Day two is in the books here in Penticton, British Columbia during the Young Stars Classic featuring the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets.
After starting out 1-0 the Flames played the Oilers last night and while the game started really well for the Flames, they would surrender five unanswered and fall by a 6-3 final.
For me personally I didn’t get to watch much of the game. Got to see most of the first period before I took former first rounded Morgan Klimchuk to a radio interview. Then in the second it was getting Assistant GM Brad Pascall to a TV interview and making sure the Calgary Flames scouts were getting their pictures taken in the proper jacket. I miss most of the third too due to preparing for media interviews.
However I did notice a few things that I’d like to share.
Sam Bennett brings it every game. While he was again held off the scoresheet (at least for goals and assists), his speed is dynamic and he just has incredible hockey IQ. We’ll never, ever, EVER see him in Stockton in my opinion.
- One we will see however is Ryan Lomberg. Lomberg has really turned heads in the media and the staff with his tenacious style. He’s been everywhere on the ice and was a bright spot in both games thus far. Last night for example, Leon Draisaitl goes on a breakaway and Lomberg, 20-feet behind him, caught up to him, dove, got all puck first, but tripped up Draisatl who would be awarded a penalty shot. Now this is 100% correct in terms of even if you get puck first it will now result in an infraction, however there was question of whether it should be a penalty or a penalty shot. Regardless that was the game winner, but excellent hustle by Lomberg.
Another thing Lomberg did well was create turnovers and shoot. There was one shift in the first where he created a turnover and had two high quality shots. While he’s on the smaller side, it doesn’t stop him from throwing his weight around. I’m going to say it now, Lomberg will be a Stockton fan favorite this year and he’s the kind of guy I can see earning an NHL contract from the big club.
- Another player that has been turning heads for all the right reasons in the media and the front office is the Flames first pick this year in the second round. Rasmus Andersson has been tremendous. He’s logged big minutes and has been great on both sides of the ice. As a smaller defenseman, Andersson can hit pretty well and has a really quick and powerful shot. Andersson looks really promising but he’s someone we won’t see right now as he’ll be heading back to the Barrie Colts of the OHL. Certainly promising player though not only for us but for the big club.
- On the other side, Darnell Nurse was a 7th overall pick a few years back for the Oilers and you may have heard of him because his famous uncle is former Eagles QB Donovan McNabb. Well I have to be honest…was less then impressed by him. This is his third Young Stars Classic and he’s wearing the “C” for the Oilers but I felt he was soft on the puck. There was one time I remember the shorter Rasmus Andersson just muscling the puck away from Nurse in the corner. The pair of those guys did fight and while it was a clear win for Nurse, it was Andersson’s first fight ever and I give him a lot of credit for fighting up maybe even two weight classes.
- Another player I really like is Andersson’s junior teammate in Barrie Andrew Mangiapane. He’s only 5’10” but he’s got a nose for net and a great stick. He’s got excellent vision and a really quick release on his wrister. We again won’t see him this year but I’m really excited about this kid. He’ll have an uphill battle just because of his size but he’s got the tools to do it and from all I’ve heard, theres a great chance he leads the OHL in scoring this year. Important to note he did score yesterday and I believe he had two assists in the first game despite only being credited for one.
By the way, I love Flames Assistant GM Craig Conroy. Not only is he a great guy and an American (we bonded over the fact they didn’t play the US National Anthem, especially on September 11) but he’s also really intelligent with his analysis and entertaining. It’s very interesting to listen to him and his assessment and sometimes I can’t help but smile when he says something funny.
- Another cool thing happened yesterday. Hockey fans may recognize the name Bob McKenzie. He’s a TSN hockey analyst and one of the guys that breaks NHL news. Well he interviewed Flames Head Coach Bob Hartley during an intermission and I got to shake his hand and tell him how much us Americans appreciate his Twitter account! It was pretty cool and he was very nice and excited for Stockton to have the Heat. That was the best part.
- Louick Marcotte played yesterday for the first time and I didn’t get to see too much of him. I did notice him get in the middle of a few scraps during the course of the game.
- Hunter “Big Rig” Smith opened the scoring and on that play he steamrolled a guy by the net to eventually help set up the play that he would finish in the end with the one-timer past the Oiler netminder.
- The Flames and Oilers rivalry made for an amazing rivalry. I cannot wait to see how that will impact our already tense relationship with the Bakersfield Condors.
- I met a few Abbotsford Heat fans who are planning on coming to Stockton. I told them how much fun they’ll have at our games and how great our fans are. So if you see an Abbotsford Heat jersey at Stockton Arena, make sure you say hi and welcome them to our home. I have no doubt that our fans will welcome them with open arms.
- If I had a $1 for every Connor McDavid shirt or jersey I’ve seen I’d be super rich.
- Also WHL referees like to call penalties…that or they like the sound of whistles blowing… Let ’em play ref!
- Lastly, today is a practice day. We skate here soon and then the players have a workout before they open to media.
In honor of the NFL starting today (I don’t count those cheating Patriots) I have to give a nod to my team and a cool vintage logo of the Buffalo Bills. The current “charging buffalo” is a great logo but there’s something I just love with the standing buffalo logo.
It’s just old school and simple and I love it.
Fun fact…there are three Buffalo Bills fans on the Stockton Heat. President Dave Piecuch is a huge Bills fan as is Head Equipment Manager Peter Bureaux. I’d be number three.
Brandon Kisker is the Heat’s Director of Broadcast & Media Relations and is entering his third season as a broadcaster in Stockton. Follow him on Twitter @kiskerbc or email him at email@example.com with comments or questions.