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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Back in the W column

Seattle comes from behind to get a 4-2 win over the Swift Current Broncos last night.  I honestly wasn't very impressed with the effort but I also had to leave for my own game with 10 minutes left in the game and I wasn't able to see the 5 minutes of the game where they actually played hard.  (Maybe I should leave games early more often?) These are the types of games that drive us fans crazy.  Why can't they just come out and play with the same energy on a consistent basis? Why can't they play with that swagger and chip on their shoulder that they showed during the winning streak? Quite frankly... I don't have the answers to those questions.  What I do know is that when this team plays with energy and a physical fore-check, they have the ability to beat just about any team in the league.
  • I want to clarify my thoughts on Marcel Noebels.  I don't think Noebels is being a selfish player.  I think there is a very clear distinction between a guy trying to do “too much" and a guy who plays selfishly.  Marcel Noebels cares. He definitely wants the team to succeed and I think he would be the first one to say that he isn't happy about the -15 sitting next to his name.  If anything he might care TOO much, which is why I believe he is trying so hard to force the play to make things happen.  I have faith that he will figure out that balance between laying back and forcing the action.
  • What an interesting night for Shea Theodore.  Earlier in the game he was really struggling. There was a shift on the PP where he must have given the puck away 3 or 4 times and actually needed Dave Sutter to bail him out a couple of times (which is amazing, more on that in a second). Then he winds up sending a wrister home for the game tying goal after a great face-off win by Tyler Alos and getting the first star of the game.  Just goes to show the types of inconsistencies that will show up more with talented 16 year old players.
  • Sutter.  I've spent a lot of words writing about Sutter and I think it's for good reason.  He is inconsistent and he is a lighting rod for complaints by Seattle fans. I can't really defend his play lately and it reached a point last night where I might be starting to change my mind a little.  I think Sutter has loads of potential. If I were an NHL team I would definitely be looking at him as an under the radar free agent signing.  One moment Sutter will blast a slap shot, hustle back to save Theodore and make some very smart decisions with the puck. The next moment he might make a terrible decision with the puck, nearly fall down, turn the puck over and get beat around the outside... which is exactly what happened on the first Broncos goal.  I really believe that with another couple years of working on his skating and his decision making abilities you could really have an impact player.  The problem is... Seattle can't really afford to wait two or three more years since he is 19 years old. A maddening problem.
  • Chance Lund with a greasy game winner. I love seeing guys park in front of the net and pick up greasy goals.
  • Evan Wardley made his season debut and did so as a winger.  After what I would call a nervous start he looked like he was able to settle into the game a little bit. Having a guy who can play a little bit of forward and some defense can be valuable.
  • Alos had a big face-off win that got the puck to Theodore for the game tying goal and finished the night +1. He's starting to come around.
  • Calvin Pickard was his usual solid... but I bet he would like that first goal by Taylor Vause back.  Pickard was beaten 5-hole and while it was an excellent shot by Vause, that isn't the type of shot that goaltenders like giving up.
  • Quick word about being an idiot.  Yes, I am an idiot... what's your point.  I appreciate the kind words of in my "defense".  Seriously, they aren't necessary but they are very much appreciated.  A year and half ago I probably would have let things like that get me down... but these days I honestly couldn't care less. If you're calling me an idiot, well that means you're still reading what I write which is good by me.
Seattle moves into a tie for 6th place in the Western Conference with 23 points in 24 games. They will have a chance to get back to .500 when they host the Tri-City Americans on Friday night followed by a trip to Portland on Saturday (so it won't be easy).


Loss Friday, Loss Saturday, Game Tonight

Unfortunately, I have a real job and that job has been killing me the past few days. I'm sorry for that and as a result this is going to be pretty short and sweet as well.

