Thursday, March 21, 2013
"Bling" For Bartosak / Prospects Update
Honoured. Excited. Focused.
That’s pretty much how Patrik Bartosak felt yesterday afternoon when we chatted about his double honours from the Western Hockey League.
After receiving the Red Deer Rebels MVP Award last week, the 19 year old Czech netminder was named as an Eastern Conference 1st-team All Star on Wednesday. He is also the Eastern Conference nominee for WHL Goaltender of the Year.
He appreciates the honours but, as you would expect, isn’t taking any time to celebrate as he prepares for his WHL playoff debut.
“It feels great but it’s a definite team award,” Bartosak offered up after being recognized for a regular season in which he made 55 appearances, posting a 33-14-5-0 record with a 2.26 GAA and league leading .935 save percentage along with 5 shutouts. He also had a sparkling 8-0 record in shootouts.
The awards are not only well-deserved, they recognize all of the hard work Bartosak went through to come back from the shoulder injury which ended his 2011-12 season prematurely. Patrik never had a doubt he could regain his form.
“I knew I could do it [come back]. Even after the surgery I knew that I could be a good goaltender in this league. I just came back as strong as I could, got ready in the summer for this, the team really helped me out a lot. It’s a good feeling.”
Bartosak beat out a strong group of netminders for his pair of honours, a group including Laurent Broissoit (and Tristan Jarry for that matter), Eetu Laurikainen, Andrei Makarov, Mackenzie Skapski amongst others.
“I don’t think I’m really that much better or played better,” Bartosak said about himself in comparison. “I probably just had more luck than they did. I just had a good team in front of me and made the saves I was supposed to make.”
Patrik will make his WHL playoff debut tomorrow night when he and the Rebels welcome the Prince Albert Raiders to the Enmax Centrium for game one of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
“I’m super excited. It’s my first real playoffs in my career. I was in playoffs back in midgets but it was not something like this. The team is getting pumped and excited. This is why we are here, to play in the playoffs and have fun. It’s the most exciting part of the season.”
Bartosak says he and the boys are feeling good as they get set to battle against a very evenly-matched Raiders squad. “We beat them at home twice and we lost two games in overtime and a shootout there. so yeah we feel confident that we are going to win the series.”
While this year’s team is focusing on the “now” the Rebels franchise is also looking ahead to the future this week.
Top prospects Adam Musil and Taz Burman have been brought in to practice with the club now that their Midget AAA season in BC is over.
Musil and Burman both played for the Greater Vancouver Canadians who were eliminated from playoffs last weekend. The two 15 year olds won’t see any game action with the Rebels in playoffs, but they will get a valuable learning experience as they prepare to battle for roster spots next season. [Musil is a lock to be here for 2013-14, Burman will be right in the mix to be backup goalie].
Adam Musil was the Rebels 1st round selection, 6th overall, in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft. He posted outstanding numbers as a 15 year old forward playing midget AAA. In 32 regular season games played, Musil collected 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points (two points behind team scoring leader Glenn Gawdin) and added 3 points in 6 playoff games (a goal and two assists). Adam appeared in 3 games with the Rebels in December in which he was held scoreless and had a minus-one rating. His bloodlines are well known but it’s always noteworthy to mention his father, Frank, who had a lengthy NHL career. His uncle, Bobby Holik, wasn’t too shabby either. Adam’s brother, David, is a stud defenceman with the Edmonton Oil Kings as was the Oilers’ 2nd round, 31st overall, selection in last year’s NHL Entry Draft.
Taz Burman was the Rebels 2nd round selection, 30th overall, in 2012. He played in 24 regular season games with Greater Vancouver and posted a 12-10-1 record with a 2.53 GAA.
Some other highly touted Rebels prospects are still competing in playoffs in their respective Midget AAA leagues… Vukie Mpofu… Vukie garnered a lot of attention last fall in his bid to make the Rebels roster as a 16 year old. His size hampered his bid to be part of the defence corps and he was switched to forward. To say he has excelled since making the switch would be about right. Mpofu led the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League in regular season scoring with 71 points (31 goals, 40 assists) in 43 games. He has added 6 points in 6 playoff games. Vukie and his Saskatoon Contacts teammates are set to battle the Prince Albert Mintos in the league final.
Kaleb Denham… was acquired by the Rebels from the Tri City Americans back on October 1st and has been a steady force on the blueline for the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs, who are up against Edmonton SSAC in the Alberta Midget Hockey League final.
Connor Hamonic… defenceman for the Winnipeg Wild who recorded 22 points (3 goals, 19 assists) in 43 regular season games. The Wild are up against the Winnipeg Thrashers in the Manitoba league final.
Here’s a quick look at the other Rebels prospects who will be in Red Deer for a tour of team operations this weekend…
Grant Naherniak (G) – Moose Jaw Generals… no stranger to Red Deer already… played in 18 regular season games with Moose Jaw and posted a 8-8-2 record with a 2.91 GAA and .899 save percentage… came on in relief of Bolton Pouliot to make his Rebels debut on December 30th… made 3 appearances with the Rebels while Bartosak was away at World Juniors
Holden Daley (D) – Edmonton CAC
Jake Maclachlan (D) – Fernie Ghostriders (Jr. B)
Austin Strand (D) – Calgary Northstars
Austin Schmoorkoff (D) – Edmonton CAC
Brayden Burke (F) – Edmonton CAC
Cole Chorney (F) – Edmonton Maple Leafs
Mason McCarty (F) – UFA Bisons
Meyer Nell (F) – Southwest Cougars (Manitoba)
Lynnden Pastachak (F) – Yorkton Harvest
Grayson Pawlenchuk (F) – Sherwood Park Kings
Earl Webb (F) – Calgary Buffaloes
(info complied with help from story filed by @GregMeachem)
Many of you know this already… but game 5 of the Rebels / Raider playoff series (if necessary) has been changed from a 7:30pm start time on Friday, March 29th to 8pm. This is to accommodate a scheduled television broadcast for Rogers Sportsnet.