Update on Watching CWHL Games with Chromecast

Update on watching CWHL games with Chromecast:

You may remember my post last year about watching streaming hockey via the Chromecast. I wanted to provide a quick update on this, as I’ve recently been using my Chromecast a lot to watch various things.

Continue reading Update on Watching CWHL Games with Chromecast

Pre-Season Preview: Calgary Inferno

Pre-Season Preview: Calgary Inferno!

The Calgary Inferno recently had their pre-season training camp, giving us our first real idea of what the team could look like this year. Calgary finished the 2013/2014 season solidly in the middle of the league, with 25 points on a 24 game season. They were one point behind the Boston Blades, and two ahead of eventual Clarkson Cup winners, the Toronto Furies. They had a very middle of the pack power play as well, but the second best penalty kill, behind Montreal. And boy, they needed a good penalty kill, because they took the second most penalties. They were a pretty middle of the road team overall last year– how is this year’s team going to distinguish themselves?

First off, the team’s coaching has changed– Tim Bothwell, the former head coach, has moved on after a year’s tenure, and Kevin Haller is now the new head coach, after two seasons with the Inferno as an assistant coach. Haven’t seen any announcement yet on a new assistant. Not sure what prompted the change, but I’m not really concerned– Haller’s been with the team for a few years, although he appears to have less experience with the higher levels of women’s coaching outside of that. Bothwell had six years as the head coach at the University of Vermont, and some time as an assistant coach with the Canadian National team, including the 2006 Olympics.

On the bench, Calgary’s had some changes as well– Karolina Urban, a forward for first the Toronto Furies and later the Calgary Inferno, has decided she needs to focus on her Master’s Degree at the University of Calgary, and is stepping away from the CWHL. The tweet that announced it was somewhat ambiguous, but it appears to be a retirement from the league and hockey at large, and not just a hiatus.

Mike Burse breaks her stats down a bit more over at his post on her retirement but she was a very solid contributor, and will be missed.

Also not at training camp this year was forward Chelsea Purcell, a founding member of Team Alberta/Calgary Inferno, and their first captain. It sounds like she’s taking the year off, and moving to Toronto. We may see her again in the CWHL, but probably not for Calgary.

Calgary also lost defender Jocelyn Larocque to the Brampton Thunder in a trade for Bailey Bram. Larocque played for Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics last year, and did not play for Calgary. However, she played some solid minutes for Canada, with an average of 21 minutes per game, and had a goal and an assist in five games while in Sochi.

Bailey Bram, traded for Larocque, last played for Brampton during the 2012/2013 season, spending last season training with Team Canada only to be released during one of the final round of cuts in December 2013. While with Brampton as a forward, she had 18 points in 24 games. (6 goals, 12 assists.)

Rebecca Johnston of the Toronto Furies, and Haley Irwin of the Montreal Stars were also acquired by Calgary. Johnston, a forward, was with Team Canada last season, and had two goals and three assists in Sochi, in five games. While with Toronto in the 12/13 season, she had 8 goals, 17 assists in 24 games.

Haley Irwin, a forward, also played for Canada in Sochi, scoring one assist in the two games she played. Irwin missed Canada’s first three games with an upper-body injury sustained during exhibition play in Austria. She appears to be back to full health now, however. Calgary will be the third CWHL team for Irwin, who was drafted by Brampton in the 2012 Draft, coming to the CWHL with an NCAA championship with the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, a gold medal with Canada at the 2010 games, and gold at the 2012 Women’s Worlds. She moved to the Montreal Stars in the 2012 off-season. She comes to Calgary still in pursuit of the Clarkson Cup to complete her (unofficial) Triple Gold collection, having just missed Montreal’s string of Clarkson Cup victories.