  • Anyone who thought Seattle had become an elite team after wins (home) over Tri-City, Portland and Regina got a reality sized smack in the face on Friday and Saturday night. So what does all of this mean? Are the Tbirds bad? Are they good? Answer: Neither. What it means is that this team isn't terrible but it also isn't elite and you're going to get some really good games and some really ugly games.
  • Let's take a look at Friday first. Prince George really isn't a very good team but Seattle didn't show the necessary amount of urgency and it eventually caught up to them.  Sure, the tying goal scored by the Cougars was extremely lucky but if Seattle had scored 3 or 4 goals it never would have been an issue.  Unfortunately, they showed a complete lack of urgency and allowed the Cougars to hang around in the game long enough to eventually get the game into overtime. Bad teams get rolled by bad teams at home. Good teams hammer bad teams at home and mediocre teams play just well enough to allow a fluky goal and a shootout to lose a point to bad teams.
  • Saturday's game was just a complete bloodbath.  This was one of the worst performances of the season from the Tbirds.  The only consolation I can take away from this game is that Seattle drove through the night to get to Kamloops at 5:30am and the Blazers are a solid team.  The ingredients came together for a recipe of disaster.  Seattle spent nearly the entire game in their own end and Daniel Cotton could hardly be blamed for any of the 8 goals.  Shots were 50-19 in favor of the Blazers.  
  • Injury added to insult, Troock was hit with an accidental high stick from Brenden Ranford that resulted in a trip to the hospital and a fractured "first rib" that will sideline him for about 4 weeks. 
  • If THAT wasn't enough, Cason Machacek took a checking to the head major penalty and his suspension is still TBD as of 2:30 this afternoon.  Considering his previous discipline, I would not be surprised to see a 5 game suspension. That means that the experiment of having Kyle Verdino playing up front with the forwards will have to take a hiatus.
  • One of the biggest things I kept noticing from Friday and Saturday was Marcel Noebels trying to do too much.  He must let the game come to him and quit trying to over play every situation. If you don't think there is a correlation between how he is playing and the -15 rating. That wouldn't be a big deal if the rest of the team were -15 or worse but his rating ranks last on the team with the closest being Luke Lockhart and Jared Hauf at -11.
  • Speaking of plus/minus ratings. Seattle now has no player in positive territory and Brendan Rouse's 0 leads regulars.
  • On a brighter note.  I like the way Tyler Alos has been playing lately and it seems like it has been a long time since I was able to single him out in a good way.
Everyone needs to take a deep breath (myself included) and realize that every season is going to have their ups and downs. Even the 19-6 Tri-City Americans got hammered by Spokane 7-2 and lost to the lowly Everett Silvertips 6-3 earlier in the season.  It is important to keep from focusing on one game or a just a handful of games and look at the bigger/overall picture.

Let's see how they bounce back against a very beatable Swift Current team tonight.


No WJC for Pickard

I will have some time today to write my thoughts about the games on Friday and Saturday but I wanted to get this up first.  I suppose that things could change but as of this morning Calvin Pickard will not be getting an invite to the World Junior camp for Team Canada.

A full list of the invites can be found here.


3 in a row??

Seattle officially has a winning "streak" after their 3rd straight win, defeating the Regina Pats last night 5-2. The Birds once again got off to what I would call a bit of a slow start, though not as bad as we have seen previously. Regina was able to capitalize on two occasions late in the period to take a 2-0 lead.  Seattle responded under a minute later as Branden Troock got his first of two goals on the night.  Tyler Alos took a shot from the top of the circle left of the goaltender and Troock saw the puck deflect off of his chest and into the goal.  That particular goal was a huge momentum builder as Seattle went into the first intermission down only by 1 goal.  Troock added a second when he poked the puck past a sprawled Matt Hewitt to tie the game in the 2nd period, setting the stage for Seattle to extend their winning streak if they could produce a solid 3rd period.  Burke Gallimore captured the lead that would not be surrendered just 6:28 into the period as he ripped one off the bar and in from the slot area after a Regina turnover. Kyle Verdino and Chance Lund finished the scoring as Regina appeared to tire down the stretch and the Tbirds picked up their 10th win of the season.

