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Game 4 Thread, Kelowna at Seattle: Close Out Edition

Confidence is a dangerous drug. It's a drug the Tbirds are cresting on right now. Kelowna come out firing last night and for about 10 minutes it appeared as though they would be returning to their Regular Season form. Roberts Lipsbergs pushed home a rebound and in a flash the tables turned back in the favor of the home team.

Seattle is now one game away from pulling off one of the more improbably upsets in team history and easily the biggest series upset since the 2002 playoff series against the Portland Winterhawks.  That series saw the 4th place US Division Tbirds beat the US Division Champion Winterhawks in Game 7 in Portland 3-2.  Seattle went 21-40-11 that year, earning 53 points while the Winterhawks were 36-25-11 (83 points).

Statistically this upset would be far bigger. Seattle earned only 58 points this year while the Rockets came into this game with a franchise record 52 wins (108 points, 2nd in franchise history). I'm a math wizard, so I can tell you that's a difference of 50 points in the standings and 50 is bigger than 30.

However... let's not get ahead of ourselves here. There is still one win to grab and anything can happen. If Kelowna has finally lifted the weight from their shoulders by being down 3 games to 0 they could come out firing on all cylinders tonight. Should they win tonight, they would have some momentum going back home on Saturday. Win that game.... and things could start to snowball a little bit. There is a reason why Yogi said "It ain't over, 'til it's over" and clearly the best route to the 2nd round for Seattle is to take care of business tonight at home and not give Kelowna any reason to gain any momentum.

Again... I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, so let's continue to call this a possibility. IF Seattle can win the series and should the Winterhawks defeat the Silvertips in their playoff series (currently tied a 1, Game 3 tonight) it would put together an extremely interesting Seattle/Portland 2nd round match-up.

Other random thoughts from the game.

  • Evan Wardley "The Wardog" was the obvious hero last night with the overtime winner but the shot would have never been possible if not for a nifty move by Shea Theodore. He turned around the Kelowna forward two different times to keep the puck in the zone and dish it over to Wardley for the shot. Seattle needed Theodore to elevate his game and he has most certainly done that. His offense will usually be there but he is also taking much better angles on defense and even throwing his body around a little. I would have to imagine that scouts are taking notice.
  • Brandon Glover struggled a little early in the game and especially after giving up two goals seemed to really fight the puck. Give him and the team credit though... they buckled down in the 2nd period and allowed Glover to reset things mentally and by the 3rd period he was really dialed in. Shots were sticking in his pads and he was able to come up with a couple of huge saves that could have turned the game in the favor of the Rockets.
  • Biggest reason Seattle has been able to win these three games... they've mucked things up defensively on Kelowna and not allowed them to get any kind of rhythm offensively. Kelowna is supposed to be a much faster team and Seattle just hasn't allowed it to happen. They've also been excellent on special teams and bodies are flying to the shooting lanes to block shots. They're buying in... and Coach Konowalchuk should get a lot of credit for that.
  • Yes, the Season Ticket Holder of the night had a familiar name. I don't like being on camera.
Game 4 is tonight.  Don't expect the same kind of crowd as last night as it appears to me that several thousand tickets are still remaining for the game tonight. Those that are going, be loud and proud and let's hope this team can wrap things up tonight.


Anonymous said...

I always wonder why "they" don't do everything possible to make the playoffs as packed as possible. Having a sold out, energetic 2 for 1 crowd certainly provided momentum. Hopefully they can pull out one more win tonight. Good to see playoff hockey in Seattle (Kent) again.

Anonymous said...

Well that wasn't very good at all. I was hoping to see a win tonight, but honestly, I'm not too surprised with the loss. A little dissapointed though, I will admit. They're still up 3-1 though, and history is still very much on their side. They have the ability to make this happen, and I think they will.

Anonymous said...

I agre. Seattle wasn't supposed to win this series so losing one but still being up 3 games to 1 is not the end of the world. I'm more disappointed with the ticket selling staff of this franchise. they knew since March 12th they would have two guarenteed home playoff games. They had two weeks to sell both games and they knew what days they'd be. Seems like they satisfied with only selling one. Did they think putting an ad on their website was gonna be enough? I know midweek games are tough but really? They should be working 24/7 to sell these games. Why not 2-for-1 both nights?

Anonymous said...

They did send out thousands of postcards and advertised it in local newspapers, including both dates. Given the two options right there in print, of course most fans chose the 2 for 1 over that pathetic 2 free when you buy 8 crap. There's no question that the general public knew about both dates, it was a general conscious decision that Tuesday was the smarter play and the casual fans got their hockey fix on Tuesday. No need to spend a ridiculous $26 on WHL hockey with no concession discount. Wednesday showed exactly what a crowd of only diehards and season ticket holders looks like, which is proof that the product falls short of being both appealing and affordable enough for casual fan to turn out for. And you can't make money if the butts aren't in the seats.

