Finally it appears that the exhibition season in the OHL is drawing to a close and the real games can begin. I understand the need for exhibition season and training camp. You want to get your team prepared for the season, assess your talent and start to ingrain the athletes that you have in the team concept. It can however drag on a little bit. Coaches have a pretty good idea of how they want to shape their roster, so someone really has to stand out in order to make the surprising jump to the squad.
The IceDogs did the write thing by doing a mini barnstorming tour for their exhibition season and played in regional places like Thorald and Beamsville. Hey, the new building has 5300 tickets to move! Getting out in the region likely sold a few more ducats. Last nights game versus Windsor was a spirited tilt in which the final score means very little in the final equation (Windsor won 5-4 in a SO by the way). Late in the third period, three separate fights broke out. Twitter immediately responded , though I wonder if these following two tweeters were at the same game:
Niagara IceDogs Twitter Feed: 16:15: It's getting a little wild now. Three scraps at once. Pandemonium.
St. Catharines Standard Twitter Feed: Stupid time. 3 fights break out at once. Nonsense. Quickly cleared up.
One sounds like legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross, and the second one sounds like an old guy who sits grumpily on his front porch yelling at birds!
The IceDog fans showed they ability to do their opposition team homework as reports indicate there were a smattering of boos for Logan Brown, the hulking forward who chose not to report to Niagara and got shipped off to Windsor. He won't get the Lucas Lessio treatment by Niagara Fans. Remember when the agitating forward also did not report and then flipped off the fans late in a playoff game? Now, those were good times!
The IceDogs have the luxury of a strong returning corps, so there are not that many spots available. Remember this is a team that took the OHL finalists to seven games last year and had them down 1-0 heading into the third period of game seven before losing 2-1. Expectations and hopes are rightfully high. Combine that with the Meridian Centre opening, IceDog fans can expect some fine entertainment this year.
We at TV Cogeco are anxiously awaiting the new season and how the new arena will look on camera. Some buildings like Kitchener, Windsor and Oshawa look great on camera and in HD, while others like Mississauga, London look a little darker and not as TV friendly. One thing that we can announce is that on Saturday night games, you can expect expanded coverage in the form of a half hour pregame show called End 2 End Rush. Ed, Al, and I are will preview not only the game, but what is going on around the league. You can expect something a little different from the norm, as we are all excited to share our knowledge, personality and expertise. Personally I wanted to call the show either "Locker Room Towel Snapping" or "Puck Bunnies". On a side note, does anyone have the need for a custom fitting bunny suit? I only wore it on weekends, honest!
We will present a special Thursday night Edition on Thursday October 16th, the night the IceDogs open up the Meridian Centre for hockey with a game against Belleville.
Sportsnet360 did a fine profile on former Erie Otter/Maple Leaf hopeful Connor Brown. Brown, the former captain of the Otters was drafted a couple of years back by the Leafs despite an albatross-like -72. Of course with the advent of analytics, that number has been dissected, trisected and analyzed six ways from Sunday. Note the soothing OHL voices that you hear when they show some of Brown's highlights. See I told you that Ed and I would be on Sportsnet someday!
Until Next Time!!