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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Two Ex-Tbirds cut...

Josh Schappert and Mike Krgovich were both invited to training camp with the Chilliwack Bruins but both were given their outright release. Story can be found here.

Schappert played parts of 3 seasons with the Tbirds, notching 119 games, 10 goals and 16 assists. Schappert also played in 11 playoff games with 1 goal and 2 assists. Last season he played for the Selkirk Steelers of the MJHL.

Krgovich was in Seattle camp last year and never appeared in a regular season game.

Weekend Notes

Tbirds defeated Portland on Saturday night 4-2 in the first exhibition contest of the season. From the reports I got it sounded like Portland really outplayed the Tbirds but Seattle was more opportunistic with their scoring chances and Kyle Jahraus played very well for the Tbirds in net.

A handful of veterans did not play and Russian Mikhal Sentyurin (not the now correct spelling) is also not playing yet. I have also learned that Justin L"e"chance is actually... Justin Lachance. So... take that for what it is worth.

Seattle still has roughly 30 skaters by my count and needs to probably cut about 7 or 8 more guys before the opener.

Tbirds are back in action on Friday for the Everett pre-season tournament. I will be going up to take notes on Friday morning and Sunday afternoon but I'm skipping the Saturday game against Everett. Might as well keep superstitions going in the pre-season.


A few news items....

Lifted from Gregg Drinnan....

- Former Tbirds goaltenders have come to terms on a couple of deals recently. Cody Rudkowsky has signed a one year deal with the Edinburgh Capitals of the UK Elite league. He did not play last season after spending some time previously with Phoenix and Cincinnati of the ECHL and Grand Rapids in the AHL. Bryan Bridges has signed on with the Fayetteville FireAntz of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). Bridges battled a groin injury last year and spent time with 4 different teams between Las Vegas, Reading and Elmira of the ECHL and Port Huron of the IHL.

- Local kid Anthony Petruzzelli of Kent, who was cut from Tbirds camp after Tuesday night's scrimmage is being given a chance in Prince George who is set to open camp on Friday.


Scrimmage Day 2

Quickly... 514 visitors to the site yesterday which is not only amazing for this time of the year but also a new website record. Thanks as always for checking it out.

I'm not going to re-type the rosters for the 2nd scrimmage last night. Some players were cut and send home and a few players switched teams.

Players that were sent home: Jared D'Amico (15), Danny Kowalski (15), Matthew Berry-LaMontagna (16), Jordan Houghton (15), Gus Correale (16), Patrick D'Amico (15), Austin Hoff (16), Kyle Horsman (15), Jetlan Houcher (15), Jeffrey Kennedy (15), Andrew Macleod (15), Jason Ness (15), Anthony Petruzzelli (16) and Jordan Salahor (16).

I had to leave after one period last night so not much here but these are the notes I took. Charles Wells was in uniform and playing but new Import Senturin is still not playing.

- DeSerres for Blue and Jahraus for White starting in net tonight.

- Sena with a nice little spin-o-rama move down the left side of the zone but his pass fails to connect after the nifty move.

- Parker with quick snap shot from the slot that is shouldered away by DeSerres.

- Parker with another chance for a backhand on DeSerres that is kicked away at the last minute, great save by DeSerres who is looking healthy again.

- Rai in alone to the right of DeSerres but rifles high over the corner of the net. White has applied all the pressure here in the opening minutes of the game.

- Lechance with a quick shot that is turned into the middle by Jahraus (dangerous) but is cleared away by the defense.

- Lockhard whiffs on a rebound looking at a mostly open net. The puck was bouncing and hopped right over his stick.

- Blue penalty results in a Parker Penalty Shot and he finishes with over the right pad of DeSerres, the same pad that DeSerres used to stop him minutes earlier and the White team leads 1-0.

- White penalty shortly after and Lechance buries a pretty shot to the low corner past Jahraus and tie the game at 1-1.

- Rai flashing his trademark speed around the corner and crashes into the post knocking the net off its pegs.

- Baker shot stopped and held by Jahraus.

- White dominated the 1st period but it comes to an end with the score tied 1-1.

Here is the link to the Tbirds story on the rest of the game. Parker later would add another goal to lead the White team to the victory. Parker was a force all period and I would guess was the easy MVP of the game in my mind.

