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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Seattle vs. Prince Albert Recap

Here is a link to the Seattle Time Recap: In short... Seattle wins tonight 3-1 over the Raiders in a very business-like fashion. Seattle gets goals from Brenden Silvester (his 1st in the WHL) and Charles Wells (his 2nd) and pretty much put on the cruise control in the 3rd period for the win.Seattle showed a lot of focus by coming out strong in the 1st period and grabbing a 2-0 lead, instead of allowing a team like P.A. to grab an early lead on them (something Everett allowed them to do). Holloway had a nifty setup on Silvester's goal and also helped to set up Greg Scott's goal in the 1st period that gave the Thunderbirds the 2-0 advantage. One thing I noticed last night was how much ice time everyone is sharing. Seattle was able to get some really good minutes from their 3rd and 4th lines with Silvester, Wells, Quakenbush and Boyer. It seems like Coach Rob Sumner has found a really nice rhythm trying to get everyone rotated into ice time and it is definitely paying off.

Seattle lost their focus a little bit in the 2nd period while the Raiders out shot them 12-7 and got the game to 2-1 before Wells answered 53 seconds later to restore the 2 goal lead. On the play Prince Albert was caught in a bad line change and an outstanding pass by David Richard gave Jim O'Brien and Wells the 2 on 0 against the goaltender Steven Stanford. O'Brien made the perfect feed and Wells finished over the top of the helpless Stanford.

Seattle then regained their focus in the 3rd period and put the game away out shooting P.A. 19-8 in the final frame.

Riku Helenius was solid again in goal, especially tested in the 2nd period, and finished with 27 saves on 28 shots.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game:

1. Holloway, 2 assists and led the effort
2. Helenius, solid in net for the W
3. Silvester, for his 1st WHL goal

In the Arena:
We agree tonight 100%


Quick Update

Jan Eberle has not yet been cleared to play and will likely not play this weekend either. Assuming that he can pass the baseline test(s) at some point this week, he could be cleared to play next week.

Getting to know your P.A. Raiders

Seattle hosts the Prince Albert Raiders tonight at the Key. The Raiders used a 33 save effort from our old friend and former Winterhawk Dustin Butler to steal a 2-1 win over the Silvertips in Everett last night.

P.A. is 17-30-5 after last nights win which is good for only 39 points and a point percentage of .375.

They are 3-7 in their last 10 games and broke a 3 game losing streak last night. They have been outscored 182-143 on the season.

The Raiders are actually better on the road than at home with a record of 10-15-2 on the road but have been outscored 77 to 102 on the road. They have played 7 games into overtime and only earned the extra point twice (for 9 total points).

A very strange statistical abnormality here... The Raiders are 17th overall on the Power Play at 17.6% but they are way better than that on the road ranking 5th in the league and scoring at a 21.8% clip.

The good news is they rank only 19th on the PK overall and kill at a 78.1% clip and they are even worse than that on the road at 75.4% which is 21st only ahead of the Portland Winterhawks.

One more interesting stat... the Raiders have lost 4 of their 6 shootouts but it hasn't been for lack of scoring as they have converted 6 of 22 chances but have surrendered 8 of 22 chances.

Players to watch...

19 year old Ryan McDonald has 20-25-45 in 51 games
19 year old Import Max Brandl 14-12-26 in 45 games


20 year old Dustin Butler is 12-19-3 with a Shutout, 3.12 GAA and 90.3% Sv%
17 year old Steven Stanford is 5-11-2 with a 3.74 GAA and 89.2% Sv%

I would guess that Stanford will probably get the start tonight with Butler playing last night but they do have Thursday off and games only on Friday and Saturday this weekend.


Big win on the road for the Tbirds

Seattle just wrapped up a big road win over the Tri-City Americans.

Despite Tri-City playing without leading scorer Colton Yellow Horn this is a big win for a Seattle team looking to close the gap on Everett for 5th and Kelowna for 4th. Both of those teams did not play tonight so Seattle gains ground on both.

A solid effort tonight from Jacob DeSerres who had a bit of an off night on Friday in Spokane was very solid tonight. The lone surrendered to former Tbird Radek Meidl in the 2nd period. At the time the goal tied the score at 1-1 but the Tbirds were able to answer shortly after on goals by Jeremy Boyer and David Richard. For Boyer it was his 13th and for Richard it was his 12th and the second Short Handed Goal in as many nights. Richard's goal was initially recorded as unassisted but after the game assists were given to Greg Scott and Sena Acolatse. Acolatse also combined with Lindsey Nielsen assisting on Bud Holloway's goal in the 1st period that gave Seattle the lead.

Special Teams didn't play a "huge" role tonight as both teams only had 4 Power Play chances a piece. However... Seattle was not only able to keep the Americans off the board on the man advantage but cashed in that Short Handed Goal that gave them the two goal cushion and the final margin of victory.

Seattle now sits at 55 points, only 5 behind Everett for 5th place with 4 games still in hand.

Three Stars in the Arena:

1. Thomas Hickey, +2
2. Jacob DeSerres, 24 Saves
3. Radek Meidl

I'd have to also give honorable mention to: Sena Acolatse, 2 assists and also a +2 night. Bud Holloway. Jeremy Boyer.

Thunderbirds own Silvertips again...

Seattle comes from overcomes a 2-0 deficit tonight to defeat the Silvertips and improve to 6-0 versus their rivals to the North on I-5. Seattle fell behind early on first period Power Play goals by Dan Gendur and Zach Hamill but hit the trifecta in the 2nd period scoring a Short Handed Goal, a Power Play Goal and an Even Strength Goal to take a 3-2 lead.

Everett was able to answer with Zach Hamill netting his 2nd of the night and 18th of the season but David Richard scored the only goal of the 3rd period to seal the 6th straight win for the Tbirds over the Tips. For Richard it was his 2nd of the night, 11th of the season and the 2nd Seattle SH goal of the night. Earlier Jim O'Brien scored the Short Handed Goal to get Seattle within one at 2-1 off an assist from Prab Rai.

