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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Weekend Recap

I'm back. Let's do this.

Seattle is hanging on by a thread as they now lead Victoria by just 1 point for the 7th spot in the Conference, while the suddenly surging Everett Silvertips lag by only 5 points (Seattle has 3 games in hand). Despite the recent struggles (2-7-1-0 in their last 10) I have been pretty happy with the "compete level" of the team in the last couple of weeks. Their past 6 games have basically yielded five 1-goal games (Kamloops added an empty net goal for the 2 goal win in Seattle). The problem is... they've only managed 3 points in those 6 games.

I wasn't able to catch any of the game Friday night in Kelowna, so I won't bother to comment on that. Let's skip right to Saturday night and go from there.
  • Portland was flying out of the gate on Saturday night. I felt like the Winterhawks were extra motivated to kick our asses on Teddy Bear Toss night and they really came out strong. To me... the game action was less about Seattle not playing well or not playing hard and more about the Grand Canyon-esque gap in talent between Seattle and Portland.  Portland just took it to the Tbirds like they were on another level. After Seattle fell down 3-0 early in the 1st period, I was actually pretty concerned about whether the Tbirds would score a goal at all. Fortunately, Portland gets easily distracted, and for as talented of a team as they are, they are not the most consistent in the league. Connor Honey was able to pick up his memorable first WHL goal and the bears went flying.
  • The outcome probably wouldn't have been different, but the game definitely turned on the 2nd period Embellishment call on Colin Jacobs. Jacobs broke in behind the defense for a chance to give Seattle a 3rd goal and make the score 4-3 and was hauled down from behind. It arguably could have been called a Penalty Shot but it should have at least resulted in a Seattle Power Play. Instead, Referees Colby Smith and Trevor Hanson call William Wrenn for Holding and Jacobs for Embellishment. Portland scores twice on the ensuing 4 on 4 and the game was pretty much over. I know the league offices think that complaints about officiating get tiresome and they generally don't listen to fans when they complain about the officials... but I can tell you that the officiating is down this year from previous years.  The WHL is a development league for players AND referees and every fan should keep that in mind.  The quality of the officials is also bound to ebb and flow as veteran officials move up the ranks and younger, less experienced officials make their way into the league.  This isn't a bash on officials as a whole. I ref'd my first ever game on Saturday afternoon at ShoWare and I can tell you that it is far from easy.  Having said that, my opinion is that officiating is noticeably down this year. Too often, the penalty calling has been poor and inconsistent. I have no doubts that it will improve as the current crop of officials gain more experience, but for now it is below par.  Remember when everyone used to bash Andy Thiessen? Well he eventually wound up being one of the best officials in the league and graduated to the AHL. I think the officiating is bad right now, but I have faith that it will improve.
  • Once again our best line on Saturday was the Hickman - Alos - Lund line combination. Honey and Rouse also finished the night with ratings of +1.
  • Nice to see Marcel Noebels actually hustling up and down the ice.  Good thing we got Swenson and two 1st round picks. I guess Noebels is enjoying playing for Portland a little more than he was enjoying playing for Seattle.
  • Last night, Seattle suffered through a bad 2nd period and it led to their 4-3 loss to the Kelowna Rockets. Kelowna managed 21 shots in the 2nd period on their way to 4 goals, capped by a beautiful goal by Brett Lyon with just 4 seconds to play in the period.
  • The biggest difference in the game is a problem that has started to magnify recently. The Seattle PP now ranks 21st in the league at 14.2%. Prince George is last at 11.5%. The Penalty Kill has been slightly better but still ranks just 17th in the WHL. Special teams certainly wouldn't solve all of the Tbirds issues but it certainly isn't helping things right now.
A quick check of the Massey Ratings and things don't look very good for Seattle.  The TBirds rank 19th in current ratings (a measure of results to date) which is good enough to rank them ahead of Prince George, Victoria and Everett. That's the good news. The bad news is that Seattle is dead last, 22nd, in the Power Ratings which measures results without recognition of wins and losses. What does that mean?? That means they are predicted to perform that worst in the league from here on out.

