GDB 8.0: REFINED
Metal goes through a lengthy purification process before it ever goes to market. The raw ore is extracted from the earth, transported, screened, stored, crushed, and eventually melted down in fiery crucibles. Through numerous mixings, meltings, and skimmings, the ore is eventually purified of contaminants that would compromise the integrity of the final product until it meets specification.
Hockey isn’t so different. Players – like metal ore – are composed of all sorts of attributes. Some are good and help the team while others need to be adjusted or eliminated altogether. The idea is that, through the refinement process, the end product is much stronger and more effective that it could have ever been previously.
With the initial few weeks of the season out of the way, it’s time to watch as the Hurricanes slowly refine their game and continue to improve.
To that end – tonight’s game in Swift Current is a fantastic opportunity for further refinement of an already impressive team.
Preview Brought to You by:
After a lengthy home stretch to begin the season, tonight the Hurricanes take on the Broncos in Swift Current. The coaches and players deserve credit for capitalizing on the early home games. Outside of a close game with the Rockets, the Hurricanes have been perfect in their own barn. Wednesday’s win over the Pats wasn’t the prettiest of efforts from either team, but Lethbridge won and I’m sure fans aren’t complaining.
While tonight’s game doesn’t mark the beginning of a long road trip (they face the Broncos at home next weekend), it does mark a transitional part of the early season. Despite it still being early, some of the core principles of this year’s Hurricanes squad have been implemented and applied with great effectiveness. The results speak for themselves. The Hurricanes have gotten out to a glorious start. Though the fundamentals will take more time before they are fully entrenched, it’s fair (and exciting) to start looking for some refinement in Lethbridge’s game.
It’s important not to get too far ahead of the program. New coaches each bring their own flare and methodology. In the case of Kisio, this is his first head coaching gig, and all of this is new to him in that regard. I’m not suggesting that the players are fully comfortable with what the coaches are asking and teaching of yet, but the foundations are no doubt there. Aside from Wednesday night, and the first ten minutes of the road game in Medicine Hat, the Hurricanes have consistently shown what they are about this year. They are fast, skilled, strong on the boards, and aggressive with backchecking and forechecking. Kisio has them playing an uptempo style that pushes the pace and demands effort. With the fundamental requirements of Kisio hockey communicated with great clarity, the second half of October will be about the continued application and refining of the coaches system(s).
The Bronco’s aren’t a world beating team. They have some exceptional talent throughout their line up, including Bruins prospect Jake Debrusk and big netminder Landon Bow, but are not expected to be a contender. The Hurricanes are not the underdog tonight, and if they execute, the Canes stand a good chance to win. I’m not saying this will be an easy game. It won’t be. I watched the Bronco’s play the Canes very well in Coaldale during the preseason. I believe Swift Current is a better team that the media was suggesting before the start of the season… but they aren’t as good as either Red Deer or Kelowna, two teams Lethbridge looked fantastic against. From what I’ve seen from the Hurricanes thus far, every game is a winnable game, tonight included.
Projected Line Up:
The lines you see are what were used Wednesday against the Pats. Don’t be surprised if they once again play with 11 forwards and skate an extra defenseman. There is likely still a move to be made on the back-end and a forward will continue to sit as a result.
While they haven’t played bad by any means, I haven’t noticed much from Davis, Vandervlis, White, or Sheen in recent games. Each of those players has been cycled through the roster and none have really planted themselves as regulars through big plays. Again – they haven’t been bad – just not overly noticeable.
I won’t try predict the lineup, but don’t be surprised to see changes in the bottom six.
It remains a logjam on the back end with Watson back from injury. I think we will once again see them dress eight defensemen. I imagine Merezhko will draw back in and Skeoch or Watson will take a seat. My bet would be on Skeoch just because Watson sat more early due to injury and they want to see more of the player.
I’ve been pretty impressed with Watson. He hasn’t overwhelmed, but he’s been really sharp more often than not and I have no doubt he has a bright future in the league. If he sticks around and continues to get more minutes, I believe he will really come into his own as the season progresses and he gets more and more comfortable.
With Skinner having played and won against Regina, I expect they will go back to Sittler tonight. Jayden has been outstanding early this year and is riding a winning streak. He’s already halfway to meeting his win total for all of last season (6) and I think he will get there before the end of the month.
Regardless of who starts, the Hurricanes arguably have one of the best tandems in the league right now and can’t go wrong either way.
Game Day Prediction: Swift Current plays well at home, but the depth of the visiting Hurricanes outlasts the top end talent of the Broncos. Lethbridge wins 4-2.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Debrusk asserts himself and is involved in every Bronco goal.
Not So Obvious Game Day Prediction: Egor Babenko scores two goals but is disheartened when he realizes that not every P.A. announcer in the league credits him by speaking in a Russian accent.
Contrary to the belief of
many some, I do happen to have a social life. Tonight it conflicts with watching the stream of the hockey game as I will be off attending the wedding of a friend. As a result, there will be no post-game article. I apologize in advance for those who enjoy reading the postgame entries.
That said, I actually have some exciting announcements and posts to share in the coming days so keep your eyes peeled here and on Twitter. I will tease that Canes Domain is continuing to evolve and move forward in hopes of improving the quality and content.
Looking forward to sharing more in the next day or two.
What do you think? Who are you excited to watch tonight and what will be the outcome. Comment below.
Don’t forget to check out the sponsor of all this season’s game day articles, Graham Reimer of Dominion Lending here in Lethbridge. I personally know and vouch for the amazing work he does. If you need any advice or help with a mortgage or want to look into getting one, I cannot say enough good things about Graham and the Mortgage Crusher team.
Remember to tell him Canes Domain sent you!