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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Seattle vs Kamloops - Game Thread

Happy New Years eve to all.
This game could be an interesting one, since Kamloops is struggling mighty.
They have lost 4 straight games and 17 of their last 20.

Two stats from Saturday nights game against Everett

Just for the fun of it (and so my wife and parents could make fun of me), I kept two stats for the game.  The man situations time again, and then Shea Theodore's icetimes.


Thoughts on the two games this weekend

Overall, a good weekend in the standings, but I thought a somewhat pour weekend on the ice.
Any time you can take 3 out of 4 points against a rival, including 2 points in their building, it has to be good.  But of course in true US division (and western conference) form, the teams they are fighting against also picked up 2 to 4 points.

Personally, based on play alone, I thought Seattle should have lost Friday night, and won Saturday.
The team didn't play close to a full 60 minutes either night.

The one thing Seattle did do well over both games was hit, hit, and hit some more.
Virtually any chance the players got to finish a check, they did, with quite a few that would rate huge on a check meter.  By the 2nd and 3rd periods on Saturday night, you could tell Everett players were taking an extra little second to see if a hit was coming or not.

I talked to a Seattle non-suit player Friday night during warmups, and he said Thoedore was in a zone, and boy was that true this weekend.  He logged a ton of ice item, and joined the rush whenever he got the chance.  I did think at times he was looking a little too offensive as opposed to making the safe play.

Troock once again looked like a beast out there.  So many strong plays with the puck, and with speed.  He only had one point this weekend, but had so many other chances.  At times looked like the Troock of past, trying to do too much on his own.  But in fairness to him, quite a few of those times he had to do that because he didn't have anyone on a rush with him.

Austin Douglas's injury must be healed, as he got back into both games.  He filled in on the 4th line up front both nights.  For the few shifts he got, he filled in well, got a couple checks in, and skated hard, not looking out of place.  Must feel great for him to get back in action and see some game time speed.

Friday night

  • Myles looked very scary during warmups, letting in quite a few easy shots, but was the opposite once game time hit.
  • This is easy to say, but Seattle controlled play in the 1st, got dominated in the 2nd, and played well in the 3rd.
  • Some great saves by both goaltenders in this one.
  • And some even better saves by defenders helping out their goaltenders
  • But the biggest saves had to go to the posts, as both teams had a couple.
  • I am pretty sure that Seattle's 3rd goal was scored on a 4 on 1, but it may have actually been a 5 on 1.  Talk about joining the rush.
  • All 3 Seattle goals were top shelf water bottles.
  • One fight, DeRoose started strong, Wardly finished strong.
  • With Everett on a 6 on 4 PP with time running down, the ref's went upstairs to figure out how much time was left on the clock.  It seemed like it took 3 to 4 minutes to add 1.5 seconds back.  Not a good ratio for a somewhat easy task.
  • Great crowd in Everett on cowbell night.  But, I must admit, the noise wasn't that bad.
  • Everett goaltender (and former TBird) Daniel Cotton had a Go Pro Camera on his helmet during warm-ups.  I am going to try to get some footage of this once it is posted.

Saturday night

  • Mumaugh looked very shaky all night long, but also had a few huge saves to make up for it.
    • There were a couple where he had to do the splits, and man can he do them.
    • A couple of goals I am sure he would like back, but also a couple saves he would say he shouldn't have made, so maybe those equal out.
  • At one point in the 3rd period, Seattle went on a 14-0 run on shots (I think)
  • Seattle's powerplay looked very good tonight, compared to Friday nights (that wouldn't be very hard)
    • But, Everett's powerplay also looked a lot better.
    • Maybe this means the teams penalty killers did a great job Friday, and were very bad Saturday.  Hmmmmmmm.
  • Some questionable calls by the officials had both coaches angry.  First time in a while we have seen coach K get visibly angry with the officials.  After the second period, he spent a long time near the exit to the ice having a discussion with both of them.
  • Seattle's opening powerplay goal was a set play that was so nice.  Great tip at the blueline on a long breakout play to Lips coming in with speed.
  • Great crowd this time in Kent.  Loud and behind the team.  Quite a few Tip fans made the trek down.


