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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Winter break....

I just want to wish everyone a happy holiday... we all get a 7 day break from hockey which is actually a bit shorter than normal.

Seattle hits the break just a game past their actually midpoint in the season at 13-19-5 good for 31 points and 9th in the Western Conference.

We have seen some really good play by this team and some real stinkers by this team on nights where they just don't seem to want to work hard enough to earn points. The good news is that you really aren't even that far away from Kelowna in the 6th spot in the west and this team can still definitely make the playoffs if they want it badly enough.

The PP has not been spectacular but has been a solid improvement in the first half checking in at 19.7% which is good for 14th in the WHL.

The PK has been truly outstanding led by Lindsay Nielsen, Charles Wells and others. Seattle is killing penalties at a clip of 84.6%, good for 2nd in the WHL. Even better... at the start of the season they were taking too many penalties and putting too much pressure on their PK and as of late they have improved that as well.

A good PK always starts with your goaltender and that has really been the biggest story for the TBirds in the first half. I'm just going to go ahead and say it without qualification... at 17 years old I think Calvin Pickard is already the best goaltender in the WHL. Pickard has the 7th best GAA in the league despite being the only goaltender in the top 12 to have double digit losses (a testament to the quality of his own team).

In addition he ranks 2nd in the league behind James Reid in Save Percentage at 92.4% to Reid's 92.7%. While trailing Reid by 3 tenths of a percent in save percentage Pickard has done it facing an additional 324 shots.

Or said another way... Pickard has faced 35.13 shots per game to just 28.33 for Reid.

He also posted a 57 save shutout of the top team in the Western Conference in one of the best goaltending performances I have ever seen.

Which leads me to my last comment on the first half of the season before I take a little bit of a break myself this week.

I know people/fans have been a bit frustrated by this team. I know that people are frustrated that ShoWare Center isn't sold out every single game (or weekend at least). I know that some of these boys can be very frustrating to watch at times.... but.... Calvin Pickard is the kind of goalie you truly build championships around and this team has 2.5 more years to put together a team around him that can win a our first WHL Championship and that is the task that Russ Farwell has ahead of him. To a certain extent, I don't really care about the outcome of games this year. Sure... I'm happy when they win, I'm upset when they lose, but this season is nothing more than 72 chances for this team and this organization to see where they are at for 2010-11 and 2011-12.

During the break I will be working on the annual trade deadline post and we will take a look at what Seattle might be able to do before the deadline to better prepare themselves for the next two seasons. Until then... Happy Holidays to everyone.


Anonymous said...

wow I couldn't have said that better myself. I find myself at the games not really concerned if we win or lose. Sure I would love to see a lot better product, but I understand what needs to happen for us to get there. I try and look at the positives for the fact that our rebuild could be worse than it is now, just look at Portland's last 3 years. But I still can't look past my doubts in ownership and coaching (whom many players are not fond of) Hopefully everything comes together and works out in the end.

Thunnex said...

I know people have commented on this a couple of times (I don't know if it is the same person). But there is this intimation that the players don't like or respect the coaches. Not only do I not get that impression but I can't see how players would be in the "right" for not respecting a coaching staff with the hockey resume that this staff has...

I would question how badly a player wants to work hard who would question the hockey knowledge that this staff brings to the table.

I'm not sure whether that is what you are saying or not but I would hope that isn't the case. I'd have a hard time siding with players who think they know more about hockey than Rob, Turner, Becanic or Jim.

Mike said...

Mark my words now.... if we finish 7th and draw Vancouver in the first round.. we advance.

Anonymous said...

This is the only time I have brought this up so I'm sure there are others. I'm not saying all of the players don't like the coaching. I'm more saying a few certain players are not fond of Sumner's coaching style and would prefer to be elsewhere. I don't want to throw current players under but Jeremy Boyer would be a good example.

As for the other comment, if we do manage a playoff spot with half a season left to gain some experience and a goaltender very capable of stealing a series I think we could pull off a first round upset if it was the right matchup.

Mike said...

Hey look not every player on every team likes the coach.. they will have to get used to this as it's the same in the big leagues. It's time to man up and play like a pro not a little boy if you wanna get anywhere.

What Boyer did was bush league and I can't wait to boo him next week!

Anonymous said...

I don't think what Boyer did was bush, i think he saw the writing on the wall with this team consistantly over the last three years he would put up decent numbers but yet he would be stuck on the third and fourth line. It made no sense. I think he realized that he didnt like his situation here and would like the opportunity to play closer to home. The problem i have is the same thing is happening with John Parker. For most of this year he has been second on the team in points and is second right now in goals. He gets no first line or second line ice time. He gets stuck on the third line with Lockhart or Lund. Don't get me wrong i like the heart that Luke plays with but i just don't think that physically he can perform against the other players in this league. He is always getting out muscled along the boards and knocked down. The lines i think would work better are

Mr Tell13 said...

What Boyer did was unprofessional, period. You do not call in to let the organisation know that you wont be at training camp and you want to be traded and that the first week of training camp. I don't know what kind of writing on the wall you think he saw, but if its about being on a winning team, though. yes this team is inconsistant but he most likely would of been on the first or secon line. I'm not sure that with his .55pts/game average this year he is on the top 2 line.
As for Parker, the fact that he was in the top 2 scorer on a team that in their first 10 games had barely a goal a game offensive average is not a great accomplishement. As fans I am sure we do not see the whole story with Parker (practices and work ethics), and I am sure that being his draft year(is it?)he might be frustrated. But the idea that the coaches are not doing everything in the best interest of the team is ludicrous. They might not do everything in the best interest of Jon Parker but the team comes first.

Mike said...

I agree with Mr. Tell.. you dont cry about wanting to play near mommy and your gf. That is just rediculous.. as is leaving a team because you want to be a front-runner. Life doesnt work that way, not at 19 and not at 40.

I do think there are teams and coaches that keep players on a shorter leash off the ice than we do and those teams probably tend to be more successful. This being said the coaches are always going to put the team first on the ice and not one particular player.

Going back to what Tyler said.. there is no way that a teenager knows more about how to coach a team than our great staff, from Sumner on down the line.

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