Very conservatively thinking... Here is how I would breakdown the roster battles if we assume a 22 skater roster.

Fowards -

Rai (20)
Nielsen (20)
Acolatse (19)
Wells (18)
Silvester (18)
Parker (18)
Lockhard (17)
Lund (17)
Senturin (17)
Jacobs (16)

Defense -

Schappert (20)
Warg (19)
Haber (19)
Dillon (19)
Chaffin (18)
Fleming (17)

That's 16 skaters so let's go with about 4 spots left. In my mind at least 2/3 of those will need to be D's and 3/4 could be F's.

On the Forward side... I think you're looking at 3 or 4 spots between Tyler Sybil (17), Justin LeChance (17), Tyler Alos (16), Connor Sanvido (16), Joey Baker (16), Jacob Doty (16), Mitch Elliot (16), Robbie Newton (16) and Brennan Tutt (16).

Now... what I think might happen and who I would choose are two different things. Of this group, I would keep Alos, Sanvido, Baker and Elliot/Newton. Who will they keep? If I knew I probably wouldn't be allowed to say so... but I would be pretty surprised if they didn't keep Sanvido and since Russ loves kids with size it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Newton and or Elliot also kept.

On the Defense side... I think you're looking at 2 or 3 spots for these guys... Kaydon Trumbley (18), Mitch Berg (18), Jordan Blake-Jones (17), Jared Crema (17), Tanner Muth (16) and Ryan Armbruster (16). This one is a little easier for me. I would keep Crema and Berg as my first two and if you want to keep a 3rd I would love to keep Muth around. If you want to just bite the bullet and go young and only keep 8 D I would keep Crema and Muth and cut Berg loose but I doubt they do that.


Boyer and Training Camp Scrimmage Recap

First news came out last night and was confirmed this morning that Jeremy Boyer did not report to camp and has requested a trade. My guess is that he wants to be traded to Saskatoon but who knows... In my opinion, this is a really strange decision by Boyer who would have been the Tbirds 2nd highest returning scorer and would have been given a ton of ice time on either the 1st or 2nd line. Whatever... The real impact here is that Seattle has lost another potential scorer and as Alan Caldwell pointed out this morning, the Tbirds now have only 85 goals returning from the 2008-09 roster which is now the lowest in the league by a pretty wide margin.

On to the scrimmage recap....

- Jared D'Amico for Blue and Calvin Pickard for White starting in net for the two teams.

- White with a ton of pressure early in this first period and D'Amico was equal to the task turning away several shots. He did drift out of the crease on one save but recovered nicely. I'd like to see him improve his balance but for a 15 year old, I liked what I saw.

- Midway through the first period and Blue has not had much pressure on Pickard.

- I wrote down as many line combinations as I could but I probably did not get all of them. First one I wrote down was Petruzzelli - Jacobs - Silvester.

- Nice feed by Rai to the middle but D'Amico was ready for the re-direct and makes a nice stop. - Nice chance for Tyler Sybil from Luke Lockhart as Blue finally gets some pressure but Pickard makes the initial save and also squeezes a blast from Steve Chaffin off the rebound.

- Good hit by Joey Baker who dumps Parker. Quick additional note here... No less than 3 times last night I saw a good check only to look down to check the number of the player and it was Joey Baker. I have been very impressed by his physical game.

- Blue starting to finally apply some pressure and have dominated the action from the mid-way point to the 4:00 mark so far.

- Ness gets fed by Sanvido and gets off a good shot, saved by Pickard.

- Goal change here as DeSerres goes in for D'Amico who leaves with a clean sheet. Side note... Blue has 4 goaltenders tonight.

- Chance Lund with a nice speed rush around the outside of Berry-LaMontagna and gets a jam on DeSerres who makes the save.

- End of the 1st period, White dominated the 1st half, while Blue dominated the 2nd half as the period ends 0-0.

- Jahraus in net for Blue to start the 2nd period, DeSerres still in net for White.

- Schappert clangs one off the post after a rebound kicked out to him after a Rai shot.

- Petruzzelli tees up a big blast from the high slot on a give and go with Jacobs but the drive goes wide of the net. - Dillon hits Alos from behind... no call... not many penalties actually being called here.

- Jahraus with a couple of nice saves as Blue applies some nice pressure.

