Wednesday, December 16, 2015
THE WEDNESDAY THRILLER ... WITH PHIL ANDREWS
- The Regina Pats dropped another close one at the Brandt Centre last night 4-3 to the Kamloops Blazers. I sat in the booth during the post game show with the same feeling I have had for the last 5 games. And it is this: Moral victories don't reflect in the standings. Since their 9 game road trip the Pats have compiled a 1-3-0-1 record for 3 of a possible 10 points. Arguably the team has played well enough to be 3-1-0-1. However there are stretches, starts or bounces that have been their undoing.
We can analyse and criticize until the cows come home but at the end of the day the team is not struggling with a personnel, special teams or coaching problem. It is a desire problem, the desire to execute and win. Yes playing 5 games in 7 days will wear on any team but Assistant Coach Brad Herauf said it best on the 620 CKRM post game show after the team got off to a tough start but in the 3rd were unstoppable. "To me it just comes down to desperation, is there a reason they should be tired? No, is there a reason they should be unfocused? No, but they definitely were because we definitely see the difference in the play in the 3rd period and the 1st period. We were way more desperate to win the game (in the third) but we have to be desperate like that right from the start of the game."
The games have followed a similar story line prior to last night. Aside from the loss last Wednesday to Calgary the team has dominated for long stretches in games. They held the Kelowna Rockets to 9 shots in the final two periods on Friday but lost 4-3. Even in the Lethbridge win they were dominant for the first 35 minutes and led 6-1 but barely held on for a 6-5 win. For whatever reason the team experiences extreme highs and extreme lows within games and even within periods.
Adam Books who is playing his best hockey of his career, riding a four game point streak with 2 goals and 5 assists, says the starts have to get better going forward. "It seems to be kind of our downfall is out starts lately, after that we took over the game. I mean in the second for the most part we took it to them and in the 3rd we flat out dominated. If we can just get it going for all 60 and can put 60 minutes together then we are going to contend with the best teams in the league and that's what we have to do to win." Brooks leads the Pats with 44 points this season.
Anyone who watched the game last night saw what this team is capable of, this is not meant to be a negative comment, simply to point out that when the Pats play, they are the better team, no matter who the opposition. Now to put it together from start to finish in a game and look out.
- Heard a lot of comments about the powerplay over the last little while. Yes the numbers aren't great, 22 goals and 14.6 percent efficiency. But I would argue it continues to get better, they have 10 goals up a man in their last 13 games. That's pretty good, not to mention over the season, three times goals have come at the exact 2 minute mark of a powerplay and were not counted as the man advantage. The percentage is a bit deceiving. I'm not saying it's the best in the league but it is getting somewhere.
- The Pats have gone to their first two shootouts of the season in the last week and a half and the struggles in the penalty shots have carried over from last year. The Pats have dropped 5 straight and have not scored a goal in those shootouts. It's almost hard to believe with the amount of skill up front for the team but it's one of this things. Conversely the Pats are 9 and 3 when a game is settled in overtime from last year and the start of 2015/16.
- On a lighter note, are the Pats Christmas Jerseys not the best things you have ever seen? You would be hard pressed to find a better 'ugly' christmas sweater jersey.
- I don't want to see a new Leafs jersey next year. An Original 6 team with 100 years of history does not need a drastic change. Look at what the Pats ownership did when taking over in Regina. A subtle cleaner look. They got it right.
- Well the Oilers winning streak came to an end last night against New York. The Rangers were due for a win and I will tell you I am surprised the Oil have been able to put this stretch together. The goaltending has been great, The team is scoring and it's all without Connor McDavid. Lucky for Edmonton the Pacific Division is pretty weak with 4 teams tied with 30 points for 3rd place. Calgary is coming on, Vancouver is faltering and Anaheim continues the inconsistency. The playoffs are a ways away but they are staying in it. McDavid isn't too far off from a return, you never know.
- Thank God Mike McCarthy took the offensive play calling back for the Green Bay Packers. The Pack offense looked as good as it had since after their 6-0 start on Sunday when they beat the Dallas Cowboys 28-7. The offensive line played admirably and Eddie Lacy and James Starks found success on the ground. Was about time the change was made on the sidelines.
- The Seattle Seahawks are back. Russell Wilson is playing out of his mind right now. The defense is back to form and they sit in a wildcard spot right now along with the Minnesota Vikings at 8-5. The Seahwaks will either get the lowly NFL East division winner or the Green Bay Packers in the first round. Neither team wants to see Seattle. The Seahawks will have some questions at running back going forward with Marshawn Lynch already sidelined and then the rookie Thomas Rawls broke his ankle on Sunday. The team has signed Bryce Brown as a result.
- If the Carolina Panthers are not going to finish the regular season undefeated, their loss will come this weekend in New York against the Giants. Tom Coghlin is going to find a way for the G men to win their division and they looked good on Monday night. The Panthers will go to Atlanta after that and then host Tampa Bay. The Giants have the best chance to break the streak in my opinion.
- Be sure to catch tonight's episode of Pats TV on Access 7 at 6:30 PM. My guests this week are Director of Media and Communications Daniel Fink and Directr of Ticket Sales Kellin Enslev.
That's it from me today, talk to you from the rink on Friday!