What’s up R/Canucks we’ve survived another trade deadline, and the talk of the town is, Jonathan Dahlen’s agent requesting a trade for his client that saw him traded out of conference to the San Jose Barracuda. I probably SHOULD have some separate post to condense all my opinions but fuck it…im tired…
Dahlen wanting out whether it was the player, the agent, Canucks management, Trent Cull, whoever…it doesn’t matter….the underlying issues that I revisit once again are the issues of communication…You have to love GMJB because of his frank honesty with the media about the moves his team makes (even if to a fault), but his comments were sincere and honest, he wants his players earning their due, and hates the notion of players acting like they’re owed something; McCann and Prust were shipped out for similar attitudes, and Dahlen now joins that list. But here we are again just a few months removed from Petrus Palmu’s comments about the lack of communication between himself and the coaching staff regarding his development…and I find myself reviewing all the information that’s come out post-trade deadline and wondering how the GMJB management group gave up on or soured on Dahlen so fast. They wanted him to play with Petey, he may not have been ready but that’s why he was acquired, so why was there no communication between the Canucks to Dahlen directly about their plans for him in their future… at the very least we may have squared up on all this “he said, she said” bullshit.
But because of the different perspectives and narratives from agent, player, coach and GM, its just this huge clusterfuck where everyone wants to point fingers at someone.
Did the Comets shoot themselves in the foot by having way too many forwards this season? Yes,
Could players have been better deployed, for them to grow and develop? Yes for some, maybe not for others,
Could communication about what the team wants and expects from their rookies be made clearer? Absolutely! CLEARLY there’s some work there…maybe not between the NA rookies, but obviously there is a language barrier issue, as that is two European prospects leaving on pretty bizarre terms, both which seem to revolve heavily around communication problems.
I’m not going to jump to conclusions…people always say to fire Cull, but I mean that doesn’t do anything, he didn’t ask the management group to hand him 18 forwards and 8 defenseman at the start of the season. This was an unprecedented season of ELC rookies joining the AHL… but the team DID see it coming, given how many played in the Calder Playoffs last year… so they goofed on that one. Cull by my viewings is a pretty solid coach…his system works, his penalty killers are among the best in the league, his powerplay is among the best in the division…and despite losing the bulk of his players due to trades, injuries or callups, they’ve still managed to win way more than they ought to have. 29 wins, 20 losses, 5 overtime losses, and 2 shootout losses, a .58 points %…and have earned points in 8 of their 10 games this month while playing a 37 year old PTO goalie and a team core without its best players for the majority of the month. So saying Cull is a bad coach is just outright incorrect…the guy knows what he’s doing…that being said, as I said earlier, the conditions established at the start of the season weren’t exactly great for our rookies to earn significant enough icetimes to learn the AHL or adapt at any form of reasonable pace.
Bringing it back to Dahlen though…homie….if you are just blowing smoke to that Sharks reporter and you wanted a trade cause you thought you were NHL ready and the Comets were holding you back…you’re in for a world of hurt my dude…in 50 games played Dahlen earned a modest 29 points…however, only 40% of those points were earned at even strength…the rest came from the powerplay…in fact of the entire roster, Dahlen was the only player at the time of the trade who’d earned more points with the man advantage than at even strength. Stats guys will tell you, if you’re not producing at 5v5 then you’re gonna have a bad time. Between the lack of production at 5v5, the bad skate speed and the lack of a real 200 ft game, its hardly what I would say is “NHL-ready.”
Anyways, this entire discussion and topic is pretty moot, he’s gone, he aint coming back, and the circumstances around it just add more fuel to the “is something wrong with Utica” fire. There is a shit ton of good being done down there…I’d argue now, that getting rid of Carcone, Archibald and MacMaster has made it way easier for guys like Lind and Gadjovich to earn time and space in the lineup, and the improvements to their games since those guys have been taken out of the lineup have been quite remarkable.
