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12.31.2008

Ugh...

That was just pure crap... I want to enjoy my New Year so I'm just not going to write about that until tomorrow.

Happy New Year to everyone...

Well... I guess a win is a win...

Seattle defeats Chilliwack last night 2-0 in the last ever game at Key Arena. I don't know about you guys but I didn't feel particularly emotional about last night being the last game at the Key. It has always been a bad place to watch a game, the concessions suck and have been understaffed in the past couple of years, the boards and glass are terrible, the benches are bad and small, and the ice surface sucks.... so quite frankly I couldn't be happier to get out of that place and into a home we can call our own and boy is it going to be exciting.

I'm not very fond of Key Arena... and I wasn't very fond of the game the Tbirds played last night either. Yes... it is a win and we have to be happy about a win after the effort in the past two games. It is certainly a lot better than losing to a Chilliwack team, at home, who is behind you in the conference standings. Seattle started really slow again and only through the effort of Jake DeSerres, who turned aside 10 early shots, was Seattle able to go into the first break at 0-0. Tbirds were out shot 10-5 and outplayed for the better part of the first period and could not convert or get many shots through on two Power Plays in the first.

Seattle finally broke through in the 2nd period thanks to a nice effort from Lindsay Nielsen and the Tbirds scored for the first time in 155 minutes (all on home ice) to give them a 1-0 lead. Boyer worked hard along the boards to free up Nielsen for the rush to the net.

Nielsen then essentially sealed the game with his 2nd of the night on a nifty shot fake and finish around hard luck loser Mark Friesen. Friesen actually sprawled this his goal paddle and got a piece of the puck only to see it deflect into the net, giving the Tbirds a 2-0 lead.

Seattle got better as the game went along and finished the night with 28 shots to the Bruins 25 shots.

DeSerres picks up the shutout and deserved it... I thought he played a very solid game and made several outstanding saves. While the Bruins were able to ring three shots off the posts during the course of the game... it felt like something had finally gone right for DeSerres who played well all night and has seen too many games this year slip away from him on poor play or bad luck or both. It was nice to see DeSerres play well AND get a nice chuck of good fortune to pick up the shutout which is his first of the season.

The media gave DeSerres the 2nd start and Nielsen the 1st... but I would have flopped those and given DeSerres the nod with Nielsen the 2nd and Boyer the 3rd with some honorable mentions to Chris Cloud and Jonathan Parker who I thought also played a solid game and nearly scored on a couple of chances.

Seattle is in action tonight in the annual trip to Portland on New Years Eve. A special treat for Tbirds fans tonight with the game being shown on Fox Sports Northwest... which is channel 30 for most if not everyone here in the area.

Remember that the game tonight has a special 5pm start time as well.

12.30.2008

Greg Scott back tonight

Just posted to the WHL website. Greg Scott gets a one game suspension for his Match Penalty Saturday against Portland.

I would interpret this to mean that the league did not feel it was a very serious offense.

http://whl.ca/hm/suspensions.php?id=9906

oh btw...

I noticed there were still like two tickets available yesterday for the ShoWare Center opening night game....

The game is now officially sold out according to the ticketing website...

There are however still 3364 tickets remaining for the Sunday game against Kamloops. Personally... I find that pretty disappointing but I think clearly it is going to take some time for the people of Kent to adopt this team and find out about hockey.

12.29.2008

Is the ship sinking?

Tbirds get totally out played by Spokane last night and lose 4-0. Seattle was without their Captain Thomas Hickey, Jim O'Brien and Calvin Pickard but Spokane was without Drayson Bowman, Mitch Wahl, Tyler Johnson and Dustin Tokarski.

Seattle was also missing Greg Scott who was suspended for his Match Penalty for stepping on the leg of Tayler Jordan of the Winterhawks in the game on Saturday. I didn't see the game Saturday so I don't know what it looked like... Scott has said that he did step on the leg of Jordan but that it was an accident and there was no intent on his part. The league has not yet posted on the website how long he will be suspended.

Regardless... Seattle played horribly for what I understand was the second night in a row. I just didn't see any fire or fight in most of the players. Everyone seems to be on cruise control or wishing they were back home or resigned to their fate this season.... which is ridiculous when you consider that the season is only half over.

Jacob DeSerres was incredible for most of the game keeping Spokane to one goal on 24 shots over half way through the second period before giving up an unfortunately soft goal to Kenton Miller to make it 2-0. I was a little bit concerned about how DeSerres would respond after the soft goal but he played relatively well the rest of the way. DeSerres ended the night with 39 saves on 43 shots and you certainly cannot fault him in any way for the loss.

Spokane added two more goals in the 3rd period, both coming from the blue line on the power play. I couldn't see the angle but both beat DeSerres cleanly which would suggest that he was screened at least partially on both.

At the other end of the ice... Seattle really wasn't much better as they only managed to get 25 shots on net and really only generated what I would consider to be about 4 or 5 good scoring chances with James Reid flashing a really good glove on several saves. Reid's shutout was his 3rd this season, two of which have come against the Thunderbirds. He received the 1st star in the building but I really didn't think his 25 saves were particularly difficult. I would have probably given him the 2nd star and made Trevor Glass the 1st star. Glass chipped in his 5th goal of the season in the 1st period on the power play before assisting on Ulmer's PP goal in the 3rd period. Glass was also very solid defending and ended the night +1 being on the ice for 3 of the 4 Spokane goals.

The Tbirds are sinking fast after this disastrous weekend. It isn't too late to turn this thing around and make a run at the 4th or 5th spot in the conference, but if they play like they did last night they might find themselves fighting with Chilliwack and Prince George for the 8th spot in the conference.

Last Key Arena game ever is on Tuesday against Chillwack, which might either be an opportunity to get things right again or a reason to fear this team's place in the playoff picture.

Do not forget at all......... The opening game of the ShoWare Center on Saturday! I'm going to try to attend part of the grand opening on Friday and of course coverage of the game on Saturday. I'm going to try to take as many good pictures as I can and put them up here over the weekend.

12.28.2008

I return from vacation, Tbirds do not

We didn't make it back in time to see the game last night... so I can't provide any thoughts. I think I can pretty much sum up the game by saying it was a huge stinker. You can't lose 5-1 to Portland at home or this team has no shot this season. Sounds like the boys were not ready to return from vacation. I like the quote I saw from Coach Sumner in the Times the other day that basically said the number of home games in the second half of the season is only beneficial if you are playing well and you go out and get those games.... and he is absolutely right. Nobody is going to just come in and lay down for you because you've been on the road the entire first half of the season and chances are they are going to be just as excited to play in the new building as we will be.

Let's hope the Tbirds bounce back with a good effort tonight.

12.17.2008

Hickey named Captain

I think this is worth mentioning... even if most of you probably already read about this or heard about it.

Thomas Hickey was named as the Captain of Canada's National Junior Team. This is quite an honor for Hickey and well deserved. As a U.S. citizen, I hope the good 'ole American boys can take down the powerhouse Canadians.... but it will be very easy to root for Hickey and the Canadians if the U.S. team falls.

Story here...

12.14.2008

Holiday Break

Tbirds hit the holiday break with a win over Spokane last night. Calvin Pickard was the story again as he made 35 stops to pace the Birds to a 3-1 win.

Lindsay Nielsen returned for the Tbirds and wore the "C" for both games while Thomas Hickey was away at the tryouts for the Canadian World Junior team. In case you were wondering, it looks like Hickey has 1 assist in the 3 games at camp.

Seattle finished the unofficial first half of the season looking like this.

14-17-3, good for 31 points, 7th in the Western Conference, 1 point behind Kamloops for 6th, 4 behind Everett for 5th and 7 behind Kelowna for 4th.

As everyone knows the schedule has been extremely road heavy in the first half of the season. The Tbirds have now played 26 games on the road and just 8 games at home. That leaves 10 games on the road and a whopping 28 games at home the rest of the way with 25 of those coming in the new Kent Events Center. (Relax about the tickets people... this is going to be fun, trust me).

Seattle was 6-2 at home and 8-15-3 on the road. They had a goal differential of +16 at home and -34 on the road.

The Tbirds Power Play has been improved over last season... but not much much, at least in the results category. 24 goals in 149 chances for 16.1% and places them 18th in the WHL.

The Penalty Kill has been slightly better giving up 34 goals in 155 chances, killing at a rate of 78.2% and placing them 16th in the WHL.

You watch enough hockey and learn to realize how important special teams are... think about this... The Tbirds on the whole have been outscored by 18 goals and they are 3 games under .500. Actually... I won't go into the calculations but the Tbirds have actually out performed their goal differential slightly.

But how much does it really matter?? If the Tbirds were to improve on the Power Play and on the Penalty Kill how big of a difference would it make?

Score 10 more goals on the Power Play and they would be 34 of 149, 22.8% and 5th in the WHL.

Kill 10 more chances and they would be 24 in 155, 86.7% which would be 3rd in the WHL.

This represents a 20 goal swing and they would be +2 in overall goal differential. Based on the calculations they would be expected to play at .509 and they have out played their projections by about 1% so lets just say .520.

At .520... they would have secured just over 35 points. So basically.... we're talking about roughly 4 points or 2 games.

I don't know about you guys but that just isn't that big of a difference....

So what does this mean? It means what most of us have picked up on through the first half of the season.... the problem isn't on the Power Play or the Penalty Kill... it's in the 5 on 5 play.

Even if they show marginal improvement on the Power Play or the Penalty Kill, it just won't make that much of a difference if they don't improve in 5 on 5.

The Tbirds are going on Holiday this week... and so am I. If I read something super important I will throw it up here... if I don't... see you all back at the Key on the 27th.

12.12.2008

Weekend Preview

I can't even remember now but I believe I stated that if the Tbirds could get 5 or 6 points out of this latest stretch of 6 games before the Christmas break I would be fairly happy about it.

