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Hockey Challenge 2014

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So close... yet so far away...

At times the Tbirds seem so close to breaking this losing streak... and at other times it becomes very clear just how far away they are from the Portland's of the WHL.

Seattle ties the score at 2-2 tonight behind goals from Rai and Gallimore (again) but can't get over the hump as Salmon misplays a puck that gave Portland the lead right back at 3-2 before Sbisa fired in a PP goal to give Portland a 4-2 lead that essentially sealed the game.

I still like a lot of what I saw. The effort was there, the scoring chances were there and they were still in the game for most of about 50 minutes tonight.

A few observations:

- Michael Salmon gets a free pass tonight. He hasn't seen real game action in a long time and he was making his Seattle debut in front of 10,000 people on the road against a pretty good Portland team. So again... he gets a free pass. Unfortunately, he played like a kid who was nervous and allowed himself to get way too deep into his own crease and you just can't play like that and be successful in this league. If he plays like that.. he won't be any good... but I think a lot of that was due to nerves and I thought he actually looked quite good in warm-ups. I think if given a chance to shake off the nerves and play a few games here and there to spot Pickard he actually could be a pretty valuable backup. I know that isn't exactly the highest praise in the world, but let's face facts, nobody is going to take significant playing time away from Pickard... So all you need is a backup who can do a capable job a 10-12 nights a season and I think Salmon might be the guy who can do it.

- This team is pressing hard. Too many scoring chances that end in poor shots because this team is just trying so hard to break this losing streak and get pucks in the net. At some point I think this team will realize that it has nothing to lose and they will stop squeezing the sticks and pucks will find their way into the back of the net.

- This Burke Gallimore kid... yeah... he can score a little.

- That Prab Rai guy... really good at hockey. Not too many times in this league do you see a goalie just get flat out beaten on a shot he can clearly see from a player at the top of the circle and that is exactly what Rai did.

- Bonsor looked good tonight at times. Played aggressive and physical... I liked what I saw.

- Fleming played up front tonight.

- Colin Jacobs should really get more credit for what he is doing right now. His stats haven't been great but he is basically helping QB the top PP unit as a 16 year old. So he was out there when Seattle gave up the short handed goal. I still liked what I saw and I can see him getting better with each game. A summer of lifting and conditioning should do amazing things to his game.

Ok I'm tired... I'm going to bed.

See you all tomorrow night. Let's hope the "rest" helps Pickard dominate tomorrow.


Quick Update

Just a quick update here as I have some things I have to take care of this morning before heading down to Portland with some other fans.

Good crowd last night at Gators last night saw the Tbirds fall 4-2 in what was essentially a one goal game. Got to meet some very nice Tbird fans and billets and everyone had a pretty fun time going nuts when the Birds scored their two goals. Next viewing party I hope we can double the number of people and it will be next Friday, stay tuned for confirmation on that.

Overall I thought it was a pretty decent game played by the Birds, they just can't quite seem to put together enough scoring chances to get it done. As fans know, this has pretty much been the case the most of the season but especially since the trade deadline.

The effort is there... which is great to see after some of the early season efforts. The passing and decision making just need to get better. Too many times the Birds are just giving the puck away in situations where a 3 on 2 is developing or the puck is just tossed back to the other team with a bit of applied pressure.

This is the main reason why I don't think this team is really that far away from improvement. Much easier said than done, an improvement in the decision making and the skating from this young crew will help maintain more possession and thus more scoring chances.

That was for the positive crew.

For the negative crew?

Am I happy about another loss... no... the lack of scoring is really frustrating and I'm sure it is frustrating to the team and goaltender Calvin Pickard, who really has to fight for each puck.

The 3rd goal by Beach was really a goal scorers goal and there wasn't really anything Pickard could do to make the save. When a scorer goes to the middle, uses the defender as a screen and rips one in off the post... pretty tough.

While I think all this chatter about Calvin being "tired" is a load of crap.... don't be surprised to see Michael Salmon in one of these next two games. I believe 100% Calvin Pickard isn't tired. I've played 4 games in net in one weekend and I'm 28 and Calvin is 17... he isn't tired. But... it would be nice to see what Salmon's got and might change the mentality of the team in front of him enough to pick up a win.

Let me say again though... nothing against Michael Salmon, but a "tired" Pickard is better than a fresh Salmon. That almost sounded like a cooking recipe.


Tbirds on FSN Game Thread

Live from Gators!

If you're at home watching the game here is the space to talk about it.

Gators TONIGHT!! Tbirds FSN!! 7:00

Too excited about watching the TBirds on television tonight with a bunch of Tbirds fans to really write anything coherent today.

Weather you love my writing or not.... come to Gators tonight and root on the Tbirds together.

Game starts at 7:00 PM


Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch

Tbirds give up 4 Power Play goals in the 3rd period to lose to the Kelowna Rockets last night.

