Shutouts involving the Everett Silvertips aren't really news and the talented WHL club has usually been on the positive end... but not this time.
If you had asked me in September to pick Canada's WJC roster there would have been 3 Silvertips on the club. Certainly goaltender Leland Irving would have been there as well as 2006-07 WHL leading scorer Zack Hamill. I also would have thrown Kyle Beach's name in the mix, he was the WHL rookie of the year last year and is pretty much a concensus top 5 pick in 2008.
All pretty reasonable candidates but low and behold, as the invites to Calgary camp were issued, Beach wasn't even asked to come out and then both Hamill and Irving were cut when the week ended.
Now this isn't a article of outrage that Hockey Canada has made a horrendous mistake, it's more to express my shock that 3 highly touted players had spots likely to lose... and lost them!
Anyone who knows me knows that Zack Hamill is one my personal favorite prospects, I even made sure to draft him in my keeper league. But when the defending scoring champ doesn't even rank in the top 25 the next season (as of Dec 14th anyway) then clearly something is up. My theory is that Hamill benefitted hugely from Peter Mueller and the attention teams had to pay him last year.
Irving has struggled right from the get-go this season. One has to wonder if the massive contract signed by Miikka Kiprusoff and the overall depth of the Flames goaltending (one of the best in the NHL in my opinion) is weighing on him. That plus a less than stellar performance during the Super Series seems to have knocked Irving back down to mere mortal status. (Another shot to my fantasy keeper squad...)
Lastly, Beach, for all his on ice talents obviously has some issues to overcome. I've met him, talked to him and was impressed with the way he'd owned up to some of his past mistakes and his candor in regards to trying to get himself on the right path. Since then there have been more incidents (off ice) and the more NHL people I talk to, the more often I am hearing that he's a bad apple. He's going to get drafted and very high, hopefully by a team that has solid leadership that can help mold a still maturing 17-year-old into a better adult.
Now, on the show I picked Everett to win the division. Sure doesn't look like that's going to happen but I wonder if this 0-3 loss to Hockey Canada might provide some extra motivation for the trio of 'Tips players.
I hope so, because if Millard's Wheaties end up winning their division and Everett fails... I'll never hear the end of it.