Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Timmins Majors baffle me to no end

I just got back from the Majors game, a game they lost 6-2 to the North Bay Trappers. The score was tied 2-2 after one period and North Bay held a 3-2 lead after two stanzas. The Majors fell apart early in the third period and the game was essentially over.

First, let me focus on the Trappers and how very impressed I was by them. The team is coached by former OHLer and North Bay native Robin Boucher. I like to think I know a well-coached team when I see one, and NB is a well-coached squad. Unlike the Majors, their defence moves the puck well; they have a good power play; they play with discipline; and their goaltending appears to be solid.

A few of their OHL draft eligible players stand out to me:

Ryan Leckie - a 6-foot-2 defenceman who is among the league leaders in scoring among defencemen. I would imagine that scouts are looking at him because of his size and stats. He scored a goal tonight from the top of the crease, which tells me he isn’t afraid to jump into the play down low. He skates fairly well, but he isn’t overly physical. I get the sense, however, that he’s a fairly intelligent player.

Mitchell Davis - a centre who goes about 5-foot-11. I was watching him closely because he’s averaging about a goal a game as a 15 year old. Davis is an awkward skater to say the least. His stride is choppy and he’s first few steps are pretty slow. I did like his hockey sense, though. He always seemed to be around the net, trying to put himself in scoring position.

Tanner Davis - he played goal tonight and played well, even though he let in softie in the first period - a long shot off the stick of Ryan Ouellet. I liked his composure - that was the last goal he allowed. He seems technically sound and recovers well after making a save. He’s about 5-foot-11, so he fills the net well.

I was impressed by another player, Darnell Koosees - and not just because he’s native. He scored a goal and added two assists. He’s 15 and well down on the Trappers’ depth chart, but he played with confidence, taking the puck to the net when he got the chance. I always like to see role players play well.

OK, back to the Majors. I was disappointed when NB star Nick Huard took out Byron Katapaytuk with a knee-on-knee hit that went unpenalized. No one stood up to challenge Huard as Byron was on the ice writhing in pain. I notice the Majors targeting Huard in the third period, but that was probably because he was still getting under their skin.

The Majors host the New Liskeard Cubs tomorrow and will try to end a four-game homestand with a win. They’re 0-3 so far. If I go, I may actually root for New Liskeard. The Cubs are well behind the Majors in the standings - I always enjoy cheering for an underdog.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I hate the Leafs’ new sweaters!

I’m having trouble watching the Leafs these days - and it has nothing to do with the fact that they’re terrible in their own end.

I can’t stand the fact that they re-designed their sweaters, eliminating the stripes at the bottom. It makes the sweater look boring and unofficial - not unlike a practice sweater. When I watch the games on TV, it looks as though all the players have tucked their sweaters into their pants. I guess this is what passes as "sleek."

I can’t help but notice that the other original six teams made little or no changes to their sweaters when the NHL and Reebok unveiled the new "Edge" sweaters this season. Could it be that the Leafs sensed a cash grab opportunity and pounced? I wonder how many fans who bought a new sweater in the past couple of years rushed out to by the new one?

That’s my complaint for the day.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Great Hockey Game

Here’s something for the hockey nuts out there...

I just returned from a fantastic hockey game at the Mac. The Soo North Stars beat the Timmins Majors 4-2 in Great North Midget League action.

I was fearing that the game would be a blowout. The Stars (9-1-0-0) are in second place in the nine-team league. They’d outscored their opponents 93-15 entering the game. The Majors were a respectable 4-1-0-1. However, they had only played one game against a .500 team, and that was an 11-1 loss to first-place Sudbury.

Tonight was the first time I’ve been impressed with the Majors. While they have good size, they are also a plodding team. They don’t have a great deal of team speed and their defence isn’t particularly mobile. I’m not crazy about their goaltending either - it’s like their goalies are allergic to the puck. I question how well coached they are too. They often seem disorganized on the ice. Tonight they struggled on the powerplay. I was starting to wonder if they even practice the powerplay.

Well, the two teams play again tomorrow afternoon and I think I will take Jonas. He’s been to a couple of games with me, and we’ve really enjoyed ourselves. I think it’s good that he gets out in public, even if he’s at the squirmy can’t sit still stage.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What Happened to Toronto?

This is Jeff again. I've decided to resume blogging again - mainly because it was a condition of Mike giving us a ride back to our hotel room from Martyn's wedding on Saturday night. Thanks for reading this Mike!

In the three days we spent in Toronto, I kept wondering if Torontonians have always been this annoying, or whether two years spent living in the middle of the bush has changed me. Probably a little from Column A, and a little from Column B. My biggest pet peeve continues to be the self-absorbed people who walk and talk on their cell phones with little regard to what is going on around them? Honestly, what did we as a society do before the advent of the mobile phone? Worse now, is the person who walks down a crowded sidewalk while texting - oblivious to everything going on around them. I can't tell you how many times I had to get out of the way of someone with their head buried in a PDA. This is enough to make me never want to leave Northern Ontario again. God, how old have I become?