One might ask oneself: has Seattle played a particularly difficult schedule?? Well, yes and no. Seattle ranks 16th in the WHL in strength of schedule but they actually rank 4th in the Western Conference as generally speaking the Eastern Conference is rated as being stronger than the Western Conference across the board.

What does this all mean?  Things are extremely tight for the 7th and 8th playoff positions in the West and if I were a betting man I wouldn't be betting on the Tbirds pulling away from the pack. I think things are about to get tighter before they get more comfortable for the Birds.  Seattle will get 4 more shots at Everett and 2 more shots at Prince George (both in PG on a back to back Tuesday/Wednesday). Those 6 games will probably go a long ways towards determining the two teams that can survive and hold on to their playoff spot.

Also, a reminder to donate to the RMH in my honor. It takes only a few minutes and your donation will be going to a very worth cause. Thanks.


Help Me Out, Donate

Quick update. I've been swamped at work in the past week and haven't really had time to write anything. I thought the Tbirds showed a good "compete" level over the weekend even though the results only yielded a single point. I will just consider this my one week vacation during the season and I will be back in full force next week after 3 more games this weekend. In the meantime, please consider donating to the RMH in my name for the Hockey Challenge. We are about one month away and I believe I am slightly behind my pace from last season. Thank you to everyone who has already contributed.

I wanted to take this opportunity to beg and grovel to all Thunderbird fans to click on the Hockey Challenge banner at the top of the page and donate to the Ronald McDonald House.

This will be my 4th year raising money for the House and my goal this year is to raise $1500 and try to convince someone that I'm enough famous enough to get into the Celebrity Game (ha).

Jokes aside... please donate to the RMH and to the Hockey Challenge by clicking on the banner above and referencing my name and team (Tyler Hunnex, Team IEB).

I will try not to be too annoying about this but I will remind everyone several times before the weekend of the Challenge.


Tbirds Fall Short

Down 4-1 in the 3rd period the Thunderbirds could have easily folded up the tent and called it quits, turning their attention to prepare for the Everett Silvertips tonight. Instead, they put together a quality 3rd period against a very good Kamloops squad and forced a one goal game with just under 3 minutes to play. Ultimately, the rally fell short as Chase Schaber tossed in an empty net goal from about 150 feet away to seal the deal. Seattle desperately needs points right now but I like the effort that I saw from them in the 3rd period and it is the type of hockey they are going to need to play if they want to hold on to this playoff spot.
  • Unfortunately, I was running late last night and missed the first two Kamloops goals scored in the beginning of the first period.
  • Chance Lund had an excellent game scoring two goals and narrowly missed scoring a 3rd on two different occasions. The biggest "almost" came late in the 3rd period on a shot that hit the post. In my mind, Lund has worked hard all season and his points have not always reflected his efforts. Points tend to come and go, but Lund has been one of the few players who has consistently "brought it" on the ice more time than not.
  • Daniel Cotton got the start and played well despite giving up a very soft goal in the 2nd period. Soft goals are going to happen to 17 year old goaltenders, and the way he played after the goal was far more important than the goal itself.  The 4th goal wasn't his fault and he played well from that point forward. He looked a little shaky on a few saves that immediately followed the goal but he seemed to settle in after that. I've said it before and I will say it again, I feel pretty comfortable with Daniel Cotton as our goaltender next season.
  • Let's not get crazy here... but Connor Sanvido has given the team some good minutes lately. Let's hope that he stays focused on skating hard and playing good defense in his own zone and maybe he can build on this.
  • I was not a fan of the game called by Colby Smith and Adam Griffiths. Let's just leave it at that. Despite that, Seattle has to be more disciplined. It's pretty tough to survive against the best teams in the league when you are surrendering 6 power plays. On the flip side, Seattle also had 6 power play chances of their own and weren't able to convert. The biggest "miss" was a 2 minute long 5-on-3 that spanned the 2nd and 3rd periods. The passing has got to be a lot crisper. Fans are yelling "shoot," but the problem is not the lack of shots taken. The problem is the lack of puck movement that will naturally lead to shots. Quick sidebar: When I coached basketball I had a mantra with my players that you have to "be fast, but don't hurry" as opposed to "being slow and then panicking". Right now, there are far too many times where Seattle is slow and the panicking with the puck and it shows up most obviously on the Power Play.
  • Another solid game from Seth Swenson. He made a few mistakes but overall, I really like what I see out of this kid. He is the definition of an "industrious" player. He works hard and he is hungry around the net. His efforts may not produce the prettiest of goals, but they also tend to produce results. His slashing penalty in the 2nd period was a bad one, but generally speaking, I've seen a lot more good than bad out of him.
Seattle needs points badly. They are slipping dangerously close to the "pack" of Victoria, Prince George and Everett. If they want to make the playoffs they absolutely need to get points from games like tonight against Everett, and it won't be easy. Everett has played much more competitively since the Christmas break and they flat out whipped the Tbirds back on January 4th. Seattle still has 29 games left but they need to make games against Everett count. I'm headed up there again tonight... Let's get a win.


