Vancouver Province article (Hamilton adversary and ally to Blum)November 5 2008 at 7:19 AM
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Hamilton adversary and ally to Blum
Rockets' GM in tight with Predators coach, who often asks about his draftee
Steve Ewen, The Province
Published: Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Jon Blum can count Kelowna Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton as both adversary and ally.
The Rockets are arguably the most heated rival for Blum and the rest of the Vancouver Giants. Hamilton happens to also be longtime friends with Barry Trotz, coach of the Nashville Predators, the club that picked Blum 23rd overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft.
Blum was slated to chat Tuesday with Trotz, whose team was in town to face the Vancouver Canucks. You can bet that Trotz has already chatted about the savvy rearguard with Hamilton, who goes back more than 20 years with his fellow former Washington Capitals scout.
"Is there a tie there with the WHL guys we draft? There probably is," said Trotz, whose current club includes Shea Weber, formerly of Hamilton's Rockets, and ex-Prince George Cougar Dan Hamhuis, as well as having former Giant Cody Franson in the minors. "I can ask Bruce a hard question and he'll be quite honest with me.
"Bruce thinks that Jon is a very intelligent player. Obviously from his standpoint, Blummer has to get a little bit stronger. In terms of game skills, in how you see the game and how you react and how you handle pressure situations, Blummer is well versed. [Giants coach] Donnie Hay has done a good job with him in that and also he's intelligent enough himself to decipher what's happening in front of him. The Rubik's Cube of hockey ... he can get all the pieces to match up pretty well."
Trotz hasn't been talking to Blum, 19, during the season. He obviously has other things to focus on. Blum does hear plenty from the Predators, though, with assistant general manager Paul Fenton, chief amateur scout Jeff Kealty and North American scout Rick Knickle all checking in on him.
"They call me a couple of times a month, to see how I'm doing and to tell me what they're hearing and what they want me to do better," said Blum, who signed a three-year, entry-level deal with Nashville last December and stuck at their training camp this season until late September. "It's always good to get feedback from them."
And as much as the Predators keep up with Blum, he also keeps up with them. He regularly checks their game sheets on the Internet.
"Hopefully next year you're playing with them," said Blum, who is listed at 6-feet and 175 pounds, which is up about 15 pounds from when Nashville drafted him. "You want to see who is doing what and where guys excel and just how the team plays, basically."
And while Trotz thinks Blum could make it in the NHL, he feels as well that Hamilton could excel there as an assistant general manager or a similar position. Hamilton also owns the Rockets, so it's a safe bet that he's not moving anywhere soon.
"You see what he does in Kelowna, in terms of how successful they are and how prepared they are," said Trotz, who has a summer home in Vernon and in the offseason sometimes hangs out with Hamilton. "He could move up. He'd be a great add[ition] to a staff as an assistant general manager to start. You look at teams now, their staffs have good hockey minds and it's not just one or two people. That's the new wave in the NHL. You have to make decisions one or two or three years quicker than you used to."
© The Vancouver Province 2008
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