- Goal change as Barrie comes in for DeSerres for the Blue team. - Blue is on the board as Steve Chaffin beats Jahraus through the 5 hole (I believe) off a nice feed from Nielsen and Blue takes a 1-0 lead. Chaffin has impressed tonight... he has flashed some speed, played aggressively and looked confident being physical.

- Kind of a boring 2nd period and it ends with Blue leading 1-0. - Kowalski in net for White to start the 3rd with Barrie still minding the net for White.

- Sena just punked Fleming as he tried to apply a big hit along the board and Sena just blasted him back to the ice. Sena could be a real force up front if he uses his body and checking ability.

- Patrick D'Amico gets the White team on the board as he slips a shot past Barrie after Rai had a wraparound attempt that kicked out a rebound... game tied at 1-1.

- Right after that Enegren comes on in net for Blue replacing Barrie.

- Nice pinch at the blue line by Crema. Crema is a big kid (6'3" I believe) and I really like his potential... needs a little work on the footwork.

- Some more line pairings... Lockhart - Elliot - Sybil, Houcher - Newton - Acolatse, Sanvido - Ness - Hoff, Hickman - Tutt - Parker.

- Penalty on White for tripping... I was looking down and didn't see the offender but Blue is awarded the "contested" penalty shot and Joey Baker converts through Kowalski to give Blue a 2-1 lead. Baker has really impressed tonight...

- Nielsen goes right around Muth and fires into the bottom corner past Kowalski to give Blue the 3-1 lead.

- Lockhart gets around the defense gets off a shot that is saved by Kowalski, gets his own rebound and puts it off the top bar and down to give Blue the 4-1 lead. Kowalski has had a tough night but all three goals have been basically uncontested or lightly contested.

- Huge hit by Dillon as the buzzer sounds as he completely flattens Lechance. Team Blue takes the win 4-1 in the 1st training camp scrimmage.

Few more general thoughts on some kids.

- A couple of the defensemen that need to step up this season really impressed me on the first night. Dillon, Chaffin, Crema and Fleming all looked improved, confident and physical with Dillon and Chaffin really looking good to me.

- Relatively quiet night for Jacobs...

- Baker really impressed me tonight and unless he just falls apart after tonight, I would think he has to make the team as one of the 16 year olds.... however... as an un-drafted kid... I think he needs to continue playing like that.

I will only be able to attend the first 45 minutes of the scrimmage tonight... so I would highly encourage everyone to go down and check it out. 7:05 ShoWare Center.

Training Camp Rosters

I am writing up a recap from the first scrimmage last night and realized I should get the rosters up first. Here goes...

Team Blue

Goaltenders -

#1 - Nick Enegren
#29 - Jacob DeSerres
#30 - Conor Barrie
#34 - Jared D'Amico

Skaters -

#3 - Evan Wardley
#5 - Matthew Berry-LaMontagna
#6 - Steve Chaffin
#7 - Brenden Silvester
#8 - Stefan Warg
#9 - Justin LeChance
#11 - Connor Sanvido
#12 - Jason Ness
#13 - Austin Hoff
#14 - Anthony Petruzzelli
#16 - Andrew Macleod
#17 - Jordan Salahor
#18 - Lindsay Nielsen
#19 - Colin Jacobs
#20 - Luke Lockhart
#21 - Mitch Elliot
#22 - Mitch Berg
#23 - Joey Baker
#24 - Ryan Armbruster
#25 - Kyle Horsman
#26 - Tyler Sybil
#27 - Erik Fleming

Team White

Goaltenders -

#1 - Calvin Pickard
#29 - Danny Kowalski
#30 - Kyle Jahraus

Skaters -

#2 - Jeremy Schappert
#3 - Jared Crema
#5 - Brenden Dillon
#6 - Jordan Blake-Jones
#7 - Robbie Newton
#8 - Brandon Troock
#9 - Prab Rai
#11 - Gus Correale
#12 - Jacob Doty
#13 - Tyler Alos
#16 - Brennan Tutt
#17 - Sena Acolatse
#18 - Justin Hickman
#19 - Jeffrey Kennedy
#20 - Jordan Houghton
#21 - Brad Haber
#22 - Kaydon Trumbley
#23 - Chance Lund
#24 - Jetlan Houcher
#26 - Tanner Muth
#28 - Jonathan Parker
#32 - Patrick D'Amico


1st Training Camp Scrimmage

I need to hit the sack so I will have a full recap in the morning.

