Monday, December 5, 2011

Things that make me go hmm...

  • So, where do we go from here? Back-to-back losses to Victoria and Prince George make you scratch your head wondering how the Rockets can look so good against Tri City (6-2 W), yet appeared lackluster in two weekend losses against teams below them in the standings. The players likely deserved a bag skate Sunday, but head coach Ryan Huska thought otherwise after consulting with his assistant coaches. Huska was shaking his head after Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Cougars and must have been tempted to skate his players right then and there. In the 70's it would have been acceptable. Not so much today.
  • Coach Huska had some great quotes on our post game show Saturday night. While not naming names, which he clearly could have, he spoke about the team not being able to fight through adversity when things are not going well. "It seems when things don't go our way than we feel sorry for ourselves and we don't dig in and don't work. We are no where near getting over a hump right now. We have a long ways to go and it's frustrating when you don't get the push from everybody. We are not asking for much. We are asking them to play simple hockey but we didn't get that the last two games".
  • When things are not going well, you look at your leading scorers to rise to the occasion. Shane McColgan, Brett Bulmer and Colton Sissons have to lead the charge. Big responsibility, right? If you want to be 'the guy', then you have to carry that burden/responsibility.
  • Do the Rockets need a shake up? A significant trade possibly? When the team is almost 30 games into the season and you have only 11 wins, you can't but consider sending a prominent player elsewhere. You don't take drastic steps by blowing it all up, but moving a player that won't buy in on the way the coaches want the team to play may be the only option.
  • I'm still waiting for Zach Franko to emerge. One goal in 12 games just won't cut it after recording 53 points last season. The only saving grace is he scored 16 goals in the month of January, February and March of last season, so their is a glimmer of hope that his game will take a turn for the better in the new year. Franko had 6+14=20 at this point one season ago before going on a tear.
  • The greatest concern for the Rockets at the start of the season was improving their defensive play. Now it is generating quality chances in the offensive zone. The team is playing a much clearer game in their own zone and the turnovers are not as plenty as what we witnessed earlier this season. What I still notice is the d-men passing the puck into the skates of the forwards. Many times this happens when the d-men are not even being pressured. Frustrating to watch. Can you imagine what it is like for the awaiting forward who has to get his head down to fish the puck out of his skates as an opponent is ready and waiting to knock him on his rear end?
  • It is interesting that many people on this blog are critical of second year d-man Damon Severson. The criticism is targeted at a player who often times turns over the puck, sometimes over handles it, which results in a breakaway for the opposition. But have you noticed his improved play at the expense of putting up points? Severson hasn't scored a goal in 13 games after scoring three times in the first 15 games but his decision making is much improved over what it was two months ago.
  • How valuable is Spencer Main? Maybe more than first thought. Out with an upper body injury since October 23rd , the 19 year-old had nine points in 12 games before the injury against the Vancouver Giants. Main has leadership qualities and is a good face-off man. Having an older player in the lineup who buys in to what the coaches expect of him is of greater value than one who is on his own plan.
  • Should the Rockets pick up Cougars forward Charles Inglis? Absolutely not. Inglis has been booted off of two teams as the result of off ice problems. You would need a strong leadership group if you were thinking of bringing in a player who is a distraction. As good as Inglis is on the ice, I wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole when it comes to a trade.
  • The Rockets seven game home stand is rare. The last time the Rockets found themselves playing seven straight at Prospera Place was during the 2008-2009 season when the team went 5-2-0-0. On this current home stand the team will be fortunate to earn a 4-3-0-0 record, that's if they can beat Lethbridge on Wednesday.
  • Why do people leave Prospera Place late in the third period when the Rockets are down by only one goal? Isn't that the best part of the game? It is like leaving a baseball game with your team down by one but the bases are loaded. I don't get it.


Sarah said...

We can only afford maybe 10 games throughout the season and also notice how 'quiet' our fans are during a close game. Agree with you Regan about fans leaving early. Maybe we should block the exits like we do at the start of the periods. What's the rush, parking isn't a problem and the bars are open till after midnight. Come on Kelowna let's support our team for a full 60 minutes.

Powerplay said...

Who are the Rockets top 6 forwards at this time, it seems very unclear to me. The Coaches move Zach Franko back to defense on the PP, then we lose a skilled guy on the second powerplay unit. Keep Franko up front where he can do damage.

StolzHockey said...

Most nights I absolutely agree fans shouldn't get up and leave right after the 50/50 and I have always stuck around to watch the three stars. But I'd be lying if I didn't think about leaving after the second period on Saturday against the Cougars.

The effort the Rockets put forth on the ice was beyond pathetic. The Cougars played like garbage, and we ended up playing down to their level and most times beneath it. One goal game or not, that Rockets team was dead in the water after the Cougars scored that first goal.

As for Severson, I still believe he has some room to grow. Kelowna fans are quick to critique the defense because we've become spoiled watching players like Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and Luke Schenn over the years. Remember Tyler Myers getting booed off the ice a few years back? Look at him now.

The one guy I can't get over is Brett "No-Heart" Bulmer? I haven't seen someone so good at floating around since Blake Comeau. While watching him this weekend, the only thought that entered my head is that he is obviously resting up for Team Canada's WJC Camp. I don't think I once saw him battle along the boards for a puck in any of the last three home games.

