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Slide reaches 7 and Seattle reaches the bottom

The losing streak ran to 7 games last night as the Thunderbirds fell to the Winterhawks 5-2.

The effort by Seattle was much better than the 7-0 trouncing they suffered on Friday night in Everett but a Seattle team already short on talent and missing Travis Bobbee and Ryan Button just doesn't have the horses to compete with top teams like Portland.

I don't get the anger by fans... I really don't understand what the hell some fans expect. Yeah... these are dark days for the Tbirds. Games aren't really much fun to go to right now.... but for sake of rationality... look at the honest facts.

Everyone around me seems to be a bench jockey right now... blaming coach Rob Sumner for the team's failures. Give me a break... this team had 15 year old Shea Theodore as their 3rd PP defensemen last night. That isn't because Rob is throwing in the towel, it's because with Button and Bobbee out he is quite frankly your 3rd best option for offense from the blue line. That is a staggering reality people.

Speaking of Theodore. He has a good chance at a bright future but like all players that Seattle has now and in the past... hard work ethic and the desire to improve will determine how far Theodore goes.

Shocking to see no fights last night but from my vantage point it looked like a lot of talking and not a lot of glove dropping on the part of the Portland Winterhawks. They talk a big game but they don't seem too willing to drop gloves with the Seattle heavyweights. I could be way off base but that's what it looked like to me.

Seattle now finds themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference and without a pretty quick and miraculous turnaround they look determined to finish out of the playoff race for the second year in a row. Quite frankly... with the current state of this team and the level of talent on this roster I wouldn't mind missing the playoffs and getting a higher draft pick.

I'd also love to have Portland gain the #1 seed and have Seattle grab the #8 spot just to see another Portland-Seattle playoff series despite the fact that Seattle would be clear and large underdogs.


Anonymous said...

I'm not of those "Fire Sumner" people like so many who comment on Facebook but there is one area where he has been asked about, given vague answers and there really is no logic to explain: Why the hell is Calvin starting every game? Salmon as started three games, 2 of which Calvin wasn't on the team for. That means he has started one game where Calvin was on the bench and that was way back on the Eastern swing. How is starting 69 of 72 games (which it seems like it will end up being) beneficial for either of the players development?

stoykoj said...

I don't believe the anger comes from just the losing streak, I believe it comes from seeing the same issues for 2 straight years now. The average fan can't really evaluate talent, they just see the Tbirds lose game after game after game. Those fans are angry and to be honest with you I don't blame them. They are looking for someone
pin it on.

I agree with you that this team doesn't have the horses to compete with most the teams in the US division. However even without half of their D-men, they should be able to atleast compete with Everett on Friday. The effort that was shown on Friday night was pathetic. The team played like they didn't care. They got beat to the puck all night long. That game wasn't about talent it was about effort and they lost miserably.

So for me I guess I also want to blame somebody. I have a difficult time putting a ton of blame on the kids, however its obvious that some players are not giving the effort that is needed. I believe that it is Sumner's responsibility to get the most out of his players, I don't think he is doing that!

With that being said I think the effort from Dillon, Noebles, Lund and a couple of others need to be acknowledged. Their production may not be showing on the score sheet but their effort is obvious.

So it may not be fair to completely blame Sumner, he is the head coach and ultimately responsible. The fans are sick of losing, they are sick of the "Same Old S***" and they want something to get excited about. It may be the perfect time to make a coaching change.

Let's say the ownership group makes a change now and shake up inspires the team and they end up making the playoffs. Even if they didn't make the playoffs the fans could still be excited to see something different next year.

We know what we get with Sumner........

Anonymous said...

At least last night's game was fun to watch. Given the talent limits and injuries, I can live with losses as long as we are entertained along the way. Agree with the Salmon comment and also would like to see Frank get some more time. If they are going to keep him up, then they need to play him enough shifts to let Dillon get some rest.

Andy Kemper said...

Honestly Tyler...what good does it do for the Hawks to engage in fights with Doty or Elliot?

It's a waste of five minutes...

The Hawks will stand up for one another but fighting for the sake of fighting in a game like last night is pointless.


Thunnex said...

Andy... I can't really argue about the "value" of the fight because you are right in saying there was little reason for Portland to fight last night.

Let's just say it rubs me the wrong way when guys are constantly running their mouths and not willing to drop the mitts. Not very honorable hockey if you ask me.

I have the very same issue with Colin Jacobs so this isn't a team biased point of view. If players are going to chirp and run their mouth they should be prepared to back it up with their knuckles. Just my opinion.

stoykoj said...

I kinda agree with Andy, Portland had no reason to fight. As much as I wanted to see Doty pound on Jordan, Portland played it smart and turned down all invitations.

Anonymous said...

"I believe it comes from seeing the same issues for 2 straight years now"

These problems have been around a lot longer than 2 yrs, that isn't even scratching the surface. I've watched this team since the early 90's, there's been some success along the way but mostly muddling mediocrity or worse. And on we drift w/ Capt Farwell at the helm.

