First, I need to take care of some business. I do THE BULLS SHEET for a couple of reasons. One, I love the Bulls! I want to show others what a great team the Bulls are and I hope at least a few people will get it. I also do it because it’s fun. I love writing about hockey. Sometimes I have to do my blogs late at night or when I’m pressed for time. I have many responsibilities in my life, so mistakes do happen. I do not mind at all if you email me or point out on Facebook or Twitter that I’ve made a mistake. I appreciate it! So, if I get a score wrong or make a typo or the like, feel free to let me know. I have a thick skin, I can take it. And I thank you in advance for keeping me on the right track. Now, if your criticism is purely because of my opinion, that’s fine, I’ll talk it out with you. Have at it.
Also, I want to thank Misty for putting together last weekend’s road trip to Stockton. It was awesomely great fun! I should have mentioned it in my last blog, but it was done quickly after I got home, so a perfect example of a not-perfect blog. So without further ado….
It’s time for my Bulls Player Review and with so many changes it will help all of us to go through the list of who’s in and how those on the Bulls Roster RIGHT NOW are doing. As a reminder, this is a POSITIVE review, I’m not here to bash anyone or criticize. THE BULLS SHEET is all about supporting the Bulls!
PAT CURCIO – Coach
Pat is a great coach. With the NHL lockout, he’s had to deal with a revolving door of players up and down the scale and he did this with professionalism and thought. He made trades as soon as the first hints of problems popped up rather than waiting until they were overwhelming. The most recent trade with the Gwinnett Gladiators is the perfect example. The team is faster, more skillful and better prepared to take on the rest of the ECHL than they were beforehand.
#6 – JOE SOVA – Defense
Sova is a fast skater and good with the puck. I expect him to continue stepping up his game and improving in future performances.
#8 – COLIN REDDIN – Center
Reddin is a fast skater. He only played two games that I saw when he was brought up from the SPHL as a fill-in player before the big trade with Gwinnett was made. The SPHL is a single A league, as opposed to the ECHL which is double A, so he may need a bit more refining before getting more playing time. With his spirit and attitude, expect to see more of this young forward.
#9 – JORDAN MORRISON – Forward (Alternate Captain)
With the trade of Justin Bowers, Morrison is on the Short List to be the next Captain. He certainly deserves this. He has 24 points; 11 goals and 13 assists. When he’s on the ice, Morrison has the instincts to keep the line together and battle towards the net.
#10 – SEBASTIEN TRUDEAU – Forward
Trudeau was part of the big trade, but he’s seen action this past weekend. He’s fast and smooth and helps rev the team’s speed up, which is vital to compete in the ECHL. He scored his first goal with the Bulls Sunday, Jan 20th in Stockton against the Thunder.
#14 – JONATHAN LESSARD – Right Wing
Lessard was with the Bulls at the start of the season but had to be let go because of the lockout and the movement of players down to make room for NHL players. This was a shame because the team didn’t want to lose him, he’s a great player. He’s fast, aggressive and isn’t afraid to get into a scuffle. In fact, he had his first fight of the season this past weekend when he clearly out boxed his Thunder opponent in a few seconds, knocking him roundly to the ice. Lessard can score, he can block, and he’s fast! He’s a valuable asset to the team.
#17 – ROB KWIET – Defense
If you’ve read my blogs before, you know how much I admire Kwiet’s game performance. When Tam was sent back to Worcester and Guimond was traded to Gwinnett, he helped fill the void. Kwiet is a leader and I would be more surprised if he wasn’t a captain on a team in the future. Get your shades out, the future’s sunny.
#18 – ALEX TUCKERMAN – Forward
Tuckerman has 4 goals and 6 assists, totaling 10 points, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. He’s gritty and fast. His style definitely shows where he’s from, the East Coast. He’s not afraid to attack the net and take people with him. He’s one of the most entertaining players to watch because there is no fear within. He can block and stand up to defensemen who try to intimidate. That’s just not possible!
#22 – RYLAN GALIARDI – Forward
Galiardi scored his first SF score this past Sunday in Stockton. He’s speedy and brings tons of energy to the Bulls lines. I look forward to watching him the rest of the season.
#24 – SCOTT LANGDON – Defense (Alternate Captain)
Langdon’s come a long ways from the awkward, hot headed defenseman he once was. OK, he still has the temper, but he can handle the puck so much better now. He’s very capable at guarding the net and he doesn’t hesitate to take an extra shove in the back of an over-anxious forward who takes a cheap shot at one of our players. He’s proven himself to be a leader and will continue to do so.
