Something Is Up In Kitchener
It’s hard to know what it is, but you don’t have to look too far to find out that it’s there. Head coach, Jay McKee was quite up front after the Rangers’ 7-3 loss on Saturday in Erie. The Rangers went into the third period ahead 3-2 and then gave up five goals. McKee told the Kitchener Record after the game, “Some things happened in between the second and third period that I won’t comment specifically on but our guys put out an effort in the third period that started in the dressing room in between the second and third… We have to talk to staff. There will be some pretty serious meetings ahead… I’m not going to divulge much in it. I couldn’t be more disappointed right now.” You can read more here.
Rangers’ General Manager Murray Hiebert alluded to this being more about team approach than an issue with an individual player or players. Kitchener has now lost three straight games and will host Owen Sound on Friday.
Londoner Nick Suzuki put up eight points in three games, scored an overtime winner and helped the Owen Sound Attack pick up two victories between Thursday and Sunday. As much as he did, Suzuki could have done more. The Oshawa Generals held him off the score sheet on Friday night in Owen Sound’s only loss in their last four games. The former Jr. Knight is in his second year in the OHL. He is eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and while the world waits for the NHL’s Central Scouting Rankings, Suzuki has been listed as a sleeper by sportsnet.ca – he has not cracked the top 31 of either hockeyprospect.com or isshockey.com
Steelheads Add More Firepower
Londoner Spencer Watson is rehabbing after wrist surgery, but as soon as he is ready to play again, he will be putting on a Mississauga uniform after being dealt to the Steelheads by the Kingston Frontenacs last week. Mississauga already has the league’s top goal scorer in Owen Tippett. He’s 17 years old and is averaging just under a goal per game. Ryan and Michael McLeod are players you can’t ignore on the ice. Nathan Bastian is off to a good start and the Steelheads get offence from their defence as well. The team is among the leaders in total goals per game. Watson led the OHL in shots on goal by a pile last season with 353. The next closest player to him was Hunter Garlent of Peterborough with 270. Watson was drafted by the LA Kings in 2014 and has signed an entry level contract. He will be playing his overage season in the OHL this year.
The 2018 Memorial Cup Host Is Getting Harder To Find
Ottawa is out. Regina could have a problem. The 2018 Memorial Cup tournament is still off in the distance somewhere, but the chatter about it is making it seem a whole lot closer. Don’t forget, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary tournament and the selection process is a little different. It is wide open to bidders from all three leagues in the CHL. There has also been talk that there could also be a format change of some kind. The shortlist of potential host cities is expected to be announced at the end of November and it has been easier to point out the teams that will not be on it than teams who will be. Oshawa is emerging as a solid prospect, but Ottawa has dropped out and Regina has interest, but might also have lease problems with its arena. To put on a big show, you would think that the selection committee will be looking for a big city. Places like Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg cannot commit due to potential conflicts with the Flames, Oilers, Jets and Manitoba Moose. Vancouver is a possible spot. There is no buzz out of Toronto. Hamilton has come up. Out east, Saint John lost out in 2012 to Shawinigan and is apparently very interested, but could that be for 2017, when the QMJHL hosts next, or could they try to land the big one. We will know more in a few weeks.