I have always detested the fact that around World Junior time, a contending Hounds team would lose players for an extended period of time during the regular season and for what ? ; good drafting?
It seemed to me that over the years, they should shut down the league for the Christmas break earlier so that no team will suffer from this issue.
The one bone of contention I still hold is that it can affect home ice advantage if a team loses a game or two with their stars missing and that is something that should not happen but it does and the league should address this.
Anyway, aside from that I have kind of come full circle in my thinking and am starting to get on board with the cliché saying that “it gives other kids an opportunity to gain experience and showcase their skills”.
All coaches say this and……………guess what?; they are right.
As I look at things now; it is not about finishing #1 all the time; it is preparation for the big dance in the playoffs that matters.
All too many times over the years, we have seen the Hounds dominate the season and standings and fall to a team that may have finished below us all year long and come out of nowhere to beat us out or win the OHL championship.
That is what really matters.
Until the New Year the Hounds will be without two of their top players in Ryan O’Rourke who will suit up for Team Canada and center Tanner Dickinson who will join the USA squad.
This leaves some gaps to fill so the Hounds have called up Andrew Gibson from the Soo Thunderbirds to help out on defense. Gibson is a big 6’3″ 190 pounder who is leading the team with 27 points in 20 games.
Up front the Hounds are short with Tanner now gone, but still have Kalvyn Watson and Tyler Savard on the injury reserve list. John Dean has said they will be dressing just 11 forwards for the road trip and utilizing 7 defenceman.
If Andrew Gibson can play like he did with the T -Birds he may help fill the offensive gap left by the above mentioned.
So as you can see, players will gain extra minutes, be inserted into unfamiliar territory and come playoff time, they will be seasoned if called upon.
Motivation is a very key factor as you see year after year the Knights out of London still go on incredible runs when many of their stars out at the WJ’s.
John Dean and the coaching staff are definitely in that same category so I don’t think we have anything to worry about.
Win or lose over the next few games without our stars and personnel due to injury will only make the Hounds that much more lethal come playoff time.
GO HOUNDS GO