A good gen's articale.

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A good gen's articale.

Post by steamed on Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:27 am

A long but good articale I found...

Why the Oshawa Generals are Overachieving

In my season preview article, I said this about the Oshawa Generals when predicting them to finish 9th in the Eastern Conference:
“I think it’ll be a trying year in Oshawa after last year’s mass exodus of talent. That mass exodus will pack even more of a wallop when Scott Laughton sticks in Philadelphia (as I’m expecting him to), leaving Oshawa with a ton of question marks on the offensive side of things. Michael Dal Colle and Cole Cassels are great young players, but they aren’t ready to carry an offense. Similarly, the defense lacks top end talent and I think could struggle, especially when it comes to moving the puck and escaping the forecheck. Josh Brown and Colin Suellentrop are going to have to take massive steps forward in order for this team to play above it’s predicted level. The one plus is that the team is returning Daniel Altshuller in net. He should be a relatively stabilizing force, even if he’s facing a ton of rubber. But, will he be in Oshawa all year? There are several teams (in the East and West) with goaltending concerns and he’s likely to generate a ton of interest. Trading him would be the smart thing to do, in order to aid the rebuilding effort. A guy like Suellentrop could also be a target for a team looking to fill an OA spot on the blueline. Even if Scott Laughton is miraculously returned, I still can’t see this team escaping the bottom rung of the Eastern Conference.”
While it is admittedly embarrassing to have been so wrong thus far, I certainly wasn’t the only one predicting dire times ahead for Oshawa. This team was certainly not considered a contender for the Conference, yet they’re currently eight points up on the second place Mississauga Steelheads (another team predicted for the basement). So what’s changed? Why have the Generals been able to overachieve to the point of dominating the Conference thus far? Let’s examine some of the reasons.

The Return of Scott Laughton

Quite frankly, I thought that Laughton would make the Flyers full time this year after a cup of coffee to begin the strike shortened 2012/2013 season. By the end of last year, he looked ready for a new challenge and his in your face two way style would have lent itself nicely to a checking line role in the NHL. But Laughton was sent back and has been absolutely stellar thus far. His 31 points in 17 games gives him the second best points per game mark (1.82) in the league behind leading scorer Connor Brown of Erie. Heck, his three short handed goals gives him equal to, or more goals than 75% of the rest of Oshawa’s roster. Recently, he’s joined forces with Michael Dal Colle and Cole Cassels to form one of the league’s most deadly and revered top lines in the league. Needless to say, Laughton is on fire and has been instrumental in the team’s success thus far.

The Emergence of Dal Colle and Cassels

While the two haven’t been playing on a line all year, they have been equally as consistent. Both are natural centers but both have found a home on the wing where they’re flourishing as offensive talents. Michael Dal Colle currently sits second in league scoring with 37 points and has exploded in his second year in the league. The sophomore has firmly entrenched himself as a top 10 NHL draft selection for 2014 and maybe even a candidate for the top 3. Meanwhile Cassels is a 3rd round selection of the Canucks from the 2013 draft who has taken that much required step forward in his development in year three. He’s playing with more confidence and is living up to the family legacy (of father Andrew).
Quality Goaltending
Heading into the season, everyone knew that goaltending would be a strength of this team with Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Daniel Altshuller between the pipes. His strong play hasn’t been surprising in the least, if anything it was expected. But regardless, it needs to be mentioned when listing off the reasons why the Generals are currently leading the OHL’s Eastern Conference. Only two goalies in the East have been drafted by NHL club’s, Altshuller and Mississauga’s Spencer Martin. With such little high end talent between the pipes in the Conference, maybe it shouldn’t come as any surprise that their two teams are leading the way thus far.

Special Teams Play

NHL mastermind Scotty Bowman always used to say the difference between good teams and great teams lies in their special teams play. Right now, the Generals have the 2nd best powerplay in the league at 27.8 percent, and the 2nd best penalty kill at 85 percent. To top it off, they also have 5 shorthanded goals, which is 2nd to Plymouth in the league. The Generals are playing an in your face physical style with confidence because they know that their penalty killing unit can get the job done. And they’re forcing teams to take penalties against them that they’re able to capitalize on with the man advantage.

The Quality of the Eastern Conference

This isn’t about quality of competition. The Generals aren’t winning games because of a soft schedule. That’s not what I’m saying. In fact, Oshawa has already defeated Windsor, London, Guelph, and Sault Ste. Marie this year. What I AM saying is that the rest of the Eastern Conference really doesn’t have their act together. The Conference’s supposed powerhouses like Kingston, Barrie, Sudbury, and North Bay have been wildly inconsistent, despite deeper and more talented rosters “on paper.” Quite frankly, the East is just a mess right now and the confident Generals are taking it to them.

The Acquisition of Josh Sterk

Think last place Kitchener wants a do over on that one? They sent Sterk to Oshawa this offseason in exchange for 4th and 6th round picks. The talented, and slightly undersized sparkplug just never found his way in Kitchener and ultimately fell out of favor with management. Well now the 3rd year pivot is confidently centering the Generals 2nd line and looks like a steal for an Oshawa team that was badly in need of some offensive depth. For the record, Sterk’s 24 points would lead the Rangers in scoring by 11 points. Talk about a savvy pick up.

An Underrated and Unsung Defensive Unit

Last, but certainly not least, the Generals defense has been fantastic this year. No big names, no superstars (only Josh Brown has NHL rights, going in the 6th round to Florida), yet they get the job done without a lot of fan fair. The undersized Chris Carlisle is leading the team’s powerplay effort as the primary quarterback (and usually sole defenseman on the top unit) and is really blossoming in his third year in the league. Meanwhile Josh Brown, Colin Suellentrop, and Will Petschenig are playing a no nonsense, in your face game and making life hard for opposing forwards in Oshawa’s end. To top it off, the coaching staff, lead by DJ Smith, has the team’s top forwards committed to the back check which has made the team just that much stronger and tighter.
Will the Oshawa Generals continue to lead the Eastern Conference all the way to the end of the season? I don’t have the answer to that question. But I do know that they’re currently exceeding expectations and playing some terrific hockey which gives them as good a chance as anybody else. When your best players are your best players, night in and night out, your team is going to find success. That just about sums up the Oshawa Generals.
Brock Otten
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steamed

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Re: A good gen's articale.

Post by Guest on Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:20 pm

thanks for the good read, i really enjoyed that.

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Re: A good gen's articale.

Post by StingRay5 on Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:46 pm

Ditto from me! Thanks for the read.

I'm too am on the "originally saw them fighting for 8th" this season. I even asked DJ what points he thought we needed to have to get into the playoffs.
My add here is that the team has bonded well and has a "Can't Quit" attitude. It just feels like they know they are going to get the goals they need to win.
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