Kelowna Rockets Are 2015 WHL Champions


Kelowna Rockets Win 2015 WHL Championship

The Western Hockey League Playoffs have been very exciting this year.  There were a number of exceptional teams vying for WHL supremacy with teams like the Brandon Wheat Kings, Calagry Hitmen, Kelowna Rockets and Portland Winterhawks again having strong seasons.  However it was the Kelowna Rockets claiming the Ed Chynoweth Cup on Wednesday night to become the 49th WHL Champions after earning a 3-0 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings.  The Rockets swept the Wheaties in four straight games.  The win marks the fourth time in franchise history that Kelowna has won the WHL Championship Series with the most recent being 2009 (2003, 2005, 2009, 2015).

The Brandon Wheat Kings should hold their heads up high as they had a tremendous season.  The loss ended a remarkable campaign for the Wheat Kings, who led all teams in the WHL with 114 points — two more than the Rockets — in the 2014-2015 regular season. The Wheat Kings have a lot of talented players returning next season, so they might be next year’s Kelowna Rockets.  Post series report on Brandon can be found here at the Brandon Sun.

Kelowna Rockets LogoRockets centerman Leon Draisaitl  was named WHL Playoff Most Valuable Player.  Draisaitl, an Edmonton Oilers prospect, was named the 2015 WHL Playoffs MVP after he finished tied for the post-season scoring lead with 28 points (10g-18a) in 19 WHL Playoff games.  Combining the regular season where Drat put up 19 goals and 53 points in just 32 regular season games, he finished with 81 points in 51 games as a Kelowna Rocket.  As an Edmonton Oilers fan, this is pretty exciting.  Full disclosure, as I have season tickets to the Rockets games here in Kelowna and watched Leon Draisaitl on many nights.  This kid is the real deal and has potential to be one the the greatest German born players in the NHL.  He makes passes like nobody’s business.  Dare I say some of them are very Gretzky-like?  Unreal ability to see the ice this kid has.  He is great on taking draws in faceoffs and is a big player.  Although it was a nice team effort throughout the playoffs, much credit deserves to go to young Draisaitl.  A great move by GM Bruce Hamilton to acquire him from the Prince Albert Raiders in January after Draisaitl  spent the first half of the season in Edmonton with the Oilers.  I love the energy of this kid.  He’s going to be a great player and should have a great Memorial Cup.

2015 WHL Champion Kelowna RocketsPhoto Credit:  Marissa Baecker

Kelowna will head to Quebec City next week for the start of the Memorial Cup May 22nd to 31st.  The Rockets will face the host Quebec on opening night, Friday May 22. Thy take on the Quebec league champion Monday the 25th and the Ontario champ Tuesday May 26th.  Our prediction?  With all due respect to the Quebec Ramparts, Rimouski Oceanic, Oshawa Generals and Erie Otters we feel that the WHL Champs will take home the Memorial Cup this year.

