Archive for the ‘2012-13’ Category

Ryan Hartman was not selected as high as he was projected to go, but I don’t think he will mind be selected by his hometown team, the Chicago Blackhawks. “Being a hometown kid makes it a little sweeter.” Hartman stated about being selected by the Blackhawks and does not think that this being his hometown tema will add any pressure, in fact he feels that it is a positive.

Where do we go from here. Hartman sound like he is going to play for the Whalers next year rather than breaking the line up of the Blackhawks.

With him undergoing shoulder surgery in the off-season, that does not seem like a wild expectation. It could be much like Brandon Saad two seasons ago. almost break the line up the first year, but will be a key player the season after that.

Video of Ryan Hartman being selected:
http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=0&id=261470&cmpid=embed-share-video

Ryan Hartman’s Prospect Profile:
http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=0&id=241842&cmpid=embed-share-video

I really want to do some sort of pun on how the Whalers soundly beat the Attack, but I will leave that for better people than I. Now that the Whalers are in the Western Conference Finals a lot of OHL fans are joining the Whalers bandwagon, for which I welcome. Let us unite, just for this two week period to unseat the defending OHL champion.

First a quick catch up for those that may not know about the Whalers…

Where is Plymouth?

About 20 miles (32 km) west of Detroit, MI

Wait, you’re an American OHL team?

Yep, moving forward.

I don’t think I can root for an American team…

Just go with it… Do you really want to see London in the OHL Final? No? Good! Moving on…

Are the Whalers the underdogs here?

In a sense, yes. I mean they are going up against the New York Yankees of the OHL.

Even after 22 straight seasons in the playoffs?

Don’t let facts ruin a good story.

How did the Whalers get here?

The Whalers finished the season as the top team in the West Division and that places them in the second seed in the Western Conference. They are in the playoffs for the 22nd year in a row. In the first round they swept a struggling Sarnia Sting team and had nine days rest until game one of the second round. The Whalers needed six games against the Owen Sound Attack to move on to the third round of playoff action for the first time since 2007.

How banged up are the Whalers?

With any playoff run any team is going to get some bumps and bruises. Here is a list of the players who have missed games this postseason run:

Wilson – Missed three games in the Semifinal against the Attack, but was back for games five and six.

Hartman – Wrist was cut in game three of the Semifinal round. There is no current timetable for his return.

Curcuruto – Has been out since late in game two of the Semifinal round with an upper body injury. Word is that he is day-to-day.

Sills – Missed a check during a game in Owen Sound and was visibly shaken up both on his way to the bench and when he was on the bench.

Mistele – Missed six game due to a suspension after game one against the Sting. Returned for game four against the Attack.

Didn’t London beat the Whalers 3-1 in the season series?

Yeah, but here is the one thing that is important when looking at that fact. The last time the Whalers and Knight met was at Compuware Sports Arena on December 29th. Since then the Whalers traded away Zach Bratina, Simon Karlsson, and Alex Aleardi and have acquired Vincent Trocheck, Zach Lorentz, and Sebastian Uvira at the trade deadline. Not to mention the return of Mitchell Heard to the line up. This is a different team then the one that face the Knights at the beginning of the season. In fact the Whalers was the best team in the OHL during the second half. We can take solace that the one game we did win was at Budweiser Gardens in October.

I know this might mean nothing, but prior to the Knights 2012 appearance in the OHL finals they last reached the final round in 2006 while the Whalers were knocked out in the second round. The next year the Whalers and Knights met in the third round and the Whalers moved on to the OHL Final. Compare that with last year, Whalers out in the second round, Knights in the Final, could we see a repeat of history? Time will only tell.

It is well known that this is going to be a great series to watch. I think that the Whalers are going to set the tone in game one and maybe catch the London Knights flat footed early on. Everyone should just sit back and enjoy.

Stay Classy Owen Sound Fans

Posted: April 9, 2013 in 2012-13

Stefan Noesen (No. 11) of the Plymouth Whalers scores one of his team’s 11 goals Friday against Sarnia goalie JP Anderson. / RENA LAVERTY

HighlightsGame One Highlights

The week leading up to the game on Friday night was filled with Whaler players anxious for the playoffs to start. Something that was visible to anyone watching the game last night. Trocheck started the scoring 1:12 into the first period and the Whalers added another ten goals throughout the opening game of the series to come out with a win 11-2 and take a 1-0 series lead.

Rookie Alex Nedeljkovic got the start for the Whalers, letting only two goals in the game. The first was off a shot from Charles Sarault that bounced off Nedeljkovic’s pad, off Zach Lorentz’s leg and into the net during the Sting’s first of nine power play opportunities in the game. The second came 0:25 seconds into a 5-on-3 Sting powerplay in the second period. Nedeljkovic stopped 31/33 shots for a .939 save percentage, and had some big saves in his first playoff start.

To say that OA J.P. Anderson did not have a good night would be a severe understatement. Anderson saw a full 60 minutes of action last night when he should have only seen 20 after letting in five goals on seventeen shots in the first period. For some reason Sting coach Jacques Beaulieu saw it fit to keep Anderson in despite the number of pucks that ended up in the net behind him.