Rai finished with a Goal and three Assists on the night, earning the first star of the game.

Everett played again without leading scorer Kyle Beach who is still recovering from a concussion.

Seattle hits the road again tomorrow heading across the Cascades to visit the Tri-City Americans on Sunday afternoon. With the 2 points Seattle now trails Everett by only 7 points with 5 games in hand. They also have closed the point percentage gap but still trail the 'Tips .564 to .577.

Three Stars of the Game In the Arena:

1. Prab Rai
2. Jim O'Brien
3. Zach Hamill

Honorable Mention... has to be David Richard who continues to find the back of the net with 2 more goals tonight.


Seattle at Spokane Recap

Seattle falls tonight to the Chiefs 5-2 at the Spokane Arena. Seattle has shown time and time again that it needs good to excellent effort out of their top line and tonight the end result was not there. Having not seen the game it's not fair at all for me to make comment on the effort of the top line I can only comment on the end result.

Holloway - 0-0 and -2
Scott - 0-0 and -2
Nielsen - 0-1 and -3

Seattle just doesn't get enough from the rest of the lines to survive a game like that from its top line. Having said that... the first line had played tremendously over the past month and were due for a night off.... They must get more from the other lines to help out... AND they were playing what I believe it the best team (or 1b with Vancouver) in the WHL and they were on the road. It's a lot to ask for the Tbirds to get points out of the top ranked team in their own barn and tonight Seattle just didn't quite have enough to get it done.

Scott Jackson was the bright spot for Seattle registering a Power Play goal and an assist in the loss.

Seattle returns home tomorrow to face the Everett Silvertips and look to extend their 5-0 record against the Tips. Seattle trails Everett by 9 points with 5 games in hand. By point percentage Seattle trails .544 to .588 and these games (especially at home) will be critical to earning the 5th seed in the West. I personally think Seattle has no shot at the 4th seed with Kelowna playing really well and having a 15 point lead (Seattle has 5 games in hand) over the Thunderbirds.

I will miss the game tomorrow night due to coaching requirements. I will post a game thread before I leave... feel free to leave comments about the game. I'd love to see some of the regulars over at the forum make their presence known on the blog a little more... A lot of them have good insight on the team.


Seattle at Kamloops Recap

Seattle gets a big (maybe not huge) road win tonight in Kamloops 4-2 over the Blazers. A resilient bunch Seattle took the lead 1-0 and 2-1 only to have Kamloops tie the game at 1-1 and then 2-2 before taking the lead 3-2 and icing it with an ENG.

I won't try to replicate the game reports any better than the experts can. Here are links:

Gregg Drinnan Box Score:

Gregg Drinnan Game Recap: Interesting to note that Jan Eberle did suffer a concussion last week but will be available Friday in Spokane. Also interesting to note was the travel problems the youngsters had today.

WHL Box Score:

Tbirds Game Recap:


Hockey Hockey Hockey

My ads are pointing to weird stuff so you'll have to excuse the weird title. Just cleaning up some items that I haven't really covered over the last couple of weeks.

- Nice article on Scott Jackson this morning by Grigg Drinnan Tonight will be Seattle's (and Jackson's) final trip to Kamloops for the season unless somehow the Tbirds and Blazers were to meet up in the post season. Tonight's road game would go a long way towards Seattle getting to that #5 seed and any shot at the #4 seed.

- James McEwan was not dropped by Kelowna at the deadline and it appears that the Rockets captain (and former Tbird) will be back in the lineup before the end of the season. This from Regan Bartel's blog:

Rockets captain James McEwan says he should have his cast taken off of his wrist by January 28th. In an interview this morning, McEwan anticipates rejoining the team on the ice by early March. McEwan underwent surgery on his wrist after having two tendons cut with the skate blade of Giants enforcer Garet Hunt.

- Former Tbird Bretton Stamler was traded at the deadline to the Swift Current Broncos and has gotten off to a good start with 1 goal and 2 assists in 5 games with the Broncos to go along with 2 fights and 20 PIM's. I know Bretton had been excited to play in his hometown of Edmonton but if the season ended today the Broncos would finish ahead of the Oil Kings for the 8th spot in the East. It would be nice to see Stams able to finish his career on a playoff team one last time.

- Aaron Gagnon recovered from another shoulder injury suffered back in November. Gagnon healed and was sent to the AHL Iowa Stars for a 12 game run where he started several games before being sent back down to the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads for 3 games where he collected 1 goal and 3 assists. He has now been sent back to Iowa again and has played the last 2 games. Gagnon has yet to collect his first point in the AHL.

- After playing in Johnstown last season, Ryan Gibbons was recently signed by the Charlotte Checkers, This is also the same Charlotte Checkers who earlier in the season had released former Tbird Clayton Barthel after 4 games.


Seattle vs. Prince George Recap

You don't really expect good results when a team goes 0/9 on the Power Play, but that is exactly what Seattle did tonight in their 5-1 victory over the Cougars.

Seattle gets three points from Greg Scott and two more goals from Bud Holloway to lead the way past P.G.

Holloway got the Tbirds on the board at 14:18 of the 1st period when he was able to slide a Greg Scott pass through the 5-hole of Cougar goaltender Real Cyr. Just over two minutes later Greg Scott redirected a Thomas Hickey shot through the pads of Cyr for the 2-0 lead. I'd love to see the replay because I swore it should have been Holloway's goal.

Seattle led 16-4 in shots on goal after the 1st period... but I just have to point out that Riku Helenius got screwed. I have no idea who is keeping the shots on goal but I noted at LEAST 3 or 4 saves by Riku that were not recorded in the first.

David Richard then made it 3-0 in the second period when he finished a Prab Rai shot from in close. Holloway then got another towards the end of the period on assists from Scott and Nielsen and Seattle led 4-0 at the 2nd intermission. Seattle led 32-14 in shots after the 2nd.

