Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tigers Slump Continues

One of the common themes during this slump is giving up the first goal of the game real early, and it continued this weekend.

PG worked up  a 3-0 lead just 7 minutes into the game. Tonight's game against Calgary the Hitmen took advantage of their powerplay and scored in the first 6 minutes.

Positive Road Ahead
All negativity aside tonight was the first game in a long time where I saw a very good effort through most of the game. They were taking care of their own end, and their forwards were supporting taking away the trailers entering the zone late. Langahmer made some big-time stops.

I saw a lot of good things with players without the puck getting into position for a good pass. Looking at the stats I didn't realize how much of an impact missing Steven Owre had in the lineup. I thought he played a very good game.

Tonight I also liked how the Tigers were finishing more of their checks, although that is usually not their game and probably more of a result of frustration.

I liked how the coaches kept Bradley up on the 2nd line, and put Butcher on the 3rd line. Bradley has been flying the last couple weeks.    

They miss Becker and Vanelli a ton back on the point. Coaches said pre-game that Becker might be good to go as soon as next weekend.

Next up: Monday afternoon in Swift Current a 2 oclock game. I'm hearing that the Tigers will have a good fan contingent following them up for the long weekend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tigers Defeat Giants 8-4

Tonight's game was pretty close through most of the it, but the Tigers managed to pull away in the third period. It was good to see them avenge their loss from a couple weeks ago in vancouver which Rogers Sportsnet had broadcast the game.

Thoughts

Trevor Cox
I liked Trevor Cox's game. I thought his one on one approach offensively looked real dangerous.

Dryden Hunt
I thought Hunt struggled through 2 periods. He seemed like he was having a tough time keeping his speed up, and the puck wasn't following him. All off a sudden in the third period he came within inches of a hat-trick. He sure has a good hard shot. Give him the puck and let him rip it.

Markus Eisenschmid
2 Powerplay goals. A couple quick shots from the high-slot.

Ty Stanton
A little rusty in his first game back. Looked a bit uncoordinated at times. Looked a bit shaken up on hard hits.

David Quenneville
First career whl fight.   5'8 179 lbs took on Alec Baer 5 '10 175 lb. Quenneville laid out a lickin on Baer, Was surprising to see that side of the game from Quenneville.

Nick Schneider
A bit of a surprise start. Langhamer had a nagging injury and wasn't ready to go quite yet. I thought he was just ok. Probably would have liked to have played a little better.

Overall
It felt like the Tigers finally got their groove back tonight. They were in a bit of a fade the last few games. Vancouver came out really hard in the first couple periods. The Tigers depth shown through and as the Giants started wearing down, the Tigers managed to step it up and put the game out of reach.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

3 Tigers Named in NHL Mid-Term Rankings

North American Skaters


144
BRADLEY, MATTHEW
MEDICINE HAT
C
5' 11.25"
18
160
HUNT, DRYDEN
REGINA
C/LW
6' 0.0"
199


Goaltenders
8
SCHNEIDER, NICK
MEDICINE HAT
R
6' 1.75"
16


In the November Rankings both prospects were listed as "C" prospects. Schneider is the highest ranking whl goalie.  (I believe only 6  CHL goalies were taken in the last draft)

Interestingly enough Dryden Hunt was 144th overall last year. He wasn't selected in the draft but did get called for camp with carolina.

I thought Ty Schultz might have had a chance at this list, but I felt his play wasn't as strong as it was during the first handful of games when the players were still sorting themselves out. Hopefully he comes out with a strong 2nd half and garners consideration.

Former Tiger Connor Hobbs is listed in the 100 spot.

Edit: Initially missed Hobbs as he was on the list as a member of Regina. This is his 2nd go-round.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tigers Go 2-1 On Trade Deadline Weekend

Early in the week the Tigers made a blockbuster deal with Regina picking up Kyle Burroughs, and Dryden Hunt. The Two flew to Victoria to await the rest of the Tiger team.

55 Hour Bus Ride
Their were a couple avalanches on the road and the Tigers were stuck out in revelstoke. I guess they basically camped out in the Bus. Seeing as how the next morning arrived and they kept pushing the time back to when the road would be opened they found a hotel and stayed the night. The next morning they made their way to Victoria and met up with their new teammates.

