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Thread: 2022 -= 2023 Season (Camp-pre-season-regular season)

  1. #101


    There might be something wrong with Bedard, but I"m not too sure. Maybe he's tired, maybe he's playing hurt. It's the end of the season, so it wouldn't surprise me if a few players are playing hurt. It does seem like Bedard is not playing anywhere near his World Junior Championships level. I think that can be said for most players in the last game. I don't think (m)any were playing to their potential. I did notice that Oremba was flying around the ice pretty good against Lethbridge and was making and / or trying to make things happen. Stringer took some for the team etc.. But Bedard hasn't put up many points lately. I"m not sure if he's hurt or if teams are just doing a great job of shutting him down, or both.

    One thing I noticed is that a lot of decisions that the Pats have made have been strange and / or bad. Instead of selling big over the last couple of years or adding a few players to support Bedard and co. They slightly dismantled the team and added young and older mediocre players. Instead of loading up in 2016-2017, they slightly dismantled the depth and it costed them a Championship. The Pats haven't made the playoffs since 2018, meanwhile Seattle is set to make the WHL final's for the third time since 2017. After this season, the Pats will likely be in bad shape for many years. There's something fundamentally wrong with the Pats' strategy. They might make the playoffs this year, but they're far from being a serious contender for a Championship.

    The Pats have depth problems throughout their line up due to the aforementioned reasons, but one thing I want to mention here that doesn't make any sense to me is how small / mediocre / young they are at center. After Bedard, it's Spencer, Whitehead, and Michels. Why? What other GM in the league would do that? At the start of the 2016-2017 season, the Pats had Adam Brooks, Sam Steel, Jake Leschyshyn, and Luc Smith at center, before they traded Luc Smith away. If the Pats wouldn't have made the (bad) decisions that they have over the last couple of years, they could have Bedard, Stanick, and Dubinsky (or Englot) as their top 3 centermen, then maybe have one of Spencer, Whitehead, and Michels to round out the line up, or something along those lines. Dubinsky and Stanick are both established 20+ goal players in the WHL. The 3 centermen behind Bedard right now are not. Stanick has 23 goals so far this year. Dubinsky has 18, but he was injured for a while and may still get 20 again this year. Armstrong is another player that the Pats traded away recently and he has 19 goals this year.

    Did JP do this because he wants his centermen to have good speed instead of other attributes? Because Spencer, Whitehead, and Michels are all good skaters, I will concede that, but they could certainly be faster. In fact, I agree with you, the Pats as a team aren't exactly a fast skating team. It seems like teams such as Brandon, Portland, Medicine Hat, Saskatoon etc.. have better team speed than the Pats. In 2016-2017, the Pats had Austin Wagner, who was arguably the fastest player in the league, by a fair margin. His speed had to be respected. And even when it was respected, he still found himself on a lot of breakaways etc.. the Pats don't have anyone near Wagners speed and they could certainly use some faster skaters this year as other teams are often able to out skate, out play, and out shoot the Pats etc... which would be a major problem for the Pats if they didn't have Bedard, Suzdalev, Svozil, and Howe etc., who have done a fairly good job this season of capitalizing on their scoring opportunities. The Pats are still able to win some of the games that they get out played. Without Bedard and Svozil next year, the Pats may have a long season.

    The Pats probably will make the playoffs. Especially if they win a couple of more games. WHL fans were talking about playoff match ups recently. Apparently the top teams in each division get the #1 and #2 playoff positions, even if they don't finish #1 and #2 in the conference. For instance, Red Deer won their division, but are currently in 3rd place in the Eastern conference. However, Red Deer will still be in the #2 spot when playoffs start, so if the Pats finish in 6th, where they currently are, they'd play Saskatoon and not Red Deer. However, if the Pats fall down to 7th place, they would play Red Deer in the first round. I"m not sure if that's correct or not, but if it is, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, if the Pats finished in 7th place. Medicine Hat seems like a better match up for Saskatoon (than Regina), and Regina and Red Deer seem like a better match up than Regina and Saskatoon.
    Last edited by Reider; 03-12-2023 at 07:45 PM.

  2. #102

    Default Pats make it to the Dance!

    After Fridays game, it was looking pretty grim. They played an absolutely horrible game top to bottom. However to their credit they found a way to gut out a win on Saturday, thus punching their ticket to the playoffs. It's a credit to them and a nice change from the usual hockey landscape around here every spring. On Sunday they once again gutted out a win in Saskatoon. From what I can see it looks as if they have got 6th place locked. I suppose it is possible for Calgary to tie them in points if certain things happen, but the Pats would have more wins. A tie breaker would be needed for positioning. So it appears that the Pats have a series date with the Blades!!