The fire is still there, but I’d argue that until we know more, we’re just getting outraged over nothing. With all that being said, let’s take a look at tonight’s game against the 2nd place in the North Division, Rochester Americans! Tonight is a pretty pivotal match for Utica, as the Belleville Senators have just been tearing it up in the North Division lately…earning points in their last 15 games straight, and having a 9-0-0-1 record in their last 10…they now sit just 1 point behind Utica who currently are 4th in the north division (top 4 teams from each division qualify for the Calder Playoffs). So its getting tight in the AHL now…the games have got some meaning, so it couldn’t be a more perfect time for Zack MacEwen to make his return to the lineup, as he looks to return back to the form that earned him his first NHL call up and hopefully inspire the Comets to a victory tonight!
RE: INJURY REPORT
|Out for the Season||hand||Ill||Out for the season||undisclosed injury|
With Mazanec to the Comets I expect Kulbakov to be returned to the ECHL relatively soon. All the recent ECHL callups (with the exception of Brandon Anselmini) sit tonight’s game out as the bulk of our rookie squad who were sick last week return to their healthy selves
Streamable Clarity Improvement Notice
Continuing with last issues theme, going to be Players full name (jersey number) – place in streamable (if not outright obvious) then every sub sequential play featuring that player it’ll be last name(jersey number) – place in streamable (if not outright obvious) I’m also going to reduce the amount of hyperlink in the GOAL streamables, since that’s what I think MOST people are here for and don’t want some gaudy blue taking up the screen.
Comets in their Green/White Alternates
- No shots on goal after 3 minutes of play, lot of end to end play but both teams doing well to regain possession along the boards
- Jonah Gadjovich(#22) recovers a Comet giveaway at the blueline, then spins to spring a 2 on 1, but Brendan Gaunce(#16) loses the puck in his skates on the drive ,nice followup shot from Evan McEneny(#2) as he follows the play
- Reid Boucher gets hooked by Lawrence Pilut while trying to hack at the puck on the side of Amurk goalie Scott Wedgewoods’ pads, and the Comets are off to their first powerplay of the night
- The usual suspects were out on the extended powerplay a bit long so the first group up, Jasek (taking Dahlen’s spot), Gaunce, Gadjovich, Lind and Graham
- a pass from Lukas Jasek(#9) goes off Victor Olofsson’s skate and he absolutely blows past Jesse Graham(#64) for the breakaway opportunity but Michael Leighton makes the clutch save
- 2nd group: MacEwen, Pyatt, Boucher, McEneny, Darcy,
- ANOTHER shorthanded opportunity during the Comets powerplay, this time McEneny(#2) completely whiffs on a rolling puck at the blue line, and Remy Elie outskates and muscles McEneny out of the play for a breakaway, but Leighton makes a huge aggressive stop out of his crease to deny the chance
- like this little play from Kole Lind(#13) as he starts his shift with an aggressive forecheck, picks up a Brandon Hickey turnover + Lind gives him a quick shop to the legs to knock him off balance; he then fudges his first pass attempt off a skate, but recovers the rebound for a better pass to Wacey Hamilton(#36) who’s shot goes wide of the goal
- Colton Sacuerman gets checked hard into the end boards by Dalton Smith and Vincent Arseneau follows him to his own bench trying to fight him haha
- Comets struggling to get the puck out of their own zone. Majority of the last frame the Comets have been just stuck trying to clear
- Stefan LeBlanc gets high-sticked and the Comets on their second powerplay to close out the period
- bro really? You cant keep your composure for 37 more seconds? Cam Darcy takes a slashing penalty as he weaves around the ice with the puck
- late chances for Utica, a great takeaway in the neutral zone by Stefan LeBlanc(#3) leads to a nice drive to the net by Graham(#64) and Brendan Woods(#21) but Scott Wedgewood somehow keeps the puck out
Score at the end of the first period: 0-0 Tie
A back and forth period of hockey full of chances for both ends, really tough watching the powerplay tonight though…matter of act, watching the Comets try to attempt any kind of meaningful extended possession was painful… Rochester looked scary playing shorthanded, and were it not for Michael Leighton, it could be a 2 zip game right now. Comets did outshoot Rochester 10 to 8, but the actual high danger chances heavily favored Rochester in that one. MacEwen looked ok, but a bit rusty in his first game back…have to believe that comes also with playing alongside Darcy as his center instead of his usual Tanner Kero or Brendan Gaunce… we’ll see how things shape up in the 2nd.
- Comets start the period with a minute and change on the penalty kill.
