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Thursday, January 17, 2013


NOTE:  This blog was submitted minutes before it was released that Ryan Strome was returning to the IceDogs.  This is why I will never be a scout or player personnel director! Stick to broadcasting kid!

Certainly has been a wild few days during these truncated NHL camps.  Many people used their AHL affiliates for warm up games/scrimmages in order to try and get players up to game speed and provide some sort of analysis for the teams that will start on Saturday. 

 For followers of the Niagara IceDogs., Ryan Strome picked up one assist (unofficially) during the Blue/Orange scrimmage game held in Islander camp.   Earlier in the week he was skating on a line with veteran Brad Boyes and all indications are that he will at least break camp with the Islanders.  Strome was simply dominant at the OHL level and has developed his all round game very effectively.   Strome told me that he was most proud of his improvement in face offs, something that was markedly noted during the World Jr's when more often than not it was Strome taking the key offensive or defensive zone face offs late in the game. Dougie Hamilton, also by all indications, will start on the Boston Bruins blue line.  The rangy, offensive minded D man's smooth skating, puck moving style is well-suited for the NHL game.  There will be a steep learning curve for Hamilton, no mistake about that, but the Bruins D corp is strong and Hamilton should adjust to the NHL game at his own pace.  Brett Ritchie was returned to Niagara on Wednesday after getting some experience at NHL camp.  Big Ritch indicated on the Stars website that the experience was an excellent one for him.   He will return to Niagara where he has scored in 16 of his last 17 games.  This will also provide a key boost for the IceDogs as they hit the stretch run in a tenuous position in the OHL's Eastern Conference where just four points separate four teams in the 3-6 seeds.  Oshawa, Niagara, Sudbury and Brampton all could be playing musical positions, and the Gens also trail Belleville by just two points for the division lead.   The Eastern Conferences is there for the taking, it is so wide open.   Barrie leads the conference by 5 points, but no one is anointing them the kings of the east. The IceDogs have a good down the stretch schedule, playing 15 of their last 24 games at home.   

--Congratulations go to Carter Verhaeghe (122) and Anthony DiFruscia (181) who cracked Central Scoutings' Mid-Season rankings.  Both have developed nicely over the course of the year, and DiFruscia's has spotlighted a hard-hitting style that will bode well for him going down the stretch.  Both should receive top six minutes as well.

--The IceDogs added OA D Man Tyler Mort to help stabilize the back end, and provide a little depth.   The solid, but unspectacular Mort was playing for York University this year and has OHL experience with Kingston and Barrie. 

--We graciously step aside for Sportsnet on Friday with Belleville in town, but will return for Saturday's broadcast versus Peterborough. Game time is 7pm and the game will be on HD on TVCogeco Niagara, and standard definition on the OHL Action Pack

-- Happy to report it looks like I will be shooting more episodes of The Broadcast Booth, the TV show that I had on Cable 14.  Expect some episodes for those in the Hamilton area, hopefully in mid-March

--On the NHL front, Hockey Night in Canada kicks off its 60th season on Saturday.   Looks like there is a new set, Coaches Corner will be featured in both games of the doubleheader and the venerable Bob Cole, who is pushing 80 will start his 40th season with Hockey Night.  If you ever wonder why it is so tough to get an elite level play-by-play job, look no further than the octogenarian Cole.  There is no mandatory retirement age in broadcasting, so as long as the pipes are strong, as Cole's are, there is no reason to step aside.  

Can you picture Ed Burkhoder, Al Galloway and I still behind the Mic in our 80's?  Here is what we will look like: 

Here is Ed and I:                                             Here is Al:   

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