Sunday, October 02, 2005


WHL: Giants vs. Thunderbirds Post-Game Report

Ahh, junior hockey is back and it’s great to see live action again. The Vancouver Giants debuted 4 cheerleaders who must have been juniors themselves (I’d be shocked if any one of them was over 20). Do the Giants really need cheerleaders? Eye candy isn’t a bad thing, but I’d rather have Jack the Giant or Crazy George (Where is he?) lead the crowd in some chants. I haven’t heard the Giants crowd so quiet during a victory before.

Tonight, the Vancouver Giants played almost perfect hockey in a 4-1 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Giants outshot the T-Birds 31-14 and Chris Durand’s 2nd period shorthanded goal was the only mistake the Giants made all night. It was great to see the Giants play about 50 minutes of the game in the offensive zone. (Well, it seemed that way).

Scouting Impressions:

Michal Repik, Vancouver Giants, RW – The Giants top Import Draft pick was the game’s 2nd Star with 2 goals. He was very dogged in his pursuit of the puck in the offensive zone, and was dangerous around the net all night. He was cherry picking a bit, but nobody was hitting him with long passes. He needs to show the same puck pursuit in the defensive zone, but he did play some penalty kill. He’s a good skater and puts himself in good position to score goals. His second goal came off of a perfect 2-on-1 feed from Mitch Bartley as Repik jumped quickly into the play in support. He shyed away from Dave Andreychuk’s office in front of the net, but not the corners. If he was willing to go to the net more, he’d score even more goals.

Cody Franson, Vancouver Giants, D – the Nashville draft pick (3rd round in 2005) was very average last season and I was surprised he was even drafted After watching him tonight, I could see what the scouts saw in him as he really has all the physical tools you could want. He really did look like a new man.

He has the size (6’5” 205), he is quite a good skater, and he uses his reach effectively. He scored a nice PP snapper and played big minutes to compliment Marc Fistric (think MacInnis and Pronger). He now has 4 points in 3 games this season and it will be interesting to see if he can keep up this level of play on a more consistent basis. He should also beef up his chicken legs. He’s the same height as me and about 5 pounds lighter than I am, so I know he’s too damn thin :)

Mario Bliznak, Vancouver Giants, C – The Slovak (drafted in the 9th round by the Canucks) finally played in his first WHL game and got his first assist. The coach put him with JD Watt and didn’t play him a lot in ES situations. Bliznak did get quite a bit of PK time, so the coach obviously trusts his defense. His backchecking effort was good and he was smart in the defensive zone. He wasn’t particularly strong in the offensive zone and he missed a wide-open net in the 2nd period. I’d like to see him more before making more of a judgement on his transition.

Dustin Slade, Vancouver Giants, G – He didn’t have a tough night and the only shot to beat him was a perfect laser. I feel safer with him in net than Marek Schwarz…Slade doesn’t come out of his net 20 feet to make a save :)

Ladislav Scurko, Seattle T-Birds, C – The Slovak centerman is even slower than I remember him, although he was never a fast skater to begin with. He had a very quiet night and needs to get his legs moving more to be effective. Coming into the game, he was the T-Birds leading scorer with 4 points in 4 games. Once the puck is in the offensive zone, he is at his most effective.

Roman Tomanek, Seattle T-Birds – the Slovak winger had a horrible introduction to the WHL last year (6 points in 19 games) and he didn’t get a chance to do much tonight as he had maybe 6 shifts the entire game (although I could have missed him entirely). He did get 2-3 PP shifts but very little ice time to establish himself at even strength. He needs to get more game action to form an opinion on his game in the WHL.

Gavin McHale, Seattle T-Birds, G – I found Roman Turek’s lost lovechild! The 6’6” 198lbs backup of he T-Birds was not very impressive at all. He can make the first save and takes up a lot of the net, but he’s is very lanky and very clumsy. He was exposed very often on his rebounds and with his bobbling of the puck…and has to be the slowest goalie I have seen in quite some time. He needs to vastly improve his agility if he’s going to move on to the next level.

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