Victoria
Pretty much played with a new lineup as this was Markus Eisenschmid's first game back from the world juniors. First games for Dryden Hunt, and Kyle Burroughs. Blake Penner was back from injury. That was almost a whole line.  I thought the Tigers controlled big parts of the game. The broadcaster mentioned that this looked like  Detroit Red Wings game where they controlled the majority of the puck possession. The Tigers won 3-2 but that score flattered Victoria.

Vancouver
I didn't get the chances to watch this game. The Tigers always have a good rivalry with Vancouver and always seem to loose against them at least once no matter what the skill Vancouver has. I was a bit surprised though that Vancouver came out with the 5-3 victory.

Kelowna
This could very well be a preview of the whl championship final if both teams have their way.
A hard fought game. It was the Tigers 3rd game in 3 nights, with a brutal bus-ride. The Key moment in the game was when the Tigers scored 2 shorthanded goals in the same penalty kill. Kelowna had taken the lead, and the Tigers bang-bang took it right back. The Tigers controlled the first period, it was a fairly even game throughout the rest, although I might give a small edge to kelowna in the second half. Kelowna will only get better as they gel with their new players. The Tigers won 5-3.

New Faces
Hunt has 4 points in 3 games.
Burroughs has 3 points in 3 games, and a +3 rating.


Just watching both these guys play, I can't believe the value the Tigers got without giving up a significant prospect(minus hobbs who was never going to play for the Tigers again)

Burroughs is so smart in his own end. He fought Tyrell Goulbourne of kelowna standing up for Tyler Lewington, after Lewy took a big hit.  Even though Goulbourne wasn't the guy that hit lewington, Goulbourne had been a thorn in the side, and I thought that was a key moment for the Tigers.

The Tigers still have Owre, and Stanton out with injuries, both key players to the lineup.

Next Up Regina Pats

Looking forward to the matchup against Regina on Wednesday. I'm sure it will be fairly emotional for Burroughs and Hunt. Wouldn't be surprised to see if either of them go into the wrong bench once.

 I agree with longtime fan who posted in the comments "I would hope that people don't boo Connor Hobbs when Regina plays here on Wednesday. As I've said previously he's a young man that I think he got some bad advice."




Monday, January 5, 2015

Tigers Make BlockBuster Deal with Regina

Well It's Official. Their have been some strong rumors about a deal involving Connor Hobbs last week.

reginapats.com/article/pats-and-tigers-complete-blockbuster

Regina Pats Head Coach and Senior VP of Hockey Operations John Paddock announced today the team has acquired defenceman Connor Hobbs (’97), a 2nd Round pick in 2016 and a 3rd Round pick in 2015 in exchange for defenceman Kyle Burroughs and forward Dryden Hunt.

http://www.tigershockey.com/article/tigers-acquire-hunt-burroughs-from-regina

“We are very excited about adding Dryden and Kyle to our roster,” stated GM and Head Coach Shaun Clouston. “We look forward to welcoming them to the Tige


My Thoughts
My Initial thoughts are: "I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS DEAL". Burroughs was Regina's Captain. Hunt was an assistant Captain and a  1st line player. Hunt is very strong on the puck and can muscle bigger opponents off the puck.   He is another point per game player to add to the mix. That gives the Tigers 6 PPG forwards in their lineup.

Burroughs is a top pairing Defenceman. A smart, mobile 2 way Defenseman. He will likely go pro next season.  Hunt is possibly likely to be back next season.

The Tigers get 2 very good quality 19's. From the Tigers standpoint this could be considered an exceptional deal as Hobbs isn't going to play as a Tiger again,  they didn't give up a 1st round pick, and they had an extra 2nd rounder from Regina in a previous deal, so it didn't dent the cupboards.

 I think their must have been some competition for Hobbs, as Hunt, Burroughs for Hobbs and a 2nd, 3rd seems like highway robbery.

With this deal the Tigers were already the oldest lineup in the WHL and they just added more experience. Regina and the Tigers have developed a pretty good trading relationship the past couple years.