As I pointed out yesterday, I thought the season was already over so I'm not going to fret the loss too much.

Seattle fans haven't had to go through this in 6 years... but the Seattle Thunderbirds will not be playing in the 2010 WHL Playoffs.

What this means is that we are reduced to looking for progress and hopefully the players realize that there are still reasons to play hard the rest of the season. This team needs to improve and you don't improve by playing like the games don't matter. As a former athlete, I know personally how hard it can be to put forth your best effort every single game knowing that you can't make it to the post-season.

So what should we look for... starting Friday at the Tbirds viewing party at Gators hosted by myself and the Seattle Thunderbirds at 7pm as the Tbirds play on FSN (shameless plug).

Here's what I would look for.

1) Brenden Dillon. I'm not convinced that Dillon is a lock to make this team as a 20 year old next season and each game is an audition for him to make the team next season. He needs to shore up his defensive zone coverage while increasing his physical play. I think Dillon plays best when he is actively looking to punish the puck carrier and he needs to take it to the next level.

2) Mikhail Sentyurin. Sentyurin has had a rough season with the Tbirds. He wasn't able to play until mid-October and had a rough start once he was able to play taking 16 games to record his first point. He went through a stretch of about 6 or 7 games where he looked pretty good but has now fallen back again and has found himself a healthy scratch in a couple of games. The Tbirds will have high 1st and 2nd round import draft picks and if Sentyurin can't show some progress here over the final 23 games, Seattle might be in the market for two imports this spring.

3) 20 year olds. Even harder than playing out a season going nowhere... is playing out a season going nowhere knowing that your career might be coming to a close. Prab Rai has motivation to play hard to impress Vancouver, but Lindsay Nielsen and Jeremy Schappert are probably playing to impress some Canadian University coaches. It will be interesting to see how this crew can finish out the season.

That is enough for now.....

Viewing party tomorrow... Gators in Kent, 7pm, FSN... watch with Tbird fans. Be there.


Big game tonight... or is it?

Tbirds at Kelowna tonight in what is being billed as a pretty big or "must win" game.

Quick side bar before getting to my point.

Lately I have been accused a lot of being an "apologist" to everything and everyone from the GM to the Coach to individual players. While I shouldn't let reader comments bother me, I have often been candid and honest about the fact that sometimes these comments DO bother me and this is one of them.

Since when did it become so "cool" and fashionable to be so negative and hateful about the team. Do I really look at the team through glasses that are so rosy? How is saying "this team just isn't very good" looking through rose colored glasses?

How is saying "this team really needs to draft better" bowing down to the powers that be?

This goes out to all the "fire Rob" guys, the "Russ should step down" guys, the "fire Colin(s)" guys.... I want what you guys want! I want a team that competes for the WHL each and every season. I want this team to do better... to draft better, to play better and to draw better attendance. I believe I'm being realistic about what is happening to this team and some fans think everyone should be fired. Ok... I get it, that's fine. Just keep in mind that we're all wishing and hoping for the same thing, we might just disagree on how the team (WE!!) get there.

I try very hard to offer up evidence to support my "thoughts" and "theories" and some evidence is better than others.

And that leads me back to my point...

I would suggest that tonight's game doesn't matter at all because the season is already lost and the playoffs are all but gone and here's why.

Sure Seattle could sweep the 4 games against Kelowna and give themselves a shot but have we seen anything that would suggest that is even possible?

As always Alan Caldwell has another good read today on what teams need to do in order to make the playoffs. You can read it here. The basic idea is that teams in the Western Conference need roughly 64 points to make the playoffs (the other day I said Kelowna might get to 66 points if they played at their same pace. A 3-1 or 4-0 record against them would knock them off that pace).

In order for Seattle to get to 64 points they need to go 14-10.

That doesn't seem that bad until you realize that Seattle only has 14 wins on the entire season and hasn't earned 28 points in any 24 game stretch all season.

In addition, this Seattle team has scored more than 3 goals exactly 1 time in the last 15 games.

Fans... it's over.

Is that negative enough people?


Hickman practices with the team

As reported by Thom Buening (nice!) on facebook (wow) Tbirds 2nd round bantam selection Justin Hickman was practicing with the team today in Kelowna.

Hickman is from Kelowna so I'm not going to get too excited about seeing him in uniform tomorrow until... well... I see him in uniform. It is certainly possible the Birds might have brought him in for just this game, or this quick 4 games in 5 nights stretch before sending him back to Kelowna.

Gators Viewing Party Friday

I'm going to hit you guys over the head repeatedly with the reminder that I will be helping "host" (I guess you could call it that) a viewing party of the Tbirds game on FSN on Friday at Gators Bar in Kent.

Game starts at 7pm and I will be down there by around 6:30. Let's pack the place and make them put the Thunderbirds on every television in the place. We don't get these opportunities very often to get together and watch the Tbirds on REAL TELEVISION!

In case people don't know... Gators is located at 21609 84th Avenue South
Kent, WA 98032.