14thebirds said...

Tyler, Love your blog and you insights on it, but I will respectfully disagree with you about Sumner. I have been a supporter of his since he became head coach but the things I'm not seeing improvement in include but not limited to, lack of hustle, constant dump and chase, no look passes to nowhere, lack of a fore check, and no one in front of the net.

All things that are repaired with coaching. It's the lack of improvement generally in those area's that drive me nuts. My 2 cents from a frustrated but long time fan. [I probably drive further than anyone 36 times a year and feel that my commitment to support this team is stronger than theirs to making it better.]

Anonymous said...

Problem this weekend stems from injuries, that's the short term issue, but the main problem is poor drafting over the last several years. I would suggest most of the blame go to management & scouting. Sumner can only coach what he has & maybe he should be getting more out of them but the bottom line is they dont have enough talent to compete. Over playing your top goalis is an issue, he looks like tired, maybe if he had rested Sturday agianst Portland he may have made that on extra save last night. Tough schedule ahead but with a little luck & some players back I think they wil be there competing for the final palyoff spot at in mis march.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Seattle is going to see a completely different goalie tandem next year. Pickard will want to go to a team that has a chance to make a run for the cup. It will probably be his last year in the Dub and he will not want to waste it in Seattle! As for Salmon, he won't come back to a team that obviously doesn't give two shits about his development! I know I sure the hell wouldn't!

Anonymous said...

Come on Andy! Take off the homer hat. Tyler wasn't asking for a fight for the sake of fighting. Boychuk does nothing but run his mouth push and slash away from the play, yet doesn't have the stones to answer for it. Maybe you can tell him that Doty is only 17. The beauty of hockey is that players can be held accountable for their actions, unlike the other major sports. But of course spot-pickers like Riley don't abide by that code, as they could end up getting hurt. He should look at #55 on his own team. That kid has heart and his game has come a long way since he got to the WHL. I wasn't sure that Jordan would even be here for his 20 year old season, and now he is even on the PK. Kudos to him.

Anonymous said...

Tyler. I always enjoy your posts and I agree about the anger in some fans. It seems easy to pin the blame on the coach. I am not as knowledgeable as some and I am not a 10+ year season ticket holder, but I am pretty sure none of these "fans" are sitting on the TBird bench or even sitting in the locker room.

I appreciate your even tempered entries and hope you continue to post. Your insights are great.

Anonymous said...

I guess that's is why they are called fans. It is, afterall, short for fanatic. I do wonder though about the vitriol spewed forth towards Sumner (and Farwell for that matter). These fans have probably never met or chatted with either (both are very approachable and amiable people), yet they use such ugly language towards them. One can voice an opinion on their job performance without attacking them personally. Some of these fans react as if Sumner has maimed their first born.

Anonymous said...

I happen to agree with Andy... Portland had nothing to prove in that game, they were up and happy to leave with points. If you really want the fight stop asking and start swinging, or send another message. As for the Sumner issue he isn't the problem. But he's certainly part of it, sure he was dealt a bad hand by Farwell but he's still a coach, and when your players aren't improving and give up than who's to blame. I think our players deserve better than this, I almost feel the only way this team will ever compete is if a miracle happens and somebody buys out the team and cleans house, just ask Portland fans how that kind of change can in fact be good.

Thunnex said...

I think you all are misunderstanding what I said.

My response to Andy was... I agree that Portland doesn't have any "reason" to fight in a game like that.

I'm not telling them that they should accept fights just because Seattle is asking for them.

I'm saying that it rubs me the wrong way that several of their players like to run their mouths off all game long and aren't willing to back it up by dropping the mitts.

In my mind... hockey is a very honorable and respectful game. You keep your mouth shut, you put your nose down and you play hard (see Luke Lockhart for a great example).

If you want to chirp the other team... that's fine but you better be ready willing and able to drop the mitts to back up your mouth. Otherwise keep your mouth shut.

Portland didn't need to fight because they had a big lead. Ok... so the same logic applies that you don't need to run your mouth if you have a big lead.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen many comments attacking Rob or Russ personally. They are attacking the bad job the two have done. Could be the two nicest decent humans in the world, but if you can't do a job, you shouldn't be doing it.

Anonymous said...

Players that see a weakness and "run their mouth" to help distract and or intimidate the opposition are just playing to win. I would guess that if you didn't know better the T-birds have a few that run their mouths also. Maybe they would run them a little more if they had something to back up what they say.

Thunnex said...

I can't disagree with that either I said pretty clearly that I have the exact same problem with Colin Jacobs.

Thanks for coming late to the party though.

Look... All I'm saying is... that in my personal opinion I don't think it is very honorable hockey to talk talk talk talk talk and not be willing to drop the mitts.

Doty has the right to say whatever he wants because if you don't like it... you know where to find him and he is plenty willing to drop the gloves to back up whatever he said.