Here is a list of past Memorial Cup Winners

50 Years of Memorial Cup Champions

Year Champion Score Runner-up Additional participants
1965 Niagara Falls Flyers 4–1 Edmonton Oil Kings
1966 Edmonton Oil Kings 4–2 Oshawa Generals
1967 Toronto Marlboros 4–1 Port Arthur Marrs
1968 Niagara Falls Flyers 4–1 Estevan Bruins
1969 Montreal Junior Canadiens 4–0 Regina Pats
1970 Montreal Junior Canadiens 4–0 Weyburn Red Wings
1971 Quebec Remparts 2–0 Edmonton Oil Kings
1972 Cornwall Royals (QMJHL) 2–1 Peterborough Petes (OHA) Edmonton Oil Kings (WCHL)
1973 Toronto Marlboros (OHA) 9–1 Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) Medicine Hat Tigers (WCHL)
1974 Regina Pats (WCHL) 7–4 Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) St. Catharines Black Hawks (OHA)
1975 Toronto Marlboros (OHA) 7–3 New Westminster Bruins (WCHL) Sherbrooke Castors (QMJHL)
1976 Hamilton Fincups (OHA) 5–2 New Westminster Bruins (WCHL) Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
1977 New Westminster Bruins (WCHL) 6–5 Ottawa 67’s (OHA) Sherbrooke Castors (QMJHL)
1978 New Westminster Bruins (WHL) 7–4 Peterborough Petes (OHA) Trois-Rivières Draveurs (QMJHL)
1979 Peterborough Petes (OHA) 2–1 (OT) Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) Trois-Rivières Draveurs (QMJHL)
1980 Cornwall Royals (QMJHL) 3–2 (OT) Peterborough Petes (OHA) Regina Pats (WHL)
1981 Cornwall Royals (QMJHL) 5–2 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) Victoria Cougars (WHL)
1982 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) 7–4 Sherbrooke Castors (QMJHL) Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)
1983 Portland Winter Hawks (WHL) 8–3 Oshawa Generals (OHL) Lethbridge Broncos (WHL), Verdun Juniors (QMJHL)
1984 Ottawa 67’s (OHL) 7–2 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) Laval Voisins (QMJHL), Kamloops Jr. Oilers (WHL)
1985 Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) 6–1 Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL), Verdun Junior Canadiens (QMJHL)
1986 Guelph Platers (OHL) 6–2 Hull Olympiques (QMJHL) Kamloops Blazers (WHL), Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)
1987 Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) 6–2 Oshawa Generals (OHL) Longueuil Chevaliers (QMJHL)
1988 Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) 7–6 Windsor Spitfires (OHL) Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL), Hull Olympiques (QMJHL)
1989 Swift Current Broncos (WHL) 4–3 (OT) Saskatoon Blades (WHL) Laval Titan (QMJHL), Peterborough Petes (OHL)
1990 Oshawa Generals (OHL) 4–3 (OT) Kitchener Rangers (OHL) Laval Titan (QMJHL), Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
1991 Spokane Chiefs (WHL) 5–1 Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL), Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
1992 Kamloops Blazers (WHL) 5–4 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), Verdun Collège Français (QMJHL)
1993 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)[e] 4–2 Peterborough Petes (OHL) Laval Titan (QMJHL), Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
1994 Kamloops Blazers (WHL) 5–3 Laval Titan (QMJHL) Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL), North Bay Centennials (OHL)
1995 Kamloops Blazers (WHL) 8–2 Detroit Junior Red Wings (OHL) Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), Hull Olympiques (QMJHL)
1996 Granby Prédateurs (QMJHL) 4–0 Peterborough Petes (OHL) Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), Guelph Storm (OHL)
1997 Hull Olympiques (QMJHL) 5–1 Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL) Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL), Oshawa Generals (OHL)
1998 Portland Winter Hawks (WHL) 4–3 (OT) Guelph Storm (OHL) Spokane Chiefs (WHL), Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
1999 Ottawa 67’s (OHL) 7–6 (OT) Calgary Hitmen (WHL) Acadie–Bathurst Titan (QMJHL), Belleville Bulls (OHL)
2000 Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL) 6–2 Barrie Colts (OHL) Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), Kootenay Ice (WHL)
2001 Red Deer Rebels (WHL) 6–5 (OT) Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL) Ottawa 67’s (OHL), Regina Pats (WHL)
2002 Kootenay Ice (WHL) 6–3 Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL) Erie Otters (OHL), Guelph Storm (OHL)
2003 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) 6–3 Hull Olympiques (QMJHL) Kelowna Rockets (WHL), Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
2004 Kelowna Rockets (WHL) 2–1 Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL) Guelph Storm (OHL), Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
2005 London Knights (OHL) 4–0 Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL) Kelowna Rockets (WHL), Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
2006 Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) 6–2 Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) Peterborough Petes (OHL), Vancouver Giants (WHL)
2007 Vancouver Giants (WHL) 3–1 Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) Lewiston Maineiacs (QMJHL), Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
2008 Spokane Chiefs (WHL) 4–1 Kitchener Rangers (OHL) Belleville Bulls (OHL), Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
2009 Windsor Spitfires (OHL) 4–1 Kelowna Rockets (WHL) Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL), Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)
2010 Windsor Spitfires (OHL) 9–1 Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL), Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
2011 Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) 3–1 Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors (OHL) Owen Sound Attack (OHL), Kootenay Ice (WHL)
2012 Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) 2–1 (OT) London Knights (OHL) Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL), Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
2013 Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) 6–4 Portland Winterhawks (WHL) London Knights (OHL), Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
2014 Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) 6–3 Guelph Storm (OHL) Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL), London Knights (OHL)
2015 TBD TBD Quebec Remparts, Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL),Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
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Posted in WHL by The Hockey Fan. 1 Comment

Hockey Parents: Is Your Child Getting Enough Playing Time?


