Monday, December 29, 2008

'Giant' Effort Comes Up Short

  • It could be suggested that defenseman Collin Bowman should be wearing the goat horns after this one, but lets remember that there were missed chances at the other end of the ice that were also costly. Sure Bowman’s ill advised cross ice pass was the direct result of the game winning goal by Giants forward Mike Piluso with 2:46 left on the clock, but missed chances such as a two on none between Colin Long and Brandon McMillan in the first period that didn’t even result in a shot on goal was equally as damaging.
  • Bowman may have been a - 2 at the end of the night, but up until his cross ice pass, he was one of the Rockets best defenseman. Bowman and Tysen Dowzak were especially good on the penalty killing unit limiting the Giants to just one power play goal on seven chances.
  • The Rockets power play struck for two goals, but it was the players that scored them that tickled my fancy. Evan Bloodoff was willing to fight for position to deflect a point shot to open the scoring and then Mitchell Callahan’s chip shot at the right of Giants goaltender Tyson Sexsmith gave the visitors a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
  • If the game was a race between two well conditioned athletes, the Rockets would have won the 100 meter dash while the Giants would have won the marathon. The Rockets were the better team in the opening 20 minutes but the Giants slowly took over the play as the game went on. The shot clock is a good indicator of that. The Giants out-shot the Rockets 29-10 in the final 40 minutes.
  • Kris Lazaruk was acquired to come up big in the ‘big game’, and didn’t disappoint Monday night. Lazaruk, named the games second star, faced 29 shots over the final 40 minutes and had no chance on the tying power play goal from Craig Shira with 8 minutes left in the third or the game winner, which was arguably the ugliest goal of the game.
  • Overall the work ethic displayed Monday night was an extension of what we saw Saturday in a shootout win against Kamloops. Yet this time Mitchell Callahan, Evan Bloodoff and Tysen Dowzak become more involved in the play.
  • I don’t want too, but I have too. The officiating in this game was….not good. Mitchell Callahan getting fingered to the penalty box for goaltender interference midway through the second period was a joke, and the non-call where a Rockets player was tripped and went flying into the air (aka Bobby Orr) with the goaltender pulled and the puck in the Giants zone was laughable. I don’t even want to mention the referee’s names. If you’re interested, check the score sheet.
  • Moose Jaw Warriors GM Chad Lang was watching last night’s game closely. Might he be a seller at the trade deadline? I know of one player the Rockets should watch closely when the Warriors pay a visit Saturday night – overage forward Joel Broda. Broda has 26 goals in 34 games this season. What’s most impressive about Broda’s goal total is only 4 of his 26 are on the power play.
  • In an unrelated note, Claude Lemiuex is attempting to make an NHL comeback at the age of 43 with the San Jose Sharks. It makes me wonder if a much younger Jeff Finley - age 41 - may also consider the bold move? Me thinks not.
  • If Vancouver Giants head coach Don Hay ever submitted his name to coach the Canadian world junior team, would he not automatically be handed the job?


Jess Rubenstein said...

If Vancouver Giants head coach Don Hay ever submitted his name to coach the Canadian world junior team, would he not automatically be handed the job?

If he wasn't then I for one would love to give him Team USA's HC position

Rocketwatcher said...

I thought Bowman would have learned his lesson in the second when he cleared the puck up the middle and got picked off? Did any of the coaches land on him then? Didn't look like it on the game winning gift....Hickey would be a great addition even at a first round price....not every first rounder pans out like him..... Would the team recover from a series of trades in time to steamroll their playoff opponents?? These coaches are not getting the best out of the kids we have now...why would it be different with new blood? This is not a third period team and as long as the team shortens up early and often, it never will be...The NFL did not take long to address under achievment this year...Will the Rockets? This team should be doing better.....I promise to lighten up if we go on a ten game tear....Happy New Year everybody...

Ryan said...

Come on now Regan, we know you dont like to call guys out but your credibility is questioned if you actually believe what you just wrote. You are saying that a 2 on 1 in the first period is EQUALLY damaging than a d-man making a cross-ice pass with less than 3 mins left in a game that results in a goal? Come on, that is just dumb. The guy made a bonehead play that cost his team the game, it happens. He will get over it, but lets not sugarcoat the significance of a play like that. I have never heard of a forward getting benched for a missed 2 on 1, but we have seen it hundreds of times in hockey for a guy making that play.

Regan Bartel said...

I am not downplaying the fact is was a significant play in a 2-2 game. It was that play that was the result of game winner. You can't hide from that. But that said, if you watch the video replay or saw the play in the building it wasn't as if he threw the puck up the far side and it was picked off by the Giants player for a clear shot on the net. James Wright still had to stick handle away from a Rockets player, shoot it towards the goal before it was re-directed by Piluso. A recovery could still have been made. Was it a bad pass? Yes. Was it the worst turnover I've witnessed from a defenseman going cross ice? No! Will Bowman make a pass like that again? Obviously not.

entropyyy said...

the game last night through 1 period had me stunned. couldn't believe what i was watching. even being a rockets fan i was waiting to see vancouver dominate,it was a pleasant suprise. it seemed to me like they were almost nursing the 2-1 lead,which you cant do,especially to a team with as much talent as the giants. there was deffinetly a momentum shift. the rockets tried to flip the switch off and shut them down,it didnt happen so they tried to flip it back on and break the tie and they got scrambly and made mental mistakes.

