Havana Ready to Shock the World... Conferenceby Che Guevara | September 25, 2018, 9:38 PM ET
After a disappointing loss in the first round to the KC Krunch, the 2017 SICHL Continental Cup Champions, the Havana Revolution went home to think hard about what kind of team they wanted to be. Previously being used to the underdog tag the Revolution no longer are able to rely on excuses for not performing. It is clear from GM Prozeller all the way down the expectation of this club is not just to win in the regular season but also come playoff time.
With that in mind club brass along with scouts and coaching staff have had an opportunity to dwell on the disappointing end to last season and look at what the Revolution need to do to move forward and become a better hockey team.
Goaltending last year was a concern, it shouldn’t have been with star netminder Pekka Rinne in nets and young apprentice Connor Hellebuyck backing him up. However Rinne struggled at time throughout the year, GM Prozeller and coach Gilmour constant tinkering with the defensive pairings and strategy along with many injuries to Myers and Edler likely didn’t help. Fast forward to this offseason and GM Prozeller made a bold move all but solidifying Bucket (Hellebuyck) in the net by trading away Rinne in a blockbuster deal with Boston that netted them some help up front. “It’s possible we do something else to provide a more stable backup behind Connor but Garrett Sparks is right there and he may just get a shot at that job.” added GM Prozeller
Defense was a rotating door last season and seems to be (at least thus far) the area that has received the least attention in the off season dealings. It looks remarkably similar to last year with newly (re)minted Franchise Player Brent Burns returning along with Alex Edler, Jake Muzzin, Kris Russell, and Tyler Myers. The newest addition Travis Hamonic who likely will take the place of Connor Murphy who was shipped out in the deal with Boston and then subsequently flipped to Fredericton as per usual Boston protocol. “We think we have the right mix of defensemen this season, much happier going into this year than last with the group we have. A true variety of skill sets for different pairing options and much more mobile unit than last year. Always looking at ideas and listening to fellow GM’s but we are content.” mused GM Prozeller.
Forward group looks almost unrecognizable on paper this season with the exception of star mainstays Connor McDavid, Tyler Seguin, Jonathan Huberdeau, Leon Draisaitl and Elias Lindholm. But now added to that group are Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, David Perron and two rookies Jesper Bratt and Chris Tierney. Rakell brings major goal scoring potential and given the daunting skill set of any one of McDavid, Seguin or Draisaitl, Rakell could move up and down the lineup and wreak havoc on the opposition. Silfverberg bring a more balanced approach, while Bratt and Tierney are expected to round out the bottom line. “We are really excited about our forward group! This has to be one of the elite groups assembled in the SICHL and we know we are going to be one of those teams on the schedule that opponents (or more specifically goalies) are going to dread coming in here!” chuckled GM Prozeller.
GM Prozeller and his team certainly didn’t take the usual Revolution approach to the offseason which is the sit back, gather extra draft picks and go through the draft and UFA before making some tinkering deals right before training camp. No, they blew the door off! Trading Rinne almost seemed inevitable as the team wasn’t going to keep two starting goalies. Picking up Rakell by flipping Couture right off the hop was just pure player preference as Rakell fits the Havana system better. Adding Perron, Silfverberg and Hamonic really rounds out the team. It was said GM Prozeller pushed hard to get Hamonic last year at the draft when he was a member of the Las Vegas Aces but couldn’t make it happen. Perron brings a stable veteran presence to the much younger forward core who will look to him for leadership. Silfverberg was another player highly regarded by GM Prozeller who called him “A real dependable guy through and through”.
Havana moved all of their picks in the generally regarded weak 2018 SICHL entry draft to future years or for younger players or prospects. “We had a mantra some time back that we don’t believe in the window to win. We think it’s mostly nonsense, sure teams will look better some seasons than other but we don’t think you have to “rebuild” every 10 years. Good drafting, asset management and a commitment to win should allow a team to be perpetually competitive. We said we wouldn’t move draft picks to go “all in” and we that's not what this was. We observed a weak draft and decided to move some picks for younger guys who are going to be with us a long time. We have a good young team that will stay together for 5-9 years, none of these guys we dealt for are UFA’s anytime soon” preached GM Prozeller.
We had a couple run-in’s with GM Prozeller over the summer and got to fire a couple rapid questions at him. Here are some of our favourite moments:
Che Guevara – How did it feel to lose to the eventual Continental Cup Champ, does that make it easier?
GM Prozeller - &^@# NO! Does getting smoked off the line by a Dodge Caravan feel good? Regardless if it has a Supercharged Hellcat engine in it and you were destined to lose it still feel like a punch in the gonads.
CG – Hey! You won the GHA Championship! What’s the best part of this victory?
GMP – A lot of hard work to get through, a couple times we thought we were down and out but we came back. But to answer your question…the gloating, the gloating is the best part!
CG – 2018 Draft in 9 words
GMP – We won’t have any picks and couldn’t be happier.
CG – What is the market like for Rinne?
GMP – Damn confusing, GM’s that shouldn’t have had any interest did, others that we expected calls from chose to throw in the towel or stick with GHA players ;)
CG – Hamonic? What does he bring to the team, why did you go after him?
GMP – Price was right…all about the supply and demand.
CG – Coach Gilmour on the hotseat if the team doesn’t start well?
GMP – Are you on the hot seat if this interview sucks?
CG – Team expectations should be sky high right? Is anything but Continental Cup enough?
GMP – That’s the goal, anything but that is complete failure, sure the accountants like when we get to the 3rd round, and the Conference Champions banner would be nice. Which reminds me we are still waiting for ours from the 2011-12 season….pretty sure Ottawa was supposed to get one too…
CG – Who’s the new media spokesperson? Am I going to have to talk to you directly all year?
GMP – Hopefully not, we are reading some resumes now, hope to have something on that soon. Although that guy Melnyk seemed pretty good at it thought maybe I take a stab….
CG – UFA’s any of interest to you?
GMP – A couple, but our budget is pretty maxed out. You know between paying for all our superstar players we don’t have the same salary space other crappy teams have. We will let them fight it out haha.
CG – New expansion draft this year, the Seattle Grunge. What’s the strategy?
GMP – Take all you can, give nothing back!
CG – Thoughts on Seattle Grunge now that they’ve drafted?
GMP – Hit almost every player we thought they would, our mock draft and their actual draft were about 3 players apart. GM in Seattle knows what he’s doing, drives a hard bargain, like the team local and name!
CG - Any last thoughts before I write my article?
GMP - Im a tad short on a potential trade with a GM right now, can I tack you on so you stop bothering me and let me do my job.
The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue" ~ Emma Goldman
¡Viva La Revolucion!