Equal Play Time in Minor Hockey?

I am a huge hockey fan.  I have played the game, I’ve officiated the game, I watch the game.  I am now also becoming a hockey dad for the first time.  I am a passionate hockey fan.  I love the beauty of the game, the sound of freshly sharpened skates carving up the ice.  I love the feeling of the air blowing through my hair.  I love pretending to score the Stanley Cup winning goal.  I love watching my son play hockey and I love seeing the posts and updates for my friends children as they play hockey.  BUT I have an issue with bullying, intimidation and shortening of the bench in minor hockey.  I am all about equal playing time in minor hockey.  For those that do not know, “shortening of the bench” means that basically a certain player or players get more ice time during a game while others simply sit on the bench and watch.  It is based on the coach’s decision.  You see it happen in the National Hockey League all of the time.  The fact is that it should never happen in minor hockey.  In fact I feel so strongly about this topic that as I stated on Facebook, to all you coaches who shorten the bench in minor hockey wake the f**k up.

I wanted to share a saddening post that describes why a nine-year-old boy quit hockey.  Now, although I do not know him, we live in the same city as this family, so it does hit close to home.  The post was written by John McDonald and was featured on infonews.ca.

I have re-produced it here in its entirety:

The heart-breaking reason this nine-year-old boy quit hockey

By John McDonald

“TO WIN AS A TEAM AND LOSE AS A TEAM IS A PRICELESS CONCEPT THAT SHOULD BE CHERISHED AND VALUED MORE THAN WINNING AT ALL COST”

KELOWNA – A young hockey player made a heart-breaking decision to quit his hockey team with only two games left in the season and his father’s written reasons for him leaving may leave you shaking your head… or reaching for a tissue.

Yannick Lescarbeau wrote an open letter to everyone on his son Sam’s team explaining his decision. He didn’t attack anyone and he didn’t try to cause trouble. Instead he expressed his appreciation for the coaches and remained supportive because in many ways, it appears Sam loved being a member of the West Kelowna Knights.

”He has fully embraced the Knights, made serious new friendships and he had so much fun with each and every kid on that team,” Yannick wrote. “After the first practice, Sam said to me in the car with a big smile… ‘Dad, I think I am fitting in with those guys.”

The Lescarbeaus don’t take quitting lightly, he wrote, but he explained why it was acceptable this time, given the circumstances.

“It was important to share why Sam and I decided to leave the team,” Lescarbeau wrote. “Like every nine-year-old on that team, Sam dreams and lives hockey, and when hockey is no longer fun, when you find yourself crying on the bench because as a nine-year-old, you have only played two shifts in the game, no matter how important that game is… it is time to have a talk with yourself and re-evaluate why we do this.”

“On the ice and on the bench, Sam no longer felt part of the team and it was really sad to see him crying in the middle of the bench with his gloves off when he watched the same kids over and over on the ice. Too often this season, I saw players with sad faces or crying on the bench and looking at me with their small eyes and disappointed little faces to see if we were going to put them back on the ice. Too many times on the drive home, my son asked me, ‘Dad, I thought I played hard today, why did I not play in the third period.'”

Lescarbeau emphasized he has no personality conflict with the coaches of the Westside Knights although he clearly disagrees with their coaching style.

“When the fun is no longer present, there is no good reason to continue the pain, and we reached that point too often this year, and in my opinion, too many times when the situation was not warranted,” he wrote. “As a hockey dad, as a coach, to win as a team and lose as a team is a priceless concept that should be cherished and valued more than winning at all cost with only a few (players). This year’s Knights philosophy is clearly not for us. This was not a personality conflict with the coach, but rather a hockey philosophy difference.”

A parent of another Knights player, who asked not to be named, said he agreed with the reasoning.

“At that age, if your kid’s crying on the bench with no feedback from the coach about what he did wrong, then something’s not right,” said the parent.

The Knights of West Kelowna are a spring hockey club described as a developmental hockey program for young players from the local area.

