The Rath of Bone
It was quite the weekend debut for Rack Jathbone!
Four points in two games, with three of the four coming at 5v5.
I mean, what more can I say. Besides his actual offensive production, the guy has NHL speed and skating, vision, and defensive play.
There were times in Friday’s game where the Comets loaded-up first line of Baertschi, Lind, and Jasek would establish their cycle in the offensive zone then work for two minutes straight, hammering away with shots and attempts.
That green bar was Friday. They registered a PLUS THIRTY-SIX SHOT-ATTEMPT DIFFERENTIAL AT 5v5 against Rochester.
It was absolute carnage.
Yes, in two games, Rathbone was a net-positive every time he touched the ice except when sharing the ice with Curtis McKenzie, Nolan Stevens, and Carson Focht (which I’ll get into later)
He looked a bit tired in his first back-to-back of the year, so tonight will be interesting to see how he recovers!
Rathbone spent most of his time matched with Jett Woo as his partner while being deployed alongside the Comets top-line.
* Eye-test stands to reason that whenever Lind, Baertschi, and Jasek are on the ice together at 5v5, they are on against the other team’s top lines.
The fact that Rathbone is already being trusted on the ice with top-line matchup deployment is great. Even better, he managed to run-up a shot-attempt differential ranging from +5 to +15, with Lind/Bae/Jasek likely playing against a talent level that is close at or above that fivesome’s playing field.
Other takeaways from Rathbone’s early-metrics:
- against middle-six competition with Gadjovich and Lockwood, Rathbone managed a 5v5 shot-attempt ratio of 15-to-2 with Gadjovich, and 11-to-2 with Lockwood
- If you’re big on PDO — Rathbone is running a second-place PDO of 105%.
- First belongs to fellow debutant Robby Jackson and his 150% PDO, LOL.
Again, it’s still super early, and it’s reckless to takeaway too much from a two-game sample-size.
But man, he looked good.
And, alongside Höglander, is one of the few bright spots in a forgettable Canucks season.
Today’s do something definitely belongs to Carson Focht. He’s been trusted with two veteran players in Nolan Stevens and Curtis McKenzie but has struggled with acting as a distributor to them.
He’s running good underlying metrics at 5v5; however, he’s struggled mightily at scoring since his goal in the third game of the season.
He does many little things right; he has the right linemates to facilitate offence through, so CometsHarvest is hoping for him to do something tonight.
Tonight’s opponent is the Rochester Americans, who are coming into tonight’s matchup off a 4-3 loss to the Syracuse Crunch this past Monday.
For the first time this season, the Comets will be the rested-team coming into the match-up.
- Comets management really haven’t found a 12th forward on a PTO to give them a full lineup? K.
- Those shot-attempt differentials on the Comets first-line and the Rathbone/Woo pairing
Don’t feel like reading? Click here for spoilers!!
- Comets win the opening draw, and Rathbone immediately sends the Focht line into the offensive zone to recover.
- Kole Lind steps on for a shift between Gadjovich and Lockwood; very interesting to see how this plays out.
- [GOAL – UTICA – 1-0 Comets] Well, that got answered pretty quick! On their first shift together, Kole Lind (#13) leads the zone entry before handing it off to Will Lockwood (#10). Lockwood wheels down the left wing for a shot on Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who doesn’t control the rebound. The bouncing puck goes off the dome of an Amerk defender, and Jonah Gadjovich (#21), as he tends to do, is there at the net-front to bat in the rebound for his seventh of the season.
- A forechecking Tanner Kaspick (#26) forces the Amerks to turn the puck over in their defensive zone. Robby Jackson (#23) almost handed a golden breakaway opportunity, but he misses the puck
- Remi Elie gets left alone in the slot by the defending Comets. Fortunately, he whiffs on his one-timer opportunity.
- Comets controlling the pace of play through the opening three minutes
- Gillies gloves down the puck with no one pressuring. Bit odd
- Lukas Jasek (#9) with a giveaway on his breakout feed to Kole Lind (#13). Lind gets tripped at the blue line by Jett Woo’s (#22) stick, and the Amerk’s generate their first significant bit of control in the game.