Also you can find the location here.


Portland just bigger, faster and stronger

Didn't really have time to get a game recap up yesterday but there wasn't much entertaining or good to write about Saturday's game anyway.

Seattle goes down 6-1 on Saturday night. Portland just flat out looked bigger, faster, stronger and more hungry. I've said it before here and I'll say it again... I think Portland is a team to watch out for come playoff time. I personally think they are better than Tri and I definitely think they are better than Everett. Last night in Vancouver, Ian Curtis even gave them a 51 save effort in a 3-1 win. If they get goaltending like that... look out. I just think the reason they aren't higher in the standings is because they are still learning how to be consistent night in and night out and quite honestly that could hurt them come playoff time too.

Wait... isn't this a Tbirds blog? Oops... sorry.

Point is... this Portland team is going to be very good for a couple of seasons and if there is a team out there that Seattle should be afraid of, its going to be Portland.

I loved the fact that Seattle finally showed a little bit of heart at the end of the game getting into a few fights and sending a message to Portland that they aren't just going to be pushed around... problem was they probably lost each one of the fights with Ramsay probably earning a draw. For the most part, the Winterhawks are just flat out bigger than Seattle and that might be something of a concern for Seattle going forward.

Let's take a quick look at the average size of each team taking out the goalies.

Seattle has an average height of 72.43 inches, which is roughly 6'.5" and weighing in at 187.43 lbs.

Now Portland... the Winterhawks check in at an average of 74 inches, 6'2" exactly and 194.28 lbs.

A difference of nearly 2 inches and 7 pounds. The weight probably isn't very significant and I must also mention that the weights that the teams report, that then get placed on the WHL website aren't always super accurate so let's throw that out and just focus on the height. A 2 inch difference is pretty significant over a sample size of 21 players.

You take into account the fact that Portland is also NOT a very old team and wow that team looks scary for the next couple of years. Next season they will lose Francis, Schneider, Doyle and Sbisa... so you can't ignore that loss of talent. Seattle will lose Rai, Nielsen, Schappert.

Should be a very interesting couple of years with Portland being pretty solidly ahead of Seattle at this point.

Back to the game...

Pickard had a rare off night. Not very often I have to say that so I guess I need to point that out. He had trouble with his rebound control for most of the night and on a couple of chances he wound up in trouble for it. Having said that... as it usually is, hockey is a team game and the rest of the team wasn't really givng Pickard much of a chance to do better. Sometimes when your goaltender is kicking out rebounds, your team defense needs to help him out and clear out loose pucks and shut down attackers looking for rebounds and Seattle just didn't do that.

The list is just not good...

Schappert -1
Ramsay -2
Dillon -3
Aasman -2
Muth -2
Fleming -1

The bad defense was pretty much across the board and this unit has got to get better in the next year if this team wants to hope they can take a step forward.

Only TBirds that didn't have a minus night, Rouse and Gallimore.

So Seattle spends the next two days licking their wounds and gets ready for what is likely the most critical week of the season.

Wednesday at Kelowna is a must win, Friday at Spokane (GAME IS ON FSN!!), Saturday at Portland and Sunday back at home against Kelowna.

Can Seattle still make the playoffs?? The short answer is maybe but the climb is going to be really tough. 10 points behind Kelowna with 2 games in hand, the Tbirds are going to need a lot of help from Kelowna in order to catch them.

Let's look at a few scenarios.

Kelowna has a win percentage of .460 with 22 games remaining. If they stay at that exact level they wind up with 66 points (I'm skipping the math for you guys).

Seattle currently has 36 points with 24 games to play. In order to wind up with 66 points they need to earn 30 points out of a possible 48. Thats a win percentage of .625. Let's put this in chart form.

Kelowna record over their remaining games - What Seattle needs to do...

11-11, .500, 68 points - 16-8, .667, 68 points
10-11-1, .477, 67 points - 15-8-1, .646, 67 points
10-12, .460, 66 points - 15-9, .625, 66 points
9-12-1, .432, 65 points - 14-9-1, .604, 65 points
9-13, .409, 64 points - 14-10, .583, 64 points
8-13-1, .386, 63 points - 13-10-1, .5625, 63 points
8-14, .364, 62 points - 13-11, .542, 62 points

If we take Kelowna's last 10 games and use that as a recent marker they have 8 points out of a possible 20 (.400). So IF Kelowna were to go 8-13-1, basically 17 out of a possible 44 points... Seattle would need to "only" go 13-10-1 (27 out of 48 points) in order to catch them.

In order for any of this to even make sense, Seattle MUST go at least 3-1 in their 4 remaining games against Kelowna. A 2-2 split in those 4 games would then require Kelowna go go 6-11-1 the rest of the way and Seattle 11-8-1. THAT is a tall order.

Impossible? No. Difficult? Extremely.

One last point...