    The Pats have been consistently inconsistent all season for a fact. Their fortunes are dependent on which team shows up and for how long, and how far Bedard can carry them. They have given up 40, 48, 44, shots per game over the last three games. They need to find away to bring that down a bunch or they will wear out their goalies. They need to find a way to create more offensive zone time so that it can cut back the defensive zone time, as they've been under siege there for the last little while. That's not a recipe for success. The Blades are a deeply talented, well coached team. They have played very good and very consistently all season.

    What I have liked the most is the play of the bigger guys like Barnett, Ginnell, and Oremba. They have been giving teams a lot of trouble with their play along the wall. It's too bad management couldn't have seen fit to keep or get a couple more like that. This time of year is where size and grit come in handy. Playing a heavy game has it's rewards.
    Last edited by chopper; 03-21-2023 at 03:56 AM.

  3. #103


    The pendulum sure swings far, both ways for this Pats team, and it's arguably largely dependent on the approach they take. Often when they take an offensive first, run and gun style of approach against good teams, they end up getting destroyed, not unlike when they lost to Moose Jaw 9-5 on Friday. However, when the team buys into a playoff style, high tempo, team defense first approach, they've shown that they can beat good teams. Not unlike how they beat Moose Jaw 7-3 in Moose Jaw Saturday and then they beat Saskatoon 4-2 in Saskatoon on Sunday. When the team limits grade A scoring chances, the goaltenders have a chance to give the team a chance to win, which is what Sim and Pyne did on Saturday and Sunday. Sim would have only given up 2 goals in Moose Jaw if it wasn't for Whitehead shooting the puck in his own net, off of a shin guard. If the Pats are giving up 2 goals a game in the playoffs, they're going to give themselves a chance to win in the playoffs. Hopefully the players are seeing this and buy in.

    It definitely looks like the Pats are going to be playing the Blades in the first round. That's going to be a huge mountain to climb, but the Pats have beaten the Blades twice this year, so one never knows. Hopefully the Pats can make a series out of it.

    Barnett, Ginnell, and Oremba have certainly stepped up and played better lately. Oremba can be effective when he uses his speed and size and skill and hockey IQ. Ginnell appears to be taking his role seriously as a big OA, which is what the Pats need moving forward. And Barnett needs to keep using his frame to his advantage and make good hockey decisions. Getting in front of the goaltender paid off for him last game as he scored the game winning goal in Saskatoon. The Pats did have a couple of other bigger players, who were injured (Bateman, C. Vaughan, and Valis). Spencer is also injured. hopefully Bateman, C. Vaughan and Valis get healthy and are able to play a strong physical game at high speed, when they return. Spencer can skate, but I can't see him out muscling too many opponents. Saskatoon was missing Sidorov and Gustafson. I think Parker Berge has elevated his game a bit as well, even though he's not considered to be one of the bigger players. And I agree, it would have been nice if the Pats went out and acquired a few bigger / good players for their playoff run.

    Swift Current added some bigger physical players and they're currently on the outside looking in at a playoff spot right now. It'll be interesting to see if they can get that last playoff spot or not.

    The Pats being out shot by other teams seems to be a common theme this year. They've won a bunch of games this year, despite being out shot hugely. They also seem to lose more face offs than they win in a lot of these games. It does seem like the Pats are under siege in these games, when they tighten up their defense. It may seem like they're playing rope-a-dope, but I don't think they are. And I do see how this could wear down the Pats' goaltenders. However, based on what I've seen, is that if the Pats are able to limit grade A scoring chances, both Pats goaltenders are capable of winning games, which they showed over the last two games in MJ and Saskatoon. I suppose they need to figure out a way to spend more time in the opponents end of the ice, and they also need to have more sustained pressure in the opponents end of the ice. It's probably a lot easier said than done, but I agree, if the Pats are able to have more sustained pressure in their opponents' end of the ice, it's going to take pressure off of the Pats' goaltenders. I agree that being under siege is not a recipe for success, but it seems like that's about the only way they can win a lot of these games against top teams, while playing a team defense first style. If they open things up, it seems that's when the team falls apart and they give up a lot of grade A scoring chances. They need to find a way to play team defense first, but also have sustained pressure in the offensive zone, when they create those opportunities.