Dana Tyrell ended the shutout bid by Helenius by smacking home a rebound at 4:16 of the 3rd. Riku had a solid game and nearly came away with the shutout.

Sena Acolatse finished the scoring with just over 5 minutes left in the game on a wicked slap shot through traffic off a feed from Lindsey Nielsen. Sena's shot was a blistering low slapper that beat Cyr just inside the blocker side post.

Holloway, Nielsen and Scott all ended the game +4.

Seattle controlled this one from start to finish and capped what has likely been their best weekend of the year. The effort was really good from Friday through Sunday and they earned 5 out of 6 possible points.

0/9 on the Power Play is still a concern and I have said all along and will continue to say that if this team could ever figure out how to score on the PP they would be as dangerous as anyone.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game.

1. Greg Scott
2. Bud Holloway
3. Lindsey Nielsen

Honorable Mention: Thomas Hickey (2 assists), Dana Tyrell, 1 goal and was the only real force for P.G. Riku Helenius, stopped 26 of 27 and as I mentioned got screwed on the shot total by at least 3 or 4.

In the Arena:

1. Bud Holloway
2. Greg Scott
3. Thomas Hickey


Seattle at Portland Recap

I will repeat what I said the last time Seattle played Portland... I'm not sure you learn very much from these games except for the fact that Portland still isn't real good and the Tbirds aren't bad and took care of business.

Nice games from a lot of guys... Greg Scott, 2 and 1. Bud Holloway, 1 and 2. McKenzie with 2 points, Nielsen with 2 points and numerous players with +2 ratings.

Seattle returns home to face the Prince George Cougars tomorrow evening at Key Arena.

Also... check out the additional video from the Spokane television station that Jon provided in the comments below. I think its safe to say that Kyle Beach was not taking a dive in any way shape or form. Beach was simply knocked out cold by a punch that Mike Tyson would have been proud of by Chris Bruton.

I know some people are upset with Bruton getting a 2 game suspension and Beach not getting suspended but honestly Beach did nothing that was "suspendable". I never want to see any of these young men getting hurt and I hope Kyle Beach is ok... but what Beach did was a 2 minute Roughing penalty at worst. In the end... justice was served on the ice Beach should learn to be more careful getting involved in these incidents and will likely miss more games than 2 games (the number Bruton will miss).

Seattle vs. Spokane Recap

Tbirds fell in the Shootout last night aginst the Chiefs and have now lost 3 straight.

Seattle still earns a point and there were many things to feel good about this game. If nothing, Spokane proved why they are the top team in the WHL as Seattle did many things well and the Chiefs still walk away with the 2nd point.

Seattle... who had the 2nd worst Power Play in the WHL coming into the game, managed to convert on 3 of 8 Power Play chances. Unfortunately, they also gave up 3 PP goals on only 6 Spokane chances.

I had the rest of the post written and lost it... bummer...

Seattle still has a chance for a successful weekend if they can pick up the points in Portland tonight and home against Prince George Sunday. 5 out of 6 possible points over the weekend is always a good thing.


Did you see that???

Anyone else see the goal by Rick Nash last night??

The goal itself was unreal... but the fact that it came with 30 seconds left in a tie game has to make it not only a goal of the year candidate but maybe one of the best ever.

Also... Interesting take on the Beach-Bruton "incident" the other night by Gregg Drinnan I have a lot of respect for Drinnan and I tend to agree with his take on the "incident" the other night in Spokane. I also tend to agree with Spokane coach Bill Peters who pointed out that normally if a guy is hurt so seriously that he needs a neck brace he is also taken out on a spineboard.

I've seen in some places a comparison of Kyle Beach/Chris Bruton and Benn Olson and I think its important to point out the difference between being a guy who fights and a guy who is a goon. Since joining the TBirds near the beginning of the 2005-06 season Olson has been involved in numerous fights but has never received a Major Penalty for anything other than fighting. I would reserve the term "goon" for guys who go out and receive multiple Majors and G.M.'s for Boarding, Checking from Behind and the like.

If I'm wrong and Benn has received something else... feel free to correct me.


Controversy last night in Spokane

Chris Bruton rocked Kyle Beach last night at the conclusion of Everett's win last night in Everett and I will post the link here for people to decide for themselves what happened.

While I never ever wish a player to be hurt (even Kyle Beach and let's hope he is ok) it sure looked to me like Beach started it and Bruton finished it. Beach had to be given a neck brace and helped off the ice after sitting up.


Tbirds can't solve Bruins in Chilliwack

The Bruins score 2 goals on 3 shots on Seattle goaltender Riku Helenius in the 3rd period while Seattle gets zero goals on 14 shots in the 3rd to ice the game for the Bruins.

I had my own game tonight (2 G, 1 A thank you very much) and couldn't even listen to much of the game so if anyone has a report or some thoughts... please feel free to leave come comments.

Slow News Day...

Not much going on in the way of Seattle news or much in WHL news either today.

The Tbirds do travel to Chilliwack tonight to take on the Bruins. The last time Seattle played in the 'Wack they got dominated by a Bruin team that is now struggling a little bit and sits tied with Seattle in points at 44. Of course the Tbirds have 3 games in hand and tonight would be a great chance to start putting some distance between themselves and the Bruins.

Back on October 17th the Tbirds lost 6-2 to the Bruins in a game where they were outshot 50-15. Riku Helenius was pulled after facing 17 shots in just over 15 minutes and DeSerres faced 33 in about 44 minutes of work. Oscar Moller netted a Hat Trick for the Bruins in the win and Bud Holloway and Jeremy Boyer scored for Seattle in the loss.

However... Chilliwack has lost 7 of their last 10, 1 of those coming in the shootout and have lost 2 straight.

Seattle has lost only their last game against Tri-City and they are 5-5 in their last 10. With hope fading for the #4 seed in the Western Conference... Seattle really needs to get to work starting tonight if they want any chance of catching Kelowna. The 5th seed however is up for grabs with Everett 6 points ahead of Seattle with the Tbirds having played 6 fewer games.


