Thursday, March 5, 2009

Big Benn's Alarm Bells Silenced

  • For an average players, going five games without a goal does not set off alarm bells. But Jamie Benn is not your average player. Benn's personal alarm was likely going off Wednesday night prior to a game against Spokane, yet the 19 year-old silenced that ringing in his ear by scoring his 40th and 41st goals of the season leading the Rockets to a 4-1 win over the Spokane Chiefs.
  • Benn is now 9 goals shy of 50 for the season with 6 games to play. Can he reach fifty goals? A couple of two goal efforts gives him a legitimate shot at becoming the first Rockets player since Justin Keller to reach the prestigious mark.
  • As a comparison, Chuck Kobasew scored 41 goals in 55 games in 2001-2002. Benn scored his 41st goal in his 50th game.
  • Benn elected to get into a scrap with Drayson Bowman in the second period. Why two-40 goal scorers would scrap and centre ice is beyond me, but the one-sided tilt left Bowman bloodied and leaving the ice for repairs. My only fear in a fight like that is the possibility of either player suffering a broken hand or broken knuckle. To lose one of those two players for an extended period of time at this time of the season would be a huge blow to their chances of a long playoff run. One player does not make a team, yet Benn and Bowman are exceptional talents that need to do what they do best - score goals.
  • Outside of the line of Long, Benn and Backlund, I wasn't impressed with the other three forward units. It's nice to see that unit 'step up' and virtually lead the team to the win, but in a seven game playoff series the Rockets need to come at teams in waves. If the 'one trick pony' approach is common place in two weeks, the chances for success is diminished.
  • Mark Guggenberger was rock solid. How about the right bad save he made off of Drayson Bowman on a back-door feed from Jared Spurgeon in the 3rd period. Beautiful! The Rockets veteran netminder shook off a bad goal he allowed to Brady Calla on a sharp angle shot and was 'Steady Eddie' the rest of the way.
  • The win was no cake-walk for the Rockets. The Chiefs challenged the home team for the full 60 minutes. At no time was I comfortable with the Rockets two goal, which turned into a three goal lead. I thought the Chiefs played hard considering they were without 4 defenseman. Take four defenseman out of the Rockets lineup and what would you get? Would the team play with the same ferocity as the Chiefs exhibited Wednesday night. If the visitors were feeling sorry for themselves, they sure didn't show it.
  • I had a great chat with Chiefs head coach Hardy Sauter before the game on the situation Saturday against the Tri City Americans. I will post that interview here.
  • The Rockets didn't play this one with Kyle St. Denis. St. Denis is out with a head injury and was unable to go. St. Denis is day-to-day, meaning he could play Friday in Chilliwack if he feels healthy enough. Video replay screens are now in place at Prospera Place. Here's a pic of the flat-screen TV which gives you an overhead shot of the two goals and a camera situated at centre ice which follows the action. Here's another pic of the monitor being used by off-ice officials. In both the left and right hand corners of the screen you will notice the time clock. Obviously that is vital. Not only did the puck go in, but was it scored in time? The new video replay room means visiting broadcasters at Prospera Place will find things a little tighter. Spokane Chiefs play-by-play voice Mike Boyle isn't sure he likes the new seating arrangement. I am not sure I like those red soxs? You won't noticed them, but this is a pic of one of the camera's mounted on a beam high above one of the nets at Prospera Place.


Jasperoni said...

I don't understand Huska's coaching style. The lines were starting to gel and then he switches them up.

Backlund-Almond-Duval were playing well and building chemistry. Benn-Long-Novotny also didn't look bad recently. And the one I'm really unimpressed to see break up is our checking line of Callahan-Gogol-E. Bloodoff. With St. Denis, we also had a solid fourth line with Grantham and L. Bloodoff pitching in.

A loss in Red Deer and a bit of a slump by Benn means we should blow the team up before the playoffs? Poor coaching decision in my eyes. All players/lines go through slumps, and they come out stronger when you let them work things out on their own.

Sure, we beat Spokane. But how much of that can we contribute to ourselves? Spokane only dressed FOUR defensemen. Bowman spent the remainder of the second period getting stitched up and their powerplay was beyond pathetic. The goal posts were also wearing Rocket's colours last night.

Pick the lines that worked, and leave them alone.

hocus_lopez said...

Benn and Long have had strong years but I think the team has been struggling all year to find a replacement for Leovold. That threesome was deadly last year. The chemistry was unmatched, and they dominated many a game.

IMO, the play of Blacklund on that line (since he's become comfortable with the WHL style of play) has been a good addition. Blacklund aside, I believe the only player this season that's come close to complimenting that line was St. D, but his health has been the real story this year.

The way this team is set up one of the four lines will be responsible for carrying the offensive load each game. The opposition cannot shut down all four lines, and IMO, each line has the potential for lighting the lamp every night.

Despite some questionable losses to some bottom feeders, this team is starting to look very formidable. The goaltending has looked much improved, we have four solid defensemen in Barrie/Dowzak/Bowman/McMillian, and the forawrds are some of the best in the CHL. I believe this is one one the hottest teams going into the post season, and they are going to be very tough to beat.

entropyyy said...

My question is when do these cameras take affect? playoffs? now? next season?

entropyyy said...

to compliment my post above,i mean when are they going to start "going upstairs" on things is the better way to say it.

Regan Bartel said...

Game one of the playoffs. March 20th at puck drop.

Rocketwatcher said...

Jasperoni you are not alone in trying to figure out what Huska is doing with his combinations. I can see juggling if guys are hurt or sick but when he breaks up effective units like the checking line and the other combinations it just makes you shake your heads. And you can see by the number of missed passes out there how the kids respond.