Losing Streak Over

Seattle gets two goals from newly acquired Seth Swenson and Justin Hickman forces in a shorthanded goal late  in the 3rd period and pick up a 3-2 win in Spokane.

Spokane controlled most of the first period but they were able to turn things around towards the end of the 1st and despite trailing going into the 3rd period they rallied for the win. Calvin Pickard was once again stout in net and made at least 2 saves from point blank that would have altered the outcome of the game.

Seattle hits the bus again and travels down the way to Kennewick to face the Americans tomorrow night.

Monday Matinee

Just a quick update today before the strange 2pm start time to the Thunderbirds game in Spokane today. Some thoughts about the weekend:
  • Obviously, Friday night was a disaster. The Tbirds managed to give up two goals in the first 30 seconds of the game and five goals in the first period before eventually falling to the Kamloops Blazers 7-1. Kamloops is a quality team and losing to them isn't something to be embarrassed about, however the way Seattle played IS something to be embarrassed about. The Tbirds take no pride in playing defense and winning pucks down low in their own zone. Centers aren't covering the front of the net, which is causing the often out-numbered defenders to allow the opposing forwards to own the slot area.  Pickard can only make so many saves and stop so many rebounds.  The lack of defensive pride by the forwards and the lack of strength and urgency by the defense is the single biggest problem facing this team. I have said it before and I will say it again, I think Farwell made a mistake in not trading Pickard to any team for any return. This team just isn't playing hard for him and you might as well give Cotton the time and experience between the pipes. Of course, that didn't happen so you might as well do the opposite and just ride the heck out of Pickard all the way to the end of the season. It will be the job of Coach K to see if he can do something/anything to get some of these guys playing the game the proper way.
  • Saturday night against Portland was a slightly better effort, especially in the 1st period, but things fell apart quickly in the 2nd period as the Winterhawks scored two quick goals to break the game open.  [I will point out again that the game on Saturday night was horribly officiated but it really didn't have much of an impact on the outcome of the game.]
  • The last two games have seen Luke Lockhart on the point during the Power Play. Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I wrote about wanting to see Lockhart at the point on the PP and get guys like Jacobs and Gallimore down on the wings or in front of the net. Heck, I'd love to see Sutter be the guy standing in front of the net with forwards out top. Friday night this configuration looked ok, but by Saturday night things looked pretty bad again. I'm hoping that Coach K gives it a little bit of time to develop, as I believe Lockhart could be very good there provided he is given a chance to settle in a bit.
  • Seattle has now started the month of January with 5 straight losses. Last season, Seattle gained only 4 points in 15 games. In 2009-2010, Seattle earned 5 points in January. What is the deal with January the past 3 seasons??
Almost time to hook the game up to the computer. I hope everyone is enjoying the snow. Let's hope Seattle comes out with a little more urgency today.