Photo Name Position Former Team 2012/2013 CWHL Stats GP PTS G A PIM
 Bailey Bram (Brampton) Bailey Bram F Brampton 24 18 6 12 34
 Rebecca Headshot Rebecca Johnston F Toronto Furies 24 25 8 17 4
 haley_irwin Haley Irwin F Montreal Stars 20 21 10 11 36

Returning to Calgary in net is the CWHL Goaltender of the Year, Delayne Brian. You may remember my confusion over this award last year, as Brian finished 5th in the league with a save percentage of .895, but Brian broke several records for Calgary’s goaltending as a rookie last year, which may explain the award. Not returning will be Kathy Desjardins, who is retiring from playing hockey, and is looking to focus on coaching.

Photo Name GP SV%
 Delayne_Brian Delayne Brian 14 .895

Returning players of note are last year’s captain, Kelsey Webster, and last year’s first round draft pick for Calgary, Jessica Wong, and Calgary’s leading scorer, Danny Stone.

Four of Calgary’s top five draft pics are forwards, and include some heavy offensive power. Their first round pick, Sarah Davis from the University of Minnesota, was consistently in the top five points leaders for Minnesota during her time there, against some heavy competition for the lead, such as Amanda Kessel.

[table id=9 /]

Calgary’s second round pick was the only blueliner that they picked up in the first five rounds of the draft. Hayleigh Cudmore, from Cornell, was one of the team’s best and most productive defense, and will be a big asset to Calgary’s blue line. Notably, she also wasn’t highly penalized while with Cornell– I would expect to see this continue with Calgary, which is good news for their highly penalized squad.

[table id=10 /]

Louise Warren, a forward from Boston University, is also likely to show up in Calgary’s lineup next season. In a program laden with names familiar to CWHL fans and women’s hockey fans in general, such as Toronto’s Jenelle Kohanchuk and Jenn Wakefield or Canadian heartbreaker Marie-Phillip Poulin, Warren’s numbers show a distinct and impressive improvement over the course of her career at BU. They culminate in a break-out senior year where Warren ended the season second in points.

Season Team GP G A PTS PTS/G Pen PIM PIM/G
2010-2011 Boston University 38 5 5 10 0.26 10 20 0.53
2011-2012 Boston University 37 8 10 18 0.49 5 10 0.27
2012-2013 Boston University 37 15 19 34 0.92 10 20 0.54
2013-2014 Boston University 38 27 19 46 1.21 13 26 0.68
Career Totals 150 55 53 108 0.72 38 76 0.51

If Warren can continue to maintain that kind of performance while adjusting to the CWHL, I expect we’ll all get very familiar with her name.

The remaining players drafted by Calgary are in the table below. You might notice that I don’t have stats for them; this is because I had a very hard time finding complete and accurate records of all of their stats.

Postion Name Previous Team
F Jessica Campbell Cornell University
F Brittany Esposito Northeastern
F Kristen Hagg SAWHA Calgary Chargers
D Samantha Fieseler Pursuit of Excellence
D Aina Takeuchi Japan National Team
F Cailaine Inglis U of Calgary
D Glenda Edie U of Lethbridge
F Christina Kelly UPEI
D Rebecca Mosher Saint Mary’s
D Cassidy Anderson NAIT
F Dayna King Sask Wheat Queens
G Camille Trautman Red Deer College
G Olivia Ross Western University

Take note of Aina Takeuchi, who played for Team Japan at Sochi. She’s the first Japanese player to be drafted to the CWHL, and is aiming to become the first Japanese player to play in the league.

OKAY, that was a lot of player information. Or maybe it only feels like that to me, because I’ve been trying to write this preview for almost a week now. Not having complete stats available online is a pain for when you’re trying to estimate and compare players. I could make some guesses as to why Calgary ended up drafting so many players with incomplete and fragmentary hockey careers chronicled online, but I don’t actually know enough about how hockey is run in Canada for that.

However, Calgary is the team that had the most player movement and transactions over this off-season, and it’s pretty clear to see that most of their moves have been calculated to increase their offensive power. They’re going to have an ARSENAL of quality offensive talent, with experienced players to provide leadership.

