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Hockey Challenge 2014

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11-8-2, Sky is Falling

I really don't have much in the way of eloquence this morning after that debacle last night.

I tweeted this during the game.

That really tells a lot about the story here. This team has been failing for years and every single aspect of the organization should be taking a good hard look at itself and wondering why these last 5 games have happened. I expected the team to get blasted and then went out and got blasted.

Look, it's 5 games.  It is a long season and 5 games only represents roughly 7% of the season. The season isn't over... but the problem is that it "feels" like it is over because teams that are generally regarded as upper level teams don't usually get their doors blown off the way the Tbirds have in the last couple of weeks.

This division is extremely tough and Seattle was able to fatten up on the Eastern teams. Two telling stats for you. First... Portland, Spokane, Everett and Tri-City are now all ranked in the top 7 in Massey Ratings. Seattle sits 10th. That means that in all of these division games, you're going to be the underdog and that takes a toll on a team.  You can be a good team and be in a clearly tough division and finish last. That seems to be where Seattle is headed.

Secondly, it is also telling that both Medicine Hat and Swift Current have edged ahead of them in the ratings and Seattle won in Med Hat and handled Swift Current pretty easily at home. This speaks to how far the team has fallen off here in a very short amount of time.

This team just doesn't seem to care and I have no idea why.  We've regressed back to the days of the past few years where the team just didn't seem committed to team defense. This isn't entirely on the defenders, forwards or the goalies... This is on everyone.  Every single one of them are letting themselves down right now by not being committed to team defense.

Everyone always loves goal scoring but offense hasn't been this team's problem for years.

I don't know what else to say. This team is in a death spiral and I honestly have no idea what will bring them out of it.


Squamich Pete said...

Thunnex said "This team just doesn't seem to care and I have no idea why. We've regressed back to the days of the past few years where the team just didn't seem committed to team defense..."

The team seems not to care because there is no accountability on the team. Ice time, for example, isn't earned. It's handed freely to half the team regardless of how they play, so why should they care. they don't have to earn it.

Conversely, the other half of the team can't get any more ice regardless of how they play.

It's an entitlement culture in Seattle which favors first rounders and imports. That's a culture which have proven disaterous over and over but poor GM's and Coaches rely on it, because they invest in poor choices at the draft and instead of saying, "hmmm, maybe we wrong about so-and-s0, they dig in and double down on the original mistakes"

So you management ego on top of player ego which leaves no room for changes, because changing things would be an admission of error and we can't have that now can we ...

So it's the definition of insanity all over again ... doing the same things and getting the same poor results, because losing at least tastes better than being wrong

Jon said...

So I'm curious Squamich Pete, throw out your proposed ice time breakup? And I'm actually serious, I am curious.

Squamich Pete said...

My ice time allocation would be based on performance. Not on birth certificates or draft position. I would throw all that out the window on day one and everyone starts on even footing.

I should note that both Benoit and Sheen would still be here if I were calling the shots. Kolesar and Eansor would be gone instead.

We would have started the season with a veteran lineup (probably only kept Bear and Barzal out of camp) and the younger players would have recieved their opportunities if/when vets played poorly and gone from there.

At this point in the season and after the embbarassment in Portland, I'd like to see a reset like this;

Lipsberg/Hickman/Troock (also PP1)
Delnov/Swenson/Yakubowski (also PP2)
Elliot/Barzal/Mcecknie (pepper Barzal on PP here and there for experience) (Elliott/Mceck PK1)
Gropp/Eansor/Halub (Halub/Gropp PK2)

(send Kolesar to midget)


(send Wolf to Junior A)


(assuming Honey & Bear are still out. If they are healthy, Honey is 2nd line, Swenson drops to 3rd line center and Barzal to 4th line center and Eansor to the stands. Bear is 2nd pairing, Smith drops to 3rd and Douglas to the stands.)

A healthy lineup looks like this;




Anonymous said...

lets just prepare for 2015/16 season hahah... make a trade for Pilon now so then Pilon, Barzal, Gropp all come back and play a season after all being 1st rounders in 2015 NHL Draft... Throw in Bear and Kolesar as 18 year olds, Volcan, Elder, Fabbro all 17 and in their NHL draft years.. draft some young snipers in euro draft now so they are in their prime that season as 19 year olds... simple as that!haha... Barzal will be leading WHL scorer that season by alot, Fabbro will be touted as a top 5 NHL prospect

Kodi said...

Personally I would like to see the o-lines look like this


Eansor, Elliot

I personnly like to see lines grow over time so putting a younster on a veteran line never appealed to me. As for putting Barzal on the top line while Honey is out is based specifically on style of play. If he's going to be a primary assist guy I would love to see him feeding Delnov/Lippy while Honey is out.

Ronny said...

