spoiled when, with under two minutes left in the game, Colt Kennedy (perfect name for a Barrie Colt doncha think?) had an easy goal into the open side as Chris could not get back from a great first save. Mitch Lebar and Kyle Clifford got the assists.

So, Chris Perugini kept Ottawa in the game in the first period and the rest of the team got their collective acts together for the rest of the game to hand the Barrie Colts a pretty decisive 6 – 1 loss. Final shots were 37 – 38 for Barrie.

The Game's Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200
1st Star2nd Star3rd Star
Chris PeruginiMatthieu MethotMichael Latta

Team1200 Hardest Working 67s: Martin Paryzek

Random Thoughts:

  • When I heard that both Cuma and Bailey were out of the lineup, I was not sure about how this game would unfold. Great for the team to pull out a solid win. But everyone on that team owes Perugini big time for his performance in that first period.
  • Alotta goal tender contact by the Barrie team. Even with two refs and refs not afraid to blow the whistle (27 penalties called today), the Colts got away with a lot of “incidental” contact with Chris including a pretty brazen cross-check. Unfortunately my picture is out of focus or it would have been published here. But Chris stood tall. Waydago kid!
  • I noticed from the game sheet that, what looked like a fight in the last minute of the game started by McGillis, was only recorded as a roughing call by the refs. If I understand the rules correctly, he dodged a two-game suspension for starting a fight in the last 5 minutes of a game when the team is down by 5 or more goals. Hmmm. Martindale got an unsportsmanlike in the same incident. Maybe he offered McGillis his sister’s set of My Little Pony dolls.
  • What’s with the fighting with the helmets on? Let’s see…from the official roster information, Prout has 4 inches and 20 lbs on Nesbitt. He could at least man-up and take the brain bucket off. Someone a few seats back from ours suggested that he was missing some pieces of his anatomy.
  • Doug Wilson, former Ottawa 67s and current GM of the San Jose Sharks was in town to check out his two prospects – Jamie McGinn and Logan Couture. In an interview that was aired in the first intermission he noted that Derek Joslin is doing really well in Worcester; basically taking over the leadership of the defensive core. Doug foresees an NHL career for Derek.
  • Only 6 more home games left this season. In the Eastern Conference, Belleville, Oshawa and Brampton have clinched playoff spots. In the Western Conference, Kitchener clinched a playoff spot a couple of weeks ago. Going into today’s game, teams were only separated by 1 point in each of the 5 to 8 spots. Someone is going to have to go on a real tear if they are going to make it to the fourth spot. So for the bottom four, it will be about trying to pick your poison. With today’s win and the Major’s loss, Ottawa retakes 5th place in the conference.
  • Today’s Ottawa Citizen reported that former Ottawa 67s Brodie Beard had three assists the final game of the Carleton Raven’s first men’s varsity hockey season in 33 years. The Carleton Ravens beat the Ottawa GGs 7 – 1 and have made it to the playoffs. They take on McGill in the first round starting Wednesday.

Go 67s Go!

February 08, 2008

The One That Got Away: Plymouth 3 - 2 in the Shoot Out

This was the return engagement with the Whalers after last weekend’s Ottawa 7-3 win in their barn. Let's get to some set-up information:

Game Stats

Power Play

Penalty Kill

Top Guns - Ottawa
Jamie McGinnLW41222547+9
Logan CoutureC34172845+11
Thomas KiriakouC51142135-4

Additional Ottawa Player Information: Jon Carnevale is yet another mono victim; Matt Lahey is facing shoulder surgery; Tye McGinn was the healthy scratch.

Top Guns - Plymouth
Chris TerryC51354681+15
Andrew FournierC47293160+2
Wes CunninghamD5164147+6

Additional Plymouth Player Information: Josh Bernis was a scratch; Leo Jenner was in the middle of a 20-game suspension for an illegal use of an elbow to rearrange the face of Sarnia's Vladimir Nikiforov. The elbow-face encounter broke Nikiforov's jaw. Nikiforov had surgery to insert a plate and screw instead of the jaw being wired shot. Nikiforov is expected to be out of the lineup until mid-March.