- Rathbone (#3) goes end-to-end as a one-man zone-exit and entry machine. Love the clapper fake to get an edge on former Comet Dylan Blujus and burn him wide for the wraparound. Rathbone settles off of the wrapper and crisply skates backwards to prep for the Amerk’s entry.
- Teves loses the puck in his feet while skating backwards, allowing the Amerks to control a bit in the Comets zone.
- Fortunately, they’re playing like shit to start this one, so they generate absolutely nothing while controlling the puck.
- Off an offensive zone draw, Sabres’ top prospect, Jack Quinn (#25… the really fast one), makes Jonah Gadjovich look like molasses in the defensive zone. Generating three attempts with his blistering wheels. Gadjovich (#21) caught chasing and puck-watching a couple times in a short period.
- Some good pressure from the Comets fourth-line after the Amerks ice the puck
- Absolutely baffling reversal from Tyler Tucker (#2) behind the Comets net. All the open ice on the planet on the left-wing, and he decides to hand the Amerks the puck.
- Amerks continuing to hand over the puck inside their zone; Kole Lind (#13) capitalizes after Rathbone (#3) finishes his check for a shot on Luukkonen.
- First-line continuing their pressure! Rathbone (#3) carries down the left while evading two checks to set up Lind (#13). Rathbone with a lunging effort to maintain the zone for Utica after returning to the blue line
- Eliot (#52) with an aggressive pinch in the offensive zone that leads to a Lockwood (#10) shot-attempt that gets deflected wide by Gadjovich (#21).
- Quick set-up by the Focht (#19), Stevens (#17), and McKenzie (#81) for a one-timer off of their work along the Amerks’ endboards
- Baertschi (#47) cuts to the middle of the ice with the puck and attempts a set-up for Lind (#13), but Lind misses the pass. Fortunately, Woo (#22) picks up the missed pass and drills a shot into Luukkonen, giving Lind a rebound opportunity.
- This line looks to be playing half a step faster with Rathbone and Woo on the ice with them at 5v5. Just relentless cycling and pressure
- Tanner Kaspick and the fourth-line again controlling play against the Amerks after a center-ice faceoff
- Kaspick with a decent backhand wraparound attempt
- LOL, Robby Jackson attempts to backhand the puck behind the net but inadvertently throws the puck on Gillies.
- Not sure if that’ll count as a Corsi-for or a Corsi-against, haha
- Another quick set-up by the Focht (#19) line. Unfortunately, Nolan Stevens (#17) can’t control McKenzie’s (#81) pass, and they are forced to retreat.
- A forechecking Kole Lind (#13) deflects a breakout pass into the sideboards. Josh Wesley (#24) takes out an Amerk defender to allow Baertschi (#47) to pick up the loose puck and rotate to center for a wrister.
- [GOAL – ROCHESTER – 1-1 Tie] Wow, how quickly things can change! Kole Lind (#13) loses a defensive zone draw, and the Amerks immediately capitalize off a point-shot past Gillies. Not sure if it deflected off a body, but Gillies had no idea where that shot came from. Tough break.
- Brandon Biro walks Tucker (#2) outside for a shot on Gillies with less than a minute remaining.
- Rathbone (with a good pinch inside the d-zone to start the Comets breakout
- Gadjovich (#21) goes outside on Ryan Jones before dropping off for Lockwood (#10). Lockwood rips a shot into the chest of Luukkonen, who fails to control the rebound.
- With twenty seconds left, Lind draws a holding penalty against Jean-Sebastien Dea.
- Bizarre period — Comets controlling and cycling well throughout the opening frame, dominating in shots, but still wind up tied.
- Comets outshot Rochester fourteen to six through the opening twenty
- Comets PP1 gets forced out of the zone to start the period, but they will start the second frame with plenty of time to work
PP1: Lind, McKenzie, Baertschi, Reinke, Nolan Stevens
- [GOAL – ROCHESTER – 2-1 Amerks] yikes. That’s an ugly goal to allow. Nine seconds into the second period and the Comets give up their second shorthanded goal of the season. Casey Fitzgerald walks in around Nolan Stevens (#17), and even though he fans on the puck, it takes a couple bad bounces and slips through Gillies’ five-hole. Oof
- Luukkonen tries to draw a penalty against Curtis McKenzie (#81), then McKenzie takes a shop to the back of the head and is slow to stand up. Hope that’s nothing serious.