Writing Checks....

John Becanic is $500 lighter in the wallet after his oh so kind words about a Seattle team that has a 5-0 record against his team.

Frustrated? I think he might have been....

DeSerres update

Edit: I had to re-post this to get rid of the spam comment.

Rumor is that Jacob DeSerres had a knee issue that was acting up and was given the weekend off.

This makes a lot more sense than to think they either benched (not really possible) or was simply ignored over the weekend in favor of Riku.


Seattle vs. Tri-City Recap

Thunderbirds fall tonight to the Americans 3-1.

Seattle started the game on fire and put 13 shots on net before the Americans were able to log their first (although it seemed like a few dump in shots were missed). Despite the early effort Seattle was unable to cash in and Chet Pickard played very well in net.

Early in the 2nd period Kruise Reddick poked home the games first goal. Not sure whether Lindsey Nielsen got a piece of the puck as well but the diving Reddick poke it past Helenius, who looked as though he never saw the puck as he tried to play it as well.

Late in the 2nd the Americans were able to convert the game's only Power Play goal on a nice pass by Reddick across the crease to Colton Yellow Horn who steered it in for the 2-0.

Seattle just could not solve Chet Pickard through nearly the entire game before Ian McKenzie beat him high to the glove side with just over two minutes left in the game. Seattle had pulled Helenius for the extra attacker when McKenzie converted for his 10th of the year.

Unfortunately... McKenzie was also involved in icing the game for the Americans. Seattle pulled Helenius again at about the 1:20 mark. The Tbirds controlled the puck momentarily inside the American zone but they were able to throw it out of the zone and down the ice. McKenzie, hustling back to play the puck had Yellow Horn on his heels chasing him.... as McKenzie went to play the puck it slipped either over or past his stick just slightly and into the open Seattle net. Yellow Horn gets credit for the gimme and a hard luck end to the night for McKenzie who had just pulled Seattle to within one.

Seattle still earns 4 out of 6 possible points on the weekend and played very hard in all three contests. The effort tonight for Seattle was very good... but the complete lack of a Power Play (credit the Ams for having the leagues best PK) and ability to finish doomed Seattle in the end.

I don't know what it is about this team, but they seem to generate plenty of chances and just cannot convert enough to win these games against the top teams. Obviously credit to the opponent for keeping them out of the net, but if Seattle can find a way to improve their dreadful Power Play they should be considered as dangerous as anyone in the Western Conference.

One final note... I was surprised and maybe shocked is the word to see Jacob DeSerres get NO starts this weekend. I don't know if something was wrong with him or he was benched or if they just decided to give Riku all three games. Don't get me wrong... Riku is a fantastic goaltender, but so is Jake and its unusual to have 2 very solid goaltenders and not use both over a stretch in which you have 3 games in 3 nights. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that DeSerres is probably a very unhappy camper tonight unless he was hurt.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game:

1. Chet Pickard, without question won the game for Tri-City especially early on.
2. Kruise Reddick, hustle goal and set up one of Yellow Horn's.
3. Colton Yellow Horn, 2 goals including the GWG even if the second was a gift.

Honorable Mention: Ian McKenzie, tough luck finish but had the goal. Scott Jackson, assist on Imac's goal and delivered several big hits. Riku Helenius, solid but not enough in the win.

In the arena.

1. Pickard
2. Reddick
3. Jim O'Brien

Seattle vs. Portland Recap

Short recap this morning. I'm not sure you really learn much about the team in these games against Portland. We do know that Seattle is NOT a bad team and that Portland is still a ways away from being competitive but they are improving.

Seattle scores 4, lead by 2 from Bud Holloway and Charles Wells picks up his first WHL goal and the Tbirds cruise to a 4-1 victory at home.

Riku Helenius looked good in net again despite not being challenged much. The goal scored against him by Swystun was a beautiful finish and there was nothing he could do about it.

Seattle gets ready to host a big contest against the Americans tonight.

EDIT: I forgot to post my three stars.

1. Prab Rai (how does he not get one in the building with 3 points?)
2. Bud Holloway
3. Charles Wells

In the building...

1. David Richard
2. Bud Holloway
3. Charles Wells


Live Updates of Seattle at Everett

Might as well do a little live coverage since I'm sitting here watching the game on the laptop.

-Riku back in net for Seattle after being gone for a month.

-Lots of penalties early as the two teams are getting a little bit fired up.

-Sena gets Seattle on the board towards the end of the 1st. Nice job of getting traffic in front of the net by two Tbirds and Sena did a nice job of getting the pass from Dillon and skating around the traffic and throwing it into the open net.

-Tbirds take a 2-0 lead on a Shorthanded Goal by Prab Rai. Everett turned it over to Eberle at the blue line and he and Rai went in on a 2 on 1. Eberle made a nice pass to Rai who steered it around Irving for the 2-0 lead.

-Power Play Goal by the Silvertips and this game gets tight as Seattle still holds a 2-1 lead.
-End of 2 periods and Seattle remains in the lead 2-0 thanks to 25 saves by Riku Helenius.

- I haven't noted this yet but Bud Holloway is NOT in the lineup tonight and Seattle is playing with only 17 skaters.

-Riku hasn't missed a beat and is very positionally solid tonight and has made saves on all 24 shots to this point.

-Everett picking up the physical and Olson goes off for a Roughing after the play.

-Rai almost gets his second SH Goal.

-David Richard ices the game for Seattle with just under a minute to go in the game with a breakaway goal.

-Chaffin and English with a fight... and now Quakenbush and Mistelbacher. I'd have to say that English got a slight win over Chaffin and Quaks with a slight win over Mistelbacher.

-Seattle wins her tonight at the Comcast EEC 3-1 over the Silvertips. Seattle really has Everett's number this year.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game:

1. Riku Helenius. Only a PP goal surrendered by Riku here tonight in the 33 save win.
2. Jan Eberle. Assisted Rai on the Shorthanded GWG and was also +2.
3. Zach Dailey. Dailey had the only goal for Everett but is also such a hard worker for the Tips.