"I personnly like to see lines grow over time so putting a younster on a veteran line never appealed to me. "

BINGO! Exactly right

Kodi said...

Don't get that excited lol. The team has proved in the past that having a young guy wih two veterans can work.


That was a decent line.

What I think the Thunderbirds have been suffering from the last couple of years is the lack of improvement throughout the year. Most teams start of slow and ramp up. The Thunderbirds seem to never ramp up.

Ronny said...

Portland does it right. Doesn't matter how good the 16 year old is, a year of learning on the 4th line does wonders for development. That's why they never need to reload, just move guys up from below.

Today's instant gratification society breeds prima-donnas who don't want to work their way up. And here in Seattle, unfortunately, we support that culture.

It's a cancer for a team to lend un-earned special treatment to an ego that's already full of itself. Not good for the player. Not good for the team.

Succesful franchises like Portland, Calgary, Edmonton - they do it right. The 4th line didn't hurt Nic Petan as a 16 year old. Or Keegan Iverson. In fact, it helped them and it fostered a TEAM atmosphere where everyone pays the same price for success.

We will still have to learn from repeated mistakes. Hope we start learning sooner rather than later.

Mr Tell13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr Tell13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr Tell13 said...

Let's take the Portland "example" for the heck of it:

- yes, its easy to put Nic Petan on the 4th line when your top line of 18 and 19 year old are averaging 100 some points. Its is not the case here.

- I would make the case that Portland in transition year and under the genius of Mike J did the same kind of thing that the tbirds are doing with Barzal. Example ? Brad Ross's rookie year. He played 61 games and was the second highest left winger on the team in points (and only behind Jordan in PIMs). He played major minutes. Did that inder his development?
- On that 2008-2009 season portland team you also had Taylors peters who played 70 games (on a more limited role, as he is not the same talent as Ross) and Troy Ruthowski who as a 16 was playing decent minutes on defense as well.
- Portland is also an exmaple od cheating ...

Ronny said...

"- yes, its easy to put Nic Petan on the 4th line when your top line of 18 and 19 year old are averaging 100 some points. Its is not the case here."

It's not going to be the case when your 18 and 19 year olds are sitting on the 3rd/4th line or in the stands while a 16 takes the key minutes.

What I am saying is, we didn't even give our vets a chance, as Barzal was inserted right out of the gate. That's not what happened with Brad Ross, who EARNED his way up the ranks his rookie season. Barzal was inserted as the Golden Child from Day 1. That send a HORRIBLE message to your team when everyone else has paid the price.

PS: Not taking the cheating bait, but nice try on re-direct

Grover Cleveland said...

I agree with Kodi regarding the apparent lack of improvement throughout the year. The pattern we saw the last 2 years was an OK start and then as the team gets into the meat of the US Division schedule a January collapse and finally they work their way through the collapse and start playing competitive hockey again. This year it feels like we started our January horror 2 months early so I have a small hope that we can work our way through it 2 months early as well and then finish strong. The coach's constant statements have been that a) players aren't committing to his system and b) players aren't being scrappy enough to finish their checks, etc.

But it seems to me that if the system is so difficult that it takes a month of disaster to learn, then the coach needs to find a different system or find a better way to teach the system. And if players are consistently looking flat and unemotional on the ice, then part of the coach's job is to find a way to get them ready to play. So I place much of the blame for this 5 game stretch on the coach.

The other thing I see is a lack of leadership within the player ranks. I don't see that either of the 20's is much of a leader on or off the ice and I don't see much leadership out of the 19's either (don't know enough about Yak or McK yet, but they haven't been here long enough to establish themselves as leaders). So this compounds the problems because the team doesn't have a good internal mechanism to bounce back from adversity or to make sure that they show up ready to play. There isn't anyone on the ice that is able to set the tone for the rest of the players. Too often the team has come out on their heels and let a Portland or an Everett just beat up on them and no one looks like they care. Teams in contact sports have to play with emotion and I don't see anyone on this team consistently bringing that to the rink. Back to the coaching, my impression is that Steve was self-motivated during his career and he seems confused that his players can't find it within themselves to be equally self-motivated. But that is a naive approach to a bunch of teenage boys. They need to have an us-versus-them mentality reinforced by peer pressure and one or more strong leaders that they respect and this team doesn't have any of that right now.