Team Blue defeats Team White tonight 4-1. There was some good, some bad and some checking so it was a pretty good night.


Monday and Corrections

Fitness testing going on today over at ShoWare Center with the Training Camp kids enjoying a little team BBQ tonight.

I made a couple of dumb mistakes the other day.... Anthony Petruzzelli is not named Andrew and the D'Amico kids are not related. I screwed that up in my haste to get a post up... my bad.

I meant to get over to the evening session yesterday and just didn't make it because of my two games that night.... also my bad.

I will be covering the scrimmage tomorrow night and about half of the scrimmage on Wednesday night to see what everyone looks like.

I would estimate that there are about 4-5 spots open on the roster in the current form so there is going to be a lot of competition for a very small number of spots.

As a reminder... the Tbirds open the exhibition season in Portland on Saturday night.


Rookie Camp Rosters and Evening Session Recap

Ok... Let's hit the rosters first.

Team Blue


#30 - Conor Barrie (no relation)
#29 - Danny Todosychuk
#1 - Danny Kowalski


#2 - Jordan Houghton
#3 - Miles Death (coolest name at camp)
#5 - Blake Box
#6 - Zach Frye
#17 - Johnny Dora
#26 - Tanner Muth


#7 - Jetlan Houcher
#9 - Justin Hickman
#11 - Gus Correale
#12 - Jayson Ness
#13 - Tyler Alos
#14 - Kyle Horsman
#15 - Andrew Macleod
#16 - Austin Hoff
#19 - Colin Jacobs (perhaps you have heard of him?)
#20 - Patrick D'Amico
#21 - Mitch Elliot

Team White


#30 - Dimitri Nikitins
#29 - Gianni Crema (yes related to Jared)
#1 - Jared D'Amico (EDIT: not related)


#2 - Mark Begert
#3 - Evan Wardley
#5 - Austin Barr
#6 - Mathew Berry-Lamontagna
#24 - Ryan Armbruster
#25 - Zach Walker


#7 - Robbie Newton
#8 - Branden Troock
#11 - Connor Sanvido
#12 - Jacob Doty
#13 - Jeff Kennedy
#14 - EDIT: Anthony Petruzzelli
#15 - Jordan Salahor
#16 - Joey Baker
#17 - Josh Belmont
#18 - Lukas Audycki
#21 - Preston Blanek

I'm going to keep these comments fairly brief...

- Barrie and Nikitins started in net for each side.

- Sanvido goes down hard and leaves the ice after a big hit... I missed the license plate number but I think it might have been Andrew Macleod.

- First fight of the session sees Mitch Elliot going against Jacob Doty. Elliot has a size advantage here and mostly pounded on Doty but Doty just hung in there tough and despite being rocked a few times at the end of the fight really stayed in there tough and got in a few shots of his own that landed... each player gave respect after the fight.

- Sanvido back shortly after that and just in time to take the puck down the right hand side before sniping a nice goal past Barrie off the far post and into the net. Not much Barrie could really do about that one... definitely a goal scorers goal right there.

- Jayson Ness answers for the Blue team with a goal that beats Nikitins short side. Not to take anything away from Ness but this was a shot that should have been stopped and Nikitins would say the same thing.

- Goalie change... as Todosychuk and Crema come in for their teams.

- End of the first half tied 1-1.

- Robbie Newton scores for the White team jamming home a rebound after Todosychuk makes a really good save on Doty coming in on a breakaway.

- Blanek checks Jacobs from behind drawing a penalty... Jacobs did not care for the hit and circles back around after the whistle to give Blanek a little elbow. Crema makes the save on Jacobs on the penalty shot attempt.

- Goalie change again... Kowalski and D'Amico now in for both sides.

- Penalty on Mark Begert from Team White and Tyler Alos finishes on the breakaway past D'Amico to give Blue the 2-1 lead. Connor Sanvido nearly caught him on the penalty shot attempt (you might remember the format... where the player penalized gets a penalty shot while the other teams chase him from behind).

