Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, Nov. 26


 

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Updated Aug. 21

Updated Nov. 21

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

   


(Posted: 6 p.m., May 29)
Greco Orléans offering 'next level' program for competitive athletes
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Do you have a competitive hockey player in your family looking to raise their game to the "next level"? Well, perhaps they should consider enrolling in Greco Orléans "CG28 Train Like An All-Star" program, designed and endorsed by co-owner and NHL all-star Claude Giroux.

NEW YORK - There’s no way of knowing for sure if Jason Akeson is on his way to joining John Druce and Chris Kontos as guys who virtually came out of nowhere to provide an unlikely offensive spark during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Akeson has a goal and an assist through four games against the New York Rangers, but he has been one of the most consistent forwards for the Philadelphia Flyers, which is quite a feat when you consider he appeared in only one NHL game during the regular season.

The numbers aren’t eye-popping, but Akeson is using his speed, getting shots off and making plays that don’t always show up on the scoresheet — like on Friday, when he didn’t get an assist but deftly kicked the puck along the boards back to the point before Jakub Voracek eventually tipped in a slap-pass from Brayden Schenn for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

These are heady times for the undrafted free agent from Orleans, Ont., but the 23-year-old has kept the same demeanour throughout this series, which is tied 2-2 heading into Sunday’s game at Madison Square Garden.

“For sure, it’s pretty fun. I’m just trying to enjoy the ride right now and take every step, every day, like a new one,” Akeson said. “It’s a little crazy. It’s something I’ve been working for my whole life. Now, getting the opportunity I don’t want to let it slip out of my hands. I just want to keep working and looking forward.”

Just two seasons ago, Akeson spent 14 games with the Trenton Titans of the ECHL, but he progressed so much that year that he earned his first NHL game in the Flyers’ regular-season finale.

After putting up 24 goals and 64 points in 70 games with the Adirondack Phantoms this season, Akeson is showing signs he has the tools to become an NHL regular.

While he’s obviously enjoying the experience of being in the pressure cooker, it’s obvious Akeson isn’t merely along for the ride.

He has been a key contributor on the Flyers’ checking line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read. Akeson isn’t acting like a rookie either.

He faced the music and answered questions from reporters under difficult circumstances after his double minor for high-sticking turned out to be the turning point in Game 1 as the Rangers scored twice during the power play to snap a 1-1 tie.

Akeson then rewarded Flyers head coach Craig Berube for sticking with him and earned an element of redemption by scoring an important goal in Game 2.

Toronto Marlies head coach Steve Spott had Akeson on his team when he was the bench boss of the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League and is impressed by the way the winger has shown accountability and regrouped from the early adversity in this series.

“To see him respond from that, I’m not surprised. He’s got self-confidence, but he’s not cocky. He’s a special person,” Spott said in a telephone interview from Milwaukee, Wisc. “I compare him to David Clarkson (another former Kitchener Rangers forward who is now a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs). There were never any doors open for those guys. Everything they’ve got, they’ve earned. (Akeson) reeks of character, he just does. He’s a big-game player, he always has been and he has the ability to rise when the chips are down.

“I give Craig Berube a lot of credit. When Jason took the penalty and New York scored those goals, Craig put him out there shortly after. You know what, that made Jason a lot better and to me, that was a turning point for Jason and for their hockey club because that could have been handled differently.”

As the series has gone on, it’s easy to see why Akeson is earning the trust of his head coach.

“He’s not a big guy but he’s strong on the puck,” Berube. said “He’s got a heavy stick. I like his play-making ability and his composure with the puck.”

Not to mention a knack for coming up with big plays during his first Stanley Cup playoff run.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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