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Questions Asked Around the OHL

This time of the year in the OHL is always filled with Questions. Should Team X have traded for more? Maybe Team Y should have chose rebuild instead of go for it? Is there an issue in the dressing room? If these players were not injured what would be different. At the 40+ game mark in the OHL, it is time more than ever, to make every 2 point game count. More importantly make the 4 point (divisional game) count in your favour or lose ground fast.

This season, like every other season, you begin to see trends that show who these teams really are. Lets take a look at some of these trends.

The Knights are Bullies

            The London Knights have always been able to pull off the move of the year at the trade deadline and this years was no different, getting opposing GM’s to pull the trigger on deals that sent Greg McKegg and Austin Watson to the Black Gold and Green. Now make no mistake about it. Erie and Peterborough had to make deals, and I can continually beat this horse to death, but again the chosen target is London. Both players had lists of preferred destinations they wanted to go to. Both had London on the list, and GM Mark Hunter knew this. Hunter used this knowledge to twist the arm of his OHL GM Brothers and get what the Knights need to hopefully fend off all the other players in the Western Conference.

Bulls with no Horns

            The Belleville Bulls, unless they are completely going for the championship, are always enigmatic. They go up, they go down. They go up, they go down. In the month of November the Bulls had Two 6 game winning streaks. They did not always play a full 60 minute game as they had help from one Malcolm Subban and John Chartrand helping them through the games... Malcolm Subban has been hurt since the league started back up after the holiday break but I am not placing the blame on him. John Chartrand and call up, now full time, goaltender Charlie Graham has done everything in their power to help their teammates right this ship. Alas, the Bulls only seem interested in playing 20 minutes of a game and hoping their goalie can keep them in the game.

These Wolves have Bite

            A team I was hoping would turn it around are the Sudbury Wolves. This roster has too much talent to have bottomed out early and work their way up the Central division ladder. Fortunately for them, their winning ways and the teams ahead of them sliding down the ladder has brought them up to 3rd in the division. Currently sitting 4th in the Conference, their acquisitions of Michael Kantor, Derek Schoenmakers and their top line (Sgarbossa, Leivo and Kuchin) returning to their dominant ways will make this team a player as they still need to play catch up to Niagara and Brampton.

Lucky son of a Pete

            The Peterborough Petes like the Wolves, are benefitting from the recent slide of the Eastern Conference. With Belleville, Oshawa and Kingston in their division, a just over 500 record gives the Petes a second seed in the East Division. They did start hot, and that has helped Peterborough stay with the competition in the conference. The Petes have done a good job of beating up on teams outside their division as only 6 of their wins have come from Divisional opponents. The Petes are 6 for 16 this year against the East Division and with 11 games to go, that is not only 22 points up for grabs, but 44 points in total as they can end a divisional opponents playoff hopes. If this year has proven anything for Peterborough it is that their W’s will come from the Central division, 6 of 11 this year.

Spirit’s are High

            The Saginaw Spirit have basically been in a tail spin since the puck drop opened their 2011/12 season. The Return of Brandon Saad gave them a respectable surge but that fizzled out once the Power forward was injured. Slowly but surely the Saginaw Spirit have fought and clawed for points and finally worked themselves into the playoff race. By no means am I suggesting they will climb the Western Conference ladder. 25 points currently separate 1st and 8th in the West (14 pts separate 1st and 9th in the East), which is a big hill to climb but do not be surprised if this new Spirit team climb as high as 5th in the West. The horses are there and after making changes in the dressing room, this may be what the Spirit have needed all along.

More Questions will be asked, and many are left to be answered. Are these the real Niagara IceDogs? Will Oshawa shoot up the division and conference? The Soo paid a lot for Jack Campbell, was the deal a bust? and a whole lot more.

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