1. Ladies and gentlemen, Max Domi of the London Knights.
2. There was lots of flak toward Kitchener Rangers GM Murray Hiebert when he acquired goalie Jake Paterson at the trade deadline.
It looks like the man is a genius now.
Paterson’s numbers — in Kitchener — are elite. His .925 save percentage is the best in the OHL. His 2.26 goals against average is second best to Ken Appleby of Oshawa.
The move — made for a second and third round draft pick — has certainly paid off.
Paterson’s impact was never in question but there are always risks. The team has to be pleased with his performance so far.
That being said — and with an eye toward the future — let’s remember that Paterson is gone after this season. A replacement will be needed if the club wants to be in the conversation in the west down the road.
It should be noted that current goalies Dawson Carty and Matt Greenfield are both able to return. But one would surmise that if the Rangers felt the need to get Paterson, they’ll be looking for a similar workhorse next season.
3. As per my Mississauga rant from yesterday’s Brownie points, look I have long lauded the Hershey Centre and the Majors/Dogs/Steelheads.
I lobby for Kitchener Rangers fans to make the short drive to the rink for its friendly concession staff and ushers, good sightlines, affordable prices and free parking.
But if you want to be treated professionally, you have to steer the ship that way. Players need to come out for interviews after games in a timely manner and staff need to take requests seriously.
I realize speaking to the media isn’t everyone’s thing. And it can suck doing interviews, especially after losses. It can suck conducting interviews sometimes too.
I’m not looking for special treatment. I want to get in, out, do my job and move on.
For the most part, teams in the OHL are great at dealing with the needs of the media. Mississauga just needs to get it together.
4. Niagara’s surge continues. The team is 8-0-2-0 in their last 10 games and now aiming for home ice advantage in the playoffs. Look out.
5. Yes, that was former Waterloo Siskins goalie Leo Lazarev picking up his second shutout of the season in this past Friday’s 2-0 win over Belleville. It was a tough start to the season for the Russian but he’s 4-1 in his last five starts.
And he does this during warm-ups before every game. Scroll to the 42-second mark. Classic.
6. Why do I have a feeling that this is going to be the year a team pulls off an upset in the playoffs? Just so many intriguing plot lines in the west alone — London’s top line going off on a team, Guelph’s experienced guys coming through like last year, Sarnia’s up-and-comers creating confidence, Paterson stealing one with the Rangers and more.
7. I really like Logan Brown’s game of late (and not because of his last name). He has 15 points in 13 games since the Christmas break. He’s going to be huge for Windsor next year.
8. Sad to see the Los Angeles Kings place former Kitchener Rangers captain Michael Richards on waivers. You have to wonder if all those years of playing the game hard have taken their toll on the 29-year-old.
I’ve Tweeted it often but he is a winner all around. Two Stanley Cups, a champ in the AHL, OHL and CHL and gold at the Olympics and world juniors. Talk about a stacked resume.
When Kitchener general manager Jamie MacDonald drafted him fourth overall in 2001 other GMs on the conference call — that’s how they did drafts then — laughed.
Richards has proved people wrong his entire career.
9. An interesting line on the Rangers - only Oshawa, Ottawa, Belleville, the Soo, Erie and London have a better winning percentage on home ice (Kitchener is .659).
10. The World Cup of hockey is returning in 2016. I have fond memories of sitting in the rafters of Copps Coliseum as a kid watching Canada win the Canada Cup with Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux on board back in 1987.
Next year's tourney - set for Toronto - has a twist with a 23-and-under squad of Canucks and Americans. They haven't announced the cut off age-wise yet but it would be pretty cool if they included one player from the OHL, QMJHL and WHL.