2/28/19 – Utica Comets vs. Rochester Americans

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!

 

Starting Lineup

 

LW C RW
Boucher Darcy MacEwen
Pyatt Woods Jasek
Gadjovich Gaunce Bancks
Arseneau Hamilton Lind
LD RD
McEneny Sifers
LeBlanc Graham
Anselmini Saucerman
G
Michael Leighton

 

RE: INJURY REPORT

 

Injury Report
Bachman Blujus Chatfield Juolevi Kero
Out for the Season hand Ill Out for the season undisclosed injury

 

Healthy Scratches
Gardiner Kulbakov Linhart Szmatula Thomas
1 1 1 1 1

 

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.

 

1st period

 

Comets in their Green/White Alternates

 

 

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.

 

2nd Period

 

 

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.

 

3rd Period

 

Final Score: 3-1 Rochester Americans

 

Scoresheet

 

Period Team Goalscorer Primary assist helper type
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

 

Takeaways

  • 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

  1. Colton Saucerman
  2. Jonah Gadjovich
  3. Michael Leighton

 

What’s Next?

 

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!

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