Cap­tain frus­trated by Cee­bees slide

Spe­cial teams need to im­prove, says De­laney

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

The Con­cep­tion Bay North CeeBee Stars headed into a pair of week­end games with the Clarenville Car­bi­bous fol­low­ing what can only be de­scribed as a tu­mul­tuous pe­riod for the cel­e­brated fran­chise.

First, there was the re­lease of highly touted im­port for­ward Mike Thomas, and then long­time ten­der Fred­die Di­a­mond (see re­lated story) re­vealed he had re­quested a trade from the team.

Thomas was let go, ex­plained team of­fi­cials, be­cause of the club’s dire need to bol­ster its de­fence, and not be­cause of his per­for­mance on the ice. In eight games with the team, Thomas, who could not be reached for commnt, had one goal and two as­sists and played a con­sis­tent shift.

On top of this, the Stars dropped four straight games, in­clud­ing back- to-back losses to the vis­it­ing Western Roy­als on the team’s much-an­tic­i­pated open­ing week­end at the S. W. Moores Mem­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace. And headed into the week­end by mak­ing sev­eral moves in the lat­est player draft.

It’s was a cul­mi­na­tion of events that had many won­der­ing if the team was on buck­ling un­der the weight of high ex­pec­ta­tions.

But team cap­tain and vet­eran for­ward Keith De­laney said it was too early to panic.

“I’d be ly­ing to you if I said we weren’t frus­trated … but we have to re­main pos­i­tive,” said De­laney, one of the team’s most con­sis­tent per­form­ers so far this sea­son.

Af­ter a promis­ing start that saw the Cee­Bees post three wins in its first four games, the team has stum­bled spec­tac­u­larly, and was in dire need of bet­ter re­sults this past week­end in Clarenville (re­sults not avail- able as of press time).

Los­ing the first two home games of the sea­son were a big blow to the team, added De­laney.

“We know the sea­son can’t be won in the first six or eight games of the sea­son. So, we’re work­ing on things we set out at the start of the year and we’re mak­ing progress. Un­for­tu­nately, the wins aren’t there yet,” said the cap­tain. “We’re look­ing at our longterm goals and we’re try­ing to fix this los­ing streak now.”

The C e e B e e s t rave l l e d to Clarenville sit­ting in fourth spot in the five-team pro­vin­cial se­nior hockey league with six points (three wins and five losses).

Not-so-spe­cial teams

De­laney said spe­cial teams have been a prob­lem, with strug­gles on both the power play and penalty kill.

Head­ing into last sea­son, Di­a­mond felt like he had played some of his best hockey at the se­nior level.

“And, then it was, we lost to Grand Falls in the Herder fi­nal, you know, and then it was like, boom that’s it,” he said.

Di­a­mond said he was not overly frus­trated with the sit­u­a­tion, just that he was “lost in di­rec­tion with his role on the team.” “It’s a hard sit­u­a­tion to be in,” he said. There are suit­ors out there for the three-time Herder tro­phy win­ner with one of those be­ing the ex­pan­sion Gan­der Fly­ers, who are look­ing for a vet­eran keeper af­ter the Fly­ers failed to sign Roger Kennedy when they took him in the Mount Pearl player dis­per­sal draft. Kennedy was later traded to Clarenville.

“They’ve called me a cou­ple of times and asked me I would be will­ing to play there,” he said.

Di­a­mond be­lieves he would be a “good fit “with the young club.

“I think I could pass a long a lit­tle bit of ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

Cee­Bees head coach Corey Crocker had been in contact with Di­a­mond about a pos­si­ble move to Gan­der, ac­cord­ing to the ten­der, but no move was ever agreed upon.

The Grand Falls-Wind­sor Cataracts have also ex­pressed in­ter­est in the vet­eran keeper, but Di­a­mond does not see that be­ing much of a pos­si­bil­ity due to his work com­mit­ments be­fore De­cem­ber.

Re­gard­less, Di­a­mond still be­lieves he has a cou­ple of good years left on the pro­vin­cial se­nior cir­cuit.

“Per­son­ally, I think I can still play,” he said. “It’s too early to re­tire yet.”

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Con­cep­tion Bay North CeeBee Stars’ cap­tain Keith De­laney car­ries the puck into the Western Roy­als zone dur­ing New­found­land Se­nior Hockey League ac­tion on Nov. 11 at the S. W. Moores Memo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace. The Cee­Bees were sched­uled for games in Clarenville this past week­end, and were at­tempt­ing to break a four-game slide.

Com­pass file photo

Vet­eran Cee­Bees goal­tender Fred­die Di­a­mond has re­quested a trade from the club.

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