Sunday, March 2, 2014

Make like a Banana and Split

The Thunderbirds end up splitting their two home games on the weekend after falling Sunday, 3-1 to Everett. Unfortunate that they couldn't piggy back on the great effort Saturday against Portland with a similar effort against Everett.

The key against Everett and their trapping style is to get up on them early and force them to take more chances with the puck so they can't sit back in the neutral zone and defend for 40 minutes. But Seattle got off to a poor start, letting Everett dictate the early play. They compounded the problem by taking two penalties within three seconds of each other putting the Silvertips on a two-man advantage for nearly two minutes. The 'Tips were very smart and patient with the puck and moved it around methodically until finding the open man for the goal.

That ended up really being the difference in the game, the power play, because the two teams traded even strength goals in the second period and Seattle missed a number of chances to take the lead on their own power play opportunities in the second.

By the way, whatever happened to the instigator rule? Seems to me Everett's Matt Pufahl should have received one for the fight with Kolesar which would have negated Everett's first power play in the first place.

46.11 Instigator - An instigator of an altercation shall be a player who by his actions or demeanor demonstrates any/some of the following criteria: distance traveled; gloves off first; first punch thrown; menacing attitude or posture; verbal instigation or threats; conduct in retaliation to a prior game (or season) incident; obvious retribution for a previous incident in the game or season.

Seems to me Pufahl's actions meet the criteria I've highlighted under the rule. he wasn't involved in the original incident so he traveled a distance in order to confront and to drop the gloves with Kolesar, plus he was obviously seeking retribution for a previous incident in the game, the hit Kolesar made on his teammate behind the Everett goal, which was being penalized by the referee. His conduct was a direct retaliation for the prior incident.

Just a few weeks back Seattle's Justin Hickman was hit with an instigator for doing far less. To me, this is a case of referee's subjectively enforcing the rule. If you can't be consistent, get rid of the rule.

In the end, I didn't think the T-birds worked hard enough over the course of sixty minutes Sunday to get more pucks deep or get more traffic in front of the Everett goal. They had moments but it wasn't a full on effort over three periods. They had played a near perfect sixty minutes of hockey against Portland the night before, but were, at times, flat against Everett. They worked hard in the second period to tie the game up but all the hard work got erased when they let up just enough and allowed that late goal off the rush.

Some good news? After the game I spoke with Scott Eansor and he told me he's been cleared to play. He'll need to use this week of practice to get his game legs back under him but he should be good to go this coming weekend when the T-birds play three times in three nights. Seattle could have used his energy this weekend, especially against Everett.

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