VS Prince George:
Dylan Bumbarger, community blogger
Potential is there for this to be the best forward group of the Mike Johnston era. Which is really impressive, obviously.
Scott Sepich piece
The result is a far cry from five years ago, when Piper and Johnston first arrived to a franchise in disarray on and off the ice.
“That first game I saw I was surprised at how much work it was going to take to achieve something like this,” Piper said. “But we had a plan to achieve this. We have an owner (Bill Gallacher) who gave us the resources we needed, and Mike really came in and fixed the hockey side of things.”
I sure would hate to be a crossbar in this game - how many times did both teams ring pucks off of the iron? Sure seemed like quite a few.
The game kind of seemed like one of those long church services with all that stand / sit / stand / sit. It's probably a decent way to burn off the junk food that your average fan consumed during the evening.
More thoughts on the weekend below.
real time fan discussion
Seattle Times piece
“I pushed it forward and had no idea it was going to run like that,” Barzal said. “If I would have pushed it any harder it would have been a dump in. I had a move coming in, but that caused me to get in a little too tight with my mixup and I had to change it.”
Barzal admitted he was surprised when he heard his name called to open the shootout.
“A little bit, because we have a lot of talent on this team,” Barzal said. “Coming in, I knew I was ready and I’d been practicing it a little bit.”
Barzal video piece
That Barzal kid should be fun to watch for the next few years.
The Powerplay should be interesting to watch in the early going. All 4 defenseman who played PP shifts are gone, with only one of them expected to return. I'm not sure if Cederholm, Haar, or Texeria played PP on their teams last year, but they've never done it in this league, or with this group of guys. I know that Hanson & Veviros haven't had much PP time either. I'm optimistic that things will develop, but it might take time.
Brendan Burke as looked good early. I would use the word 'calm' - which is one of the main things you are looking for.
One thing I paid close attention to is how did the game go for guys fighting for roster spots / ice time. With 4 regular forwards, and one D man currently out, who played this weekend that makes room? (a picture that is a little clearer now).
- Layne Veverios - dude went out and sniped his first career goal, and completed the Gordie Howe hat trick defending a dirty hit on Garret Haar. These are exactly the kind of things that keep a guy in the lineup.
- Zach Paterson - Didn't play on Friday, and I didn't get a feel for how his Saturday went. Is it better to play a larger role on a Junior A team, or get in 40 games in the Dub?
- Steven Alldridge - this guy impressed me in training camp, but there's just not really any open forward spots on this team. He also fought a guy, in the kind of situation that warrants such a thing.
- Ethan Price - He had a good weekend - currently tied for 2nd in rookie scoring. You know that I'm his biggest fan, but he's had a great start to his WHL career. Its going to be hard for a 16 year old forward to get a regular shift on this team, but he's making his case.
- Alex Schoenborn - I still think he's got a shot at that top line, didn't hit the scoresheet (4 PIM). Seems like he's making an extra effort to be psychical - including after the whistle. Seems to me that he's attempting to deliver that same message of doing whatever it takes to stay in the lineup.
As of Sunday morning, we know that Brendan Leipsic is en route to Portland, and will be available for Tuesday's game VS Tri-Cities. We know that Paul Bittner is out with a broken finger, which I'd guess is a 6 week deal. We know that Joe Mahon is now a Hitman.
That's +1 forward, but -2, so there's still opportunities for these kids to make an impression. You can bet that when McColgan & Turgeon get healthy, they'll both be playing significant roles. Should be fun to watch, and its a great problem to have as a team.