Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rockets effort puts damper on Wudrick's debut

  • It's not often the Kelowna Rockets give up 44 shots to the opposition on home ice, but Wednesday night was one of those rare occasions. The Portland Winterhawks fired 19 shots on goal in the first period alone in a 4-2 road win. Goaltender Adam Brown was the only reason why the Rockets had a legitimate chance of sending the game into overtime after a Geordie Wudrick goal late in the third period. Brad Ross ended any hope with an empty netter for the Hawks 16th win of the season.

  • The Hawks dominated play in the first period specifically. The majority of the period was played inside the Rockets zone to a degree I have not seen this season. It appeared that the Hawks simply wanted the puck more than the Rockets did. After speaking to head coach Ryan Huska after the game it only confirmed what I saw. While the visitors were good, the home team was just that bad.

  • Huska credited 18 year-old Cody Chikie for being the teams best forward. He also suggested that some veteran forwards may have to sit out this weekend to get the message across that their sub-par work ethic won't be tolerated.

  • The Hawks were no where near this dominant when these two teams played one another Saturday night in Portland. Getting to loose pucks first, pin point passing and very few defensive miscues resulted in a solid effort by the road team. It's been suggested that the Hawks play better on the road than they do at home. I am buying into that theory after what I saw Wednesday.

  • Geordie Wudrick made his Rockets debut and didn't disappoint. Wudrick started the game with veterans Brandon McMillan and Kyle St. Denis, but neither had strong games to support what Wudrick was wanting to accomplish. As expected Wudrick worked hard, initiated contact and scored his first goal in a Rockets uniform in the third period after a breakaway pass from teammate Tyson Barrie. Wudrick ends the game a minus 2, but one of those goals that was scored against him was the empty netter from Hawks forward Brad Ross.

  • Wudrick's goal was his first in 12 games. He was do.

  • Give the Hawks credit for staying out of the penalty box. The Rockets were handed no power play chances after two periods before getting three chances in the third.

  • Rockets forward Curt Gogol again found himself involved in a fight, this time with Hawks enforcer Tayler Jordon. Jordon is 6'6 and 200 pounds while Gogol is just 6'0, 178 pounds. Giving up 20 pounds and 6 inches in a scrap is almost unheard of...unless your name is Curt Gogol.

  • The Rockets have now lost 4 straight and are 0 and 9 against American based teams this season.

  • The Rockets slipped into 7th in the Western Conference with the loss. Technically they are tied for 8th with Kamloops, but are granted 7th because of more wins.

  • The Rockets gave up 44 shots on goal, the most this season. The previous high was 37 given up opening night against Vancouver.
  • The Rockets have not given up that many shots in one game since giving up 48 shots on goal on the road in Vancouver September 30, 2007 in a 5-0 loss.


Ryan said...

Regan, any chance you can ask the color guy to at least be somewhat critcal, aka HONEST when speaking about the game? Fans arent idiots. I mean I couldnt belive it when he was talking about Corbin's giveway. He comment was, "at least he skated hard to try and get back". Gimme a break, it was a bonehead play once again. I get you guys are scared to have these guys upset with you but when a team loses 4 straight and the same guys are screwing up over and over again, the radio guys need to address things honestly.

Regan Bartel said...

I'll let Gord handle that question if he wishes. He reads this blog.

Gord McGarva said...


Thanks for your insight.

Personally, I do not think it is necessary to jump all over a 17 year old rookie Defenseman playing in the 19th game of his career.

Corbin plays about 10-15 minutes per game. Total time on the ice in WHL games would be between 180 minutes and 270 minutes, or roughly 3-4 ½ hours of playing time, with some of those games played at the forward position.

In regards to Antoine Corbin’s give away; it was not a good play for a WHL defenseman. I am certain Antoine was made aware of his mistake by the coaching staff and will learn from it. I distinctly remember a game in Vancouver last season when a cross ice pass from the defensive zone was intercepted and resulted in the game winning goal. Did that player make that mistake again the rest of the year? Not that I recall, and I believe it was a turning point for that 17 year old defenseman.

