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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tigers Send Allan to Seattle

Medicine Hat, AB -- The Medicine Hat Tigers on Monday evening made a trade with the Seattle Thunderbirds, sending defenceman Scott Allan to the west coast.

Allan was entering his 2nd season with the Tigers after appearing in 34 games last year, recording 0 points and 24 penalty minutes. Allan came to the Tigers after playing in the Heritage Junior B League with the Banff Academy.

Allan, 6'6 and 235 lbs, appeared in 3 games so far this season, recording a -1 rating and getting into a fight in Lethbridge in the season opener.

"The Tigers would like to thank Scott for his contributions to the Tigers both on and off the ice," stated Head Coach and General Manager Shaun Clouston, "We wish Scott all the best in Seattle."

This is a win-win trade for Seattle. I think a 5th round pick is really good value for the potential that Allan has. He is big, mobile, not afraid to be mean. He has room to pack on some muscle. He is a little raw, but his potential is really high. He would be a perfect 3rd line guy, who could possibly come into his own, be a solid 2nd next year. Then a big #1 by his 20 yr old year. He still has a lot of work ahead of him, but the potential is there.

Defense down to 8

Lewington Vannelli
Stanton Becker
Quenneville Schultz

Still 1 too many. Staples hasn't seen action in 4 games. Staples is a solid 2nd pairing guy, who would be around for his overage season.  

Overage Deadline
Thursday of this week. overage Jared Rathjen is still a member of the Tigers. I feel for Rathjen a 20 yr old overage goaltender with an unfortunate condition that is tbd. Just looking around the whl it doesn't look like their will be much movement, as the big name from Kelowna got moved to the broncos.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tigers Destroy Royal 8-2

If you missed this one, you missed a great game. It had a playoff style, rough and tumble, battle for every inch type feel to this one. A Highly Entertaining game.

The Royals tried to exert themselves physically against the Tigers, and the Tigers made them pay with numerous odd man rushes, powerplays, and big hits. The Tigers went 4 for 11 on the powerplay. I think anytime a team spends 22 minutes in the box your not giving yourself a good chance to win.

The Royals aren't a bad team they have a lot of team speed The Tigers were able to get them off their game and punish them on the scoreboard.

I noticed in the third period the royals were really trying to line the Tigers up. But they would only catch a piece of them and then subsequently get hit and knocked over by one of the Tigers forwards in for support.

The Tigers are flying and it is fun to watch. 

So many guys are playing every shift like its their last shift, and it has a good effect on everybody.

I was impressed by the Hobbs Fight. Owre got nailed a couple times, one was a late hit and arguably a penalty. Hobbs went down whacked the guy a couple times and took him on. Hobbs received an extra 2 minutes but its the type of fight that says you can't do that and stood up for his teammates.

 Lewington's fight I didn't like. He took on a 3rd/4th line guy who was trying to start something at the end of the period, but wasn't really a threat.

Eisenschmid, Mowbray, Bradley, Schultz, Shaw, have all been playing very well and above expectations early in the season. I hope they can continue that.

The Tigers aren't just winning close games right now they are dominating them without one of their top forwards in Anthony Ast.

Let's hope they can continue this great play, and keep the streak going. 9 Games in and they haven't allowed more than 2 goals in a game.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tigers Crack CHL Top Ten

BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings – Week 3 
Last Week Rank:
Number of Weeks Ranked:
Rimouski Oceanic (8-1-0-0)
Kelowna Rockets (7-0-0-0)
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (4-0-0-0)
Brandon Wheat Kings (5-0-1-0)
Erie Otters (4-0-0-0)
Medicine Hat Tigers (6-1-0-0)
Moncton Wildcats (6-2-0-0)
Oshawa Generals (4-0-1-0)
Gatineau Olympiques (6-2-0-2)
Everett Silvertips (3-0-2-0)
Honourable Mention:
Sherbrooke Phoenix (6-3-0-0)
Guelph Storm (4-1-0-0)
Kamloops Blazers (5-2-1-0)

The Tigers play Red Deer and Victoria this weekend.

Utica Comets Update
Utica made their first round of cuts today. Both Curtis Valk, and former Tiger Wacey Hamilton survived. Utica still has 19 forwards at camp.(4 free agents). Shinkaruk played in his first AHL Preseason game and recorded 1 assist.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Brad Forrest Re-Assigned

Brad Forrest was Re-assigned to the Calgary Mustangs of the AJHL.

Forrest was just a casualty of the extreme depth the Tigers have on the back-end. It leaves 9 WHL rearguards on the roster.

Current Defense
Vannelli(19) Lewington(20)
Becker(20) Stanton(19)
Staples(19) Hobbs(17)

This move pairs the Tigers roster down to 24 players. (25 including Rathjen) which is under the league limit of 25.  I guess the Tigers don't have to make a move, but surely 9 Dman is still 1-2 too many.