  • A very good night for Troock, not just because of the 2 goals, but because of the way in which they were scored.  Both were greasy goals that were the result of going to the net hard and hanging around the crease area. Troock is going to get his fair share of flashy goals but this is how (eventually) you take your scoring to the next level.
  • No offense to Troock, but I thought the real star of the game was Gallimore.  For the 3rd night in a row, Gallimore looked like he had fire in his belly and led the way with some bone crushing hits.  That right there is how this team has to play in order to win.  They must be able to use their size to a physical advantage on the fore-check to create turnovers and create scoring chances.  Gallimore was so good, he is still being listed as both the 2nd and 3rd stars on the scoresheet!
  • What a beautiful feed by Luke Lockhart to Verdino on the Power Play for the 4th goal of the game.  Verdino pinched down the backside of the zone and Lockhart hesitated for just a split second to make sure he had the passing lane and fed a tape to tape pass and Verdino tapped in for the score.  Seattle had 3 PP chances last night and looked very good on the 1st and scored on their 3rd chance.
  • Chance Lund finished the scoring with a nice individual effort and a blast from just inside the blue line that was ever so slightly deflected by the Regina defender and found the back of the net.  Lund is coming on strong again.
  • 16 year olds Jared Hauf and Shea Theodore were paired up together last night and played wonderfully in doing so. Both seem to be getting more comfortable by the game and even though neither had points last night they were both +3 on the evening.
  • Brendan Rouse suffered an injury in the first period and didn't return.  A report I received had his hand taped up and he was sitting upstairs with the Scratches in the 2nd period.
  • Not a lot of ice time for Connor Sanvido who appears to be in the coach's doghouse again.
  • Marcel Noebels is so talented.... he just has got to quit trying to do too much with the puck.  It seems like he is trying to create the perfect setup on every shift when I think he would be more successful keeping things simpler.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  Be thankful for your families, and the 3 game winning streak! Seattle welcomes in the Prince George Cougars on Friday with a chance to run their streak to 4 games.


Can I still go back to Saturday?

Before we move on to Regina tonight and Prince George on Friday, I’ll finally give my thoughts about the Saturday game.  Seattle picked up their second straight impressive victory over a quality opponent beating the Portland Winterhawks 6-3 before a crowd of 4,538 at ShoWare Center. The Thunderbirds chased goaltender Brendan Burke in the second period which was the first time in a long time that I recall Seattle truly chasing a goaltender out of the game. As a fellow goaltender, I hate seeing that happen to any goalie, but those nights do happen. He's young, he'll probably bounce back. The Tbirds now find themselves solidly in the playoff picture (with an obviously long way to go) with 18 points and a win percentage of .450. Everett and Prince George currently bring up the rear at .292 respectively.
  • Chance Lund started the season hot, cooled off a bit, and has since picked up the pace again.  Lund tied the game at 1-1 with an impressive individual effort just over a minute after former Tbird Charles Wells opened the scoring.  Lund had a goal and an assist to go with his +2 rating. His 13 points have already tied his career high from last season when he also had 6 goals and 7 assists. Also important is the imrprovement in his plus/minus rating and the fact that he has only 2 PIMs on the season.
  • Seattle had so many chances that the score could have looked much worse much earlier in the game if it weren’t for a bit of bad luck. I counted 3 post shots including 2 by Justin Hickman in the early part of the game. Seattle was definitely buzzing early this time as the shots were 13-12 in favor of the WHawks in the first period.
  • Speaking of Hickman, he made one of the smartest plays I have seen all year on the Penalty Kill that led to a Luke Lockhart shorthanded goal.  Hickman gained control of the puck in the neutral zone as Seattle went for a change and instead of just dumping the puck or forcing the rush, he patiently carried the puck wide and waited for support.  That support came in the form of Lockhart who jumped off the bench in front of the also changing Winterhawks and Hickman sprung him for the partial breakaway he was able to convert. Very heady play by Hickman.
  • Lockhart wound up with a goal and two assists on the game and Seattle desperately needs him to get things going if they want to continue to play at this level. Lockhart is still well off his point pace from last season but hopefully this game will really get him going.
  • Given time and space, I'm not sure there is a better shooter in the league than Burke Gallimore.  Unfortunately for him, getting that time and space can be difficult, but when he has it, he doesn't often miss.  That was exactly the case on both of his goals, he was left open in the slot area with time to get off a good shot... their goaltender had no chance.
  • I have been very pleasantly surprised by the excellent play of Brad Deagle.  Deagle notched 3 assists on Saturday night and he now has 7 points in 18 games. Over 72 games that would give him 28 points (not much) but when you combine that with a respectable plus/minus (-3) and only 10 PIMs in 18 games, you have a pretty solid contributor.
  • Tip of the hat to Shea Theodore who ultimately chased Burke with his first WHL goal.
  • Seattle needed to somehow contain Portland's biggest studs and they were able to do that as previously on fire Sven Bartschi went pointless with a -4 and Ty Rattie was pointless with a -5. You just aren't going to see that very often from those two quality players.
  • Mac Carruth appeared to "crotch" Branden Troock with about 2 minutes left.  It's too bad Pickard isn't the fighting type because that would have been a good spot for somebody to stick up for Troock. I'm guessing Carruth may get what is coming to him one of these days.
  • Officiating left a lot to be desired but I'm just so tired of complaining about that.
  • My wife ripped the twine for a free turkey after the game that I will be happily deep-frying on Thursday afternoon.  Wish me luck in attempting to keep my house from burning down.
  • Two solid wins moved Seattle up to 15th in the latest Massey Ratings.
  • Calvin Pickard earned CHL goaltender of the week honors for his two victories.
Seattle gets Regina at home tonight before the Thanksgiving holiday and then welcomes in Prince George on Friday.


