Rekindling the magic
For the line of Colin Smith, JC Lipon and Tim Bozon, as B.B. King most famously sung — the thrill is gone.
At least for now.
In the Kamloops Blazers’ last six WHL games, five of them losses, the once-unstoppable unit has combined for just seven points and is minus-6.
“If we don’t find a solution, they might split the line and go with two different lines. I don’t know yet. It’s up to the coach,” said Bozon, the league’s fifth-leading scorer, with 14 goals and 32 points.
“We had a meeting because [Blazer head coach Guy Charron] had a lot of journalists and a lot of people asking him, ‘Why don’t we split the lines?’
“He doesn’t want to because he still believes in us.”
Charron has every reason to give the line a long leash.
If the casual fan glanced at the list of the league’s top scorers not knowing what has transpired in the last six games, separating the threesome might seem like a madman’s idea.
Lipon leads the Dub with 43 points, 17 of them goals, and Smith is just one point back of his linemate with 42 points, 15 of them goals.
There is no lack of chemistry between the three — nobody can argue that.
Much of the trio’s struggles of late can be attributed to a tough schedule on the road — where the opposition controls the matchups — and a lack of help from the Blazers’ other three lines.
“Teams want to beat us and they play hard on us, especially against my line,” said Bozon, a Montreal Canadiens draft pick.
“We play against the best D and they play a shutdown game against us.
“Last year, we had success because we had four lines that could score goals and I still believe that the other lines can put the puck in the net.”
A lack of secondary scoring makes it easy to key on the Smith line and it’s no secret Kamloops needs more from its supporting cast.
The Blue and Orange will look to remedy some of its recent ailments on a seven-game homestand, which kicks off on Friday, Nov. 16, when the Portland Winterhawks come to Interior Savings Centre.
Puck-drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Portland has won 12 straight games and the Winterhawks have pulled to within two points of the league-leading Blazers, who have amassed 35 points in 23 games.
Prince George has a date with Kamloops at ISC on Saturday, Nov. 17.
“To be back in front of fans is another motivation and now we’re looking forward to getting back to winning,” Bozon said.
“We got frustrated because everything in October went well and now we’re not able to put the puck in.
“Now, we have a full week of practice to get ready for Friday.”