I was at the Americans office Monday when the whole trade deadline came to a close. I’m sad to see Brooks and Spencer go, but in the long run, Bob Tory had to do what is best for the team. In talking to Brad Curle with the Calgary Hitmen, he assured me Matt MacKenzie is a top-notch guy — on and off the ice. In this league, I’ve found that there are few bad apples.
Bob always says these days are hard for him, and I could see it in his eyes Monday that giving up Brooks was very hard for him. Bob drafted Brooks and Jordan Messier out of Notre Dame the same year and both have been quality players here. When you have a guy in your fold for three years, it’s hard to see them go.
The Americans have two players ranked in NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term Rankings of players eligible for the 2011 NHL Draft. NHL Central Scouting released the mid-term rankings Monday. Defensemen Zach Yuen was ranked 87th, while Sam Grist was 119th.
I put together my Best of the West ballots today and handed them out to Seattle and Tri-City. Kamloops will get their Friday, Vancouver on Saturday and the rest will be mailed or faxed Wednesday. This is the 23rd year of the BOW and the ninth year I have been entrusted with the project. It’s fun to see how the players view other teams. We will publish the BOW on Feb. 13.
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In the NHL ranks, former Ams goalie Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens was voted in to play in the All-Star Game. He is the only former Americans player in the mix, though former Ams list player Jonathan Toews (Chicago) is on the list. The game is Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C.
Seattle is here tonight, but I’m not so sure the T-bird like coming here. They have lost their last 15 games at Toyota Center — including three this year — and goalie Calvin Pickard is 0-for-10. I think his brother Chet sucked up all the wins allowed by a Pickard at Toyota Center. Sorry Calvin.
Drew Owsley in in goal for the Ams. On the bench are Carter Ashton (due in Wednesday) and Sam Grist. It appears Matt MacKenizie is playing after arriving in town this afternoon. In fact, he is starting.
Calvin is manning the Seattle goal — got to give him credit for never giving up here. On the bench are Travis Bobbee (shoulder), Brandon Trook, Colin Jacobs and Austin Frank.
Let's drop the puck and get this show on the road.
In stripes are refs Jeff Ingram and Jason Nissen and linesmen Brian Fortin and Chris Carlson.
The Americans have a 4-0 lead after the first period and everyone is going home with free Chalupas. D-man Tyler Schmidt has a pair of power-plays, D-man Zach Yuen has a goal, as does David Conrad. New D-man Matt MacKenzie had a beauty of a shot from the point and was just a couple of inches from the left pipe. Matt has played well, is vocal on the ice and good with the puck.
To the left of me are Tracey and Brittany who are tracking the puck. They are so determined to make sure every player gets their points that they watched Conrad's goal a zillion times to be sure Max Moline and Brock Sutherland were credited with assists.
Off to the second period in 5 minutes.
More later. Maybe Tyler can send everyone home with bread sticks with a hat trick. Stay tuned.
There are lighted thunder stix tonight courtesy of Wild Horse Resort and Casino. Those would be cool for Saturday when the Vancouver Giants roll into town.
Partrick Holland made sure everyone would get a trip to Burger Ranch as well as Taco Bell as he scored just 29 seconds into the second period. They are going to have to start giving away gym memberships if the Americans keep fattening up their fans.
To top it all off, it's $1 hot dog night here at the rink. Not a hot dog fan myself, but that's a pretty good deal.
I have to say, Matt MacKenzie is the real deal. He's played most of the night with Brock Sutherland, played on the power play and a shift on the penalty kill. The guy's got a wicked shot from the point. Just a matter of time before one goes in the net.
Seattle scored on the PP with 45 seconds left in the second on rookie Chris Driedger, who replaced Owsley at 13:01 of the second. It's Driedger's first game back since returning from the U-17 tournament.
Ams lead 5-1. Stay tuned for the end.
Justin Feser has a pair of goals in the third as the Ams win 7-1. Ams outshoot Seattle 52-18. Calvin earned his keep tonight, but all he has to show for it is a cut on his upper lip where a shot went off his mask and the cage came down hard on his lip.
Until next time, which is Friday when the Kamloops Blazers make their first appearance this season.