Big win for Seattle over the Ams

There is the formula.  You want to see how the Thunderbirds could be successful this season?? Last night at ShoWare Center, we witnessed the exact blueprint for beating anyone in the WHL.  It wasn't a dominating performance (like Vancouver hanging an 11 spot on Victoria last night), and it wasn't necessarily the most impressive victory I have ever seen, but it was the style of game Seattle needs to play in order to win this year.  They were out-shot overall but didn't allow the Americans too many great scoring chances, kept shots mostly to the outside and were able to clear the rebounds that Calvin Pickard wasn't able to control.  Pickard picked up his 8th career shutout, 3 of which have been against the Americans. I tweeted last night that I thought the first team to score would win and that was certainly the case.  Let's not get too excited about one victory (a home one at that) but if Seattle can get more consistency playing this style of game, I think the playoffs are in our future.

  • I hate complaining about officiating but I find myself doing it more often than I would like.  There were some odd calls last night. Sean Aschim got called for a "Kneeing" when the replay showed his knee never even touched the other player. Jacob Doty gets called for a Delay of the Game on a play where the Ams player had his stick on Doty's stick then the same play happens 5 minutes later at the other end and isn't called.  Kyle Verdino gets called for checking from behind on a play where the Ams player clearly saw him and turned his back at the last second.  Brad Deagle makes a wonderful defensive play on a 1 on 1 and gets called for tripping on what looked like a pretty darn legal open ice check and last but not least Verdino gets called for tripping on a play where it looked like he barely bumped the Ams player.  I'm not saying it was one-sided either, I just happened to remember the bad called against the Birds because... well... I'm a fan.
  • Seattle started slowwwwwww again with Tri-City jumping out to a 7-1 lead in shots through about 8 minutes of play but they were able to rebound with some spirit for the rest of the first period trailing in shots only 14-13 at the end of the 1st. The Americans are going to win a lot of games this season and being able to withstand the initial rush and stay in the game was a factor in the win.
  • Big Big Big Power Play goal by Aschim started the scoring. It was the only Power Play goal scored by either team in the game as they combined to go 1-15 with the man advantage. It goes without saying that one reason Seattle was able to win the game was the effective play by their Penalty Killing units, forcing Tri-City into an 0-8 scoring opportunities.
  • Chance Lund picked up a goal on a nice feed by Burke Gallimore.  I thought Gallimore struggled for the first and second periods but managed to pick up his game when it mattered most in the third period with the helper to Lund and the empty net goal to close the scoring.
  • Calvin Pickard had a legitimate chance to notch the empty netter before Gallimore did but just wasn't about to get any juice behind the clearing attempt. Pickard covered his face in mocking shame after Gallimore put the game away.
  • Pickard was otherwise excellent.  He made saves through screens and held onto a ton of pucks, eliminating rebounds.  For the most part the shots he wasn't able to control he was able to steer to the corners.  This is exactly why you give elite goaltenders time to work through tiny struggles.  You give them some solid defense in front of them, keep the shots to the outside where he can see and handle them and let them make a couple of key saves to win you a ballgame.
Seattle gets right back to work tonight against the also hot Portland Winterhawks. Sven Bartschi has been absolutely on fire lately with 4 straight 3 point games and 30 points in his last 11 games. 