I posted this comment this morning in response to a thread that was making wild accusations about Kent-Meridian High School and I feel it deserves its own post.

Please be careful about the comments that you make on this blog. I do NOT want to be in the business of censoring people but if people aren't going to think about what they post before they do it... I won't have much of a choice.

Whoa whoa whoa. Let's not get carried away here people. It is very irresponsible to be running around making comments about things like this anonymously.

You can't go running around making anonymous comments and acting like they are "facts". If you want to provide a source where a parent was quoted in a paper or something like that... be my guest.

As for the MC article.  I would seriously question the journalistic integrity of a reporter who will ask questions that are based on opinion and treat them as though they are facts.

It is pretty tough to "factually" define a school because there are so many different ways to evaluate education. Great Schools lists KM as a 4 out of 10 which would be slightly below average. The reviews give it 4 out of 5 stars which is excellent.

School Digger rates KM as 2 out of 5 stars (again slightly below average) but it also shows that test scores are on the rise and statewide performance is on the rise.

KM is also the only High School in Kent with an IB program.

Based on those facts... I could then formulate an opinion about the school just like everyone else can but it would still only be my opinion.

I'd really appreciate it if everyone would please stick to facts and opinions and make sure that we are clear on the definition of both.

Let's try not to make wild speculations (anonymously) about the intentions of players and their parents and represent it as a fact.


Verdino and Aschim

UPDATE - Dillon Wagner it is. Seattle has claimed Wagner off waivers from Portland and he will join the team immediately.  The Tbirds really need a defender but they will take what they can get for now and let Coach K figure it out from here.

Kyle Verdino and Sean Aschim are both no longer with the team.

It sounds like Verdino has a health related issue and Aschim was simply looking for more playing time and wasn't going to get it with the upcoming return of Brendan Rouse.

That leaves Seattle with only two 20 year old players and there probably aren't very many options out there with the passing of the trade deadline.  Kelowna just released Kevin Smith who could be a possibility and Portland just released Dillon Wagner.


Noebels Traded

Seattle does wind up making a move and it is a bit of a big one.  The Thunderbirds have traded Marcel Noebels to the Portland Winterhawks in exchange for Seth Swenson and two 1st round Bantam selections. The 1st round picks are in 2012 and 2013.

Snap reaction. This is a GREAT trade for Seattle. To get this type of return for Noebels is a great deal for the Tbirds. Hopefully Swenson will come up and fit right in with the rest of the group.

Oh and by the way... we'll see Marcel and the Winterhawks on Saturday.

Quiet Day for Seattle

No trades so far for the Thunderbirds. We may wind up seeing a very quiet trade deadline.

One point of clarification.

Let's suppose that nothing happens here (which is looks like is very possible). If Seattle winds up doing absolutely nothing and making no trades at the deadline I will be disappointed. However, let's be just a little bit sane here by saying that nothing happening doesn't mean that Russ Farwell wasn't "trying" or didn't "care" or that he is completely happy with the current roster.

Wanting to make a deal happen and speculating about what you would like to happen is a long ways away from actually making a deal happen.


If I were a GM, I would trade Burke Gallimore and Marcel Noebels. Here is how that conversation might actually be happening though.

Secretary: Mr. Farwell, you have Alan Miller on line 2.

Farwell: Alan, how are you? We heard you might be looking to upgrade your 20 year old situation. I'll give you Gallimore and I only want a 3rd rounder for him.
Millar: Russ... thanks but I got James Henry for a 2nd and a 3rd. I think we're set.
Farwell: How about Noebels or Verdino or Machacek?
Millar: Sorry Russ I think my phone is losing reception... can't hear you... I'll have to call you back....