Portland > Seattle

This isn't an argument about who is better...

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with all of this, and especially stoykoj - I don't want to dump on the players, but it's obvious that some of them don't want to be here, and that only hurts them. Dillon is leaving everything on the ice every night. Noebels is getting pucks on the net, Lund is skating hard to get to the puck on the boards, hell, even Sutter is starting to make some good decisions. But some of them...just look like they just need to get through the next two months so they can just go home.

I finally had to stop reading comments on Facebook. Some of those people are just idiots.

Anonymous said...


Your frustration with the team has steered you in a direction that you are posting silly things like this "honorable" hockey thing when it comes to running someones mouth.

This is not new to any sport so why even post such a thing? Players are players and will do this all the time. Why don't you tell us what you think is the real problem?

Thunnex said...

Real problem with what? the team?

We aren't good. That's the problem. Too simple? Go back and read my posts on our bantam drafts for a more in-depth analysis.

Anonymous said...

Tyler - you rock!

Anonymous said...


Yes, too simple..... your previous posts ramble on about how poor the drafts have been.

But what do you think this organization needs to do to turn things around? Specifically

Thunnex said...

my bad... all this time I thought I was making myself clear. Let me try again.

Specifically.... this team has to do a better job of evaluating and drafting bantam players who have the talent and desire to become top end WHL talent more often than they are doing that currently.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! whom do you think should be making those decisions? The current people? Or do you purpose changes in who makes and or evaluates bantam picks?

Thunnex said...

I KNOW this isn't what you're looking for but I honestly don't feel qualified to answer that question.

While this organization has never won the "big one" and I'm certainly as frustrated as every other hardcore Tbirds fan I also believe that the current group "could" be successful. Will it eventually work? Heck I dunno...

I know what you're looking for is for me to call for everyone to be fired but I just don't sincerely believe that. I know that group of fans exists... I'm just not one of them.

I think they need to do a better job... and I think they all know that already.

Anonymous said...

Oh I see Tyler,

I just noticed that you had spent a good portion of your life figuring out all the bad draft picks in painstaking detail which brought you to the conclusion that is the main culprit for stinking it up the last couple of years.

Which basically calls out the organization and not the players.

I whole heartedly agree with your assesment. I don't understand however how you figure the same cast of characters "could" be successful? Are they all of the sudden going to get better at drafting or developing talent? And what statistics would lead you to this conclusion?

Rob Sumner has coached for this organization for 13 years he came with no experience coaching and in 7 years of assisting other head coaches, wasn't offered a head coaching job anywhere else.He then was GIVEN the head job here.

Here's a stat for you.... in 3 different years(05,07,08) he's won 1 playoff series in each of those years with teams that had combined records of 122-68-2. I suggest that even with more talented teams (which he's had before) he loses teams EVERY year. And has had no buisness head coaching this team in the first place.

One thing I question is why a guy like Russ who's fired plenty of coaches in his day won't fire his little buddy? Is it because he likes him and he won't ever question the ALMIGHTY?

And could that dysfunction be the reason players want out of here in mass exodus?

Tyler.... I know you don't think firing Sumner is going to fix the problem I suggest to you it will.It's what has to happen to change the atmosphere. If the teenagers are ultimately responsible (which I however don't believe) they should know their performance cost somebody their job. That is a lesson learned in their careers they'd be better off as potential players learning it now.

Anonymous said...

Lots of chatter on the subject, the last post pretty much sums up my biggest beef about the Sumner situation. The players know the situation, and a lot of them are unhappy. They are not being used the way they were sold on coming to Seattle, but in the end what Sumner says Farwell backs, the players only options are deal with it, hope for a trade, or pretty much quit. Firing Sumner will not change things right away, but we need to start making the changes to get the right people in place. Because right now you look at the U.S. Division and the staffs they have in place are solid. Portland dealt with terrible ownership that made bad choices, and once they were free the sky was the limit.

Anonymous said...

Number 9 Number 9 Number 9 Number 9

Anonymous said...

They can't even field a full team now. Can they make it to 17 again?

Anonymous said...

Here's the a former thirds staffer, you have it backwards. Rob is a mouthpiece for russ. Rob does what russ tells him to do. If russ were to fire rob, he would be indicting himself. As for scouting, russ has final say on draft picks. Remember, Colin is the guy that found the hickeys, holloways, jacksons, and gagnons in the past. And russ approved their picks. The unforeseen element in drafting is that the whl is not the NHL. Players have other options. You won't draft evander Kane if he won't report to Seattle. Happens all the time. It has always been difficult to convince players to come to the us division. And, if a player wont report, there is no point drafting him. Your only option is to try to trade down. But every other team knows who will and wont report. So this is difficult to do. When a player wont report, it is a reflection of the success of an organization. Both on and off the ice. The tbirds haven't had much of either. I'm not saying tha russ is the problem, I'm not saying that rob is the problem. Nor either of the colins. What I am saying is that they are all the problem.

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