I want to get this out there and publicize it every single day until Friday. Friday I will be helping "host" a Tbirds viewing part at Gators in Kent. We're going to try to get a bunch of Tbirds fans together for a rare opportunity to watch the Tbirds on television together, have some drinks and make a little noise when (if?) the Birds score in Spokane.


Roster Reconstruction - Dream Edition

Ok... so I've been pretty quiet lately. Mostly because I haven't been able to catch much in the way of Tbirds hockey. What I have seen is a team that is now playing hard together as a unit. I'm sure there is a certain level of frustration associated with the one goal losses, but the team is playing hard and when you play hard eventually the wins and losses will take care of themselves.

Notice I did say eventually... and that may not happen until next season, or the second half of next season or even 2011. I really hope it doesn't take that long, but of course the team needs to combine effort with skill and size and those are two things Seattle doesn't have a ton of right now.

That doesn't mean we don't have players with potential, it just means that those raw skills aren't quite ready to win games consistently in this league. Over the summer, a lot of players take giant leaps forward and most players make some kind of improvement... either in their skating, their size, their strength or possibly all three. By this time next year, I really expect that this group of players will have improved a lot and be in the playoff race.

With the news of Jacob Fallon... I had this idea that maybe we should reconstruct what this roster looks like and what it "could" look like next season if some players like Fallon were to come over. These are my best guesses because I obviously don't have access to our "list" of players.

Players will be listed by their age for next season.


Calvin Pickard (18)
Michael Salmon (18)
Jared D'Amico (16)
Dan Kowalski (16)


Brenden Silvester (19)
Robbie Ciolfi (19)
Charles Wells (19)
Burke Gallimore (19)
Brennan Tutt (18)
Mikhail Sentyurin (18)
Brendan Rouse (18)
Luke Lockhart (18)
Chance Lund (18)
Jacob Fallon (18)
Jason Zucker (18)*
Tyler Alos (17)
Colin Jacobs (17)
Mitch Elliot(t) (17)
Connor Sanvido (17)
Jacob Doty (17)
Seth Ambroz (17)*
Joey Baker (17)
Gus Correale (17)
Jordan Salahor (17)
Brandon Troock (16)
Stefan Burzan (16)
Justin Hickman (16)
Jetlan Houcher (16)
Jayson Ness (16)
Kyle Horsman (16)
Patrick D'Amico (16)
Alex Kerfoot (16)
Jeffrey Kennedy (16)


Brendan Dillon (20)
Scott Ramsay (19)
Erik Bonsor (19)
Ryan Aasman (18)
Erik Fleming (18)
Jared Crema (18)
Austin Frank (17)
Tanner Muth (17)
Zach Walker (17)
Evan Wardley (16)
John Dora (16)

You'll immediately notice a few things here. One... our depth at forward is potentially huge but I've included a couple of kids who may not ever have a chance of coming here.

That list has 29 forwards against only 11 defensemen to go with 4 goaltenders.

Can we dream for just a minute. Let's just say that Jacob Fallon comes here. Maybe that opens the flood gates to bring Seth Ambroz and Jason Zucker in as well.

Let's just for a second pretend that happens.

You could potentially carry 14 forwards that look like this:


Oops... you'll notice that is 15 skaters (on purpose) and you'll notice that doesn't even include Tutt, Sentyurin or Doty... or Baker... or Burzan... or anyone else.

The point is, this roster might get very hard to crack if those kids come to Seattle and it will create this incredible atmosphere where kids are really going to have to work hard and play well to keep their spot, especially if they are 16-18 years old.

Plus... you'll notice that Seattle only has one 20 year old slated for the roster next season and it is quite possible that 1 or perhaps 2 O/A players will be brought in, making the roster even tougher to crack.

The fact is that Fallon, Ambroz and Zucker are probably still unlikely to be here with Fallon perhaps having the best chance considering the latest developments.

Now let's look at the defense. The depth really isn't there and the defense might be a concern going forward.

Dillon back as a 20 year old doesn't seem like a sure thing, but when you consider the lack of defensive depth he will probably be back. I don't really hide my level of respect for Scott Ramsay and clearly next season is make or break for Erik Bonsor if he wants to prove he should have a spot on the team as a 20 year old in two years.

Austin Frank probably makes it next season as well.

Aasman, Fleming and Muth give you a pretty decent trio of young D-Men and Zach Walker is a pretty sure bet to make this team next year. I honestly don't know if Seattle still has Jared Crema listed so he might not really factor in here at all. Evan Wardley and John Dora... well you are officially on notice that there is a roster spot to be had for probably at least one of you and perhaps both if you impress in training camp next year.

Goaltending... well not much to discuss here, Pickard is the starter and it will be up to Salmon to prove he should remain his backup over the two young kids coming in.

Seattle also has at least one import slot and at least 2 O/A spots next season and it isn't a sure bet that Sentyurin will return, so you might have two import picks.