If I was Huska I'd let him get all the rest he wants up in the seats by Manhattan Point. Break his minutes up and give them to someone who's gonna work hard for their shifts. (Goulbourne, Baillie, Moar, Rigby, etc)

Regan Bartel said...

I appreciate you guys leaving a comment, as some appear to be new to this blog.
I asked Coach Huska on the post game show why Franko was used at the point on the power play and he said "to get him involved". My guess is Huska is seeing what I am seeing..little involvement when playing 5-on-5.

As for Severson, don't be to hard on the guy. Tyler Myers was -37 in his first two seasons with the Rockets. Severson was on the first power play as a 16 year-old last season and is a +10 in his two years here.

Powerplay said...

WHL Quarter Poll Rankings: #1-10

Ryan Murray is tops on the list despite a less than perfect start to the season.
1. D Ryan Murray – Everett

I’m giving Murray the benefit of the doubt here, because his play has slipped a bit while some other have either been stable or ramped up their play. Murray still has high hockey sense and strong work ethic, but his Everett team has struggled this year. They were not very good with him and terrible without him. Murray is currently out with a high ankle sprain that should keep him out until December. Top pairing capabilities. Last Rank: #1

2. D Matt Dumba – Red Deer

Dumba has stayed on course through the first quarter of the season. A d-man with a penchant for a big play, either through making a rush up the ice, shooting cannons from the point or delivering open ice hits. His hockey sense is still somewhat in question with me and ultimately could hold him back as being a top pairing defenseman at the pro level but he is undeniably a highlight reel waiting to happen. Last Rank: #3

3. D Morgan Rielly – Moose Jaw

Rielly answered the questioned of whether or not he could bring Moose Jaw out of the doldrums and bring them to the next level. He has been the offensive catalyst for this team from the backend and has really become a tempo setter for the Warriors. Moose Jaw currently sits 3rd in their division and are well within the playoff threshold. Rielly, unfortunately, had his season ended by a torn ACL, he likely won’t get the opportunity to be higher than this spot. Last Rank: #4

4. D Griffin Reinhart – Edmonton

Reinhart is a player that doesn’t have a lot of “wow” factor in his game, but he is solid and steady, someone you want on the ice a lot of the time. As I mentioned in the previous poll, Reinhart was going to have to take one of his skills and make it elite. Reinhart has yet to do that. He started off slowly, got suspended for a knee on knee hit, but now has his game back up to stride. Someone looking for a big minute eating Dman that can contribute at both ends of the ice will look the way of Reinhart. Reinhart slipped only because Dumba and Rielly really upped their games. Last rank: #2

5. D Derrick Pouliot – Portland

Pouliot’s season thus far has run hot and cold, much like his Portland team. Pouliot got off to a real hot start, but has tapered off a bit as Joe Morrow came back from the Penguins camp to take back his #1 spot on the team. Pouliot has some offensive ability, his real value comes as being a point man on the power play. Pouliot’s game at times seems to succumb to indifference at times. He played better when he was the #1 option than being the 2nd fiddle. Pouliot will have to be better to crack the top 4. Last Rank: #5

6. D Damon Severson – Kelowna

Severson has had a strong year so far with the Rockets, already within a point of eclipsing his point totals from last year. Severson’s points have come in bunches and then will go long stretches without getting anything. Severson’s positional play is top notch. He has already established himself as a very dependable defender. Severson is on the cusp of breaking into the top 5. Last Rank: #6

7. RW Colten Sissons – Kelowna

Sissons had a feather put in his cap to start the year by naming him captain of the Rockets. Sissons, at the very will least will be an up and down winger that finishes checks and goes to the rough areas. At most, he could become a scoring power forward. Sissons just has that look to his game that scouts love. He’s a strapping player that keeps the game simple. He definitely has that Nathan Horton thing going on for him. It will be interesting to see where he ends up. Last Rank: #11

MG said...

I recall sitting next to a guy who did nothing for a whole season but bad mouth Myers, saying he will never make it, can't on and so fouth. I told him over and over that he was the man. When that guy is at the games these days he is still pretty quite.

Severson is no Myers but he definately has potential and the coaching to mold him into a top D man.

I could see trading Brown as he can be unreal but this year hasn't looked as good. Maybe Franko ?

I agree with those who compare Bulmer to Comeau. It is frustratinig to watch. You know the guy is a stud but just doesn't put in the effort or get involved offensively or physically. I also agree that a cut in ice time may be what he needs.

One guy I really like is Rigby. He has potential. I hope he can improve his game and turn out to be a star.

jaz301 said...

There is nothing more then I hate then when fans leave early especially in a 1 goal game. Even when the score is 5-1 why leave early? You never know what you could miss.

Rockets defiantly need some kind of shake up. I don't know what, but something needs to change. I thought defense was going to be a problem this season, but it appears offense is even more of a problem.

I don't expect the rockets to win every game, but what I would like to see is for them to actually play the full 60 min every game. They need to play with more passion instead of just skating around like they don't care about the game.