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Hockey Challenge 2014

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My thoughts on the 1st two days of scrimmages and rebuttal of 15's

I thought I would start this off with my rebuttal to Tyler's post on the 15's

Oddly enough, this wont appear like much of the other side of an argument, as I agree with what Tyler says.
First off, you hear the hype about drafted players, and you want to see if they stand out above all the ones in their age group.  You know that late round draft players that are big wildcards.  Are they really a wildcard, or did they not even show up at all? There are always undrafted players that take things by surprise.

But the biggest reason I love it is that it is KIDS, trying out.  Kids giving 120% of what they have.  Leaving everything on the ice, trying for a dream.  That is not to say that the older players don't do this, but by the time the veterans roll in, the roster is almost set, and they are having fun going through the motions of proving they have the talent to stay.  But the 15's don't have that ability.  Look bad or lazy in front of every scout we have, every coach we have, and everyone will remember it.  The same can be said about looking good.

As Tyler put it, this doesn't mean the dream is over or that their chances are gone, etc.  But of the 32 kids born in 1999 at camp, maybe 4 or 5 will play in the WHL.  For the rest, they can be proud of the fact they got to tryout, and use it as motivation for the future.

The one thing I want make perfectly clear, Every player out there and every parent of those players should feel so proud they got the chance to tryout at this high of level.  Everyone of them has the ability to play at the level, there may just be a couple more players with more ability.  I would not be ashamed for anything that happens.  UNLESS, you don't leave it all on the ice.

So now that is over, on to what I thought about the 3 scrimmages I have watched.

To me, there are 4 players that stand out head and shoulders above all the others.  And I am talking about talent, and not how tall they are.  And not to anyone surprises, they are all 16's.  I would keep all 4 on the team (assuming they are committed to the WHL), but I am guessing they only keep 3 (and those three are already signed (Volcan, Elder, and Khaira).  Schuldhaus is the one that really impressed me and kind of came out of no where (being a 5th round pick).

The other 16's appeared to each be just one step below those four.

Now the 15's that I talked so much about above.  I think I have a different opinion on them that others do. Each year, 3 or 4 stand out.  Two for the reason of being better then the rest, and two for being noticed because of their mistakes.  This year, each scrimmage I walked away very confused, because no one stood out very much to me.  Now some people will say "Yikes, that cant be good", but I think of it more as a GREAT sign.  No one stood out because they all had very good shifts and a couple bad shifts.  For every very good forward, there was a very good defender to counter that.  Colin Alexander (Director of player personal, I think is his title) did a very good job of distributing the teams.  I will also say the goalies all had flashes of greatness.

These scrimmages are mostly where you see the individual talent come out, because the players for the most part don't know each other.  They do not know where their line mates will go.  No chemistry.  Not a ton of flow.  So you really notice a play where the forward goes through three players and puts a shot in the top corner.  But you also notice the three players that let that happen.  And this year, those types of plays were few.  It can be frustrating watching a forward bring the puck off the boards and attacking the net, instead of passing to the wide open defender at the point for the shot.  Just as it is frustrating watching a 2 on 1 where the player with the puck always shoots.  But that is what also brings players out and gets them noticed, is making everyone around them better by making that pass, giving up your great chance for someone else to have a better chance.  Basically, being a team player not really knowing your teammates.

The hitting and physical play picked up in each session along with the pace.  You could tell players started relaxing and starting to work together more.  More players started not liking each other, taking late shots, big hits, going back at each other.  Again, it is the players giving their 120% that makes it better and better.  Some players that had better games in scrimmage yesterday had no so great games today, and the opposite true.

To end it all, HOCKEY IS BACK, and that is the best thing of all.


Anonymous said...

At least one d man who was here last year isn't going to make the team. If you've been watching the training games, it should be pretty clear who.

On the flip side, love what I'm seeing from the young guys, the team looks faster and more skilled then its been it quite some time.

Anonymous said...

Wolf has got to go. Hes brutal. He cant even handle the play against young guys at camp.

Anonymous said...

Can't argue with the 2 comments above.

Anonymous said...

Well I would say the team has to field a roster with a minimum of seven d-men and the last couple of years they've started the season with as many as 8. Who are they going to be? Theodore, Smith, Bear, Hauf and Khaira for sure. That's five. Then you keep one of the 20 yr olds, either Henry or Wardley. That makes six. I would have thought Osterman would be in the mix but he's now a forward. I haven't seen anyone at the scrimmages who stands out for that 7th spot on the blue line. So it is either Wolf or maybe a trade. I suppose you could keep both Henry and Wardley but then you lose Kozun in goal or Hickman up front.

Anonymous said...

Trooooooocker is in the house!!

Anonymous said...

I think the 7th D guy could be Schuldhaus. The other thing they could do is bring in Osterman as a forward knowing that if they get in a pinch he can play D as well.

Unknown said...

In regards to Schuldhaus, I have to quote Jon in regards to his post that came out after this one...

"As bad as this sounds being a Seattle fan, I know my choice would be to go back to Shattuck for another year, work hard, get better at all aspects of the game, and come back to Seattle as a 17 year old and look to become a #4-5-6 player that plays every game. This is why I feel he will not be on the team this season.

If the situation was a little different, and Schuldhaus was looking at going back to Midget and his team played 30 games against lower talent, my answer would be totally different, but it is not."

Honestly I think he hit the nail on the head with this one. I remember last season this was Pederson. After camp/pre-season, many people were making comments about how he should make the team... Problem was, we already had three other 16's who were for sure making the team (just like this year) and Pederson probably would not get the ice time he deserves. However, this season as a 17 year old, I think he is a sure bet to make the team. YES, I know that he still hasn't signed, but from what I am gathering I think there is a good chance he will once the team makes him an offer for a spot (and I'm almost 100% positive that they will).

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