Understand of course that Fallon, Zucker and Ambroz may never set foot in Seattle to play for the TBirds but the possibility has me thinking about how good this roster could look just 12 months from now.


Is Jacob Fallon the next Seattle Thunderbird?

Jacob Fallon, who at last check was a listed player for the Tbirds has reportedly quit the WSNDT. 3 of his fellow players were suspended from the team but reports are that Fallon was not suspended and just quit.

Story can be found here.

Assuming this is true... we could possibly see Fallon in Seattle as early as next fall or also not at all. Obviously this is speculation but his rights are held by the Tbirds, so if he wants to go the Junior route he would be coming here. Fallon is also from Texas, so perhaps Jacobs could convince him to come here??

Again no sure thing, but we can always hope.


Seattle at Tri-City Live Chat


I'm back....

Seattle earns a point last night on the road against the Americans. The Tbirds have played the Americans very tough this year despite Tri-City being the top team in the Western Conference.

I didn't see or hear much of the game but it sounded like a good effort by the team to earn a point.

I'm back from vacation and ready for the stretch run. To kick off the stretch run... let's try doing my first ever live chat tomorrow night for Seattle at Tri, part II this week.

I'll be watching the game and doing live chat providing comments. We'll see how many people want to show up to heckle or chat about the game with me... might be 5 might be 50, I guess we'll find out.

To chris... yeah that is a very good idea but I will probably save that for the beginning of next season.

I don't really expect Seattle to make the playoffs.... but I actually do expect that they will play a little bit better to finish out the season with the new players that were acquired. So we'll see what happens.


Jahraus gets to play...

One last move by Seattle today at the deadline, sending backup goaltender Kyle Jahraus to Prince George in exchange for 18 year old Center Robbie Ciolfi.

Ciolfi was dismissed from the team earlier in the year for "education reasons". This is still a really good trade by Farwell for a number of reason... though let me first say that I was totally wrong on Jahraus... I really thought he would stay here in his backup role and instead he will get to go to Prince George and get a lot more playing time and might even become their number 1 goaltender.

As a college baseball player who did not get to play very much I can tell you how difficult it is to be a good teammate and sit on the bench while others get to play and you only get to labor through practices... So I feel great for Jahraus that he might get to play out the rest of his 19 year old season, even if it is up in PG.

For Seattle... it is a no lose trade. if Ciolfi doesn't work out... well you only gave up your backup goaltender who rarely played and if he does work out... you gave up your backup goaltender who rarely played.

If I were to hand out a grade for Farwell at the deadline... I'm giving a solid B+. I'd give him a higher grade but for the fact that the goal was pretty simple... sell your best assets to build for the next couple of years and he did that.

In addition... you kept a player like Charles Wells who could be a really great player if he has the desire to take his game to the "next" level.

You got younger... and I'm honestly not sure you got a lot worse... well done.

I have no idea who is coming to Seattle right away and who isn't I will try to figure that out in the next few days as I get home.

I'm excited to come home this week to take a look at some of these new players.

Warg on his way to Prince Albert

General Manager Russ Farwell makes another move today with Stefan Warg headed to Prince Albert for 16 year old midget defenseman Austin Frank and a 5th round bantam pick... which is probably just the pick that Seattle sent to Prince Albert with the Jon Parker deal. Frank was himself a 5th round pick of the Raiders in the 2008 bantam draft.

I can't say I'm shocked by this... but perhaps a bit surprised. Though it is unusual and at best probably a 50/50 chance... I thought Warg had a shot at being back in Seattle next season and that obviously wasn't in the cards.

Prince Albert was thought to have really good depth on defense... the reason why Aasman was a player they were willing to move. So the fact that Frank wasn't with the club and had been sent back to his midget team doesn't necessarily mean he couldn't be a quality player. Looked to me like Seattle dressed 7 defensemen last night... someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

Looks like some trades are still coming in... but overall it looks like Seattle was one of the more active teams and there really hasn't been much in the way of "blockbuster" moves outside of Calgary loading up with some Kamloops players.



Well every blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. As I proposed... Sena Acolatse was dealt to the Saskatoon Blades for RW Burke Gallimore. Another pretty nice move by Farwell. We trade a 19 year old player for an 18 year old player and get slightly younger.

Gallimore is a big winger at 6'0" and 210 lbs and at 18 years old gives you a player that you know will be here next season and could be here as a 20 year old depending on the situation.

Obviously... I didn't miss much last night with Seattle losing 3-0 to Everett last night. In a weird way I actually hope the Tbirds don't make the playoffs because I would rather not pay for playoff tickets to be cannon fodder to one of the top teams in the Western Conference... plus I'd rather have a higher bantam pick in the upcoming draft.

I heard that Aasman played well... but obviously I will reserve any kind of judgment until I return and get a good look for myself.


Seattle vs. Everett Game Thread

I am currently located about 2800 miles away in Albany...