Road games against Tri, Portland, Vancouver and Spokane around one home game with Calgary is a gauntlet of games. Vancouver and Calgary lead their conferences, Tri leads the US Division and Spokane has now won 3 straight and is still the defending Memorial Cup Champs. You could make the argument that Portland isn't a very tough game, but the Winterhawks have been pretty frisky under their new management so far.

In order to actually make it to 5 or 6 points over this stretch... the Tbirds have to pick up points in both games in Spokane this weekend, no easy task for sure.

Thom rumored that Lindsay Nielsen might be back for this weekend... from my point of view I have no idea why they would risk it. With 13 days off before they play Portland at Key Arena on the 27th I would rather they just let Lindsay heal than to risk anything for 2 tough road games in Spokane, just my two cents.

No doubt most or all of you have learned that the Tbirds will open the ShoWare center on January 3rd vs. the Everett Silvertips. Personally... I'm a little disappointed. I wanted Portland to be the first game in the new arena for the sake of tradition... oh well. Regardless... the opening of the new arena is tremendously exciting and I think this is going to usher in a very exciting era of Tbirds hockey.

Don't forget... the Tbirds will be without Captain Thomas Hickey over the weekend as he attends the Canadian World Junior camp. Hickey is almost a lock to make the squad and the rumor is he might even be the teams captain. We will have to wait and see. This of course makes the back to back games in Spokane that much tougher.

12.08.2008

Back in action...

I'm back after sort of taking a week off... sorry everyone. I doubt anyone is going through withdrawals when I don't write anything but I also know some of you enjoy my "take" on things.

First a couple of observations from the weekend...

- Calvin Pickard appears to have a solid grip on being the #1 goaltender and he doesn't appear willing to give it back anytime soon. Pickard again was very solid down in Portland and how the stats ended up looking was really solid against Calgary on Sunday, on a night when the Tbirds just didn't seem willing to work hard enough to beat possibly the best team in the league. This leaves Seattle with either a really big problem, or a really good problem to have as they have DeSerres a Flyers draft pick as a solid backup right now. This team is looking more and more like a middle of the road Western Conference team to me and if that is the case I wouldn't mind seeing them stick with Pickard as a commitment to the future... but this creates a pretty big problem as DeSerres has the talent to be a #1 goaltender in this league if he can ever manage to regain his confidence. I would not expect to see it happen this season... but I will mention what probably nobody really wants to talk about... I would kind of expect to see Jake traded in the offseason.

- Everyone is drooling over the two games that 15 year old Colin Jacobs played this weekend and I won't really stray from that too much either. I also thought he looked very good... skated well, wasn't afraid to pull the trigger, checked a little and appeared to display a nice ability to read the play... but he is also 15 and I think everyone should temper their expectations for the kid. As we have all seen numerous times, the development and improvement of a player between the ages of 15-19 are much more important than the talent they possess as a 15 year old. Jacobs is starting with a lot of skills as a 15... but he still needs to improve to become a star. After seeing him play for 1 game... it's hard to say but it seems that the sky is the limit for the kid and the though of having Sanvido and Jacobs for 3 or 4 years should get Tbird fans very excited for the future. Jacobs has returned home to Texas, but expect to see him back in Seattle towards the end of the season after his team's games have been completed.

- Despite the fact that we have seen some nice contributions from some younger players in their absence, Seattle really misses the presence of Prab Rai and Lindsay Nielsen. Prab hurt a groin and is listed as "week to week" and Lindsay has a shoulder injury that is currently listed as "day to day" though I don't believe he is really that close to returning, I could be wrong. The Tbirds miss a lot of scoring and leadership with these two guys out and with Thomas Hickey leaving for Junior Camp this weekend and two games with Spokane coming up after tonight the Tbirds really need these guys back as soon as possible.

- As I mentioned, Thomas Hickey will be going to Canada's World Junior selection camp and while the camp starts tomorrow in Ottawa... I believe Hickey will still be in Vancouver for the game tonight against the Giants.

- Quietly... Sena Acolatse has been playing some darn good hockey lately. At the end of October, Sena was -14... that is not a typo... through 11 games he was -14. To put that in perspective... that put him on pace for a season where he finished -91... whoa. Things started to turn around for him with the first game of November as he posted a 3 assist night and +3 in the Tbirds ovetime loss in Tri-City. He went on to post a +10 for the month to get back to -4 before the last three games have pushed him back down to -6. Seattle needs the +10 Sena the rest of the way if they want to have any shot at the #4 or #5 seed in the West.

- Exciting news for Tbirds fans "might" come today and likely by tomorrow as the Tbirds are meeting with the "powers that be" today at 3pm to find out when they can open the ShoWare Center for the first time. Here is knocking on wood that it comes on the 27th of December and not the 3rd of January... although either one will be just fine with me.

- I'm really happy to see that Thom is regularly posting some thoughts on his new "blog" section of the Tbirds website. I can't say for sure yet whether the fans will be happy with his contributions, but I think it is great. The more insight about the team that is out there... the better. I will repeat what I have said all along... I started this blog because it felt like there was a demand out there for this sort of thing about the Tbirds and so far I have had a great time writing this thing even though we still only have about 200 readers a day (we can do better!!). Having said that... I would happily give up this "hobby" of writing about the team when it becomes pretty clear that the demand has been filled elsewhere. Thom's blog can be found here and I'm going to add a permanent link over on the link bar.

- Tbirds are in Vancouver tonight where the Giants have not lost a game in regulation in their own building. Tall task for a team missing two of their best players... if the team gets the game to overtime tonight I would be pretty happy and I would be thrilled if they pulled off the win tonight.

12.07.2008

Hitman skate past Tbirds 4-1...

I sort of took the weekend off... hope you guys don't mind too much.

Somewhat crappy game is somewhat fitting for what we hope is the last game in a crappy arena. Tbirds just ran out of gas tonight and Calgary is an excellent squad.

I'll find some time to write down a few more observations tomorrow...

12.05.2008

Tbirds owe me $7

Yuck... I wasted $7 buying the feed tonight and watching the 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the Americans. I have no in depth analysis... that was garbage. a 6-1 beat down at the Toyota Center... defense was not good, we can't seem to play well on the road and with 6 shots on goal in the third period there was little or no heart or fight in the team tonight. I'm sorry... I'm not going to hold back on this one... that was flat out not good and I don't think I can find much about tonight to be positive about. The end... be thankful there is another game tomorrow night.

12.03.2008

Busy news day...

This one grabbed from Alan Caldwell.

The Augusta Lynx of the ECHL folded yesterday, story here. This of course is a little bit of a sad story in general, especially when it happens 18 games into a season... but the reason to mention it here is that former Tbirds goaltender Riku Helenius had been assigned to the Lynx by the Tampa Bay Lightning at the start of the season.

Helenius however had already been moved up to their AHL club the Norfolk Admirals on November 30th, so the move does not really have an impact on him. That story is here.

Jim O'Brien also selected

Jim O'Brien was selected to the Team USA Junior team today. This is his first selection to the US Junior National team.

The Thunderbirds story can be found here.

The Team USA story and roster can be found here.

Hockey Canada announces Camp invites

As expected... Thomas Hickey was invited to the Team Canada training camp for the World Junior team. It would have been a pretty big shocker if he had not been invited.

The one minor surprise is that Kyle Beach was left off the invite list... Some had thought that Beach had mended the broken bridge with Hockey Canada enough to pave the way for an invite to the camp but apparently that did not happen for whatever reason.

Camp list can be found here.

Single Game Tickets are now on sale for the "Sho"

Tbirds just opened up tickets for single games (though I don't know where my Season Tickets are yet....).

Currently the www.showarecenter.com website is NOT working...

Go here directly to get there... http://tickets.seattlethunderbirds.com/

11.29.2008

Tbirds down Winterhawks 5-3

Seattle gets their 3rd straight win this afternoon in a special "nooner" game today at the Rose Garden.

Here are a few things I think can be pointed out from today's game.

- Probably not the best effort of the year from the Tbirds, but the Winterhawks are showing that, despite their 7 game losing streak, they are playing a much more competitive brand of hockey and a win in Portland is not the given it might have been the last two years.

- Calvin Pickard is really good already as a 16 year old. Pickard with another 28 saves today and gave the Tbirds a chance to win when they were down 1-0 and tied 2-2.

- Tbirds can really show their depth at times. 5 players scored the 5 goals today for the Tbirds with goals coming from Schappert (his first), LeBlanc, Silvester, Richard and Scott. When Seattle plays with that kind of balance (and gets 5 goals per game) they are going to be pretty tough to beat. Seattle is averaging about 3.85 goals per game in their last 7 which is an increase from their season average of about 3.14.

- The youngsters are giving Seattle a big boost. Chance Lund with 2 assists today, Silvester with another goal (his 4th), Lockhard an assist and Charles Wells grabbing 2 helpers and the first star of the game (in the building). Needless to say if the 3rd and 4th line young kids are going to give the Tbirds a boost when their top lines aren't getting a point or two a piece... maybe this team CAN get to 85 points or more by the end of the season, who knows.

11.28.2008

Tbirds dominate the Ice 4-1

Tbirds dominated every facet of the game tonight and still managed to send fans home disappointed! Actually, I think most fans were pretty happy with the action tonight but the Tbirds did fail to score the 5 goals necessary for the free Dairy Queen burgers. Seattle had scored at least 5 goals in their past 4 home games.

Other than the lack of free food the Tbirds did everything right tonight and improved to 6-1 at home with the victory. Jon Parker opened the scoring in the second period with a Power Play goal he banged home off a rebound from a Jim O'Brien shot. O'Brien rang the crossbar earlier in the game and deserved more than only his one assist on the night. I will say when O'Brien keeps things simple and doesn't try too hard, good things happen and this was another example of that happening.

Tbirds gave the lead right back as Erik Fleming, who I believe otherwise had a pretty good game playing along side Thomas Hickey, made a bad decision on an Ice rush and the result was Andrew Bailey zipping a wrister over the shoulder of goaltender Jake DeSerres.

