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11-05-2012, 10:46 AM
  #243
Speed
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Sorry I haven't been able to post much, but 210 usually says what I would anyway

If anyone remembers my posts from last year, I was extremely critical of GM Wayne Thomas and DW in the way they handle, put together, and maintain roster's roster. Well they've shut me up (so far) this year. For the start of the season, they put together a a highly competitive team. And if there was no lockout - a top tier team, as we would only lose 1 or 2 players to SJ, while most other AHL teams would lose 4-5 players. Even when we were losing and nothing was going right - I still believed that we'd turn it around.
As Bill Ballou said in his column today - "Each of the weekend's games was great entertainment — physical, fast, fights, scoring chances, overtime, sensational goaltending." That is our team makeup. They are starting to gel. I'm not surprised its taking a little bit, as we have a fairly large turnover of players from last year. And the players that were brought in can play. What we have are players from last year that played with other guys that weren't that great and lost more than they've won, and new players that are more top tier. They're still learning to play together. Just needed to settle down a bit. While the goaltending early on didn't look so hot - it was clearly due to them trying to do way too much, and trying to bail out the team on their own.
Some observations so far in this short period:
McCarthy - he's been OK - nothing flashy, nothing outstanding. Needs to heat up.
Stalberg - Seabass is 3rd on the team in scoring. Leads the team in shots. He looks very comfortable out there - I think playing a little in the AHL the end of last year helped with his confidence. He's one of those players that looks like he's everywhere on the ice.
McLaren - he's actually one of our better penalty killers. Other than that I really don't' want to see him on the ice. He doesn't bring anything.
Matsumoto - he's been a little snake-bitten in the points department. You can see the talent's there. He's got some great moves. Just needs to find his comfort zone with his mates.
Hamilton - I think he's still trying to find his place/role on this team (and in the pros) - which is fine as it's still early.
Gogol - I think he drives us fans as crazy as the opponents. He's been a pest to other teams, and has thrown some big hits and tries to get a fire lit under the team when needed. He's been a healthy scratch a few times. He needs to even out his game. Can be invisible or out of place at times. That said, he does look improved from last year.
Sheppard - Started out looking great - hustle, backchecking, hard in the corners, he slowed down a little bit and was looking a bit lazy. At the start of Sunday's game it looked like more of that, and I mentioned to 210 that he might become my "whipping boy" if he doesn't pick it up. Soon after, he was hitting everything in sight. Tons of hustle and leaving nothing by the end of his shift. If he keeps it up, he could be with SJ this year at some point.
Kearns - 2nd on the team in scoring. He's looking more comfortable each game, and he looked good to begin with. A great addition - he fits right in and seems to be a player that leads by example.
Gourde - I loved this guy coming in this season. So far I think he's been a little bit of a disappointment. He's been far too generous - needs to shoot more and pass less. He also needs to use his speed more. If he's 1-1 with a D-man - he seems to slow down and look to pass instead of trying to blow by them. Maybe its a confidence thing at this level. You can tell he's got the tools.
Tarasov - incomplete - only played one game but looked OK.
Oleksuk - you can tell that "there's something there". He just seems a hair off as far as scoring goes. He brings great energy and another player that seems to be all over the ice. I expect to get in sync and be a big help to this team down the line.
Kennedy - definately benefited from the change of scenery coming to Worcester at the end of last year. Our leading scorer. 4 goals on 15 shots. Quick, and a little chippy. Fun to watch him play.
Viendensky - incomplete. Only played 2 games due to injury.
Livingston - its not that he stinks, but he's more suited for ECHL.
Bonneau - After sitting due to his suspension, he's been a healthy scratch except for 2 games. I guess the coaching staff has him as the designated fighter, and if we are playing a team where fighting isn't expected - he's gonna sit. It's too bad - I'd rather see him than McLaren.
Reid - incomplete - been injured
Mashinter - I think the org is sending him a message. Either he plays to his potential or he doesn't play at all. He's been a healthy scratch a couple of times. Only 1 point in 7 games. During his rookie year we were thinking he was the AHL version of Cam Neely. If he doesn't pick it up, he'll be closer to Cam MacIntyre.
Groulx - Defensively - he's starting out slow. This shouldn't be a surprise, as he did this during his 1st year with Worcester (he was dreadfully bad then), and also playing in the KHL last year. So he's adjusting back to AHL. He's always an offensive threat, and he's a great weapon on the PP. He's a leader on this team, and you can see him giving direction to the other D-men often.
Doherty - HE SCORED A GOAL! HE SCORED A GOAL! Ok, he's not an offensive guy. But so far, he defense have been solid. Not NHL-solid, but an improvement over what we saw last year. He's going in the right direction.
Tennyson - another guy who benefited to a short stint the end of last year in Worcester. He looks very confident out there. Fluid skater and passer. More buzz words - steady, solid, and comfortable.
Acolatse - I would think if SJwas playing right now and needed a defenseman, Acolatse might get the nod for the call up. He's cut down on mistakes, and has learned when to take calculated chances. He's got a laser shot, quickness, and is getting a reputation of someone you don't want to tangle with.
Irwin - I think he's settled and may have reached his peak/potential. Nothing wrong with that - he is what he is. Very good on the PP, but has some defensive lapses every now and then. Probably a career AHLer - but a very good one.
Pelech - trying to get it together through suspensions. He's doing OK, but not like he was the 2nd half of last year. I think he just needs more playing time to get into a rhythm.
Petrecki - he started to find his groove. Looks very solid. A physical presence - clearing out bodies and throwing some hard checks. Been very heads up with the puck. Cut down on mistakes. He seemed to get hurt yesterday - at the wrong time again. Hopefully it won't be too much of a setback.
Stalock - he'll be in the NHL next year. He's back. He's that good. Any talk of poor play was due to trying to do too much on a previously slumping team. He's the man.
Sateri - could have had his confidence shaken with the team playing poorly and then trying to do too much on his own. He has since settled own and has let the game come to him. While I think there will be a goaltender rotation for at least the 1st half of the year, barring injury Stalock should be the guy. But Sateri is waiting in the wings, and will get his chance to lead this team - but it will probably be next year.

Again this team is fun to watch. Winning helps as well. If the NHL lockout ends, I'd expect us to win the division - possibly the conference, and get at the very least to the 2nd round of the playoffs.

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