I'd have more to say but I haven't seen the Pats in action since the B & W game so my opinions are limited. I will stick with the news I find around the WWW. Once the season gets going I will have way more to say.
So here is notes from Greg Harder (Slap Shots blog):
Pats news and notes
By Greg Harder Tue, Sep 1 2009 COMMENTS(0) Slap Shots
How about that Michal Poletin?
The Czech rookie had a productive debut weekend at the pre-season tournament in Edmonton with three goals and one assist, plus a shootout marker. He also had two goals in last week’s Blue & White intrasquad game.
“(Poletin) is a guy who has improved every time he’s on the ice,” said head coach Curtis Hunt. “I played him with a pretty good player in Jordan Weal, so that helps. We’re not in any big hurry to get him off that line, that’s for sure. We see a little bit of chemistry there. We’re really happy with his progression from basically getting off the plane to jumping in this thing with both feet.”
That said, Poletin’s performance on the weekend comes with a note of caution. It’s not uncommon for a player — especially an import — to light it up in the pre-season and then go cold when the real games begin. Remember Rudolf Cerveny?
In other words, don’t get excited just yet.
“The biggest thing for him is to continue to get acclimated to the (North American) style of game,” said Hunt. “It’s great he’s scoring and it’s good for his confidence but we all know as you move along the level goes up all the time — the level of intensity, the level of talent, the strength, the size of the player. He has shown he has a little bit of touch around the net. He has a heavy shot. We just hope he keeps improving and is able to adapt as he has right now to the increased intensity of the game.”
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The Pats’ goalie competition remains clear as mud after some mixed results for the team’s four netminders on the weekend.
Veteran starter Linden Rowat and returning backup Damien Ketlo each played half a game. Rowat allowed three goals on just eight shots (.625 save percentage) while Ketlo stopped 16 of 18 (.889).
As for the rookies, Dawson Guhle and Derek Tendler both saw action twice, playing half a game in each outing. Guhle gets the statistical edge by stopping a combined 22 of 25 shots (.88 SP). Tendler stopped 21 of 28 (.75). Most of the damage was done in Sunday’s 8-7 loss to Swift Current when he allowed five goals.
“Derek didn’t have his best day (Sunday) but he has had a real good camp,” said GM Brent Parker. “He just had an off day, simple as that. But they’ve all played well (overall)."
Unfortunately, the Pats can’t keep them all.
“This is a process we want to make sure we make the right decision for the team,” said Hunt. “It was an educational weekend that way to get guys in. We were excited we were able to get Guhle signed. He got himself two exhibition games. We were able to get both of our young guys a chance to start. The older goaltenders both only got a half a game but it’s important they get something as well to stay sharp. They have to be prepared every day to keep a job because we’ve got a great push (from the rookies) right now.”
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By the numbers: Regina outshot its opponents 89-79 on the weekend but was outscored 16-10. Allowing 16 goals on 79 shots (for a save percentage of .798) doesn’t reflect well on the goaltenders or the defence. However, before pushing the panic button, let’s remember that sloppy play is to be expected in the pre-season due to hodge-podge lineups. That said, there’s clearly some work to be done on the defensive side, especially since this team hopes to excel in that area and was simply awful last year. Yes, it’s only the pre-season, but bad habits tend to spill into the real games if they’re not corrected. You can bet Hunt will be pounding away at the little details in practice this week as the team prepares for Friday’s game in Brandon.
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The Pats’ final roster is still a work in progress, but a pair of local boys — Brayden Metz and Andrew Rieder — could very well find themselves in the opening-day lineup.
Metz, a 19-year-old WHL castoff, is auditioning to become one of the team’s top two centres and will likely get a shot to play with Jordan Eberle. Metz has a ton of skill but hasn’t yet put it all together at this level. The Pats believe he could break out if given a chance to play with skilled linemates. According to GM Brent Parker, Metz looked good on the weekend — contributing two assists in two games — and has been getting “better and better each time out.”
Rieder scored a goal on Sunday and had “a real good weekend,” according to Parker, who feels the 17-year-old rookie forward has “probably shown us he’s ready to play.” His speed and tenacity could be a welcome addition to the lineup.
It would be a surprise if both Metz and Rieder don't survive the final cutdown.
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EXTRAS: The Pats held their first practice back at the Brandt Centre on Tuesday after wrapping up training camp in Lumsden. The team’s dressing room is still under construction due to expanded training-room and player lounge facilities, which were accommodated by knocking out the old coaches office. The coaches have already moved to their newly constructed — and more spacious — office across the corridor from the dressing room . . . Forwards Jason Gardiner and Dominick Favreau, both of whom are suffering from knee injuries, were back on the ice Tuesday but haven’t yet been cleared for contact. They’re doubtful for Friday’s game in Brandon but should be ready for the exhibition home-opener next Wednesday against the Wheat Kings.