On the defensive side, however, I’m a little more concerned about Calgary. They have a solid core of defenders in Jessica Wong, despite an injury shortened rookie season, Jacquie Pierri, and Tegan Schroeder, and Cudmore will be a welcome addition. However, I am a little worried about their depth on defense, and depending on how their goaltending situation shakes out, they may need it. Brian and Desjardins split the game time fairly evenly last season, Brian with 14 games and Desjardins with 11. While Brian was not a bad goaltender for Calgary at all, I think one of Calgary’s newly drafted goaltenders is going to have to step up and help out.

Another thing that could help Calgary out a lot is to cut down on their penalty time. While Calgary was second in most PIMs, worse was the fact that I felt like they took more major penalties than the average– which is a lot of stress on a good, but not amazing, power play. (I can’t prove that they took more majors without crawling through all the game sheets individually, so y’all are not getting that today.)

While I think Calgary has a pretty good chance to make an appearance in Markham come next March, they’re still a young team trying to find their identity. They’ve gone through a lot of organizational changes recently, and while I think their inaugural appearance at the Clarkson Cup last season boded well for their future success, they still need some time to develop before they’re a true contender. I’m looking forward to see that develop, but I think it could be risky to go full hog on the offense without a truly solid backend. This could, however, be my own defense-first nature talking.

In any case, Pierri seems to have a head-start on that whole reducing PIMs bit. 🙂

CWHL Schedule for Online Calendars!

Subscribe or Download!

So, one of the things that has always annoyed me is that the CWHL doesn’t have a way to download or subscribe to their schedule. (At least, not that I’ve found.) Also, all the times they list are the local times — and while most CWHL teams are in Eastern time, Calgary is not. Also sometimes I forget to convert the times, and then I miss games and I’m sad. With all the new online streaming this year, that would be terrible.

So! If you are an online calender/gcal addict like myself, I present the following .ics file to use! It should provide the time zones correctly so your calendar can convert them to your local, and I approximated game lengths as two hours.

CWHL 2014/2015 Schedule as a .ics file

I’d recommend subscribing to the file over downloading, because I’ll be updating it with bug fixes or schedule changes. (How to subscribe to an .ics calendar in Google Calender)

Please let me know if you encounter problems or find events have the wrong times! I’ll try and keep it updated. 🙂

Pre-Season Preview: Boston Blades

Boston Blades

The Blades finished second in the league last season, with 26 points on a 24-game season. This is quite a bit behind league leader Montreal, who finished with 42 in 23 games. It was in the Clarkson Cup tournament, however, that Boston stole the show from Montreal, looking like the clear top dogs — until Toronto upset them in an overtime victory.

Over the course of the last season, Boston had some of the worse special teams in the league, with a power play of 12.61%, and a penalty kill of 83.51%. Their power play is actually a tiny improvement over the previous year, but their penalty kill was a pretty big fall off, as it had been 96.69% in the previous 2012-2013 season. This fall off can probably be laid at the feet of their missing Olympians, particularly the loss at their blue line of Gigi Marvin, Anne Schleper, and Kacey Bellamy. Notably, they also lost Caitlin Cahow, their captain in the 2012/2013 season, first to Team USA before the Olympics and then to retirement from the league. They also lost both of their goaltenders — Geneviève Lacasse to Canada, who started the majority of the 12/13 season and had a .925 SV%, and Molly Schaus to the US, who had an .888 SV%.

While Boston remained one of the stronger teams in the league last year, it was despite a clear loss of some of their core players. They had several players step up to take on this challenge, particularly Jillian Dempsey, who was the 2014 Rookie of the Year, and finished the season 5th in the league for scoring. Brittany Ott, who started most of the games for Boston, was also a rookie in the 2013/2014 season, and in fact lead the league in save percentage, with a .921 SV% over 17 games. Blake Bolden, another 2013 rookie, also stepped up to try and fill that hole on the blue line — she had 19 points in 23 games with the Blades. She was also, however, the most penalized player on the Blades, with 44 PIM, twice as much as the next most penalized player. That’s a bad habit for a player on a team that’s having a harder time killing penalties. Overall, however, Boston was one of the least penalized teams.