Thunnex said...

Teams have to make money. They are in the business of making money and teams don't make money by lowering the price of their product simply to put more fans in the seats. Think about all the revenue that is "lost" by selling tickets at half price and selling beer at $2.

Think about it this way. Attendance over 2 games was over 8500. Meaning that between the two games they averaged 4250 per game.

Those numbers would be outstanding for any Tuesday/Wednesday back to back games.

Also... think about it this way. If you are the casual hockey fan in South King County and you (likely) only have time to go to one game this week... are you going to evenly consider both the Tuesday and Wednesday games? Heck no you aren't, you're going on 2 for Tuesday because it's cheaper.

2 for Tuesday is a great novelty designed to get people in the seats but it most certainly doesn't make the team a ton of money.

So, serious question... what exactly would you have proposed the team do?

Thunnex said...

Also... Everett drew 2000 for their Game 3 last night. Let's not act like this is a "Thunderbirds" problem.

Anonymous said...

It's the nature of whl playoffs the walk up sales are always low, ticket prices go up, group tickets are virtually gone. The people at the games are generally the sth, player families and friends. This goes for all teams Everett only had 2000 tonight and they have a great core fan base.... I wouldn't dwell on it, as for the game it's what we can expect the rockets played with energy and took advantage and played desperate. If we want to win we need to find the ability to finish a team off and not let them get up.

Thunnex said...

So... undercut prices and revenue to make less money but get more people in the stands.

And what happens when you don't offer half price ticket for every game?

People stop coming... like tonight?

Thunnex said...

Kootenay 2024
Prince Albert 2655
Everett 2000

Only team that drew last night was Medicine Hat at 3945 and they always draw well.

I'm sensing a pattern...

Anonymous said...

why not just put a team on the ice (ie., portland, kelwona, kamloops, spokane) that is good enough to get the weekend games from the outset? The attendance issue becomes more of a moot point then.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Tyler, but I just wish that the local radio stations would give just a little, I mean a little, more play to the birds with just some shout outs or "hey you want go catch some hockey folks, go down to the Sho to see a game" type of comments. They could play off of the potential "Nhl coming to town" to say to the listener to go catch a birds game. Don't get me wrong, I know where the birds are in the pecking order of sports in this town, but just a little more especially during playoff time I think would help a little.

Anonymous said...

I heard plenty of ads on the radio yesterday. Maybe you aren't listening to the right station?
Not that the crowd had anything to do with that loss. Pretty sure we saw the speed of Kelowna that we've all heard about. And no way were they going to roll over and die. The birds looked like a team who knew they have more time to get this done. Hope that doesn't come back to bite em on the butt. That's what the power play looks like too. Set up set up set up and then they forget to shoot.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know what % of concessions, if any, the T-birds get? I would think they negotiated that into their lease. I mean wasn't that one of the points of getting out of KeyArena (along with a bad lease). If they didn't, well bad on them. So if they sold tickets at half price Tuesday, they basically sold 3,000 tickets. Then Wednesday, about the same with tickets back to full price. But they would have made a lot more money Tuesday from their cut of the concessions, even with concession prices discounted. You only have so many potential playoff dates. They need to maximize that with cheap playoff tickets and rely on concession sales to make money. Their ticket profit should come from the 36 regular season home dates.

Thunnex said...

I think we're making a lot of assumptions about the teams finances without actually knowing very much in the way of facts.

If a hotdog is normally $4 and beer is normally $7 and they are selling for $2... I don't need to do any fancy math to figure out that they would need to sell a LOT more product to offset.

I think the point here is... 2 for 1's are probably good for the team (if they weren't why would they bother doing them) but they're probably only good up to a point (which is why they don't do it every game).

I'd have to assume that if they could make more money by discounting tickets and concession each and every game they would probably be doing it.

Fact is... you drew 8500 over two days for a team that has been pretty bad for about 4 years now. Win a bunch more games and you'll start to see the seats fill up again.

Unknown said...

I thought the T-birds didn't play physical for most of last nights game. I thought their hits wore on Kelowna tuesday night. They got to get back to the hard checking and make Kelowna uncomfortable. They also need to find a way to stay out of the box. They've been the better team 5 on 5 in the series, they have to keep there players out there. And today's practice should be conditioning and PP work.

