Social Icons

twitterfacebookgoogle pluslinkedinrss feedemail


Hockey Challenge 2014

Recent Articles


Adjusting Expectations

Tbirds played twice over the weekend... I thought about doing some live updates during the Sunday game but let's be honest, probably nobody was looking at my blog on a Sunday afternoon with Fantasy Football teams playing at the same time. My weekend was pretty sweet... Tbirds lost twice, Huskies lost, both Fantasy Football teams lost and both Fantasy Hockey teams lost. Nice!

Let's start with Friday night's game against Brandon. You guys know I would never lie to you... I was drunk on Friday night probably annoying the hell out of my poor neighbors in front and to the left of me. Sorry about that guys... drinking at the Tbirds games are going to become a natural thing this season as I learn other ways to have fun at ShoWare besides the numbers on the scoreboard. Tbirds played poorly in the first period Friday and as a result found themselves down 2-0. This team just has stretches of the game where they just don't have the necessary level of defensive pride that you need to have to keep the puck out of the net. There is a high concentration level that Seattle just doesn't have at times and more often than not against good teams you wind up making a mistake and you'll find the puck in the back of your net... I don't care HOW good Calvin Pickard is (which is unreal) he simply cannot stop wide open shots. Both goals came against the normally stout Seattle PK as Brandon wound up going 2/4 on the night. The 2nd goal Pickard might want to have back but when a guy gets open from the top of the circle and snipes the top corner there still isn't very much you can do about it.

The 2nd and 3rd periods were much better for Seattle and despite falling behind 3-0 they were able to get a PP goal by Sena Acolatse to cut the lead to 3-1 and played Brandon pretty tough the rest of the way before Matt Calvert converted an empty net goal for the final 4-1 margin.

Jacob DeSerres picked up the win for Brandon getting his first win in net for the Wheaties and beating his former team in his former building. Good for Jake... seriously... good for Jake. Obviously I would always prefer a Tbirds win no matter what but if you're going to lose it couldn't have made for a better story. We all wish Jake all the best and we wish it had worked out better here. All the best to Jake with Brandon and you heard it right here... I think Jake eventually takes the starting job away from Andrew Hayes.

Sunday was a little bit of a different story. I dialed up the game on WHL TV on Sunday afternoon and it was weird watching the Tbirds on the computer in the light of day (or the gray of the Seattle sky). I know that the shots on goal look pretty bad (35-12) but I am here to tell you I thought the Tbirds actually played pretty well. The title of this post is adjusting expectations for a reason. We have to understand as Tbird fans that this is now the youngest team in the WHL and there are going to be games like Sunday where you are going to run into a team, especially on the road, that is just flat out older and more skilled than Seattle is currently. Doesn't mean that we're in for 5 years of crappy hockey, it just means that a team that is tied for 1st overall in the WHL, with experience and playing at home is going to beat this young team probably 9 times out of 10. So if we adjust our expectations and look at the game through realistic eyes it is easy to take some positives away from this game.

First off... Calgary has the top PP unit in the league and for two and a half periods the Tbirds absolutely frustrated and shut down the Hitmen PP killing off their first 4 chances before Kozun made a great play and a great pass to get Stone a wide open net at the backdoor.

Second... that desperation that the TBirds lacked in the first period against Brandon was really strong for most of the game Sunday. Yes... they gave up 35 shots and some of them were dangerous but I thought the team did a really nice job of keeping shots to the outside to where Pickard could see them and then fighting hard to clear out rebounds in front of the net. The defense was not the problem on this day.

The offense... well that is a bit of a different story. Seattle had trouble generating offense all day and the Calgary neutral and defensive zone play was very strong. Seattle had 6 PP chances... that alone should get you 12 shots but sadly it did not. If not for a very nice fake and pass by Parker to a wide open Rai on the backdoor Seattle would have easily been shutout. I will say this again though... when the average age of your forwards is 17.7 (roughly) you're going to have some struggles on offense. By contrast... even if you subtract Nielsen and Rai and insert Lockhart and Silvester (who were out with injuries Sunday) the average age of your offense next season moves up to 18.3.

So the lesson here is... despite going 0-2 over the weekend I actually thought the Tbirds played 4.5 or possibly 5 pretty good periods but you have to understand that when I say "good" it doesn't carry the same definition as it would for the Tbirds of a year ago or even two years ago.


stbird said...

First off I look like to say that we sure do have a bunch of haters commenting this year. True northwest sports fans. If your team is no good just bitch bitch bitch.

As a true Tbirds fan, you are not going to be the best team every year. How many 16 year old do we have, like nine? If we make the playoffs, or not, just wait, this team I think will be fun to watch about half way through the season when they have a chance to start clicking. I see lots of good things from this team, but also lots of rookie mistakes. Portland didnt even have 20 wins in the last two seasons, look at them now.

Just wanted to voice my opinion. I love this team, and if that means I must drink a little more this year, well so be it.


Anonymous said...


I look at game #2 against Portland
and I look at yesterday and not EVEN the same team. In a couple years Muth, Jacobs, Alos,Tutt- you get the picture will be 2 and 3 year veterans! I thought there where several moments yesterday where Jacobs and Muth showed they already belong and they where playing against one of the CHL best.

Anonymous said...

So as a self-confessed Schappert hater, I'll see this about the game on Friday. He looked good most of the time. Not shut-down good but he did a really good job of breaking up cross ice passes.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tyler:

Please don't make be the youngest team in the WHL an excuse for bad play. I really don't want to hear it from so called T-Birds fans. Take a closer look the average age for the the T-birds is 17.76 years of age, compared to Portland, whos average age is 17.92, which is the second youngest team in the league. That is a difference of less than 2 months. Its not like it 8 months or a year. Both have the same amount of rookies at 9 ! Combine the 16 and 17 year olds and the T-birds have 12 while the Winterhawks have only 11 . Its talent not age. As long as you see measureable progress in the youngsters then there is a bright future! Which you have in Calvin!

But the youngest team in the league is just not a good excuse. I was tired of hearing it last year from Andy and the Winterhawks honks!

Brian in Sherwood

Thunnex said...

As with anything I think there is some truth to both sides. True... I don't really want to sit here and just blame things on youth. Seattle also has a lack of overall talent... there is no question about it. So in that sense you are right.

I also think that we are fans of a developmental league where the different between a 16 year old player and a 19 year old player can sometimes be HUGE. Portland may have the same number of rookies but look at the guys they brought in.... Niederreiter is a rookie but he is clearly a top talent. Bennett is a rookie but he is also 19.

Seattle brought in nobody outside of Sentyurin and he has barely had a chance to make any kind of impact yet (if he will at all).

So yes... you're right... we shouldn't blame age "only" because young talent can still be successful but I don't think comparing them to a very young AND talented team like Portland is very fair either. No team with an average age in the 17's is having much success outside of Portland.

I would say youth is less of an excuse and more of a part of a bigger equation of talent and youth. Find me a mediocre bunch of 19 year olds and I'll take them over your talented bunch of 16 year olds in this league any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

B of S,
Or do you prefer just BS?
TYLER. The guy who takes his own time to do team and game analysis, answer questions from the fans, get interviews, research trade rumors and make it all available to us by writing this Blog. That'S the guy you're calling a "so called T-Birds fan" ?!?! Congratulations you've reached a new low.

WHL Scoreboard