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Hockey Challenge 2014

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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.


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....

Monday Morning....

I'm back to work now (gimpy arm in all... not that anyone cared) and it is back to the grindstone.

The couldn't really be off to a worse start after 4 games and their trademark Sumner defense apparently is lost in translation somewhere. This team seems to be waiting on hope that Thomas Hickey is coming back... but newsflash here folks even if Hickey comes back it might not be until November 1st!

The Kings could give Hickey a 9 game tryout before returning him to Seattle and their 9th game isn't scheduled until October 30th.

This team better figure out how to play without Hickey and figure out how to be a top quality team on the chance that Hickey never comes back.

The schedule gets no easier this weekend with a trip to Vancouver followed by their home (KeyArena) opener on Saturday before a 3 in 3 road trip to Everett, back down to Porland and back up to Chilliwack.

In other news.... Bud Holloway was reassigned to Manchester of the AHL. We knew Bud was not coming back but this is the confirmation, congratulations Bud, story here.


Tbirds remain winless and pointless...

Tbirds drop to 0-3 tonight at the Toyota Center 5-3 to the Tri-City Americans. Seattle led this game 2-1 in the 1st period but then gave up three straight goals to trail 4-2 in the 3rd period.

Seattle then pulled to within one goal as David Richard got a power play goal to make the score 4-3... but the deficit would last only 12 seconds as the Americans pushed the score back out to 5-3.

Jim O'Brien gets into a fight with the more experienced Mitch McColm with 3 seconds left in the game and something about it did not sit well with the Tbirds as Acolatse proceeded to get an USC penalty during the dead whistle before coach Rob Sumner was also tossed from the game and Jonathan Parker fought Jason Gardner at the buzzer. Jared Jagow also managed a Game Misconduct in the scrum as well. Because the WHL TV and Insinc have such horrible reception... I could not tell exactly what the Tbirds were upset about. Hopefully someday the league will upgrade these video feeds.

Tbirds managed only 13 shots on goal in the game... I'm sorry that just isn't going to cut it.

Hockey tonight... finally...

I'm still a little drugged up, a little groggy... and chances are I might fall asleep during a part of the game but after not being able to watch the games up in P.G. last weekend I am really excited to finally get to watch some hockey tonight.

The Tbirds will almost be back to full strength tonight as Warg and DeSerres have been returned. Seattle is waiting only for Hickey to hopefully be returned to the team. I'm basing this purely on circumstantial evidence but it appears that Matt Hallick was released as he is no longer being listed on the Tbirds roster. As well with DeSerres back I would assume that Kyle Jahraus has been reassigned.


Deserres and Warg returned

Both Stefan Warg and Jacob Deserres will return to the Tbirds and be ready for action this weekend (I presume).

Warg story can be found here.

Deserres story can be found here.


Down but not out

I won't be updating for a few days after having shoulder surgery this morning. Typing with the left hand takes forever! I should be dialing up the games on the computer this weekend and might be able to write on Monday. Go Birds!


Well that didn't follow the script...

Tbirds lose both games over the weekend and start the season 0-2. This wouldn't be that bad if the losses on the road had come at the hands of say... Vancouver and Kelowna.... but losing to Prince George up there twice is certainly not the way anyone wanted the season to start when you are facing all of these road games in the first half.

TBirds score only twice in the two games, both by Jeremy Boyer... but both also coming on the Power Play, so at least that can be seen as a positive.

Obviously it was a bad weekend for the boys, but Jim O'Brien has been returned to the team and they will look to rebound next weekend in Tri-City and Everett.

A few other stats from the weekend... Dillon was -4, Acolatse, Leblanc and Nielsen were all -3 for the weekend. Sena and Leblanc end the weekend with 9 PIM's each and 4 players registered points. Boyer with 2 goals, Nielsen 2 assists and Leblanc and Richard each with an assist.

In other news... on Friday the Tbirds cut Mike Krgovich from the active roster. I would think with players coming back from NHL camps there are going to be some more moves coming.


On the cusp of a new season...

I know that not everyone who reads this blog could possibly also be a fan of all Seattle sports teams. I am born and raised in Seattle and follow closely the Mariners, Seahawks, Huskies and formerly the Sonics in addition to my fandom of our Seattle Thunderbirds.

