Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fronts: Murphy's Law, Werek and Dougie's plausible deniability

It's a pretty nice little Saturday in terms of Kingston-related hockey stories — anything to avoid that whole "nine wins in 45 games" unpleasantness with the Springer Frontenacs.

Mike Koreen hit one out of the park with a profile on the pride of Inverary, Belleville Bulls goalie Mike Murphy. Damien Cox in the Toronto Star has a very nice piece on the Manchurian Coach, Doug Gilmour.

Meantime, it was noted last week Ethan Werek's draft status with the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau (43rd-ranked North American skater) was perhaps more of a reflection on the Fronts organization. Werek showed well during the CHL Top Prospects Game this week. Today, the the Frontenacs centre was praised as "sleeper pick"by Shane Malloy, who hosts Hockey Prospects Radio on NHL Home Ice (XM Radio 204).

Malloy noted (loose paraphrasing), "If I'm a NHL team, I'm taking him early. He's a player who displays a lot of intelligence, with our without the puck. He has very high hockey sense. I think he'll be a solid second-line centre.

A few moments later, Malloy added, "One more thing about Ethan Werek. He's a 17-year-old who was scheduled to go to Boston University before he decided to play in Kingston for Doug Gilmour. (Ed.'s note: Larry Mavety was still the coach in September — so Werek is really smart.) He graduated from high school a year early, he's taking business at Queen's University, and Queen's is a very prestigious university. That's the kind of intelligence we're talking about."

Getting back to Gilmour, it seems like Dougie! is going along by rote. Every item in the media about him coaching seems to have some quote along the lines of what he told Cox:
I didn't know the team, I didn't know the league ... It's been a tough learning curve. I've enjoyed it, as much as it has been painful at times to see the players so frustrated. They all want to take the next step. I'm here to teach these kids how to work."
The niggling little concern is that when every time Gilmour says, "I didn't know the league," it comes off, at least to paranoics who overthink these things, as him giving himself an out from Kingston — plausible deniability, in political argot. It's like how you say something because you're not ready to admit or face the truth.

Gilmour's hockey sense is rubbing off on the Fronts after The Royal Mavesty's disastrous coaching stint (Larry Mavety seems to taken the old Chinese table-tennis axiom that "a coach is best who coaches least," a little too literally). Sam from from The Canadian Stretford End noted in a comment last night that Gilmour, during last night's come-from-ahead 5-3 loss to — wait for it — Belleville, "was literally engineering the power play from the bench. He was just pointing to every player, then where they should be standing. It looked like a coach teaching an eight year old team how to position yourself on a power play. The worst part was the Doug was right in doing so."

It would asinine ass-talkery to doubt Gilmour's sincerity when he says he's committed to coach in Kingston next season.

Meantime, the gang at Fronts Talk have that last night, the Frontenacs had Special Olympics figure skater slated to perform and messed up his music. Apparently, they also had a ceremony for Belleville's P.K. Subban, the two-time Canadian world junior standout, but owner Doug Springer opted to not to come on the ice, since he's been booed during the last two pregame ceremonies (for long-time trainer Len Coyle and radio voice Jim Gilchrist).

Meantime, the Fronts try to break into double-digits in the win column tomorrow at 2 p.m. vs. Saginaw. Fun, fun.

Goalie a rising star ... and that's no Bull (Mike Koreen, Kingston Whig-Standard)
Gilmour has come full circle (Damien Cox, Toronto Star)

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