From the Eagles Desk: Swing and a Miss

A bit of a rough week for the beloved Eagles on the road. Offensive production went MIA which magnified mistakes elsewhere on the ice and the net result wasn’t pretty. The current 5-game trip finishes this weekend  in California with games against Bakersfield and Stockton then it’s back to Loveland where they’ve had much better luck.

Injuries/Transactions

– Ryan Graves was called up and made his NHL debut vs Vegas. Next game vs the Hawks he saw his ice time increase a bit. Seems able to handle it so far. Aha! The system might work after all.
– Caleb Herbert was called up from Utah after the San Jose game
– Josh Anderson was sent down to Utah and then bounced right back up after Sunday’s game. He’s racking up the frequent flyer miles between SLC and DIA.
– Nolan De Jong was signed to a PTO on Saturday and released Tuesday
– After Sunday’s game, the Avs called up Logan O’Connor. He made his NHL debut on Monday and played Wednesday as well.
– Also on Sunday, Julien Nantel and Joe Cannata were recalled from the Grizzlies.
– David Warsofsky was still not ready after suffering an injury 2 months ago.
– Mason Geertsen left Sunday’s game with UBI and didn’t play Monday
– J-C Beaudin left Monday’s game late with LBI
– Travis Barron takes his turn in Utah, re-assigned on Tuesday.
– Pavel Francouz was called up to the Avs on Tuesday and finished up the game on Wednesday night. He could be starting for the Avs against the Rangers.
– Martin Kaut is back on the roster after finishing up the World Junior Championships with the Czech team on Wednesday. Kaut earned top 3 player on team honors. No news on if he’s with the team already but they could sure use him ASAP.

COL 1 – SJ 3

Goal: Toninato (Joly)
Shots: +15/-32
PP 0-2, PK 3-5

Lineup:

The Eagles rushed out to a great start and Dom Toninato scored on their 6th shot on goal at 11 minutes in. That’s was about it for offensive production, in the remaining 49 minutes they had 9 shots on goal total. From that point onward San Jose had 3 goals on 30 shots. Despite being totally buried, the lone positive is that the Cudas only had one goal at even strength so the D was resilient.

COL 0 – MAN 4

Goals: none
Shots: +38/-30
PP 0-3, PK 4-5

Lineup:

38 shots, 3 power plays and no goals. Not good.

COL 1 – MAN 4

Goal: Kosmachuk (Aggz, Greer)
Shots: +32/-27
PP 0-4, PK 1-1

Lineup:

After going 147 minutes and over 60 SOG since their last goal, Scott Kosmachuk broke the streak late in the 2nd period. Lots of line blending in this one, Coach Cronin was looking for a spark and got very little.

Breaking Down: Week 12

Summary

Goals: +2/-11, season +81/-96

Let’s talk about the 2nd period for a second. The Eagles have scored 21 goals on 353 shots in the 2nd period (6%) and given up 37 on 335 shots (89%). That’s incredibly bad, especially since they have a shot advantage. I’ve lost count of the games that have slipped away during the 2nd, needs fixing.

Aside from that, scoring 2 goals in 3 games this week isn’t getting it done. Giving up 11 isn’t great either but you can work with that at least.

Shots: +85/-89 (48.9%), season +973/-997 (49.4%)

Looks like a pretty average week until you remember they only managed 15 SOG vs San Jose. Manitoba gives up more shots than any other team in the AHL so the 70 they got in those two games was average.

Unlike with the 2nd period goal scoring woes, the 3rd period is where the shots dry up. They average 8.8 shots, for a team that often finds itself losing after giving up a ton of goals in the 2nd this is pretty much unacceptable. Against San Jose they were down 2-1 at the beginning of the 3rd and were outshot 18-4. That can’t happen, whether you give up more goals is meaningless (they did) but you have to give yourself a chance to get back in the game.

Shooting percentage: 2.4%, season 8.3%
Save percentage: 87.6%, season 90.4%
PDO: 90.0, season 98.7

Welp, not much constructive to say here. Bad shooting + bad goaltending = bad week.

PP: 0-9, season 17-136 (12.5%, last in the AHL)
PK: 8-11, season 117-139 (84.2%, 7th in AHL)
Special Teams percentage: 96.7

The power play is one area I have no faith whatsoever that the Eagles are ever going to be anything more than terrible this year. Whether the system is good or bad is tough to say, it’s probably bad, but the personnel and role choices are all over the place and not helping. There are some players that have had quite a bit of success in power play situations before this year, my suggestion would be to look into that, put players in roles they belong in and go from there. There is scoring talent available that isn’t being used and a few guys being used that should be benched.

The PK system on the other hand does seem to be good because there’s been a lot of turnover on D and some of the forwards involved and it keeps rolling on.

Individual

With two goals in 3 games, we have no scoring stars of the week but shoutout to Kosmo for breaking the streak.

Overview

The Eagles had a really hot stretch from Thanksgiving through Christmas so a little evening out should be expected. They ended December 5-5-1 which isn’t great but they’re still tied with Bako and San Diego with 34 points as we start January. They play Bakersfield 3 times in the next two weekends, twice at home, so there’s room to move. Martin Kaut will be back from WJCs soon (or even now) and the Avs should be healthy enough to let a forward slide back home soon. Ryan Graves has done a good job for the Avs but the D looks to be getting healthy too and he could return by next weekend as well.

I’ve liked what I’ve seen for the most part out of Coach Cronin. He’s very different from the last two AHL coaches we’ve had in that he’s experienced and seems to know what he’s doing. The big test is coming up. Every year we’ve seen a collapse starting sometime around the All-Star Break and continuing through the end of the season. It begins with scoring completely drying up so the response to this past week is key. They don’t have a power play to fall back on so they will have to get creative and that’s not easy. From now on it will get progressively more difficult to score so it’s an evolving process.

Next up

Back in California to play Bakersfield and Stockton this weekend.

Thanks to the AHL for stats and standings and to the Colorado Eagles for the feature photo.

earl06

Scoring LW, punchy climber for the Ardennes classics, spirit guide

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