Same Old Song and Dance
With a new start to the season, you would think the Hounds would have played better even if they lost the game but it wasn’t to be. The Greyhounds were routed 7-4 last night by the Flint Firebirds who must be looking forward to the next game with the boys as they have beat us 5 straight times going back to late last season.
The game started off great with Kirill Kudryavstev notching one 32 seconds into the game but the wheels slowly fell off this train wreck. At times I did see some flash and energy but it was sparse. Newly acquired Brenden Sirizzotti started the game strong but he didn’t seem to play like a veteran that is supposed to lead this team by example.
Scoring issues remain and I hope that Owen Allard returns soon because if Raftis is holding back on making a trade because of this….it may be too late.
The Greyhounds are now out of playoff contention as they nosedive to ninth in the division. If they are gunning for the basement they are on their way. Erie is in 10th but have two games in hand on the Hounds and if they win those….as of today, the Hounds would be the worst team on paper in the entire conference.
This is a huge huge deal financially and strategically. If the Hounds don’t make the playoffs, ownership can kiss at least $150 000 of extra gate (merch/canteen) revenue goodbye and the chances of being awarded the rights to host the Memorial Cup in 2024.
As I have said before; the Niagara Ice Dogs will host the Memorial Cup. Wayne Gretzky is a minority owner and you just don’t say no to the Great One. If Gretzky sold his shares in the team; the Hounds would still lose out in its’ bid as you don’t reward a team missing the playoffs the year before.
To sum things up; Kyle Raftis needs to get into the market and make a move even if Owen Allard is slated to return next month; it will take Owen some time to get back to game shape and the Hounds don’t have the time to wait. They need wins and they need them now. They have only scored 95 goals this year which is 2nd least in the entire league of 20 teams. Although this organization prides itself on building from the draft, unfortunately they may have to move a kid or two in order to solidify a playoff run.
I really hope that Kyle is at the World Juniors doing everything he can to convince German Julian Lutz to commit to the Hounds. We need this kid. Although he was on the wrong side of a thumping by Canada yesterday (11-2), he made it obvious with 3 penalties that he is a competitor and wants to win.
The Hounds may have lost another player to injury as Connor Toms went into the boards awkwardly and it looks like he might have a foot or ankle injury. We will have to wait and see.
Samuel Ivanov played a good game at times but also let in some soft goals in my opinion. I believe Coach Dean agreed as per his post game comments; you just have to read between the lines.
I was hoping to see Landon Millar starting the third to be honest; sometimes you need to inject something to get the kids to rally behind. If Ivanov goes down with an injury we’re screwed. Charlie Schenkel is injured and his return is questionable as he still hasn’t practiced with the team since his injury.
I remember before Christmas reading the Dean was leaning to giving young Landon Millar a start during the previous roadtrip and it didn’t happen. Landon has literally 40 minutes of OHL experience and has only faced 23 shots. This team is not gearing for a title, so this kid should get a start……and at the same time; some of the players Dean was referring to as “passengers” should be getting the bench.
I am not doubting Deans coaching abilities on the ice, but off the ice, I think he is not properly addressing some things. If you consistently don’t play to your ability you don’t dress.
I know it must be a tough position to be in John and this isn’t personal. I have it easy just writing and assessing with no consequence; so these are just my opinions and I am sticking with them.
If you haven’t figured it out yet; I admit that Bill Montague and Peter Ruicci have influenced my writing style.
Tonight the Hounds face another do or die game in Saginaw and things don’t look good as the Spirit sit 2nd in the conference, only a point behind the London Knights.
Go Hounds Go