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Hockey Challenge 2014

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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.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate your insight and enjoy your blog, even if I do tend to side with the 'frustrated' portion of the fanbase. Not sure what was with the guy who was asking you to shut down the blog if you don't like whiners. Things may strayed off course so much as to make you think that I don't like the current team, and nothing could be further from the truth. I think the Birds are an improving team and I have all the faith in the decision to hire coach Konowalchuk. I love going to the ShoWare center and always will, and I have pride in our team. Credit is given where it is due..That said, the Bantam Draft stuff is unacceptable and someone needs to take a fall professionally if things stay on their current course. If you break down the other teams in our division with better records, as I'm sure you know, the Bantam Draft has a lot to do with their success. If it does truly play out that Gropp, Douglas, and Barzal don't pan out for Seattle as players or trade value, some desks should be cleaned out immediately. This is not a 'whiner' going off because we haven't won a championship, this is about the future and the reputation of hockey in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

Tyler, I'd like to know your thoughts on how Jerret Smith is doing. Maybe I'm a little surprised he wasn't on this list. Thanks!

Thunnex said...

I'm still not too worried about Barzal. I think it's pretty premature for people to lump him into the same category as Gropp.

Gropp likely won't play in Seattle and that is something Russ has to take responsibility for. There has always been a rumor... again RUMOR... that Gropp told teams not to draft him and it should be noted that Kamloops was his "hometown team" and they passed on him at the pick directly in front of Seattle.

Gropp still can't be completely termed a failure because it IS still possible he plays here. There are numerous examples of top players not playing in the WHL during their 16 year old season (for a variety of reasons) and coming to the WHL later. The biggest reason is to keep their NCAA options option.

My understanding has always been that Gropp and his parents don't have a problem with Seattle, they very simply want to keep his educational options open. I can't really blame them for doing this. They are just looking out for the best interests of their son.

My personal opinion, with all due respect to a very good Pentiction Vee's program, is that a player with NHL aspirations should be spending as much time as possible playing in the top league, against the top players and that situation resides in Seattle with the WHL.

This doesn't mean he can't get drafted out of the BCHL, I just don't think it is the "best" option.

It should also be noted that Gropp has a late birthday and won't be eligible until the 2015 draft. So he could easily spend this year in Penticton before plying his trade at the WHL level (with Barzal perhaps) next season to boost his draft stock/status.

I totally agree with you on the Bantam Draft stuff being bad and if you've been reading me for a while you'll know that I've been saying that for years while people blamed results on Rob Sumner.

Thunnex said...

I think Jerret Smith has been great. A very pleasant surprise as a 17 year old.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Smith is definitely a pleasant suprise. Delnov, is also a great find and now both players are my favorite to watch.

Seattle record is 10-11 not 10-12.

Thunnex said...

Counting the OT loss... they are 10-12. Massey Ratings simplifies things to delineate between raw winning and losing.

Mr Tell13 said...

As already mentioned, Smith is a great suprise. But to me the biggest suprise has to be both Sheen and Lipsberg. Delnov is a great player with a lot of talent but coming here already drafted, I guess I had some level of expectations. I am suprised thought on how well they adapted to the more physical junior play.

For Sheen, everyone was kind of aprehensive of what kind of player he was going to be. So far good!
As far as the resident Latvian, I don't think anybody would of seen this much production from a second euro pick.

Anonymous said...

I believe we actually traded up to select Lipsbergs in the late part of the 1st rd of the Import draft.

Dean said...

Tickets for December 1st game, our first for this oldest child's 7th birthday. Come on 'birds bring home a win for him! Regardless of the stats provided by Tyler, which gave me a headache, this team is better than last year. Get the win, Tbirds!

Anonymous said...

I've really enjoyed watching the T-birds this season, I think they have taken a huge step forward from last season. I joked with the people around me that it looks like they worked on hockey skills during the summer instead of their golf game. It's too bad that Troock and Alos are not in the lineup right now.

The forwards seem to be playing much faster in smaller spaces and the Delnov-Honey-Lipsbergs line has looked great. They are also pretty balanced from a scoring perspective so they are not relying totally on 2 or 3 guys to carry the team.

The defense still has a lot of room for improvement, but they are regularly playing 4 17 year olds on the blue line, so they are pretty young there still. Hopefully as the season goes on they will get trapped up ice a lot less. I love the way Theodore plays, he is fun to watch with the puck. I'm not sure where Smith came from but he has been pretty solid in my opinion.

So far the T-birds have hit a homerun on their offseason trades. I like Forsberg to give them some experience on the blue line and allowed them to keep both Rouse and Lockhart instead of Deagle just one of those two. Sheen for Doty looks like an absolute steal right now.