Game Summary
This was Logan Couture’s return to the lineup after missing 17 games recovering from back-to-back concussions. Killer had warned earlier this week (Over the Edge on Monday) not to expect much because Logan would need time to get his game conditioning and timing back. Well, he was right…it took Logan all of 9 seconds to get it all back. Tying a franchise record, Logan Couture scored the first goal of the game just 9 seconds into the game off a turnover caused by Michael Latta. Unassisted. Nice start.

Thwarted Scoring Chance - Penalty Called

Then the penalty parade started – 8 in this period alone. Ottawa had 4 power play chances and were unable to cash in on any of them. Plymouth had two and were likewise unsuccessful. Ottawa dominated for most of the period but you could see them sagging in the last 5 minutes and a goal was inevitable. With just a 1:31 left in the period, Patrick Lee scored on a rebound. Assists went to Jozef Sladock and Tyler G. Brown.

Ottawa played a very strong second period despite another penalty filled 20-minutes (7 in all). And Ottawa finally made good on one when Jamie McGinn scored his 23rd of the year on the rebound putting it in high bloker side. Assists went to Michael Latta and Julien Demers getting the assists.

The third period was not so good for the 67s. Either they sagged or Plymouth stepped it up a notch that the 67s could not match but they spent the vast majority of the period in their own zone. With their sticks on auto-dump, they were unable to clear their zone, much less generate any serious offense. Chris Perugini faced 15 shots, many of them real scoring chances and he made some amazing saves to keep the team in the game. But he couldn’t stop them all. With Cody Lindsay off for hooking and Ottawa failing to clear the puck, AJ Jenks was left alone in front and he was able to get it past Chris. Joe McCann and Chris Terry got the assists.

The game ended in a tie and overtime didn’t resolve it so off to the shoot out.

Round 1 - PLY - Chris Terry - X
Round 1 - OTT - Jamie McGinn - Yes
Round 2 - PLY - Ryan Hayes - Yes
Round 2 - OTT - Logan Couture - X
Round 3 - PLY - Andrew Fournier - Yes
Round 3 - OTT - Adam Zamec - X

So in a case of the fish that got away…coming back twice from a one-goal deficit, the Plymouth Whalers take it in a shoot out: 3 – 2. Final shots on goal were 35 – 39 for Plymouth.

The Game's Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200
1st Star2nd Star3rd Star
Chris PeruginiJeremy SmithAndrew Fournier

Team1200 Hardest Working 67s: Michael Latta

Random Thoughts:

  • Great start for Logan.
  • It sure looked like the Whalers were targeting Logan for hard physical play. I’m guessing it was a combination of his long lay-off, his early goal and the possible same scouting opinion that the Windsor Spitfires left behind (that Logan was soft) that inspired their attention.
  • First time we’ve had anything close to the normal first line in a long time.
  • They played a really solid two periods – fore checking hard, cycling the puck well, working hard on the boards. Just needed to find that in the final frame.
  • Are my eyes deceiving me or was Kiriakou getting more physical?
  • Another strong game for Chris Perugini. He made some great saves (all away from the end where I was) including a great save during the overtime period. From my vantage point all I could see was a pile of bodies in the crease and suddenly Perugini sprung out from somewhere and pounced on the puck.
  • I guess that Adam was scheduled to start but he broke one of his fingers in the skate earlier today. Not too much damage apparently as he was good to dress and backup Chris.
  • Pre-game show included a chat with Greg Stefan, coach of the Plymouth Whalers. Still stinging from the loss at home last week to the 67s. About the incident…apparently it all started when fans behind the Plymouth bench started offering the ref some pointed opinions and the ref thought they came from the bench and that’s why they got the bench penalty. In his best “that’s how the whistle goes sometimes” fashion, he said that Ottawa played well and deserved the win.
More Pictures (click on any photo to see a larger image):

Nesbitt working hard for the puck

Scholar Couture

Jason Bailey: Ready for his role in a fright movie

Go 67s Go!

