Questions surround Hounds

November 10, 2015

It’s a question that I am asked frequently these days: What’s the matter with the Soo Greyhounds?

Consistently inconsistent with a record of 7-9-2 through their first 18 games of the 2015-2016 Ontario Hockey League regular season, the Greyhounds are looking like they are no better than their below-.500 mark.

Perhaps the 4-0-2 start to the season is what led many — myself included — to jump to the conclusion that the Greyhounds are again a Western Conference contender despite losing so many star players to graduation.

But right now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Many players who we thought would advance their games to a higher level as they moved up to the top lines of forward and defense simply have not taken that next step.

Then there is the goaltending, where neither Brandon Halverson or Joseph Raaymakers have played like a difference maker, at least on a consistent basis.

Having said that, the younger Raaymakers has been the better of the two, leading to speculation that the older, underachieving Halverson could be traded at some point this season. Raaymakers has a 4-3-2 record to go with a 3.50 goals against average and .890 save percentage while Halverson is 3-6-0, 4.00 and .877.

And where have the fans gone?

Don’t get me wrong, crowds of 3,800 are good but they pale in comparison to the 4,500 that packed their way into the Essar Centre the past couple of seasons.

Perhaps many fans are still upset from last spring’s Western Conference finals when the heavily-favoured Hounds were upset in six games by the Erie Otters?

That could well be the case as several months after the fact, I have had many fans tell me that they still can’t believe that the Hounds lost to Erie.

And while some lay the blame on the goaltending, most who I talk to feel that the main reason the Hounds lost is because the since-departed Sheldon Keefe was out-coached by Erie’s Kris Knoblauch.

I agree about Keefe being out-coached, simply because he refused to pay considerable attention to Erie’s star Connor McDavid. As a long-time Greyhound fan told me the other day while reading my Union Gas meter: All Keefe had to do was put a big, strong forward like Jean Dupuy on McDavid and the series would have gone in the Greyhounds favour.

At any rate, Keefe — who once told me that a coach should be judged on how he does in the post-season — and his underachieving playoff record have departed and in his place we have the steady hand of rookie bench boss Drew Bannister.

Is Bannister a good coach?

Hard to answer that, just a dozen-and-a-half games into his new gig.

Let’s just state the obvious and say that Bannister does not have nearly the team to coach that Keefe did.

PHOTO: Third-year goalie Brandon Halverson has struggled between the pipes for the Soo Greyhounds thus far this season. (Photo by Ali Pearson.)

What you think about “Questions surround Hounds”

  1. they do need to trade Halverson as I think raymakkers is a good number 1 goalie for this club.. don’t do what we did a couple years ago when they said ohagan was goalie of the future but this kid now is the goalie of the future, time for Halverson to move on and get a good second man behind raymakkers and tade for a big defence and get a top 6 forward to play with blak and zack

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *