We are just under two weeks until hockey season and there is some news to report about the Eagles. First of all, Destry Straight missed practice today because of an injury but he should be good to go for the start of the season. As I watch more and more practices, I can see that some guys have really improved their games since last season. Two guys that I think are skating pretty well right now are forwards Danny Linell and Mike Sit. Both guys are going to need to play at a high level for this team this upcoming year and I believe they are both very close to turning it up to that next level. With their speed, both guys have the ability to create some space and make plays so hopefully we see that out of them as the season goes on. Johnny G, Pat Mullane, Steve Whitney, and Bill Arnold have all been skating at that high level they have been at ever since they came to BC so I wouldn't be too worried about them in the early going. In terms of the freshman forwards, I believe that Brendan Silk and Frank Vatrano both still hold spots in the opening night lineup but we will see if anything changes between now and next Friday when New Brunswick comes to town.
On the defensive end, I am becoming more and more confident about this group. I don't make these predictions very often but I have to say, I think Mike Matheson will be the best defenseman in the league by the end of this year. This kid can do it all, he can skate, he can defend (although this needs the most work), he can make plays, and he can fire the puck. Very similar to some Dumoulin guy I remember from a year ago. While some people will have BC's defense as the teams biggest question mark, I wouldn't be surprised to see this unit develop into a very solid one by the end of October.
To be honest, I like this squad. I love the fact that we have four of the top seven forwards returning from last years team and have some great leaders like Mullane and Wey to help with the younger guys. This team isn't as deep as last years or the 2011 squad, but it has seven or eight guys that will be able to play night in and night out and make a big impact. The one big lineup question as of now is who will start at right wing on the first line, once that is decided on by the staff, things will be all set. October 6th can't come soon enough.
BC was selected as the #1 team in the USA Today preseason poll.
Until next time,
GO EAGLES !