Sunday, October 26, 2008


Bulls' Cameron Climbing the Ladder

According to the experts, the Belleville Bulls are off to a fairly miserable start to the 2008-2009 hockey season. This past weekend, they completed their first northern swing to Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie, and came home almost empty handed. They picked up one point in an overtime loss to the Hounds.

The first road trip to the north has always been difficult for the Bulls. Perhaps it’s psychological. Maybe it’s the food. More than likely, it is the first time that they have had to adjust to the rigours of travel, and they are young.

As for the initial predictions of the experts? Pure bunk! This is a team that has lost all of its front line scoring from last year. Gone from the score sheet are the likes of Shawn Matthias, Jan Mursak, Matt Beleskey, Adam Perry, and a couple of other scorers. The expectation that the Bulls would rebound from those losses to be in the upper echelon of the CHL was most unreasonable.

And yet the pundits placed the Bulls first in the OHL, third in the nation at the beginning of the season! Silly boys! So much for early season predictions.

Bryan Cameron recently tallied his hundredth goal for the Belleville Bulls, a milestone shared by only nine other players in the quarter century history of the club. Since the beginning of the season, he has hopscotched over a few well-known former Bulls on the goal scoring list: Chris Stanley, Ryan Ready, Mike Renzi, Bob Berg, Darren McCarty, and Matt Beleskey. For many of us long time Bulls followers, every one of those names brings back fond memories of great hockey.

Cameron trails Dan Quinn who had 101 goals, and John Porco and Nathan Robinson, who each had 109. Jon Cheechoo had 111 goals for the Bulls, and has rung up a few for the San Jose Sharks since entering the NHL. “Cheech” also won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the most prolific goal scorer in the 2005-2006 season in the NHL.

Cameron has struggled somewhat this season, primarily due to the bout of mononucleosis he contracted at the end of last season. He played the entire Memorial Cup Tournament with the debilitating disease, and spent the summer recovering.

Cameron was drafted by Los Angeles Kings in the 2007 draft. The product of the Toronto Marlboros minor hockey system will someday skate with another Belleville hockey product, Brad Richardson. Richardson moved from Colorado to Los Angeles in the off season, and another local player, and former Wellington Duke Andrew Raycroft took his locker with the Avalanche. Incidentally, Raycroft is off to a fine start with the Avs, posting two wins in his first two starts. (Did I hear a Leaf fan saying, “Why didn’t he do that for us?”)

To their credit, the Bulls are in first place in the East Division of the Eastern Conference. They have lost two squeakers-one in overtime and one in a shootout. They recently lost a one goal struggle to the Windsor Spitfires, and all of their games have been close. There is no reason to panic. When push comes to shove, the Bulls will be there when the playoffs begin.

Cameron had 41 goals last season. With forty more this year, he will move behind only three other players in the Bulls’ record book: Dunc McIntyre, Justin Papineau, and Dave MacLean. In a recent article in the Intelligencer, Paul Svboda reviewed MacLean’s hockey career. Despite his prolific scoring feats, MacLean was never able to catch on with any NHL team. Although drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the fourth round, he played briefly in the AHL, then played with Brantford in the Ontario Senior “A” hockey league.

The Bulls host Peterborough Wednesday evening, then entertain Owen Sound on Saturday night at the Quinte Sports Centre. Plenty of tickets are available. Avoid the lineup. Get them in advance. Go Bulls Go!

James Hurst

The Bulls were over-rated by the "experts". They will need to find some secondary scoring if they hope to go anywhere in the playoffs. (How do you replace Shaun Mathias?).
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