GDB 2.0: A COMMISSIONING
For years The Arena in Medicine Hat was renown for it’s atmosphere. It was an old rink with low rafters and an enclosed concourse. The fans were loud and treated to years of extremely competitive Tiger’s clubs. It was undeniably one of the most difficult building’s for opposition teams to play in.
For all it’s quirky charm, it was time to update and upgrade facilities in Medicine Hat.
Tonight is the inaugural game in the shiny new Canalta Centre. Not unlike the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge, the Canalta Centre is bigger, broader, and more modern. With an open concourse and video ‘jumbotron’, fans in the Hat will get to experience games in a whole new way.
Grab a bottle of Baby Duck cause it’s time for a commissioning.
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I can’t think of any better way to break the ice in the Canalta Centre than a rematch between the Tigers and Hurricanes. Those who were in attendance last night in Lethbridge will understand that fans in Medicine Hat are in for a treat tonight.
In a refreshing turn of events, it was the Hurricanes that looked the better team for much of last night’s game. Regardless of who you support, that the Hurricanes look to be a vastly improved team must be viewed as a positive. If last night’s game is any indication, as competition between the two clubs grows, so to will the entertainment value of the on-ice product.
I for one, can’t think of a better place to have been last night in Lethbridge than the Enmax, and I have no doubt that Canalta will be the place to be tonight.
It will be interesting to see how tonight’s game develops. In total opposition to my prediction, the Canes were the better team for the majority of the first and second periods last night. There looked to be virtually no nerves, something that really surprised me considering the youth movement taking place on the roster.
With the weight of opening a massive new civil investment and a new season, how will the Tigers respond? I imagine the opening ceremony tonight will be lengthy and it will be interesting to see how the first few minutes of play transpire. After what happened last night, the Hurricanes should be riding into tonight’s game feeling loose and confident.
While the first segment of the game might be aggressive and sloppy, I think we can expect the big guns on the Tigers to come out like a house on fire. Late powerplay goal aside, Cox and Stanford didn’t pose much of a threat at five on five last night and I think they will be wanting to rectify that tonight.
It will be interesting to see who Kisio decides to dress tonight. I think the initial plan was to swap the bubble players around from Friday to Saturday and let their play decide who goes and who stays. However, when you win in the fashion they did last night, how do you pull players out of the lineup? The situation is further complicated as the Hurricanes don’t play again until next weekend. Will they elect to keep a few players for a whole week of practices waiting for more game situations to make decisions or go ahead and make moves after tonight’s game? Watson for example, is a young player who should be back in BC with his AAA team as soon as possible in the case he doesn’t make this team.
For that reason, I think Kisio may decide to swap Watson in for Skeoch despite what I thought was a pretty solid game from the big defender. It wouldn’t be an indictment on Skeoch’s play as much as it would be a circumstantial decision. That said, tonight promises to be a physical game – a circumstance where Skeoch should shine. I understand the reasoning in either case but would personally try get Watson in tonight.
I want to also recognize a few players that I feel deserve honourable mentions from last night’s win.
Ryley Lindgren, who was rewarded with an assist on the opening goal, played a fantastic game. He made his linemates, White and Bellerive, better all night long and was a big part of how solid that line looked. He quietly went about his business, playing responsibly defensively and winning faceoffs. His play last night effectively gave the Hurricanes three very balanced lines.
I also think the Reagan and Kennedy pairing deserves a mention for playing a simple, smart game. While Reagan did take a roughing penalty in the third, I didn’t notice them much last night… but in a good way. It was a pairing that didn’t try to do too much and was consistently in position to make the right play, rarely getting caught by surprise by a Tiger counter. Kennedy took a pretty big hit in the third and just kept right on moving. Reagan also had a few dangerous shot’s blocked that I think will find their way on net as the season progresses.