But Hickey, the Tbird captain playing his third game in three nights after playing for Team WHL against the Russians up in Canada on Wednesday and Thursday, wired home a wrist shot from the point only 4 seconds after Dustin Sylvester was sent off for High Sticking. The goal, Hickey's 6th of the year, gave the Tbirds a lead they would not relinquish.

The insurance goal game a bout half way through the third with Charles Wells giving up his body to slip the puck over to Devon LeBlanc who fired home his 8th of the year giving the Tbirds a 3-1 lead. Chris Cloud added his 7th of the year later in the period off a shot from Sena Acolatse who celebrated his 18th birthday today with 2 assists in the win.

Moments after LeBlanc's goal gave Seattle a 2 goal cushion, DeSerres made a sprawling split leg save at the far post on Sylvester to keep the 2 goal lead intact. DeSerres, who's struggles have been repeatedly noted, was very solid in the win making a few big saves and seeing through screens effectively in the second period when Kootenay had 2 Power Plays.

Seattle dominated the 3rd period so much that at the 7 minute mark I noted how carved up the attacking zone ice had become and how fresh the ice in Seattle's end looked. Another 39 shots for the Tbirds who have been firing the puck at the net in the past two weeks and that is largely due to their attacking zone possession and not just from shots being fired from out deep.

As I type this the Tbirds are on the bus headed to Portland as they will play the Winterhawks in a special 12 (high) noon showdown to avoid conflict with the Civil War football game.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game.

1. Thomas Hickey. GWG for Hickey tonight and he was solid on defense and dangerous with the puck numerous times in the offensive zone... I thought he was by far the most complete player on the ice tonight despite actually being -1.
2. Jim O'Brien. Hit the crossbar in the first period and deserved more than the solo assist.
3. Sena Acolatse. Gets my nod for the 3rd star with 2 assists on his 18th birthday.

Honorable Mention...

DeSerres. Very solid tonight and only doesn't get a star from me because I'm not sure his 21 saves were a difference maker but "only" a very solid performance.
Schappert. +2 tonight
LeBlanc. Goal, +1 and a fight.

11.26.2008

A few notes...

Tayler Jordan was suspended two games by the league for hit "actions" during the Tbirds-Hawks game last Saturday night. Jordan earned a Gross Misconduct in addition to giving the fans the "bird" as he exited the ice.

Stefan Warg is listed as day to day with a back injury and Lindsay Nielsen is listed as being out 2-4 weeks with a shoulder sprain. I don't have any word on the severity of either one but you can assume that Nielsen will not play Saturday and may not for a while.

Want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.... the Tbirds are back in action Friday night at the Key against Kootenay before heading to Portland for a Saturday afternoon tilt with the Winterhawks.

11.22.2008

Tbirds thump the road weary Winterhawks

Before a nice crowd of 5637 tonight at the Key, the Tbirds jumped out early and often on the Winterhawks on their way to the 6-2 victory. The Winterhawks were playing their 7th game in 9 nights and will return home but have to return to Everett next Friday before they finally play another home game.

Taking a second away from the Tbirds... how weird of a schedule is this for the Winterhawks. After Sunday in Vancouver they played Tuesday in Chilliwack, no big deal there. But then they faced Everett at their place Wednesday, with a day off Thursday before playing them AGAIN at Comcast Arena before seeing the Tbirds at the Key tonight and then back to Everett next Friday.

Anyways... Prab Rai had an incredible night with 2 goals and 3 assists. With the 5 point night, Rai now has 16 goals and 13 assists and leads the team in points with 29. Jim O'Brien also had a very good night, getting 2 goals and 2 assists while Parker picked up 3 assists and the 3rd star of the game.

This game was never really in doubt from the beginning as O'Brien scored just 57 seconds into the game.

The Tbirds built a 3-1 lead on the 3rd goal of the season by Silvester and Winterhawks goaltender Keith Hamilton was yanked in favor of Kurtis Mucha.

Interesting scrap in the 2nd period as the two teams combined for 94 penalty minutes at the 15:32 mark. I have to be honest and tell you that I didn't get a really good look at the whole thing from where I was sitting tonight. I will say that I think Ehrhardt started a lot of the mess by getting involved in the initial scrap between Dillon and the Winterhawk player. Interestingly he ended up without any PIM's after the whole thing was sorted out. I'm going to have to get another look at the scrap on video to see exactly what happened. I do know that Cloud came to the defence of Thomas Hickey and that was why he got the 3rd man in Misconduct.

Jordan took home 46 PIM's for his work and Cloud 37 for his.

Lindsay Nielsen was a scratch tonight... I didn't hear why, maybe someone did.

Seattle improves to 10-13-3 which is good for 23 points in 26 games and moves them into 7th place in the Western Conference.

11.21.2008

Welcome Home...

The TBirds don't play until tomorrow night, but they do return home where I can actually see a game in person and give you my thoughts.

Couple of news dumps just to keep everyone up to date.

The Showare Center at Kent is now officially the name of our new home. Kent Reporter.

Coach Sumner on Paul Silvi's show tonight. Seattle Thunderbirds.

The Arena groundbreaking won an award. Seattle Thunderbirds.

Chance Lund was named to Team Pacific. WHL.

Calvin Pickard made it to Team West. WHL.

11.19.2008

Trip ends on a loss... and a little math

I wasn't there, I didn't see it, I didn't even hear it... I had physical therapy and a run tonight.

Tbirds lose 3-2 tonight in Swift Current ending the Eastern Swing with 5 points in 6 games and ending the whole trip with 7 points in 7 games.

The way the team played on the trip they probably deserved better... but it was still a good trip. Not a great trip, but a good trip, which isn't a great trip but isn't a bad trip.

The Birds have now played 5 games at home and 20 on the road. Think about that people... anyone who wants to be a hater needs to look at that balance (or imbalance).

That means of course... the rest of the way the Tbirds have 31 home games and 16 road games. There is no way they can play .800 at home the rest of the season but let's say they play .650 or .700 and make some projections.

If they play .650 at home (slightly worse) and .400 on the road (slightly better) they finish with 40 more home points and roughly 13 more road points for 53 total added to their current 21 and you get 74. Last year... 74 points got you 7th in the conference.

If they play .700 at home (still slightly worse) and .400 on the road (again slightly better) they finish with 44 points (rounded up) and 13 road points for 57 plus 21 and you get 77 which is still around 6th or 7th.

You begin to see why digging yourself a hole at the start of the season becomes problematic because the Tbirds could play pretty solid hockey the rest of the way and still only finish 6th or 7th in the West.

If we take the 91 points the Tbirds had last year as a rough benchmark for finishing 4th in the conference... let's see what it might take in order to get there.

First off... with a majority of the rest of the games at home, their play at home becomes more important... obviously.

In order to finish around 91 points they will probably need to play .500 on the road the rest of the way, which doesn't seem impossible given the play of late and the number of road games that are relatively close to home but offset by the fact that they still play a number of games in Everett, Spokane and Tri not to mention the suddenly feisty Winterhawks..... but let's say .500 meaning they get 16 points in the 16 games left on the road.

16 plus 21 is 37 points... 91 minus 37 is 54. So 54 is the number of points they would need to get at home. 54 points at home the rest of the way is .870.... which again illustrates why digging yourself a hole at the start of the season makes it tough (but not impossible)to finish around the 90 point mark).

Ok so that seems a bit unrealistic... so let's try it with a slightly better road record. If they play .550 on the road the rest of the way is 18 points. I'll save you the verbal calculations and tell you that it means they would need to play .839 the rest of the way at home to make it.

What is my point to all of this?

The Tbirds need to play like the Vancouver Giants at home in order to get to just 91 points. I like the way the team is playing but I think its impossible to expect them to play at that clip the rest of the way. My prediction... I will go with 83 points and 5th in the conference.

Cool Photo


This from the webcam today...

Dear Brian...

In case everyone misses the comment from below I will set this up here first. Commented last night...

"How can you write a blog about the T-birds and their road trip when you are on the sofa? Don't you need to be present to have some insight.... You making statements with NO facts because you are not present. Then you mention half heartly the T-bird radio announcer is having a daily diary about the eastern trip on his blog, and is taking your job. His not taking your job, he is doing your job. Brian"

Dear Brian...

Thank you for reading Let's Go Birds...

Look... let me remind you of a few things here. First off, I congratulate you on at least posting with a name rather than simply remaining anonymous (sort of). At least you have the guts to throw your name out there.

Second... you aren't wrong about what you are saying. I'm not on the road trip, I don't plan on travelling to Swift Current tonight to see the game and quite frankly if you have watched the games on WHL TV you will know that you aren't getting a whole lot from watching those either.... I'm very happy that the Tbirds and Thom decided to do a blog from the road to give YOU guys (and me), the fans, some insight into what is going on behind the scenes on the road. The fact of the matter is... I started this blog a year and a half ago because as most fans know the Tbirds get NO coverage locally here in Seattle. The Times and the PI ignore the TBirds and post only the small game reports. I started the blog because I was tired of fans not having a place where they could look to find out about transactions, stats and opinions that you are NOT going to find anywhere else.

Third... Thom has a job with the team, he is paid to travel with the team and broadcast the games and quite frankly I enjoy the job that he does for the most part. I think you could do a lot worse for a broadcaster. I also think that if Thom decided to "blog" about every game and every practice the way people like Regan Bartel does in Kelowna, I would be hard pressed to imagine a world in which the blog would need to continue. I have a REAL day job... I don't write this blog for money, I'm not paid by the team or anyone else and I certainly don't get paid to travel the Eastern Swing for 12 days just to cover the team for the blog... I'm sorry. If you are looking for that you should email the Thunderbirds and demand that Thom start keeping a blog for every game and practice home and away and when that happens I will gladly go away and be thankful for some additional coverage and insights.

Have you not noticed that we aren't even getting an "In The Corners" weekly update from Thom this year?

