Yup, in the past week, we’ve been witness to some good old time hockey. I mean there were scraps, name calling, chirping, and whatever else the days of the Bruins and Canadians brought us back then. I am not referring to the Hounds on the ice, but the Hounds on the Page.
My friends, I am referring to the Sault Greyhounds Facebook Fan Page. Because of the passion and love we have for this team, we at sometimes let our emotions boil and in some cases get out of hand. ( I plead the Fifth) Accountant by day, and Hound critic by night, we are all guilty of it and last week was a doozy. The issue at hand was whether or not GM Kyle Raftis did the right thing at the trade deadline for the Hounds this year and the years to come.
Many of us were of the opinion that with such a good season so far (3rd overall). the Greyhound should be thinking of going deep in the playoffs and all the way instead of the opinion of selling off our assets (Frost/Hayton etc) for draft pics…..2nd round in particular as we are missing those in the next couple of years. The heat that came to fruition was the most intense when the trade deadline was within 24hours of being reality and the Hounds didn’t make any major moves while others did; Guelph, Saginaw etc.
In the end, the Hounds made a few moves ; they traded seldom used 19-year-old defenceman Anthony DeMeo to Sudbury, they acquired Aden Peca ( a solid character guy) and they made a huge move in my opinion of convincing star Czech Republic RW Jaromir Pytlik to navigate 6,748 km to play the second half of the season with our boys.
The off ice heat was so intense that GM Kyle Ratis felt it necessary to clear up a few rumours with our good friend Peter Ruicci from the Sault Star. Kyle related that the Hounds were not close to any major deals, there were discussions about certain players, and no kid was asked to waive a trade clause. Between Kyle and superstar coach John Dean, it boiled down to the fact that the kids have caught on to John (Jordan/Jamie) and his staffs coaching style and program quicker than expected and the chemistry was too good to upset aside from the big move of signing Pytlik.
We can already see that things around the league are changing; the London Knights are where they are usually as they are……. almost in first overall and it’s a matter of only a week or two. They have just knocked off Saginaw and handed them their first loss in about 14 games, and they have just slapped Ottawa back into reality as they schooled them with an 8-4 loss.
This goes to show that championships are won on the ice and not on paper. The Hounds found this out last year and the Bulldogs went to the Mem Cup even though the Hounds had hotel reservations since the beginning of the year.
Moving forward, the Soo Greyhounds have just completed a homestand with 3 wins and 3 soft wins at that. The last two games saw the Hounds play a sloppy couple of games where they should have dominated. The reason behind this, in my opinion, is that they were slotting in a couple of the newly acquired boys (Peca/Pytlik) and the kids are just adjusting to their new lines. It will be a matter of a couple more games and I think all the wrinkles will be ironed out.
Of note this weekend that I cannot refrain from mentioning is that the most grit on the Hound teams comes from one of the youngest (16 anos) on the team in Rising Star Ryan O’Rourke. This kid plays with so much heat that I’m surprised the ice doesn’t melt underneath him. Every shift he plays with so much passion that I think he is going to be a top 10 (league-wide) defenceman in points next campaign. This kid lets the opposing forwards know that they are in for a battle every time they take their shifts.
This week finds the boys in North Bay, Barrie, and Sudbury and quite possibly young defenceman Drew Wawrow that was acquired in the Sudbury deal will get his first start. Speaking of Sudbury, that should be a really good game as Sudbury has been really good this year whereas for the better part of the last 5 years the Hounds/Wolves matchup has been a snoozer.
Until next week, here are some words to live by.
You R You
I am Me
In the End
We’re Still Friends
Go Hounds Go