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Questions for Bulldogs commentator Derek Wills


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Once again this year, Hamilton play-by-play voice Derek Wills has been kind enough to once again participate in a Q & A with HW to give us some insights on the Bulldogs. As always, we're looking for questions from you guys (and yes, we will ask something on Mayer) about the team or specific prospects that you'd like to know more about or would like an update on.

I'd like to get these to Derek by or near the end of the preseason which is late this week so that he has ample time to answer them. Post your questions here or shoot me a PM if you'd prefer.

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Looks like a lot of new faces will be joining the 'Dogs this season as a fresh batch of prospects graduate from their junior teams.

1. My question would pertain to what challenges or advantages this situation (fresh faces) brings to the team.

2. Another question being: Which player(s) will step up and assume a leadership role among the group?

3. a) What do the successful teams in the AHL\s Western Conference have that the Bulldogs don't? b) What edge do the Bulldogs have over the other teams in their conference?

Thanks for setting this up, and big thanks to Derek for taking the time to participate.

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What do you think Sylvain Lefebvre's impact has been on the young defensemen, particularly Tinordi who is a similar type of player?

Edit: You'll probably ask a question about Beaulieu, but just in case: Where did you see progress from him last year, and where is there room for improvement?

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Derek, Robert Mayer is universally considered a terrible goaltender. He has proven time and time again to be inconsistent and often incompetent. On numerous occasions games are lost directly because of his poor performance. My grandmother, god rest her soul, just couldn't find the strength to hang on another day after she saw yet another lineup card with Mayer as the starting goalie. I hold him and the Habs organization directly responsible for her death. And yet he gets yet another chance in Hamilton...

So my question is, Derek, what's your take on the Habs apparent souring on Louis Leblanc?

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Given the recent focus (or even fixation) the Habs fanbase has on players being too small throughout the organization, do you have any insight on what it takes for a smaller player to make the jump from Junior to AHL to NHL successfully? Is there a common skill or mentality amongst those that rise above?

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What is the issue, from your standpoint, with Leblanc? Is it character? Ability? Effort? Despite all protestations to the contrary, being cut after a seemingly positive start to camp surely indicates something more than "we know about him and we just want to know about others."

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Since I only have Mayer in mind right now, gonna ask this, I could be a little off in my memory, feel free to correct:

He said on the radio something like Tokarski/Mayer could be the best duo in the AHL, I'd like him to elaborate on that, mostly regarding Mayer, maybe he (and the organization) knows or sees something that us the fans can't see by watching the games/looking the stats.

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Hi Derek: If you could pick a player out of a vacuum to support the present team, what would you be looking for(type and position)?

I just want to clarify since 'present team' could mean both Montreal and Hamilton, you're referring to the Bulldogs, right?

Since I only have Mayer in mind right now, gonna ask this, I could be a little off in my memory, feel free to correct:

He said on the radio something like Tokarski/Mayer could be the best duo in the AHL, I'd like him to elaborate on that, mostly regarding Mayer, maybe he (and the organization) knows or sees something that us the fans can't see by watching the games/looking the stats.

I recall hearing something like that as well.

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Do young bulldogs players find it difficult to be recalled and assigned constantly ala Nathan this year ?

Do u travel with the bulldogs on road trips? If so what are the accommodations like for you and the players?

Also how's the transportation?

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Do young bulldogs players find it difficult to be recalled and assigned constantly ala Nathan this year ?

Do u travel with the bulldogs on road trips? If so what are the accommodations like for you and the players?

Also how's the transportation?

I sent the questions out earlier today so unfortunately these missed the cutoff. I can answer parts of these myself at least; he always travels with the team (he's not just the play-by-play guy, he holds a variety of other titles with the team). They also bus to most games which I'm sure has its moments.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm meeting with Derek soon, do you guys have any updated questions?

Just to piggyback on this bump, Derek hasn't responded to my last several inquiries so I'm leery the ones we've gathered will actually get answers. I may try to revise them and see if he'll consider an abbreviated Q&A in the new year.

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Have Tinordi & Beaulieu's play improved since the start of the year, or is Pateryn still the favorite for a promotion to the NHL if injuries occur?

Got feeling answer is, Yes, No and Yes.

I think he might even say Dietz is most improved d-man (but he said he wasn't impressed with his initial play in the fall, so was a low bar).

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