So in conclusion Brian... Yes you are right, it would be great if I was at the games and not sitting at home on my "sofa" but until you or the team want to start paying me to do that... what you see is what you get and quite frankly I am completely undeterred by some guy chirping at me from his own "sofa" who is doing nothing but reading my blog (gee I wonder why, maybe because it is the only place to find information?). Again... thanks for reading. If you don't like it... change the channel.

11.18.2008

Bleh... whatever...

That is how you are supposed to play on the road in the middle of a long road trip. I'm giving the Tbirds a free pass on the loss tonight.

The only thing I think is worth noting is DeSerres making only 4 saves on 6 shots in the first period and then getting yanked in favor of Calvin Pickard the rest of the way. I didn't see the game with my own eyes but I have to assume Rob Sumner did not like what he saw and opted for the young 16 year old the rest of the way.

One game over the course of the season isn't going to make or break anyone... but I will say that at some point the Tbirds need DeSerres to fully regain his confidence and take back the #1 spot we all thought he would have going into the season. I think Pickard is great... I keep saying that and will keep saying that... but I also still believe at some point in a big game he will let you down because at 16 he is being put in a really tough spot.

Let's hope tonight was just one bad game and Jake rebounds quickly... whether it be tomorrow or Saturday at home.

Uh oh...

Teams that get 5 power plays to the other team's 1 and...

don't score...

give up two goals...

including a short handed goal...

and only get 5 shots on goal....

on the road....

are well on their way to a loss... The Tbirds would be showing me a lot of character if they came back and won this game.

11.15.2008

Big road win for the Tbirds in Brandon

Despite Referee Devin Klein trying his best to give Brandon the game tonight, the Tbirds survived and picked up a big 5-4 win over the Wheat Kings.

So many things to note from this game... I'm using bullet points (or dashes).

- How happy am I to be wrong about my road trip prediction. I thought the Birds would lose tonight based on many factors including this being their 4th game in 5 nights on the road.

- There is no way I'm going to look this up... but I wonder how many times a team has been on their extended road trip playing their 4th game in 5 nights, without getting a single power play chance AND winning? I bet that hasn't happened too many times.

- In the game, Seattle was down 1-0 and 2-1 and saw Brandon tie the game at 3-3 and 4-4 before getting the GWG from Devon LeBlanc with just under 5 minutes to play.

- What a game for the team's 20 year old players. LeBlanc had 2 goals and 1 assist, Chris Cloud had 2 goals and was +3 and Greg Scott had 1 goal and 1 assist. THAT is how you win on the road, you do it with your veteran players.

- Also... Jeremy Boyer adds two assists and Charles Wells has points in 2 straight games with an assist. Nielsen and Warg also had assists in the win... Warg was +2.

- Not too long ago... Warg and Acolatse were -12 and -14 each. After tonight's game Warg stands at -6 with Sena checking in at -9 after the -1 tonight. Both are huge improvements and are one of the biggest connections to the Tbirds improved play in the last couple of weeks. If the two of them continue to play like they have, this team will continue their path back to .500 and beyond.

- The Tbirds now have 21 points in 23 games and they are getting close to that .500 mark a lot faster than even I thought they would. This is exactly why it is ridiculous and foolish to judge a team after 13 games in the same way that I think it is probably still a little silly to judge them after only 23 games. That said, this team is really competing hard on a nightly basis and they are seeing their efforts rewarded with some points. If they continue to play like this they are going to put themselves in a great position to use the 2nd half schedule to their advantage..

Home cooking...

Seriously... how often does a team get ZERO power plays. With like 9 minutes left in the game the Tbirds have not yet had a single Power Play chance. Is Devin Klein just trying to give Brandon this game?

11.14.2008

I'd call that a "stubborn" win for the Tbirds

Maybe I should start taking a little credit for my predictions... That makes me 3/3 on the road trip now as the Tbirds win tonight 5-3 in Regina and now have 3 points in the first 3 games of the Eastern Swing (excluding the Chilliwack game). I should probably go back and read the post from before but I believe I said they would lose the first, get a point or two in the second game and get a point or two in the second for a total of three points after the first three games.... so that has worked out well so far.

Unfortunately... that would mean that the Tbirds will lose tomorrow in Brandon, which is what I have predicted. In reality, that wouldn't be much of a surprise to lose to a talented Brandon team on the road in the team's 4th game in 5 nights, so I will stick to that prediction. In my opinion if they get even a single point tomorrow night in Brandon that is a nice gain in the standings. I know there has been a lot of discussion lately on Alan Caldwell and Gregg Drinnan's blogs (the best in the WHL) about the merits of the current point system... where teams get a point just for getting the game to overtime, but the fact is that you might as well deal with the system you currently have. Any points tomorrow night will be huge.

Another 42 shots tonight for the Tbirds, but unlike the previous games, tonight the Birds cash in 5 times on their way to the 5-3 victory. Thomas Hickey scored twice in the win... when was the last time Thomas Hickey scored twice you might ask? You'l have to go back to February 16th of 2007 to find the last time Captain Hickey scored twice. With the 2 goal effort, Hickey earned the 1st star of the game for his effort but was also aided by a goal and an assist from Charles Wells who picked up his first goal of the season. Luke Lockhart and Prab Rai also scored in the win for the Tbirds... for Lockhart his 2nd and for Rai his team leading 13th.

Special added honorable mention to goaltender Jacob DeSerres. If you were to compare this game to some of the games of past seasons, his 27 saves seem somewhat ordinary in relation... but his 27 saves tonight were huge for the Tbirds and especially the 11 for 11 in the 3rd period when the game started tied going into the period. Jake has struggled this season but he appears to be gaining confidence and starting to look like the goaltender we have seen in the past 2 seasons. We all know that the talent Jake has shown did not disappear over night and it was simply a matter of confidence. I have said this before and I will say it again... I think Calvin Pickard is also a very talented goaltender but this team cannot rely upon a 16 year old goaltender to carry them for the entire season. They need Jake to become goaltender #1 with Pickard becoming a very good #2 and perhaps tonight is another step in that direction.

Tbirds improve to 8-11-3 good for 19 points in 22 games good for a .432 point percentage which is now tied for 7th in the Western Conference with Prince George.

Reason to be very excited

This might sort of fly under the radar of the casual fan... so let me shine as big of a spotlight on this as I possibly can.

Seattle yesterday signed 15 year old Colin Jacobs to a WHL contract. This is a HUGE signing for the Tbirds and a real score for Russ Farwell, Colin Alexander, Rob Sumner and the rest of the staff.

Jacobs... from Coppell, Texas was taken in the 4rd round of the WHL Bantam draft last year. Most said the only reason he was taken in the 4rd round was the natural uncertainty a player from Texas coming to the WHL.

The Tbirds official story can be found here.

I'll let you go over to the Tbirds website to read the rest of the details and skip right to the opinion portion of this.

This is really a huge score for the Tbirds... This will end up essentially giving the Tbirds two first round talents in the same draft without even factoring in whatever else they manage to get out of the 1993 draft class. While I will sit here and tell you that I have never actually seen Jacobs play with my own two eyes, if he is anything close to the hype he is going to be one heck of a player. All would say that he is among the best American hockey players born in 1993 and a lot have said that he is the best. This kid was even described by some scouts as one of the best skaters they saw in the 1993 age group including the Canadian players.

With Sanvido and Jacobs playing in Seattle together for several years beginning in 2009 the future looks incredibly bright for the Tbirds.

Jacobs, at 15, will not be able to join the team on a full time basis this year but will join the team for some practices and probably play in his allotted 5 games sometime around the new year. I'm excited to see how far along he is already at 15.

11.12.2008

Another frustrating (somewhat) night for the Tbirds

Tbirds lose in a shootout tonight to Saskatoon 2-1. Seattle had handfuls of opportunities to earn the second point tonight including a penalty shot by Lindsey Nielsen in Overtime that was denied by Blades goaltender Braden Holtby.

Holtby was as good as advertised tonight stopping 34 of 35 Tbird shots and got the win despite allowing 3 goals on 6 shots in the shootout. Jon Parker was the 6th shooter for the Tbirds and failed to extend the shootout to a 7th round. O'Brien, Scott and Rai all converted in the shootout and Boyer, Hickey and Parker failed in their attempts. Seattle now has 127 shots in their last 3 games and only 4 goals to show for it.

That said.... If we can get past the disappointment of nearly being 2-0 Seattle is precisely on track for my projection of this road trip and despite getting only 1 point in 2 games, their play has been excellent and if they can manage to keep the same game and intensity throughout the trip, you can expect good things to happen.

Earlier in the game Jim O'Brien gave the Tbirds a 1-0 lead in the 1st period with his 8th goal of the season coming on assists from Prab Rai and Jon Parker.

Tbirds are off tomorrow night before heading to Regina Friday and a battle with Brandon on Saturday.

Really tough start to the trip...

Tbirds basically dominate the Prince Albert Raiders last night and yet lose 2-1 at the Art Hauser Centre. This was a game I did not expect the team to win or get a point but I also expected them to play poorly after the long trip and that was simply not the case.

Tbirds end up with a 42-20 advantage on shots but only manage the one goal by Chris Cloud after falling behind by 2 only 35 seconds into the 2nd period.

Greg Scott and Jim O'Brien were the 2nd and 3rd stars in the game, illustrating the effort.

Hopefully the TBirds can forget about missing a point or two in Prince Albert and come out with the same effort and intensity tonight in Saskatoon to earn their first win of the road trip.

Seattle, after the 42 shots last night have now fired 92 shots in their last two games but have only scored 3 goals on those 92 shots... a 3.26% shooting percentage.

11.10.2008

Putting me out of business???

