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Thread: 15-16 Season Discussion

  1. #121
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    This team has had a tremendous amount of adversity all year and despite that they are playing their best hockey of the year with out two of our top six forwards and #1 goalie. I think we are in for a battle in the next round but I believe we will win in six. This Pats team does have some skill up front but our third and forth line will be huge for especially our third line of Polie, Musil, and DeWit line the have been over powering. That line just had its way with the Calgary defense which in my opion is much better than what the Pats have on the backend. Anyways I am looking forward to the next round.

  2. #122

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    Well, even though that series went about how I expected, it's still disappointing to get booted playing the way they did in Games 4 and especially 5. Brandon is a buzz saw and Red Deer never at any point this year really showed they could maintain an elite level of play on a nightly basis, so while I am not surprised it still stings because I really believed at some point this year they would figure it out. But outside of a few guys elevating their game in the playoffs, nothing really ended up changing and they were extremely fortunate to even make it to the conference finals.

    On to the Memorial Cup I guess. To me, anything less than a WHL Finals appearance is a huge disappointment, and suffice it to say my excitement for the tournament has waned after seeing them dispatched in the conference finals in that manner, but I'll be there and hopefully they can make some noise. In that format anything can happen.

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by calcheyup View Post
    In that format anything can happen.
    True enough! In the Memorial Cup you really only need to play exceptionally well in a few games to take it all, as opposed to the grind of a seven game elimination series.

    I thought there was a few areas that they were weak in. Toth made some outstanding saves, but also allowed a few 'Bantam-level' goals at crucial times that took them right out of the game. Mahura wasn't even remotely close to being as competitive as any other player out there, and while he had his moments on the powerplay and in the offensive zone, he looked lost in his own end of the ice for much of the playoffs. He basically scored two of Brandon's goals last night. I don't really think it was fair for Sutter to use him in the situations that he used him in, with him having only played two regular season games this season. They needed to have a contingency plan in place, in the event that Brandon Hickey didn't join them after the WJHC, ie: another HEALTHY veteran defenseman.

    I think the game last night went a long way in raising Nolan Patrick's draft position, and it also may have dropped Mahura to the later rounds, or right out of the draft altogether.

  4. #124

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    Good points. I figured I'd do a quick post mortem on the way these guys played in the playoffs:

    GOALIE

    - Toth had some big games and some stinkers. I can't help but feel like this series would be going to game 7 if Landon Bow was in net (as I bellyached to anyone that would listen that Sutter should me a run for him at the deadline). In the end Toth didn't cost them anything, but nor did he elevate them. A few big saves and the Rebels are up 3-0 in the series instead of getting dumped in 5. This failing, however, I have to mostly attribute to Sutter stubbornly refusing to upgrade the back end, which cost them dearly against both Regina and Brandon, and not so much Toth.

    - Martin, credit to him, played probably above his head against Calgary and Regina until he came crashing down to earth with a barrage of bad ones in games 4 and 5. All said and done, however, he did as well as anyone could have expected for a backup in the WHL playoffs. My hat is off to him.

    DEFENSE

    - Fleury clearly elevated his game and played Pronger-like minutes out there. For the most part he was outstanding, even if he never quite kicked the habit of shooting into shin pads, and played a lot of tough situations and acquitted himself well.

    - Doetzel was Doetzel. That's one guy who you always know what you're going to get. He seemed to get even more physical and put an edge on his game in the playoffs without contributing to the penalty parade the Rebels got themselves into. Also played monstrous even strength minutes.

    - Nogier, too, played well, and the Rebels defensive failings certainly could not be laid in the hands of their top 3 guys. The dropoff after that, however, was pretty staggering.

    - Mahura showed a lot of promise and flashes of what's to come with him in the next few years, but you hit the nail on the head. Thrust into the top 4, power play minutes, those are huge responsibilities for a kid who played two regular season games this year. He struggled against Brandon and that fourth defenseman spot simply needed to be manned by a steadier, more veteran presence. It seems like everyone but Sutter believed this at the trade deadline.

