GDB 40.0: THE REVENANT
Let me begin by saying, I have huge respect for filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu. He’s the brilliant mind behind 2014’s Birdman and is back this winter with a film called The Revenant. Interestingly enough, a good part of it was filmed in the mountains near Calgary. Revenant (the word, not the movie) refers to the unexpected return of someone – particularly of someone thought dead. While he wasn’t thought dead, tonight’s game will feature the unexpected return of ex-Canes captain, Jamal Watson (barring he was able to make it to Lethbridge in-time for tonight’s game that is…).
Update: Should also mention that Jamal has been dealing with an injury for around a week. Even if he’s in town, it’s very uncertain as to if he will play or not… but it fit the Revenant theme. So we’re gonna stick with it.
While all the current WHL chatter online seems solely focused on the looming trade deadline, there is hockey to be played, and tonight the Canes take on the new-look Broncos.
Preview after the break.
Preview Brought to You by:
In what promises to be an interesting game, tonight the Hurricanes will face off in a home matchup against Swift Current. Game time is 7:00 (as usual) down at the Enmax, and based on the increased interest in the Hurricanes coming out of the holiday season, I again anticipate a decent crowd. It’s been a pleasure being at the rink for the past fews games. The attendance has been up around 4,500, the Canes have been winning, and there is a new-found liveliness happening at Canes games. If you’ve been meaning to head out to your first game of the season, there’s no better time than now.
Part of tonight’s intrigue is the unexpected return of a former longtime Hurricane…
The Bronco’s have been active in the trade market heading into tonight’s game. With only four days remaining before the deadline, and some hungry teams stalking their players, Swift Current was able to swing some significant trades over the past week – none more impactful than moving Boston prospect Jake DeBrusk to Red Deer. In return, the Bronco’s acquired two top bantam picks and Lane Pederson. Monday, the Bronco’s were back at it, swinging a deal with the Thunderbirds to acquire young defenseman Sahvan Khaira. Swift Current sent Calvin Leth back in return. Finally, yesterday the Bronco’s shipped out overage netminder Landon Bow – again to Seattle – a strong trading partner to be sure. The Bronco’s received netminder Taz Burman, a conditional second round pick in a future draft, and ex-Hurricanes captain Jamal Watson in return.
It’s very likely that the Bronco’s won’t stop there. They still have some valuable assets that might be on the trade block, all of which is possible because Swift Current has been a disappointment this season. While expectations weren’t high, I know some Bronco’s fans were quietly optimistic about their chances. Unfortunately for them, it just hasn’t worked out. Swift Current sits near the bottom of the conference with the lowly Kootenay Ice and are one of the very few clear “sellers” at this year’s trade deadline.
Tonight will be interesting for a handful of reasons, one of which is to see how the new look Bronco’s come together. Adding a new overager, looking to Child (or Burman for that matter), and reorganizing the lines will surely take its toll. The Bronco’s haven’t been playing well, but their underlying numbers aren’t as bad as the Ice. They sit with a 12-22-4-1 record, and have a -35 goal differential. They are only marginally worse than Saskatoon (and some may argue Medicine Hat).
A huge issue that has plagued the Bronco’s all season has been offense – or the complete lack of it. They have scored the second fewest goals in the Eastern Conference, and with the loss of DeBrusk, things may not improve. Watch to see if Watson is able to bring something different to the Bronco attack and help them generate more scoring.
It’s been a fantastic start to the post holiday schedule for our Canes. They are coming off another big home win, and it seems for now, everything is coming up roses. The Hurricanes have a favorable second half schedule. They play more home games, have less long road trips, and face more sub .500 teams than they did from September to December. Considering how well this team plays at home, it’s a promising situation. It really does appear that this Canes team will battle for 1st in the East down to the final weeks of the regular season. The difference between 1st and 3rd-4th is massive with how much parody exists in the top half of the conference. Hopefully they can make hay at home and propel themselves to a top two finish.
As has been the case for most of the year, the Hurricanes have been led by different groupings at different times. Wong and Estephan, Gutierrez and Babenko, Lindgren and Folk, as well as a host of other players, have all gotten hot at different times. In the most recent few games, it’s actually been the play of the fourth line that has most gripped me. Ryan Vandervlis, Barrett Sheen, and Brett Davis have been sensational and I’m excited to see how their line develops in the coming months. There are so many positive things happening on this Hurricanes team right now, it’s hard to keep up.
It will be interesting to see who gets the call in net tonight. Stuart Skinner has played very well of late, and with the Canes facing the Rebels Friday, I imagine Skinner will get the call in goal against Swift Current. Jayden Sittler has stymied Red Deer all season and I’m sure he will be asked to do it once again Friday evening. That decision would also setup Skinner to play the following night in Cranbrook against the struggling Ice.
Darian Skeoch sat out the last game due to an illness, so we may see him draw back in in-lieu of Merezhko. The big Ukrainien has been an enigma. He’s played well at times, making smart simple plays, but struggled in games too. Remember he is only 17 and there’s still time and opportunity for him to grow in confidence and maturity at the WHL level. I remain optimistic. That said, Skeoch has been better and, if healthy, should play.
THIS AND THAT
- Peter Anholt spoke yesterday with Pat Siedlecki about the trade deadline. You can find his interview and comments in the Trade Deadline LIVE blog.
- I wonder how the crowd will be tonight. It’s a weeknight and the holidays are now over. Fingers crossed for another good turnout. Everything’s better with a full barn. The beers are colder, the women (and men for you ladies out there) get prettier, the music sounds grander, the hockey seems more engaging, and most importantly, the Primm Kiss Cam is more entertaining.
- I remain firm in my belief that we need to do something about the walkout music being Coldplay’s “fix you”. Drop some song suggestions in the comments below (or on Twitter) just for fun. It’s a FANTASTIC song! It really is (and I’m not overly fond of the X+Y alum). BUT, is it pump up for a hockey game kinda fantastic? I’ll let you decide….
- I was doing some cleaning out at my parents as part of their ongoing house reno’s, and I came across my old collection of Canes game stubs. It was a really surreal moment. Talk about nostalgia. The stubs ranged from October of 2000 to the final home game of the playoffs against Spokane in ‘08. I threw it out on Twitter and some of the responses about old game stories and ticket stubs was really neat. If you’re not yet on Twitter, or following us, we would love for you to jump in. It’s a good time!
GDP: The Hurricanes take advantage of a Bronco’s team in transition and glide to a 6-2 victory
OGDP: Brady Reagan will drop the gloves at some point tonight. He’s fired up of late. I can see it in his eyes. He’s focused and ready to do anything for his team. Watch out Bronco’s.
NSOGDP: Two mysterious men dressed in bright red morphsuits will get rowdy and heckle the Bronco’s in the penalty box. Strangely enough, they will never be in the same place at the same time as former Global Lethbridge phenom Paul Kingsmith and local podcast celebrity Jordan Karst, both of whom have already Tweeted they will be attending tonight….
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!