- Ryan Armbruster and Colin Jacobs have been going at it a little bit and Armbruster finally has enough and drops the gloves. Problem was... he grabbed Jacobs basically from behind giving Jacobs no real chance to defend himself and as a result turtled to the ground immediately... meaning this wasn't a fight by any stretch. Jacobs was not happy about it and could be heard asking Armbruster repeatedly "Who are you? Who are you?".

- Mark Begert with bad giveaway in the defensive zone and Justin Hickman steals the pass and finishes past D'Amico.

- Hickman scores again off a pass from Patrick D'Amico from a nice setup by Jacobs.

I left at this point with a couple of minutes left. Decent session from the boys... I thought early on there were too many kids trying too hard to do too much, but that is to be expected to a certain extent. There was some decent hitting and to be honest it looked to me like a lot of Team White kids were trying to make an impression by going after Jacobs. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that... but that was the observation.

I have to miss the morning session again tomorrow but I'll catch a decent amount of the evening session again.


Training Camp Schedule

Tbirds just announced their camp schedule.... Sessions are open to the public.

Rookie Camp Schedule - Kent Valley and ShoWare


Saturday, 22nd at Kent Valley

10am - Noon
4pm - 6pm

Sunday, 23rd at ShoWare Center

10am - Noon
4pm - 6pm

Main Camp Schedule - ShoWare Center

Tuesday, 25th - 7pm - 9pm

Wednesday, 26th - 7pm - 9pm

I should be able to make almost all of this... I'll file some reports from the scrimmages.

Golden Pickard

Calvin Pickard is taking home a Gold Medal after Canada whipped Russia 9-2 in the finals.

Pickard did not play in the final game but did pick up the first two wins of the tournament, 3-2 over Sweeden and 6-3 over the Swiss.

Congratulations to Calvin...


Exclusive Interview with David Richard

Had a chance to catch up with David Richard for an exclusive interview and try to get to the bottom of the rumors about him and the upcoming season.

Let’s Go Birds: David Richard joining us here at for an exclusive interview about the upcoming season. David, I feel like the worst kept secret around the Tbirds right now is that you may not be coming back to the team this year. Can you tell Seattle fans what the situation is and whether you will be back this season?

David Richard: First off, I just wanted to say thanks for giving me the opportunity to do this for the people of Seattle. Right now as it stands the secrets or rumors that are flying around are true. I have chosen to bring my hockey career to an end after my 19 year old season. I made my decision about a month after the playoffs ended. When I first made the decision I told myself I wasn't going to discuss it with anyone, and just sit back and think about it to make sure it was the right decision for me and to keep myself happy. As I’m sure many of you are aware there is a lot of time and dedication put into playing Major Junior hockey. I felt at the end of the playoffs I lost the dedication to get myself prepared again for the upcoming season that is approaching soon. It took a lot of thought and I weighed my options carefully. In the end I said to myself if I can’t be 100% happy and dedicated to do it again, I don’t want to waste my time, the staff in Seattle, all the fans, and most of all the players’ time. I want to make it clear to everyone it had absolutely nothing to do with any single person involved with the organization. This was totally a personal decision. As for what the future holds for me at this point, I am going to take the year off and go to work. I haven’t completely locked something down for the winter but I have some options. This winter I will be applying for Fire Fighting College and making a career out of that someday soon.

LGB: Including playoffs, you played 290 games for the Thunderbirds… Talk a little bit about your experience playing in Seattle and tell us a little bit about your favorite memory or memories from playing in Seattle?

Richard: Well, it seems like just yesterday it all began. My experience in the organization was nothing but positive. Coming from a smaller city I didn’t really know what to expect moving to a city that is roughly 3 million people. All I can say is there is a lot of stuff you can do in Seattle that I will never be able to experience in Saskatoon. I made Seattle a true home away from home. I had great billets all four years and really enjoyed my time there. I think my favorite memory would have to be the move down to Kent. It was a good feeling coming into the city of Kent and having the city excited to have us there. I will never forget the opening game after Christmas. I also will never forget each and every player I played with. They guys are always with you in good times and bad. Another memory that comes to mind is when I scored my first and only hat trick in the playoffs against Kelowna.

LGB: Any other thoughts or words you would like to put out there?

Richard: I owe a big thanks to everyone that has supported me through the four years there. I will never forget the people that stood behind me even when the season got tough. You all made an impact in my career in some way. I hope to definitely make my way down to see everyone again in the near future. Thanks for the memories Seattle!