Only kidding of course... but most of you probably heard today that the Tbirds have announced a new Blog on the website. Tbirds announcer Thom Beuning will be blogging about some observations he has while on the team's 7 game road trip and he already has his first entry posted about the game on Saturday. This should be a nice way to get some up close and personal perspective during the trip.

http://www.seattlethunderbirds.com/blog/

EDIT - btw... Kindersley, Saskatchewan? I guess I learn a new small Canadian town every year. Kindersley, by the way, population 4412 (as of 2006)

11.09.2008

Great start to the road trip

I'm thinking the same thing I'm sure several of you are thinking... I'm slacking... I know it...

Tbirds get another win last night in Chilliwack to start the 7 game road trip. Considering how much the Bruins had been struggling coming into this game, it didn't sound like the Tbirds really played their best game of the season but they did put a season high 50 shots on Bruin goaltender Mark Friesen. So perhaps the chances were there and the finish was not.... either way the game had the potential to be quite disappointing after taking a 1-0 lead in the first, giving up the lead in the 2nd and having the 50 shots on goal.

Thanks to the shootout and the finish of Jim O'Brien the Tbirds get the trip off to a 2 point start and the fact is, it really doesn't matter what it looked like... its a 2 point road game. Now starts the real challenge as the Tbirds travel to Prince Albert to face the Raiders on Tuesday before driving back down the 11 to Saskatoon for the Blades on Wednesday.

For perspective.... the drive from Chilliwack to Prince Albert is 1060 miles. Not sure if the team is going all the way to PA or if they are staying somewhere in between. Either way... it's a long trip in the bus which is why these road trips are so difficult regardless of the teams you are playing. I would expect Tuesday to be really tough due to the travel, Saskatoon is a good team but has been totally average at home at 5-5-1 so that could be a place to earn a point or two. After a day off you might find a point or two in Regina who have only won in regulation 7 times in 13 games... but at Brandon the next day is a talented team and after 4 games in 5 days I would expect the Birds to run out of gas for that game on Saturday. After a few days off they should certainly get a point or two in Moose Jaw before facing a tough Swift Current team who is 9-3 at home.

Based on that... I'm looking at 5 points in 6 games as being a pretty decent road trip.

11.08.2008

Tbirds make it two in a row over Red Deer

Tbirds defeat the Red Deer Rebels last night 5-2 in 4327 people in attendance at Key Arena. Seattle is now 4-1 at home... maybe they want to re-think this whole moving thing... only kidding of course.

The game had a very eventful start as Devon LeBlanc scored just 90 seconds into the game stuffing a rebound past Rebel goaltender Morgan Clark for the 1-0 lead... but Red Deer answered quickly as they scored twice, 40 seconds apart only 3 minutes into the game and Seattle found themselves down 2-1.

Calvin Pickard looked horrible early on but Sumner called for his timeout and decided to stick with the young goaltender and the move paid off. Pickard was much better the rest of the way in front of a solid defensive effort an was not beaten again.

Seattle began their comeback with a goal by Brenden Silvester, who continues to look increasingly comfortable with his expanded role.

Another youngster looking more comfortable is Jonathan Parker who scored his 3rd goal of the season to give the Tbirds a lead they would not give up in the second period. Parker has scored in two straight now and has 4 points since joining the Rai/O'Brien line.

Following the trend... 16 year old Luke Lockhart poked home a rebound past Clark to give the Tbirds a 4-2 lead short of the midway mark in the 3rd period. The goal by Lockhart was the first of his WHL career and was assisted by Colin Haas and Chance Lund who picked up his first WHL point on Lockhart's goal.

Prab Rai finished the scoring with just over a minute left by scoring into the open net and sending Tbird fans home with a free burger from Dairy Queen for the 3rd home game in a row.

Tbirds get right back at it tonight in Chilliwack as they embark on their 7 game road trip that will move through the Eastern Division.

At 6-10-2 and 14 points in 18 games are getting closer and closer to that .500 mark I've been talking about for the first half of the season.... but this Eastern road swing is certain to test them immensely and I would have to think that 3-4 (lets say 6 or 7 points) could be considered a great success. Chilliwack is really struggling, having lost 9 of their last 10, making tonight's game critical to having a successful road trip.

I have to say that I was very surprised to see Calvin Pickard in there again last night and I have to wonder to myself how long it takes Sumner to get DeSerres back to playing a majority of the games. I think Pickard has a really bright future, but I'm not convinced this team can ultimately be successful with a 16 year old goaltender playing a majority of the games... but perhaps he can prove me wrong. I would expect to see DeSerres in there tonight on the road, but at this point nothing would surprise me.

I think if the Tbirds can continue to get contributions from guys like Silvester, Parker and to a lesser extent Lockhart they have a great chance to get back to .500 sooner than later.

One last note... I didn't listen to the pregame show... I know David Richard is hurt but I don't know where Jeremy Boyer was. Does anyone know if he got hurt as well?

11.04.2008

Tbirds start strong and finish stronger

Tbirds blow out Edmonton tonight in a very entertaining game at Key Arena.

Attendance was listed at 2791... ummm yeah right. Looked a little closer to maybe 1500 hundred tonight although the 2800 number was probably paid attendance. Pretty tough on any Tuesday night but especially on an election night.

Tbirds started fast and strong and were finally rewarded with just over a minute to go in the first period with a nice finish by Jim O'Brien from Prab Rai and Jonathan Parker.

That line had a fabulous night finishing with 3 points a piece and all with +3 ratings.

Tbirds got a little sloppy in the second period but still managed to finish the period with the second goal by Jim O'Brien to give the Birds a 3-1 lead going into the third period.

Greg Scott then took over in the 3rd period... and while he did not finish as one of the 3 stars of the game, it was only because the issue had already been decided. While Scott will not officially get credited with a Short Handed Goal... he was awarded a Penalty Shot while being dragged down during a penalty kill and converted on to the short side on Oil Kings starter Torrie Jung that gave the Tbirds a 5-1 lead and send Jung to the bench. Later... Scott scored again while short handed with a nifty move around the defense and finish past Dalyn Flette who relieved Jung.

Leblanc and Acolatse finished the scoring and sent the fans home with an 8 goal game and some free burgers from Dairy Queen.

Tbirds now 5-10-2, 12 points and 5 points away from getting back to the .500 mark with another home game coming up on Friday against Red Deer.

One last interesting note from tonight's game... Chris Cloud fought the one handed bandit in the 2nd as Jesse Pearson dropped the gloves with Cloud.... but at first appeared to forget to drop one of his gloves. After it appeared that Cloud asked Pearson "what the heck are you doing" and probably not exactly in those words the two proceed to exchange a few punches.

Now later... we noticed the reason why Pearson didn't drop his second glove and that was because his right hand had been taped up. I'm not going to bother to look up the exact rule but I know a player received either another penalty or misconduct from having their hand taped and getting into a scrap. What I didn't know was that apparently if you have your hand wrapped and you don't drop the glove(s) you don't get an additional penalty or misconduct for that. It appeared that Coach Rob Sumner had some kind of conversation with the Referee about this and nothing else became of it.

Box Score here
Game Story here

PS- This one was for Tuba Man..... everyone will miss him.

RIP Tuba Man

Seriously... what is the deal with this black cloud hanging over Seattle sports? Can something be done about this?

Just a tragic story... We all knew Tuba Man and we all loved his "Go T-birds.....".

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/jamieson/386267_robert04xx.html

11.02.2008

Quick update...

No time to write this morning as I am on my way to the Seahawks game...

Huge point for the Tbirds last night in Tri-City. Fall behind 4-0 in the first period and battle all the way back to get the game to overtime. To eventually lose in OT is obviously disappointing but to earn a point on the road after that hole is something the team can be very happy about.

Home game Tuesday...

10.29.2008

Birds dropped by Kelowna 7-3

Tbirds drop another road game tonight 7-3 in Kelowna to the Rockets.

I did not see the game so I don't know if we are talking goaltending, defense or both tonight... but more of the same from Seattle on the road.

I know "anonymous" thinks I am simply excusing these poor performances... but that simply isn't the case. The Tbirds just aren't consistently being competitive on the road and that is unacceptable.... that said... my comments from this weekend remain the same. The goal is to end up around .500 by the new year and at least on the record board they aren't really that far from making that true. On the other hand... if you judge by performance they are still have quite a ways to go to become a .500 team.

Link to box score...
Tbird official story...

Key stats from tonight...

Chaffin... -3
Nielsen... -3
Scott... -2
LeBlanc... -2

Rai... 1 G, 1 A
Warg... -1, but also 2 A's
Hickey... 2 A's
O'Brien... Goal
Scott... Goal
DeSerres... 21/28

10.27.2008

New Link

I was contacted by the Editor of Seattle Sports Online about their new Tbird "coverage". There isn't anything over there you can't find in the usual places but they do have some nice photo galleries from the last two games and I will assume for now that they will continue to do that.

I have added the their address to the link bar on the right. I encourage everyone to give it a look...

10.26.2008

Tbirds make it two in a row

Seattle beats Everett last night 5-2 to run their "winning streak" to two games. This was an important follow up for the Tbirds after their big come from behind victory Friday night in Spokane.

One of the biggest differences I notice with this team in the last two nights that they were not doing previously is the ability to chip the puck deep in the opponents zone. The Tbirds are a speed and finesse team that relies on chip and chase, winning the puck deep in the zone and hitting the third forward cutting to the front of the net. Through the first 12 games most of their problems were originating in their own zone and the neutral zone, which minimized the good chances they were getting on the offensive end. Far too often they were turning the puck over in their own end, which resulted in goals against.

Last night and Friday... they seemed to get back to being able to control the puck into the neutral zone and then chip the puck deep into the corners with all three forwards in full stride.

The difference was huge... Seattle constantly put pressure on Everett in the 1st and 3rd period that resulted in 15 shots and 3 goals in the first period.

Seattle's first goal was a tic-tac-toe slam dunk by Jeremy Boyer off a nice feed by Lindsay Nielsen. The Power Play goal was the first of two by the Tbirds on the night.

Just over two minutes later... David Richard scored his 6th of the year from Prab Rai to give Seattle a 2-0 lead.