Depth Charts

Defense
Lewington(20) Burroughs(19)
Vannelli(19) Becker(20)
Stanton(18) Schultz(17)
Quenneville(16)

Forwards
Sanford(19) Owre(18) Cox(19)
Eisenschmid(19) Hunt(19) Butcher(18)
Bradley(17) Ast(19) Penner(18)
Staples(19) Labelle(19) Mowbray(18)

Fischer(17), Rassall(17)

That is one heck of a defense. They have close to 5 1st line defenceman, and one of the best goaltenders in the league.


Next Season's 20's
Eisenschmid
Ast
Labelle
Sanford**
Cox**
Vannelli - Will Play Pro
Stanton**
Staples
Hunt**

As you can see Clouston will have a busy Summer with all these guys eligible to be back. Are they done?  Well If your going for it, it doesn't hurt to pad players, but  I don't forsee them making another move now.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Rumours Are A Flying

Last Edit: Sunday 9:36 PM
Check comments for recent trade news...1 credible hockey writer tweeted that the Tigers made a trade.

Rewrote this post

Thursday night on Brandon's Radio broadcast it was mentioned that Connor Hobbs from the Tigers had been traded.  Guy Flaming from the pipeline show on his twitter account confirmed that Hobbs has been dealt, but no other specifics were mentioned. Nothing was announced from the Tiger Camp either.

Yesterday the whl fans were abuzz with rumors that Morgan Klimchuk was also up for grabs and wasn't going to be a Regina Pat much longer.....   It seemed plausible for a couple hours that Hobbs and Klimchuk would be swapped, until yahoo's Kelly Friesen tweeted that Klimchuk had not been dealt to the Tigers, but would not remain a Regina Pat for much longer.

Edit: Kelly has since tweeted that the Tigers have indeed made a deal with the Tigers.

So people were putting 2+2 together, but in the wrong order.

Klimchuk To Brandon
Friday Morning Klimchuk was dealt to the Brandon Wheat Kings for 17-year old left-winger Jesse Gabrielle.

What About Hobbs?
Well this is still speculation, but Guy Flaming from the pipeline show has tweeted that Hobbs has been traded but the deal can't be announced yet https://twitter.com/tps_guy


So let the speculation continue....The Tourney ends Monday Night.

Trevor Cox Named CHL Player of the Month
http://www.whl.ca/article/tigers-cox-whl-player-of-the-month

Trevor had quite the Impressive December. He was moved to quarterback the powerplay and that helped powered him into the WHL Scoring Lead. He put up 28 points in just 10 games, which is just shy of a 3 Point Per Game pace.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hurricanes Make Some Big Moves!

Yesterday the Canes fired their head Coach Drake Berehowsky. Today they fired their GM Brad Robson.

The Hurricanes Assistant General Manager Peter Anholt will take over as both the Coach and General Manager. Anholt has coaching experience for the Raiders, Red Deer Rebels, Kelowna Rockets and Seattle Thunderbirds. He was also serving as a scout for Seattle

The Hurricanes board of directors felt that with the Christmas break coming up and with their record it was a good time for a change.

http://canesbroadcaster.blogspot.ca/

Thursday, November 20, 2014

3 Tigers Make NHL CSS Preliminary List

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=739668


The Following Tigers made the list and rated as "C" prospects.

NACBRADLEYMATTMEDICINE HATWHL5'11.25"187C
NACHOBBSCONNORMEDICINE HATWHL6'1.0"188D
NACSCHNEIDERNICKMEDICINE HATWHL6'1.75"160G

Matt Bradley and Nick Schneider had very strong openings to the season, and worked their way onto the lists. The pre-season list only had Connor Hobbs on the list.

Another Tiger who was a bit of a late bloomer into the season who I think will make the Mid-Term lists is Ty Schultz. I'm a bit surprised he isn't on this preliminary list but they way he has improved I can understand why he isn't on this list. I think his chances are strong that next go-round he will be on there if he keeps working hard.

Connor Hobbs
According to the SJHL twitter feed Connor Hobbs was added to the roster of the 
Nipawin Hawks (SJHL)   so that pretty much confirms he will not be rejoining the Tigers. 


