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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Seattle drops to 3-1

Yes, I was away for the weekend and Jon did his best to cover things in my absence.

I'm catching the replay of the Portland game and had a few thoughts I would share.

  • Early in the game, the effort by Seattle was there... the intelligent play wasn't. Some really undisciplined play that resulted in penalties by the Tbirds. It didn't hurt them initially but as the period wore on, it did. Shea Theodore doesn't play the body on the first goal and he combined with Connor Honey fail to back check and it results in a goal. On the second goal, someone (I believe Forsberg but could have been Smith) then misses on a PP pinch at the side boards that results in a shorthanded goal.
  • Todd Vrooman and Andy Kemper seem like nice guys. I really don't have an ax to grind here but listening to them call games is very difficult.  They display very little objectivity and complain about nearly every single call that doesn't go the way of the Winterhawks. It reminds me that we're actually very lucky to have a guy like Thom Buening working our games. I think Thom is very even handed in his commentary.  It would be unfair for me to simply give this opinion (criticism) without offering at least a little bit of evidence... so here you go. 2nd period, Portland up 2-0 and Wardley throws this hit on Ethan Price:

The hit results in this:

It's a shoulder to shoulder check that Wardley wins and results in Price going face first into the boards. An unfortunate result for Price... to say the least... but also a very legal and clean check. I also have no problem with Seven Alldridge going after Wardley and sticking up for his teammate... stick tap to him for that.

Here is my problem and I will quote precisely. Vrooman's comment was "Pretty heavy hit in the corner, borderline, could have gone either way in my opinion on a call, but Steven Alldridge seeing the hit came to the defense of Ethan Price... It was shoulder to shoulder, give Wardley the benefit of the doubt on that one... fairly clean hit."

Yes... a shoulder to shoulder hit is usually considered a "fairly" clean hit. 

I'll repeat again, I have no ax to grind here and I'm not cherry picking this one situation. This happens all game long. It makes it very difficult to listen to Seattle games when they are down in Portland. I'm not going to make a habit of complaining about this. It's not hockey related, it isn't that important and I can guarantee that Vrooman and Kemper don't care what I think.
  • Hopefully these games don't become a habit last season but I'm seeing a lot of the bad habits returning from the previous seasons. Guys that just aren't taking that extra amount of pride to ensure that a scoring chance isn't there for the other team. It's a combination of pride and attention to detail. Coaches will call it the "little things". Little things turn into big things and they also generally turn into goals into your own net.
  • 2 periods into watching this replay and I'm finding it hard to blame Mumaugh for any of this mess.
  • A summary of the night in one picture.  This is about as poor of a pinch decision as you're going to see in major junior hockey. Theodore is several steps from De Champlain and goes for a half-hearted pinch and the pass gets chipped to Chase De Leo who goes in on a 2 on 1 takes a shot and Oliver Bjorkstrand cleans up the rebound for an easy goal. A terrible decision and these things will just bury you against a team like Portland. I realize the score was already 7-0 at this point but I don't really care, you still can't do that stuff.

Overall, a pretty ugly effort from Seattle and Portland came out firing and with something to prove after getting beat pretty badly by Tri-City earlier in the week.  Let's hope this is just a bump in the road and isn't something that is going to become a habit.


Anonymous said...

Regarding your video example. As per Wikipedia: There are many different techniques of body checking. The most common is side checking, driving the shoulder, upper arm and hip and elbow, equally into the opponent to separate them from the puck.[1] Using the body to knock an opponent against the boards or to the ice. This is often referred to as simply checking or hitting and is only permitted on an opponent with possession of the puck. Body checking can be penalized when performed recklessly.

See where the puck is? That looks like boarding, hitting from behind, or interference. It really is not a check due to lack of puck possession.

Thunnex said...

First off... let's eliminate Boarding or Checking from behind. You have to actually hit someone from behind for Checking from Behind. Boarding is defined as checking or pushing a "defenseless opponent". Price is clearing not defenseless. So let's maybe focus on Interference in my attempt to humor you.

While I can't dispute the technical nature of your comment... I think we both know that this situation is what is commonly referred to as a "board battle" for puck possession. This exact scenario occurs dozens of times per game and isn't called for a penalty.

Also... you are noticing the direction and lean of Price Vs. the direction and lean of Wardley right?

Price is initiating the contact! You can't penalize Wardley for being stronger and shoulder checking a player who initiates contact in a corner battle. I can't capture video and show it to you here. Wardley is angling to the puck with his eyes on the puck and Price is angling to the end line and has his eyes on Wardley.

If you're going to call Interference on anyone it would have had to have been Price.

So... sorry... you're gonna have to try another angle.

Anonymous said...

Really not a board battle. Both players are pursuing the puck into the boards. A board battle is when players are already on the boards and are trying to free the puck.

