Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blades host Rebels

It's the third meeting of the season between the Saskatoon Blades and the Red Deer Rebels tonight, and it's the first in Saskatoon.

The two teams have traded wins in the first two games. Saskatoon won the first 2-1, with Red Deer winning the second game 7-1.

The Blades have now won 4 games in a row after completing a home and home sweep of the PA Raiders to enter the 2nd half of the year.

The Rebels are also coming off a win, a 5-0 shutout of Lethbridge earlier this week.

The Rebels are led by the most dangerous draft-eligible player in the WHL in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. However, he missed last game and is considered day to day with injury. It will be interesting to see if he plays in this game. I really hope he does, as it will be the first time I will get to see him play live. Some people have said he compares to a Pavel Datsyuk or Joe Sakic type player. He currently leads the entire WHL in points.

Here are my keys to the game:

For Red Deer

- Protect well against the cycle down low. The Blades top scorers use this area of the ice with the best of them, the Rebels can’t chase too much in their own zone.

- Continue the success on their penalty kill. It’s the 2nd ranked unit in the league and they need to be strong here tonight.

- And play physical against the Blades defense. It’s the 3rd straight game they are playing with 5 defenseman. Take advantage of that.

For Saskatoon

- Have a quick start. This team has found success early in games since the Christmas break. It makes it much easier to win when scoring first.

- Disrupt Darcy Kuemper. The big man from Saskatoon is dominating WHL goalies in almost all statistical categories. The Blades need traffic and to get in his face tonight.

- And key on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (if he plays). The 17 year old is a game breaking player and the key to the offence. Limiting his damage is key.

The game goes at 7:05 from CUC starting with the pre-game show on 92.9 The Bull at 6:30.


  1. Ryan Nugent Hopkins looked like crap tonight and I hope Josh Cowen gets his neck broken, what a fuck!

  2. I thought RNH was very good. Don't see how he looked like "crap". He may not have gotten on the board, but he was constantly creating. Subtly mind you, but the creation was there.

  3. I didn't see to much creation, there was a couple of chances and thats it. Blew his assignment on one of the Blades goals and average at best. For a supposed first overall pick he didn't look that great to me. He is also on pace for less then 20 goals, yikes. Plus he needs to add some weight on that tiny frame. Very unimpressive overall and I feel sorry for whoever drafts him with their top three pick...

  4. I guess everyone is entitled to an opinion, but to me I saw a lighter version of Matt Duchene. Many people said similar things about him in his draft year two years ago and look how he is turning out.

    I will admit he blew his assignment on the Stefan Elliott goal but besides that I thought he was very good, especially on the cycle against bigger guys like Siemens and Zahn.

    He is the best playmaker of this draft class.