February 04, 2008

Interview with the Coach

Was able to catch the regular Monday morning chat with Killer and the guys on Team1200’s Over the Edge. Here’s what he had to say about the hockey (I don’t care much for football so I won’t bother with his comments on the Super Bowl).

He is really happy with the young guys – especially with the way they have stepped it up with all the injuries lately. He’s already looking forward to how they will be even better next year. I believe he actually said that they will be “dandies”. I’m sure every aspiring hockey player would just love to be called a dandy. Oy!

He commented on how Kiriakou came to the defense of Jon Carnevale who was nailed by a good hit. Killer noted that it looked like Ottawa was going to get a PP with the game tied in the third period but not only was that negated by the 2 minutes Thomas got but then he was out for an additional 5 and 10. But on the other hand he seemed to understand that Thomas was coming to the defense of one of the young guys. (Can hardly fault him for that and there have been more than a few comments from various fans in various fora regarding the seemingly lack of toughness from our guys – that’s my comment not Killer’s).

In discussing the goaltending, Killer was very complimentary noting that it’s been strong all year in his opinion but was excellent this past weekend. He noted the 6 PPGs, 1 allowed on the PK (2 according to the game sheets), 3 goals allowed in each of the games on the road and thought it was pretty good.

It looks like Cuma and Couture will be back but Killer cautions on expecting too much from Logan. Due to his time off, his own conditioning and timing will be off. But Killer is looking forward to a better team down the road as everyone rounds out into form again.

On the Cuma front, Killer decided that the OHL All Star game is a no-go for Tyler. He needs time to recover from his various illnesses.

Which brings us to Julien Demers and Killer getting as close to gushing as I have heard in a while. Julien is going to the OHL All Star game in Tyler’s place and Killer thinks that’s great. He said that Julien is a star every night as he does lots of small things that don’t get noticed on the score sheet. His skating is getting better, he’s the toughest kid on the team, he can QB on the PP, can play a ton of minutes and continues to get better. He’s getting greater visibility as scouts come out to see Tyler play and his chance to play at the All Star game will just give him greater visibility which Killer really believes he deserves.

Finally, the discussion turned to Michael Latta and his highlight reel goal in Plymouth. Again, Killer noted that Michael’s timing and conditioning needs a bit more time due to the length of Michael’s recovery from mono.

Regarding the Greg Stefan incident in Plymouth, Killer has seen different things over the years including sticks, water bottles, pucks and towels thrown on the ice that have taken time to clear up. He understands that Greg was trying to make a point but in the end, the ref is going to carry the day which is the way it’s supposed to be. Apparently Jason Bailey was encouraging the ref to roll the clock ‘cause they had to play a game the next day in Saginaw.

So a long road trip is out of the way and a weekend at home without any mid-week games is coming up. This is a welcome break in the travel. January and the first couple days of February were pretty tough, a bit more later in February but then March looks pretty good.

All in all, the Coach was as upbeat as we have heard in a long time. He didn’t seem at all bothered about getting only two points on the road; he seemed pleased with the effort from the team. Which is pretty much what we all want – a good solid effort. The rest will come in due course.

Go 67s Go!

February 03, 2008

This ‘n That

The team was on the road for the weekend starting with a game in Windsor on Thursday night. I didn’t catch this one on the TV or radio as I was at the Ottawa – Boston game. (Another stinker by the Senators – heavy sigh.) I kept track on my portable device and quite honestly thought that it might have been much worse considering the game against Windsor here in Ottawa last week. Tyler Cuma was out of the line up due to a bout of bronchitis, but Jason Bailey and Michael Latta were back in the line-up. Ottawa had 7 powerplay opportunities but couldn’t convert on any of them. Adam Courchaine faced 41 shots but only three made it to the back of the net. (So much for my suggestion about limiting the SOGs – unless they are all listening to Anne Murray right now). Final score 3 – 0 for the Spitfires.