You guys will have to tell me how the team looks tonight. I would presume that Aasman will be in the lineup tonight and it might be interesting to note whether Seattle dresses 7 D or whether on of the players who has been playing gets the scratch.

No other news yet on the trade front, though I'd be very surprised if Farwell is done making deals.

The guy in Kootenay mused that the Ice might be a good fit for a guy like Prab Rai. Having won 8 straight and only two 1989 players on the roster... that would seem to be a pretty good fit.


Parker to P.A. for Aasman

Seattle gets defenseman Ryan Aasman from Prince Albert for Jonathan Parker and a 5th round bantam selection.

This is exactly the type of move I was anticipating. Aasman comes with a really nice resume having been the 8th overall selection in the 2007 bantam draft... but I don't really know a ton about his game so as usual we'll have to wait to see how he looks. Adding a 17 year old is exactly the type of move I was hoping for... Seattle is stockpiling players around the 16 and 17 year old years and this is in keeping with this.

Moving Parker might seem strange to some fans but from a roster construction stance it makes sense. I imagine this clears the way for Wells to stay... still a chance he is traded as well but I would think there is an 80% chance he stays now.

Also... with the addition of a defenseman you have some wiggle room if you want to trade away a defenseman like 19 year old Dillon.

Official release can be found here.


Wow that didn't take long. Trade announcement coming around 11:30.

Trade Deadline stuff...

Ok... finally I can get to this.

Sunday at 3pm is the trade deadline.

Typically trades happen in the days leading up to the deadline so don't expect Seattle to just wait until Sunday afternoon to pull the trigger on some deals.

I'm not sure I really have a method of format for this thing so let's just roll it out.

I don't think Seattle will trade a defenseman, I will just say that off the bat. There are really only 6 guys playing defense right now with Muth a healthy scratch on most nights. If they trade a defenseman I would half expect a defenseman to come back in return.

Maybe we'll go by age here.

I know there are some that are saying they think Schappert and Rai could/should be traded because they are good players (true statement) but I just don't think you are going to get much back for either of them. Trading top notch 20 year old players in this league is really tough. I believe someone in the barrage of comments pointed out that most of the top teams in the league are pretty well set with their O/A players. It wouldn't shock me to see Rai traded because we know he is a top flight player and there might be a team out there looking to improve their O/A situation by getting him and sending an O/A player back to Seattle plus something else.

My gut prediction... Rai and Schappert stay along with Nielsen.

Let's look at the 19's.

Kyle Jahraus... isn't going anywhere.

Stefan Warg... I really doubt that Warg is going anywhere. He has had an up an down season but Import players are also pretty hard to move and for that reason alone I doubt he goes anywhere. Also, I have heard it rumored that should be be back next season he might be your next captain. Plus... the defense comment from above obviously applies to him.

Brenden Dillon... defense comment also applies. I really doubt he will be traded but it wouldn't shock me either. With just 4 players currently in the 1990 year on the roster, Dillon could be a strong candidate to return next year as a 20 year old.

Sena Acolatse... I would be a little bit sad to see him go, but I personally think there is a strong chance you might see him traded this week. He has the highest trade value in this group of 19's and probably can get you the highest return on a trade. If I were Russ... I would be on the phone to Saskatoon asking them about their 15th ranked PP and selling them on the fact that Sena and his 9 PP goals would look really good at the top of their PP unit. With Saskatoon looking to make a serious run at a league title, Acolatse might be on of the final pieces to their puzzle. That is a trade that makes a lot of sense to me.

Now the 18's.

Brenden Silvester... Maybe. I wouldn't be shocked to see him moved but I really doubt it. He isn't going to have a ton of value because he has been hurt most of the season and I think his best hockey is still yet to be played.

Charles Wells... I could definitely see Wells being traded. Not because he is a bad player or because I want to see him gone, simply because he has solid trade value. I will link him closely with Jon Parker because I really feel like one of these guys is going to be moved. We have 5 players in the 1991 class on the roster and 3 of them are forwards. From a roster construction point of view it would make sense to move one of them. Wells might be able to get you some pretty good value in return. He has big time speed and he is an absolute beast on the PK. This would be a trade you make because Wells has value, not because you don't like him as a player.

Jon Parker... see above. One of these forwards probably needs to be traded to set up the roster better for the future. Parker is a pretty different player from Wells but it wouldn't surprise me to see him traded for the same reason. Despite the 13 game scoring drought, Parker has some scoring ability for a team looking to add some punch at the deadline. Surround Parker with a couple of first class playmakers and he could be lethal.

Scott Ramsay and Erik Bonsor... I doubt either of these guys will be moved. The defense comment from above applies to them and I would assume they stay based on the fact that they must have been acquired for a reason earlier in the season. I really like Ramsay as a player. I love his toughness and I think he can be a pretty solid stay at home guy for the next couple of years. I am less sure on Bonsor but I'm not really "down" on him either. I guess I'm still somewhat neutral on him and I would really like to see more before I form a solid opinion.

