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Hockey Challenge 2014

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.

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


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.


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?


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.....".


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...

WHL Scoreboard