Honorable Mention: Rai with a goal, Richard with the capper, Thomas Hickey... welcome back.

G.M. Russ Farwell Comments

Earlier this morning I spoke with Tbird General Manager Russ Farwell about the trade climate around the league and what they were looking for at the deadline.

Asked about what they were looking for...

"We would have liked to add a forward to our team but we were not prepared to trade a high draft pick or a good young player to do that." He added... "It was an odd year with not very many forwards available."

Asked about his thoughts on the team going forward the rest of the season...

"We are looking forward to seeing our full team on the ice for the first time since training camp with both Schappert (Jeremy) and Hickey in the lineup at the same time."

About the development of the younger players...

"We believe both (Charles) Wells and (Brenden) Silvester are ready to contribute on a consistent basis and this puts them in the lineup on a regular basis."

This is pretty consistent with what we thought was likely going on with the club. What we didn't specifically know was that there would be a lack of available forwards at the deadline.

Blog Stats

A quick thanks to everyone again as the blog had 91 visitors and a total of 167 page views for yesterday. Both of those are all-time highs for the site.

Also... exclusive comments from General Manager Russ Farwell coming up this afternoon about the trading deadline.


"The" Deadline Post

Well the trade deadline has come and passed and Seattle was one of the few WHL teams to not make a move.

No trade of Josh Schappert (when’s he coming back anyway?? Ha), no blockbuster trade and not even a small move to add another forward for depth.
I know there are at least some fans that kicked around ideas and are ultimately unhappy with Seattle failing to make any moves at the trade deadline. I, however, am not one of those fans and I believe that this might have been the time to stand pat on our players unless and obvious deal developed. Let’s take a look at the roster and do a full and complete breakdown of who might have been available, who might have had value, what Seattle might have been looking for and what the marketplace was looking for.
First off… let’s take a look at where Seattle is at…

Seattle currently sits at 17-14-6 after 37 games which is good for a winning (or point) percentage of .541 and 40 points. Based on points… Seattle sits in a tie for 7th with Kamloops. By winning percentage they sit in 6th place, just barely behind the Everett Silvertips. They are 16 points behind the Kelowna Rockets for 4th place. Seattle does have 7 games in hand over Kelowna and even if they were to win 5 out of 7 of those games they would still trail the Rockets by 6 points for 4th. At 37 games Seattle has played the fewest games in the league by 3 to Portland, 4 to Prince George and 5 games to anyone else in the league. In addition to this Seattle is 19 points behind Tri-City for 3rd and 23 points behind Vancouver and Spokane. You can pretty much write off catching the top two teams and the 3rd and 4th spots are slipping away quickly unless Seattle were to really play well over the final half of the season.

They are also a good 13 points ahead of Prince George and have played 4 fewer games. Meaning… Kamloops and Seattle are going to make the playoffs unless PG seriously kicks it into gear.
It’s pretty safe to say Seattle will make the playoffs no matter what, even if it might be the 7th or 8th seeds.

As everyone knows… Seattle is getting out of Key Arena by mid-season next year and moving into what should be an incredible new building in a new rural city that should really adopt the team with a level of civic pride that could rival Everett. Getting off to a flying start next season going into the new arena could be the most important issue facing the team. That said…

Here is what I think are Seattle’s deadline priorities:

1. Make the playoffs to get the revenue from at least one playoff series (make no mistake this is likely very important to the organization from a money stand point).

2. Do not sacrifice any assets that could be valuable to the team next season as it moves into the new arena.

3. Don’t give up so much that you can’t have a shot at winning this season.

4. Add a forward

5. Get anything for Josh Schappert.

The first one is basically taken care of. The second makes it very hard to trade many or ANY of your current roster players. The third is tricky because you do want to still appease the fans and TRY to win. Since you know you’re going to make the playoffs there is no reason to “punt” the rest of the Seattle by having a fire sale on your players. So we’re down to… add a forward without giving up anything of real value or anything you could use next year and see if you can find a partner for Josh Schappert who made himself much more difficult to trade by staying at home.

Let’s look at the roster and breakdown the candidates.

I will place players in categories:

Untouchable – No way we’re trading this guy
Socks – You’d have to knock our socks off to trade this guy
Another man’s gold – This player is more valuable to us than their trade value within the league.
Arena – This player may or may not have value but is someone that can be useful next season.
Possible Piece – Guys that could be traded and you wouldn’t be hurt next season too much.

None of these things necessarily mean that the player is “bad” or “good” but describe the likelihood and difficulty of being able to trade them under the goals that I have placed.


Ian McKenzie – Macker definitely had some value but he’s also a 6’5”, 220 forward who only has 16 points. He’s probably a guy who has more value on your roster than he does as a trade piece. Macker is a Some Value guy

Benn Olson and Scott Jackson - Seattle’s team system is based on defense first and both players are critical to giving Seattle any chance to win this season. As far as I’m concerned both of these guys are Socks. Any deal would have to have obviously and clearly helped us for next season.


Bud Holloway – Despite not knowing with 100% certainty that Bud won’t crack the Kings lineup next year he is an Untouchable. You can’t trade your leading scoring if you are at least trying to still win this season.

Greg Scott – Socks for sure… Seattle only has three 19’s and Greg could have a monster year next year as a 20.

Riku Helenius – Another Socks. This is a tough call and I know some have said Seattle should trade him because of the play of Jacob DeSerres. However… not only are having 1A and 1B goaltenders a great problem to have. Riku was brought here specifically to play for Seattle and Russ is quite connected with the Tampa GM and I would have been shocked if he had traded Riku after convincing Tampa and Riku to come to Seattle. Seattle would have to have been blown away with an offer to trade Riku and the team people kicked around (Calgary) is in 1st in the East and likely has no reason to trade talent Seattle would covet to make that deal work. Seattle doesn’t need future draft picks… they need players for next season.

18’s – This group gets tougher

Thomas Hickey – Umm Untouchable.