Early look at the Roster... Defense edition

Ok... back today with a look at the defense. I think we all have a lot of concerns about this unit, but I actually think this unit might have a decent chance at being good. Obviously there is no Hickey in this group and there probably isn't even any Scott Jackson's unless Warg makes a leap forward but what this unit might lack in top end talent they might have the depth to be pretty decent with some player improvements.

Top Pairing: Jeremy Schappert - Stefan Warg

Schappert was the winner of the team's Most Improved Award last season and should continue to improve into this season provided that he can stay healthy, which has been a problem in the past. If Schappert plays 65+ games this season I think you would have to consider it a huge success. Warg returns for his second season... check out the monthly progression last year.

September/October - 13 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, 8 PIMS, -7 Rating
November - 13 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, 19 PIMs, -1 Rating
December - 10 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 10 PIMs, +1 Rating
January - 15 games, 0 goals, 4 assists, 22 PIMs, -5 Rating
February - 11 games, 0 goals, 4 assists, 13 PIMs, +7 Rating
March - 8 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 6 PIMs, +7 Rating

Outside of a slight hiccup in January... this just screams of a kid who had started to figure it out by the end of the season. I expect Warg to be the Tbirds most dynamic defender who can throw the body around, move the puck and stay at home solidly. I expect him to be picking up the ~25 minutes per game that Hickey was playing.

Pairing #2: Brad Haber - Brenden Dillon

I've heard that the coaches love Haber and at times the scouts have loved Dillon. This is a big year for both of these guys as they are both 19 and will need to establish themselves to have a shot at staying around for their overage seasons. These two could really go either way, but if they have both improved in the off-season the Tbirds could find themselves with two pretty solid pairings at the top.

Pairing #3: Erik Fleming/Mitch Berg/Steve Chaffin/Jared Crema

You could call this the former first round pick bunch, but in reality... you can probably lump Haber and Dillon into these 4 guys and it will likely be 6 guys gunning for 4 spots. Statistically Fleming played the best of this bunch and will be looking to make his mark here in his 17 year old year. Mitch Berg is also a former first rounder who Seattle listed at the end of last season and was listed last season at 6'3" and 203. For Berg it all comes down to skating ability as his size is certainly not a problem. Chaffin joins the other former first rounders looking for a spot here and will need to improve on his -12 Rating. Interesting to note that Evander Kane might be getting ready to start this season in the NHL and both of these guys were selected before him in the 2006 Bantam Draft. The interesting wild-card in the bunch is Jared Crema who was listed last season at 6'4" and 190 lbs. Crema played last season for the North Island Silvertips and I don't know 100% that he is coming to Seattle but he did attend the off-season "camp" several weeks ago which seems to me like an indication that he is coming to Seattle.

Others - Others that will be in the mix looking for a roster spot possibly? Ryan Armbruster, Tanner Muth, Kaydon Trumbley, and Zach Walker.


I won't bother doing a separate post on the goaltenders as there won't be any mystery there. Jacob DeSerres and Calvin Pickard will be going into the season and goaltenders 1A and 1B and the Tbirds appear ready to let them split time and go with the hot goaltender.

I know there is a ton of speculation out there that DeSerres should be traded but I don't know what Seattle could get back for a 19 year old goaltender coming off a tough year and an injury. I feel like this is a situation where his actual value to Seattle is far greater than his trade value. It isn't a horrible thing to have two quality goaltenders around and if the defense winds up being poor and giving up 30-40 shots a night, you're going to need two goaltenders to handle the load.

For your weekend teaser... I have an exclusive coming on Monday or Tuesday.


Early look at the Roster

Ok... so I know this is going to be very early and very premature but what else do we have to talk about here on August 6th, John Becanic?

Let's take an early look at what the roster might look like going into training camp.

Keep in mind also that I think Sumner tries to set lines but also juggles quite a bit depending on who is hurt and who is playing well and not playing well. So these are just rough estimates of what it might look like should everyone be healthy.


Line 1 - Prab Rai - Lindsey Nielsen - Jon Parker

I would think this would be the logical first line. Nielsen is a great two way player, leader and pivot and can anchor this line allowing Rai to utilize his speed and combination of passing and scoring to be a top point guy (assuming he is back) and Parker has the ability to finish around the net as well and could be looking at a 25 goal season.