Whether you call yourself a fan of these teams or ignore them altogether, I can say without a doubt that we are currently living in the worst period of Seattle sports that there ever has been. The Mariners are in last place in a season "they" expected to contend, the Sonics and our city's only major sports championship has been stolen and moved to Oklahoma City, Husky football has reached a new low, Husky basketball is not expected to be great this season, and the Seahawks, the team currently in possession of the cities biggest concentration of interest and another team expected to contend this year is also in last place and potentially hanging their season on a home game against the Rams on Sunday.

Through all of this... we have the start of what will be a historic season for the Thunderbirds. A season where the TBirds might be able to return the franchise to an era we will look back to with some level of longing. When Seattle played in the sweat box known as the Center House. While we all have to wait approximately another 12 weeks to see OUR new home, our new barn... the start of the season provides for all of us an outlet for our anticipation of the new arena and hopefully some relief from the gloom and doom that has been Seattle sports recently.

Let's hope this team can survive the perils of the early road schedule and put together a nice first half of the season. The opening of the KEC will come faster than any of us realize and hopefully on opening night the fans will be treated to a team in 1st place (too much to ask?) or at least in a position to make a deep run into the playoffs. It all starts tomorrow night in Prince George.


Prince Albert... er Seattle Thunderbirds...

The Tbirds acquire another 20 year old player who played for Prince Albert last year and now all three of their rostered 20 year olds came from PA last year.

Seattle gets center Jared Jagow for a future bantam pick.

Jagow played for PA and Regina last year and totaled 14 goals and 12 assists. The story can be found here.

This strikes me as a bit of a strange move for the Tbirds. I like the idea of getting older and while I thought they would acquire a 20 year old defender, I'm ok with getting older up front. The problem is... who loses playing time now as Seattle currently has 17 forwards listed for the roster.

My guess is there are more moves to come... some might just be the releasing of some players or Farwell could be cooking up another trade by packaging a few players for one. Even with two of the forwards off to NHL training camps that still leaves a ton of potential players up front. I guess we'll have to wait and see if there are more moves to come.


Tbirds on Shaw

I had to be alerted to look at the article on the WHL website about the games being shown on Shaw this season since I had just assumed like every other season it doesn't really concern the Tbirds or their fans... but it seems that two games will be shown on Shaw from the new KEC in February.

Games on the 6th and 8th of February against Lethbridge and Vancouver will be shown on Shaw.

Article can be found here.


Monday Afternoon Update

Tbirds lost in Portland on Friday night and then came back to win Saturday night down in Kent to finish the exhibition season.

Before the game the Tbirds announced the acquisition of 17 year old forward Jonathan Parker from Solana Beach, CA from the Vancouver Giants. I would suspect that a player being acquired at this late in "training camp" will make the roster, but I don't know that for a fact. Story on the last exhibition game and the trade can be found here.

Seattle... like a lot of teams have several players who are off to NHL camps right now or will be leaving very soon so I would not expect Seattle to have what figured to be their full roster when they begin the season in Prince George on Friday night.

I know that this ends up being true almost each season... but it is amazing to look at the roster and realize how many players turn over from year to year. Seattle will have a lot of new faces when they drop the puck on Friday and the fans will certainly need a program when the Birds open the home season on October 4th.

Tbirds also announced today that they will be unveiling a new website in the near future. We will all wait to see what that looks like....

The WHL website has posted a conference preview.... it can be found here.


Exhibition Game tonight and tomorrow

Tbirds play tonight in Portland for the first of a home and home with the Winterhawks to end the exhibition season.

Tomorrow night the Tbirds play their only home game of the "pre" season down at the Kent Valley Ice Centre. Tickets are on sale for $12. I might head down there to take in the game... head on down to Kent to get a first hand look at the new arena and then head over to Kent Valley to take in the game.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that Andy Kemper will probably provide some comments on tonights game and his blog can be found over on the right in the links section.


Tbirds posted their roster

Not really much to note here....

Couple of Small Rule Changes

CHL and WHL makes a few small rule changes.