Other teams have to also want what we have and it's possible they just don't want the players we have.


Trade Deadline - Seattle Edition

The trade deadline is roughly 24 hours away and this one could be very interesting for the future of the Seattle Thunderbirds. Whether we see General Manager Russ Farwell trade a number of players or we see him make no trades, this deadline will have huge impact on how this team looks in the next couple of seasons. My opinion? I think this team needs some drastic changes and here's why:

First, I believe Farwell needs to blow this team up. Last summer, Farwell made the difficult decision to let Rob Sumner go and in the process effectively started a "change" in the Seattle Thunderbirds organization. New coach, new approach, new regime... the only problem is of course we still had the same group of players. I think the verdict is still out on whether Konowalchuk is a great coach or not but, in essence, I don't think that even matters here. Coach K might be a fantastic coach and we just don't know it because he doesn't have the right players yet. Farwell changed the leadership at the coaching position and now it is time to follow through with that change and get rid of the players that don't want to be here, are unwilling to work hard, or aren't responding to Coach K.

Second, take a quick glance at the WHL Standings: Losers of 4 straight games, the Tbirds are still solidly in the playoff race with 33 points in 28 games, good for a point percentage of .434. 8th place Victoria is in the middle of a 9 game losing streak (3 points) and 9th place Prince George is in the middle of their own 4 game losing streak while Everett has lost 3 straight following their win over Seattle last week. All three teams are considerably behind Seattle in point percentage at .369, .350 and .275 respectively. Seattle doesn't need to play lights out the rest of the way simply to qualify for the playoffs (something the organization desperately wants to happen). If Seattle were to trade away Calvin Pickard and others, they should be able to hang on to a playoff spot. If we assume that Victoria and Prince George play better than their current record and finish the season with a winning percentage of .403 (58 points), Seattle only needs 26 points out of 68 possible remaining points to make the playoffs. That is a .382 point percentage the rest of the way. Therefore, I believe Seattle can trade away their most valuable pieces and still make the playoffs.

This is what I think "should" happen but that isn't necessarily what I think "will" happen. So let's break this down into two different parts. Who I think should get traded and who I think will get traded. 

Who "should” get traded: 

Calvin Pickard: Sigh. This one hurts. A lot. Calvin has been a warrior for this organization and has suffered through several crappy seasons while he continued to post solid numbers and has flat out stolen a couple of games a season for the Tbirds. Calvin really must be traded. He is the most valuable asset Seattle currently has and getting back a 1st round bantam selection and/or a couple of 16 or 17 year old players would help load up the Tbirds in future seasons. Is that guaranteed to work? No. But part of the reason Seattle has suffered through the past three seasons was their refusal to trade players like Thomas Hickey and Prab Rai when they had the chance to do so. Making things just a tad bit easier is the excellent play of Daniel Cotton. Cotton is most certainly not a "replacement" for Calvin Pickard but he has played well enough to prove that he can handle the job for the rest of this season and become your starting goaltender as an 18 year old next season. I don't want this trade to happen... but it simply has to happen. If Farwell decides to keep Pickard, the most likely scenario is a first round playoff exit to either the Portland Winterhawks or the Kamloops Blazers.... and now what? You'll lose Pickard to the AHL next year and the gain was 2 (maybe 3) home playoff games. The upside to keeping Pickard would be hoping he can steal you a playoff series win (or two?) and that just isn't likely with the way this current team is constructed. 

