Fiddler's Facts: Islanders' rookies not playing like rookies

Fred MacDonald
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The Charlottetown Islanders stunned visiting Val-d’Or 7-1 Thursday night at Eastlink Centre solidifying its hold on first place in the Telus Maritime Division of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Rookie standouts Danny Sprong (two goals) and Alexandre Goulet (one goal, one assist) continue to star for the Islanders, who improved to 9-2-1 and second overall in the tough Quebec league. As for Sprong and Goulet, maybe they’ll fight it out for the league’s rookie of the year honours.

It’s not often that a goalie is a standout when his team wins 7-1 but that was the case Thursday as Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Antoine Bibeau made 48 saves as Val-d’Or peppered him early and often until the Islanders responded. The Isles host Chicoutimi (6-6) tonight at 7 p.m.

On the NHL front, Murray Harbour’s Brad Richards is off to a fast start and is a big reason the New York Rangers have two wins as they open the season with nine road games.

The Rangers played well in a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues last weekend and earlier this week blanked Washington 2-0 as Brad assisted on both goals. Richards leads the Rangers with four goals and seven points, a fast start for him and that’s good news for the Rangers, who are missing both Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan. Captain and sparkplug Callahan will be out for three to four weeks with a broken thumb suffered while blocking a shot. Blocking shots is for foot soldiers and defensive types not for the skilled and offensive weapons. When will they learn?

On the diamond

The Boston Red Sox entertain the Detroit Tigers in Game 6 of the ALCS today and no doubt Dr. Bob Lund, who heads the P.E.I. chapter of the Red Sox fan club and his Fenway faithful, will be glued to TV.

The BoSox are very fortunate to be ahead 3-2 as the Tigers let game two slip away when manager Jim Leyland removed ace Max Scherzer while ahead 5-0 and the Sox at his mercy. The old pitch count fable, the most useless statistic in baseball, came back to haunt the Tigers so let’s hope Leyland stays with his starters at Fenway.

Scherzer will face Clay Buchholz today at Fenway and if Game 7 is necessary Justin Verlander will go for the Tigers against John Lackey.

On the hardwood

The UPEI men’s basketball Panthers played their first home game of the season Thursday, losing 85-69 to powerhouse University of Saskatchewan in the opener of the annual Mickey Place memorial tournament. Today, the Panthers women play Ottawa at 6 p.m. The Panthers men, who boast a youthful lineup of first- and second-year players including reigning CIS rookie of the year Deontay (D.J.) Smith play Laval tonight at 8 p.m.  Action continues Sunday.

On the course

I played Avondale on Wednesday and the course is in mid-August, mint condition and the greens have not yet been aerated. The Ironman tournament where the course is setup for maximum difficulty is set for today at 10 a.m. at the Vernon River course and there are still spots available.

At the track

Live harness racing continues tonight at the city track with a 14-dash card getting underway at 6 p.m. sharp.

Three divisions of the Maritime Breeders for two-year-old pacing colts at $3,000 and three divisions of the David Rose Memorial highlight the program.

There’s also the $2,200 open mares with the likes of Bunny Mach, E F Fantasia, J K Special, Veronicavermillion, General Luckypercy, Stay out of My Affair, and Brodys Leona plus the $1,800 open trot.

That was some sensational 1:52.2 mile last Sunday afternoon by All Turain here at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Owned by Lee and Trevor Hicken, All Turain’s mile was one of the most impressive post Old Home Week victories ever at the city track.

The four-year-old son of Little Brown Jug winner Tell All paced away from the field and won off by himself in a long to be remembered 1:52.2 mile. The victory was also the fifth straight for All Turain, who was driven by Brodie MacPhee, who has established himself as one of the top drivers on the grounds. Congrats to all.

The Breeders Crown for the big players in the U.S.A. and Canada goes today at 5 p.m. at Pocono and there are a number of interesting races. Three-year-old sensation Captain Treacherous has the rail in the $500,000 sophomore pace race against a tough field like Lucan Hanover, Vegas Vacation and others while trot standout Mister Herbie (Jody Jamieson), Brent McGrath’s two-year-old Melmerby Beach (Paul MacDonell) and aged pacer Bolt the Duer (Mark MacDonald) all compete in $500,000 Breeders Crown events.

Pigskin Picks

The NFL heads into Week 7 with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs remaining as the only two unbeaten teams. Earlier this week, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay insisted he was disappointed his Colts won only one Super Bowl with Peyton Manning and that statement has not gone over well with Manning fans.

This is a big game for the Colts (4-2), who looked ordinary in a Monday loss to San Diego Chargers. I look for the Broncos to win.

Dallas Cowboys (3-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) – This is a big NFC East divisional game with playoff implications. The Cowboys are for real and QB Tony Romo is playing the best football of his career. The Eagles are without Michael Vick and although backup Nick Foles has been impressive, the Cowboys have just too much firepower for the Eagles. The spread favours the home team by 2.5 points, another reason to bet Dallas.

Minnesota Vikings (1-4) at New York Giants (0-6) – If the Giants are ever going to win one this is it. Eli Manning and head coach Tom Coughlan are winless and these two guys have too much pride to lose at home in New York. Bet the boys from Gotham who are three-point favourites.

Buffalo Bills (2-4) at Miami Dolphins (3-2) – The Dolphins are always tough at home and even though they haven’t been protecting Ryan Tannehill very well, he’ll have a big day working with speedy receiver Mike Wallace from Pittsburgh. The spread is seven, so jump aboard the Miami bandwagon.

Houston Texans (2-4) at Kansas City (6-0) – The Texans were awful in last Sunday’s 38-13 loss to the Rams. The Chiefs are not explosive but they play outstanding defence and Alex Smith is a smart guy who does not turn the ball over. The Chiefs who are six-point favorites will be 7-0 after Sunday. 

As always, pay the mortgage first, the picks are for fun.

Fred MacDonald’s column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. To comment, email

Organizations: Islanders, New York Rangers, Detroit Tigers Eastlink Centre Telus Maritime Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Boston Red Sox Thursdayas Toronto Maple Leafs NHL Panthers St. Louis Blues Dallas Cowboys Philadelphia Eagles University of Saskatchewan Ironman Denver Broncos Indianapolis Colts New York Giants Miami Dolphins Kansas City Chiefs San Diego Chargers Buffalo Bills Houston Texans Rams

Geographic location: Val, Quebec, Murray Harbour P.E.I. Ottawa Vernon River Charlottetown Driving Park U.S.A. Canada Pocono New York Gotham Pittsburgh Miami Kansas City

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Recent comments

  • nitpicker
    October 19, 2013 - 11:15

    You see kids like Goulet, Sprong, Kielly and others showing up as they have, at the age they are, things are indeed looking promising for this hockey team, over the next couple of seasons .