Face-Offs - When players are penalized at a stoppage of play so as to result in penalties being placed on the penalty time clock to one team, the ensuing face-off shall be conducted at one of the two face-off spots in the offending team’s end zone. There are only four exceptions to this application:
(i) when a penalty is assessed after the scoring of a goal (face-off at center ice)
(ii) when a penalty is assessed at the end (or start) of a period – face-off at center ice
(iii) when the defending team is about to be penalized and the attacking players enter the attacking zone beyond the outer edge of the end zone face-off circle – face-off in the neutral zone (see paragraph 11 of this section)
(iv) when the team not being penalized ices the puck – face-off in the neutral zone outside the blue line of the team icing the puck

Puck out of bounds - When the puck hits the goal frame, goal post or crossbar and goes out of play, regardless as to which team shot the puck, the ensuing face-off shall take place at one of the end zone face-off spots in the zone where the puck went out of play.

Old Radio Signal

If anyone is curious.... and I was... what KKNW's coverage map looked like I found those as well.

KKNW had 10,000 watt during the day and only 6000 watt power at night. I'm not positive but I don't believe the station goes to nighttime power until after games would have been over. Here is what the 10,000 watt coverage looked like.


Tbirds announce 104.9 Funky Monkey to broadcast games

Tbirds entered into an agreement with Clear Channel to put all regular season and playoff broadcasts on 104.9 FM the "Funky Monkey".

The official story can be found here.

Couple things of interest from the story.

I don't know this for a fact but I would assume that Thom Beuning is employed by the Thunderbirds and will remain as the Play by Play guy for broadcasts.

Also... a little information on 104.9. As I mentioned the station is owned by Clear Channel who also happens to own KJR AM 950, which is nice as I could see some synergy and maybe slightly more coverage of the team.

I would love nothing more than to have me replaced by some more actual extensive coverage (or somebody who wants to hire me.. haha)

The tower is located out of Eatonville (the actual station is listed as Lynnwood) and has a 17,000 watts of ERP.

Here is a rough coverage map that I was able to locate. It looks like the signal might not be the best in Seattle but the further south you go the better it gets, which makes a lot of sense for this team.


All is quiet....

I haven't had an ounce of Tbird related material in several days.

Anyone want to speculate on how the team will do this year?

I'm still standing behind 2nd in the U.S Division and 3rd in the Western Conference.


Tbirds win tonight

"Ams Rocker" has a nice little report from the other side of the state that can be found here.

If his report is correct... "new guy" Colin Haas scored a goal... which is pretty cool after I imagine a very long drive down from Prince George.


Part 4 (and final) of my Q and A with Coach Rob Sumner

This is the final piece of my interview with Coach Rob Sumner. I hope everyone has enjoyed the articles.

Hunnex: Did Spokane winning the Memorial Cup surprise you?

Sumner: Spokane winning the Memorial Cup didn’t surprise me one bit and they were very deserving to win. They played a great all around game and their goaltending was excellent. Their group was all focused on the same goal and it showed. It helps to have a little good fortune with injuries along with good play and they remained healthy throughout.

Hunnex: Going over some rough roster calculations the team appears to be really deep on the blue line. Are there any plans to possibly move a guy up to any of the forward lines? Haber?

Sumner: At this point there isn’t any plan to move defencemen up front. With that being said, it’s nice to know that several of our d-men, Haber included, are capable of helping out if needed.

Hunnex: Along the same lines… there appears to be a log jam on Defense but there is not a lot of experience (19 or 20s) back there? Is that a concern going into the season?

Sumner: Our defence may lack age but it doesn’t lack experience. Jackson and Olson leave many key minutes on the table but I think we have several players that have goals to take those minutes. We’ll have to see what happens with Hickey and we don’t know Warg well yet, but I think huge steps will be taken by the 18-year-old group.

Hunnex: Is there any reason at all to think that your style of play will change after the team moves from Key Arena to the KEC? As far as I know the ice surfaces will be the same, so I’m not sure why you guys would change your style of being defensive minded first.

Sumner: We are always striving to improve and I think playing in an energetic rink with a home-ice advantage will surely help us. As far as the type of game we play, we will strive to improve on what I think is a high energy, exciting style.

Hunnex: Any goals for the season? I know winning the Memorial Cup is every team’s goal but do you have more team specific goals in mind for the season?

We have goals within our team that I will choose to keep within our team. Every team’s ‘big’ goal is to win the Memorial Cup and we are no different. I believe though, in order to get there, we will have to strive for and achieve our team’s goals to give ourselves a chance to get there.