Marcel Noebels: Ah yes, the curious case of Marcel Noebels. The German, in his second season with the Tbirds is having a season vastly different from his freshman season that saw him post 28 goals and 26 assists in 66 games for the Birds. Last season, he played hard, played humble and posted a -11 on a team that features forwards with -26, -14, -19, -18, -17... etc. etc. You get the point. This season has been completely different. After being drafted in the 4th round by the Philadelphia Flyers, Noebels made it clear he would have preferred to play his 19 year old season back in Germany but was told by the Flyers to report to Seattle. Noebels has often tried to handle the puck through multiple defenders and has held onto the puck far longer than he should seemingly looking to score goals more than making the right play. He also has not played responsibly from a defensive point of view, and it has resulted in a team worst -22. He is still super talented and has played on both the PP and the PK. A team looking to upgrade their Import might be interested in giving Noebels the change of scenery he may need to get his season turned around. 

Burke Gallimore: Gallimore has a wicked shot. Leading the team in goals with 17 and overall scoring with 27 points in 38 games, Gallimore also has a 2nd worst -19. Gallimore has never been the fastest player on the ice and his inability (or desire) to back-check is the cause of the plus/minus. He is, however, a pretty useful player on the PP with a hard and accurate release. A contending team that needs a boost on the Power Play but can hide him on the 3rd line could probably find Gallimore useful. Moose Jaw? [I didn't get this up fast enough as Moose Jaw just traded for 20 year old forward Cam Braes.]

Colin Jacobs: He won't get traded but we'll deal with that in the next section.  I would trade Jacobs because he still has some value and it just isn't really working out to the level that I would have wanted it to work out.  Jacobs has a lethal shot but still hasn't figured out that he is more of a power forward than a puck handling wizard. Jacobs is an 18 year old who will still be playing in the league next season and that could bring back some decent value from another team. Again, this won't happen but that is what I would do.

Branden Troock: Troock has suffered too many injuries and plays like a younger clone of Noebels. His value certainly isn't at his peak but I would personally cut my losses here and see what I could get back for him. This is a trade I wouldn't automatically make and it would depend on the return. I don't like the way he is playing but he is only 17 and has time to change and improve.

Mitch Elliot: Let's face it, it just isn't working for him here in Seattle.  Do you want to hang onto Elliot for another season hoping he figures things out the way Chance Lund has? (which btw... I don't have any problem with Chance Lund and how he has progressed but let's not act like Lund has suddenly become a star player) Elliot seems like a nice kid but he looks completely lost on the ice this season. He is another player I feel might benefit from a change of scenery.

Now for who likely "will" get traded:

Mitch Elliot: (Strong Chance) I think Mitch probably will get moved to give him that change of scenery and give him a chance to improve. The easiest place to send him would be back to Prince George and I believe the Tbirds need another defender to get Hauf off of the ice as much as possible down the stretch (he only needs to play in 11 more games) and that would immediately improve your defense by a little bit.

Connor Sanvido: (Maybe) If someone had interest in Sanvido I could see him getting moved here at the deadline. Sanvido has barely been in the lineup much this season and another team might be willing to give him a shot.

Braeden Laroque: (Not Likely) I doubt Laroque gets moved unless Seattle gets another defender or two back in other trades. Laroque has struggled at times but I don't really feel like the Tbirds can afford to trade any defenders at the moment.

Kyle Verdino/Cason Machacek: (Not Likely) I don't think either of these guys are on the move and I don't think either would net very much return but they have both had limited success this season for a variety of reasons.

I would love to see Farwell blow this team up and make some changes but, I honestly don't see it happening. I think the organization is desperate to get into the playoffs and they feel a deep sense of loyalty to ensure that Calvin Pickard gets into the playoff with the Seattle Thunderbirds and not with another team and I think the safest (maybe not best) way to ensure that happens is to keep your veteran players and put things in the hands of Steve Konowalchuk to keep trying to change the mentality and the way some of these players are playing.


Game 38 Game Thread

Check out the live chat we did yesterday for the televised game below. Good times had by all... I think we had 18 people in there at the height. I will be absent from the game tonight. So I want to throw this thread up for people to comment after the game. The Thunderbirds enter the game on a 3 game slide but Spokane is a beatable team and returning home might be a tonic to get the team going again.