Tbirds Split Weekend

Sometimes I just don't feel like writing until the end of the weekend. I was able to watch the game at Calgary on Friday and listen to the game in Cranbrook last night.   The Tbirds were able to split the weekend and return home after a 2-4 road trip, a bit of a mixed bag over the weekend. Here are some thoughts... none of which you will hear me calling Calvin Pickard "overrated".
  • Friday night's game was very entertaining and saw a flurry of goals scored in the first period, followed by both teams buckling down a little bit and providing some intensity in the final moments.  In the end, Seattle was able to escape with a 5-4 win over the Calgary Hitmen.
  • Saturday night's game was pretty entertaining as well, as the Tbirds were able to keep the game much closer than the 5-1 final indicated.  This was essentially a two goal game in the third period with Seattle hitting no less than two irons that could have made it a one goal game or tied it up.
  • Justin Hickman is starting to find his groove.  In my opinion, Hickman has played hard all season and just hasn't had very many points to show for it. Since Thursday, we saw Hickman come through with some tangible evidence of his ability as he notched two assists on Thursday, two goals on Friday and another goal last night. I think Hickman has a chance to be a very good power forward in this league as things are starting to come together.  He must stick to the excellent game plan of fore-checking hard and creating those opportunities by disrupting the opposition's defense.
  • Brendan Rouse had an excellent road trip, registering points in each of the 6 games (2 goals, 5 assists).
  • I haven't held back my criticism of Dave Sutter lately. I think he takes too much flack overall but lately the flack has been pretty deserved.  Sutter had an excellent game on Friday night chipping in an assist and going +3 but then reverted back to a -2 last night. I think this is pretty much what you are going to get from Sutts, some good nights and some bad nights. He is still 3rd on the team (among regulars) in plus/minus, and I think more significant faults can be found in other bodies on this team.
  • Shea Theodore was back in the lineup Saturday after sitting out two games in a row. I'm not really sure whether they were HS's or whether he was a little banged up.  Either way, he was back last night and Hauf was the one to sit out.
  • Daniel Cotton continues to do a fine job filling in for Pickard when called upon.  His 27 saves last night didn't seem to be the reason for the loss.  Thom Beuning mentioned on the radio broadcast that perhaps Pickard has been trying to do a little too much in net and I think that is a bit of an accurate statement.  I can attest to the fact that when your defense isn't playing well you tend to resort to crazy things in net.  It is easy to focus on things that you shouldn't, overreact to certain situations, and find difficulty concentrating on stopping the first shot and controlling the rebound.  Pickard is a NHL caliber goaltender and his numbers have been extremely consistent over his WHL career.  I have no doubt that they will be similar by the end of the season. Cotton's time will come but that time is not here yet. Pickard is your starter, no controversy here.
  • Chance Lund got off to a great start to the season but has faded a little bit as of late, which leads me to wonder if he's been working through an injury. His hustle was back on Friday night in Calgary as he helped kill off the end of the game when the Hitmen pulled the goalie in an attempt to tie the game. Lund also created another scoring chance where he just powered past the Hitmen defender.  
  • Sean Aschim has 2 points in 4 games since joining the Birds.  So far, I like what he has brought to the table.
  • Brad Deagle has one of the most incredible lip sweaters I have seen on a player in recent years. Everyone needs to check that caterpillar out before Movember is over.
Seattle now returns home for a 4 game home-stand starting Friday night against the Tri-City Americans and Saturday against Portland.  