    - Bobyk's game regressed in the playoffs significantly. His erratic play in his own zone and lack of discipline reappeared after he had shown signs of improving them in the latter part of the season, and he was demoted to the third pairing and saw less power play time as well. When the third pair was on the ice against Brandon, it was cringe worthy.

    - Strand, to me, really didn't take a step forward this year at all after a promising rookie season, and he, too, looked completely out of his element in the Brandon series.

    FORWARDS

    - When DeBrusk was acquired, I was expecting that the Rebels had picked up an elite level sniper. This did not happen; whether it is for the reason that DeBrusk is not that player, or that it just didn't come out in Red Deer, I'm not sure. What they did get was a very well rounded two way player who was one of their most consistent forwards. While disappointed with the fact that he did not bring the elite level of an offensive game that perhaps we expected, he did definitely bring a more complete game.

    - with Philp, I also overestimated his offensive abilities. He is an above average offensive talent, but just not a finisher around the net, at all. His goals come from hard work and making smart plays with and without the puck. He logged an insane amount of ice time for a forward, playing on every top unit, and without a doubt competed to the best of his ability every night, even if he seemed to struggle a lot in the face off dot, particularly against Regina.

    - Pawlenchuk was the same player we've all known. I think he was solid in the playoffs and, like Philp, played some hard minutes out there.

    - Musil, for the most part, played very well, I thought. If he had any more than average scoring touch around the net he would be an offensive force every night. He forechecks hard and is very difficult to move off the puck.

    - Polei was his inconsistent self, alternating between taking team killing penalties, scoring huge goals, and just not showing up at all. His play in game 5 of the Brandon series was a flat out embarrassment. Look no further than his half hearted back check on Patrick's 3-2 goal to see how much that guy cared about winning that hockey game.

    - De Wit - another guy that, similar to Musil, would be capable of being some sort of offensive force out there of he had more skill with the puck in his hands. I did like the way he played at times during the playoffs, making his line formidable at times, but he was also MIA at times.

    - Pretty difficult to criticize your leading scorer, but I felt Helewka's game actually dropped off in the playoffs. Whether that was just a byproduct of the stiffer competition, I'm not really sure, but he never really looked like that dominant player. He had some very good games but it looked like defenses had him solved pretty well and he definitely had issues working himself into scoring positions at even strength. I realize he was a point a game, but there were stretches in the playoffs where he was a non factor and when the bar has been set that high, that's just not good enough.

    - Hagel did some good things in the playoffs like he did all year, but gain was absent for games at a time. This was an affliction that most Rebels forwards suffered this year.

    - At the start of the year, I really thought Spacek was going to be more of a force offensively. While there's no doubt his two way game took strides this year (who would have thought Sutter would be depending on him on the PK at the start of the year?) He is obviously more of a playmaker and was definitely reluctant to shoot the puck, even in prime scoring position. So, I'm not really sure even now if my expectations after the way he rang in the season were unrealistic, or if he underachieved.

    - Nikolishin didn't play much in the playoffs so its not fair to criticize him being a non factor when he was playing.

    - Pratt, Purtill, Rattie, Shmoorkoff, et al, non factors as we expected.

  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by calcheyup View Post
    Toth had some big games and some stinkers. I can't help but feel like this series would be going to game 7 if Landon Bow was in net (as I bellyached to anyone that would listen that Sutter should me a run for him at the deadline).
    That would also mean giving up about 20 more shots a game by losing Doetzel, several goals in Helewka, or a ton of puck possession in Philp.

    Martin, credit to him, played probably above his head against Calgary and Regina until he came crashing down to earth with a barrage of bad ones in games 4 and 5. All said and done, however, he did as well as anyone could have expected for a backup in the WHL playoffs. My hat is off to him.
    Reminds me a bit of when Devan Dubyk was in Red Deer. He was sort of thrust into a tough situation due to a long-term injury, and wasn't a game-breaking goaltender, but played his angles well and kept the team in most of the games he started.

    Fleury clearly elevated his game and played Pronger-like minutes out there. For the most part he was outstanding, even if he never quite kicked the habit of shooting into shin pads, and played a lot of tough situations and acquitted himself well.
    Probably the biggest, and best surprise for me was Fleury's play. Where was this player before February or so?

