Sorry for the leave of absence - I've had some important educational matters to contend with...
Plenty has changed in the past week in the Cougars dressing room! Gone are the team's top three scorers, Matt Diminie, Brandon Couto and Adam Place in exchange for younger players and cash considerations.
The window of opportunity to make the playoffs had closed itself by the new year and it made sense for the team to maximize the value of their assets. All three departing players are twenty years old and will have their Junior A eligibility expire before next season begins so anything the Cougars received out of these deals that they can use going forward is a definite step in the right direction for this club.
There is still a young core in place on this club and goal scoring was not the issue this season. Goaltending and special teams, or more specifically Special Teams +/- ([PPG For + SHG For] - [PPG Against + SHG Against]), were the biggest hurdles for this year's Cougars. If they can bring in a top-flight goaltender and a stud defenseman or two to go along with McCracken and Morris (He's back by the way! Thanks Kitchener!) they will be in pretty good shape for the 2010-2011 season - one that they could potentially finish out in the town's brand new rink!!
The team still maintains control of Stefan Thompson, Dylan McMahon and James Diminie who can all light the lamp and will need to do so with a little more regularity in the absence of the team's core offensive players for the season.
They began their post-deadline stretch with a bang on Monday, beating the Markham Waxers (still probably my favourite team name in the CCHL) by a score of 6 - 5 in a typical Cobourg Cougars barn-burning home game.
Scott Sandercock, one of the team's newest players acquired in the deal with Bowmanville for Adam Place, registered a goal and three points on the night. He could be a very valuable part of this team's power play moving forward with his mammoth 6'5" - 235 pound frame. Good luck to all of the 17 year old defensemen trying to push him out of the crease!
The last stretch of home games should be a fun watch as plenty of young players will get a chance to prove their mettle and they will definitely be playing a rather energetic brand of hockey.