Tbirds sign Kevin Wolf

Kevin Wolf has signed a developmental deal with the Seattle Thunderbirds.  Wolf, 15, hails from Cuomo, MN and was drafted by the Tbirds in the 10th round of the 2011 Bantam draft.

Wolf is a big kid standing 6'4" and weighing in at 180 lbs. at the time he was drafted (he might be bigger now). He attended rookie camp and training camp in August where his skating ability proved to be very impressive for a 15 year old, especially one of his size.

This is a
quality signing for the Birds.  These are the types of kids that you hope to hit on occasionally to augment your draft classes.


Streak Over

Seattle gets a nice win in Lethbridge last night to break their losing streak. Things sure do feel a lot better after wins.  I didn't get a chance to catch much of the game last night (bad blogger, I know) but I was able to listen to portions of the game in the 2nd and 3rd periods. It’s feeling like this team isn't giving up on the season.  It gives me hope when I feel like the players still have hope to turn this thing around.  Regardless of whether or not that happens, it feels better when it appears that the players still genuinely care.

This "observations" come from the box score and listening to the radio, so keep that in mind.
  • Calvin Pickard seemed to have a nice rebound game, stopping 33 of 35 shots to pick up his 6th win. When Pickard is on top of his game, the team always has a chance to win.
  • Justin Hickman probably deserved a star last night.  His forecheck led to the Brendan Rouse goal that gave Seattle a two goal cushion and eventually was the GWG. Hickman finished +3 for the night, had an assist on the Noebels goal and probably deserved one on the Rouse goal.
  • Another good game from Rouse, who now has 5 points on the road trip in 4 games and has 9 points on the season.
  • Marcel Noebels, goal, assist +2. That is more like it.
  • Shea Theodore was a scratch a night after Jared Hauf was a scratch.  It could be that both are getting the old HS for performance reasons but I think it has a lot to do with them being 16 and the coaches not wanting to burn them out over the course of a long season.
Seattle travels to Calgary next to face the Hitmen in the other potentially winnable game of the trip.


Tbirds lose again, Showare gets high marks

Seattle lost again on Saturday night in Edmonton 4-1 to the Oil Kings.  From what I have been told, Seattle played a tad bit better but still had a dreadful start to the game getting out-shot 16-6 in the first period and falling behind 3-0. I haven't watched the game yet but I'm going to assume it was a lot of the same except they didn't fall apart after the rough first period.

Seattle also announced a trade in which Center Sean Aschim was acquired from Moose Jaw for a conditional Bantam draft pick.  Aschim played for Kelowna last season and had logged 4 goals and 5 assists in 13 games for the Jaw this season. I hope Aschim can help get some offense going because at this point I would hate to see him take minutes away from younger players who need to play and get better.

Last but not least.  I little plug for a website called Stadium Journey that posted a review of their experience at ShoWare Center for opening night.  It is nice to see the Sho get a nice review and even nicer that we have a good barn to call our home.  The review can be found here. Take a look at it if you get a chance.