Jan Eberle – Another Man’s Gold. Jan has more value on the team than he does as trade bait because as a Euro he would be hard to trade and hasn’t had a great season so far.

Lindsey Nielsen – Arena guy. About a month ago I probably would have said he was a possible piece but you know he will be back next season and he has shown very good chemistry on the Holloway/Scott line.

Jim O’Brien – Socks and Arena. Jimmy is a big time talent and needs some more time to adjust to the WHL style and he’ll likely be back next season.

Prab Rai – Arena. Can you believe what we traded to get him? Don’t remind P.G. Rai has shown flashes this season and leads the team in assists. You have no reason to trade Prab as he will return next season.

David Richard – Arena/Possible Piece. David is a guy you could have seen Seattle move in a deadline deal but again… he will return next season as a veteran 19 so why trade him unless it’s for a similar type 18 and why swap 18’s with someone when you have invested in him already.

Jeremy Schappert – Untouchable. He is a solid D man now that he is healthy and will return next season presumably even is Josh isn’t around.

Josh Schappert – Trade Bait. The only certain trade piece but it’s hard to trade a guy who leaves his team… Josh probably would have been better off requesting a trade quietly and continuing to play.


Sena Acolatse – Untouchable. He is a young D man with big talent when he stays in shape.

Jeremy Boyer – Untouchable. He is showing too much potential as a 17 year old scorer to trade.

Jacob DeSerres – Untouchable. Goaltender of the future (and now).

Brenden Dillon – Untouchable/Socks. I suppose its possible Seattle could have traded him if they were bowled over, but honestly could you trade this guy after the progress he has made as a young 17?

Isak Quakenbush – Another Man’s Gold. IQ is a guy who definitely has value, but how much is a team going to give up when the 17 year old only has 4 points in 29 games. He’s better off sticking with Seattle and hoping he develops more.


Steve Chaffin – Arena. If Thomas Hickey sticks with the L.A. Kings next season, Seattle stands to lose three D-men from this year’s team. You can’t trade your young D-man depth.

Brenden Silvester – Arena. Has shown potential and was invited to the U-17, no reason to trade him and no contenders are going to look for 16 year old help.

Charles Wells – Arena. Wells is undersized but plays with a chip on his shoulder and works his tail off. He already has turned 17 and you have no reason to trade him and he isn’t going to have trade value to contenders.

That is it people… You’re looking at Quakenbush, Josh Schappert, Richard and maybe Helenius.

I’ve been saying all along that I didn’t think Seattle would make a move and it turns out that I was exactly right. Seattle might call up another forward to fill the roster and roll with the guys that they have. They will end up getting older next season and likely have Holloway, Scott and Helenius as 20’s or if Helenius does not return they have an open spot to pursue a 20 year old sniper in a year where they will really go for it. They will have a dearth of 19 year olds and will immediately be an “older” team in the league. Not to mention that the price of acquiring another 20 year old next season and/or more 19 year olds should be a lot lower in the off-season. As I have said all along I think the lack of scoring development by a handful of players has more to do with our system than the player’s talent.
Seattle was looking for another forward, but look at what people were giving up to acquire players! Trevor Glass went to Spokane for a 2nd AND a 3rd and he’s 19 years old with 11 points and a +5 rating as a D-man. Seems like a steep price to me.

Ok Tbird fans… feel free to debate away. I’m sure people will disagree or argue with my analysis and it is certainly welcome. Remember to keep the comments civil or I will just delete them and I would much rather allow everyone’s opinion to be heard.

Get ready people....

The longest Blog Post in the history of Let's Go Birds is coming up... I'm working on it now and will be posted before I go to bed.

Seattle makes no moves...

at least none that have been announced by 6:35pm.

I know some fans are disappointed, maybe even a little angry at the lack of movement and as a fellow fan I can certainly understand, but I will be doing a large article tonight what I think is the logic behind NOT making a move and why this could be a good "no move" by Russ Farwell.

Thursday Morning Update

No trade news still... and honestly I wouldn't expect any big trades to go down for Seattle. We might see a minor move for a winger but I wouldn't expect to see any big moves.

I know some fans are clamoring for a trade for more '88 help and that would probably be a decent idea with Riku likely not being around next year there is a spot for an '88. On the other hand... you start next season with an open '88 spot and you have the freedom to go out and get the best overage player available at a smaller price when people are forced to trim their '88s.

Also... I've seen a few calls to trade Riku in light of Jacob DeSerres' excellent play. This is also a move I wouldn't recommend and I think there is almost a 0% chance of that happening. I'll update later if I can but I will be travelling up and down I-5 today and may not be around to do so.

There are only 5 teams that have yet to make any kind of move and Seattle is one of them. Two of the others are Everett and Portland.

Also... I have finally added a link to the webcam for the KEC, which is something I've been meaning to do for a while now.


Sorry Tbird fans...

Nothing to report yet on the trade front. I imagine that G.M. Russ Farwell is spending an awful lot of time on the phone today but nothing has happened yet.

Jacob DeSerres was listed as the 6th best Goaltending prospect in North America according to the latest Draft Rankings released by NHL Central Scouting. Tri-City's Chet Pickard is ranked #1 overall.

Also... Jeff May was dealt from Prince Albert to Lethbridge as they looked to bolster their blue line. The Hurricanes paid what is thought to be a high price giving up two prospects and a draft pick for the 20 year old.


No updates...

I will be gone the rest of the day... so I won't be able to update. If anyone hears anything you'll have to get it from some of the other sources. Caldwell and Drinnan should have everything as it happens.

No trade news yet... and an "Oh by the way"

Nothing on the trade front yet today....

Wanted to tell everyone thank you as this "infant" blog went over the 100 visit mark both yesterday and the 6th of Jan.

The 6th saw 106 page visits and yesterday saw 113 which included 77 unique (separate) visitors to the blog... both are new highs.

Thanks for reading and keep recommending the blog to other fans if you enjoy it... or even if you don't.

