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Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Must admit that I have been following the OHL playoffs intermittently since the IceDogs were eliminated.  It's not like I have completely lost interest but as this is my second job, the break from broadcasting the OHL gives me time to focus back on family and the main career job.   Plus, I am producing and hosting a sports show that I created called *cue cheap plug* The Broadcast Booth, which you can catch starting Friday April 26th at 4:00pm and 10:00pm on Cable 14 if you are in the Hamilton area. *end cheap plug*

I went 4/4 in the second round in terms of my predictions, but was way off when it came to number of games.  I had Barrie and Oshawa going the limit, and was surprised to see the Generals get dusted in a sweep.  Lack of scoring was the Gens downfall.  I had Belleville over Sudbury in 5, so I was pretty bang on there.   Overall it was very surprising to see both series end in a sweep as all season long we had been talking about parity in the East on our OHL broadcasts.  In the West, I had London in 6 and they won in 5, and I picked Plymouth over Owen Sound in 6 correctly. 

On with the predictions: 
Might be going out on a limb a bit here, but I had touted Plymouth from the start of the playoffs and see no reason to deviate from that.  London is playing very, very well but Plymouth has been matching them so far.  Mike Vellucci had an interesting quote that you take many different ways.  Velluccci compared the Knights to the New York Yankees, a quote that is fairly accurate.  London gets their lions share of the great prospects in the OHL and like it or not, there is a buzz when the Knights come to town.  Plus the Hunters, while outstanding hockey men, don't exactly give everyone the warm and fuzzies.  This will be a great series, but I'm sticking with Plymouth. 

To me, looking from the outside, Belleville is just starting to hit their stride in the playoffs and Malcolm Subban is playing lights out, having captured a number of individual honours during the post season.  Barrie is  playing even better.  They dismantled a very, very good Oshawa team in 4 in a series that turned in Game 1 when Barrie came back from 3-1 down and won 4-3 in OT.  They are unbeaten in the playoffs and at some point during the series Ryan O'Connor, the Nelson Mandela of the OHL will be liberated from OHL incarceration.    Belleville is built for the playoffs with big aggressive forwards and outstanding goaltending.  Barrie is built for a championship appearance and I give them the slight edge in talent and depth. 

'Till the Finals!
Steve Clark

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Just some quick thoughts, including Round 2 predictions.  I went 6/8 in my actual predictions, missing out on Guelph/Kitchener (Had Guelph in 7) and Sudbury/Brampton (had Brampton in 6).  Others I missed on the number of games it took to vanquish the opposition, but I did nail Owen Sound in six over Sault Ste Marie and Barrie to sweep Kingston.  

As I am somewhat IceDog-centric, I will a post more comprehensive season in review at a later date, perhaps waiting until Saturday's draft to see how the IceDogs fill out their roster.  Marty Williamson has already made a smart move, grabbing a couple of 3rd round picks for the upcoming draft in return for some futures down the road.  Having four picks in the first 53 will add some depth that should come to fruition just in time for the new arena. 

Make no mistake about it, Kitchener was very impressive in round one in dispatching a very good Guelph team in five games, as John Gibson played very, very well in net.  He could steal a game, or perhaps even a series. London looked equally good in their four game sweep over Saginaw.  They survived a real scare in Game 2 when they won in double overtime and took care of business in Games 3, and 4.   While the edge may go to the Rangers in net, I like London's depth and experience over all. 

Gotta stick with my pick to win it all in what should be a raucous affair.   Plymouth had little trouble with Sarnia, romping 11-2 in game one and essentially coasting from there while Owen Sound had a real battle on their hands with a talented Soo team.   Owen Sound has that mix of talent and aggression, while Plymouth has great team defense and a wealth of offensive talent.   This will be a great series and it would surprise to see it go 7.  I still like Plymouth though.

Almost wrote Oshawa down as talent wise they do match up well with Barrie.  Oshawa had their hands full with a young IceDog team and it was no coincidence that the one game they lost was the one game they came unglued in terms of team discipline.   They got a dominant performance from Scott Laughton in round one, and Boone Jenner came alive in Game 5 versus the IceDogs.  The only real disappointment was Tyler Biggs who was held goalless versus the IceDogs.  Barrie easily took out Kingston in four straight and are at the top of their offensive game, though they will miss Ryan O'Connor, their captain who received a 10 game suspension in a decision that left many scratching their head.   Give it to Barrie over a long and grueling series. 

The Bulls got a legitimate scare from Mississauga in their series, prevailing in 6 games. After a dominant 8-1 thrashing in Game 1, the Bulls might have taken the foot off the pedal before righting the ship in Games 5 and 6.  Sudbury looked very good in beating Brampton and sending the moving vans off to North Bay, but they were aided by some divine PP help in Game 2 that led to Stan Butler getting tossed and suspended.  In a year in which the Wolves traded away more established talent than they got back, they are doing awfully well for themselves.  Belleville is a team built for this year and in the second round they will show it.