Who are the bears?

Following completion of the opening week to begin the 2014-15 season, the Owen Sound Attack find themselves in an early identity crisis. Despite grabbing 4 out of a possible 6 points, head coach Greg Ireland has called to question his team’s work ethic and leadership.

In an article for the local Sun Times Ireland stated, “It’s about the way we’re playing. I’m not happy. We’re not that great without work. We’re not that great without structure. We’re not that great without leadership. We need to find our identity and what drives us and just do it.”

With a number of healthy scratches, including Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Jaden Lindo and a crowded crease, it would seem player personnel changes are imminent. Unconfirmed sources have Attack GM Dale DeGray quoted as saying just that.

Its widely speculated across league sources that the Attack will look to deal either netminder Brandon Hope or Jack Flinn. Whichever and to whomever Degray decides to deal, could ultimately reflect the teams intended direction.

As many as 3 teams have been rumoured to show interest in a potential deal for Brett Hargrave and a goalie. Sault St. Marie, London, and Peterborough however, all seem intent on competing this season and are likely unwilling to give up talent off their roster. For these teams, the more proven Brandon Hope(OA) is the more likely target.

A far more appealing trade route for Attack fans in the immediate, would be to target a team on the rebuild. Sarnia Sting defenseman Anthony DeAngelo(71pts in 56gp, ’13-’14) appears to have interest in playing for a competing team and would be a welcomed offensive upgrade over 1st round hold-out Victor Mete, who was dealt to the London Knights for a glutton of draft picks.

The most intriguing forward considered to be on the trading block is Sudbury Wolves winger Nicholas Baptiste. In his third season with Wolves, Baptiste emerged as an elite scorer with 45 goals and 89 points in 65 games and boasted an impressive +/- rating of 20. This would certainly go a long way to identifying who the teams scores are going to be and may help others accept “roles”.

Six-foot-eight netminder Jack Flinn has become a bit of a hot commodity in the scouting world. The Halifax native came on strong late last season and has impressed scouts at an NHL rookie camp. Flinn, along with other second year players and numerous draft picks stockpiled by Attack management, could make an intriguing package for rebuilding organizations such as the Wolves and Sting.

Degray and his scouting staff are certain to be hard at work this week as they look to solve the team’s identity in time to host Bruce County native Garrett McFadden and defending league champions, Guelph Storm. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:30p.m.(EST) at the Harry-Lumley Bayshore Community Center.

Doug grew up playing minor hockey for his hometown Chesley Colts.  He became an avid fan of the then Platers, when he received an autograph from goaltender Jamie Storr in 1993.  Before graduating from Chesley DHS, he played one season for Owen Sound Grey Motors United in the York Region Premiere Division(formerly New Market Region).

Now a permanent resident of Owen Sound, Doug hopes to entrench himself as an involved member of the community and an insightful columnist, that provides more than just stats and game reviews.  When not covering hockey, Doug enjoys listening to his fiancee sing at  a number of Owen Sound’s many terrific open mic functions.