1. Mike Mayock, the analyst on the NFL Network’s Thursday night games, is the best in the business. He and Brad Nessler, the play-by-play man, have a high listenability quotient.
2. Sorry, but I don’t care about day-to-day updates on the NHL lockout. Just send me a tweet when it’s over.
3. The Twitterverse about exploded on Thursday as hockey writers scurried to the keyboards to get out the news that the NHL had cancelled some regular-season games. Since when did the expected become breaking news?
4. If you haven’t yet seen the piece that CTV Winnipeg reporter Leah Hextall did earlier this week on Brandon Wheat Kings D Ryan Pulock and his relationship with owner/GM Kelly McCrimmon, you’re cheating yourself. Find it and give it a watch.
5. The Swift Current Broncos meet the Blades in Saskatoon tonight. Will the Broncos lose in overtime or a shootout? They are 1-0-4 to date.
6. The Calgary Hitmen are a rather quiet 3-0-1, including a 4-1 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. Yes, the Hitmen could be very good this season. But let’s not forget they put up 44 victories and 91 points last season. Yes, it’s time head coach Mike Williamson got a whole lot more attention.
7. If I could be anywhere tonight, it would be in Brandon to watch D Ryan Pulock of the Wheat Kings go against D Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks. It’s not fair to Jones, whose WHL career comprises all of five games, but a lot of NHL scouting eyes will be on this one. . . . Pulock, who turns 18 on Saturday, will play his 140th regular-season game tonight. How special is Pulock? In his first 139 games, he has put up 111 points. And if you believe in plus-minus, he’s 45 on the good side.
8. The Vancouver Giants have the WHL’s poorest winning percentage (.200) so probably weren’t in the spirit of giving yesterday as minority owner Michael Bublé taped his NBC Christmas special on the Lower Mainland. . . . A rock star who has a son playing in the WHL is rumoured to be on that Christmas special.
9. If starter Luke Siemens and backup Andy Desautels are able to give Prince Albert some goaltending, the Raiders will be fun to watch. F Mark McNeill, D Harrison Ruopp and D Josh Morrissey give the Raiders three of the WHL’s finest young players.
10. I recently have seen two lists of players to watch this WHL season and Kootenay Ice F Sam Reinhart wasn’t on either one. He won’t turn 17 until Nov. 6. He hung up 62 points in 67 games last season and has five points in four games this season. He may not be No. 1 on the to-watch list, but he’s in the conversation and definitely has a spot in my Top 5.
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