- GOAL – ROCHESTER – 1-0 Amurks: Wellp the period is off to a good start, as Matt Tennyson sets up CJ Smith at the top of the circle, and he just roofs it past Leighton to open the games scoring
- Look at how active that powerplay is; constant movement … wish a team I watch had dynamic movement like that on their powerplay
- Gadjovich(#22) improvising in a battle along the boards with a kick pass to a wide open Carter Bancks(#34) and in true AHL vet fashion sails it completely wide of the net
- 10 minutes down and aside from a couple fluttering shots from Lind and Arseneau, the Comets just getting dominated this period
- once again a play created off a kick pass, this time to Gaunce(#16) who wraps around the net for a shot on goal
- Jaime Sifers(#26) and Gaunce(#16) have poor communication on a backcheck and leads to a giveaway to Rochester, Sifers takes an interference penalty in the attempt to break up the scramble
- 1st PK unit: Saucerman, Boucher, Woods, LeBlanc
- Comets on the PK, and LeBlanc(#3) blocks a shot and Boucher(#24) is there to clear it out
- 2nd PK group: Pyatt, Graham, McEneny, Bancks
- 3rd PK group: Saucerman, Gaunce, LeBlanc, Hamilton – they kill the remaining time with a patented Gaunce shorthanded drive to the net
- Arseneau(#18) lays a hit then gets challenged to a scrap with Yannick Valleau…gets jersey in the process and heads down the tunnel instead of going to the box
- Colton Saucerman(#39) with a shot from the blue line on goal, and Gadjovich(#22) is there for a rebound attempt
- Saucerman is getting quite the look tonight…given how poor Graham/Sifers/McEneny and Anselmini have looked, LeBlanc and Saucerman by default are looking like the most reliable pairing out their tonight
- Saucerman gets cross-checked to the ice by Dalton Smith and the Comets head to their third powerplay of the night
- GOAL – UTICA – 1-1 Tie: Comets off the faceoff draw has Zack MacEwen(#15) win the draw back to McEneny(#2) who goes cross-ice to Boucher(#24) who wades into the slot, waits for the goalie to be completely screened then lets it rip to earn his 25th goal of the year.
- Saucerman( #39) with a great pass off the boards to MacEwen(#15) for a drive on net, but Wedgewood makes the save
The Score at the end of the 2nd period: 1-1 Tie
The Comets go down early, but they find some life after that goal from Boucher…really liking the play from Gadjovich along the boards…really too bad that Bancks sailed that shot wide because that was a killer set up. Shots close but Comets outshot 12 to 11. Hope the fire they were showing in the latter half of that period stays lit and they can keep the momentum going into the third.
- GOAL – ROCHESTER – 2-1 Amurks: a bad read by McEneny(#2 ) and Darcy(#11) sees them both try check Rasmus Asplund together, leaving Danny O’Regan wide open at the side of the net, where he takes the pass from Asplund and sauces a pass past Sifers(#26) to Victor Oloffson for the tiebreaker goal 21 seconds into the 3rd period.