Bad give away by Corbin, yes. Did I try to sugar coat it with the fact that he hustled back to make up for a mistake? You could say that.

I don’t think I am “scared” of having the players upset with me. (Although I would not want Gogol or Callahan to drop the gloves when I am around) I just prefer to stay positive as all WHL hockey players are young men playing hard and trying to move to the next level.

Thanks for listening to the broadcast and taking the time to comment, you have given me something to think about in future broadcasts.

Gord McGarva

rockets_fan said...


Huska is blaming alot of the 19 year olds for not pulling their weight. Well, you have to agree this is the worse defensive core the rockets have ever had. And with that in mind, the rockets have no transition game what so ever.

I would blame alot of it on the recruiting process. There is not one defenseman (excluding Barrie) that will ever get a sniff at the NHL Draft or even get invited to an NHL Camp.

Now grant it that some of the players are not 100% (i.e. flue stricken players like Bloodoff/Barrie/St.Denis/MAcmillan/ etc.

I like the play of Wudrick, thought St.Denis set him up a couple of times for him to get at least 2 or 3 good chances.

Also liked the play of Chiki.. just determination.

divad said...

I like what i saw from new forward Wudrick i think when he settles in he will bring more grit... speaking of grit is matheson able to perform at the whl level he sure is a waste of a spot in the roster if he does not hit does not score.never creates energy with a big hit or a scrum after the play is he untouchable on that team? why is gogol the only one stepping up we do not have a big team so the big player have to play to their size i just wish chickie an ito were 6 feet tall...damn we are small comoare to those winter hawks

Ryan said...

Huska is chucking the vets under the bus big time and should be worried about how they react. How can these guys expect to have success with a back-end that is so poor. Not blaming those 5 guys on D, they just arent ready and arent very good. They killed schooled in their own end shift after shift and the forwards are scrambling to help out and never receive anything close to a pass on the tape. Hopefully the new OA will help with this.

Regan Bartel said...

It's not throwing a veteran under the bus when they are not living up to expectations. Who should he go after...the 16 year-olds?

Ryan said...

Missing the point Regan. How can the forwards get anything going when they are helping out the D and trying to compensate for such a lousy D corps? If 16 yrs old are okay to praise, they are ok to criticize. Cant have it both ways. Besides did I say criticize them? If the players who have caused the loses are rookies or 16 and your rile is to not be negative, then why go after guys who dont deserve it? Man, that makes sense.Have you watched Chapman, Jobke, Corbin, play yet? Are we supposed to ignore their play because they are rookies? Huska keeps playing them all the time so if the coach is ok with throwing them out there, people are going to evaluate their play.

Please tell me what St Denis, McMillian, McColgan are supposed to do that they havent been? Callahan is about the only guy that deserves to have a seat. Perhpas they will ignore the Ducks and play Brandon back on D where he clearly belongs.

David's Color Comments said...

I couldn't have said it better myself Regan!


I totally agree with Ryan's comments. Regan so what if the players are 16 year olds. You ever watch the way Don Hay coaches? He will lean into anyone 20 year old or 16 year old. At my job, my co worker who is 10 years younger gets treated the same as I. It\s a team effort. You see MclogLan lose the draw and not tie up his man? Hay would of spoken to him. Mcloglan skated to the bench and nothing was said.

Two things I see here:

a) #1 Problem is Defense. We just got another forward, why aren't we recruiting or trading for D men?

b) Huska has to remember there were/are players that have had the flue and are just getting over it. Regan you and Huska lets show some respect. People have died from this flue and our players are giving it all.

c) Where is the leadership from the players wearing the LETTERS? With the ice time MacMillan is getting he should be averaging 3-4 points a night.

d)This weekend is a good weekend to get all the players on the same bench and motivate the team. Lets not be selfish and penalize the 19 year olds.

e) Regan you dont think a coach should be talking to a 16 or 17 year old player. Well just look whats happening in Toronto with Schenn. Talk is to send him down to the minors. his ice time has dropped from 20 minutes a game to 13 minutes. So if your coaching him you would not talk to him cause he's only 19 year old.