    It's impressive that the Pats beat Saskatoon in Saskatoon on Sunday with a 4 pm start time, which was their 4th game in 5 days / nights and they actually still had the legs to play a team game and get the win. That signals to me that they're ready for the playoffs and ready for a long playoff series, if they get that far.

    Bedard scored his 70th goal in Saskatoon, which is amazing. If he didn't have to miss 11 games for the World Junior's, he'd probably have over 80 by now.

    It'll be interesting to see how the Pats play in their remaining two games of the season vs. Sasktatoon and PA. Hopefully they finish the regular season strong with a playoff style, team oriented approach, instead of mailing in the games.

    It's exciting to see the Pats in the playoffs again, even though they're going to be heavy underdogs, and the GM did not bring in any serious help at the deadline. The Pats have a big challenge ahead of them and it'll be interesting to see if they're up for it.

  4. #104


    A bit of a tough decision by the Pats. The smart move would be to see what assets the team could acquire in a Bedard trade. Really not sure what teams have the necessary assets required to make this happen.I guess it depends on ownerships view on whether keeping him is better than trying to set the team up for years to come. Not sure how many trades the team would need to make to become competitive enough in the playoffs even with Bedard and Svozil. Interesting times for the Pats to be sure.

    The last time the Pat were in the playoffs I was still using my Commodore 64 computer so it will be interesting to see how they react. Need to check eBay for some used golf clubs.

  5. #105

    Default Blades 3 Pats 2

    The game last night was very close to the type of game the Pats will need to play in order to have a sniff against the Blades. It was close but with a little more in a few areas the Pats could have won that game last night just as easily.

    The Pats will need to get a little better goaltending from SIM. He had poor rebound control last night which lead to two Saskatoon goals. The WHL rule that lets a player kick a puck in didn't help as that's what happened on the first goal. As long as the puck is outside the blue paint, you can legally kick it in and it counts. It's a totally BS rule and totally ridiculous. Neither of the other Major Junior loops use it, and it's not used in the Memorial Cup. Why do we allow it? Stupid. If you're deflecting it in that's one thing, but a kicking motion and it counts is stupid. It's like letting a soccer player use his hand to direct in a goal!! Still Sim let the puck play him rather than controlling his rebounds. The other takeaway from last night is the fact the Pats are still trying to be too cute looking for the perfect pass/goal. They had a 3 on 1 with Bedard in the 2nd period and didn't get a shot on goal. They need to start shooting more! Young Temple got smacked in the head area last night and in typical JP fashion, nobody stood up for the kid.

    The Pats are in dire shape injury wise. Valis is done for the season, and likely both Spencer and Harmacy as well according to the injury report. Bateman and C. Vaughan are day to day and hopefully they are back in time. Valis and Spencer combined have 31 goals and 64 points. That is a huge loss for a team that has no depth. Bateman for all his faults is their best shutdown d-man. Vaughan may be their most physical d-man.

    This all goes back to and speaks to the fact that JP didn't do anything at the deadline to add some quality players. We had some trade pieces like Fiest and others. Moving Armstrong is such a devastating blow right now. I could point out faux pas on and on but it doesn't do any good now. The Pats will have to make to do with three lines and sprinkle in 4th line players here and there during games.

    The Pats are dealing once again with poor talent depth so they have to completely change how they play the playoff games. In order to have any sniff at making this a long series the Pats will need to win one of the first two games in Saskatoon. They will need to be defensive minded first, have their goaltender play at an extremely high and consistent level, get more shots, and score on their PP chances.

    They are finishing up tonight and it makes me wonder if they should perhaps consider resting a few players who may be banged up.

  6. #106


    The Pats finished the regular season in 6th place in the Eastern Conference, 4 games above .500, and they ended up with 72 points, which is 13 more than what they had last year (59). Their top players produced more this year than they did last year and they also got a huge boost from Alexander Suzdalev joining the team this year. He ended up with 38 goals and 48 assists, which is what the Pats needed. However, now that they made the playoffs for the first time in 5 years, they will have to play Saskatoon in the first round in the playoffs.

    At first glance, the Pats look like huge underdogs and they most certainly will be underdogs. Saskatoon finished the season with 101 points. They only had 15 regulation losses. They have a lot of depth, they play a fairly consistent, structured game, and they have good goaltending. On the positive side, the Pats have beaten Saskatoon twice. The Pats have also beaten some other good teams in the league (E.g. Winnipeg, Red Deer X2, Moose Jaw and Portland etc.), so it's not like the Pats haven't been able to beat good / great teams at certain points in the season. The question is, can they beat Saskatoon in the playoffs? Can they win a 7 game series against Saskatoon in the playoffs? The Pats recently played Saskatoon and they played good both games (and beat Saskatoon one of the two games and may have won the second game, if Drew Sim was sharper in goal etc).

