Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fatigue a factor in February losses

  • Fourteen games in 24 days took it's toll on the Kelowna Rockets. Against elite competition you have to be mentally and physically sharp. It would be fair to say the Rockets had neither for an extended period of time over the weekend in back-to-back losses to the Kamloops Blazers. The effort was there but the mistakes were uncharacteristic of a team that has earned 42 wins this season. Bad decisions with and without the puck followed by undisciplined penalties go hand in hand with fatigue. No question the Blazers were the better team on the weekend, but in saying that the Rockets were just not sharp on so many levels. 
  • Passing up grade 'A' scoring opportunities, making one extra move and then losing the puck and bad passing were common place, not just over the weekend both honestly over the last four games. The Rockets were able to earn wins over Everett over the last week despite the sluggish play, but against elite teams like Kamloops, you get exposed for the discrepancies in your game. 
  • The good news is the Rockets have essentially five days away from game action. Taking time away from the rink will be valuable for this team, with short practices scheduled to work on key elements of their game. 
  • When you lose five of your last 7, the worst thing is questioning yourself and your teammates around you. Just realize a tough stretch of games is now behind you and get back to the foundation that brought you success. Four line hockey where everyone is attacking. It has existed for five months and isn't something you lose over five games. You don't score over 240 goals and call it a fluke. You don't win over 40 games and consider yourself lucky.
  • The Blazers impress me with their puck possession and speed game. This weekend though, they really impressed me with their attention to detail defensively. While the Rockets had little moxie in the offensive zone, the Blazers ability to move into shooting lanes and block shots was impressive. It is a facet of their game I honestly didn't think existed. While their blue line receives less than rave reviews, the forwards commitment to helping out is admirable.
  • Blazers d-man Joel Edmundson impressed me. The 19 year-old scored a shorthanded goal but also found himself - twice - in good scoring areas after jumping up into the play.
  • Tyson Baillie stepped out of his comfort zone Saturday night by getting into a fight with Blazers forward Chase Suoto. It was Baillie's first fighting major of the season. The 17 year-old also delivered several solid hits including sending JC Lipon to the ice in the second period. If you are a player struggling to find the back of the net, bring something else to the table in an effort to help the team win. Baillie did that in spades. Impressive.
  • While crowds are down at Prospera Place this season, the team managed to attract a sell out Saturday night. It is the 5th sell out this season. 


fax said...

Hey Regan ...Any chance that Whistle might get a start or two against the Blazers

In three of the four games against the "elite" teams in the West, Cooke gave up an AWFUL goal within the first two minutes - tough to spot teams a one-zip lead seconds into play

Regan Bartel said...

I would like to see him play one game against the Blazers before the seasonal series is over. Cooke is the #1 goalie, but a new look wouldn't hurt. Have to score more than one goal though regardless of how many 'bad' ones the goalie gives up.

g.k said...

I hope your right about the fatigue factor Regan because this team hasn't looked right in about 2 weeks. I believe they may have let there "elite status" go to their heads a bit & got a little cocky, I think its a temporary thing & they'll be fine by the playoffs!! I heard at the rink last night that Rigby & Wheaton are done for the remainder of the season, do you know if thats a fact?

Regan Bartel said...

It's official now. Rigby and Wheaton done for the season with shoulder surgery.