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10.29.2014

A comment / Question from a reader

This was just posted as a comment on another post, but I thought it was such a great question / thought, it deserved it's own place.

Montague Pei said...

It's been quiet on here for some time, so perhaps I can get a discussion going on the T-Birds. From watching the last number of games, I notice that the first line is always playing about every second shift. Not only that but because of the numerous penalties that are allocated in junior hockey, these first line guys are constantly on the power play, the penalty kill and their regular shift. Instead of playing a 4 lines rotation, they continually use those guys all the time, where at some point, they will wear down. I noticed it the last few games, where in the third period, that line was worn out so tired. Not only does this type of line change wear guys down, it also leaves them vulnerable to injury, which we cannot afford to have happen. The style of play of this team, as being directed, reminds me of the Vancouver Canucks last year under a different coach. Their first line of Sedin, the new coach had them killing penalties, the power play, blocking shots and a regular shift. What happened??? These guys had the worst year of offense in their careers and they got hurt. 

With the type of play with our first line and these guys leaving to play World Juniors, by Christmas or in January, they will be so beat up, that when the crunch comes, they are playing way below their level.

We have to start rolling all our lines. I understand that we are trying to get a build up of points early in the season, but this can all crumble later on. It's a long season, take time to develop all our young guys... Just thinking and wanting comments on this ...

16 comments :

Mr Tell13 said...

Well I would start by comparing the situations of Konowalchuck and Torterella to be a bit a stretch....

You are right about the lines, I would go so far as sayign that the coach is basically rolling 2 linesthe Barzal line and Eansor line and sprinkle the other guys around.

IMO it come from 2 factors.
- Close games, Either leading or trailing by 1 -2 goals and momentum is huge. Did True or Baltram prove they are reliable (as of now)in theses situation? or Spencer? You get your best guys out there to give yourself the best chance to win.

- Theodore not back. Once he is back in the lineup, it will probably aleviate some pressure off the 2 top lines as the tbirds will be able to control momentum a bit more.

just my 2 cents

Montague Pei said...

In response to the last comment, I do agree to a point, where you put out the best guys to win. However, this is Junior hockey and a team has to develop a plan to achieve the ultimate which is the Memorial Cup.

Let's face the honest facts, trying to win games now, by wearing out your top line or subjecting them to injury at this stage of the schedule is probably not the best way to evaluate a team.

Major Junior hockey must be planned as in the case of the last few years of Portland. The goal for the T-Birds is not this year. It should be for next year and the year after. When Barzel, Gropp are drafted, they will NOT be playing NHL next year, they will be back.

One has to build for next year and one to see what you have is to roll all the lines. Give the young kids the experience NOW and give the first line the rest, the stamina to last and avoid injury.
Who knows, perhaps by rolling all the lines, the team starts playing as a team, not one line and part of another.

By playing them all, you will see what you have and then can make good educated decisions on the moves needed to improve for next year, or perhaps you already have that, but one never knows until they are tried, tested and see what shakes out.

As you have stated, " Did Baltram or True prove they are reliable" Hey, I don't know, as they are probably not used enough to find out. Right now,I would say not, but you have to use them to find out for sure. That is what this season is about, can they make the grade or not. You don't find out in one or two games.

I wasn't comparing t-bird coach to canuck coach, just the similarities in the coaching style.

However, in closing, by playing all lines, one can see who is capable of success for next year, and where to improve. Hey, who knows, perhaps by playing all lines, they may surprise us all this year...

But your comments are well taken, Mr. Tell13...thank you

Montague Pei said...

In response to the last comment, I do agree to a point, where you put out the best guys to win. However, this is Junior hockey and a team has to develop a plan to achieve the ultimate which is the Memorial Cup.

Let's face the honest facts, trying to win games now, by wearing out your top line or subjecting them to injury at this stage of the schedule is probably not the best way to evaluate a team.

Major Junior hockey must be planned as in the case of the last few years of Portland. The goal for the T-Birds is not this year. It should be for next year and the year after. When Barzel, Gropp are drafted, they will NOT be playing NHL next year, they will be back.

One has to build for next year and one to see what you have is to roll all the lines. Give the young kids the experience NOW and give the first line the rest, the stamina to last and avoid injury.
Who knows, perhaps by rolling all the lines, the team starts playing as a team, not one line and part of another.

By playing them all, you will see what you have and then can make good educated decisions on the moves needed to improve for next year, or perhaps you already have that, but one never knows until they are tried, tested and see what shakes out.

As you have stated, " Did Baltram or True prove they are reliable" Hey, I don't know, as they are probably not used enough to find out. Right now,I would say not, but you have to use them to find out for sure. That is what this season is about, can they make the grade or not. You don't find out in one or two games.

I wasn't comparing t-bird coach to canuck coach, just the similarities in the coaching style.

However, in closing, by playing all lines, one can see who is capable of success for next year, and where to improve. Hey, who knows, perhaps by playing all lines, they may surprise us all this year...