Rebels Hammer Tbirds

I'll keep this short and sweet. Mostly because there just isn't much to say after another dreadful performance by the Tbirds. I'm addicted to bullet holes so let's just stick to the formula.
  • Seattle gave up the first 11 shots of the game and thanks to Calvin Pickard they were somehow able to keep the Rebels off the scoreboard before Burke Gallimore scored on Seattle's first shot.  It wasn't a fair indication of how the game was being played and sure enough the Rebels answered back with 4 unanswered goals in the first period and the game was effectively over.
  • Pickard should probably be traded. Picks gave up 5 goals on 22 shots and none were really his fault. Seattle is playing horribly in front of him and probably killing any chance he had of making Team Canada at the WJC.  At this point, Cotton has proven himself to be a pretty capable goaltender and this team isn't going anywhere this season.  I know Russ and Steve keep saying that they "like their team" but I don't expect them to say anything different.  They have to believe in their team publicly. My eyes tell a different story and there isn't much to like about this team. Trade Pickard for players that are already in the league... NOT draft picks.  Seattle had a bad track record with draft picks but Russ has a knack for recognizing talent once it hits the league. Trade Pickard to Kamloops who have played very well in front of a rookie goaltender and a journeyman goaltender. He deserves better than this.
  • Speaking of Cotton... I want to emphasize that I was very impressed with his technique and overall play tonight.  Cotton looks like a solid WHL goaltender in the making. As a 17 year old he could use the experience of playing and seeing some shots and we all know Seattle can provide plenty of shots for him to face.
  • Noebels, Lockhart and Gallimore - 2 points, -4. I'm picking on these guys for a reason. These are your best players and they need to start playing like it if this team has any chance at winning.
  • The first period was staggeringly bad. I can't believe after the crappy game they played on Tuesday that the Tbirds could manage to play arguably worse in the first period tonight.  Passes were being thrown to areas of the ice instead of sticks. Teams in upper levels of adult rec league hockey don't do things like that. I realize we're talking about completely different levels of competition but comparatively there is no excuse. This is major junior hockey and the expectation is that "most" of the time passes are going to be intended for a teammates stick and not an area where you hope someone can pick up the puck.
  • The officials were crap tonight but I'm not going to sit here and pretend it had any impact on the game. It was just annoying.
I can't stand to write anymore about this game.  I'm going to go tailgate and attend the Huskies and Ducks game tomorrow and hope that ignoring this team will cause them to play better tomorrow in Edmonton.  I'm trying to keep the faith but it's pretty difficult when things are getting worse. We all have to hope that the team is approaching "bottom" and they will soon start to swing back towards positive play and results.

Road Trip, Follow Up

I apologize for not having a game recap from Tuesday's game against the Giants.  I meant to write on Wednesday morning and I've just been super busy at work and wasn't able to get to it until today.

A few quick thoughts on the game.

It was awful.  Of the games that I have seen this season (which is most), this was the worst I have seen the team play.  Vancouver out-worked and out-hustled them from the opening faceoff and never really looked back.  Fortunately for Seattle, Calvin Pickard was truly up to the task and was able to keep the Tbirds in the game for 59 minutes. They actually had a chance to win after Kyle Verdino converted a Power Play goal with just over 6 minutes to play, cutting the deficit to 3-2 but Vancouver was able to hold them off and added an empty net goal to produce the final 4-2 margin.

  • Penalties killed the Tbirds again as they gave up 2 PP goals in 6 chances.  Holding, USC, Delay of Game (twice!) and finally a Too Many Men penalty with 1:25 to play in the game.  These are penalties of the frustrating variety and these are the kinds of things Coach K has to crack down on.
  • Connor Sanvido must be in the doghouse.  It appeared to me that he didn't play a whole lot on Tuesday night and was picked to serve the Too Many Men penalty at the end of the game.
  • At what point do I start to worry about Luke Lockhart, Burke Gallimore and Marcel Noebels.  Combined they have just 20 points in 35 games with a -27 rating. Yikes.
  • It's pretty tough for me to defend Dave Sutter lately as his play has lacked (to say the least)... however... he is still tied for the team lead at +1. Worth noting.
  • I heard someone say that Doty was hurt and wasn't able to play on Tuesday but he is not listed on the weekly injury report. Breaden Laroque is listed as "day to day", Evan Wardley is listed as 1 week and Colin Jacobs is now listed at 1 month+.
  • Branden Troock was one of the few skaters I thought had a decent game for the Birds. Justin Hickman also had a decent game, getting Seattle's first goal.
  • One thing that has driven me crazy about the Seattle teams of the past couple of years is the inability of the players to keep shots from getting blocked and passes from getting intercepted.  This is actually harder than it would seem to the average fan, but other teams seem to be better than we are at getting pucks through to the net and threading passes through to other players.  I'm not really sure how to fix this, but it is extremely frustrating.
Things are about to get very tough for the Birds on this road trip. We can probably expect to see similar results to the ones we have seen out of Everett.  The Silvertips have lost 4 of their 5 games so far on their trip with their only win coming in Red Deer in the shootout. I wish I could be more optimistic, but I'm just not going to expect anything more than about 3 out of 12 possible points on this trip.

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