Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Taming the Tabbies, "Fightgate" Update

A feather in the cap last night for Deven Dubyk.

In his final appearance in the rink where he spent his first three WHL seasons, Dubyk made 28 saves to backstop the Red Deer Rebels to a 4-2 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers.

By all accounts, it was a solid team effort. A perfect way for the Rebels to say "thank you" to the guy who gave them so much in so little time.

Dubyk made a very difficult decision when he joined the Rebels in late December... passing up a chance to play in the RBC Cup with the host Humboldt Broncos. The Rebels are thankful he made the decision that he did.

His overall solid play kept the injury-riddled Rebels in countless games over the past three months. Obviously, the Rebels did not win nearly as many of those games as they would have liked. But Dubyk at least gave them a chance more often than not. As I mentioned in a previous blog... his numbers don't jump right out at you (3.05 GAA, .905 save %) but if you think the Rebels season was bad enough already... not having Dubyk between the pipes would have made it look much worse.

Back to last night's game... Alex Petrovic started his farewell week by scoring a pair of goals, his 11th and 12th of the season. As Director of Player Personnel for the Florida Panthers Brian Skrudland told me last month, Petrovic is a lock to play for their AHL affiliate in San Antonio next season. So let's enjoy his final few games with the Rebels because his presence will definitely be missed next year.

Tyson Ness scored his 20th goal of the season last night. Ness has taken full advantage of the extra ice time he's received this year. He will be a valuable leader for the Rebels as a 19-year-old next season.

Just two games left for the Rebels, both of them at home, Friday versus Lethbridge and Saturday versus Edmonton.


Meantime... Edmonton Oil Kings Head Coach Derek Laxdal is softening on his stance, somewhat.

You'll recall that he accused the Rebels of using some dirty tactics during last Saturday's game at Rexall Place... setting the stage for what could be an explosive game this Saturday at the Enmax Centrium.

But in another article featured in today's Edmonton Journal, Laxdal wasn't so sure that will be the case...

Saturday’s game against Red Deer could be a rough one. The teams combined for 156 penalty minutes at Rexall Place on Saturday and Laxdal was vocal after the game, repeatedly saying that the Rebels — who were eliminated from the playoffs —were unprofessional in how they conducted themselves.

Laxdal now brushes off the suggestion that the Rebels’ final game of the season Saturday could get out of hand.

“It’s the game of hockey,” he said. “The game gets physical and we’ve got to play through it. We’ve got to focus on getting those two points and focus on the way we play.

“We want to play a physical hard game. If it gets out of control a little bit, that’s the referee’s job to settle it down. It’ll be fine.”

We shall all find out together on Saturday.

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