WHL Website
I don't know how many times I have been frustrated by their website. I check players stats often and find it often doesn't work. For those that don't know there is an alternate site http://media.whl.ca/
where you can check out players stats and such when the main site isn't working. I've replaced it as by bookmark on the main site.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Connor Hobbs Goes Home

It is common news by now, but 17 year old Defenceman has left the Medicine Hat Tigers and is going home to await a trade.

http://medicinehatnews.com/sports/local-sports/2014/11/01/hobbs-rathjen-both-out-of-the-fold/

Hobbs was a late cut last year and made the World under 17's this past summer. The Tigers have 5 Defenceman who are 19+ yrs, and I guess he wasn't happy playing 3rd line minutes. Their have been some good comments and discussion in the comments section so I have decided to make a post on this.


My Thoughts

First I want to say we as fans don't know what he was going through. Their could have been behind the scenes factors; Maybe he wasn't getting along in the dressing room? Maybe he didn't agree with the coaches style of play or they were trying to alter his game?

Maybe he wasn't getting along with the billets? Maybe he was just having a tough time figuring himself out? Their are a lot of external factors we don't know about. Maybe he was just shy and didn't know how to express his thoughts and this is his way of dealing with it. Maybe he is getting bored of hockey and thought a trade would spice things up?

It very well could have been an agent pushing in his ear. Maybe one of his goals is getting drafted and feels like in his current situation he wasn't playing at a level in which that could happen. Can you really blame someone for trying to improve his situation where he wasn't happy?  If that is the case I respect his decision.

I hope that he has thought about his decision carefully, because sometimes you don't realize how good you may have it until it is no longer there.

I believe that if he has never had any previous discussions about his situation with the Tigers, I would be extremely disappointed in how he handled it.  If that was the case it would be better if he left this season, than perhaps later on where he would have been in a position of being more depended on. Next season he would have been guaranteed top 4, perhaps even top 2 with the turnover on the back-end.

Getting drafted is just the first step. Getting signed is what counts.


Connor Hobbs Future
If his goal is to get drafted this year, is a walk-out really the best option?  The Tigers look to have one of the better teams in the league this year. Having a solid supporting cast can help make yourself look good. When you have forwards making themselves available for passing options, it looks a lot better than having no options and getting forced to eat the puck to a turn-over.  Scouts are pretty damn smart and can tell the difference of a good player behind good experience, this league is highly scouted.

He will leave a decent hockey situation, with uncertainty as to when he will play next and where he will play next.  If he doesn't get dealt until Christmas or January, he won't have had a lot of viewings by scouts and he will have missed a little bit of development time.  If you look at the players with less WHL experience they don't get drafted that often, or if they do generally a lower pick.

If the reputation comes out that he never formally talked about being unhappy that could also damage his reputation. At the beginning of the season I would have initially pegged him as a possible 3-5th round pick. With the level of his play this season I would have considered a 6-7th round selection,  possibly just a camp invite selection. Connor wasn't playing like he could, and has more potential than what he has been showing.

I'm trying to be impartial here, and being a big Tigers fan that's probably impossible. I think he benefits is if he gets traded, plays first/second line minutes and becomes an integral part of a teams core defense.  If he is thrown into a situation where he is eating 2nd line minutes and is playing inconsistent, then this move does nothing for him and could potentially damage his case.

Blessing in Disguise
The Tigers now have a valuable piece to acquire help in any area they feel weak in.  With the injury to Eisenschmid their overall scoring depth may need boosting. Matt Staples suddenly has new life and may fit in the picture as a needed defenceman again.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Early Season Thoughts

Goaltenders and Defensive Play
Saturday's game was the first time the Tigers let in more than 2 goals in a game. Both Tiger goalies are #1, and #2 in GAA, in the whl. Schneider hasn't lost a game yet with the Tigers.

Last Saturday saw the Hitmen score 5 goals by planting a forward in front of the net almost every time they were in the Tigers zone. You can bet other teams will pick up on that and try to use a similar strategy, so the Tigers defense will have to get better at boxing guys out.

Their defense has been strong. They will give up a chance every once in a while, however it is usually only one and done.

