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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Portland Gets Bitchslapped

I've said this a lot lately and it's really bugging me... but I've been super busy this past week and I have a credentialing exam tomorrow that has been absorbing a ton of my time. It is what it is... believe me when I say I haven't given up on writing more for the blog... it just isn't happening right now.

My quick take on what happened to Portland yesterday.

  1. Portland fans crying about the punishment need to remember that no matter the level of severity... you got caught. Plain and simple. You cheated, you got caught, you deserve to be punished.
  2. This may surprise many Tbirds fans but I actually do not believe the punishment fits the crime. Based on the information we have (more on that in a second) it appears to me as though the punishment is absurdly stiff. The violations that Portland claims to have broken seem minor in my opinion and the punishment doesn't appear to fit the crime. In addition, if the league is truly punishing them for things they believed happened but they can't generate proof of it... that's also unfair.
  3. However. I firmly believe there is more to this story than we are being publicly told. There is simply no way the WHL would have punished Portland this severely based solely on the information the Winterhawks are providing. My belief (along with others) is that Portland's press release is an attempt at saving face and the league simply doesn't want the public (or the NCAA) to know about the severity of the rules that were broken. Obviously this is just an opinion... but it seems logical to most that the punishment is pretty egregious if they were truly only guilty of the infractions that have been released publicly.
Portland will likely appeal the ruling and will also likely have the penalties reduced but the punishment will still be crippling to the franchise over the next 8-10 years. The lesson here is pretty clear... the WHL has rules and whether you like the rules or not you WILL follow them or the punishment will be quite severe. End of Story.

Some quick Tbirds notes.

  • The "DHL" line of Delnov-Honey-Lipsbergs has been outstanding lately but you didn't need me to tell you that.
  • I think Jared Hauf has looked improved lately. Development was always kind of expected to be slow for the tall 17 year old and things appear to be getting better. He's still getting himself in trouble at times when he isn't moving his feet (or isn't moving them fast enough) but I feel a lot more comfortable with him on the ice than I have previously.
  • The trade for Griffin Foulk was a bit of an odd one to me. Obviously the team feels he is a pretty good defender (and at this point I'm not going to argue) but I'm surprised the team felt compelled to go acquire another defender AND another 17 year old defender at that.  Injury? I know Wardley did not play on Tuesday and maybe there is something going on there.
  • Branden Troock is listed as being out for another 1 week on the injury report. Let's hope it's only another week and Seattle can get him back on the ice. The Tbirds have performed pretty decently in his absence but it goes without saying that his ability and offense would give the team a boost. Tyler Alos is still listed as day-to-day.
Tough, tough 3 games this weekend starting with the Cheaterhawks on Friday night in Portland followed up by red hot Kelowna at home Saturday and first place Kamloops on Sunday.


US Division

Those of us that watch the US Division teams regularly pretty much already knew this but check out this latest screen cap from the Massey Ratings.

Three US Division teams in the top 5 and all 5 teams are among the top 15 teams in the league based (obviously) on statistics.  I always try to get people to understand that I DO actually sympathize and understand the point of view of the "frustrated" Tbird fan. Unfortunately, I think most of them believe that things happen and occur in a vaccum where the only thing that matters at the end of the game is wins and losses. While the bottom line (again obviously) is wins and losses... they actually occur with context and things like the Massey Ratings can help understand that context.

Seattle is "only" 10-12 but they've also played the 2nd toughest schedule in the league. It helps explain why they are 10-12 and not 15-9 like Prince Albert.

Central Scouting Rankings have been updated for November and Shea Theodore and Jared Hauf are ranked.  Theodore is no surprise... while Hauf might be a slight surprise. Seth Jones of Portland is still ranked number 1. Screen cap courtesy of TSN.


Hockey Challenge 2013

Just a quick note today.

I have updated the banner at the top of the blog to reflect the NEW Hockey Challenge info for the 2013 game.  I will once again be asking the generous readers of this blog to donate to the Ronald McDonald House in the name of my team for the Challenge. My IEB team is still undefeated at the Challenge and we will once again be looking to continue our winning and fundraising ways.

Updated stats from Massey Ratings have reflected the Tbirds recent games and they have slipped to 10th in the WHL. That is to be expected after a sub-par road swing. 8th in offense, 15th in defense. They have played the 2nd toughest schedule.

I have to say that if you were lucky enough to watch some of the games, as I did, you would have likely come to the conclusion that they deserved a much better record on the road trip. Most fans are going to look to the record and find a reason to resume bitching and whining and complaining but in my opinion the play did not reflect on the wins and losses.  I truly believe we are seeing a much improved team and I think the wins will start to come a bit easier as they come together and learn to win a bit more.  Keep in mind that this team has turned over and changed a lot in the past season and I think this is the type of team that will get stronger as the season progresses.

Updated Massey Ratings can be found here.


Write Something Already

You may have noticed I haven't written anything in several weeks. Believe me... I've noticed too.  I've really enjoyed just being a "fan" lately and not feeling the pressure to write anything after games. Some of you have noticed that I still try to tweet out some stuff during games and you should definitely follow me on twitter so that we can interact during games.

Today is obviously election day and that is definitely important but the Tbirds also have a game tonight in Brandon that starts at 5pm local time. Did you know that Brandon is 1,429 miles away from Seattle if you go the long way through North Dakota but it's only 1,269 miles away if you head north at Coeur d'Alene and go  by way of the Trans-Canada Hwy. In other words... Brandon is pretty far east. By the way, the game tonight can only be heard streamed on am1090, ESPN710 or on the radio dial at 96.5 KJAQ.

Believe it or not... Statistically, Seattle is actually a pretty good team this year. Massey Ratings has Seattle ranked 7th in the WHL and actually had them as high as 4th the week before. Part of the reason for their high ranking is their moderate success against what current ranks as the toughest schedule in the league. Casual fans drive me crazy all the time talking about how the offense is to blame with the Tbirds lose. Well, Seattle ranks 5th offensively and 12th defensively in the league. The offense might have been a problem in previous years but you have to keep the puck out of your own net as well.

The U.S. Division is rated as the toughest division and the Western Conference is rated as being tougher than the East.

Also... in case people are curious they currently project Seattle to finish with 36 wins which would be good for 72 points but that doesn't cover any loser points. So that probably projects out to around 80ish points.

WHL Scoreboard