The question is was Price defenseless. He clearly got smoked, lucky not injured. I would suggest that perhaps he was defenseless due to fact he went face first to boards. Did he put himself in a defenseless position, yes. Don't wrestle bears. If he is off balance, is this defenseless? What if he loses an edge? The onus is on the hitting player to be sure that his opponent is not in a defenseless position and to not injure.

Again from the NHL this time:

"41.1 Boarding – A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently in the boards. The severity of the penalty, based upon the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.
There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the Referees. The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize the contact. However, in determining wheter such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered. This balance must be considered by the Referees when applying this rule."

Not arguing about the announcers, or that this does not happen all the time. It is a nice example of how dangerous this game can be, and how important it is for the officials to keep things under control. As spectators we easily forget the risks of playing at this level.

Thunnex said...

Sorry. I'm not buying any part of your argument. We can argue back and forth all day but I think most people would find it laughable that they were calling for a penalty to be assessed to Wardley on that play.

A player who skates in towards the puck and actively skates away from it to make contact and gets smoked is not a defenseless player. That's really not an argument that any rational person could be making.

Thunnex said...

To add one more thought... I'd also still call this a board battle. I'd call it the genesis of a board battle. I don't think you start calling it a "board battle" simply when they are pressed up against the board.

That might be more of an argument of semantics but it also doesn't really make a difference as to whether it was a "fairly" legal hit or not.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more with you about the Portland announcers. Along with your example they also take subtle digs all game long. Every time a Portland player gets hit they are sure to add 'no call' which suggests that perhaps one could of or should have been called. When an opposing player gets hit they are silent on the matter...unless praising the hit.

Erica said...

Ha, this is EXACTLY my first comment on Twitter about this game. The POR announcers are obsessed with the POR players not getting calls. Drives me bonkers.

And yes, we are completely spoiled by Thom.

Anonymous said...

Coming way out to cut down the angle on this one.

If Price is skating away from puck as you contend, then he clearly has no possession, and is not attempting to gain possession (most likely because he knows he is at risk, and the angle is horrible)

No puck, no possession, no legal check. He is trying to angle out of the danger zone (Help me Tom Cruise) and gets tossed face first into boards.

Why not ride him to the boards, establish your position and take puck?

The man behind has to be careful not to injure. Just have to say it again, driving or throwing a player into the boards is very dangerous, whether intentional or not.

I will now go quietly away. Thanks for letting me comment.

Anonymous said...

I think your review of the game is very spot on. And I agree, Thom is awesome.

Thunnex said...

I don't mind the disagreement at all and I enjoy the conversation.

I'll get my last comment in by saying once again that Price initiates the contact. So by your logic if you're going to call a penalty on anyone you'd have to call it on Price for interfering with Wardley's ability to get to the puck.

Wardley is essentially defending his position and Price gets smoked. That's pretty legal I would say.

Kodi said...

I tell my other half all the time I still don't comprehend why they don't either:

A. Use the visiting team audio for the webcasts as I like to assume that the visiting team is more likely watching the stream and if you want to be on the homer side then buy tickets.


B. Allow a choice

Grover Cleveland said...

I didn't like Theodore getting so much ice time when he wasn't doing the little things. I was also not impressed with the return of Forsberg and Hickman. Hard game to watch between the whiny, homer announcers and the lazy play of so many Birds.

Anonymous said...

The Portland announcers are my favorite! Most hilariously biased people you will ever hear call a game. Those guys are amazing. The way they call the games, de Champlain should be winning the lady byng in a few years while Wardley and Forsberg might be doing hard time in the state penitentiary.

You know who I love hearing call games when its not Thom though, Regan Bartel up in Kelowna. I felt like the Kelowna announcers were always very respectful of the Seattle players and actually made an attempt to praise our players when they were playing well.

Erica said...

I was going to say the same thing about Regan Bartel. I couldn't get enough of him saying "Lipsbergs" last year.

Anonymous said...

The game versus Portland was a major surprise to me 10-4, I just thought that this team with this talent was past games like this . It comes on the verge of a big road trip, hopefully we get a W versus Tri. We need also to get our PP going.

Anonymous said...

3-0 loss in Kennewick is not a good way to follow-up the asskicking Portland handed us.

Anonymous said...

Nice effort in Tri City tonight.
Good thing Seattle passed on Williams in the draft.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Todd Vrooman, and I have tons of respect of his dad Dean "Scooter" Vrooman, but my real issue is their so called colored analyst Andy Kemper. That honk is a Winterhawk honk, and just because you are a fan, does not make you a good listen on the radio. Call a spade a spade, No Portland player has ever hooked or slashed. Hell they had Brad Ross for 4 years, that was his job, to "UNDER" other players skin. Andy Kemper is the same guy who Blogs about the Winterhawks once a year. He sucks!!

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