Lipsbergs was the second round of the import draft, 60 overall. So far it looks like they did a good job with their two picks.


Anonymous said...

From a T-birds press releases: The T-Birds acquired the Edmonton Oil Kings first round pick, 60th overall, for a 10th round selection in the 2013 Bantam Draft. They used this pick to take center Roberts Lipsbergs from Latvia.

Remember the Import draft encompasses the entire CHL, meaning teams from the OHL and QMJHL as well. So Lipsbergs was the 3rd to last selection in the first round. Bottom line they didn't think he'd last to their 2d rd pick so they moved up to get him....good move. They made a similar move a few years ago to get Sutter. Didn't work out as well.

Anonymous said...

Went to the hawks- birds game last night, the game showed me how much talent gap there was between the two teams, Portland just looks stronger, faster, skilled, you name it, that's where they are and we are not. It's amazing how quick Portland got it turned around after 4 to 5 down years, for us to get there we have to get those 1st rounders signed and draft better and smarter. I do liked how we came out in the 3rd period and showed some life and fight, that was a good sign in a lop sided loss.

Anonymous said...

You were right about the Winterhawks. They look good. However, they were bad for only 2 1/2 years before finishing in the top of the league. The 3rd year of losing is when they hired Mike Johnston and developed a scouting team. Amazing what a good OWNER can do!

Anonymous said...

Rumor is the league is investigating Portland for possibly illegally recruiting (paying $$$) some of those players. The Pipeline show, a radio program out of Edmonton, had a write up about it on their blog. Similar thing happened to Windsor in the OHL. Cost them draft picks and a hefty fine. Big whoop. That's what you can do with a billionaire owner though. Maybe he'll be the owner when Seattle gets an NHL team!

Anonymous said...

Tyler, I know there is no story about it yet but I wanted to get your thoughts on the Griffin Foulk trade? Will there be another roster move to accommodate him? I noticed he and Dylan Gambrell tweeted to each other regarding the the T-Birds, do you think the Birds made this move knowing Foulk had ties to Gambrell?

Thunnex said...

I think there "could" be something to it. I don't know that I really get the trade. I didn't really feel like they were short on defenders and the result of Foulk playing the other night was that a guy like Taylor Green was a scratch... and unless Green is hurt (he could be I suppose) that sort of speaks volumes to how they feel about Green.

So it very well could be possible that they are trying to make things a comfortable as possible for Gambrell to entice him to come play here.

Anonymous said...

To Anon @4:20 I highly doubt that Gambrell's decision to pursue the college route will in any way be determined by how many former Col. T-Bird teammates play in Seattle. Was he not close enough to Mumaugh who has a good shot at playing here next year? As much as Farwell has done wrong, I still give him more credit than to trade for a player in an attempt to get his buddy signed. He is more than likely either not satisfied with the defence, or this is a way to put pressure on guys like Green and Wardley to take the next step.

Kodi said...

If I remember right, the Cotton deal was a conditional 6th round draft pick.

I am starting to think that getting Faulk plus giving up a 4th and returning the 6th might have been part of the condition because I had heard that Faulk is a decent defender and was the only defender on Everett to be in the + (of course one Portland game wiped that out. Time will tell though.

If this isn't the case then I agree that someone is hurt or this is just a move to give us some pieces to trade later.

Anonymous said...

His name is Foulk. Right there on the website; F-O-U-L-K. Just a click away.

Kodi said...

Oh the humanity!!!!!! I didn't spell a name right and I should be punished by Anonymous for this.

I will self impose a sanction of 5 minutes without posting to make up for this horrible act!

Anonymous said...

Be interesting to see how the 'Hawks come out Friday considering recent events.........

Time will tell if they have much off an adverse effect over the course of this season but the loss of so many draft picks, especially first rounders, is going to certainly be tough to overcome going forward.

Tyler, looking forward to your take on the whole mess. My guess is, there's certainly more to the story then what the Portland press release aluded to today.

Anonymous said...

I propose a new chant "Portland cheats"

Anonymous said...

I think the T-birds are trying to figure out which defensemen to go with. Had 7 suited last night and rotated them. Their D needs to improve, the only way Everett could threaten them is with breakaways and the T-birds kept giving them oddman rushes.

What kind of defenseman is Foulk supposed to be? I'd love another smooth skating D who can move the puck.

Is there any word when Alos and Troock might be back? According to the WHL website it is day to day for Alos and one week for Troock.


Anonymous said...

All I can say about the sanctions on Portland is WOW. Maybe their fans can find out how it feels to be one of the bottom feeders.

Anonymous said...

Portland was a bottom feeder just 3-4 years ago they had three straight non playoff seasons and barely won over ten games. How do you think they got out of that mess and climbed back to the top? Apparently by bending the rules.

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