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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Another 4-1 loss to Everett

The first thing I have to remind myself was that this was a preseason game.

A game to try out things, see what works and what doesn't.
And a lot of things did work, and a lot of things didn't work.
So I am going to approach this as if was a regular season game, just for the practice.

I really liked Seattle's first two periods.  Especially the first.  They controlled play, sometimes in dominating fashion.  My only problem with it was that although they did get off 20 shots, I didn't think very many were quality shots.  But I also give Everett some credit there, for bending, but not breaking (for a football term).

One major breakdown in front of the net where Seattle couldn't clear the puck, and it ends up in the net.  On Everett's 2nd goal, the puck pin-balled around, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not, and ended up in the back of the net.  Everett's 3rd goal was from an amazingly tight angle.  I was at that end, and everyone around me thought it deflected off of Smith's stick, but no one in the press is saying it did, so maybe we are wrong (no jokes here please).

The 3rd period was when Seattle really needed to put on the pressure, and instead, it was all Everett. Everett held the puck and controlled the play much the way Seattle did in the 1st.  It took a lot of effort for Seattle to clear the puck, then make a change before the next wave of Tips brought it in.  It looked as though Portland was playing Seattle with nice passes, winning battles, etc.

At the end of the game trailing 4-1, Seattle did get a chance to practice with the extra attacker. Danny Mamaugh was pulled with a minute and a half to go in the game, but Seattle couldn't really get setup to do much.

The highlight of the night for me was watching Jared Hauf drop the gloves with Zane Jones after a scrum in front of the net.  The way Hauf was playing all night, he was looking for this type of play.  He was hitting everything in sight during the game.  And the fight just continued the hitting, as he seemed to use Jones as a bobble head.  Jones did get a couple in to make the fight closer to even, but a clear win for Hauf.

One other positive I took out of the game was the power-play.  When Seattle was able to gain control, I thought they moved the puck around well, and did get some good quality scoring chances.  They used the point players well, and for the most part, the passes were stick to stick.

The last positive was that I don't recall Seattle shooting the puck wide very often.  I sometimes joke that Seattle is the best at the league about missing the net, but tonight, it just didn't seem to happen very much.

Now on to the part of the game that just killed me watching (and the part where I have to remind myself that it was only preseason).

The lines were all mixed up, and changed somewhat throughout the night.  Partly because of special teams times, and part just to mix things up, but it just seemed like guys were not working well or getting in a groove with each other.  In reading some of the quotes from Andy Eide's article on the game, Coach wanted to remind Barzal and Gropp that things change, and that " (they) sometimes think it's going to come easy if they're together".  So he had them on two different lines.  Coach followed that quote up with "I liked both their games today".  I did not.  I thought they played well doing what they do, but I didn't think they meshed with their line-mates very well.  Maybe more practice with it, maybe with more time it would work, but I personally didn't think it worked well.  But, I do keep telling myself that a player must be able to play with different people, in different situations, and that it is only preseason.

It will be interesting to see how the team reacts tonight in the final tune up for next weekends games, especially knowing that they play this same Everett team in the home opener.


Anonymous said...

Let me be the first to say, "we should be good next year".
Unfortunately, I have been saying this for the last 15 years.

Anonymous said...

Were we not "good" last year? We finished with a winning record for the first time since 2008 and won a playoff series in five games against a rival. How do you define good?

That said, two straight 4-1 losses where you're outshooting the other team by relatively substantial margins at various points has to be a bit deflating to the team. Certainly it wasn't much fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

Well I don't think we should be too hasty in our judgement of what the rest of the season will be like. Having said that I think we can expect some moves to be made soon.This team needs more of a presence offensively. I don't think the rest of the league knows how weak we are up front, only we understand that. I think this team needs a strong 19 yr old forward up front and it should be prepared to pay the right price to obtain one.

Anonymous said...

Seattle is going to be one of the, if not the, youngest teams in the WHL this season. They will have seven 17 year old rookies, plus three 16 yr olds. Add to that six 2nd year players, aged either 17 or 18, and you can see they lack a lot of experience. These are some pretty talented players but they are still young and are still maturing physically. There are only three 18 year olds and three 19 year olds on the roster. There will be growing pains. Playing these players together this season will be good because they will be the nucleus of the team for the following two seasons. They can still be good this season but I don't think we'll see the success they had last season when they had a much older club. That said, I'm looking forward to watching these players grow this season because I think the talent level of these young players over the next 2-3 seasons will prove to be much greater then last season's group when we had 10-11 19 year olds on the roster.

Anonymous said...

I agree, if you can keep this team intact, just think of could be exciting this year. With this years experience, the next two/three years will be awesome. Keep them intact...

Anonymous said...

I have some concern about this season. The team is too young and quite a lot smaller than last year. Dump and chase does not seem to generate the same kind of scoring chances with these guys and right now the offense is pitiful.

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