Attempts to reach Lescarbeau for an interview were unsuccessful.

Article link.

Kudos to Mr. Lescarbeau for penning the letter.  You should win the “Hockey dad of the year award” for taking this initiative.  Regardless of whether this was a Spring League (with no formal rules), shortening of the bench of nine year olds is a reflection of terrible coaching and even worse parenting.  Hockey is a game, it is a team sport.  Get it T-E-A-M sport?  Wayne Gretzky the game of hockey’s greatest player of all-time once said something to the effect that “… no one player is greater than the team.”  He also said that “the only way a kid is going to practice is if its total fun for him…and it was for me.”   Hockey should be fun for kids.  At nine years old you are still a kid.  The coaches of this particular installment of the Knights of West Kelowna have taken the fun out of the game for young Sam and perhaps others on the team.  To be honest this disgusts me to my core.  Equal playing time is where the focus should be not on shortening the bench.

Shortening of the bench at this age is wrong on some many levels:

  • It promotes a sense of me vs. we (remember hockey is a team sport)
  • It impacts the confidence level of the young athlete
  • It’s a poor coaching tactic
  • It takes the fun out of playing a team sport

If you read the comments of the above post you will see that there are still good hockey coaches, hockey parents and hockey mentors out there.  Take Aaron Konecsni of BC Hockey who replied “Sorry to hear about Sam’s experience.  Enroll him in our AKHOCKEY prep camp on me.  Hopefully we can get him having fun again!”  Good on you Aaron.   See that is what it is about at nine years old or at 18 years old for that matter… having fun.

Children play sports for a wide variety of reasons, to play a game, to have fun, to get exercise, to be part of a team, to partake in a social setting etc.  Playing a team sport can help a kid come out of their shell and build confidence.  West Kelowna Minor Hockey Association has passed a new policy that will become mandatory where all players are required to have a parent/guardian take the Respect In Sport (Parent) course prior to participation.  I trust that all coaches follow something similar (and yes I know this was a Spring League) but the fact of the matter is, is that there is no room for this in minor hockey period.

For More Information on this program:  http://www.respectinsport.com/

Link to complete the Parent Respect In Sport Program:

http://bchockeyparent.respectgroupinc.com/secure/

One thing that many of you may not realize is that minor hockey registration in Canada is down and down quite a lot.  In fact according to recent reports while the population of Canada has grown by two million people in the past couple of years, the number of new novice registrations has not grown at all.  While cost and expense may be one reason, here are a couple of things to consider:

  • There are currently 572,00 players enrolled in Hockey Canada, that number is down more than 200,000 from our nation’s peak participation rates! (Therien, 2012)
  • Nearly twice as many Canadian children under the age of 14 play soccer than hockey (CBC News, 2013
  • There are currently more ice hockey participants in the U.S then there are in Canada (CBC News, 2013)

Source: http://www.csib.ca/blog/melting-ice-canadas-hockey-crisis

In 2010, a Canadian Heritage Research Paper on “Sports Participation illustrates how there is a declining trend in youngsters playing hockey in Canada.  It’s no longer the good ole hockey game but perhaps the good ole soccer game.

Sports Participation in Canada

We should consider that incidents like shortening of the bench as discussed here are no doubt contributing to why parents are second guessing putting their children in hockey.  You don’t see coaches shortening the bench in soccer at age nine do you?

At nine years of age hockey players should be working on their skating and their shots not worrying about when they may see their next shift.  Coaches should be supporting the players and working to develop their skills whether it is their skating stride, their wrist shot or their passing.  Forget about the systems and think about how to promote creativity and confidence on the ice.

Sam, if you or your dad happens to read this, I would like to say good for you buddy.  Hockey is still fun and can be even more fun.  Stick with it for as long as you enjoy it.  Hockey Canada needs you and we need kids like you to help grow the sport.  Work hard and believe in yourself and there is nothing that you cannot do.  To Mr. Lescarbeau keep being the great parent and hockey dad that you are.  The spirit of playing the game should always be the most important aspect of the game.  Winning is an added bonus.  Someone has to win and someone has to lose, that is just how competition and games work.  It doesn’t mean that you cannot have fun regardless of what the final score is.