Then it was the short trip to Plymouth to face the Whalers the next day. This was a different game entirely. I listened to most of the game on the radio (was watching the Vancouver – Tampa game and forgot to get back to the radio a couple of times). It was a pretty close game – closer than the score would suggest. Ottawa had a 2-goal lead going into the second period, Plymouth then tied it up but Ottawa took the lead again with less than a minute to play. Plymouth came back early in the third to tie it up again but Ottawa took the lead for good with its third power play goal of the game. The scorers to this point were Martindale, Latta, Demers and Bailey. Plymouth was pressing hard and getting shots through to Chris Perugini and he was making some big saves. Then all hell broke loose to speak of.

From what I understand from the radio broadcast, the Plymouth coach was really annoyed with the refereeing. He got a bench minor for his efforts and Thomas Kiriakou promptly scored to put Ottawa up by 2. With just over a minute and a half left, Plymouth pulled its goalie. Shortly thereafter Jamie McGinn got the EN to put Ottawa up by 3. The Plymouth coach went apoplectic for some reason and was ejected but he wouldn’t leave, he apparently wanted the ref to go over and chat with him about it. The ref didn’t (can’t say that I blame him – what possible positive outcome could there have been??) and we had a stand-off. The ref assessed a delay of game and misconduct, and Greg Stefan finally left the bench. Plymouth was assessed one more penalty and Adam Zamec scored Ottawa’s 4th PP goal with just two seconds left. Final score 7 – 3 Ottawa. Chris Perugini faced 40 shots and was named the first star both in the building and by the Team1200 guys. The rematch on Friday should be interesting. It will also be interesting to see if Stefan gets suspended for his dramatics.

The final road trip game was played just an hour and a half away in Saginaw last night. I listened to most of it (was again watching the Sens play – I am a sucker for punishment). It sounded like a really tightly played game with our goalie (Adam Courchaine) again playing strong. Saginaw opened the scoring in the second period but Ottawa got that one back (Martindale on the PP) and then went ahead near the end of the period on another PP goal (Methot). Before the first minute was played in the third period, Saginaw tied it up again and it stayed like that until former Ottawa 67s (and just about every other team in the OHL) David Jarram found the back of the net with just under 5 minutes left. Thomas Kiriakou was lost to the team early in the period when he came to the defense of Jon Carnevale I believe. Kiriakou was assessed 2-5-and-10 (instigating, and fighting) and Ottawa lost a key player. Nonetheless, had some scoring chances but Saginaw goalie Ryan Daniels stopped them all. The final score was 3-2 for Saginaw. And for the second time in as many games, the Ottawa goalie was one of the three stars – Adam Courchaine got the nod as the third star in the building. He faced 42 shots.

Random Thoughts:

  • Sounds like the team played much better this weekend. Sure they came out with just one win, but it sounds like the Saginaw game could have gone either way.
  • Some stats for the weekend: shots on Ottawa: 123, shots on the other guys: 86; GF 9, GA 9; 6 PP goals on 21 PPs, 2 goals allowed on 13 PKs; 8 different players scored the nine goals. Not entirely bad numbers in my estimation.
  • While the Sens game against Boston was horrible, I got a chance to take a behind the game-day scenes tour. It was interesting. Actually it was the best part of the day. Didn’t get a chance to ask nearly all the questions I had. I was right beside Gerber’s locker and noticed that he was going to wear a jersey that was crudely repaired and had puck marks all over it. Not sure if he is was too superstitious to change it for a new one. Didn’t help him too much (well – neither did his team).
  • I haven’t done any long-term research but lately whenever both the 67s and the Sens play on the same day, it seems that both teams lose. I’m blaming it on the Sens.
  • Upcoming games this weekend against Plymouth and Barrie. We just might see a full line-up for the first time in a long time. That would be novel.
  • It will be interesting to hear Killer’s take on the weekend when he drops in on Over the Edge. If I get a chance I will post a summary tomorrow.

Go 67s Go!