Meidl to Tri-City and Trade Rumors

Radek Meidl will officially join the Tri-City Americans for this upcoming weekend after finishing his play at the WJC. Seattle released Meidl in the offseason deciding to keep Jan Eberle instead of Meidl when the decision was made to bring in Riku Helenius.

A few trades and lots of rumors going around the league right now and none of them involve the Seattle Thunderbirds. This doesn't really surprise me as I wouldn't expect Seattle to make a big and/or earth shattering deal. Spokane got even stronger by acquiring the Captain of the Saskatoon Blades, Justin McCrae. The deal comes at a high price for Spokane losing highly touted prospect Burke Gallimore, 18 year old Chris Langkow and a conditional 3rd round Bantam pick.

There are rumors that Lethbridge is active and I know one rumor on the message boards have Seattle involved. I don't consider that a reliable source but I do think everyone knows that Seattle and Lethbridge have been trade partners recently in the deal that involved Yashar Farmanara and Mitch Fadden being sent to the Hurricanes.


Tick tock.. Tick tock...

The Trade Deadline looms and teams are making deals with Ty Wishart going to Moose Jaw and from the surface it looks like they didn't get as much as they thought they were going to get.

I wouldn't look for Seattle to make any monumental moves, maybe a trade of Josh Schappert, maybe a move for another serviceable forward (and maybe both will happen with the same deal). I would expect Seattle to mostly stand pat with what they have looking forward to next season.


Seattle vs. Vancouver Recap

Seattle falls last night 2-1 to the Giants and end a very frustrating weekend for the Tbirds.

If you consider that Seattle was without its top forward, its top defencemen, its #1 goaltender and only lost 2-1... it doesn't seem so bad... but Seattle has to feel like it could have and maybe should have won that game. Jacob DeSerres was solid in net once again and Seattle his no less than 3 posts in the game.

Kraymer Barnstable played well for the Giants but was also very fortunate to not be beaten on several occasions during the game.

The game was tense from the start as one night earlier Bud Holloway was injured bu Garet Hunt on a Charging Major. Though not confirmed it is believed that Holloway has a concussion and will be out for at least a week or more depending on the severity.

Coach Rob Sumner was ejected from the game and will no doubt be making a charitable $500 donation to the WHL League Piggy Bank. Sumner was not happy with a High Sticking penalty received by Benn Olsen at the end of the 1st period. I agreed with Coach Sumner on my initial look as I didn't see anything wrong with the hit by Olsen on Spencer Machacek. Machacek and Olsen had been having some no doubt "friendly" conversation a few minutes earlier (no doubt about the weather I assume). Referee Devin Klein was also the official in the "water bottle" incident from last week and I think because of that he has a short fuse for Coaches right now.

David Richard netted the only goal for Seattle... an early birthday present for Richard who turns 19 today.

Jacob DeSerres played excellent in keeping Seattle down only 2-0 while seeing 30 shots through 2 periods. While I know Jake would love to continue playing every game, Riku Helenius will be returning from the World Juniors next weekend. In the end... having #1A and #1B goaltenders is a really nice "problem" to have and ensures that both can stay fresh and healthy for an entire season.

Not sure why Greg Scott and Mike Berube decided to wait so long to drop the gloves at the end of the 1st period and thus were held apart by the linesmen and received only USC penalties.

Seattle next plays at Everett on Friday night followed by a home game against the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. It will be key for Seattle to bounce back next weekend and hopefully pick up 3 or 4 points.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game:

1. Jacob DeSerres... I know he lost and Barnstable won but I thought Jake played better.
2. Kraymer Barnstable... still played well in the win despite my comments, lucky AND good is a winning combo.
3. Evander Kane... Game Winner on a bad Seattle bounce but he was a threat all game long in his return from Juniors.

Giants frustrated Tbirds, Sumner...

I am home very late tonight and will update in the morning... tough loss for Seattle tonight that could have easily resulted in at least 1 point.


Complete Loss for Seattle in Vancouver

Not only did the Tbirds lose tonight 6-1 but might have lost Bud Holloway for at least a short time.

Holloway was helped off the ice by trainer and players after a Charging Major to Garet Hunt in the first period.

The game was tied 1-1 going into the third before 3 straight goals put the game away. Harrison May stepped in to replace DeSerres and gave up 2 more goals on only 7 shots. It probably is not fair to make judgements on a goaltender who has only twice seen action and both times it came in relief but it sure doesn't look like Harrison May is a WHL quality goaltender.

On the plus side... Brad Haber protected his goaltender with a fight and its nice to see a doing that sort of thing.

I didn't have a chance to watch the game on the Internet feed and guys like "Ryland" can probably provide a better summary. I hope we see a full three period effort from Seattle tomorrow night and come away with a few points from Vancouver.


Riku Pictures

I ran down some pictures of Riku from the Juniors. Let's all hope that he shakes off the experience because he gave up another 4 goals in the loss to the Czech Republic in the 5th place game.

Canada vs. USA in the Semi's

Canada and USA are in a showdown right now at the World Juniors and so far the Canadians are the ones looking like the superpower that they are.

Canada leads 2-0 after 2 periods of play with the second goal coming from Calgary's Karl Alzner. If you have the patience you can follow the action here...


Post #100 - U17 Update

Post #100 today... we've almost cracked 100 visits twice and I'm hoping to push over that mark today.

Quick update on the three Tbirds (2 and 1 list player) playing in the U17 World Hockey Challenge.

Steve Chaffin, Brendan Silvester and Steve Oursov are playing for Team Pacific (Canada has 5 teams in this thing) who have reached the Semi-Finals and will also play Team USA today. Chaffin has yet to reach the scoresheet and has 4 PIM's while Silvester and Oursov have had a little more success. Silvester is tied for 4th on the team in scoring with 2 goals and 2 assists while Oursov has scored once on a goal where Silvester had the second assist.

All information about the U17's can be found here...


World Junior Article

This is an old article (Dec. 26th) but mentioned Riku at the end of the second page.