Regan Bartel said...

It all comes down to depth in my opinion. The Rockets don't have it in comparison to the Giants. The Rockets can play with them for so long at a high pace, but then fatigue down the stretch when these mental mistakes are made. To address the depth issue, trades have to be made. I am not saying a host of them, but movement is needed to take quality minutes away from people so they are better both mentally and physically when the game is on the line.

Nancy said...

Regan, thanks for coming to the "defense" of my son. He is extremely disappointed in the play and in himself. It was a horrible decision that ruined one of the better performances both he and the team had against the Giants. Just hope he can move on and learn from it. He sometimes tries to hard and does not play within himself. As you know I always try to stay in the background and let my sons play and I watch but just wanted to acknowledge your comments
Mark Bowman

hocus_lopez said...

I thought the team played a great game last night. They all put in in the extra effort necessary to compete with the better teams in the league. Frankly, I'm encouraged for their playoff prospects if they continue to play and complete like that in the future (I'd also like to point out that Lazerek played a great game. His play was the most encouraging regarding the prospect of making a run in the playoffs).

If you're looking to pin the blame for the loss on an event, person, etc. I'd argue that Bowman's pass was a contributing factor. However, that's just one play in a 60 min game. Personally, I think there are other events that were more contributory towards the loss:

1) Coaching - I thought Huska was outcoached. IMO, it was a poor decision to go into a defensive shell in the second period. I acknowledge the Rockets are short on player resources (a roster of 16 skaters just isn't going to get it done), and that Huska was probably trying to save their legs by not going with a strong forecheck. But, IMO, the team doesn't have the defensive talent to play the trap for 25-30 mins. Moreover, a one goal lead, against a team like Van is not the time to implement that strategy. I thought they should have played with the same style of play that got them the early lead, not retreat into a defensive shell.

2) Power play opportunities - the officiating was terrible last night. The two refs, Laurel and Hardy, worked the Rockets. An 8 to 4 power play disparity in favor of the Giants doesn't add up. I didn't think the Rockets were guilty of as many infractions that were called. Moreover, Mrrs. Laurel and Hardey appeared to put the whistle away anytime a Giant was obstructing/tripping/tackling a Rocket. There's got to be equity with the calls, and the Rockets didn't receive any last night.

I'd also add that Hay works the heck out of the refs. When the rockets got the first two early PP goals, Hay was on the refs (to the point that they made it up to the Giants by making call after call against the Rockets until they finally scored a PP marker).

That was good bench bossing by Hay. Huska ought to take a lesson from Hay. IMO, he should have ridden the heck out of the refs once McCallahan was called on that awful Goalie interference penalty, and then again when Barrie was tripped in the final 30 secs.

3) Management - I've said it all year long, this team is too young. You cannot not expect 17 and 18 year old guys to play the mins they are being asked to play. Bowman will be a great player next year (and I say he's a darn good player this year). This should be the year for him to learn, not carry a huge load in the backend.

The chinks in the armor will continue to show in the younger players as the year/season wears on. I say shame on the Management for not addressing this problem in the off season, early season, mid-season, or now.

Finally, love him or hate him, at least Colin Joe was a D-man with experience. That's a trade that NEVER should have happened.

I hope the Rockets recover from the loss. Personally, I thought this was a great time to beat the Giants, for the young Rockets to build confidence, and to get on a roll for the second 1/2 of the season. Let's hope the loss hasn't tainted the opportunity for success.

One last point, Regan your analogy that a missed two on one is the same as an errant pass in the defensive zone is an erroneous comparision. Ryan made a very good point in this regard.

Regan Bartel said...

Mark I appreciate you sharing a comment on here. I saw Collin last night at the post game meal and he was sick about the error in judgement. He gets it though. He knows what he did wrong, which is why he is going to be a better player for it. So many players I see just don't see the error in their ways. Why are players not drafted? Because they don't realize what they are doing wrong or refuse to change. So game in and game out they do the same thing over and over again. Was Shea Weber without fault when he was on the Rockets blue line at 17? How soon we forget, yet look where he is today. If the errors are continious, I have no problem criticising that player, but when your most dependable defenseman makes an error in judgement I find no reason to dump on him. Look for Collin to bounce back from this, because it's the best players that learn quickly from an error they committed. I put Collin in that category.

Jared Comeau said...

Regan i just want to get clarification...Gord had said a few giants fans threw stuff at the rockets bench after the final this true?

Regan Bartel said...

I didn't see it but Gord said it was peanuts.