Line 2 - Luke Lockhart - Colin Jacobs - Jeremy Boyer

Again, these are just best guesses. I like this combination with Jacobs being a dynamic force in the middle with Lockhart providing some hustle and grind and Boyer adding some scoring touch to the line. I think this is going to be a big proving year for Boyer... He came on strong in the second half of the year to score 21 goals to go with 35 assists and playing with a dynamic player like Jacobs can only help and might push him over 25 goals as well.

Line 3 - Charles Wells - Brenden Silvester - Sena Acolatse

I don't really love this combo but I think Wells and Silvester can flash some speed on this line with Acolatse providing some muscle and toughness to protect his smaller line-mates. Another year removed from knee surgery should be good for Wells who will hopefully trust his body and start flashing more of the speed we saw in his 16 year old season. I could easiler see Wells or Silvester sliding into the Lockhart spot on line 2 as well. This is also a big year for Acolatse who has seen the transition from defense to winger at times look good and at times looked bad. From all accounts, Sena is in good shape and ready for the season and I think a trimmer Sena can actually become a better checker and really do some damage on the Power Play.

EDIT - I totally forgot about the Russian, Senturin. I literally can't find anything on this kid so you're guess is as good as mine when it comes to where he will fit in.

Line 4 - ? Ummm Chance Lund - Connor Sanvido?

Lund can really be a wild-card here this season... everyone knows he has big time size and potential and at times during training camp last year looked like a man among boys. Problem is, that confidence did not translate to the season. Here's hoping he finds that confidence in the lineup and starts to flash some of that potential here in his 17 year old season. Sanvido should probably be here as well and where he fits will no doubt depend on how far he has improved since training camp last year.

Any number of other players will be in the hunt for a 4th line spot and a roster spot. Tanner Muth, Tyler Alos, Joey Baker, Gus Correale, Jacob Doty, Mitch Elliot, Justin LeChance, Robbie Newton, Jordan Salahor, Tyler Sybil or Zach Walker are all kids, most of which I expect to be in camp fighting for the last couple of spots.

Defense to follow....


Becanic and Pickard

First off... Calvin Pickard was named to the Team Canada U18 summer team that will join Louis Domingue from Moncton of the QMJHL as the two goaltenders on the team. This is an impressive accomplishment for Pickard and speaks volumes about the advanced skill level of the 17 year old. Pickard joins 6 other WHL players on the team.

Second... As you all know by now the Tbirds announced yesterday that former Silvertips Head Coach John Becanic has been named to the coaching staff.

I think this is an outstanding hire for the Tbirds. I think Becanic got a raw deal last year getting fired as the Coach of the Silvertips. From an outsider point of view, he appeared to do a really good job keeping a team that I thought lacked in talent and experience in the playoffs and in 3rd place in the tough US Division for much of the season.

I've been told that he is a wizard at breaking down game film and has an extremely good mind for special teams. In addition, he has an extremely good track record having been an assistant coach with Everett during their early successful seasons and helped the OHL's Soo Greyhounds to a Memorial Cup title in 1993 as an Assistant Coach. This is a complete and total net positive for the Tbirds.

On the other hand... I would be remiss if I didn't honestly say that I was hoping for a much more "significant" announcement. I think it is a great hire, a real positive for the organization but I would hardly call this a "significant" announcement.

That said... training camp is mere weeks away.


Tbirds Announce John Becanic Assistant Coach

Those of you who read the blog will no doubt have heard already that Seattle has named former Everett Silvertips Coach John Becanic to the coaching staff.

This is going to be a hot button issue.... no doubt about it. I will have a full article and take on this tomorrow morning.

Rumors are flying...

Tbirds are set to make a "big" announcement tonight.

I honestly have no "solid" leads on what the announcement will be but Gregg Drinnan is reporting that an anonymous tipster has stated that the Tbirds are set to hire recently fired Everett Silvertips Coach John Becanic to the Thunderbirds staff most likely as an Assistant Coach or Associate Head Coach. I've also heard that it could possibly be even more than that but I have nothing "solid" to go on outside of Drinnan's report.

Stay tuned... it should be interesting. I will say this... if the front office wanted fans talking about team today and anticipating something they have succeeded with flying colors.

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