Hunnex: Thank you very much for taking the time out to answer some questions for the fans.

Sumner: I tried to answer all of your questions and I hope this is what you had hoped for Tyler. Thank you for your interest and support of our team.

Quakenbush Traded, Lund suspended

A few items from yesterday that became news right about the time I left my office... so I figured I would just wait until this morning.

The big news for Seattle is the trade of 18 year old Winger Isak Quakenbush to Prince George. In return Seattle receives 19 year old Center Colin Haas from Plano, Texas.

In 65 games with the Cougars, Haas had 3 goals and 5 assists, a -17 rating and 37 penalty minutes. I don't know much about him but in general I like the idea of the Tbirds getting a tad bit older for the season. Colin was listed last year at 6'2" and 190 lbs.

For Quakenbush... this is probably a good move for him. Not only will he actually be closer to home but a fresh start for him might help his game. I have been told from several people that Quakenbush is an excellent player in practice and just hadn't been able to translate that into games. Perhaps an opportunity with a young Prince George team is exactly what he needs.

In addition, Chance Lund was suspended for one game for his Cross-Checking Major and Game Misconduct in this past Sunday's game against Portland. Not sure if this applies to a regular season game or just Friday's exhibition game in Tri-Cities.


Part 3 of my Q and A with Coach Rob Sumner

Part 3 of my interview with Rob Sumner. Keep in mind now that these questions were asked and answered a couple of weeks ago.

Hunnex: Is Sena going to show up in shape this year?

Sumner: I believe he will be in great shape. I saw him in mid-July and he looked very fit. Colin Alexander saw him last week and was very impressed, so yes, I believe he will be very well conditioned. Not every guy understands the importance of training and conditioning at a young age. Some guys get it right away and for others it takes longer. Sena is a player with so many unique talents. If he has matured to the point where he understands how good he can be and what it will take to get there, I believe he will take huge steps and will have a huge impact on our team.

Hunnex: How do you expect to split playing time for the goaltenders? Do you see Jake playing as many as 60 games?

Sumner: I am very optimistic with our depth in the goaltending position. Jake is keen to be the main guy and is coming off a great second half and successful NHL draft, Pickard is a young guy who was maybe our best player in all of camp last year, and Jahraus has had a taste with Tri City and will be trying to prove he can play at the WHL level. So for me to say how many games Jake will play at this point would be a little premature.

Hunnex: The OHL recently has been rumored to be suggesting to the CHL that they would like to eliminate the Import Draft. Any thoughts on that?

Sumner: There are obviously factors that contribute to this even being a topic in the CHL today. I’m sure the General Manager’s and Governor’s of the WHL will steer the league in the appropriate direction at the appropriate time. My personal opinion is that I love having import players. It makes the team and dressing room so much more interesting and fun having players with different backgrounds. Oh yeah…it also helps if they’re great players.

Hunnex: What kind of personal professional goals do you have for yourself?

Sumner: Win a Memorial Cup. That is one goal that I have yet to achieve. We have developed into a strong team but still have yet to win the whole thing. My focus is to do the best possible job in my current position before I think too far ahead to other possibilities. It’s one of those situations where unless you succeed, you don’t have to worry about moving up anyways. My family and I love Seattle and to be here or anywhere else one day, it would have to be a fit for our whole family, not just me as a hockey coach.


Monday Evening

Got a tip today that the team cut a few more players to reduce the roster.

Eddie Friesen, Reid Johnson, Chip Petrino and Matt Betker were all cut from the roster. I don't know whether any of those players were reassigned, de-listed, released, etc. I was just told they are no longer with the club.

Johnson doesn't surprise me too much... played decent but I thought was outplayed by Carlson in camp and I was surprised he made it to the exhibition games.

Friesen is a small surprise as I know they liked his game a little bit. It appears for now they are keeping Trumbley and Fleming.

Petrino... tough one. I thought the kid deserved a spot on the team but the team must have felt it wasn't enough to bump another player's spot. I hope he lands somewhere else... he played well.

Betker is a slight surprise to me over Hallick as all reports I had read said that Betker was a "hustle" type player. In my opinion, some of these guys were real close and the decision in the end might have hinged on keeping guys they traded for like Krgovich and Edwards

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