Tommy Vannelli
Everyone knows he is a great player but I like the aggressiveness and attitude he is showing. A lot more physical and hard to play against. Might need to tone down on the refs, but I like his increased aggression.

Ty Stanton
His confidence is picking back up. He had a terrible start IMO, but is showing a lot of poise and confidence with the puck. He is another player that is hard to play against with love taps, getting under the opponents skin.  He is starting to show more of a play-making side to his puck carrying. His long reach and skating has a lot of potential. I also like the aggressiveness he has been showing.

Markus Eisenschmid
Very hard work ethic in both zones. He has already equaled his goal total of last year. His speed is a bit deceiving.

Chad Butcher
I think  saying this guy was poised for a breakout year, everyone would look at you and say duuhh. He is off to a very fast start with 10 goals in 13 games, and is a player the opposition should keep an eye on when he is on the ice. The way he plays its hard to catch up to him to knock him off the puck.

Alex Mowbray
Has almost doubled his point totals from last season in 1/3 of the games played. Very good at protecting the puck down low with playing a speed game, he is also one of the more physical forwards. He has improved a ton, and I feel the coaches are way more confident putting him on the ice compared to last season.

Ty Schultz
He has so far won me over as one of the better new defenceman. This point in the season is usually the time the rookies/new players start to fade a bit from fast starts, but yesterday's game against Calgary blew me away with how much he has improved this year. I think he will make the NHL scouting Lists by seasons end if he keeps up his consistency and solid play. He is winning battles against more experienced opposition. Seeing a young player do that is often a sign of becoming a breakout player. It is still early in the season, but lets hope  he can keep it up as he is playing really well.

David Quenneville
Against Calgary there were a couple times he looked like a 16 yr old rookie  in his own zone. He was reaching out past his centre of balance deadening his speed, and his pokechecks weren't very effective. On a good note his shot from the point already looks pretty deadly, and has a solid first pass. He will take a bit of seasoning defensively, but has future powerplay Quarterback written on him.

Matt Staples
The odd guy out on the back-end but he has been filling in very nicely up front. Bringing a solid presence with a strong work ethic up front. I have really liked him filling in on the 3rd/4th line. His defensive experience is great to have. Sometimes with the 3rd and 4th lines, having them out in your own zone can be a bit frightening, but having staples as a Defenceman out there on the wing can be more comforting.

Trevor Cox
Kind of saw this slump coming a few games away. He has stopped moving his feet, doing a lot of gliding. At this level when you don't move your feet or hesitate I think your more likely to get injured. I'd like to see him keeping his feet moving 100% of the time just to get back into a groove. Their were spurts of it last game against calgary, towards the end and hopefully getting that empty net goal is a bit of a confidence boost to get him going again.

Blake Penner
Listed out as week to week...


6 on 5 Play
Against Calgary was awefully scary. How many times calgary passed to the 6th guy at the faceoff circle, then either shot, or went cross ice was dangerous. The Tigers were running around  in their own zone, and I thought they were a bit lucky to get that empty netter.

Calgary Hitmen
The Tigers have played them 4 times, and have taken 7 of 8 points. They only play them 2 more times real close together in February.

Next Up
The Tigers take on the Rebels in Red Deer Tuesday. They had a real hard fought game last time they played each other.

 Next Saturday at home the Tigers have a big matchup against Brandon. Brandon is the other team in the conference that is off to a really hot start. It will be the best offence in Brandon, vs the Best Defence in the Tigers.

Edit: Adding More

Tyler Lewington
Bringing a very solid play every night. I thought last season at the midway point he was performing below expectations, and searching the blog you could probably find comments somewhere mentioning it. Towards the end of last season something clicked for him. In the playoffs he was night in and out one of the best Defenceman on the ice.   He has continued that strong play this season. He has stepped up with a big brother mentality taking care of teammates and providing a physical force when needed. Very defensively solid.

Kyle Becker
Not really sure how or why he went from being a player fans liked to pick on to becoming more of a fan favorite in one season.... He is playing a little more aggressively(maybe thats it), and not afraid to stand up for his teammates in scrums. He has found a liking to join the rush in key times providing another outlet, when the forwards do some good defensive work down low, and are a bit behind.