GDB R1G3: SINGULARITY

  • Brock Boot

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(Photo: Keith Hershmiller)

Are you familiar with the concept of ‘technological singularily’? If not, it might be time to take a quick crash course. I’ll try my best to explain.

The technological singularity, or ‘singularity’ for short, is a hypothetical event in which artificial intelligence becomes capable of recursive some-improvement. In other words, it’s the potential point in history where we conceptualize and construct intelligent machines (computers, robots, networks, etc) capable of improving their own abilities and autonomously building even smarter more powerful version of themselves (think The Matrix, Terminator, Ex Machina, i-Robot, etc).

It doesn’t take long to realize that the singularity is a terrifying concept… and that it’s virtually inevitable (many project it to occur around 2040). The capabilities of superintelligent AI systems utilizing quantum computing, nanotechnology, and advanced robotics would far surpass human capabilities. In an instant (and possibly unwittingly to the human race), the singularity could irreversibly change the course of history.

(If you think this concept sounds crazy, just watch this life-like robot news story and tell me with a straight face 2040 is a long-shot for the singularity.)

More on technology and also hockey… after the jump.

 

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You might be wondering how the concept of singularity relates to game three of the best of seven series between Regina and Lethbridge. Well let’s bridge the gap. What if I said it’s possible the Hurricanes’ 3 – 0 loss to the Pats could be this series’ ‘singularity’ – the point at which nothing can ever be the same?

That would be a stretch of course. It was only game two after all…. there’s still a lot of hockey to be played.

It’s true! Let’s not go overboard here and say that Saturday’s events are irreversible. They’re not. But, regardless of “singularity” status or not, tonight is a humongous game for the Hurricanes (oh and the Pats… them too). The Pats played a near-perfect road game Saturday. In the wake of Friday’s emotional Canes win, Regina put their heads down and cast a giant wet blanket over the celebratory home crowd and team. Credit where it’s due – it was a surgical effort on their part.

Joe Gilmartin of the Phoenix Gazette coined the saying, “No playoff series truly begins until the road team wins a game.” I guess that means this series has begun in every way possible. It’s too early to tell, but if Regina goes on to win this series, it’s likely we will look back at game two as the turning point – the singularity. Game two could prove to be where the Pats, like artificially intelligent machines, continue to evolve and transcend their level of play beyond that of the Hurricanes…

…Or, game two could be a bump in the road for a Lethbridge team that goes on to win three in a row and take the series 4 – 1. We just don’t know! It’s what makes a playoff series so intriguing. Game three is always pivotal and no less so tonight. What will we see?

Let’s take a look that the intriguing storylines on both sides…

 

Pats-Vintage

 

Where do the Pats go from here? They were pretty much perfect on Saturday night. Now they return to the Brandt Centre for their first playoff home-date of 2016. Will it affect their game?

At least initially, I will be surprised if it doesn’t. Often we see a team play differently at home than they do on the road – particularly when it’s in front of a fired up playoff crowd. It likely won’t last, but I do expect to see a Pats team that trades a few more chances than they did Saturday.Wagner-1

If that’s the case, it could play-out in multiple ways. Both teams boast high-powered offenses and opening up the play-style is like to result in goals for both teams. It might not last for the full 60 minutes, but at the very least I imagine the Pats will come out like a house on fire in the 1st period. If that’s the case, it’s paramount for them to score early and score often (imagine if Lethbridge had done than on their 1st-period chances Saturday…).

So much of their success Saturday revolved around the Brooks and Steel lines that I can’t imagine they don’t continue to play an exorbitant amount of minutes. Coach Paddock is keeping his bench short and riding his prized stallions hard… how could he not??

Adam Brooks has been a one-man wrecking crew. Through the first two games Brooks has his hands in virtually all Regina’s offense and I don’t see a situation where that changes. As long as the Canes let him, Brooks will engineer the Pats offense.     

The only serious issue Paddock may run into is overplaying the Brooks and Steel lines early in the series. It may prove costly if they tire-out by game six or seven. At least for now, he’s gonna keep throwing them over the boards, and unless Lethbridge finds a way to silence them, they’re gonna keep putting up points.

Tyler Brown was good on Saturday, but as I said in the post-game, I didn’t think the Hurricanes demanded him to be great. There’s a difference. Brown struggled with his rebound control. His team was exceptional when it came to clearing loose pucks and they may need to be again.

