Not much new for today but here goes:
- Congratulations to Alex Lavoie for being selected the "Oakley CHL Player of the Week." With two game winning goals in three games along with six points you can't say this was a surprise. Great things were predicted for Alex from the moment he was signed and it is good to see he is performing so well. Just as a reminder, this is what Steve Martinson had to say when he signed Lavoie, “Alex Lavoie will be one of the best young players in the league. He’s very skilled, with a great vision of the ice. Alex is the type of center that wingers want to play with.”
- Traded messages with Garrett Clarke (2012-2013) yesterday and he confirmed he is headed to Arizona to play for the Sundogs. Arizona won't visit the Allen Event Center until January 20th but the Americans will be in Arizona over Thanksgiving, as usual, for three games.
- Minor League Hockey Report puts out what they call CHL Power Rankings and have issued the first report. It is very difficult to know which teams are going to be the best at this point in the season. Some teams haven't even had their home opener yet. Rosters are still in flux as coaches make changes based on what free agents are available and on ice performance. With that said here is the first CHL Power Ranking:
1. Rapid City
5. Quad City
7. St. Charles
My thoughts are Denver is ranked too high and Wichita and Tulsa too low. Denver has yet to play on the road. Wichita and Tulsa have too much talent to be 8th & 9th in the league. It will be interesting to see how the power rankings change over time.
- The next three home games all have special promotions attached to them which should make them lots of fun. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the Halloween celebration with trick or treating for the kids in the concourse, a haunted house and costume contest. On Friday (November 1) it will be "Military Appreciation Night" and on Sunday (November 3) it will be "Duck Dynasty Night" with an appearance by "Mountain Man."
- I found the article below about the Tulsa Oilers written by Glenn Hibdon (gtrnews.com) which talks about the Oilers past and present. The reason I found the article interesting is because even though the Oilers finished with the worst record in the league last year, coaches I have talked to said Bruce Ramsay should have been considered as coach of the year as he was coaching with "one hand tied behind his back." This year, with new owners and finances, Ramsay is coaching with both hands. While Tulsa is off to a slow start earning only one point in their first four games look for Bruce Ramsay to do what is necessary to get the Oilers back on track.
Tulsa Oilers Have New Look for CHLBy GLENN HIBDON
GTR Sports Writer
New owners, new players and a new outlook greeted the Tulsa Oilers for the opening of the 2013-14 Central Hockey League season.
Finishing last in the CHL standings and again missing the playoffs last year, coach Bruce Ramsay is counting on that not happening again.
“We need to make the playoffs or I won’t be here,’’ the coach said bluntly. “We need a team that finishes over .500 and is favored to win the first round. Now we have the freedom to do what we need to do and that hasn’t happened in a while.”
Ramsay is referring to the financial input of new owner Steven Brothers Sports Management of Wichita. The group also owns the Wichita Thunder and promised the Oilers the capital they need to acquire players and remain competitive on the ice.
“I haven’t been able to spend up to the salary cap for a number of years, and now we have a chance to field a team that can do as well as the others. It’s a positive feeling.’’ Ramsay says. “Looking at my roster and how it compares to the past, there is a big difference. Of course we might have a lot of talent on paper, but we still have to bring it to the ice.’’
Ramsay has brought back five players who saw action for the Oilers last season. Leading them is 33-year-old veteran Michel Beausoleil. The 5-foot-10 forward piled up 20 goals and 20 assists in 2012-13 for 40 points, tied for second on he team with Drew Fisher. Fisher returns along with leading scorer Ryan Menei (82 points), Ryan Cramer and top goaltender Shane Madolora.
“I’m very high on Shane because he has the potential. He played great for us last year under tough circumstances. He took a team that was way under .500 and we played .500 hockey the last half of the season,” says Ramsey.
“Our scoring could be astonishing and we will score goals, no doubt about it. Beausoleil can score 20 goals on the third line and Menei, (Todd) Robinson, (Thomas) Beauregard and (Tomas) Klempa are all potential 20 goal scorers. Scoring won’t be our problem.’’
Robinson has had five pro seasons with 100 points or more, topped by the 123 he scored with Muskegon of the United Hockey League in 2006-07. He comes to Tulsa following a championship season with the Allen Americans, scoring the title-clinching goal in overtime.
Beauregard is the younger brother of former Oiler great David Alexander Beauregard. Klempa was most recently with the defunct Fort Worth Brahmas.
“I’ve known him (Robinson) for a number of years, and we’ve always had a special relationship. He’s a friend, and we played together,’’ says Ramsay, who noted that Robinson has won five championships. “Right now the only problem I’m having is fitting everyone into the salary cap. I’m trying to make everything fit.’’
Into the cap will go what is expected to be an improved defense. Ramsay says his new blue liners “hate to lose,’’ and 35-year-old vet Nathan Lutz started the season paired with rookie Andrew Himelson from Clarkson University. Lutz comes over from the Wichita Thunder.
“I’m very high on Himelson,’’ says Ramsey. “He was at Oklahoma City (in training camp), and he brought it down to this level. I also think (backup goalie) Ross MacKinnon has huge potential. He was the playoff MVP in the Southern Pro League and also won a Division III championship. He’s turned in outstanding performances and has No. 1 potential.’’
Ramsay wants leaders who have won before, players who are driven to win. He wants that attitude rubbing off on everyone else. He says his roster and his player’s desire to succeed is “night and day’’ from the way last season ended.
“We have grit, scoring, goaltending and great character,’’ says Ramsay. “There is no reason we shouldn’t be a playoff contender. We need to have a team in the playoffs and capable of winning the championship.
“I have all the confidence in the world.
“I’ve been a winning coach for a number of years, and now I’ve got equal footing to other teams. I just want to make Tulsa a place where everybody (players) want to come. I want to prove all the naysayers wrong and I have no choice but to start winning now.’’
DID YOU KNOW: Darryl Bootland and Jamie Schaafsma share a birthday (November 2) and it is coming up on Saturday. They will have to celebrate on the road as the Americans play in Tulsa on Saturday. Jamie will be turning the big 30 and Booter will be 32.