Friday, April 25, 2014

Cup half full or half empty?

  • Is your cup half full or half empty heading into game five of the Kelowna Rockets playoff series with the Portland Winterhawks? Down three games to one in the Western Conference final has the Rockets in a hole, but it isn't impossible to dig out of. Not for a team that won 57 times during the regular season. If this squad squeaked into the playoffs they would be done like dinner. Lets look at some areas of optimism heading into game five.
  • The Rockets must win the next three games in order to advance. Daunting when you look at the big picture, you have to remember that two of the final three games are on home ice. If I`m trailing in the series, it sure is nice to know no less than two of the games are in front of the home town crowd.
  • People across the WHL and the country anticipated this being an epic series. So make it that epic series that everyone envisioned. Fight back against the odds and show why those forecasting this series were right in the fact that it will be a fight to the bitter end.  
  • Despite being badly out-shot in game three in Portland, the Rockets should have been able to hold on for the win. A bad penalty by Marek Tvrdon late in the game allowed the Winterhawks to score with the power play to make it a one goal game before Brendan Leipsic sent the game into overtime. If the Rockets escape with the win in game three this series isn't 3-1. It is tied at two wins apiece.
  • Let's be honest here, the older players haven't been very good in this series and need to step up. If the older players were playing outstanding and still losing then you would have to be concerned. The Winterhawks have made life tough for those players, but it can be safe to say the Rockets older players haven`t made it nearly as tough on Portland's top guys. That needs to change tonight.
  • Tyrell Goulbourne, Carter Rigby and Colton Heffley should have one objective in mind tonight. All three should have no less than three significant hits. These three need to be hard on bodies and make clean-hard hits on the Winterhawks. These three have to play physical to be effective.    
  • What needs to change tonight is the Rockets must have fewer penalty minutes than the Winterhawks. That has to be a team goal. Is it coincidence that the Rockets had the exact same number of penalty  minutes as the Winterhawks in game one and won the game? If that happens, I can`t see why I am driving down the I-5 Saturday morning heading to Oregon State for game six.           


SabaShimon said...

Not to be this time, but sincere kudos to a great season Kelowna, and to a great organization. Unfortunately, you ran into a team peaking at the right moment.

Go Hawks!

Dan Aronson said...

I think you missed the most important necessary change -- respecting your opponent. Yes the Rockets had 57 regular season wins, and yes they swept the 4 games with Portland. However, each time they played, Portland was depleted. Early on, many of the Winterhawk's top players were still at NHL rookie camps (8 drafted players). At the New Year's meetings, 4 of their top six scorers were away at the U-18 Worlds, and a fifth (Leipsic) was in the midst of serving a 7 game suspension. And to top it off, the Winterhawks had not yet traded for NHL'r Matt Dumba or Corbin Boes, who was the obvious game-changer in the series. The bottom line is that Kelowna fully underestimated Portland, and for some reason, that mindset never changed during the Conference Finals. Instead, Kelowna kept up its [false] bravado, thinking that they were the ones to beat. Winners understand that there is a time to be humble and give the other guy his due. Losers often don't.