I do believe they get a percentage of the concessions, but x percent of $2 is less than x percent of 5 or 7. Basically they have to sell at least twice as much product to get the same amount. The discounted price of the concessions does not drive how much I buy at the game, I'm going to get the same amount of what I usually get. Also if every game was half off then that would just be the price of the game and then the crowds would get smaller because it wasn't a special great deal and you can get it anytime they play. Then people would bitch about the level of hockey not being worth $13. I would also assume that since Tuesday games have a sponsor they are getting some money from that sponsor so their name is tied to the game.

It's great they advertised on the radio, but it would be nice if they could get a segment or two each day with the sports talk stations. I know Furness on KJR will do a segment every now and then. One of the other things they could do is give each sports radio station 10-12 tickets for the game Wednesday and they could give them to listeners. That might help you add new fans to your fan base and its not like you are going to sell those tickets. You get some additional pub by the stations talking about your team live and then they probably do a contest to give away the tickets. You would also be targeting sports fans so maybe some of them see the product and like it and return for future games. It might be worth it to invite some of the media personalities to the games as well. When I listen to KJR the hosts mention fairly often what they are doing that night if it is something special, might be another way to get some more talk about the team. Maybe you even get a few more walk up in the way of stalkers :) (it's a joke, the stalker part, I do not condone stalking)

Kodi said...

We have to stay out of the box.

1. Honey probably should have gotten a double minor but Cooke should have gotten 2:00 for cross checking or roughing Honey. Because of the 4 full minutes when Swenson got his penalty it put us down for a full two minutes of 5 on 3.

Goal 1

2. Swenson's slash was horrible and a selfish penalty. You don't do that when you are on the penalty kill especially when it will put you at a full 5 on 3 for two minutes.

Goal 2

3. Wardley slashes a player AFTER the ref blows the whistle. Again poor judgement was used.

Goal 3

Being down 3 goals made it near impossible for the birds to mount any kind of comeback. They had to think more offensively and takes chances which led to the 4th goal.

If the birds can play with an edge but not make stupid decisions they are going to be just fine

Anonymous said...

Kodi is 100% correct in his comments. That decided the outcome of the game. Play hard but also play smart.

Anonymous said...

That is right on.There are penalties sometimes as the result of hard play and then there are penalties that are the equivent of unforce errors [selfish penalties].The later are the ones you usually get scored on,the ones that are caused by hard work are semm to be easier to kill.

Anonymous said...

To answer Tyler's serious question about what I would have done.. I think the best play would have been a move to make sure that those who were there on Tuesday were offered a sweet deal to return on Wednesday.. Receive a voucher for $18 tickets. Or maybe a package deal, both games for $30 at the box office with full priced concessions on the 2nd night. They probably still wouldn't exactly get two full houses, but maybe they could have brought some people back for the 2nd game which they otherwise clearly did not.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why the ticket prices go up for playoff hockey? Has it always been that way and do all the teams increase the prices ?

Dean said...

It's only one game. We only need one more. Let's go T-Birds! I have been hard on you during the last half of the season but you became alive. Get it done. That lost was only one need one more. Get it done!

As for Tuesday's game, most of the attendance was from half price night. I would have been there with the kids if it wasn't a school night. I would like to see what the crowd, btw I loved that crowd, would be like if they were charging normal prices...which are over priced.

I'll add, taking the family to Kent to see a WHL team is overpriced. Many AHL and CHL teams have cheaper prices with cheaper concessions.

With that...go T-Birds. Win this series! You have proven you can play with this team so get it done!

Anonymous said...

Awesome, the league, in its infinite insanity, has suspended Honey for his "check from behind." Length is to be determined at this point. Reinforcing a bad call does not make it a better call.

Anonymous said...

Here's a question for Tyler or any of the more seasoned hands (I've only been a Birds fan for three years). As I understand it, teams will sometimes call up their 15 year olds (assuming their bantam season is over) to play during the playoffs. Kolesar is signed, and he appeared in a game back in December in Portland, where, by some accounts, seemed solid.

So my question, obviously, is why hasn't he been brought up? Particularly now that Honey is suspended?

Thunnex said...

Kolesar was actually in the building on Wednesday (so I was told). So I suppose there is a chance he may play Saturday with the Honey suspension.

Anonymous said...

He was there - I saw him. But I don't think they would play him in such a close series unless they feel he is better than at least 2 of Green, Holub, Wolf, and Wray.

Thunnex said...

I think you could make a pretty decent case that he's better than all 4 of those guys.

Anonymous said...

No argument from me on that, but coach K seems fairly conservative on player starts to me. I'd love to see Kolesar get some shifts on Saturday.

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