    However, was that Saskatoon at their best? Were that the Pats at their best? Playoffs in a new season. I don't know what's going to happen, but I expect Saskatoon to increase their tempo and urgency in this series compared to the last two games that these teams played each other. Will the Pats be able to match Saskatoon's tempo and urgency? I"m not sure. I know that Bedard can elevate his game. We've seen him do it in multiple World Junior Championship tournaments. But can and will the rest of the Pats team elevate their games? We're going to have to wait until tonight to find out.

    I think the keys to the Pats making this a long series include being able to match Saskatoon's tempo and urgency. The Pats will have to stifle Saskatoon in the neutral zone and in their own end and limit grade A scoring chances. The Pats will also have to try and be better with zone times. The Pats will have to create quality scoring chances of their own. But I think it's important that the Pats clear the puck out of their zone as quick as they can and not get hemmed into their own end for extended periods of time. If Saskatoon has sustained pressure in the Pats' zone and the Pats have little sustained pressure and few grade A scoring chances of their own, that's not going to work in the Pats' favor. The Pats need to limit Saskatoon's zone time if they want to win games in this series. The Pats will also need their best players to be their best players. And they'll also need the rest of the team to elevate their games as well. The Pats' goaltenders will have to be sharp because we know that Saskatoon's goaltenders will be. Austin Elliot has the 3rd best GAA in the league (2.20) and his SAV % isn't terrible either (0.911). Bateman, Ginnell, and Brown are the Pats' OA's and they're going to have to be factors in this series.

    The Pats were already short on depth as they were arguably small sellers again this year, instead of buyers, as they moved Easton Armstrong at the deadline, and Cole Dubinsky earlier in the season. Spencer, Valis, and Harmacy appear to be out for the season, which doesn't help the Pats' depth situation at all. I expect Luke Bateman and Corbin Vaughan to dress and play in game 1. In sum, the Pats are going to have to do their absolute best to shut Saskatoon down, and then their offense is going to have to go to work. If the Pats can't shut Saskatoon down and / or if the Pats' offense can't get going, the Pats will be in trouble.

    At this point, I"m ready to get this series underway and see how these two teams match up in the playoffs. I"m hoping for a competitive, exciting, and long series. The Pats are probably going to have to win at least one game in Saskatoon, if they want to make this a long series or if they have any plans on winning it. Going 0-2 to start the series, as underdogs, seems like a terrible strategy.

  7. #107


    Pats win 6-1 in Saskatoon in game 1. Saskatoon seemed to have a 5 on 5 power play in the Pats' end in the first 5 minutes of the game and at certain points in the third period. The Pats started clearing the puck and icing the puck and eventually started creating their own scoring chances on their own offensive zone time and scored on a lot of them. Bedard took a holding penalty behind Saskatoon's net at the end of the first period, which probably wasn't a very good penalty to take. Zack Shantz scored the Pats' first goal, which was huge. Bedard scored two goals. Saskatoon got a lot of pucks on net, particularly in the first two periods. The Pats bent a bit at times, but didn't give up too many grade A scoring chances. Saskatoon's only goal came on a Bedard turnover, when Bedard appeared to slip and fall down on the ice. Sim played good in net. One encouraging thing about this win is that the Pats didn't get any power play opportunities, thus they didn't score any power play goals.

    I'm not sure if Saskatoon had nerves or if they lacked urgency and effort or if the Pats simply out played them. But it looked like the Pats played a really good road playoff game and it appeared that the entire team bought in. And of course, the Pats were able to capitalize on a lot of their scoring chances. That said, it's only one game and there's still a lot of hockey left to play. Hopefully they continue giving full team efforts.

  8. #108

    Default Big win!

    I didn't have a good feeling in my gut last night, but then again it could have been gas! With the way Saskatoon came out last night it looked pretty grim for about the first 10 minutes and then things started to change a bit. We got some zone time and a few shots on goal, even a couple decent opportunities. But we seemed to wear their d-men down a little, and weren't coming out as crisply. When they would get a chance Sim appeared to be dialed in. Once Shantz and Bedard scored you could kind of see the Blades flatten out a bit. The Ginnell goal was a weird for sure but turnabout is fair play. Last game there they got a kicked in goal and the score ended up whatever. The Pats scored three more times after that at any rate.