PP2: Gadjovich, Jasek, Jackson, Focht, Rathbone
- The second unit generates nothing then get pinned into their zone for a bit when the game returns to 5v5.
- Lockwood (#10) fans on a shot while racing in on a breakaway
- Jasek draws a hooking penalty against Jean-Sebastian Dea. Comets off to their second powerplay of the game
- PP1 a little flat-footed in their set-up. They get forced out and of the zone, and Cull sends out PP2 pretty quickly.
- PP2 is more of the same, really struggling to gain the zone and establish a cycle
- Lockwood (#10) blocks a point-shot then races down the right-wing for a breakaway only to send his shot over the goal.
- Woo (#22) sends a rink-wide pass to Baertschi (#47) for a breakaway opportunity. Baertschi sends his shot into the glove of Luukkonen.
- Refs miss a too-many-men penalty.
- Refs call interference against Curtis McKenzie; Comets to their first PK of the game.
PK1: Lockwood, Kaspick, Woo, Tucker
- Lockwood takes away a loose rebound and generates a shorthanded rush but elects to dump-and-change
PK2: Jasek, Teves, Eliot, N. Stevens
- 2nd unit successfully keeping the Amerks to the perimeter
- Eliot with a block to help the COmets clear just as McKenzie leaves the box. Comets hold the Amerks to just one shot on goal on the powerplay
- Jasek (#9) takes a high-stick to the face behind the net of Gillies. Jasek recovers and picks up a rebound to help Baertschi (#47) with the zone exit
- Lockwood with another shot on Luukkonen while cruising down the right-wing
- Lockwood searching hard for that first goal
- Rathbone (#3) times the slapper through traffic, and Lockwood (#10) dives for the rebound chance
- Rathbone gets crunched along Utica’s end boards then throws away the puck. Rathbone recovers with a takeaway of his own and a clean breakout pass.
- [GOAL – ROCHESTER – 3-1 Amerks] Oof. Another tough one for Utica as Michael Mersch walks Tucker on the right-wing for a shot-attempt. Gillies gets caught swimming in his crease, looking for the puck, Reinke and Lind get caught trying to find the puck as well, and Brett Murray gets another one.
- Rochester with three goals on eleven shots
- Focht line gets pushed into the Comets zone, and they get caught icing the puck after not reaching the red line for a dump-in.
- The OOF’s/60 is rising steadily in this game.
- Amerks rookie, Jack Quinn, throws a hit into the legs of Josh Teves at the red-line. Teves draws the penalty, and the Comets are off to their third penalty of the night.
PP1: Reinke, Lind, Baertschi, McKenzie, N. Stevens
- Reinke steps up off the blue line for a wrister, and it goes off the head of a sliding Casey Fitzgerald.
- Fitzgerald gets up A-OK.
- Baertschi loses the puck along the boards, and Steven Fogarty chews time off the penalty with a shorthanded drive down the wing.
- PP1 gets forced out of the zone, again, after Lind gets pressured by an Amerk defender.
- PP1 struggling hard tonight
- Oof, Kole Lind gets his stick caught in the skates of former Comet, Dylan Blujus.
- Game to 4v4 for 42 seconds before the Amerks go to the powerplay
- Jasek, Gadjovich, Woo, Rathbone out for 4v4
- A speedy breakout for the above 4v4 group; Gadjovich displaying some nice hands in tight
- Kaspick and Lockwood step onto the ice for the 4v4 when Jack Quinn plays the puck from inside the penalty box as his previous one expires! Haha, Quinn back into the box for interference.
- Lockwood (#10) with a wicked fast drive on goal. Shades of Justin Bailey on this one.
- Lockwood (#10) with great reaction-time on a loose puck in the Amerks zone. Lockwood throws a big hit, picks up the puck and displays some quick hands in traffic only to lose possession after throwing the puck off the skates of a defender.
- Lockwood getting some good looks tonight. Gets double-shifted as the Comets move into their brief 5v4 powerplay
- Robby Jackson with a one-timer from the slot that gives the Comets an offensive-zone draw with less than ten to go in the period
- Lockwood with another shot-attempt that gets deflected wide
- Amerks pick off the rebound and clear as the horn sounds.