Seattle at Tri-City live on Root Sports

First Live Chat of the year!


Game 36 Recap

I should have known better. I really should have known better than to press my luck and attempt to witness two straight wins in Everett.  A dreadful performance turned in by the Thunderbirds last night in front of 3,743 (absolutely no way, I estimate no more than 2,500) fans in attendance at the EEC. Everett has always been rumored to over-report their attendance. I cannot imagine how Russ Farwell could have watched that game last night without walking away feeling like a handful of players should be cast away to other teams around the league, if he could get any kind of value back in return.  Where-o-where should we start on this one
  • How about the Power Play? Horrible. Seattle was 0 for 5 on the Power Play which included a 5 minute PP to start the 3rd period.  Not only were they barely able to put 1 shot on goal during the first PP, but they also allowed Josh Winquist to score a shorthanded goal. I know that Colin Jacobs is a skilled forward, but I don't understand the strategy behind Jacobs anchoring a point on the PP. How long before people realize that Jacobs isn't a "dangler", rather he's a power forward with a good shot and hands who should be glued to the front of the net.  Could someone please politely ask Ryan Gibbons to take a short sabbatical from his officiating to teach Jacobs how to park in front of the net? I don’t mean this to be a slam on Jacobs either, he is a very respectable player with quality skills, but I just don't think they are being utilized properly.  2nd question: Why is Luke Lockhart (the smallest player outside of Connor Sanvido) our player front of the net player on the Power Play? I have plenty of issues with Marcel Noebels, but I'd rather see him on the point with Lockhart and Gallimore on the wings with Jacobs parked in front. Then again... what do I know?  I do know with absolute certainty that the Power Play was dreadful last night and Seattle had plenty of trouble just getting set up in the zone much less creating scoring opportunities.  They had one PP in the 2nd period that was relatively decent and had a couple of scoring chances, but once it was clear that they couldn't convert on those opportunities, things seemed to completely fall apart.
  • The two goals last night by Troock and Noebels were both scored on fine individual efforts. Unfortunately, that also describes the current problem with this team and both players.  Both guys are trying to do way too much (again) and it only results in bad hockey and poor results.  Trying something 10 times to have it work once each game is not a confirmation that you are doing things correctly. Move. The. Puck. Troock also added two hooking penalties and Noebels had a goaltender interference call.
  • Seattle just seemed lifeless last night. Especially after they failed to convert that 2nd period goal. Frustration appeared to set in and players had no jump or desire to succeed.  I know it is a long season but these kids hadn't played since Saturday, so energy should not be a factor. There is no excuse for the type of effort we got from most of the lineup.
  • I don't want to lump everyone into the same category. The line of Justin Hickman, Tyler Alos and Chance Lund is, in my mind, the most effective line on the team. That line doesn't score a lot of goals but I would take 4 lines just like them and take my chances. I also thought Brad Deagle played a generally solid game. He was out for both Seattle goals and finished +2.
  • Shea Theodore and Jared Hauf look tired to me.  I refuse to be overly critical of the play of 16 year old players, however both players have struggled lately. There is/was solid reasoning behind each of them getting a game off from time to time.  It is very difficult for 16 year old players to come in and play 60-70 games in their first year in the league.
  • I'm beginning to seriously question the motivations of a handful of players on this team.  Too many players look like they have little to no desire to play good quality Major Junior Hockey.  I've never understood how this happens and quite frankly I don't really care. Either you want to play or you don't and if you don't want to play, let's get you a change of scenery and get some players in here who want to work hard and want to win.
Seattle gets a day off to contemplate their gameplay before hitting the road to face Tri-City, the top team in the CHL on regional television. Yikes.  Also, a reminder that I will be live chatting tomorrow night during the game, so pull up a computer next to your television and we can gather to chat about a (hopefully) better performance from our Tbirds.