Seattle vs Everett - Game Thread

Attempt at a stat from Friday nights game

I have always wanted to look at the flow of a game, based on man situations.
How much time is actually spent playing even strength, penalty kill, etc.
So I have been trying to come up with a computer way of doing it from a scoresheet.
So last night, I tracked it by hand.
Showing it graphically is a little difficult, but this is my first pass at it.

There are 16 unique man situations that can take place.  Of course there is even strength, then each team can be up one man up, each team can be 2 men up, and lastly each team can technically be 3 men up.

In the following graphs, the home team is on the top, followed by even strength, followed by the away team.  The grey is the situation.  Last nights game was not exactly the best game, because there was only one power play goal scored.

Period 1
Both teams with 2 powerplays, and even a little 4 on 4 action.

Period 2
Everett dominated play, and had 3 powerplays.  You can see they scored on the first, about half way through it.  But the last one was very short, as they took one.  Overall, the bulk of the period was played even strength, and the fact Seattle got dominated means they lost a lot of battles.

Period 3
Boring for the stat work.  Very even period as far as play goes.  Ended with Seattle taking a penalty and ending up down two men, but didn't give up the tying goal.

In conclusion, not exactly the best game to show this from.  I will do it again tonight just to see how it looks.  I really want to do it for the last Portland game when there were a lot of penalties and not much even strength play.


Seattle at Everett - Game Thread

I will be at the game, and Tyler will be changing diapers.

LetsGoBirds adds two new writers to the blog

Tyler may be taking a little time off from the blog.  The Hunnex's got a slightly late Xmas present yesterday.  And actually, I guess they really got two presents (and yes, they knew they were having two).


Seattle vs. Tri-City - Game Thread

Last game before the break. Seattle is down a handful of players and have called up Lane Pederson to help out tonight. They will still dress two short of the maximum. 

Can they head into the break with some momentum?


My take on the Leipsic hit

Since everyone has posted their opinions on the hit, I thought I would write something up on it.
But, to be unusual, I am not going to give my opinion (but I think it is easy to figure out).

Instead, I am going to look at why I think this type of hit has no benefit, no good outcome, and is completely irresponsible, and has no spot in the game.  I would say this if it was Brendan Leipsic, Evan Wardley, or anyone one else from any other team.


Paging the doctor

Going into last night, Seattle dressed only 17 skaters.

We all know the long term injured players, Honey and Douglas.
Then when I show up to the rink last night, Yakubowski and Bear are not skating during warm ups.
Then you add in Lipsbergs being away at world juniors, and the bench is short.
Don't forget Holub left the team last week.

So your roster last week that contained 23 skaters is down to 17 for last night.

Then Barzal goes down with an injury 6 minutes into the 2nd period, and you are at 16 skaters.

Let's look at the fights / scrums with 5 minutes to go in the 2nd period.  Seattle loses Hickman, Hauf, and Wardly for roughly 10 minutes (Hickman 7 minutes).  So that left Seattle's bench with 13 skaters.  That is not much at all.  Just think if Portland didn't have 5 top players away.

So it looks like Seattle may limp into the holiday break (at least from a missing player situation).

Filling up the roster

Something to point out as well, is that Kolesar leaves to the U17's, from December 29th to January 4th, along with Bear and Barzal.  So the roster will be losing one more skater.

So do we try and bring a listed player in to help out?  Would that player even get the ice time to make it worth it?

Lane Pederson is playing in Saskatoon and that might be a long distance for him to go.  Plus, he is at the U17's at the same time, so doesnt really help much in the post holiday break.

Since Pederson probably doesnt fit the bill, let's get the crowd fired up.  Lets get Jagger Williamson to come for a couple games.  I am not sure if he signed with us yet, but if not, no better Xmas present for him.

Maybe Kaden Elder gets in a couple of his 5 games in before the end of the season.  But he is playing in Wilcox Saskatchewan, which is also a little far away.  He is playing for a Notre Dame team that usually goes to a major tournament over the holidays, so he might not be available.

