Friday, February 3, 2012

Link to new blog location

Just a reminder that Bruins Banter is still going strong in its new location at the Mercury's website. You can find it right here or via

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday tidbits

Good afternoon. After finally snapping a long losing streak on Sunday, the Bruins are in Melville tonight for an important road game. The Mils are two points behind the Bruins for second place in the south, but with four games in hand. Yorkton also has four games in hand, so a win here is crucial for Estevan if they want to regain a firm grip on second place.

On the injury front, the word yesterday was that Connor Milligan likely won't play tonight, but will be evaluated at the end of the week as to whether he can return on the road trip this weekend.

Tyler Poskus is expected to be a game-time decision.

If the Bruins don't have enough healthy defencemen, I'm not sure if they'll bring up an AP or possibly have Brykaliuk or Schellenberg move back.


Starting tomorrow, a big change is coming to Bruins Banter. The blog will be hosted on the Mercury's website. The change is happening overnight and coming here will redirect you to the new location. Or, you can find it by going to Opinion -> Bruins Banter.

There will probably be some tinkering as I figure out how everything will look and where things will fit. All the things embedded on here, such as post-game interviews, will work the same way on the new site.

Unless I can figure out a quick way to transfer all of the posts on here over to the new location, I'll have to find a place to archive them. I'll let everyone know when I get it figured out. Should be able to put a link to the archives somewhere on the new page.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bruins get off the schneid in Yorkton

Cole Olson scored on the power play with 16 seconds left in regulation to secure the win.

The Bruins had led 3-1 midway through the third period before allowing a pair of Yorkton goals in a span of four minutes.

Dylan Smith, Derek Whitehill and Tanner Froese had the other goals for Estevan (17-15-0-1), which moved into sole possession of second place in the Sherwood Conference and avoided a three-way tie for third with Yorkton and Melville.

Ryon Sookro, Brenden Poncelet and Nathan Murray scored for the Terriers (15-13-0-1).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bruins lose seventh straight against Nipawin

The Bruins had a big chance tonight to get back in the win column at home against a slumping team and a couple of former teammates. They got off to a bad start and then failed to take control of a tied game in the third period.

Nipawin scored four times in the third period to pick up a 7-4 win, only their second in their last nine games.

Darius Cole, Stuart Holland and Brady Zerr each scored twice for the Hawks, who controlled the majority of the game with good puck possession in the Bruins zone, even if the shot totals don't show it.

Nipawin scored twice in the first six minutes of the game, including a stellar rush by Keenan Martens that ended with a goal Derek Tendler probably wanted back.

The Bruins cut that lead in half on a Calder Neufeld goal before the end of the first period.

They would take their first lead of the game late in the second on back-to-back goals by Dylan Smith and Michael Hengen, but then a crucial swing happened.

Only 12 seconds after Hengen's breakaway goal off a setup by Tyler Kauk, Holland scored to tie it up again before the intermission. A Hawks team that likely would have been deflated by giving up two late goals suddenly had some extra jump.

Cole scored early in the third to give Nipawin the lead and they never looked back.

I gave Cole the first star on the CK750 broadcast with Branden Crowe. He had one of the best penalty killing shifts I've ever seen in the second period, keeping the puck in the Bruins' end for a good 30 seconds, setting up Zerr for what would have been a goal if not for a huge save by Tendler, and then drawing a penalty.

As for the AP players, Ryan Curzon did some good things out there and you could tell he's got some Jr. A experience. Scott Morrison made a couple of mistakes that I noticed, but he probably did as well as you could expect from an 18-year-old in his first SJHL game.

Here's a full recap of the game:

Having trouble getting the interview with Keith posted, but here are a few of the things he had to say:

On giving up the goal to Holland late in the second:

"You've heard me say it before. Our reaction right after a goal has to be better. We've talked about that. It's disappointing. We only have two games at home in December and you'd like to put on a pretty good show for the fans. We gave them something to get excited about, but we certainly didn't follow through on that. We're in a pretty fragile state of mind right now and we're just trying to build on the positive things that we see."

On the team's mental state right now:

"We're lacking in confidence a little bit at times and I think a lot of times, especially in this little streak here, we'll do something good and then all of a sudden we're looking around waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think once we get that confidence back, we're going to be okay. I think we're reading a little too much of the news and a little too much being on the internet. It starts to become a self-fulfilling prophecy that way. There's no doubt we can get back to believing in one another. There's a lot of talent in there. It's a fine line between going out there and playing with a lot of confidence and what you saw tonight."

On Curzon and Morrison:

"Both of them skate very well, both of them kept the game simple. Curzon has quite a bit of experience and I like his attitude. He brought a little bit of jump to the room and the bench and he wasn't scared to get in there and mix it up with the guys. They're going to come along with us again tomorrow (to Yorkton)."

Bruins vs. Hawks preview

Three players will be facing the team they were recently traded away from tonight. For Ryan Ostertag, who was traded to Nipawin on Thursday, it will be particularly strange as he's making his Hawks debut at Spectra Place. Former Bruin Jesse Bernard and current Bruin Tyler Paslawski, who were traded for each other, are also playing their old teammates for the first time. Former Hawk Tyler Poskus is out with a concussion.

On the injury front, the Bruins will get Matt Brykaliuk back, but that's it. There was a chance of Connor Milligan returning, but he had a bit of a headache after practice yesterday so he's being held out.

Rather than move someone like Brykaliuk or Dylan Schellenberg to the blueline, the Bruins have called up two defencemen from the Assiniboia Rebels of the PJHL. They are 1991 Ryan Curzon, an Estevan native, and 1993 Scott Morrison.

