View Full Version : Blame Game

11-20-2005, 06:43 PM
By RICK WILE www.kamloopsthisweek.com
Nov 20 2005

I don't think anyone can imagine the
hellish ride Kamloops Blazers head coach Mark Ferner has been on for the past three weeks.

It's been a neurotic November, with the lynch mob looking to pin the blame for the club's inconsistent start on the head coach. There are bigger problems with this team, which was 12-13-0-0 and in last place heading into Friday's game in Everett, than the coaching.
The view from this corner is that a coaching change is the last thing this franchise needs.
Anyone who knows anything about the team and the game should see the Blazers shortcomings. Size is the big thing, as the majority of teams they go up against on a nightly basis live up to the old team slogan of bigger, better, bolder, which has put both the scouting and management of the team on the hot seat as much as the bench boss.
The unwillingness of some players to show up when the going gets tough is maddening for fans. Think of how Ferner and the coaches feel when they see it far more times than any of us.
Looking at the player base, it was ridiculous to bring 20 players back from the team that recorded the second worst record in franchise history last season.
Management was fooled, or foolish in believing the same cast would turn things around in a manner that would take the franchise to the top.
Personnel moves that should have been made during the summer weren't and we were left to spend the first six weeks of the season determining - in no particular order - that Adam Chorneyko, Tanner Irwin, Bryan Kauk and Benn Olson were very limited in what they had to offer.
The Kris Versteeg era had more ups and downs than a toilet seat in an Interior Savings Centre washroom during a first intermission. He marched to his own drummer, not showing the teamwork the coaches wanted out of an older player. The distraction threw team chemistry out of kilter for a while.
The team started coming around when sniper Ashton Rome came on board. The Blazers rang up four straight wins but losing 6-1 to Vancouver in addition to losing Matt Kassian to a two game WHL suspension and Reid Jorgenson for two months with a broken jaw really turns up the heat, making things that much more challenging.
The Blazers need a lot of players to get a whole lot better than what we've seen over the first one-third of the season.
Blueliners Ray Macias, Roman Tesliuk and Keaton Ellerby and fourth- and fifth-year forwards Moises Gutierrez and Marc Connors, respectively, have underachieved and really have to pick it up.
I'll cut Janick Steinmann and Terrance Delaronde some slack, but not much. The team still needs more production from a No. 2 line than what the Blazers have been getting those two.
Ferner has done well to make the hockey club as competitive as it is in the toughest division in the Western Hockey League. The process deserves patience, understanding of the problems and a call to action in other areas of the operation.
There are too many shortcomings or issues to lay the blame in one person's lap.
And in this case Ferner should not be the sacrificial lamb.