Friday, November 15, 2002


Next time you think Blazers fans are too demanding...or Buzzards fans too cheerful...or Mudbugs fans too smug (three straight Cups gave them the right)... just remember, there's nothing like a Leafs nut.

CHL transactions-watchers will have noticed that, despite local news reports and message board chatter, Kyle Reeves was never given his release. Question #1 -- did the paper get it wrong, or did TL say he released Reeves on purpose, figuring everyone would take his word for it? Maybe it was just semantics -- using the word "release" to confirm that the "indefinite" suspension was permanent, even though the Brahmas held on to his rights. Question #2 -- is talk of Reeves being content to hang 'em up legit, or a bit of misdirection to get free of Lalonde?

As far as I can figure, New Mexico's 10 wins at the beginning of the first-ever WPHL season now stands as the CHL record for best start. Any of you old-timers know different? The record for longest winning streak is 12, held by Huntsville ('96-'97), Shreveport (no "Bossier" back then, in '98-'99) and Memphis (last season). 9-0 Austin plays three-in-three this weekend. Brent Hughes has all but said Matt Barnes will be out there every game. Friday and Saturday are division contests, and it's hard to imagine Barnes not playing against his former Central Texas coach and teammates Sunday, when the Brahmas come to town.

With Craig Johnson and John Murphy on the opposing bench for that one, Austin fight fans should hope the Bats jump out to a big lead. Why? "The cat wants out of the bag real bad," Hughes says. "Over nine tight hockey games he's been a disciplined player. I know he wants the team to get up four or five goals so he can do his business." (Bulletin-board disclaimer: Hughes was not speaking about Fort Worth, or any club in particular, when he said that.)

SIX PUCK DRILL: Wichita's Jeff Leiter
The only thing worse than being on a last place squad is not being in the line-up to do something about it. Thunder captain Jeff Leiter has been on the shelf with a broken wrist since early in the season (he's due back in a week or two). The third year pro, whose father Bobby played in the NHL, embodies a common hockey phenomenon, where the tough guys on the ice are the smart ones in real life. Leiter has 37 majors in two CHL campaigns and a Master's in biomechanics.

What will you do with your degree?
I actually got into a PhD program back home, at the University of Manitoba. I don't want to think about it too much, but at the end of the season I'll contemplate going on with school, or maybe try and go a year or two more with hockey.

What's biomechanics?
It's basically physics of the body. We have to know the anatomy of the body in quite a bit of detail, and then we apply physics to human motion, whether it's sports skills, or looking at orthopedics and joint replacements.

Why did you play one game in the UHL last year?
Bruce Ramsay was player/assistant coach in Wichita the year before. I went with him to Muskegon, unfortunately things didn't work out, they have a very good squad there, they ended up winning it. But I definitely have no regrets, it's good to be back in Wichita. It's easy to get down in a situation like this, but we're working hard. We've got to turn this thing around.

Any memories of your Dad's career?
My only memory of my Dad playing is after he finished. They had a benefit game for an ex player in Winnipeg. Bobby Orr and a few other stars were playing in it and my dad got a hat trick in that game. I guess he got all the talent in the family.

Which do you prefer yourself, Gordie Howe hat trick or regular hat trick?
I don't mind the Gordie Howe hat tricks. I know what my role is on the ice.

Favorite road trip movie?
I'm a big Kingpin fan. The guys get sick of me quoting it. I've probably seen it 16 or 17 times.

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