Friday, November 23, 2012

2013 Draft Blog: Curtis Lazar Pt.2

Back on September 17th Edmonton Oil Kings forward Curtis Lazar contributed his first blog post of the season. If you missed it you can find it HERE. Since then the WHL season began and the team has played 23 games. The Subway Super Series has come and gone and NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings have been released. 

Offering his thoughts on the last two months, The Pipeline Show is pleased to be able to bring you the second chapter in the 2013 Draft Blog by Curtis Lazar of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Photo: Andy Devlin
Hello again,  This is Curtis Lazar checking in with my second blog.

A lot has happened in the first quarter of the season in regards to myself and the Oil kings. We currently have a 14-5-4 record and are right in the hunt for leading the Central division and Eastern Conference. The NHL lockout hasn't had much movement so far meaning we have had the privilege of having Ryan Smyth come out and practice with us. Anytime you have a NHLer skating with you it is an incredible feeling. Smyth is a great guy too, he has a lot of useful advice which we can take from him but he also pushes us on the ice and makes us work to become better hockey players, he is "one of the guys" now and we treat him just as if he's been an Oil King for a long time. 

A couple weeks back we got some exciting news as we traded for David Musil a high end defender (who also is an Oilers draft pick). 

Lazar & Geertsen 1st round in 2010
To get a good player you need to give up a good player and unfortunately that was Mason Geertsen. This was especially tough for me as I billet with Mason and his family. I honestly consider him as a brother we did everything together; whether it be doing chores or getting haircuts Mason and I could always be seen together. The hockey business is a tough one and trades happen; Vancouver got a great kid in Mason and we picked up another great guy in Dave. I wish Mason all the best with his success in Vancouver.

Up next for us was a very unique road trip that saw us travel out to Prince Albert and Swift Current before making our way out west to Kamloops, Kelowna and Prince George. I was excited, anytime you go on the road you bond as a team and I felt it was exactly what we needed to come closer together. 

We lost a tough one 3-2 in Prince Albert but rebounded with a 2-1 win over Swift Current the following night. that game Luke Bertolucci picked up his first WHL goal which got us on the board midway through the second. 

After playing in Saskatchewan we traveled out to Banff where we enjoyed a day off just to get away from everything and soak in some great scenery, not to mention an amazing home-cooked dinner from Keegan Lowe's relatives. 

Probably the game that we were mainly focused on was the one in Kamloops. The Blazers got off to a tremendous start this year and we played them earlier in the season which saw us lose in a shootout so we were hungry for a win against them. Getting our wish we won another nail-biter 2-1. 

Photo: Andy Devlin
Our next game in Kelowna I had circled on the calendar for a long time. Living in Vernon, Kelowna is the closest I get to play to home and I always leave it all on the ice trying to put on a show for all the friends and family I have in attendance. We came up short that night in Kelowna but Steven Shmoorkoff netted his first WHL goal. Opposing goalie Jackson Whistle who was actually my goalie in Bantam stood on his head. Like all good teams we bounced back with a hard earned 4-point weekend up in Prince George which concluded our road trip.

We had a couple days off after arriving back in Edmonton before [coach] Derek Laxdal, Michael St. Croix, Keegan Lowe, Travis Ewanyk, Laurent Brossoit, Griffin Reinhart and myself took a plane out to Vancouver to represent Team WHL in the Super Series where we battle against the highly skilled Russians. I was honoured to receive an invite to this event and thrilled with the opportunity to play with the leagues top players. 

The Russians were headlined with 1st overall selection Nail Yakupov so we knew it was going to be a challenge. In game 1, I had extreme butterflies before the game, I was so excited to get playing and the hockey was like none I've played before. It had a pro feel to the game, the speed and caliber was high and we all were treating it as a Canada vs Russia showdown. 

A couple early open ice hits by line mate and roommate Travis Ewanyk set the tone before Laurent Brossoit stole the show recording a shutout while we scored our only goals in a shootout but a win is a win and we were proud of it. 

The next day we took the ferry over to Victoria for our next game against the Russians and the entire Super Series was on the line that night. Another fast paced game didn't fall in our favour this time. All in all, it was a great experience and I'm truly grateful for the opportunity I had to play for Team WHL. I made a lot of new friends that trip, it was neat sitting down with guys from different teams and just getting to know them while talking about past games or stats and facts I didn't know. We all had to say good bye and now were back to being enemies on the ice but off the ice that is a different story, I for one hope those friendships I made that week last a lifetime.

Another fun experience I had with the Oil Kings just recently happened. We showed up to the rink to find out there would be no practice or workout but we would be having an Edmonton Oil Kings Bonspiel! Yes, we headed out to a curling rink and for many of us this was a first and oh boy did it show. 

Luckily I had trainer Brian Cheeseman on my team and he had some skill which propelled us to a victory over equipment manager Mr. Rogan Dean and his squad. Some guys picked it up right off the bat while others such as myself just couldn't seem to find our game or our footing… It was a lot of fun, I would love to try curling more often. I developed a respect for that sport because I never knew how difficult it really is!

Thank you for reading and I will be back in the next little while to fill you in on more stuff regarding my life and the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Curtis Lazar is a center with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. He is listed by the team at 6'0 and 198 lbs. The B.C. native is universally considered a 1st round prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft. ISS ranked him 6th overall in November while NHL Central Scouting has him 8th in the WHL. He currently has scored 8 goals and 15 points through the first 23 games of the season.

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