Mr. Lescarbeau I do not know if I could be as calm or professional as you were in this situation.  I NEVER want my son to be a part of the team where shortening of the bench is happening.  I have zero patience for that.  To the coaches in question here, you really need to re-evaluate your coaching methods and need to step back and look at the big picture.  A coach is defined as someone who teaches and trains an athlete or a performer.  A coach is a person who trains and teaches members of a sports team.  Members plural not just a select two or three.  Is the need to win outweighing the need for having fun?  Thee is no doubt that society has become a competitive place.  I mean there is more to it than that, even referring to leagues or team as “Selects” or “All-Stars” should be reconsidered.  Think about if it was your child that was on the bench and they were not not getting equal ice time.  You’ve paid hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars for your child to play and they are sitting on the bench while the coach shortens the bench to try and win the game?  What can possibly be going through a coach’s mind as players on their bench are crying?  Hashtag #embarassing. (Not for the child but for the coach).

Mr. Lescarbeau  you are the true coach in this instance by teaching your son a strong character building life lesson – to stand up for what is right and speak up for others.  Integrity goes a long way. Much respect.

My own son will be entering organized hockey this fall at age six.  I’m not putting any pressure on him to perform and I expect that the coaches will do the same.  The goal here is to have fun and enjoy hockey and enjoying being on a team.  Having fun and trying your best is what matters.  Sometimes you win sometimes you lose.  That’s just how it goes.  A real good coach knows that winning while playing everybody is the most rewarding.  Shortening the bench at this age is unnecessary.  To the coaches that partake in shortening the bench at this age maybe it’s time that you wake the f**k up.  Let the kids play.

Sam you can play on my hockey team any day.

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Posted in Hockey Parents by The Hockey Fan. No Comments

Welcome Connor McDavid – from an Edmonton Oilers Fan


Connor McDavid – #97 for the Edmonton Oilers

On Saturday afternoon I turned on the TV to watch some NHL Playoff hockey forgetting that the NHL was conducting their Lottery Draft on this day.  I was like cool; this year’s draft is slated to be one of the best in recent memory so I wanted to check it out.  Prior to the lottery draft starting I mentioned to my wife about all of the hype around Connor McDavid and that he would most likely be going to either the Buffalo Sabres or Arizona Coyotes.  I happen to be a lifelong fan of the Edmonton Oilers (and it has been a difficult past decade to say the least).  I told my wife that I would cry if the Oilers won the draft lottery.  So then NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly came on and they start the draft process… “Boston retains the 14th overall selection; Los Angeles will retain their 13th selection in the NHL draft…”  The entire process played out as expected as Mr. Daly announced that the Carolina Hurricanes would retain their fifth overall selection.  Then something inside me went, “the Oilers are going to do it, they are going to get the first overall pick”.  The next few seconds seemed like an out of body experience, when Bill Daly announced that that the Edmonton Oilers have been awarded the first overall pick in this June’s draft I was like “holy F**k, they did it, they actually did it.”  I can honestly say that I was totally shocked.  Unbelievable.  I could not believe it.  I was shocked, angry, excited, dumbfounded and relieved all at the same time.  Shocked just because this was entirely unexpected, angry because as a long-time Oiler fan to see how management has run this team into the ground and to be rewarded a “generational hockey talent” and another number one pick just didn’t seem right, excited because this is a highly touted, perhaps once in a lifetime pick that we are talking about, dumbfounded as to how the NHL could let this happen and relieved because a part of me felt that teams that purposely tanked (see Buffalo and Arizona) did not get rewarded for throwing the towel in.  Of course once it was announced that the Oilers had won the first overall pick a social media firestorm started.

FACT #1: The Edmonton Oilers won the NHL draft lottery on Saturday, giving them the opportunity to pick OHL phenom Connor McDavid in June.  This marks the fourth time in six years that the also-ran Oilers will receive the top pick in the NHL Entry Draft.