Estevan Bruins (16-14-0-1, 3rd in Sherwood)
The Bruins are in a freefall, having lost six games in a row, including three straight on the road this week. That slump has coincided with hot play from the Weyburn Red Wings and Yorkton Terriers, meaning the Bruins are 10 points out of first place and only two up on Yorkton, with the Dogs having four games in hand. This is one of only two home games in December for the Bruins, so it's crucial that they take advantage of it against a Nipawin team that is also slumping.

The injuries to Jelinski, Milligan, Baldwin and Poskus, along with the trades on Thursday, have depleted a lot of the Bruins' depth. They need some of their younger kids to take advantage of the extra ice time and show what they can do. Up front, the Neufeld-Whitehill-Paslawski line has played a few games together now and a breakout game from them would be huge. On the back end, Perrault, Kauk, Yano and Bosch will be leaned on heavily to hold off the speedy Hawks.

Nipawin Hawks (14-12-2, 5th in Bauer)
After a surprising red-hot start to the year, the Hawks have staggered to fifth in the Bauer Conference with a 2-7-1 record in their last 10 games. They have tinkered with their roster quite a bit in the hopes of getting back into the top three in the Bauer. 

Rookie Tad Kozun and former Bruin Justin Waskewitch are leading the way on the scoresheet so far, but the Hawks have lots of secondary scoring from the likes of Brady Zerr, Eric Peterson, Adam Reichert and Stuart Holland. The Hawks also have a pretty solid, if young, defensive corps and Davis Jones has been a workhorse in goal since the trade of Stephen Klein. 

Jesse Bernard is still looking for his first point of the year and you know he'd love to snap out of it against the team that traded him.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

UPDATE: Bruins trade Ostertag to Nipawin

The Bruins have completed a third trade today.

Ryan Ostertag has been shipped to the Nipawin Hawks in exchange for 1995 F Wyatt Johnson and futures.

Ostertag, 19, has nine goals and 17 points through 29 games this year, already surpassing his total of 15 points from his rookie season. The Regina native will join Jesse Bernard in Nipawin.

Johnson is with the Saskatoon Blazers and has two goals and 10 points through 20 games.

Here's some of what Keith Cassidy had to say about the deal:

"We're pretty happy with our forward group. Ryan certainly does bring a dynamic presence to the game and has the ability to be a tremendous hockey player, but for the direction we're going and the game he brings, a change of scenery would be good for him in terms of getting back on his game, I think.

"When everybody gets back and healthy, there's going to be a good battle for ice time. That was part of the thought. Look at a guy like Tanner Froese, who can arguably play up in the lineup from where he's at right now."

The Bruins also have Matt Brykaliuk back in the lineup this weekend and possibly Connor Milligan as well. Keith said that if no one returns to the lineup on the blueline, players like Brykaliuk and Dylan Schellenberg (who has quite a bit of experience on the back end) could find themselves playing D on a temporary basis.

Earlier this afternoon, Jeff Bartel was dealt to the Swan Valley Stampeders and Lyndon Soper was shipped to the Humboldt Broncos, both for futures.

UPDATE: The Broncos have now flipped Soper to the Neepawa Natives.

The moves get the Bruins down to 22 cards, including 14 forwards, six defencemen and two goalies.

Bartel, Soper traded

The Bruins have dipped into the trade waters at the Dec. 1 roster deadline with two deals.

1992 D Jeff Bartel is off to the Swan Valley Stampeders for futures.

The Steinbach, Man., native has shown steady improvement since the start of the year and has five assists in 28 games this season.

Also, 1993 D Lyndon Soper has been shipped to the Humboldt Broncos for futures. Soper has appeared in 12 games with the Bruins this season.

More news to come.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday thoughts

Good afternoon. The Bruins are in North Battleford tonight to try to get back into the win column. The Stars haven't slowed down at all, having won their last seven games, so it will be a very tall order.

North Battleford writer Phil Heilman is running a live chat for the game; you can find it right here.

Last night's 3-2 shootout loss in Kindersley had to be disappointing, especially since the Klippers held Jordon Hoffman and Taylor Duzan out of the lineup (Hoffman was traded to Weyburn today and Duzan likely isn't far behind).

Taylor Reich and Calder Neufeld had the Estevan goals, both on the power play, with Dylan Smith and Austin Yano getting the apples on both. D. Jay McGrath and Bradley Buckingham scored for the Klippers.

In the shootout, Cole Olson had the Bruins' only goal while Brennen Bosovich and Colby Daniels scored for the Klips.


Speaking of the Hoffman trade, the trade front is starting to heat up around the league. The Klippers have started shipping out their 20-year-olds, beginning with the trade of Jesse Mysiorek to Flin Flon on Friday for 1992 F Jesse Mychan (currently with Everett) and 1995 F Connor Gay.

Today, Kindersley shipped Hoffman and '93 D Aaron Letourneau to Weyburn for '93 F Trent Hermary, '94 D Michael Statchuk and '94 D Kody Thue. I like Hermary, but it sounds like Statchuk will probably go out to Salmon Arm, so my first reaction is to call this a win for the Red Wings.

I dealt with Hoffman and Mysiorek a lot the last two years covering the Klippers, and they are both great kids who were a pleasure to get to know. I know both loved being a Klipper and the trades have to be tough - especially Hoffman, who is a local product from Major - but it's a reality of junior hockey. Both are easy to coach and they play a grinding game built for the playoffs, so their new teams should be happy with them.

Another move came last week when Nipawin traded 1993 F Wilson Dumais to La Ronge for futures. He spent last year and part of 2009-10 with the Prince George Cougars, but he hadn't done much in eight games since being reassigned to the Hawks.

I'm sure we'll see a few more moves before Thursday as the arms race gets going. The Bruins are still looking for another veteran d-man.