    The Pats played exactly like they have to and exactly like they have the previous two times in Saskatoon. They will need to play the same way once they get home.They can't change anything. They are limiting shots from the danger areas in front, and for the most part keeping Saskatoon to the outside. Then whenever called upon Sim was good. The Blades want to get the Pats into a run and gun, which favours them as they have more depth. The Pats on the other hand want to keep playing the same way and change nothing. Playing defence first and when the opportunity presents itself, take their offensive shots. It seems the Pats have got Saskatoon to play the game that they prefer, and you can see it's frustrating the Blades. This is the type of game I have been waiting to see from them for years. If they had played with the same attention to defence all season, I believe they could have won 7-10 more games.

    I hope they rest and rehydrate because the game they play is quite taxing, but they are young guys. As Reider says; this was only one game and the series has a long way to go. If the Pats follow this same pattern and game plan I think they may have some success. Reality dictates that this is the only way they can play if they hope to have a shot!

  9. #109


    The Pats beat Saskatoon 6-5 in OT to take a 2-0 series lead. I didn't like some of the goals that the Pats gave up and I didn't like some of the penalties that the Pats took either. The Pats took a 2 goal lead in the first period, but the game ended up going back and forth until the Pats (Stringer) scored a power play goal in overtime. Bedard, Svozil, Stringer, Suzdalev, and Barnett etc.. all contributed offensively and / or made some really nice plays at times. Steel Quiring replaced Zane Rowan on the roster this game as Rowan apparently has some sort of injury. Saskatoon was 0 for 4 on the power play, while the Pats went 2 for 4. The Pats were heavily out shot by Saskatoon 47-19, which isn't good, but the Pats were efficient with their scoring opportunities, which happened often in the regular season as well. The Blades also won more face offs than the Pats (35-26), which doesn't help.

    The Pats are underdogs, so an ugly win is still a big win. The Pats are going to have to clean up their defense and discipline heading into game 3. Even though I think Drew Sim's play was less than perfect, it's not a good strategy to allow the opponent to get 47 shots on goal. That's just asking for trouble and is taxing on the goaltender. Speaking of goaltenders, the Saskatoon Blades took out goaltender Austin Elliot in the second period, after the Pats scored their 4th goal, and replaced him with Ethan Chadwick.

    I should also mention Luke Bateman and Riley Ginnell, in addition to the aforementioned players, those big bodies are important and a factor in these games. I thought the team in general still played pretty good and fought until the end, despite their defensive breakdowns and bad penalties, but they need to clean things up moving forward. Giving up 5 goals against is too many.
    Last edited by Reider; 04-02-2023 at 09:09 PM.

  10. #110

    Default Pats have to be elated to be up 2-0

    It was by no means a Picasso but at this time of year a win is a win, and we'll take it. Hopefully they clean up their blatant problems and get back to a game like the game Friday night. You don't often win when you give up 5 goals on the road.
    I think the Pats deviated a bit from their last game plan after quickly going up 2-0 in the 1st period. They sort of raced into a first team to 6 goals kinda game. When a home team scores 5 goals and still loses, a lot of things had to go right.

    It's a great concern that they're giving up as many shots as they are. When you're giving up 45+ shots in game, it's a recipe for disaster in any league. On Friday I think they skated better and the SOG's were within decent and equal range. We played a bit more in their end. Tonight we were giving up more high calibre scoring chances and that has to stop. Sim was good for the shots he faced. However he gave up a couple suspect goals IMO.

    I'm very happy with the position they're in being up 2-0, but I'm still concerned about how they will come out at home. They haven't been too good at home recently and that needs to change. If they can get back to their defense first mindset and score on turnovers and PP's, they have a decent chance. The Pats have to play with intensity and desperation, because you can be assured that Saskatoon will be playing that way. If the Pats do that and stick to the game plan the result should be good. We can't get loosey-goosey because we're at home and have last change. It's often said in hockey that the 3rd game of a series is often the telling factor. The Pats have to desperately go for it Tuesday. They can't come back too satisfied thinking they've won something, because that's not the case. It takes four wins to win a series. Every game from here on in gets harder and harder. The coaching staff has to get them grounded and focused on the task ahead.

    Big bodies are always a welcome asset at this time of year. It's hard to get to the net and hard work cycling along the wall. Barnett's size and strength created one of Bedard's goals. It's how playoffs are played. A few more guys have to buy into that reality. I hope the kids appreciate what a great spot they're now in, and are willing to put in the work to finish it.

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