FACT #2: Hockey fans can be a fickle bunch.  If you go any hockey message board you will see hockey debating who is the better team, who is the better player and which trades they would make if they were the General Manager of their favorite teams.  While you see a lot of debate, you can also see a lot of ignorance.  As Taylor Swift said, “the haters are going to hate, hate, hate.”  Some of the commentary that I was hearing or reading was quite brutal to be honest.  People are talking about conspiracy theories and about how the draft lottery needs to be changed (and you get bet that they will change it again).  Noted hockey blogger Greg Wyshynski (aka Puck Daddy) over at Yahoo Sports had some unimpressive things to say about the event:

  • The horrific looks that hung on the faces of Gary Bettman and Bill Daly told us everything, after it was revealed that the League’s next can’t-miss superstar will be crushed under an avalanche of poor management, apathy for the market and sub-zero temperatures for the next 15 years.  – I’ll give you the poor management thing but apathy for the market?
  • Edmonton was, without much debate, the last place the NHL wanted Connor McDavid. – Really how do you know that for a fact? Body language?  Yeah the kid wanted to play in either Buffalo or Toronto.  However are we forgetting that this is a draft?  “Pulling a Lindros” aside, players do not get to pick where they get drafted.  The whole Lindros vs, Quebec thing was bad for hockey then and it’s bad for hockey now.
  • So while much like Connor McDavid himself, we would do anything in our power to take the top pick away from the Edmonton Oilers, this “conspiracy theory” or ineptitude isn’t enough to have forced a redraw. – Really? Connor McDavid would like to take the top pick away from the Edmonton Oilers?  Sorry Greg, I didn’t see the interview where he communicated this?

 

Or how about this post entitled “Connor McDavid Loses 2015 NHL Draft Lottery” where the author states “The much-hailed franchise player is the big loser in today’s NHL Draft Lottery festivities, being exiled to the moribund Edmonton Oilers.”  Comments from the post such as “While there is still a tiny flicker of hope that the Oilers will screw this pick up” or “… A guy like McDavid, you could really build a flawed, perennially-underachieving team around him for the next 10 years” illustrate the “hate” for the Oilers. Yes we know that the Oilers franchise has been mismanaged for years but let’s remember three key things:

  1. If the Leafs won the lottery, McDavid would be going to a team that has not won the Stanley Cup since 1967. That was before the first man walked on the moon.
  2. If the Sabres won the lottery, McDavid would be going to a team that has NEVER won the Stanley Cup. Not once since their inception in the NHL in 1970.
  3. If Arizona won the draft lottery, Connor McDavid would be going to a team that in all fairness will most likely be relocated within a matter of years.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers JerseyAs poorly managed as the Oilers are (and let’s be honest, if Lowe and Mac T screw this up their days have to be numbered in the NHL) the Oilers have in fact acquired some great young talent at the forward position.  The trouble is that they need to improve at the defense and goaltending positions.  Regardless you can despise the Oilers all you want, you can hate the draft lottery process all you want, but Connor McDavid if he comes as advertised may in fact take the Oilers to the Promise land and another Stanley Cup.  Kids dream of playing in the NHL and winning the Stanley Cup.  Yes Connor was probably initially disappointed and perhaps shocked that the Oilers would be picking first overall in the June draft, but give it a couple of years he just might be hoisting The Holy Grail, Lord Stanley’s Cup over his head in the NHL’s most northern hockey market.

In an article from the Edmonton Sun, Sherry Bassin, current owner and GM of the Erie Otters (McDavid’s current junior team) who in a strange twist of fate is “currently embroiled in a $4.5 million lawsuit involving a $5 million loan to the junior franchise from Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz that is currently before the courts.”  Had these things to say:

“He (McDavid) was just quoted saying the last three years in Erie have been the best three years of his life. I expect him to say the same thing about Edmonton for the next 15 years.”

“I don’t know how you measure winning this lottery that they won. You put that new building they got coming and now Connor McDavid coming, too? What a combination that’s going to be.”

“Everybody knows how good of a hockey player he is. He’s a better person than he is a hockey player.”NHL Draft 2015

That last statement by Bassen suggests to me that Connor McDavid will not pull an Eric Lindros when the Oilers call his name at the draft in Florida in June.  The media has hyped this kid.  To be honest I have only seen a few highlight clips so I’m not even sure about how good he is, but when Wayne Gretzky says that Connor McDavid is the best prospect to come along in 30 years, you have to believe that this is one special player.