Will he have extra jitters playing in the playoffs at home? How will he respond to getting a huge shutout? Brown wasn’t extraordinary Saturday, but with Adam Brooks hauling the mail up front, he doesn’t need to be sensational – just good.

(Wagner Photo: Keith Hershmiller)

 

Lethbridge-Vintage

 

There’s lots to be positive about with this Hurricanes team right now! I know I just went on about their short-fallings Saturday, but in the grand scheme of things, it was one game. It’s nothing we haven’t seen happen before. It’s not the first time Lethbridge was shut out this season and it might not be the last.  

The Hurricanes weren’t terrible on Saturday, but all things being equal, it was an unsatisfactory effort. The execution wasn’t there. Passes weren’t as crisp, shots weren’t as accurate, and battles weren’t won (as often). It wasn’t one player or one line. From top to bottom, the level of play has to come up across the board if they want to restore their one-game series lead.  

Will Jordy Bellerive be back tonight? For those who missed it, Bellerive received a massive laceration to his cheek from a puck. The unfortunate incident occurred in warmups, and while it’s surely painful, I’m optimistic he will return before long. Lethbridge missed Bellerive Saturday. He’s not a massive guy but he plays with an edge and an intensity that most would agree was missing. I’m going to tentatively say that he will return tonight… and if not tonight, he will play again in this series. That’s an educated guess. Nothing more (so don’t hold me to it).Quote-1

If there were an area in less dire need of improvement, it would be goaltending. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Stuart Skinner will again be the guy between the pipes tonight. Saturday wasn’t great for the Canes, but Skinner was exceptional. He gave the Canes a chance to win up to the bitter end. Not only has he not shown playoff jitters, I would argue his play actually elevated Friday and Saturday. All he needs now is some run-support.  

Kisio started mixing and matching lines to try generate something – anything – Saturday but to no avail. I have a feeling he might start tonight’s game with the same lines we saw to start game 1. There’s no reason to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’. The leash may be shorter, but it makes sense to me to roll out the lines that got you a win in game 1 and give them a shot at redemption. I say that now, but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see changes to the top six. It’s a tossup so I won’t try predict anything.

What I will predict is the Canes powerplay will rebound tonight. They were horrendous on Saturday – not something I mentioned more than once or twice all season. Regina was good on the PK, but the Hurricanes just didn’t execute. They might not score any goals with the man advantage, but at the very least I expect it won’t cost them momentum like it did in the last game.

Finally, it’s important that some of the veterans bring their best effort tonight. As good as they were Friday, Millette, Atwal, and Nielsen were all a -2 Saturday. Again, let me stress that the Canes are not in a dire situation. There’s lots of hockey yet to be played. What is important is they get a win either tonight or tomorrow. Fair or not, they are going to need stellar games from the two overagers available.

 

THIS AND THAT

  • I’ve heard more rumblings that Gutierrez might be getting closer. Remember, Anholt confirmed it was a concussion a few weeks ago so it’s not surprising they’ve been taking their time with it (as they should). I’m not sure there is a firm timetable, but I do believe if the Canes can win the series we might see him lace them up again.
  • Colby Williams might not be 100% healthy, but he was really good for Regina Saturday night. He played a smart, steady game and finished the night a +2.
  • Is there a point where we see Paddock start mixing in the third line of Leschyshyn, Cole and Berg more? Perhaps tonight when he has last change?
  • Watch and see if the Pats keep emphasizing attacks down the left wing. They must see a matchup they like there.

*ROSTER UPDATE*

Here’s the official lineup according to the game day lineup sheet. Phil Andrews dropped it on Twitter around 5:00 PM. My pregame audio thoughts here —> SoundCloud Link 

 

Game-3-Lineup

 

 

 

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Tonight:

GAME DAY PREDICTION:  I have a good feeling about tonight’s game. The Hurricanes will cast aside Saturday’s effort and rebound with a solid 60-minute performance in Regina. Final score, 4-2 Canes.

OBVIOUS GDP: The Canes powerplay gets a goal and Estephan earns one of the assists

NOT SO OBVIOUS GDP: In the 3rd period an errant pass will deflect off a stick and cut Adam Brooks in the face. The cut will not reveal flesh and bone, but silicon, transistors, and circuitry… Adam Brooks IS the singularity. Since the WHL rulebook doesn’t specify robots can’t play, he will be allowed to continue once they remove the thermal paste stains from his jersey. Brooks scores the two Pats goals.

 


What do you think? Who are you excited to watch tonight and what will be the outcome. Comment below.

Mortgage-Crusher

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!


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