    Bobyk's game regressed in the playoffs significantly. His erratic play in his own zone and lack of discipline reappeared after he had shown signs of improving them in the latter part of the season, and he was demoted to the third pairing and saw less power play time as well. When the third pair was on the ice against Brandon, it was cringe worthy.
    I actually thought Bobyk played alright, for Bobyk. I can almost guarantee that we will see him return to the second pairing, and Mahura drop to the third pairing for the tournament.

    Strand, to me, really didn't take a step forward this year at all after a promising rookie season, and he, too, looked completely out of his element in the Brandon series.
    I thought he took a step forward, and back again, and forward, and back, and forward, and... Very inconsistent this season.

    When DeBrusk was acquired, I was expecting that the Rebels had picked up an elite level sniper. This did not happen;
    He played through an injury for about the first month or so after he was acquired, and picked up his intensity a great deal down the stretch and into the playoffs.

    Pretty difficult to criticize your leading scorer, but I felt Helewka's game actually dropped off in the playoffs. Whether that was just a byproduct of the stiffer competition, I'm not really sure, but he never really looked like that dominant player.
    Helewka (and Polei) scored some big, clutch goals in the playoffs, but Helewka got a lot of extra attention from the Wheat King defense, and wasn't able to wheel, or get that big shot away as much as he was able to in previous series.

    At the start of the year, I really thought Spacek was going to be more of a force offensively. While there's no doubt his two way game took strides this year. I'm not really sure even now if my expectations after the way he rang in the season were unrealistic, or if he underachieved.
    He came in advertised as a two-way playmaker, and played half his games on lines with non-scoring threats. If he is back next season (and not in the AHL), I think that 30 goals isn't unrealistic from him, playing top minutes every night.

    I think that losing their leading regular-season scorer in Nikolishin really gave their overall puck possession numbers a big hit in the playoffs. Imagine how much of a romp the Regina series would have been, if all the Rebel players were healthy, and Regina didn't have Brooks in the lineup, and had to use Hollett as their starting goalie?

    Another observation that I made, was how fantastic Red Deer's line changes were. Red Deer has been by far the worst team in the league, as long as I can remember with line changes. It always seems like the teams they are playing complete their line changes four times faster than Red Deer. I have always believed that there is no work done on this in practice, and that Sutter just says "You remember line changes, from Bantam? Right?". It was like they flipped a switch when the playoffs started.

  6. #126

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    Don't think you are far off with the expectations for Debrusk being more offensive. There was an article on him a couple months ago where he stated he was more offensive and how happy he was with the Sutter system helping him to focus on becoming a better two way player. At the expense of offense unfortunately.
    Same as Mahura, pretty tough to expect Toth to come back from that much time off and not have some stinkers scored on him.
    Agree 100% on Polie and can't believe how many times all year including the playoffs he is 1 step away from a guy and just lets him go. Especially in his own zone when his defenseman plays the puck up to him and it gets intercepted.
    Helewka had to be hurt the last two series. Had no where near the speed and agility we seen in the regular season.
    After watching Spacek score at will the first few games of the season, i honestly thought we had a player that could challenge for the scoring title. Just like Debrusk, I am sure the Sutter system killed some offense in an effort to make him a better two way player.
    I was surprised at Philp's lack of finish around the net. He was in the right spot all the time but was like he was playing with a mop instead of a stick for finishing the play off. If i remember correctly, Sutter brought him in because he was a proven playoff performer. Don't think we seen the full effect of that. Maybe an error making him captain. Doetzel never took a shift off, voted by his teammates two years in a row as the guy who portrays what a Rebel player should be and a 20 year old that has been with the team his whole whl career. Seems like such a no brainer to me. Versus a guy who had been with the team a few months.
    Still the downfall of the team was brutal giveaways and an awful powerplay and penalty kill. I think the latter two will definately be on display when they play the elite levels teams in the Memorial cup.
    A lot of their powerplay goals again were scored off the rush and there was a lot of powerplays where the hardly got it in the offensive zone, little less had any sustained pressure.

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