Mid-Season Updateby Marcel Cormier | February 12, 2019, 2:38 PM ET
Last night the Acadia Golden Bears opened their doors to their paying public as season ticket holders were given an opportunity to listen to and question both head coach Dave Hakstol and GM Guy Flaming about the state of the team.
Overall it was a fairly amicable evening as the Bears are having a, not great but strong season thus far. Currently sitting in 4th place in the Canadian Conference, 3rd in the always tough East Division, the club is well positioned to not just return to the playoffs but finish higher than they are seeded right now.
"That's always our target," said GM Flaming, "We want to add as many banners to our rafters as possible and while a Commissioner's Trophy banner isn't the ultimate goal, it's a marker of success that a team can build on. Right now we're 6 points out of 1st place overall, that to me is not an insurmountable mountain at all."
Some fans wanted claimed that inconsistency was preventing the team from taking a step ahead this year citing recent 8-0 and 7-0 losses as well as the 4-1 setback to London earlier in the evening.
"As a coach, I can tell you that nothing is more frustrating than having a team that looks unbeatable for 3 or 4 games then go out and look like they forgot how to play," said Hakstol, "I do think that a large reason for those few nights this year has been the amount of injuries that we have had to deal with."
Certainly with key players like Sean Couturier, Ryan McDonagh, Colton Parayko, Ryan O'Reilly and Jacob Trouba having all been unavailable for extended periods already, it's fair for Hakstol to make that claim. That said, other clubs have also dealt with their fair share of wounds so it's all part of the game.
"Giroux is close to coming back, maybe in time for our next game against Edmonton but more likely on the weekend when Banff is here," Flaming shared, "Coots" is probably another 7-10 days and then, fingers crossed, we'll have a full roster for the first time in a long time".
One season ticket holder wanted to know why the team was playing most night with 7 defencemen and 11 forwards. Hakstol dealt with that question quickly.
"Our 7th defenceman is better than our 12th forward, that's why."
Shayne Gostisbehere has been that guy most nights although he and rookie Brandon Montour have rotated the role a bit. That said, most games the club has had a guy out of the line up so really it's been the 6 healthiest guys that get to dress.
"It's a fair question," ageed Hakstol, "It goes back to the summer when Holts came to us and said he felt fatigued, that's why we went out and signed Lou in the first place. I think the rest has been good for Holts and maybe we can look at a more balance workload between the two of them in the second half of the schedule."
"I have spoken with both players and they are aware that I have spoken with other teams about their availability," admitted Flaming, "So far there have been a few discussion but nothing I would describe as 'close' to a deal. These are still two valuable players and if they are here past the deadline then so be it, it's not like they are problems in the room or anything. I understand that on most teams in this league they would both be top 6 guys but that's just not the case here, at least not right now."
Flaming closed the evening by thanking the fans for the continued support and assured everyone in attendance that the best was still ahead for the club.
- Forward Trey Fix-Wolansky continues to racked up the points in the WHL for the Edmonton Oil Kings. The slick forward currently has 84 points. (drafted 5th round, 2018)
- Not to be outdone, Red Deer Rebels forward Brandon Hagel just recently set a franchise record for career assists and is having a banner year for himself, his final season in the WHL. The Alberta product has 77 points this year. (drafted 6th round, 2016)
- After a slow start, Prince Albert Raiders forward Cole Fonstad has found his form and taken a big step forward. Fonstad now has 26 goals and 60 points through 54 games. (drafted 3rd round, 2018)
- Defenceman Chase Priske leads all Bears college prospects in scoring as the readguard has piled up 35 points in 28 games for Quinnipiac. (drafted 6th round, 2016)
- Cornell sophomore Morgan Barron is having a strong year leading the Big Red in scoring, earning a Hobey Baker nomination along the way. (acquired via trade from Brandon)
- One of Acadia's top prospects is center Ryan Poehling of St. Cloud State. The big middle man has 25 points for the top ranked Huskies so far this year. (drafted 1st round, 2017)