Regan Bartel said...

I am not saying the coaches shouldn't talk to the younger players, give them guidance or slap them on the wrist, but Huska doesn't publically call them out. The coaches do a very good job of sitting down with the young players and pointing out errors through video and suggesting ways to improve.



whats your thoughts on the recruiting of our defensemen? I totally agree with one of the blogs above where with the exception of Barrie, not one D man is NHL draftable material.

puckhog said...

Regan and or Mr. Hamilton....Kelowna has been playing with smoke and mirrors since the start of the season. Our goaltending has been respectable and we don;t nee Gugg's (although many thanks for last year). Our defence is in dire need of an experienced defenceman that is 20 years old. If Myers returned this would not be an issue. This defence corps will look fine next year but too many young players to carry the play out of their zone is asking too much. Our forwards play a perimter game. Last years team and previous years teams always paid the price in the blue paint. If you view our goals to date we scored many from 20 or more feet. We can't even tip a shot from the point like the previous teams. We are unfortunetly too predictable.

Regan Bartel said...

Can't argue with past history right? As for this crop, I believe Colton Jobke is going to be a good d-man...I really do. I believe a good portion of the young guys will be yet they are being exposed because they are often playing against the other teams top or second line and playing big minutes..Jobke likely the most of the young d-men. In years past Jobke would get a handful of shifts a game and slowly would get up to speed with the pace of the game at the WHL level. What you are seeing now is the difference from the BCHL to the WHL. Jobke and Chapman were BCHL players last season and the jump is especially huge for a defenseman. As Bruce Hamilton said on our broadcast last night they would love to bring in a veteran defenseman, but one that can play, not one that is marginally better than what the team has. I just don't want to be critical of one, if not the youngest defensive cores in the league. A new team,a new league, a new school with new billets...the changes for these guys are huge. I think most readers of this blog understand that. I hope in a year from now we can look back and say "man has Jobke, Chapman and Corbin come a long way since we saw them as 17 year-olds".

Gord McGarva said...

Patience is needed Rocket Fans.

In last night's game the Rockets had three 17 year olds, two 18 year olds, and one 16 year old on defense. Not that I had a problem with the defense last night.

On another note, do not mistake high level coaching methods with "throwing people under the bus".

Check out the banners above the ice surface. Coach Ryan Huska and his coaching staff obviously know what they are doing.

Jared Comeau said...

Man...Whats up Rocket Fans...You seem to be writing this team off because of a 4 game losing streak. There are a TON of game left to play!!! Remember, we have a young team, and this is a long time to go as a 16-17 year old whose never been away from home.

As far as i am concerned, there is no need to throw in the white towel yet. Let the kids understand what it takes to play in this league.

That being said, Bowman has been our worst veteran all year, bar none....

Andy Kemper said...

Hey Gord...
Portland wasn't much older on defense -- 1 19, 2 18's, 2 17's and 1 16 --

Just wanted to pass that along...

Andy Kemper

J.S. said...

Oh a lot of people are not liking the recruits...The BCJL is not the WHL, so let's get that straight right now...Most players that play Jr.A have big holes in their games that major junior can expose in a hurry..And before you guys jump all over the d and say they can't pass maybe our forwards should move deeper into the d zone to pick up a short pass and move it out....a lot of times the forwards are losing pucks that get fired back in on top of the d...that isn't their fault....and McGarva is right.How many players can play minimum minutes and play at their best? I like Barrie and Gogol as NHL draft picks. Bowman has struggled but has come along lately...The rest are not playing well but some of that can be ice time as well as lack of skill. Time will tell.