But your comments are well taken, Mr. Tell13...thank you

Jon said...

I ran out of time yesterday to post my thoughts on this, so here they are today.

At the beginning of the season, I actually had this same question. But as the season has progressed, I actually think the lines are rolling along nicely.

I dont agree that the top two lines are the ones you always see. The last couple games, the top three lines have been rolled one after the other. Baltram and True have been seeing the ice regularly. The cool thing I like to see is the 4th line. When they get rolled out there, they come out bust their butts, and get off the ice. Very fun to watch.

The other thing I wanted to point out is the length of shifts. I have noticed that the Birds have been taking very short shifts. So this may give the appearance that it is the same guys out there all the time.

For tonights game against Edmonton, I will try my hardest to run ice time on Barzal and True, just to see how things compare out.

Tyler Smith said...

I know this is off topic to the post, but I still wanted to throw it out there anyways:

13 games into the season and so far my hunch regarding the Wardley/Henry thing has proven correct.

Lets do a side by side comparison:

Wardley: 4 games; ZERO Points; a game against Kelowna with three penalties (two of which were horrible on his part) that might have cost us the win; and a 7 game suspension.

Henry: 10 games for Saskatoon; only 2 penalties; and EIGHT Points

And what are we going to get back from Wardley after his return? Either a more conservative player (fearing another big suspension) defeating the purpose of keeping him in the first place, or a non-conservative player eventually resulting in another large suspension (probably longer than 7 game having a "history").

Now in fairness to Wardley, he does still have time to prove me wrong (and honestly I hope he does), but if my hunch is as spot on moving forward as it has been so far, things are not looking good.

Thunnex said...

Comparing point production between Wardley and Henry is never going to be a fair fight.

Not to mention we're talking about a 4 game sample size for Wardley.

It's a bit early to declare even the smallest of victories on that one.

Tyler Smith said...

Well honestly the 4 game sample size for Wardley is part of the point... It should be a 10 game sample size for him which would be exactly the same as Henry in Saskatoon.

Thunnex said...

Still represents 13.8% of the season and compares apples to oranges.

You might turn out to be right but what Wardley brings as far as defensive intimidation isn't something that is going to show up on a WHL scoresheet.

Tyler Smith said...

Fair enough. And like I said at the end of the post, Wardley still has plenty of time to prove me wrong (which like I said, I hope he does), but I'm just calling up what I've mentioned in the past has so far turned out to be true.

Yes it is only 13.8% of the season, but as the season stands right now he has missed 71.4% of games (10 of 14 including today, 50% of which is due to suspension).

So I guess the real question is at what point does Wardley's missing games create the opinion that it wasn't worth keeping him? I.e. How many games must he play in the season?

If he plays 75% of the season games that means he would play in 54 games and miss 18. So far he has missed 10 (including today). That means for the remainder of the season he can only miss 8 games (I'm not counting injuries of course). Another hit like the one on Petan could easily result in 8+ games now, so is having Wardley dress on less than 75% of regular season games worth it when he misses 25% or more due to suspension?

I guess this all comes down to a matter of opinion.

hockeyhound said...

Mr Tell if you want a slight chance of making the playoffs you better be playing your top two line more than the third an fourth. There isn't a team in any sport that doesn't do that . I agree that this is a development league but it is also a business and you need to put people in seats.

Marc S said...

Did anyone have a good view of Barzal's short handed shot tonight? I sit in section 104 so I had the goalie in my sight line. I didn't hear any iron after Barzal shot.

Thunnex said...

I had a pretty good view. Clear post and out. No goal. Wasn't surprised they didn't take very long to review.

Jon said...

From behind the net the puck definitely came back out across the goalline. Never saw it cross though.

Tyler Smith said...

When I saw it live (sitting behind the net) I originally thought the puck hit the far post and came right back out (never crossing the line). Even before they reviewed it I was telling people around me there was no way it went in the net. To me, the angle and speed at which the puck came out was another telling factor that it never crossed the line. People in the stadium were pissed because from the camera angle they were showing the review from made it look like it went in, but I think it was just a trick played by the angle and the white ice. I'm 100% positive that if we were to watch the review from the overhead camera we would all agree that it never went in.

On a side note, I know I've probably made one too many comments about it already, but did Wardley look like he wanted another suspension? He obviously got the 10 min. misconduct but there was another play where he went to hit a Vancouver player and the way he lead looked very similar to the hit he through on Petan, he just happened to miss this time. I honestly think contact made on that one hit could have resulted in suspension.

Thunnex said...

He's not going to change his game and quite frankly I don't think he should.

ericaberry2001 said...

I agree that Wardley plays right on the edge, but I also think that's what makes him effective. Yep, he's got a target on his back this year - but that's what happens when you hit with intensity.

Don't get me wrong...if he was on another team, I'd would haaaaaaate him. :)

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