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The unofficial first-half of the 2007-08 Ontario Hockey League season is in the books. Here are some random thoughts as we are into the holiday break....
* It's the unofficial first half since some teams have played as few as 32 games while Barrie has played 36 games.
* Hockey is a team sport, but can one player make a difference? Three words: London Steve Mason.
* Perspective is everything. Peterborough and Sarnia have similar populations to draw fans from. The Petes have a few more bodies available, more than five decades of tradition to draw from and a few more championship banners in the rafters to show off. Peterborough is bringing in about 3,000 people per game and are doing well. Sarnia draws 3,500 per game and many in that area think they are struggling at the gate. Weird isn't it?
* How is the Toronto St. Michael's to Mississauga Majors, moving the Ice Dogs to Niagara out of St. Catharines situation working out? The Majors have seen their attendance double while the Ice Dogs are up around 15% compared to this time last year. I think it has worked out just fine. It has been awkward, but fine.
* Beware the...Otter?: Erie went into Christmas with a four-game home winning streak. Robbie Ftorek & Co. hope they may be starting to turn it around.
* London Free Press writer Morris Dalla Costa and Kitchener Record reporter Jeff Hicks have been busy working the "Will Steve Mason be traded?" angle. I say let's turn the tables a bit. Lock the two of them up in a room and let them hammer out a trade and then take it back to their respective GM's for approval. Now wouldn't that be fun? Media running OHL teams.
(At this time we pause as the media person reading this says "Yeah, I'd do a better job than..." and the GM/Coach reading this says "Yeah, Mr. Know-it-all media person already thinks they can do a better job.")
* We'd officially like to welcome the Barrie Colts back down to earth. After bolting to the top of the Central Division they've gone winless in their past seven games. If you said the rebuilding Colts would be at around .500 at the break many would not have been surprised. It's just the roller coaster ride to get to that point that is tough on Barrie fans. A rash of injuries has not helped either.
* Taking the scenic route: Aaron Snow has scored three goals this season, one for Windsor, one for Niagara, one for Sarnia.
* After Brampton's Bobby Sanguinetti had a four-goal game some people were pondering whether he'd have a record season. The late Bryan Fogarty scored 47 in 1988-89, a record among defencemen. Since then Sanguinetti has 2 goals in 13 games.
* I can't remember the last time so many big trades happened in the OHL before Christmas. You might see one or two, but we've seen plenty this year. Once somebody pulls the trigger on one, many are sure to follow.
* Would the real Sarnia Sting please stand up? They've had more streaks this season than that guy who would show up at sporting events with only paint promoting an internet casino on his body.
* What's with Barrie and four-syllable last names? Della Rovere, Nikiforov, Perugini, van de Bospoort. This is the same team that has also had Petruzalek, Colaiacovo, D'Allessandro and one of the all-time classics: Dzieduszycki (I tried to check that name on my spell check and it just came back with "seriously?").
* John Tavares needs 43 goals in the second-half of the season to break his 72 goal mark from last season. How many did he score last year after being cut from Team Canada? 43. With being away for the World Juniors and not having a full Christmas break, JT is very likely to fall short of last year's regular season total. Ernie Godden's record of 87 in a year will live for another summer.
* First-half sleeper: Chris Terry, Plymouth Whalers. Carolina's 5th round pick in June in only seven points back of his career high.
Be sure to check back in throughout the holiday season for updates here on loosepucks.com. Some updates may be on opinions and happenings around junior hockey. Some, may be on the lighter side.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!
And by the way speaking of media guys making trades when are you stepping behind the Sting bench.
They need a shake up.
ps: keep us up to date from the rumour mill.
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