Next up is Nolan Volcan.  From Edmonton.  He is signed, so maybe, possibly, who knows.

Bottom line, you might just see a couple new players over the next couple weeks.


Seattle vs. Portland - Game Thread

Seattle will put their 7 game win streak on the line tonight at home against what will be a depleted Portland Winterhawks team.  Portland will be without several of their players who are away playing for their respective countries. Team Canada players Taylor Leier, Nic Petan and Derrick Pouliot are away and I'm pretty sure they will be without Oliver Bjorkstrand (Denmark) and Layne Viveiros (Austria) as well.

Seattle has a golden opportunity here to take advantage of a depleted Winterhawks lineup and extend the winning streak to 8.


Seattle at Tri-City - Game Thread

Seattle rides a 6 game winning streak into Kennewick tonight to face the Americans. The Thunderbirds are 7-1-2 over their last 10 games and have climbed into 5th place in the conference while effectively erasing the 6 game losing streak they suffered through in November.

The biggest difference?

In my mind, it has been the consistent dedication to playing with physicality. Forwards have been more dedicated to the fore-check and even guys like Jared Hauf have noticeably stepped up their checking game.

It also helps when your offense is clicking.

Seattle has now scored 33 goals during the 6 game winnings streak (5.5 per contest) and guys like Branden Troock have been on fire.  Troock has taken some flack from me over the past year (when he's been healthy) because I think he tries to do too much at time instead of playing a sound, solid passing game while going hard to the net to use his strength and size to his advantage.  During the winning streak, Troock has registered a point in each game tallying 7 goals and 12 points with a +7 rating.  Hopefully he realizes that this is the blueprint for success and things continue to "click" because he can be a really high level player playing this style of game.

Alexander Delnov has been excellent and Shea Theodore has 10 assists during the win streak.

Tri-City is banged up right now with a handful of guys out due to injuries. This is a game they can win if we ignore the fact that Seattle has not had a lot of success in Kennewick.


Seattle vs. Spokane - Game Thread (Home Edition)

You know the drill... we're playing Spokane again. Tough to beat teams 3 times in a row.

Lot of fights last night, especially towards the end of the game. We'll have to see if it carries over to tonight. I actually think Seattle plays better when they mix it up and get other teams frustrated.


Seattle at Spokane - Game Thread

We just did this! Thanks a lot computer schedule maker... oh, we play them tomorrow as well? Back at home? Geez...

Anyways... the only news this week was the departure of Michal Holub.

Holub made his way into 50 games last year as a 16 year old but had only played in 16 game so far this season. The overall talent level of the Seattle forwards has improved quite a bit from last season and Holub just wasn't able to find minutes.

I wasn't convinced that Holub was ever going to be able to carve out much of a WHL career and this will give him the opportunity to either find some playing time in Junior A or get traded to a team that might have some ice time to let him development. Probably the best move for him at this time, we wish him well.


You want stats? You can't handle the stats

Since readers seemed interested in the faceoff stats I posted last week, I decided that I would use my stat application and track everything I do for Root Sports.  I did this for last Friday's game against Saskatoon.


What does Delnov have to do?

Yesterday, tte WHL announced Prince Albert Raiders’ forward Leon Draisaitl is the Denny’s WHL Player of the Week for last week.

I will admit, he had an impressive couple games, scoring 4 goals and adding 3 assists for seven point in those 2 games.  He was also a combined +3.  The Raiders won both of those games.

But what about Delnov.

He played in 3 games in 3 nights.  He had 4 goals, 4 assists, for 8 points, and was a combined +5.  And Seattle won all those games.

On top of that, he also played for Team Russia in the Super Series on Tuesday, where he had one assist and was a +1. Oh yeah, and he had to travel back and forth to Red Deer.

So really, he played 4 games, had 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, and a combined +6, and traveled roughly 1000 miles (straight line calculation).


Seattle at Spokane - Game Thread

Seattle visits Spokane tonight for the first meeting of the season and the first of three straight games against the Chiefs.

After a really nice pair of games at home, I'm expecting a bit of a tired team tonight in the 3rd game in 3 nights.

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