- Evan McEneny having an uncharacteristically bad game
- Saucerman(#39) with the toedrag around an Amurk to get the shot on goal
- GOAL – ROCHESTER – 3-1 Amurks: McEneny(#2) turns with the puck in his own zone to try and catch the Amurks on a line change but instead passes it straight to Sean Malone who sauces it to Remi Elie who wrists it under Leightons pads
- Stefan LeBlanc despite his good game so far, gets called for a pretty bad cross-check to the numbers and the Comets are back on the penalty kill
- 3 Comets get caught behind their net on the PK, but Leighton waits out Victor Olofsson to make the clutch save
- Comets turtling hard here, bit of a ctrl c+v here, but just getting out possessed and struggling to put together meaningful offense in the back half of this third period
- Saucerman sells a Dalton Smith high stick to end the onslaught and puts the Comets on the powerplay with 5 minutes remaining in the period
- 1st powerplay unit: Pyatt, Gaunce, MacEwen, Boucher, McEneny
- sort of surprised Cull keeps rolling McEneny out on the powerplay, outside of the Boucher goal assist he had, he’s just been having a rough time trying to settle the puck and hold the zone
- Tom Pyatt(#20) with a decent shot attempt that gets deflected wide and then a really good backcheck on the ensuing rush the other way
- 2nd group: Jasek, Lind, Gadjovich, Graham, Darcy
- Jasek(#9) and Darcy(#11)) combine for some quick passing on a Lind(#13 )shot on goal after Jasek picks up a Graham(#6 4)rebound
- Leighton pulled, Gadjovich(#22) slides to the end boards to pick up a feed from Boucher(#24) and sets up an open Gaunce(#16) but Gaunce just sends in an absolute muffin .. have to feel for Gadj that’s two gorgeous passes to open teammates and they just blow the chance
- no audio for final minute 30
- even with the 6 on 5 advantage, the Comets just cannot seem to find open ice for themselves…and like I said before, the two times they found it, it was completely wasted
Final Score: 3-1 Rochester Americans
|2nd||Rochester||CJ Smith||Matt Tennyson||–||PPG|
|2nd||Utica||Reid Boucher||Evan McEneny||Zack MacEwen||PPG|
|3rd||Rochester||Victor Olofsson||Danny O’Regan||Rasmus Asplund||5v5|
|3rd||Rochester||Remi Elie||Sean Malone||—||5v5|
- A relatively competitive third period wasn’t enough for the Comets this game…outshot 32/31 over the course of three periods..their struggle to maintain possession in the Amurks’ zone told the tale of the night. Absolutely brutal puck control games from practically all our blue liners tonight except for Saucerman who actually had a banner night for himself. 3 shots on goal, drew two penalties for the team, PK time, the guy is a workhorse and its paying off…he’s honestly been one of the Comets most reliable guys in the D zone… obviously if we had Sautner/Schenn/Brisebois, the likelihood of him playing is pretty low, but with those guys out he’s become a perfectly effective and serviceable player in the top 4. Given Graham’s struggles too, I’d actually suggest to put him on the powerplay as well because in spite of his skating, he’s got better vision and playmaking ability than Graham has shown on the powerplay
- Tonight was in my opinion a really lowkey great game from Gadjovich…finished all his checks, was almost 100% successful on every controlled zone entry, created by my counts 3 ultra high danger scoring chances, that would’ve been highlight worthy assists on goals if the players he fed those pucks too could actually not muffin their shot. Like seriously, look at that first kick pass to Bancks, and that open pass to Gaunce…how the fuck did they miss the net with all the time and space available….tragic…truly tragic for Gadj, he deserved better in his return from injury. Obviously the kid still needs to work on his speed and skating, and his movement could be better (the where-to-turn/go-next aspect of his game) but the kids got heart, and for a kid who is played in a shutdown, grit role, he’s constantly creating chances… I’m telling you, this team getting rid of Archie, MacMaster and Carcone may have been the smartest moves for the long term development of players like Gadj and Lind as they’re no longer competing with 4-6 other guys for those 7-8 minutes a night.
- A disappointing end to the Comets Ferbruary, two bad losses in a row, which again I can’t really fault them on too much…they’re playing with a fraction of their best players, with their best dynamic playmakers spending the last two games either injured or up with the Canucks…by all means this probably should’ve been a 10-1 game, but guys like Leighton and Saucerman truly kept the team in it tonight.
Comets Three Stars
- Colton Saucerman
- Jonah Gadjovich
- Michael Leighton
The Comets needed a point in this one, fortunately for them the Toronto Marlies lost tonight against the Manitoba Moose, so they’re still close in that 3rd/4th place battle, but Belleville is back in action against the Moose this Friday, while the Comets take on the Hershey Bears at home. Da Bears are 3rd in the AHL’s Atlantic division and have won 9 of their last 10 games, with their only two regulation lossess happening Febraury 24th against the Bridgeport Sound-Tigers, and the previous one before that being JANUARY 11TH against the Springfield Thunderbirds…so yah…safe to say the Comets have their work absolutely cut out for them again as they desperately try to keep the playoff dreams alive in this last month and a half of the season.
Until Friday though folks, I Hope you guys enjoyed this edition of the Farmies, and as always any feedback, improvement suggestions, content or highlights you’d like me to focus/pick out during games, let me know and I’ll do my best to provide during the next Farmies!