- Comets end the period up in shots narrowly, nine to eight.
- Comets can’t gain the zone off the faceoff, and the Jack Quinn penalty expires with the Comets having to reset from behind their net.
- Lockwood with a flip into the glove of Luukkonen to give the Comets an offensive zone draw
- Eliot with a shot through traffic that goes off the toe of Luukkonen and into the Amerks end-boards
- Amerks successfully keeping the Comets to the outside for shots.
- The game’s pace has slowed considerably with less than 17 remaining in the period.
- Gadjovich (#21) drops off for Lind (#13) off the entry. Lind cuts to the slot for the first chance in close in some time.
- Curtis McKenzie (#81) throws a slow one to the crease of Luukkonen, and it almost crosses the line. Near freebie for the Comets who are looking tired this period
- Rathbone (#3) with a wildly aggressive pinch to maintain the zone. Great wheels around the Amerks net for a centering attempt
- Twelve minutes left, and the Comets LFG line finally starts to generate some momentum for the Comets with control in the Amerks zone.
- Lockwood (#10) with another shot on goal. This time a backhander from the high slot
- Arseneau (#18) bowls over Oskari Laaksonen. Bench loves it.
- Another good shift for the Comets as Teves/Eliot control the blue line with several point shots.
- Amerks ice the puck off of their pressure.
- Rathbone (#3) with an aggressive pinch at the blue line. He loses an edge, but Woo (#22) recovers for his partner with a rub out along the boards. Lind (#13) gets the takeaway
- Woo (#22) with an aggressive pinch of his own inside the offensive zone that leads to a dangerous chance for Sven Baertschi (#47)
- Nolan Stevens draws a trip against Griffin Luce to send the Comets to their fifth powerplay of the night.
- Ooh, how spicy! Kole Lind takes a high-stick to the bridge of the nose that opens him up. Casey Fitzgerald takes a double-minor for high-sticking, giving the Comets an extended 5-on-3
- Jasek and Rathbone slide-in for Lind and Nolan Stevens on PP1
- [GOAL – UTICA – 3-2 Americans] 29 seconds into the 5-on-3, Jack Rathbone (#3) has his fifth point in three games with an absolute rocket of a one-timer. Put him in the Reid Boucher spot with a shot like this, holy moly!
- Comets with 3:30 remaining on the powerplay to try and even things up
- Lockwood was rewarded for his offensive efforts tonight, and they put him on the powerplay with Rathbone, Jasek, Gadjovich, and Woo.
- Oof, Lockwood gets tied up in a puck-battle and gets called for holding. Comets to 4v4
- Cull rolls out Baertschi, Kaspick, Woo, Rathbone for 4v4. Bit of an odd forward pairing
- Comets ice the puck with one-minute remaining in the 4v4
- Comets playing this like it’s a penalty-kill; just consistently hemmed in their zone on the 4v4. Tough look.
- Woo (#22) with a breakaway that ends about as bad as a breakaway opportunity in a one-goal game can go.
- Lockwood out of the box with less than twenty to go on the Fitzgerald double-minor powerplay
- The comets really doing nothing with the puck.
- Remi Elie takes a tripping penalty with less than three remaining in the period as the Comets try to enter the zone.
- Gillies gets pulled for the 6v4
- Reinke, Rathbone, Jasek, Baertschi, Gadjovich, McKenzie out for the extra man
- Struggling to find a shooting lane
- Baertschi with a one-timer
- [GOAL – ROCHESTER – 4-2 Americans] Baertschi (#47) with the best opportunity on the man-advantage. Jasek’s (#9) cross-ice sauce goes over Baertschi’s stick, and Mattias Samuelsson sends a rink-wide pass into the Comets zone for Remi Elie as he leaves the box. Elie waits out Rathbone’s (#3) defensive effort to set up Arttu Ruotsalainen with the empty-netter. Tough break.
- A couple of shot-attempts to close out the game, but this one’s over.
- Comets outshoot the Amerks 33 to 23, but a brutal powerplay and poor goaltending are their downfall in this one.