So no doubt Connor McDavid is a special player but to hear people slam the Edmonton Oilers for winning the draft lottery is just down right annoying.  I, as a long time Oilers fan, do not feel that the poor management team of the Oilers namely Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish deserve the riches of a generational player like McDavid, but the Edmonton Oilers won the draft lottery.  So to hear hockey writers such as Steve Simmons who stated “There is a reason that he looked unhappy, it’s because he was unhappy. He did the stiff upper lip, ‘I’m not going to say anything and I’m not going to come out and say what’s on my mind.’ This isn’t where Connor McDavid wanted to be drafted to.” and Michael Farber who stated, “He just looked so unhappy, he couldn’t even fake being happy about the Oilers.” is just disappointing.

For me as a hockey fan and a fan of the Edmonton Oilers I feel I deserve this.  The Oilers have been a cursed team since June 2006 when Chris Pronger wanted out of Edmonton mere days after losing game seven of the Stanley Cup finals to the Carolina Hurricanes.  I joke with my wife that I still lose sleep over that.  But now it seems as though the curse is finally over.  The Hockey Gods are starting to look favorably at the Edmonton Oilers.  And while the vast majority of you may not be happy with the Oilers winning the first overall selection (and you have to think that includes some NHL brass who are seeing McDavid potential go to a small market Canadian team in the West) my faith has been restored in a team that has honestly sucked the life out of me for the past nine years.  I am happy for guys like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.  I’m happy for other Oilers’ fans who have had to endure what we have over the past decade.  I’m happy for Connor McDavid and his family as the young men prepares for a life of professional hockey in the greatest League in the world.

In case you missed it, hee is a clip of the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery:

More about Connor McDavid, the NHL Draft Lottery and the Edmonton Oilers

2015 NHL Draft Lottery Odds – http://www.tsn.ca/2015-nhl-draft-lottery-odds-1.235943 

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2015/04/20/dont-expert-connor-mcdavid-to-pull-a-lindros-and-refuse-to-report-to-the-edmonton-oilers-tsns-mckenzie-has-reported/

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2015/04/19/national-sports-network-decries-connor-mcdavid-going-to-a-smaller-canadian-market-outside-the-mainstream-of-the-league/

http://www.tsn.ca/2015-nhl-draft-lottery-odds-1.235943

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/will-oilers-break-through-with-connor-mcdavid/

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/gretzky-agrees-mcdavid-is-better-than-crosby/

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/nhl-should-have-thrown-the-maple-leafs-a-mcbone/ http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/oilers-strike-it-rich-in-2015-nhl-lottery-draft/ http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/mcdavid-talks-about-the-honour-of-potentially-becoming-an-oiler/

Connor McDavid Erie Otters

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Posted in NHL by The Hockey Fan. 1 Comment

2015 NHL Playoff Predictions


The 2015 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin today and as we do every year, the Hockey Fanatic is pleased to make our predictions for which team will win the Stanley Cup.  With the help of NHL.com’s bracket challenge, here is a look at who we think will win the 2015 Stanley Cup.

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Predictions

While I really would like a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, I am predicting an Original Six Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers.  The Hawks will capture another championship.  Now there are a few teams in the West who may have something to say about this namely the St.Louis Blues and the Winnipeg Jets who for me could be the dark horse of this year`s Playoffs.  On the East Side, Montreal, Tampa Bay and for some reason I feel the Ottawa Senators all have a great chance of getting to the Finals.

My dream matchup for the Stanley Cup Finals?  Probably the Winnipeg Jets vs. Ottawa Senators, or the Jets vs. Montreal Canadiens or the Jets vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning.  It begins tonight, like many hockey fans we cannot wait.  Good luck to all of the sixteen teams who qualified for the post season.
2015 Stanley Cup Predictions

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Hockey Fanatic 2014-2015 Year-End NHL Awards


Well as another NHL regular season has come to an end, we thought that it would be fun to give out The Hockey Fanatics awards for performance based on efforts from the 2014-2015 NHL regular season.  Normally the hockey writers focus on activity from out East, but we have selected the top performers and a few underachievers from the past season.

