- Where did the Kelowna Rockets go? If you indeed find them tell them to come back. In the first two games of an opening round playoff series with the Seattle Thunderbirds the Rockets look anything but the team that won 52 games during the regular season. In game one they looked disjointed in a 5-4 overtime loss and frankly played even a poorer game last night in a 2-1 overtime setback. Down two games to none in this series, their is no need to panic if this team finds its game and implements the tactics that brought them success during the regular season. It is up to the players to find 'it' between now and Tuesday night as the series shifts to Seattle (Kent) for games three and four.
- Generating three shots on net in the first period just won't cut it. The Rockets had three power play chances in the opening 20 minutes and struggled mightily to get pucks to the net. They were either blocked, which the T-Birds deserve credit, or ideal shooting opportunities were instead used to pass the puck off to a teammate. The confidence level of the power play is extremely low right now yet the foundation of what made the unit one of the best in the league is still there. It appears the power play, or lack-thereof, dictates the way they play five-on-five. The power play can be a momentum builder or momentum killer. Right now, you can guess which one it is.
- As one observer said to me last night, "I sure feel bad for Jordon Cooke". I can't disagree with that comment. Cooke has been the teams best player in the first two games of the series and looks to be the only one that resembles himself from his regular season exploits.
- Right now it looks like the puck is a hot potato every time it touches a Rockets stick. Specifically the forwards don't want to handle it for a long period of time. When a forward does control it for more than ten seconds it results in an individual effort, which worked in pee-wee but doesn't cut it in major junior. When the Rockets have success, it is often two or three quick passes and up the ice they go. Those passes are maybe ten to twelve feet in length. You rarely see long bomb passes from blue line to blue line which we saw attempted far to often in the first two games.
- Cole Linaker and Henrik Nyberg were the teams best forwards Saturday night. Good on them. Both worked their tails off. Nyberg was great physically and Linaker scored the teams lone goal. But those two rookies can't be your best players in the playoffs. They can make a significant contribution but can't be the ring leaders.
- Am I worried at the 0 and 2 start? I'd be freaking out if the Rockets applied maximum effort with no results. I'd be scared if Seattle goaltender Brandon Glover was stopping everything the Rockets were firing at him. None of the above applies here. Seattle outworked the Rockets in game one, but again the effort from the home team was sporadic at best. Glover has been good, but not lights out.
- The T-Birds are playing like a loose team with nothing to lose. The Rockets look up tight and need to relax and let their natural instincts take over.
- The T-Birds d-core does deserve credit for playing physical in the first two games. They are making it hard on the Rockets forwards. You have to remember that the T-Birds d-core is as young, if not younger than the Rockets. While they don't have a 16 year-old like Riley Stadel on the back end, they have four 1995 born players. The Rockets only have two in Madison Bowey and Jesse Lees.
- The best thing for this team right now is to hop on that bus and get away. Refocusing is pivotal for the Rockets right now. While it sounds odd, the road is the best place for this team right now.
- I expect a much improved effort Tuesday and Wednesday night after games at ShoWare Centre. I plan to be back in Kent for a game six. With a solid effort by the Rockets in game three, I can't see why that isn't possible.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
That wasn't very good!
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