Last night the Brandon Wheat Kings gave a valiant effort but eventually lost a hard fought effort to the Calgary Hitmen (who are sailing through the W.H.L. playoffs) and are now one game away from being eliminated by the Hitmen. Keith Aulie is their captain, has a goal in this series and is one of Calgary's top defense prospects. At 6'6" and 220 lbs this isn't your normal junior, he was incredible at the world juniors and can really do it all.
I won't be alone and not the first to say that Anders Eriksson does not deserve to be in the line up. There is John Negrin and Matt Pelech waiting to come in as well and of these two Pelech has impressed me the most as his skating is at the N.H.L. level already but Aulie could be a very interesting seventh guy to have. The question is can any junior step in and actually play in these playoffs? He is big and is playing a hard fought series against a very good team but is that in any way indicative of what he will face at this level? The obvious answer is no of course however he has shown at every level he can step his game up to the next level and I'd be at interested to see if the Flames add him to the Black Aces.
Speaking of defense has anyone noticed that Aucoin seems to be on the ice every time Chicago scores? Regehr's absence in this series has been the difference in my opinion, I would be confident that Calgary would be ahead by this point had he played. The reality is he won't see any Chicago faces this post season and Chicago has earned their two wins the hard way. In the interest of being fair I would also point out that Sopel always plays well against Calgary as well and is not available.
You always learn a lot about teams when you see them in a playoff series and no matter what team you cheer for you have to give it up to the Black hawks management for assembling that talent. Keith, Seabrook, Barker, Kane , Toews, Sharp, Versteeg...wow.... and wow for years to come. Never mind Skille and a few other prospects they have coming that are scary. If Calgary wants to beat them they better do it this year!