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11.18.2009

Confusion Reigns

I kind of thought last night's game in Tri-City would give us a little bit of insight into whether the Tbirds were just riding a hot streak on their way to their 4 game road winning streak or whether this team had truly turned a corner and were looking to make a playoff push.

Last night did nothing to convince me of either one and I am left as confused as ever. The first 12:25 of the game was just awful with the TBirds regressing back to their old form. Defense took a backseat to players trying to hard to score goals and 3 penalties that lead to 2 American PP goals.

Easily the Tbirds could have folded up the tent. They were down 3-0 and out-shot 11-0 before ending the first period down 5-1 and getting the shots back to 16-14.

Fold they didn't... as goals by Schappert and Parker in the 2nd period cut the American lead down to 2 goals. Unfortunately, that finished the scoring as the Tbirds fell 5-3.

So what can we think?? For nearly 13 minutes, they played like the "old" team... while for the other 47 minutes of the game they outscored the top team in the league 2-0. We can't just look at the horrid 13 minutes and assume "oh the old team is back... the 4 game winning streak was nice while it lasted".... but we also can't just ignore those 13 minutes.

This team is getting closer to "getting it" and losing to the Americans, on the road, in your 4th game in 5 days probably isn't bad enough for me to toss aside the winning streak as a fluke.

This team has to play from the back to the front. When they take care of everything in their defensive zone, everything else will eventually fall into place.

Couple of things to note...

- Tanner Muth is showing his age a little bit. One of our more steady defenders at the start of the year... Muth is now -20 overall and -16 in his last 15 games. I hate to say "I told you so" but... well I told you so. Muth has an extremely bright future as a defender in this league but it's just too difficult to excel as a 16 year old. Very few players can be great in their 16 year old season and we are now seeing our young defender go through some growing pains.

- Quick note on the Dillon "discussion" that was going on. I generally think that numbers don't lie and his +1 one of the best marks on the team. One of the reasons why scouts loved him so much going back to the draft rankings had more to do with some of the technical footwork that Dillon has and not some of the negatives that he has also shown. If you watch how Dillon gets his feet moving he has some raw ability that is very difficult to teach. Obviously scouts also care about things other than footwork which is why you didn't see him get drafted after posting a -11 last season. Point being... some of the raw talent is there, we just need to see some other things as well.

- Jeremy Schappert now has 15 points in 25 games and has already surpassed his career high of 13 points, which came last season. I think it is safe to say that this scoring touch is no fluke and with his 5 goals all coming in the past 9 games I think he has unlocked some offensive ability... not to mention that he is +7 for the month. For all of the Schappert haters out there... is there any doubt who Seattle's best overall defender is right now?

- The curious case of Colin Jacobs. After grabbing a goal and 2 assists in the season opener against Everett, Jacobs now has only 2 goals, 5 assists and a -16 rating in his last 23 games. The strange part is that while I am a guy who thinks that numbers don't lie... I don't really feel like Jacobs has played that poorly. I'm going to predict a breakout for Jacobs in the near future. I think he is doing the right things, playing the right way and the numbers will eventually catch up.

- I might get tired of pointing out how good Brendan Rouse has been. 3 Goals, 11 assists, +2 rating in 15 games... and it feels like he wins just about every face-off.

Tbirds get back home Friday and Saturday with another pair of benchmark games at home against Kamloops and Everett. Two games that Seattle really needs to get if they want to keep these playoff dreams realistic. I was shocked to realize this... but Seattle has already completed over 33% of their schedule. The old adage that "it's still early" is quickly going away.

5 comments :

Anonymous said...

I agree that at the start of the game it seemed alot like the first part of the year. Guys where going after points and not taking care of business in back. To their credit, they seemed to clean it up
after the first period. Personally a couple soft penalties called in the first period.

I believe this team is more about what we have seen the past 10 games than what we saw the first 15games. I agree with Muth is top notch player and will have many huge games in Seattle. Schappert...good for him, he has really kicked it in and expect more of the same through-out the season. Dillon- look at his points.
Rouse- SOLID. Jacobs- same as Muth
I love is toughness at such a young age and I agree he is not far from busting out.

This weekend: Friday 5-1
Saturday 4-2

Mike said...

Great road play by the guys over the last month. This team really came together because of all the travel. I think in the last 40 or so minutes last night we played better than almost any other team in that building this season so far.

Now I'm not bragging but out of the 12 road games I was at 8. Once again all fact no brag. :)

chris said...

I don't disagree that dillon has talent. I just don't think he's ever progressed. And I think the coaches see that because he's fallen out of favor it seems with the coaches. He isn't used on either the power play or penalty kill. If you rank each defender he's probably my 5th or 6th defender right now ( schapps, warg, chaffin, ramsay, dillon, muth, fleming). I do not agree with his decison making, his dumping the puck, the way he always ends up too deep in the offensive zone, then can't get back. I don't see the footwork you are talking about it but I guess if nhl scouts see that, then its obviously there, its just too bad he hasn't progressed since.

About last nights game, I don't think it had all too do with the "old team" showing up, as it did with how tri came out of the gates. They were flying around and it probably had to do with a 7 to 1 loss to kootney there last game, not to mention they are extremely good at home. I think before the birds could even blink get set, they were down 2. I'm not to worried either about the loss last night, but it does make this weekend huge. They need to keep it going and hopefully they can.

I also want to say I agree with mrbattien. Haber has for sure been a surprisingly good player, and might of just played his way onto the team next year. His move up to the wing has been positive, he is showing to be a good defensive forward something this team was lacking. His play with parker and lockhart has been impressive and I truely believe he has been an unsung hero during the 4 game win streak. Props to mrbattiens for pointing that out. Its good to bring up someone who doesn't always get an glory. Looks likes rob knows what he's doing, last year sena, this year haber. He's proving he knows what's best for his players and his team. Very impresive.

Thunnex said...

Right now I'd probably go Schappert, Warg, Ramsay, Dillon, Chaffin... so yeah our opinions of him aren't really very far off.

I guess what I'm saying is that he is playing better than last year... which might not be huge praise.

chris said...

I've actually been impressed with chaffin this season. His physical play, and the fact he plays on the pk, is why I had him infront of dillon, and even ramsay. But, he needs to stay healthy, and I think that he doesn't get the attention he should, he doesn't play as much, so I can understand why you can put him behind both ramsay and dillon, but you are right, we pretty much see dillon, the same.

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