6 p.m., May 29)
Orléans offering 'next level' program for competitive
By Fred Sherwin
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 - Theres 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 arent eye-popping, but Akeson is using
his speed, getting shots off and making plays that dont
always show up on the scoresheet like on Friday,
when he didnt 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
Sundays game at Madison Square Garden.
For sure, its pretty fun. Im just trying
to enjoy the ride right now and take every step, every
day, like a new one, Akeson said. Its
a little crazy. Its something Ive been working
for my whole life. Now, getting the opportunity I dont
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
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 hes obviously enjoying the experience of
being in the pressure cooker, its obvious Akeson
isnt merely along for the ride.
He has been a key contributor on the Flyers checking
line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read. Akeson isnt
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, Im not surprised.
Hes got self-confidence, but hes not cocky.
Hes 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 theyve
got, theyve earned. (Akeson) reeks of character,
he just does. Hes a big-game player, he always has
been and he has the ability to rise when the chips are
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, its easy to see why
Akeson is earning the trust of his head coach.
Hes not a big guy but hes strong on
the puck, Berube. said Hes 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.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
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