COMETS LOSE 4-2 IN REGULATION
- Tough game to watch, to be completely honest. Comets generated a boatload of attempts, but at the end of the day, Luukkonen was the better goaltender.
- There were a lot of good takeaways from tonight! Among other things, the penalty kill was successful, Gadjovich picked up another 5v5 goal, Rathbone scored his first pro-goal, Lockwood notches an assist and registers seven shots on goal. But it’s odd when all those things combine for a 33-shot performance that is more frustrating than anything. Have the Canucks made me incapable of appreciating little-victories? I really can’t say
- but the answer is yes
- Comets’ powerplay needs an overhaul. One for eight on the night is not good enough for a team with their offensive talent. Rathbone has to be on PP1 after tonight. They need someone with a point shot, and so does PP2. Reinke is fine. But I don’t get this coaching staff’s obsession with putting him out on PP1. He’s not even the 2nd best D-option for generating offence. I’m sure it has something to do with the agreement with the Blues or something. But man, he just doesn’t move the needle at the point. Get Jett Woo some time on the powerplay. Hell, give time to the youth who can actually create offence with their skating.
- PP1: Rathbone, Baertschi, Lind, Gadjovich, Lockwood
- PP2: Reinke, Woo, Jasek, Focht, Stevens
- Kind of surprised that a team being constructed by two NHL teams can’t field a roster enough for twelve forwards and six defencemen. I don’t know if the third-period fatigue is entirely related to the lack of able-bodied forwards. But, surely, it doesn’t help the team to be constantly mixing lines every shift.
- Again, really solid effort from the Comets in terms of controlling shot-attempts, but against a big team like Rochester, they need to find ways to use their skating to open up shooting lanes in the slot. When they faced the deficit in the third period, the Amerks had zero problems holding the Comets shooters to the outside. As Canucks fans, we are familiar with how ineffective point-shots can be.
- He still hasn’t found a way onto the scoresheet, but I love how effective Jett Woo’s game is. Simple, yet effective. Good timing on his offensive and defensive pinches. Had a couple great looks tonight with shots on net
- Tough break for Will Lockwood, who finished his night with one assist and seven shots on goal. The kid was a workhorse on the forecheck and finally stapling together the offensive aspect of his aggressive forechecking game. Hopefully, he gets another considerable look on the Comets powerplay. As stated earlier, the Comets really need players with mobility and aggression on that first unit to create space and fight for loose pucks. Lockwood ticks those boxes, and I think trusting him in a powerplay role would benefit his game considerably.
- RE: the above, I feel like the Comets coaches told all of their forwards and D to be more relentless with shots. Instead of making the perfect play, just take the shot. Carson Focht and Josh Wesley were the only Comets to go without recording a shot on Luukkonen.
- Jack Rathbone is legit.
- Jonah Gadjovich’s skating might keep him from ever being an NHL’er. Jack Quinn made him look foolish on the one shift where they were matched with each other. But man, the dude is carrying this team at 5v5 with goalscoring. It’s unreal to think where this Comets team would be at 5v5 without Gadjovich’s production. The dude gets the job done, somehow.
- Sadly the DO SOMETHING reverse-curse didn’t work on Focht. He was largely unnoticeable in all areas of the ice. Had a couple good looks when reunited with Gadjovich/Lockwood, but with Stevens/McKenzie, nothing happens.
- Lind had a pretty solid game — was good in the faceoff dot and zone entries. Sucks he got that cut on the bridge of his nose. The Comets really could’ve used him on the 5v3 and prolonged 5v4.
- Josh Teves with another quiet but stable night on the Comets third pair. Might have worked himself back in Cull’s favour with his speed on the Comets penalty kill. Still has moments where his hands can’t catch up with his feet, and he loses the puck accordingly, but he’s been solid since returning to the lineup.
- Sign a PTO and get Reinke off of PP1. Ryan Johnson and his coaching staff have seven days to accomplish this.
- I have spoken.
COMETS HARVEST THREE STARS
- Will Lockwood
- Jack Rathbone
- Jett Woo
Next Up on the Docket
Comets get a seven-day break between action; they return next Wednesday against, you guessed it, the Rochester Americans.
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