Chris Cloud then picked up his 3rd of the season finishing high over the shoulder of Kent Simpson on a snap shot after receiving a nice feed from Brenden Silvester who beat his defender on the 2 on 1 and fed a perfect pass to Cloud at the far post and Seattle led 3-0 at the end of the first period.

Everett came back with a stronger effort in the 2nd period and netted Power Play goals from Daniel Bartek and Kellan Tochkin to cut the lead to 3-2. Tochkin's goal was jammed in with 3 second left in the period and suddenly the game became very close after 40 minutes.

The Tbirds could have let the momentum slip into the 3rd period with the late goal but the responded with the effort that mirrored the 1st period and the effort paid off just 3 minutes into the period as Jim O'Brien scored his 2nd of the year from Rai and Greg Scott on the Power Play and Seattle re-upped its lead to 4-2.

Prab Rai finished the scoring with a circus backhand at the 9:30 mark of the 3rd period when he flipped a fluttering backhand that Simpson never saw over the top of his shoulder and into the back of the net. For Rai it was his 9th of the season and with his 2 assists on the night now has 12 points on the season.

Interesting stretch of games coming up for Seattle... Tbirds travel to Kelowna Wednesday and then down to Kennewick to face Tri-City on Saturday the 1st before they come home for home games against Edmonton and Red Deer.

If Seattle could somehow manage to get a 2 or 3 points out of the games at Kelowna and Tri, Edmonton and Red Deer are winnable games followed by a road trip to Chilliwack, another winnable game.

Currently the Tbirds are 5 points behind what I consider an important benchmark. If they can end the calendar year with as many points as games played they would be in really good shape to make a run in the second half of the season... and despite the early season struggles they have 9 points in 14 games currently.

If they pick up 7 points in the next 5 games... suddenly they would have 16 in 19 games and you creep closer to that mark.

10.24.2008

16 comments and one big win...

Silvester with the game winner tonight as Seattle gets a huuuuuuuuuuge win over Spokane on the road to move to 3-9-1 on the season.

Obviously the coaching issue set people off a little bit as 16 comments were made on my article about Rob Sumner. I suppose "Anonymous" will claim that tonight was a victory by talent and not by coaching? Seriously... you can't have it both ways. You can't claim coaching is the problem when you lose and the players get the credit when they win and I don't even know if that is what "Anonymous" will say... but I'm assuming that he or she will...

This was a big win for the Tbirds... Spokane is one of the best teams in the WHL and to steal not only 2 points but deny the Chiefs points is a huge plus. Having said that... Seattle must build on this and one win a season does not make. They have to come back strong tomorrow at home against Everett and take care of business and grab another two points.

I thought the Tbirds dominated this game tonight... Spokane's first goal was an unfortunate rebound by Jake DeSerres and the second was an excellent shot. Seattle dominated the action for much of the first period, most of the second and all of the latter half of the 3rd period and it finally paid off with goals by Rai, Nielsen and Silvester. The Silvester goal was an awesome flipped backhand through traffic over the shoulder of Tokarski to give the Tbirds a 3-2 lead.

The Tbirds enjoy a long bus ride home tonight and get right back to it tomorrow night at the Key against Everett.

10.23.2008

Thursday Morning Conversation

Tbirds drop another game last night in Kamloops and fall to 2-9-1.

I think this is a silly conversation but I'm going to address it since obviously one blog heckler and some other people are putting the issue out there that Seattle needs a change at Head Coach and that this slow start can somehow be blamed on the coach.

For whatever it is worth, my opinion is this...

I don't care if this team doesn't win another game the rest of the season and finishes with the worst record in WHL history, there is absolutely no way you even entertain the idea of firing Rob Sumner until the season is over. Furthermore... even if this team ends up having a terrible season and missing the playoffs I still do not think Rob Sumner should be replaced. You can say that my "head is in the sand" all you want, as an anonymous commenter has said, but you just don't evaluate a coach with the record that Rob Sumner after a poor 12 game stretch.

Let's look at the facts....

In 2003-04, the final year under Dean Chynoweth, the Tbirds slumped to 24-31-8-9 (Ties and OT losses), 5th in the U.S. Division, out of the playoffs and did not have a single scorer with over 60 points on the season.

2004-05, Rob Sumner took over and the "New Generation" of Tbirds hockey was born. While teams in the WHL often turn around from year to year... Seattle went from being last in the U.S. Division to being 1st in the U.S. Division with a record of 43-24-2-3 and winning their second Division Title and finishing with the 3rd best record in the Western Conference. Aaron Gagnon topped 60 points and Bryan Bridges had 13 shutouts to tie the single season record for shutouts. The Tbirds then defeated the Tri-City Americans 4 games to 1 in the first round of the playoffs. The season came to an end in Round 2 where the Tbirds lost to the eventually WHL champion Kelowna Rockets who had previously won the Memorial Cup the year before. Safe to say this had nothing to do with the coach and they simply got beat by the better team.

2005-06, Tbirds go 35-31-6 and finish 2nd in the U.S. Division only 4 points ahead of Portland. No player finishes with more than 45 points although Roman Tomanek would likely have had he not been sent home for violating team rules. Without Tomanek the Tbirds lose a 3 goal lead and Game 7 at home to the Portland Winter Hawks in Round 1 of the playoffs. Obviously this isn't the result everyone was looking for they lose a Game 7 by one goal to a team that was probably their equal. By winning... Portland earned the right to be smashed by the Vancouver Giants (eventual WHL Champion) in Round 2... the same fate the Tbirds probably would have faced.

2006-07, Tbirds finish 37-21-14 and in 3rd place in a very tough U.S. Division where 3rd place meant finishing 4th in the Western Conference. 2 players top 60 points led by Aaron Gagnon's 80. Seattle then upsets the Carey Price led Tri-City Americans (96 points regular season) to advance to the 2nd round where they lose 4 games to 1 to the eventual Memorial Cup Champion Vancouver Giants.

2007-08, Tbirds finish 42-23-7 which is good for only 3rd in the U.S. Division again with two teams over 100 points in the Division. The is again good for 4th in the Western Conference and Seattle defeats 5th place Kelowna in Round 1 in 7 games, 4-3. The Tbirds then lose 4 games to 1 to the Tri-City Americans team that just finished winning the U.S. Division with 108 points... a team that was just flat out better than them.

So lets recap here...

In 4 full seasons as Tbirds coach... Rob Sumner has gone:

Games: 288
Wins: 157
Losses: 99
Overtime or Shootout Losses: 32

Straight Win Percentage: 54.51%

Playoff Record:

Series Wins: 3
Series Losses: 4

Of those 4 losses... one to a Portland team who was equal in the standings, 1 to a Memorial Cup Champion, 1 to a WHL Champion and 1 to a team that led the league in points in the regular season with 108 points.

The point is this...

Sumner has had a winning record every season he has been here, he has one Division title and 3 our of the teams 4 playoff exits can be directly attributed to losing to a better team and a 4th that could be argued and was a 1 goal loss in a Game 7.

I know the team is off to a bad start and there are plenty of things to be worried about on the defensive and goaltending end... but these are not a direct result of coaching. Rob Sumner cannot go play for these guys, they have to go out and get themselves fired up and motivated to turn this thing around and start flying around the ice and crashing the net and I can promise everyone that Coach Sumner isn't just conducting practice with his hands in his pockets wishing and hoping the team will just magically play better.

Personally... I think Sumner has built a good enough record with this team that even after a bad season I wouldn't even entertain the notion of replacing him after this season. The team would have to have two horrible seasons before I even thought about it.

So feel free to call for his head and hope and wish that we had a different coach... but you won't find that message here and you won't find anyone in the front office ready to replace the coach.

10.21.2008

A little mid-week statistical dump...

Spent some time last night entering some numbers into a database. You'll never find this sort of stuff on the WHL website and some of it might be useful. On the other hand... some of it may mean absolutely nothing but it might be interesting to see.

I broke a bunch of things down by period and the only thing I really came up with is that maybe Jake DeSerres has not played as poorly as we think he has in the 1st period of games.

Shots by Period and Average.

1st - 92 shots, 8.36
2nd - 106 shots, 9.64
3rd - 108, 9.82

Goals by Period and Average.

1st - 8, 0.73
2nd - 9, 0.82
3rd - 8, 0.73

Shots Against and Average

1st - 139, 12.64 (that is a lot of 1st period shots)
2nd - 111, 10.09 (improvement)
3rd - 91, 8.27 (wow much better)

Save Percentage by Period

1st - 88.5 %
2nd - 87.4 %
3rd - 82.4 %

This is interesting... as the goaltending appears to get worse as the team gets better. This number might also be moved by the fact that in Vancouver the Giants scored 3 times on 3 shots in the 3rd period.

Yuck...

5 on 5 scoring For and Against

1st - 3 GF, 11 GA (ugh)
2nd - 7 GF, 14 GA (not much better)
3rd - 5 GF, 9 GA

Minor Penalties by Period and Average

1st - 20, 1.82
2nd - 22, 2.00
3rd - 32, 2.91

One might think that maybe the goaltending has been influenced by the increase in penalties in the 3rd... but check out the next one.

Short Handed Chances (or times Short Handed) by Period and Average

1st - 18, 1.64
2nd - 19, 1.73
3rd - 21, 1.91

So the Minor Penalties haven't resulted in more PK's

How often does a Minor Penalty result in a Power Play for the opposition

1st - 90.0 %
2nd - 86.4 %
3rd - 65.6 %

A much higher number of the penalties in the 3rd period are coming in offsetting situations.

Penalty Killing by Period

1st - 66.7 %
2nd - 94.7 %
3rd - 81.0 %

Power Play Chances by Period and Average

1st - 20, 1.82
2nd - 9, 0.82
3rd - 20, 1.82

Power Play Conversion Rate by Period

1st - 25.0 %
2nd - 22.2 %
3rd - 20.0 %

These are actually pretty solid numbers on the Power Play... the 5 on 5 action is what is really killing the team. They have surrendered 11 goals Short Handed and have scored 11 on the Power Play.