What would I do?
Lots of team building activities off ice to the point where the players may hate each other but know each other inside and out.
Work with a couple of players to get them to butt helmets with their teammates when things are bad and hold each other accountable as well as pat players on the back when things are good.
As a coach, show more emotion on the bench in the first period even if it means acting. Get myself thrown out of a game if I need to so that I can demonstrate to my players that I have their backs and if they are being penalized by a bad call I won't accept that.
Put more of an emphasis on sticking up for each other on the ice starting with the goalies. We noticed with one of the teams this weekend that EVERY time a player got near their goalie someone got in that players face. I'm not advocating stupid roughing penalties, but this is an easy way of building a team identity.
Roll 4 lines for at least 2 periods every game. Too often the 3rd and 4th line players get one shift to prove they are ready and after that no more playing time that night. If its ok for the very talented Barzal to make mistakes that cost goals, and its ok for Hauf to make mistakes that cost goals, then maybe its ok for a guy like Douglas who needs a lot of development to get enough minutes to make a mistake.

Mr Tell13 said...

so you are saying that you watched ALL the games of Seattle AND Portland since way back? I mean you are just saying that Brad Ross "earned " his ice time thru the season, so you must of seen all the games.

I call bull****

If Barzal is better than anyone else and do the work as anyone else he deserve to get the minutes he gets. He is still VERY raw on some aspect of the game but PLEASE tell me who in the vets "deserve" or "earned" more ice time.
Delnov already was healthied once this season
Hickman....I know people are so high on him being the captain and all, but I don't get it. IMO he is not a great captain (that shove at the end of the game was not leader being frustrated was crap), the only moment he is showing some production is when he plays with Barzal.
Troock.....I liked how he was playing earlier this season, but he seems to have reverted to his more selfish self lately.

the thing about the ego is kind of funny....I mean they are all athletes that are the top 10% of the playing population, of course they have egos , do you really think lipsberg and hickman would mind barzal's playing time if they finish the season with over 70 pts each and manage a contract out of it?...I don't think so.

And I guess giving players illegal contracts is ok when its part of a "winning culture"....good to know

btw ....I don't buy the argument of authority you tried to pull on Tyler ...its easy to say you did this or that when you only are id'ed as "Ronny"

Mr Tell13 said...

Portland, where rookies earn their playing time by playing their first year in the lower lines:

see Seth Jones, Sven Baertschi, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Ryan Johansen,Nino Niederreiter, Ty Rattie

The WB said...

Right on Mr Tell, I just called for "Ronny" to identify himself if he's going to claim authority at the end of the last comment thread. Probably should have posted that here instead. Mea culpa for the rookie blog commenting error. I don't necessarily think Ronny is all wrong, he makes some points. But...if you are going to start claiming you played and coached in major junior you have to come clean with who you are. Otherwise he's just trolling.

Mr Tell13 said...


Look, I actually don't mind the points he makes (to an extend), apart from the fact that they are completelly out of context.

Teams in transition will let rookies play more and earlier. This tbird team is still in transition and yeah, because the top players and older players do not have that huge of a ceiing, it allow for rookies opening in the upper lines.

Nobody balked at Jerret Smith, an unknown 17 y/o kid to be in the top 4 defensmen on the team last year (from the start of the season).

its is true in all level of hockey (ie Dallas Stars and Brenden Dillon)

Then he brings up organisations that are doing it "the right way" while totally dismissing that they also bring up kids quick when they have too (st-croix for edm was leading scorer at 16 and played 66 games)

And if he is/was a coach for real, and say that he would pace Barzal in this particular lineup, I think he is lying to himself.
just my opinion

Kodi said...

Daily 20 vent

How do you waive Benoit over Elliot?

Tim Pigulski ‏@tpigulski 21m
Quote from @SeattleTbirds GM Russ Farwell on Benoit getting waived: "We have younger players that were competing for the same ice time..."

"...and it is not a good situation to be sitting out overage players on a regular basis..."

"...We felt we were better to make a decision now rather than let a poor situation become a problem."

Benoit had more ppg and his pimpg was .11 to Elliot's 3.07. I'd rather have a player with more points and actually on the ice then someone who sits in the penalty box. Before this slump one of our issues was spending too much time on the penalty kill which tired out our players.

Thunnex said...

Complete mystery to me.

Kodi said...

Though I have been saying if you are going to have a 20 as a healthy scratch you should drop him for a younger player that has a bigger upside.

I just thought they would drop the least productive player.

Ronny said...

Mr Tell13 said...

"Portland, where rookies earn their playing time by playing their first year in the lower lines:

see Seth Jones, Sven Baertschi, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Ryan Johansen,Nino Niederreiter, Ty Rattie"

Its difficult to have a sensible conversation with you folks when you dont really know anything about hockey. We are talking about 16 year old rookies earning their ice time and you throw around a bunch of 17 year olds who are showing up for their draft year. Jones, Baertschi, Niederreiter, Bjorkstrand and Johansen never played here as 16 year olds.

Rattie did. He averaged about 3 minutes a game in his first 10 games (had 1 point) and in his rookie season, he didn't even crack the lineup until October 7th. It didn't hurt him none to earn his way up and pay some dues. Good for him and good for the team.

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