If I was a Sting fan I would be questioning the actions of GM/Coach Jacques Beaulieu as he saw it fit to keep his backup on the bench and the timeout in his pocket. One would think that after Trocheck’s second goal of the evening, making the score 4-1 with 3:38 remaining in the first, that a timeout would have been called to settle down the players. Granted, I am not the GM/Coach of an OHL team in the playoffs, but there should have been a point where they put in the back up to get some playoff action, especially with game two the next night.

Three Stars of the Game

  1. Nick Malysa – 3 Assists (Career high)
  2. Vincent Trocheck – 3 Goals, 2 Assists
  3. Stefan Noesen – 2 Goals, 1 Assist

Blue Colar Player of the Game

  • Sebastian Uvira – 1 Assist

Honorable Mention

  • Alex Nedeljkovic – 0.939%, 2.0 GAA, 31/33 Shots

The Sting will not have much time to rest of change their game plan as game two is tonight at the Compuware Sports Arena and the Whalers are looking to go up 2-0 in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

 

 

I’ve been seeing this issue crop up more and more. People want to follow the Whalers on the road and are unsure of what options are available to them. Some are free, some cost, but here are three of the top choices for you.

OHL Livestream
If you want to watch the OHL road games on the playoffs you can always watch them on your computer through Neulion. This option will cost though. $130 CAD for the entire playoffs, $23 CAD for a single first round series, and $7 CAD for a single game. You can sign up for a package at OHL.neulion.com

It is a nice service, but unless you tie your computer feed to your TV, you are stuck at your computer. I hope that in the next year or so they find a way to have mobile streams of games so people can view the games with tablets and smart phones, until then we will take what we can get.

Audio Streaming
I personally use this feature the most, and I am going to give you step by step instructions to get this working for you on your mobile smart device.

1. Copy this link: http://meta.insinc.com/hockey/plymouth/live.asx
2. Go download the app TuneIn Radio. (The free one works just fine.)
3. In the app head to favorites and add custom URL.
4. Paste the link and enjoy!

CJ’s
A third option is to come join a bunch of fans at CJ’s to watch a Livestream of the game and enjoy food and drink specials there.

Whatever you decide, you have your options to follow your favorite team during their playoff run this year.

Back in December this is what I wrote about the upcoming second half.

With Hartman and Rakell off in Russia for World Juniors, and Noesen rejoins the team after his 10 game suspension after January 11th, the Whalers are going to need to pull together for the next few games. Mahalak had a good showing last game stopping nearly 50 shots, however Mike Vellucci should not be afraid of benching him and putting in rookie Nedeljkovic if Mahalak gets to be as shaky as he was earlier in the season.

Also fans, I would not be surprised to see some Vellucci magic as the trade deadline nears. I doubt that Vellucci will be quiet at the deadline like we was last year. This team is not bad. It is far from it, but when you watch this team you know that there is something missing from this team and this is a team that needs a spark. Maybe that will come in with a trade. Time will only tell. This is a team that can have a strong second half, but the players need to make this happen. They control their destiny for the rest of the season. It could be great or they could be a very low seed.

So where are the Whalers after a 15-11-5-3 first half?  How does a 27-6-0-1 sound? To me it sounds great seeing as the Whalers finished there season with a second straight West Division title and a second seed in the upcoming OHL playoffs. There were some changes that caused the amazing second half.

Trade Deadline

Just a few days after the half-way point of the season, OA Mitchell Heard was returned from the AHL Lake Erie Monsters to finish out the season. This left Plymouth with one two many OA players and a guarantee that Vellucci had to make a move at the deadline. The Whalers said goodbye to Alex Aleardi, Zach Bratina, and Simon Karlsson and hello to Zach Lorentz, Saginaw Spirit Captain Vincent Trocheck, and Sebastian Uriva. Trocheck added 59 points while with the Whalers and grabbed the OHL scoring title on the final day of the season.

Goaltending

Nedeljkovic started a lot more games in the second half. He finished with a 19-2-1-1 record on the season, a 2.28 GAA and a .923 save percentage. The accolades don’t stop there as the Whalers rookie goaltender picked up aVaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week nod, the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Month for March, Rookie of the Month in the OHL and the F.W. “Dinty” Moore award for Best Rookie GAA. Mahalak has been good as of late posting two straight shutouts to end the season, earning him Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week this week. He finished the season with a 2.86 GAA, .906 save percentage, and a 22-11-4-3 record with two shutouts.

The team as a whole has been running on all cylinders coming into the playoffs, and that’s with resting Colin MacDonald, Ryan Hartman, Tom Wilson and Rickard Rakell in the final week of the season. The Whalers scored a league-leading 292 goals throughout the season (granted 10-2, 8-2, and 9-2 wins help pad that stat) and went 9-1 in their final 10 games.

The Whalers got a spark (more like a few sparks) at the right time and showed everybody the depth of this squad. The prediction is that London and Plymouth are going to meet in the conference finals, but let’s not count our chickens before they hatch. The Whalers have to take on the Sarnia Sting in the first round of the OHL Playoffs. Granted anything can happen (such as the second round upset last year) but I for one am ready for a long playoff run this year.