Now the 17's and 16's.

This is getting quite a bit easier here. I really don't see them moving any 17 year olds. I suppose it is possible that a guy like Lockhart is moved but I just don't know how much is accomplished by doing that. If a 17 year old player is moved here at the deadline I would have to wonder if there were problems with the player beyond what we see on the ice.

Same goes for the 16's... I just don't see Seattle dealing anything in the 1993 year unless there is something going on that we don't know about.

So that's it... Might be 2 or 3 players on the move for Seattle or there could be zero. I've heard it mentioned already that the trade market will probably hinge on what Regina decided to do with Eberle and Teubert. If Regina decides to keep those two guys and make a run at the playoffs, it will probably open the market up quite a bit for some other players to have higher value... and thus be traded.

USA Wins Gold

As a hockey fan and a fan of a team and league whose players are probably 95% from Canada, I have a certain affection and appreciation for the country to the north.... but there is nothing like watching the good old USA knock them off in their own building to win their first Gold in 6 years.

It wasn't on the level as the Miracle on Ice (what am I, stupid? ok don't answer that) but wow that sure was fun last night.

I admit, when the boys in Red tied the game at 5-5 last night I was frustrated, angry and depressed (as much as you can be about a hockey game). The game was over. Canada winning in overtime seemed nothing more than a matter of time.

And then, just like that, the Americans scored... I was almost too shocked to believe it.

I hate to team Team Canada, but they win that game with Pickard in net. Oh well, Pickard can start his two year run at the WJC next year.

Trade deadline post coming up later this morning.


I'm taking shots left and right here!!

Ok let's do this.

Part of me doesn't want to say this but since I have been accused of not being entirely honestly lately I thought it would be better to just voice my feelings. Some of these comments that are aimed at taking shots at either myself or my opinions have bothered me a little bit. I know, I know... don't start a blog if you can't take the heat... and that's fine. I know it is part of the deal that if I'm going to put my own opinions out there I have to be prepared for people to disagree and potentially take shots. The great part about the age of internet discourse is the ease with which people can exchange ideas and information. The bad part about this era is the ease at which people can snipe authors or other fans under the cloak of anonymity. I really didn't want to make it so that people had to register to make comments but I'm beginning to feel like that day has come. We might just start making people register with their email addresses and if I don't like what you said, you're outta here.

I love arguments, I love when people disagree with me and I openly encourage it... but if your retort is going to basically be "you're stupid because you don't see what I see" I'm just getting rid of you. This isn't free speech, this is my website/blog and I've spent countless hours writing about the Tbirds out of love for the game and the team. There is a perfectly good message board that I have linked to over on the left if all you want to do is see your opinion posted on the internet without giving any thought to what it says.

Obviously, everyone is frustrated and the worst comes out when people are upset and frustrated.

Let me also point out that this doesn't apply to everyone. For the most part commenting has been pretty good. I may not agree with all of it but it has been good.

Ok.... I'm done with that. Look for comment registration coming to your local Let's Go Birds soon.


"Anonymous" wants me to take a stand on things. Well you obviously haven't been reading my blog for very long because I have stated my opinion in the past... but I will do so again here.

I have made it very clear I think this team has to draft better. That isn't a secret, nor is it some brilliant analysis on my part. This team must draft better. The last impact 1st rounder this team drafted was Thomas Hickey and before that it was Bud Holloway and before that was Chris Durand who had a mediocre at best Seattle career.

Let's take a look at the drafts after the Thomas Hickey draft.

2005 -

Top pick Cody Hanson never developed into a top player and was traded away. Jeremy Boyer was a decent pick who really never became a player who could carry a team and was traded away this fall when he didn't report to Seattle. Jacob DeSerres looked like the goaltender of the future, but lost his way and was traded to Brandon this fall. Jared Prokopets never played for Seattle. Sena Acolatse is the last player left from this class and I would not be shocked to see him traded here at the deadline. Bryce Kakoske, Quinn Gould, A-Jay Moore, Travis Eggum never played for Seattle. Isak Quakenbush never really developed his size and despite scoring against Seattle this season while playing for Chilliwack is no longer on the Bruins roster.

This draft was not good. 3 players who turned out to be players and only 1 left on the team is not good.

2006 -

Steve Chaffin was forced to retire just as he might have been coming into his own. Unfortunately, we will never know. Sadly you have to call this pick a bust. Zac Ashdown never played for Seattle. Steve Oursov played 3 games for Seattle and was traded to Red Deer and never made an impact. Jeff Beattie never played for Seattle. Josh Lazowski showed a little bit of promise but was traded away and never heard from again. Charles Wells is the gem of this class and is the only player still with the team making a bit of an impact. Wouldn't shock me if he was traded as well. Justin Krabben, Kaydon Trubley, Wade Ritchie, Reid Johnson and Anthony Hamburg never developed into anything for Seattle.

