Friday, September 04, 2009

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

The Frontenacs performance in their first two preseason can best be described by the wise words of Kanye (or Daft Punk, whatever floats your boat) the team looks "harder, better, faster and stronger" than last year. A 5-2 win over the Ottawa 67's followed up by a 4-2 win over the Bellville Bulls are both encouraging signs.

Remember this is a team that was winless in eight preseason games last season, on the road to a disastrous season. Early on for the Frontenacs things are looking much better. It is a very different team than took to the ice last summer not only has the work rate seemed to have improved but also the technical skill level.

Doug Gilmour has a team of players who get the system and are seemingly intelligent players which was certainly missing last season. As the Detroit Lions have proved preseason results can be very misleading and the Frontenacs success may just be fueling the false hope but something feels different this season.

- Offseason acquisition Tyler Beskorowany seems to be the man for the job between the posts. Mavric Parks looked very under confident against Bellville and had several mistakes that went unpunished. We've yet to see John Cullen this preseason, who was solid but unremarkable last year with the Frontenacs. Beskorowany was commanding against Ottawa and looked up for the number one role.

- Colt Kennedy has always been a hardworking effective player, but tonight against Bellville he was the best player on the ice for Kingston. He scored the winner, was forcing turnovers inside the Bellville blue line, and creating chances in the absence of the big name forwards.

- Draft pick Alan Quine hasn't been hugely influential in the two preseason games, but he is certainly not out of his depth in the OHL. He has been forechecking well and working hard, he may not be a great goal scorer, but he will certainly carve out a fair amount of chances for Kingston this year.

- Although the Frontenacs undoubtedly have some very talented players on the team it has never been a problem of them not being able to produce it is the guys below them not chipping in which has hurt the Fronts. Against Bellville the Fronts proved that they can score even with out Ethan Werek, Nathan Moon, Brian Lashoff and Taylor Doherty in the lineup.

- The Frontenac powerplay in both games looked like a powerplay. The Frontenacs were maintaining possession of the puck for most of the time that they had a man advantage, they were passing it around inside the opposition blue line and creating chances. With several lines getting a shot on the powerplay, all of them looked exponentially better than last season.

- Frontenac giveways inside their own zone are as inevitable as Larry Mavety staying on with the Frontenacs for another year, but the number of mindless giveaways does seem to have decreased.

- The Frontenacs seem to be getting into good positions much more often than last season. This may be down to having more fast skaters on the team who can beat their man or just playing against weakened opposition. Either way it is another encouraging sign.

Is all of this praise an overreaction to two meaningless exhibition games? Probably, but lets enjoy it while we can.


Jason Cormier said...

Careful, Mavety might read the blog post and rest on his laurels. After all, it would cost money if the team had to raise a second banner in only 36 years of operation.

Tyler King said...

"Remember this is a team that was winless in eight preseason games last season, on the road to a disastrous season."

And remember they were EXCELLENT in preseason two years ago, on the road to... wait for it... A DISTASTROUS SEASON.

Preseason is not an indication of anything... Belleville was missing players too!

Sam said...

Saying preseason means nothing is a little much. I pointed out several times that I don't want to get too excited but they just looked like a much better team in these two games and I'm going to let myself be optimistic. :)

As a side note has anyone heard what happened in Bellville last night?

Tyler King said...

They lost. So I guess the season is over.

It is not a little much to say preseason means nothing. It means nothing for a team's fortunes, especially since the line combinations they use are so frequently not the ones they use in the regular season. Its only use is in judging individual player performance.

Sam said...

Part of preseason is figuring out who will play in which line. If lines are starting to play well together than they have a better chance of playing together during the season and by extension it does matter how they look in preseason. Preseason is not purely to judge individual player performance, sure that is a big part of it but not the only part.

Why do the Canadian national teams play exhibition matches before a big tournament when the team is already chose (ie world juniors). Get the lines working together, start forming that team, and it does give a good insight into how the team is looking.

Tyler King said...

I repeat- the performance of a team in pre-season is rarely identical or even similar to its performance in the regular season. This is true across professional sport.

I repeat again - the Frontenacs had a great pre-season two years ago and stunk in the regular season.

A team's record in the pre-season is completely irrelevant. QED. Jeesh. Their loss to Belleville proves just as little as their win against Belleville did.