The Bulls first road trip was not an easy one. All in all, it reminded us all that the team is still gelling,
still learning to work together, so it’s not going to be smooth, it’s not going to always turn out in wins.
The last two series were sweeps against the Bulls. These were difficult losses. Out of these, only the third Alaska Aces game was close, the rest were pretty lopsided. The last match up of the road trip was probably the hardest loss to the Ontario Reign. At least it was the hardest for me. The Bulls started out strong and stumbled over themselves in a disappointing loss to the LA Kings affiliated team. In the end, the Bulls lost three to one, simply running out of time.
I’m not saying the team is not good; they’re a very good team. They have heart, have some great players and a great coach. And I know they can and will get better.
There are several areas the team could work on. I’ll focus on two areas of improvement. The first is Penalties. I don’t have any figures in front of me, but I’ve listened to nearly every game road game and the team gets itself into trouble every time they draw an unnecessary penalty. These can go from anything to Boarding to Unsportsmanlike Conduct to Slashing. There doesn’t seem to be enough discipline yet on the lines to hold their energy still and not get into trouble with the Refs. So much time is spent in Penalty Kills. I am not saying don’t get penalties. They’re a huge part of the game and should be there, but be smart about the ones you do incur. An Unsportsmanlike Conduct you receive after the whistle is blown because you’re angry is unacceptable.
The second areas are the Power Plays. In one of the Alaska games the Bulls’ power play stat was zero out of six. This is if not yet alarming then perhaps they are surely noticeable. Many times the team will pass the puck around, in much like San Jose Sharks fashion, not even making any play for the net. There should be more aggression towards shots at the net.
I also realize that yes, San Francisco is a new team and we fans must have patience. And I do. But, I will not hesitate to point out obvious weaknesses when I see them. Team Strengths? We have some great players! Peter Sivak, Justin Bowers & Jordan Morrison are only three of the team’s top players. I see good, fast skating, lots of heart, good shot-taking at times and even when the team is down by many goals, they don’t give up. And that means a lot. And no doubt much of the mistakes and miscues are because no one is used to working with each other. Patience, my friends. Keep repeating this often.
Tomorrow night, Friday, November 9th, the Bulls will have two games at home, one with Stockton and one on Saturday with Ontario.
Bulls have signed San Jose Sharks’ Ryane Clowe, who for now, will not be playing. He won’t be playing in either of the Bulls’ games at the Cow Palace this weekend. After reading CSN Bay Area writer Kevin Kurz, it doesn’t sound like he’s going to, but maybe I’m being pessimistic.
Edmundton Oiler’s Defenseman Theo Peckham is currently playing games for the Bulls. He skated for the team in his first game against the Reign Wednesday. I look forward to seeing him Friday at the Palace. He should add some strength to the Bulls’ D-line.
If you haven’t Bulls’ bought tickets yet, why not? Stop bitchin’ about the Lockout and come watch a game; it’s great hockey!