A Fan Plea

I will have my game recap up later this afternoon. In the meantime, I have a special guest "blog" from fan Jon Whiting. I'm not saying that I either agree or disagree with this (my thoughts will be in my recap) but I thought it was a nice representation of one fan's perspective on the team right now as we approach the trade deadline.


Dear Russ, I would like to remind you of the 1995-96 season trade deadline.

In case you have forgotten, that was your first year back in Seattle after a wonderful time in Philadelphia.
You had a very average team that season.
At the trading deadline, you dismantled the team, blew it up, shipped out any major assets you had.
You traded in division, in conference, it didn't matter.  Any team that wanted a player, you took the best offer.

If I recall correctly, the team was about to get on the bus for a road trip.  As the players were getting on the bus, a bunch were told they were not getting on.  The bus left with a total of 13 skaters for that nights road game (in Kelowna if I really remember).

You sent the likes of Jan Hrdina to Spokane, Blair Manning to Medicine Hat, Tyler Perry to Swift Current, Kevin Popp to Portland.  There might even have been a couple others that I don't recall.  Those were the heart and soul players of the team.  The captain, the tough guy, the fan favorite.

Why did you do this?  To make your team better.  To get the players you thought would fit better.

What happened?  Well, your team still made the playoffs.  The 1996-97 team finished second to a top Portland team and went on to the WHL final.  The 1997-98, if Patrick Marleau is returned by San Jose as an 18, had a great chance of returning to the finals.

So how does this look down memory lane relate to today.
Coach K said it best in last night’s post game notes.
"As you learn more and more about players and their character you analyze that and you don't want the guys (that don't play hard every night) on your team. You want guys that are going to give you everything they have."

You as a GM know who they are.  Coach K, R, And M all know.  We as fans all know who these players are.  It doesn't take a mathematician to find a complex formula to figure out who they are.  Trade them, move them, release them, whatever highly technical term people like to use these days.



Seattle in Everett Tonight

I'm headed back up to Everett tonight looking for a personal record 2 game Everett road game winning streak. Hopefully the trade rumors circulating recently about Calvin Pickard and Luke Lockhart won't actually affect their play or anyone else on the team. I personally would be very surprised to see either Pickard or Lockhart traded. Seattle is looking like a decent bet to finish 6th in the conference and I have a feeling that GM Russ Farwell is going to want to keep Pickard around for a playoff attempt after several years of team struggle. (Btw, he did not tell me that specifically... I'm just speculating)

I'd actually be more shocked to see Lockhart traded as he is one of the hardest working players and one of the most responsible defensive forwards that the Tbirds have on the roster.  Getting a 17 year old Forward, Defensemen, Goaltender and a 1st round Bantam pick would be a pretty good haul for the Tbirds... but I just don't really envision that happening.

Don't forget that the Tbirds are also playing the Tri-City Americans on Root Sports on Friday night.

I've been having some laptop issues at home lately but if I can get those resolved, I'm going to try to run the first live chat of the season.  So come one, come all... and we'll chat about the game as it happens on Friday night.


Pickard Traded?

UPDATE: Just exchanged notes with General Manager Russ Farwell who can confirm that there is absolutely no truth to the rumor on this deal.

Hope everyone is having a Happy New Year. 2012 has greeted us with some serious rumors that began circulating late last night and into this morning that Seattle has traded Calvin Pickard to the Brandon Wheatkings in exchange for 17 year old players Tyrel Seaman, Dylan Kuczek, Curtis Honey (Connor's twin brother) and a 1st round bantam pick in the upcoming draft.

Seattle would also receive a 3rd round pick and send a 2nd round pick back to Brandon.

There is also a rumor that Luke Lockhart has been traded to Victoria for an unknown package.

If these trades actually become official I will have some thoughts on them. For now, we will wait to hear the details.

These rumors are coming from three Twitter accounts.... speculate as you will.!/rossmaclean!/kellyfriesen!/JMcCarthyFC

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