#25 – SIMON DANIS-PEPIN – Defense
Few have improved their game as much as Danis-Pepin. My friend keeps asking “why isn’t he using his size more?” Not every large player mimics their game like Zdeno Chara. But to Danis’ credit, he’s developed his method of playing so much this season. He’s protective of the net, quicker to get to the puck and yeah, he pushes his 6’ 7” height around much more than he used to. I’ve seen him in one fight with a confused Colorado Eagle player who challenged him, not sure why, the dude was nearly a foot shorter. The lesser guy lost, badly. He’s also a good puck handler, one of the better we have on defense and that makes him very useful close to the crease.
#26 – CHRISTIAN OUELLET – Forward
Christian Ouellet (no relation to Dean Ouellet) was part of the trade to Gwinnett and has only played a couple games. He’s fast and smooth and I want to wait to see him in action more before I write about him.
#29 – TAYLOR NELSON – Goalie
With Thomas Heemskerk’s appendectomy, Nelson had to fill in as the main goaltender. He has done so better than anyone could have expected. He’s done a great job. Sure, there have been a few burps, but, nothing out of the usual, and this was before the big trade. Before, when he was the back-up goalie, he only had a couple chances to fill in and his play was spotty. But now, with some great games in the win column, his confidence should be stronger than ever, which, more than nearly anything else, is needed in a great goalie.
#30 – BRYAN HINCE – Goalie
If you’re a goalie and you wear #30, you have a lot to live up to. At least you do in my eyes. Hince was brought in as a back-up for Nelson while Heemskerk was out. He’s done a good job at this. We’ve only needed him in a couple games, but when we did, he succeeded.
#32 – HANS BENSON – Left Wing (Alternate Captain)
Benson wasn’t playing for most of the first half of the season. He played the first couple of games or so and then for reasons unknown, he was scratched. That’s how it goes sometimes. Well, he’s back. I’m very happy to see him. He’s a good player and adds an intimidation factor that was missed while he was away. He could be mistaken for a defenseman. The PA announcer did that at a recent game. Make no mistake, he can handle a puck. Lest you forget he can fight too, so don’t get in his face.
#33 – THOMAS HEEMSKERK – Goalie
Just before New Year’s, Heemskerk had an appendectomy. He’s been out since. I was fearful of the Bulls going without him and yes, they have missed him. Thankfully, with Nelson, they’re doing well, but I am looking forward to having our main goalie back on the ice again.
#43 – KRIS BELAN – Left Wing
Kris keeps his point count going with 17 total, 7 of which are goals. He’s an all-around great player. He can score, obviously, he can protect, he can fight. What CAN’T he do? His PIMs is 105 and I’m sure that will get much higher before season’s end.
#44 – CODY CARLSON – Defense
Taking the number and part of the place of Sacha Guimond, who was part of the big trade, Carlson is still fresh, yet has already made an impact. He’s already scored a goal in one of the two games he’s played. His style is head-on, power hockey. I can’t wait to see more from Carlson.
#45 – DEAN OUELLET – Forward
One of our two best players (Sivak being the other, see below), Ouellet’s ability to score is near legendary. His skating isn’t smooth, and it doesn’t have to be. All he has to do is set his sights on the goal and it happens. He’s the lone Bulls player to make it to the ECHL All Star game and we’re darn proud of him. Expect many more goals from this superstar!
#47 – DYLAN KING – Defense
King has always been a good defenseman. He doesn’t get a lot of points; that’s not his focus. He protects the net and stops offensive players from scoring. He has improved and even though his -12 doesn’t show it, he’s one of the better defenseman we have. And yeah, as I said in my first review, he’s a brick wall.
#49 – JORDAN CLENDENNING – Center
Clendenning continues to be a well-known and long, last name in ECHL hockey. If he’s on the ice, he’s going to let you know it. I’m glad to have him on our team; he’s very aware of puck presence, what’s needed and when, whether it be a check or a fight or extra coverage. He’s a very valuable part of the Bulls.
#91 – PETER SIVAK – Right Wing
With moves smoother than should be illegal, Sivak, can weave the puck past a series of opponents. His skating ability comes from years of European experience. He’s just getting better and better. He’s on a six-game scoring streak and I don’t ever want it to end!
The Bulls have three tough games against the Conference leaders, the Alaska Aces up north. Games start tomorrow 8pm Pacific time. Listen at www.knbr.com The first game back at the Barn is January 31st with Thirsty Thursday and plenty of drink specials!