All in all... I would say there is some pretty compelling evidence that the team has played just as poorly if not worse than Jake/Calvin has played in the 1st periods.

This team has to get off to better starts as they typically close games strongly.

Also... A word of note to fans who always yell "shoooooot" all game long when the team is looking for a "good shot". The shot totals go up from the 1st to the 3rd period and the scoring doesn't... so keep in mind that while sometimes more shots on goal will produce more goals there isn't necessarily a correlation between shooting more and actually scoring more.

10.19.2008

Nielsen and Edwards update...

Couple of notes from last night....

Lindsay Nielsen was absent last night due to some family obligations.

Spencer Edwards was released by the Tbirds.

10.18.2008

Tbirds fall to 2-8-1

Seattle loses again to night, this time at home to the Kelowna Rockets who had lost the previous night on the road in Everett giving up 8 goals in the process.

I don't think there is any way to sugar coat this loss at all. The Tbirds showed a few stretches where they looked like the team we thought they would be at the start of the year but far too many stretches where they looked downright ordinary, slow and generally unmotivated during a home game.

While I do think Kelowna is still a quality opponent, with Luke Schenn looking like he is going to stick in Toronto and Tyson Dowzak signing with the New York Rangers, this team is not the same team we thought they might be at the start of the season. You simply cannot lose a home game to a team on their second night of back to back road games and call yourself anything other than a 2-8-1 team right now. I'm not trying to go out of my way to bad mouth the kids or the team but I have to call it like I see it and right now this team is either under achieving or simply just not that good. I still believe they are just under achieving.

A few bright spots in the game....

I thought at times Greg Scott looked simply dominant. I remember last season thinking that Jim O'Brien was the consistently fastest game skater the Tbirds had and so far from what I have seen Greg Scott is faster. On numerous occasions he simply skated around and past Kelowna defenders and I thought the 3 stars of the game were totally wrong and it was simply ridiculous that he wasn't one of the three stars. In the first 10 minutes of the game Scott had 3 big hits, drew a penalty and then drew the assist on the goal during the Power Play he created.

Calvin Pickard again looked very good and solid but also looked like a 16 year old goaltender at times. Yes... I know he miss played the puck in the 1st period that gave the Rockets a 2-1 lead but he also made 27 saves and kept his team in the game and gave them a chance to win, which is all you can ask of a goaltender. On the flip side... he looked like a rookie on the goal by Colin Long... but Long is also the reigning #2 scorer in the league. I also thought the goal (ahem, shot) that was reviewed in the 2nd period certainly looked like a goal from my vantage point (I could totally be wrong about that) and that was a big break for Seattle.... but most of the time Pickard controlled rebounds and came up with a few huge saves to keep Kelowna at bay at times when they could have buried the game. This is where the struggles of Jake DeSerres is really killing the Tbirds. Pickard is playing admirably but a team just cannot lean on a 16 year old goaltender and expect to contend. The problem is that at 2-8-1 this team doesn't have much wiggle room to wait for Jake to get his confidence back.

Also good... the Tbirds continue to get really good shifts out of players like Luke Lockhart, Brenden Silvester and Colin Haas.

Lindsay Nielsen was a scratch tonight and I also did not see him in the stands (on the bench?) so I'm curious to know about his status.

I thought the 3 stars were way off base and I thought stars were more deserving for Dylan Hood for Kelowna and Greg Scott for Seattle. Long obviously did score a goal, O'Brien had a nice goal and Boyer had a nice assist on the Chris Cloud shorthanded goal so I'm not saying they didn't have some nice moments.

Tbirds get right back to action Wednesday night in Kamloops before heading to Spokane on Friday and back home for Everett on Saturday... so things do not get much easier.

10.17.2008

I'm just going to throw this out there...

How long do we wait until we decide this team might just not be that good?

I realize this is another road game against a good team... but your #1 goaltender gives up 4 first period goals and 6 overall up to this point.

How long do we wait to pass judgement considering the circumstances of the schedule?

10.16.2008

Pickard is CHL Goalie of the Week

Official story from the Tbirds is not up on the website yet so I will paste it in here.

Kent, WA, Ocotber 16, 2008 - The Canadian Hockey League today announced Seattle Thunderbirds goaltender Calvin Pickard has been named the ADT CHL Goaltender of the Week.

Pickard, a 16-year-old from Winnipeg, Manitoba, is in his first WHL season. This past week he posted a 1- 0-0-1 record with a 0.480 goals-against-average and a .978 save percentage. His 20 saves on Saturday, October 11, backstopped the Thunderbirds to a 4-0 road win against division rival Portland Winter Hawks. With his first WHL career shutout, Pickard was named the game's first star. On Sunday, October 12, he made 24 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss against the Chilliwack Bruins and was named second star of the game. Calvin is the younger brother of 2007-08 WHL and CHL Goaltender of the Year Chet Pickard.

Maxim Gougeon of the Rimouski Oceanic went 3-0-0- 0 this past week including a 4-0 shutout win over the Montreal Juniors to represent the QMJHL nominee for the award this week. Peter Di Salvo of the Barrie Colts was the OHL nominee. Di Salvo made 32 saves in a big 3-0 shutout win over the Sudbury Wolves on Friday night. The 17-year-old Di Salvo was named the first star of the game with his second shutout of the season.

Celebrating its 134th anniversary, ADT Security Services, Inc., a unit of Tyco Fire & Security, is the largest provider of electronic security services to more than six million commercial, federal and residential customers throughout North America. ADT's total security solutions include intrusion, fire protection, closed circuit television, access control, critical condition monitoring, electronic article surveillance, radio frequency identification (RFID) and integrated systems. ADT's web site addresses are www.adt.com or www.adt.ca.

2008-09 ADT CHL Goaltender of the Week
Oct. 14 - Calvin Pickard, Seattle Thunderbirds
Oct. 7 - Olivier Roy, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Sept. 30 - Andrew Engelage, Windsor Spitfires
Sept. 23 - Jamie Tucker, Vancouver Giants

The T-Birds take on the Tri-City Americans on Friday, October 17, in Kennewick at 7:05 p.m. They are back home on Saturday, October 18, to face the Kelowna Rockets at 7:05 p.m. at KeyArena.

T-Birds season tickets are currently on sale. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825. Purchasing a season ticket will ensure fans can attend the T-Birds first game in their new home, the Kent Events Center.

Thursday Morning

Not a whole lot to write about in Tbird land the last couple of days.

I'm working on crunching some numbers about the first set of games. Obviously they have not gone well for the Tbirds but there were signs this weekend that this team is getting back on track towards surviving the difficult road schedule to start the season.

In news from around the league.

Everett had put in a bid to host the 2010 Memorial Cup, but it was awarded to Brandon. I think a Cup will eventually make it to Everett but it is pretty understandable that there is more advertising dollars available in Canada for the Cup than there is here in the states. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for a Cup to come back to Seattle, though with the new building there is at least a chance. Alan Caldwell has reported that Brandon was the first city to present their proposal and after they did Everett and Brandon both decided not to and endorsed Brandon.

The sale of the Winterhawks was approved by the Board of Governors though the sale is not quite final. Personally... I have quit chanting "Portland Sucks" at games because it just isn't fun to do so anymore, so I hope this sale gets the Winterhawks back on track to being competitive, so that the rivalry can get back to what it once was.

Today is the O/A deadline for all teams to be down to three 20 year old players. Some moves have already been made today and Tri-City and Calgary still have deals to make with 4 players.

10.12.2008

Tbirds lose in a shootout to Chilliwack

Only listened to the game tonight after getting home from that UGLY Seahawks game. Sounded to me like the Tbirds played really well and even got 26 shots on goal. They unfortunately only managed to score once however as Lucas Gore was able to hold the Tbirds at bay after Thomas Hickey scored his first of the season in the first period.

Chilliwack finally scored to tie the game at 1-1 with 2 minutes left in the game and scored the only goal in the shootout to pick up the extra points.

Seattle killed numerous penalties in the 2nd period and it sounded like the Bruins were the recipient of a little home cooking.

All in all... I think it was a disappointing weekend to come away with only 3 points out of a possible 6 but there were signs that the team is improving. At 2-6-1 all hope is not lost and I am reminded again that the Tbirds really only need to survive the first half of the season before spending virtually the entire second half of the season at home.

10.11.2008

Tbirds get their first road win...

Tbirds defeat the Winterhawks in Portland tonight 4-0 to get their first road win and improve to 2-6 on the season.

The game tonight was relatively uneventful despite being an important win for Seattle. Prab Rai had two goals, Greg Scott added a shorthanded breakaway goal and Calvin Pickard picked up his first WHL victory and shutout in the same night.

My comments about the game last night in Everett are far more important.

Ugh... first off... I hate going to Everett... some beast of a woman who appropriately had a cowbell hung around her neck (too mean?) taunted me in my Glen Goodall jersey before I had even sat down and I then proceeded to watch the Tbirds come out flat, see Jake DeSerres give up a ton of rebounds and the team give the game away in the first 20 minutes.

Look... Everett is a tough place to play even though the fair weather fans (already?) of Everett couldn't even sell the house out for a Seattle game on a Friday night. Still... 7100 people clanging cowbells after being down 3-0 early in the game is pretty tough to come back from. I still can't figure out why the defense is playing so poorly... I know the defense was obviously better in Portland tonight but come on... its Portland. DeSerres played poorly but his defense did not help him out on more than one occasion. The defense has to start getting better... that's the bottom line. With Hickey back... this defense has to be at least average to decent, not average to horrible and I still believe things will turn around.

Seattle nearly got back into the game as they cut the score to 3-2 on a sweet end to end rush by Hickey and then had numerous chances before Chaffin took and unfortunate extra penalty in a scrum with everyone's favorite Silvertip Kyle Beach. Everett took advantage with the Power Play goal, the 4-2 lead and never looked back.

