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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?


Jon Whiting said...

Couldn't agree more with the base of the problem.

It is not coaching, it is not the system, it is the quality of players.

Russ can make up ground by getting steals in the form of Rouse's, but those can only go so far.

The draft is where it starts.
Russ knows that, Colin Alexander knows this.
The scouts know this.
They just need to make it happen.

stbird said...

Hey Tyler just wanted to say that you know way more about this team and hockey than any of these multiple "anonymous" comments could ever know. And I am not just kissing butt. These guys just want change NOW, a championship NOW. As we know your sucess as a team in the dub starts years in advance, more than any other sport. Like I have said in the past some people that comment on this blog just like to complain, with no real answers.

Ok take your shots!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tyler! See I'll say it for you... what your saying is that for this organization to improve the drafter must go...Russ right? See you say it in a round about way. Other members of the Seattle "media" do call for the likes of Bevasi and Ruskell to be fired when the teams they put together don't win. Ruskell was brought in when Holmgrens teams didn't win.The media plays an important roll in this as being the voice of the fans.The fans of the T-Birds are alot fewer in numbers are no less frustrated putting their time and dollars into a team that doesn't seem to want to make changes that would improve the product on the ice.

The difference between the examples of the Mariners and Seahawks are that the part owner isn't the G.M. So he obviously isn't going to fire himself. the only thing that will change that situation is his co-owners being frusrated enough with a half empty new building watching a team that is in last place actually caring enough to ask him to make changes. because losing money isn't their objective.

This is a developement league this is true but like it or not ALL teams objectives are and should be to win.

I thank you for the opportunity and I hope that you'll look at your roll as a "media" member in a different way...not so worried about your relationship with the management but as a voice of the fans.

All your readers want the same thing... to root for a team that seems to care about winning and this current group for the last dozen years doesn't SEEM to

Thunnex said...

Here is the problem from my view (just my opinion). Since I am not employed by a legitimate media outlet (newspaper, tv, etc.) the team essentially has no reason to grant me access of any kind.

If I engage in a hostile relationship with the front office, they would have no reason to give me anything... thus making it pretty difficult for me to provide that access and insight to you the fans.

I know this is going to sound strange to you... but the conclusion of my analysis is NO that Russ should be fired or replace himself. I'm not in favor of firing or replacing Russ. You can reach your own conclusions... all I am saying is that drafting was horrible for two years and that is why we are where we are.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day they brought in another coach from Everett of all places because they weren't getting it done on the ice. John has helped them play better in the D-zone and PK. If you have to go outside the coaches that were already there you have a problem.

Anonymous said...

As for the GM and drafting that another issue that needs to be addressed it is ultimately the GM that take the heat and has done a poor job in recent years, but it also speaks volumes of there head scout and the entire scouting team. If the GM can't Go the may be just maybe it's time for a new Head Scout, Sorry Colin but you must go along with your whole staff if the Big man is going to stay which we all know he's going know where. I understand Russ likes Colin but someone must go it just so bad that a change is needed and has been for a long time. Russ you can't keep hiding under a rock. If Russ wants the fans back something has to change.

Anonymous said...

Actually the PK had some good years the first season or two under Rob and has been decent since. The power play has been underwhelming though and this season, after getting up to 10th in the league a few weeks ago, has slid back to the 2nd half of the pack, so don't give Becanic too much credit yet.

Joezone said...

Good assessment of recent drafts. If you look a bit deeper under that rock you'll see that its same old same old for many more years and that is why we have the mediocre track record we have. It amazes me how few fans realize that the buck stops with the GM and their ability to have successful drafts - provided they have the owners support and that can't be used as an explanation here. Even if you want to blame it on the scouts, it still goes back to GM as they are responsible for scouting the scouts and holding or folding. This is a business, if its not why do I have to pay to watch? So GM lets make some business decisions that make sense for everyone including you're after thought fans.

Mr Tell13 said...

I agree with your analysis Tyler,but some perspective is needed when you look at past draft choices. Lets take for examples the Chaffin year (2006). Lets say for the sake of argument that they wanted a defensemen, well aften Cowan was selected by Spokane that left Chaffin, Stephan Elliot, Mitch Berg(?), Cody Carlson and Tyson Barrie. Looking at it today Carlson and Barrie look like fine choices, but at least Chaffin actually played (unlike Mr Berg)

Looking deeper at that draft year your realize that apart from guys few and far between ... it seems like a weak year for everyone.

interesting thing, Ramsey and Bonsor were both 4th round pick that year...

I mean even in the pros the draft is a gamble, its not any different in the batam draft

Jon said...

How many owners do you see fire themselves as GM or Head Scout? Not that many. Sure they might step down but for as nice a guy as Farwell is, he still seems to be riding the coattails of being the guy that traded for Eric Lindros when he got to Philly. He knows hockey but at some point the ownership group needs to re-evaluate what they are trying to do. If it is to put a consistently good product on the ice, then commit to it.

Thunnex said...

I definitely agree with the notion that the bantam draft is essentially a crap-shoot to a certain extent... but honestly that is where the big money can be made. Right or wrong, most fans (including this one) measures success by wins and losses and the best way to do that is to stock talent through the draft.

At the end of the day, analysis of the draft is pretty easy. Did this guy work? or was he a bust? Steve Chaffin was a great guy but that pick just didn't work out.

rusty said...

Could not agree with you more that the draft is the starting point of success in Junior hockey. Compare the Birds to the Giants, who you can argue have had great success in this league over the past 4-5 years, and traditionally draft LOWER than the Birds every year.

They have hit on a few of their first-rounders (Kane, Wright), but ultimately have good success finding those diamond in the rough players in lower rounds and/or making strong trades or acquisitions to bring in talent. The Giants mortgaged the draft farm in prior seasons when the Memorial Cup was within reach, yet this season, remain in contention because of good drafting, player development, and of course, coaching and systems.

The draft system allows weaker teams in one year to reload for future years. Its still up to those teams to find the right kids, develop them and play them to their potential.

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