So, this is supposed to be a preview of the upcoming 2014/2015 season, not a rehashing of last season–what are the Blades going to look like this year? And the problem is, I’m not quite sure.

Boston is currently without official commitments from Marvin, Schleper, Schaus, and Hilary Knight. On Knight in particular, there’s some speculation that she’s going to be trying out for a Swedish men’s league. Also, Meghan Duggan is going to be an assistant coach with Clarkson, which is six hours at least from Boston. (Or so Google Maps tells me). That’s quite a trek if she’s also going to be playing in Boston. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her time with the Blades greatly reduced, if she’s on the team this season. However, I’m told that Tara Watchorn will be moving to Boston, as her fiancée works there. I’d expect to see her end up on the Blades. Watchorn was very solid for Calgary’s defence, as well as for Canada in Sochi.

Jenny Potter at the 2010 Olympics
Jenny Potter at the 2010 Olympics

Even if the Blades are losing some of their more elite and veteran players, they made moves to address that in this year’s draft. Their first pick overall was Jenny Potter, the 35-year old forward previously of the US National Team and the Minnesota Whitecaps. She actually won the Clarkson Cup with the Whitecaps in the 2009/2010 season, making her a member of the unofficial Triple Gold Club, with the 1998 Olympic gold, the Clarkson cup, and gold in the Women’s World Championships. I’m actually a little surprised to see Potter go to the CWHL — I had thought she was focusing more on coaching these days.

Monique Lameroux while at the University of North Dakota
Monique Lameroux while at the University of North Dakota

With their second pick, the Blades picked up Monique Lamoureux, of Team USA and University of North Dakota. She’s listed by Team USA as a forward, but North Dakota lists her as D/F — I’ll be interested in seeing how that shakes out in Boston. She was often right behind her twin sister Jocelyne for scoring leader in North Dakota, and I’d expect her to bring that to Boston. She’s a very physical forward who likes to crash the net, but I’ll be honest — I’ve mostly seen her play for Team USA, and I’ve never seen her without her sister. Let’s hope they’re not as much like the Sedins as they’re painted, and can be just as good without each other.

Another excellent forward from Team USA, Boston picked Brianna Decker in the third round. She was the 2012 Patty Kazmaier winner while with the Wisconsin Badgers. In her last two years with them, she finished first in points for the team — ahead of both Carolyne Prevost and Hilary Knight, I’d like to point out. 🙂 Her first two years, she finished in the top three.

[table id=7 /]

Decker at the 2011 Women's Worlds. Photo by Becaro.
Decker at the 2011 Women’s Worlds. Photo by Becaro.

 

Boston took the most players in the draft, with 19 players in total drafted. The number is so high due to the geographical constraints of players having to live and have a job near their team.

Boston is going to be DEEP AS HELL next year. We don’t know exactly who they’re going to have, between uncertain commitments and the fact that you can only roster 25 players. Based on how we’ve seen their defense fumble when they’ve had major personnel disruptions, I’d suspect their blue line is going to have some friction coming together, particularly if Gigi Marvin doesn’t come back. It’s always been my impression that the Blades’ defense was largely built around Marvin. However, I’m hopeful that the added veteran presence will smooth out their transition, and Digit Murphy is a good coach who will hopefully be able to re-mold them into a cohesive team. I’d expect them to remain strong in the league, but I’m also anticipating early season struggles, on the ice even if not on the league board. I think their goalies are good enough to shore up a rough defense, but that’s not a long-term solution.

[table id=8 /]

 

EDIT: According to a September 16th USA Hockey article, Duggan intends to continue playing for Boston while coaching at Clarkson.