This draft was a disaster. If Steve Chaffin has developed into a top defender next season with Wells becoming a top scorer it might have worked but sometimes things don't work out as you had hoped.

2007 -

Erik Fleming has yet to develop into a top player but every pick in the 2007 year still deserves a bit of time to develop. Fleming needs to get bigger in order to continue his development. Calvin Pickard is a franchise player, a grand slam pick in the 2nd round. More of these types of picks are how teams build championships. Brandon Carlson came into camp twice as an American player and despite the fact that I liked what I saw never made the roster. Carlson was drafted 4th overall in the USHL draft this past summer and is currently playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers. Why he isn't on this team I really don't fully understand. Chance Lund still has a chance to be a player and we're all hoping we see more of the 2 goal game he had last week. Jason Zucker is a very talented kid playing for Team USA at the World Juniors but it doesn't appear that he is coming to Seattle at this point. Luke Lockhart probably won't ever be a star but his hustle can fill a role on a very good team going forward. If he develops any kind of scoring touch he could be a really nice player in future years. Justin Lachance, Dan Gibb and Connor Cleverley did not make the team this year. I know Gibb and Lachance were in camp, I can't remember if Cleverley was or not.

This draft has potential. You have one franchise player and potentially 3 other solid players to compliment.

2008 -

Connor Sanvido didn't make the team out of camp this year and you have to be concerned about his ability to develop into a franchise player. Tanner Muth has had a terrible year but has shown flashes of potential that could make him a top 2 defender down the road. Ryan Armbruster didn't make the team out of camp this year but still has a shot to make it next season. Colin Jacobs is a franchise player in the making. He hasn't had a great year but he is only 16 years old and is already light years ahead of Muth, Sanvido, Elliot and Alos. Robbie Newton was in camp this year and looked good but didn't make it. He was one of my favorite players in camp and I would be really disappointed if he doesn't make the team next year. (EDIT: I totally forgot he was traded in the Ramsay deal, oops my bad.) Mitch Elliot (with one T or two T's depending on where you look) made the team out of camp this year and has great size but really hasn't done much yet. Zach Walker was a really solid looking D man and came in for one game on the road swing before getting hurt. Walker should make this team next season. Tyler Alos is has really looked nice in situations as a hustling fore-checking forward and we know he has scoring potential from his Bantam years and hopefully that develops. Seth Ambroz is a very talented American who has been rumored to be coming to Seattle several times but has yet to show up here.

This class also has talent and potential to be very good with one franchise player and several solid players.

So Mr. Anonymous... isn't it pretty obvious????

Do you really need me to tell you why the 2009-2010 version of the Seattle Thunderbirds isn't very good. Well... here it is... this team isn't very good because the draft years of 2005 and 2006 were poor draft years.

So you want to know what I think needs to change? Drafting. Russ has never had a problem stealing good players in trades with other teams... but drafting has been spotty at best. If you want to be an elite team in this league you have to hit on your 1st rounder being an impact player by their 17 year old season and steal another impact player later in the draft. This just didn't happen in 2005 and 2006.

Now... you think you might be able to give me a break just long enough to pound out a Trade Deadline post? Or am I giving myself too much credit that you actually care to read what I have to say?


Tbirds fall to Spokane

Overall a good effort from Seattle last night but certainly not the result they were looking for and they now find themselves a full 7 points behind Kamloops for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.

If Farwell wasn't sure about being a seller at the trade deadline, this recent 5 game losing streak should do the trick. It is time to unload some of these players while they have some value. I have been promising a trade deadline post for at least a week now and I will deliver on that later this week. I will be going on vacation later this week and will be in New York as the actual deadline happens so I will try to have that up on the website by Wednesday.

I will save my energy for the trade deadline post and keep this pretty short as well.

Seattle had good effort tonight and that is what I'm really looking for with this team. Spokane is good, so there is no shame in losing to them by a goal at home. Tbirds did wind up taking 39 shots to just 28 for Spokane so it wasn't as if they didn't play well or didn't have opportunities. The problem really stems from a lack of "drive" or "hunger". Jeremy Schappert actually hit the nail right on the head in his post game interview, Spokane just got hungry around the net in the 2nd period and they were able to earn the lead and hold it from that point. Sometimes you have to just want it more than the other team and force the puck into the net. I'm not sure if I'm really making much sense with that point.

So... the good news is that Seattle is starting to show step 1... effort. Step 2 is effort and hunger. Step 3 is effort, hunger and skill. ETA Step 3... spring of 2011.

One last note on the New Years Eve game down in Portland. I didn't see the game, I heard it was ugly in the 3rd and I decided it wasn't worth it to pay $5 to watch the archived game. I'm not really sure there is anything new we can learn about this team on nights like that. On some nights, this team doesn't even want to get to Step 1 and on those nights they are going to get blasted and at this point Portland knows that and they don't take their foot off the gas pedal.

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