Ranford lends a hand
The Kamloops Blazers welcomed two-time Stanley Cup champion netminder Bill Ranford to practice on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at Interior Savings Centre.
Blazer goaltender Jeff Bosch capitalized on the opportunity to learn from Ranford, who was happy to impart some of the knowledge he acquired over a 15-year NHL career.
“We tried to simplify his game a little bit,” said Ranford, an uncle to the Blazer’s leading scorer, Brendan Ranford.
“More attention to detail; consistency; working on habits.”
Bosch, who was traded to Kamloops in September for a sixth-round pick in the 2011 Western Hockey League bantam draft, will likely be seeing even more ice than usual in the coming weeks.
Cam Lanigan, who has assumed the backup role this season, was concussed on Monday, Jan. 31, after a J.T. Barnett slap shot hit him in the mask at practice.
Blazers GM Craig Bonner on Tuesday, Feb. 1, called up 16-year-old netminder Taran Kozun from the Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League’s midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. He will back up Bosch for the time being.
As Ranford said, the work he did with Bosch on Tuesday during a one-hour morning skate and at practice in the afternoon was designed to sharpen specific areas of the Blazer goalie’s game.
“There’s just little things he notices that you don’t really notice yourself,” said Bosch, who has posted a 3.46 GAA and a .894 save percentage in 43 games this season.
“It’s not really changing the way I play, but just tinkering a little bit to make me a little faster.”
One of the areas Ranford schooled Bosch in was handling the puck behind the net.
“He was having trouble with pucks being moved with speed behind the net, so we just broke it down, simplified it for him a little bit and it seems to be working,” said Ranford, who won Cups with the Edmonton Oilers in 1988 and 1990.
Blazer goaltending coach Dan De Palma was thrilled to have Ranford at practice.
“It’s not only great for Boscher and Lanny, but it’s great for me,” De Palma said. “I just learn a ton when he’s here.”
Bosch, a Martensville, Sask., product, has established himself as the No. 1 guy this season and he is feeling confident heading into the season’s home stretch.
He said it was unfortunate to see Lanigan go down with injury, but Bosch is ready for the challenge.
“My confidence level is good,” said Bosch, an avid Saskatchewan Roughriders fan.
“I feel like I’ve been giving the team a chance to win every night and that’s what a team wants in a goalie. If I can keep that up then I’ll be doing my job and the coaches will be happy.”