I am by no means an NHL Scout or expert... but I can't help wonder about this quote. "Since coming over to North America to play for Seattle of the WHL, Helenius has been good, but hardly dazzling."

I wonder if this opinion is being derived from someone who has actually seen Helenius play, or if they just look at the stats and make a judgement that he has been "good, but hardly dazzling".

At the end of the day... the analysis is probably correct. Riku has been good and not incredible.... but I would also say that at times he has certainly dazzled and that the team defense has been better on nights when Jacob DeSerres has been in net.

Its kind of like saying Leland Irving went from being "incredible" to "average" this season when the reality is its probably a mixture of performance by the goaltender and performance by the defense.

Riku and Hickey Update

Riku was beat up a little bit in Finland's final Round Robin game by the good old USA. The American team finished 4-0 in Round Robin.

Riku then did not play in the team's 4-2 semi-final loss to Team Canada. My guess is that Riku might play in the 5th place game for Finland, which I believe will be played tomorrow.

This sets up a showdown in the Semi-Finals on the 4th between Canada and the USA.

Thomas Hickey has been his usual solid self in his play with Team Canada although his stats are relatively quiet

Hickey through 5 game has only 1 assist but is also +2 with only 2 PIM's and 4 shots on goal.


Seattle Thunderbirds at Portland Recap

Few general thoughts on the game last night.

-A good number of people from the booster club and otherwise were in attendance at the game rooting for Seattle.

-Seattle raced to a 2-0 lead in the 1st period on two goals that really showed Portland's lack of quality defense. The first goal scored by Ian McKenzie showed some really nice skating and speed by Imac skating through the 2 Portland D-men and snapped a nice shot top shelf over the shoulder of Mucha who looked slightly out of position. The second goal was banged in by Jan Eberle as Portland's defense failed to clear the rebound of a Prab Rai shot. This was a classic situation where both D-men chased Rai and left the rebound to Eberle who banged it in all alone.

-Portland answered with a Power Play goal at 15:11 by Valchar, I was getting a beer and have no idea how this goal happened but I heard it was a good shot from the slot.

-Nice to see Scott Jackson with another very solid game as he logged a goal on a wicked slapper after Lindsey Nielsen had won the faceoff. Jackson was also +4 on the night.

-Ian McKenzie had a very nice game for Seattle delivering a few big hits and chipping in a goal and assist.

-Portland showed some fight coming back to within 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 but Portland really needs to improve their consistent play along the blueline or they will continue to struggle into future years.

-Bud Holloway netted the empty net goal to finish the scoring at 6-3, it was his second of the night and runs his goal total to 17 and point total to 37. Holloway is slightly ahead of his point pace from last season and is on target to get to 35 goals and 41 assists which would both be career highs.

-Surprising to see Nick Dietrich engage Prab Rai in a fight... and even though the fight was mostly filled with pushing and a few missed shots it was nice to see that Rai was not afraid at all to drop the gloves. For Prab it was only his 2nd WHL fight with the other coming two years ago while playing for P.G. against Ryan Bryce. For Nick Dietrich it was his first WHL fight.

-Another surprising fight was Jeremy Boyer taking on Tristan King who was also in his first fight and boy did that become clearly obvious. This was only Boyer's 4th fight and he rocked King on numerous occasions and bloodied the 17 year old King. Boyer at 5'10" and 148 was decidedly smaller than King at 6'0" and 170 but it didn't seem to matter at all.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game:

1. Ian McKenzie
2. Jan Eberle
3. Radim Valchar

Honorable Mention: Jackson +4, Schappert +3, Olsen another +2, Kevin Undershute

New Years Eve game and critic response...

First off... I traveled with Sean Runnels and my wife to Portland last night to attend the New Years Eve game against the Winterhawks and then spent the night celebrating the New Year in Portland so I haven't had a chance to write any recaps/thoughts of the game last night yet. Needless to say Seattle didn't play a perfect game but was able to capitalize on their chances against a team that dwells at the bottom of the U.S. Division. I will have more thoughts later as I write them down today having just arrived back home.

I don't really want to get in the habit of responding too much to criticism of myself or this blog but I'm feeling compelled to respond this morning since it is the first time I have been criticised. Recently on the forum an "anonymous" poster wondered why there seems to be more news about the Tbirds on other blogs than there is on this blog.

I can only hope that my readers understand that this blog is NOT my job. I decided to start this blog back in August because I was unhappy with the level of coverage that is provided to the team by the Seattle Times and Seattle PI and Gregg Drinnan has now reported that this coverage might become even worse in the new year. I don't hide behind the "anonymity" of the forum board... Everyone knows my name and knows that I am taking credit for my thoughts being public and out there for everyone to second guess and criticize. I don't get paid for this blog (unless people start clicking on those banners at an unbelievably higher rate!) and its not my job to write for this blog... I do it simply because I am a big fan of the Tbirds, have been a fan since I was a little kid roaming the ramps of the Center House, and I love doing it.

Gregg Drinnan is probably (or is) the best WHL blogger and reporter in the league. He probably talks to more sources in an hour than I do in a week. If he is the standard by which I'm being held... I think I'm doing a pretty good job. If my coverage can ever approach the level of Gregg Drinnan's, I would be thrilled with the quality of this blog.

Keep in mind people (or person), I am a FAN of the Seattle Thunderbirds and while I do my best to find each and every item that relates to the team, inevitably I am going to miss some things. I'm also not connected to management nor do they tell my ANYTHING.

Having said that... if people see things and I haven't reported it on the blog... feel free to send me an email and fill me in. I love it when people send me bits of information for the blog. I can't promise that I'm going to throw up everything that gets sent my way but I will be happy to accept any information people have.

The comment section is specifically there for people to create discussion or comment about the team or anything I have said and would encourage people to do that. I love when people comment about something I've written and love even more when people disagree with me.

Anyways... enough of that... hope everyone had a nice New Year and I look forward to many more Tbird wins in 2008.

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