Coz for thought: Generals at full strength

Boone Jenner will be facing a familiar face in Ryan Strome in the OHL playoffs.
March 26, 2013, 11:00 AM

FNH

Jeff Twohey and the Oshawa Generals staff were collectively knocking on wood going into Friday night’s game. The Generals had almost 170 man games lost to injury throughout the season. Further, they had a couple of lengthy suspensions to deal with as well. But somehow, the Generals were able to ice their full lineup Friday for their first playoff game.

The Generals feel like some NHL team is going to get a bargain with defenceman Josh Brown. He’s currently ranked No. 151 on the NHL Central Scouting list.

Scott Sabourin has a unique deal with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. It’s completely independent from the L.A. Kings, which is something I’ve never heard of for a junior player.

It was a nasty battle between former World Junior teammates Ryan Strome and Boone Jenner. While Jenner might seem to be the more physical of the two, Strome always finds a way to get his licks.

In order for Niagara to have any chance in this series, both Strome and Brett Ritchie will have to be on their best behaviour to stay out of the penalty box. Mind you Ritchie didn’t even dress for Game 2 as a result of the flu. Expect him back for Game 3 Tuesday.

Oshawa head coach DJ Smith feels strongly about Michael Dal Colle’s future. He’s been so good in his 16-year-old season that he couldn’t be taken off Oshawa’s top line. Two scouts I spoke to feel his hockey sense is off the charts.

The GM Centre’s broadcast gondola is one of the best in the CHL.

IceDogs head coach and GM Marty Williamson still had two years left on his deal when the Burkes extended him with a five-year deal earlier this month.

Assistant coach Jason Brooks continues to deal with back issues dating back to his playing days. He’s missed time on the bench this year as he did dating back to his days as the head coach and GM of the Guelph Storm.

RJ Broadhead continually reminds me to keep an eye on Dogs defenceman Jesse Graham during the warm-up. He’s a busy body that would make a pot of coffee nervous.

Aaron Haydon is badly missed by the IceDogs. The hulking rookie defenceman continues to be out with a broken jaw, but should appear at least once in the series.

Give Niagara credit for some of the best hair-dos in the OHL come playoff time.

Brendan Perlini, Jordan Maletta and Anthony DiFruscia are nice building blocks for Niagara to move into its new barn in 2014-15.

OHL

The Owen Sound Attack may have been robbed of a chance to extend Game 3 into overtime Monday night. There were two questions regarding Gemel Smith’s mid-air tap-in. There is no way it was a high-stick, but replays were inconclusive as to whether or not the puck actually crossed the line. Another camera angle would’ve been helpful.

Give the Mississauga Steelheads full marks for their effort in Game 3 against Belleville. Josh Burnside netted the game-winner with 51.5 seconds left in the third. More impressively, there was no quit in James Boyd’s team.

Chris Tierney’s double-overtime game-winning goal sealed it for the Knights despite a 67-save effort from Saginaw’s Jake Paterson (that’s “Jakie one P” in goal).

I’m hearing that, despite being granted exceptional status, Sean Day may fall as low as the fifth pick in the OHL draft.

WHL

Just when you thought it was time to put away questions about the Saskatoon Blades…..

Not to say I told you so, but I did mention to more than a few people that the Ice would win at least one game in its series with Edmonton. Ryan McGill has worked too hard with a team that’s been playing playoff hockey for the better part of two months to be swept out of the playoffs.

Attendance in Kootenay for Games 3 and 4 will be something to keep a close eye on.

As expected, Swift Current is giving Calgary all it can handle. Two of the first three games have been decided in overtime.

It’s far from over, but I’m stunned Seattle is up two games to none in their series with Kelowna. The Rockets are banged up, but my sources tipped me off that a first-round match-up with Seattle would leave a team knowing it had played in a tough series regardless of outcome.

QMJHL

Can’t say I’m dead-set against the 1-16, 2-15 etc. format employed by the Q for its playoff format. It surely does reward teams that play well during the regular season.

Having said that, it doesn’t leave much room for upsets in the first round.

Odd scheduling in the Q, as no playoff games were played Sunday or Monday. All eight series’’ resume Tuesday night.

If there was one opponent I would’ve wanted to avoid in the Q, it would’ve been Gatineau. Rimouski is finding that out first hand. Benoit Groulx has a way of elevating his team’s play in the post-season (see 2008). Most of that has to do with playing all of his players all season long. Something mentor Charlie Henry preached when he was part of the Olympique organization

I’d pay good money to see each of the next two games in Chicoutimi. It might be the only place in the province of Quebec where Patrick Roy is disliked.

U-18 Worlds

Don Hay as head coach of Canada’s U-18 team came as a bit of a shock. I believe the bronze medal with the World Junior team two years ago didn’t sit well, and Hay is looking for redemption.

And good for Jody Hull to be part of the staff. This should bode well for the Peterborough Petes head coach moving forward.

Depending on how the second-round match-ups go, there will be some players made available to Canada before the tournament gets underway Apr. 18.

Canada’s U-18 camp gets underway Apr. 5 in Toronto.

Stat Trick

There were 43 games in the 2012 playoffs that were decided in overtime, and five decided in double overtime. Through Monday, there has been eight games in the 2013 playoffs that have needed extra time, while just one has needed two extra periods.

Completely Off Topic

I’m starting to feel like 99 per cent of all baseball players; enough with Spring Training, let’s go already.

For more on the CHL, be sure to check out the latest from Patrick King

FNH

Back to the WHL we go. Our second playoff game en route to the Mastercard Memorial Cup should be Red Deer at home to Prince Albert. Should Red Deer sweep, we’ll be in Edmonton for Game 5 of the Oil Kings-Ice series

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