I know this sounds strange and would have sounded a lot more prophetic earlier today... but this team will improve and I think they can dig out of this hole. The game tomorrow night in Chilliwack is a nice chance to get 2 more points and finish the weekend with 4 out of 6 points on the road.

Jared Jagow

Somewhat expected... Jared Jagow has gone home and is awaiting a possible trade. Seattle had 4 O/A players and something had to give. This has been confirmed by Gregg Drinnan at Taking Note.

I'll have more on the game last night later...

10.10.2008

FYI

In case anyone was wondering... today is the deadline for teams to get down to 25 players and Seattle has 26 players on the current roster. However... injured players are not counted as part of the 25 so with Jeremy Schappert still injured the Tbirds will not need to make a move. I would imagine that since the Tbirds also still have 4 O/A players that they can use that as a chance to get down to the number once Schappert is ready to return.

Weekend Preview

Tonight Seattle plays in Everett and if history is any indication... I am going to the game tonight in Everett and I have never seen a TBird win in the EEC (maybe I should stay home?). It would be silly to elevate the importance of tonight's game to anything higher than say a 2 or a 3 on a scale of 1-10... but this game tonight is a little more important than a normal regular season game. With the road schedule that faces this team in the first half... this weekend poses three games in three nights that all can be won on the road.

Everett looked great in the first meeting against the Tbirds but we all know that Everett will not be contending for a WHL Championship this year. A win tonight by the Tbirds sets the stage for 5 or possibly 6 points this weekend with games in Portland and Chilliwack to follow. Portland, as we know, is still in the grips of rebuilding and Chilliwack was a decent team last year that lost scoring champion Mark Santorelli to graduation (where he is currently assigned to Milwaukee with Ian McKenzie) and Oscar Moller, who for now, remains with the Los Angeles Kings.

It has been well documented how the schedule sets up for Seattle in the first half of the season... but weekends like this provide an opportunity for the team to chip away at the daunting road schedule and grab some early season points. With Greg Scott and Thomas Hickey returning to Seattle I would be really disappointed if this team comes away with less than 4 points for the weekend. It is time for this train to pull out of the station or I fear that at some point it becomes derailed for the entire season over the road schedule.

10.08.2008

Suggestion Box

Some of you may notice that I tweaked the layout of the blog a little bit.

I'm curious to know if anyone has any suggestions about the blog... I can't promise that I will follow any of them but I do promise to read and consider all of them.

Different look? Different content? etc...

If you think I stink... haha... here is your chance to let me know.

ShoWare Arena at the Kent Events Center?

The city of Kent has signed a 10 year 3.175 million dollar deal to name the new Arena after VisionOne's ShoWare ticketing service.

The deal is not as lucrative as the previous 20 year 10 million dollar deal that the city of Kent had with Amiga last year. That deal was voided after the city of Kent said that Amiga failed to complete the terms of the agreement.

Story can be found here.

Tribune Article

Nice article in the Tribune this morning... hopefully this will be the first of many.

Can be found here.

10.07.2008

Greg Scott update

I had an anonymous fan send me a message that Greg Scott is coming back to Seattle. I cannot find anything, anywhere that will confirm this... so let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here and we'll just call this a rumor for now.

If Scott is indeed coming back to Seattle... the Tbirds would have 4 O/A players and would have a decision to make on one of them before the deadline which I believe is in about a week and a half.

EDIT - CONFIRMED

Greg Scott is returning to Seattle. The link to the Press Release can be found right here.

10.06.2008

Somebody at the Kings just wants to make me look bad...

How long ago was it that I waited to post that I hadn't found anything???

Hickey is coming back to Seattle... while we all were rooting for Thomas, we are all happy to have him back as well and we know he has a very bright future.

http://www.insidesocal.com/kings/

Hickey Update

I've looked around and checked with a few people and I don't really have any news to report other than what is already out there.

Thomas has only played in two exhibition games for the Kings and those came in the first two games of the exhibition season. That made me guess that he would be sent back to Seattle today... however... the Kings have made some moves that would indicate that they are prepared to start the season with Hickey and give him a chance to see what he can do since they can always call up an older player from the "A" if/when they decide Hickey is not ready quite yet.

So my guess was wrong and it looks like we might have a wait possibly a lot longer before knowing about Hickey's status.

10.04.2008

Home is where the winning is... I guess...

Tbirds pick up their first win of the season and they do it over a really high quality opponent tonight in Spokane.

I'm not going to B.S. you guys, my loyal readers... My wife and I had to attend a charity event over at the EMP tonight and we were only able to take in the first 10 minutes of the game because they didn't drop the puck until nearly 7:30. The charity is a very important cause to our friends and family and I encourage people to visit the website at www.hearseehope.com. Hear See Hope raises money for research into a cure for Usher Syndrome. I won't spend any more time writing about it but we are very proud to support this cause.

Back to hockey... Jeremy Boyer is the only one to score in the shootout and the Tbirds get a huge 3-2 win over Spokane.

Boyer also scored in the first period to give the Tbirds a 1-0 lead that was erased by Mr. Drayson Bowman who scored twice to give the Chefs (no spelling error there) the 2-1 lead. Lindsay Nielsen then tied the game at 2-2 in the 3rd period on a feed from Boyer and the game eventually landed in the shootout.

Jacob DeSerres had 30 saves and more importantly stopped all 4 of Spokane's attempts in the shootout.

The Tbirds are now 1-5 but have a tough 3 in 3 road weekend coming up starting in Everett Friday, down to Portland Saturday and back up to Chilliwack Sunday. Crazy... but those are 3 winnable games.

10.03.2008

September 20, 2002

The last time the Thunderbirds gave up 10 goals in a game was September 20th, 2002 at Kamloops to start the 2002-03 season. Box score here...

The good news is... that team actually won the U.S. Division that season and finished with 94 points. Not only that... but they started the season 1-6-1 before turning things around and winning the division.

The lesson her is that 5 games is only 5 games and it is still really early in the season.

Having said that.... This is a team that has made defense their trademark under Rob Sumner and the defense is absolutely horribly right now. I don't know what the Los Angeles Kings are doing but if Thomas Hickey isn't going to make the opening day roster he needs to come back to Seattle right now, this team is totally lost without him. The strange part is... I have this feeling that when/if Hickey comes back you can automatically plug him in for 30 minutes of ice time or more and I could see this team running off a series of wins. I know that sounds crazy... but I compare it to baseball where a team gets their closer back from the DL and everyone else falls back into their proper roles on the team. With Hickey back... the minutes are spread out a lot more appropriately and everyone can calm down and fulfill their role without the added pressure.

My point...? Yeah it is bad... it's real bad and my guess is that some people in the front office are a little freaked out by this start.... BUT.... there is no need to panic and there are 67 games left to turn things around and this team might look entirely different with Thomas Hickey back in the lineup.

Relax people... the Tbirds finally come home tomorrow night... come out to Key Arena to see Guyle Fielder and see the final home opener at Key Arena and hopefully the boys will turn things around against what I think is the top team in the WHL the Spokane Chiefs. Home ice or not... if the Tbirds win tomorrow night... it will be a big win.

and....

the extra point is up... and it is good... only need a Touchdown to get back into this game. Ugh. Seriously boys... seriously...

10.01.2008

Update...

Hickey was not listed in the box score tonight for Los Angeles... my guess is that he will be back by next week.

Hickey News... or at least speculation

I have been trying to gather as much information I can from the little news that comes out of LA Kings camp about what the Kings might be thinking about doing with Hickey and there are a few things I have noticed here in the last couple of days.

1) We have known for some time that the biggest reason (other than talent) that Hickey could end up staying with the Kings is the fact that they were very thing on the blue line. Most who speculated thought that there was possibly one or perhaps two spots left on the roster with Thomas competing with Drew Doughty to make the final roster. Well, the Kings the other day acquired veteran defenseman Sean O'Donnell from the Ducks which one would think locks up another one of those spots.

2) In addition to the added competition for a roster spot, it appears to me that Hickey has only seen action in 2 of 4 possible games (the Kings have played 5 but the first set of games were played with a split squad, is this baseball?) and he did not log any action in their most recent game last night.

This would lead me to believe there is a strong chance he is coming back and perhaps sooner than later. I don't think this means they have ruled him out... I'm just thinking at this time they are probably leaning towards sending him back to Seattle over keeping him on the roster. All of this of course could be thrown out the window if he plays again tonight.

The question is... if they are leaning towards sending him back to Seattle, how long will they make the Tbirds twist in the wind waiting for him to come back? My best guess at an answer... they won't make them wait much longer.

Here is my over under... I think if he doesn't play again tonight (unless he is banged up... and if he is I couldn't find it anywhere) I think he comes back on Monday the 6th which is the day after the last exhibition game.

9.29.2008

Yup... new O/A player...

All credit to Steve Ewan and Marc Weber over at "The Dub Hub" for the scoop.

Seattle has claimed 20 year old Chris Cloud off of waivers from the Vancouver Giants. With Seattle being the only team in the WHL to not have a point they had first selection on the waiver wire where apparently several teams put in claims for Cloud.

Cloud is from Waywayseecappo, Manitoba (that is the last time I type THAT one out) and is a 5'11" 186 lb Left Winger who shoots left handed. Last season with the Giants, Cloud had 8 goals and 11 assists to go along with 105 PIMs. Cloud fought 15 times last season, 18 the year before and 10 the year before that... so he adds what I consider to be some much needed punch to the lineup

More details can be found in the entry from the Dub Hub here.

This leads me to believe that though the Tbirds may not announce is (and likely won't) that Ashton Hewson is in fact gone.

Changes?

Ashton Hewson is no longer listed on the TBirds roster on the WHL website....

I'm assuming this probably means he is no longer with the team but that is speculation on my part at this point. That would leave the Tbirds with an open O/A spot....

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