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Sunday, May 27, 2007


Looking back at the season: Michael Garnett was almost always hovering in the bottom quarter of the rankings of the league this season. Even in the playoffs, when he played his best, he wasn't up there among the best in the playoffs.

He was blessed by a high scoring offensive line in addition to having some great nights. The defense, which has also drawn the wrath of many people, did struggle. I noticed it was after the trade of Bradon Colburn that the defense found itself. Was that because Colburn's attitude, and I think it was attitude both here and in Atlanta that caused him to first be benched by the Thrashers and then traded, or was his abilty lacking?

We can debate Colburn on and on... He'll answer this question in the next season or two himself.

Fred Brathwaite held the team in line through the Manitoba trip. It was sometime after that trip he began really showing problems in the net. The game on Friday night was one of the most remarkable performances I can remember ever seeing. He was in the zone and I was so glad I went to Hamilton to witness that.

There has been alot of criticism of Assistant Coach Todd Nelson too. But, this is the best defensive group I've seen play for the Wolves in five seasons.

In sum, this season clearly demonstrates why sports is used as a metaphor for life. The problems of last season, the early success, the mid-season struggle and the struggle to hold on during the late regular season. Then, the Wolves just blossomed in a way I never would have expected.

The first series, defeating the Admirals in a sweep, was wonderful payback on a team that has had the number of this team all season. It promised a great playoff season.

It was a great playoff season. The Iowa series was a bit of a lull, though I'm not criticizing the Iowa team. It is just that emotionally, I became far more involved in the playoffs during the Milwaukee series and the Hamilton series.

I did not want to leave Hamilton for good on Friday. I wanted to come back on Saturday. That Friday night victory was very sweet, especially as it was a one goal shut out. It snapped the sweep. It was sweet to collect a discarded broom, it was in Hamilton colour, and have the team sign it.

I can tell you that just about every player wanted to break that broom. The only reason it survived is that it's handle was made of metal, not wood.

The fact is that the Hamilton fans had so much class, it is a trip I compare to the Manitoba trip with regard to the memories and friends we made here, and only adds to the season.

I come into the season demanding we aim for the Calder Cup. This year there were so many highlights to the year, from the development of rookies and the Haydar/ Krog/ Sterling line to the rehabilitation of Garnett and Brathwaite in the playoffs. I would be satisfied with the Calder. But I never expected it.

Next season promises a division filled with tough competition. For the last two seasons I've ended the season with the same call: DROP THE PUCK ALREADY!

I'll be wrapping the 2007 blog up in the next day or so. We have some great game photos from the Rockford MetroCentre of the IceHogs Colonial Cup win, the Wolves win on Friday and the final win, by Hamilton on Saturday night.

After seening the Bulldogs play six times this year, four times in the past week, I have some observations about them that the Hershey fans may find of interest too. So, while I'm not yet done for the year, I can see the end of the road.

From the Western New York State Thruway... till I have an extra three or four hours. Take care and thanks for reading.

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