Kobasew adds vet presence
At just 29, Chuck Kobasew is entering year 10 in the NHL. And he may get the odd grandpa joke in the dressing room as he joins his fourth team, the kiddie-laden Colorado Avalanche this season.
“I am (going to be a veteran),” said Kobasew, a Vernon summer resident, before teeing off at Ken Holland’s Derby at Predator Ridge in July.
“I think I’m the fourth- or fifth-oldest guy on the team. It’s a young group of guys, but you saw what they could do two years ago when they made a push at the end and made the playoffs and gave San Jose everything they could in the first round. So, hopefully we can recreate something like that.”
Actually, the Avs have just two players over 30 and one of them is 34-year-old goalie J.S. Giguere.
Kobasew, who is four goals shy of 100, signed a two-year deal worth $1.25 million on July 1 after back-to-back nine-goal seasons with the Minnesota Wild. He’s high on Denver.
“It’s exciting to be going there. It was a free agent signing so I had a couple of choices but that one just seemed like the best fit. They were obviously interested. Everytime I go there, it seems like it’s a great city, a good building, good fans to play in front of so I’m excited about that.”
If you haven’t watched Kobasew play hockey, you haven’t been trying hard enough. He racked up 134 points in just 88 games with the BCHL Penticton Panthers before going to Boston College.
The right winger, along with future NHLers Brian Gionta and Brooks Orpik, knocked off Ryan Bayda (Vernon Viper grad), David Hale and Travis Roche and the North Dakota Fighting Soux for the 2000-01 national title.
Following the Eagles’ win over the Fighting Sioux, he jumped to the WHL and the Kelowna Rockets, where he pocketed 114 points.
He was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the first round (14th overall) in the 2001 Entry Draft. During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Kobasew played with the AHL’s Lowell Lock Monsters, and helped the team reach a number of franchise records. He was named captain, and earned 75 points in 79 games.
While playing for the Flames, Kobasew scored his first career hat trick against the Avalanche on Jan. 24, 2006.
While he’s unsure of his role on a team where young 20-year-olds Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly and Tyson Barrie represent the future, Kobasew knows the Avs have the moxy for success.
“It’s very competitive. You just gotta get in the playoffs. The two teams in the Stanley Cup finals are both great teams, but they both got pushed pretty hard in the first round by lower-seeded teams in Game 7, overtime so it shows you anyone’s competitive and it’s exciting hockey.”
Born as Nicholas James Kobasew, Chuck spent his summer playing charity golf tournaments, running a hockey school in his hometown of Osoyoos, skating with buddy Jarome Iginla at the Okanagan Training Rink in Vernon and working out with his Calgary trainer.
Farynuk shifts to Italy
Enderby’s Brad Farynuk, who literally escaped with his skates on while at a hockey practice in Japan during the earthquake, will play it a little safer this year in Italy.
Farynuk, a 29-year-old defenceman, has signed with Ritten/Renn in Bolzano, where Montrealer Greg Holst will be head coach.
Farynuk told me to check out Holst’s act on YouTube, where he became a legend in Austria for his interview after a game between his team, Villach, and the Vienna Capitals (final result: 5-4 after penalty shootout).
His team had already led by two goals at the beginning of the last period, but eventually had to play shorthanded for more than five minutes (three minutes of it with only three players on the ice), helping Vienna to tie things up.
Holst used the four-letter-word nine times in one minute, with an interesting mixture of English and German with a Canadian-Austrian accent.
Price tied up in summer
Montreal net detective Carey Price spent part of his summer in team roping at the Quesnel Rodeo.
The Anahim Lake product applied protective gear to the lower legs and hooves of his horse with care and meticulous attention to fit.
“I’m the same way with my hockey equipment,” Price told Percy Hebert of Black Press Sports as he adjusted a velcro strap on a leg wrap just right.
“That way I have one less thing to worry about when I’m out on the ice.”
Price took up roping three summers ago with his friend Wade McNolty giving him pointers on the finer aspects of the sport and although he has superior athletic abilities, Price quickly realized there was nothing easy about roping.
“When you’re watching, it doesn’t look that hard,” he said. “You see guys doing it over and over again, it seems repetitious and that makes it seem real easy. “But once you pick up a rope, never mind throwing it, just trying to figure out how to build a loop is tough enough.”
Price stopped at a Viper practice last week for some ice time with his trainer Pierre Groulx. He is good buddies with Viper trainer Gord (Hoon) Cochran, a Williams Lake product.
On the Habs’ first-round playoff loss to the Bruins, Price said: “I sat and pouted for about three or four days.”