Projected Line Up:
The lines you see above are from last night. I don’t expect to see anything change in the top nine, but we may see some adjustments on the fourth line. I actually liked Duperreault’s game for the most part last night and am curious to see if he gets another chance tonight. He had two glorious scoring chances that came as a result of moving his feet. On both occasions he was hounded by Tiger defensemen and was stopped high shoulder by Schneider. Had he scored I think he would be a lock tonight, but he may find himself on the outside looking in simply because of the logjam at the bottom of the lineup. Could we see Franklin or Sheen make their regular season debut?
Last night Merezhko and Watson were healthy scratched. Does that change tonight? As I mentioned above, it’s really hard to say. I like the makeup of the pairings from last night but it’s also important to know what you have in Watson and Merezhko in a regular season setting.
It would make the most sense to start Sittler tonight. I am a huge believer in not starting a goalie back to back. It’s statistically proven to decrease a team’s winning percentage and opens players up to wear and tear injuries. I’m a big advocate of Sittler and if he doesn’t start tonight I will be disappointed.
Skinner played a great game last night. While I felt he played great, he wasn’t the story of the game. It was a nice change.
Depending on tonights results and how the week progresses, I think Sittler will start tonight, Skinner will go next Saturday in Cranbrook, and Sittler will go again at home versus the Rockets.
- Fans with Shaw can catch tonight’s game on TV.
- Shout out to those that came out to the game last night and made it a great atmosphere. When things got physical late in the third, it was one of the loudest moments I can remember at a Hurricanes game in a long time. While it wasn’t a sellout, it was a solid crowd and they were treated to a great game. I hope to see that keep rolling.
- My dad and I recently took a trip to PEI and caught a Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) home game. Dad was at the Canes game last night and had a couple interesting observations in light of our experience on PEI. He mentioned how the entertainment experience on the island was more exhilarating than ours in Lethbridge. He specifically noted how there was almost always something happening whenever there was a stoppage in play at the Islanders game. They had a two in-game-host system (male and female) and it worked well because they could play off of one another. He also mentioned to me last night that while he appreciates the lower volume of music so he can visit, things need to be louder at the Enmax. The music and overall level of volume on the Island was very high and it translated to a more energetic feeling in the building. His thoughts as a fifty-year-old, not mine…
- They need to get Winter Ale in the lounge taps upstairs as soon as possible. I wonder if they (the City) would ever consider partnering with the new local brewery Wild Craft to get some more interesting beer options…
- I like that the opening ceremony wasn’t too long and drawn out. It was quick, high energy, and efficient. Also, I have to revoke my man card because I confused Mustang’s for Camero’s…
- Not sure who sharpened the Tigers skates last night but I think he should be fearing for his job. They were sliding, tripping and falling everywhere all night long.
- Finally, I want to take a moment to recognize all the dedicated hockey parents out there. Specifically all the mom’s and billet mom’s who have put years of time and effort into helping their boys be the best athletes and young men they can be. It’s no easy thing sending your boys away to go play hockey and tour the country through rain, sleet, ice and sun. I’m glad some of them have the opportunity to make it to games and I’m happy to provide thoughts and content for those that can’t. Have you called your mom today? Cause you should… *calls mom to not look like a hypocrite*
Game Day Prediction: The Hurricanes jump out to an early lead and eke out a 4-3 win, ruining the Canalta party.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: The opening ceremony is way too long and by the end everyone in attendance needs to use the washroom really really bad..
Not So Obvious Game Day Prediction: The Tigers ask the Hurricanes if they can borrow their bus because there isn’t enough transportation in the city to make up for the lack of parking at their new facility.
What do you think? Who are you excited to watch tonight and what will be the outcome. Comment below.
Don’t forget to check out the sponsor of all this season’s game day articles, Graham Reimer of Dominion Lending here in Lethbridge. I personally know and vouch for the amazing work he does. If you need any advice or help with a mortgage or want to look into getting one, I cannot say enough good things about Graham and the Mortgage Crusher team.
Remember to tell him Canes Domain sent you!