2014-15 NHL Awards

The Martin Brodeur Award – Top Goalie

Western Conference:  Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild
Eastern Conference: Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens

The Bob Gainey Award – Top Defensive Forward

Western Conference:  Johnathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
Eastern Conference: Max Pacioretty – Montreal Canadiens

The Paul Coffey Award – Top Offensive Defenseman

Western Conference:  Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
Eastern Conference: Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators

The Teemu Selanne Award – Most Exciting Player

Western Conference:  Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
Eastern Conference: John Tavares – New York Islanders

The Mark Messier Award – Top Captain Leadership Award

Western Conference:  Johnathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
Eastern Conference: Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals

The Cam Neely Award – Top Power Forward

Western Conference:  Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks
Eastern Conference: Chris Kreider – New York Rangers

The Wayne Gretzky Award – Most Points

Western Conference:  Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars
Eastern Conference: John Taveres – New York Islanders

The Marty St. Louis Award – Most Surprising Player

Western Conference:  Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild
Eastern Conference: Scott Hartnell – Columbus Blue Jackets

The Edmonton Oilers of the Eighties Award – Most Exciting Team to Watch

Western Conference:  Winnipeg Jets
Eastern Conference: Ottawa Senators

The Toronto Maple Leafs Post 1967 Award – Most Disappointing Team to Watch

Western Conference:  Edmonton Oilers
Eastern Conference: Toronto Maple Leafs

The Patrick Stefan Award – Most Disappointing Effort

Western Conference:  Dustin Brown – Los Angeles Kings / Ben Scrivens – Edmonton Oilers (tie)
Eastern Conference: Vincent Lecavalier – Philadelphia Flyers

The Charlie Huddy Award – Unsung Hero

Western Conference:  Joe Thornton – San Jose Sharks
Eastern Conference: Kyle Turris – Ottawa Senators

The Alexander Daigle Award – Most Overrated Player

Western Conference:  Dustin Brown – Los Angeles Kings
Eastern Conference: Marc-Andre Fleury – Pittsburgh Penguins

The Scotty Bowman Award – Top Coach

Western Conference:  Paul Maurice – Winnipeg Jets
Eastern Conference: Alain Vigneault – New York Rangers

The Bryan Murray Award – Top GM

Western Conference:  Kevin Cheveldayoff – Winnipeg Jets / Brad Treliving – Calgary Flames (tie)
Eastern Conference: Bryan Murray – Ottawa Senators

The Bob Probert Award – Toughest Player

Western Conference:  Dustin Byfuglien – Winnipeg Jets
Eastern Conference: Scott Hartnell – Columbus Blue Jackets

The Broad Street Bullies Award – Toughest Team to Play Against

Western Conference:  Winnipeg Jets
Eastern Conference: New York Rangers

The Joe Sakic Award – Most Gentlemanly Player

Western Conference:  Daniel Sedin – Vancouver Canucks
Eastern Conference: Mark Stone – Ottawa Senators

The Trevor Linden Award – Most Popular Player

Western Conference:  Johnathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
Eastern Conference: Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens

The Grant Fuhr Award – Most Exciting Goalie Award

Western Conference:  Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild
Eastern Conference: Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens

The Luc Robitaille Award – Most Underrated Player

Western Conference:  Jiri Hudler – Calgary Flames
Eastern Conference: Roberto Luongo – Florida Panthers

The Comeback Award – Most improved Player

Western Conference:  Ryan Nugent Hopkins – Edmonton Oilers / Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild (tie)
Eastern Conference: Nick Foligno – Columbus Blue Jackets

The Ray Bourque Award – Top Rookie

Western Conference:  Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
Eastern Conference: Mark Stone – Ottawa Senators

The Golden Brett Award – Top Goal Scorer

Western Conference:  Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars
Eastern Conference: Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals

The Bobby Orr Award – Top Defensemen Award

Western Conference:  Dennis Wideman – Calgary Flames
Eastern Conference: Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators

The Jean Beliveau Award – All-Around Effort

Western Conference:  Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild
Eastern Conference: John Tavares – New York Islanders

The Gordie Howe Award – Top Overall Player

Western Conference:  Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars
Eastern Conference: Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens Team to Beat Award – Most Likely to Win the Stanley Cup

Western Conference:  Chicago Blackhawks
Eastern Conference: New York Rangers

We will have our Stanley Cup Playoff predictions for you coming up shortly.

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