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What Happened to the Attack?

This is a question many people are asking. So lets take a look and see if we can provide an answer. Last season many people, including myself, predicted the Attack to be a very low seed in the western conference and possibly the playoffs too.  Clearly I was wrong and I have no problem admitting my mistake. This season many people thought the Attack would be a competitive team despite losing, Mignardi, Hishon, Wilson and Fritsch. What would make them competitive would be the hope of a repeat season by Jordan Binnington. I have said it before and I will say it forever, Binnington saved Owen Sound’s season last year and made it possible for the Attack to not only win the OHL championship but also be considered a contender in the Memorial Cup. 
I am still peeved that OHL coach of the year, Mark Reeds, decided to go with Stajcer in the Memorial Cup over the red hot Binnington (unlike other posts where I rip goalies, I like Stajcer. But he clearly wasn’t 100%). Based on that decision, I even suggested that Reeds give back his coach of the year award, I mean who goes to the their starting goaltender and says, ‘I don’t think you will win tonight, you are sitting.’
But I digress from ripping the coach. What’s done is done.

So far this year Binnington has not been his spectacular self. Sure he does not have the same rock solid defence in front him, or the same offensive firepower but there seem to be something missing from his game this season. For the Attack to have a shot at making some noise come playoff time, Binnington will have to reclaim his number 1 goaltender position from Scott Stajcer who has been the better of the two thus far.

What is also missing in the Sound, from the outside looking in, is the cohesive team unit that seemed to emanate through the television set when watching their games. Maybe it is the youth on the team, maybe it is the new faces in the room, but there doesn’t seem to be the same team feel as last season.

The Attack lost a lot of fire power up front (Hishon, Wilson, Mignardi and Shaw) and from the blue line (Blacker and Stanisz). To replace what was lost… the Attack added Daniel Catenacci, while trading away Andrew Fritsch to get the Buffalo Sabres draft pick. Catenacci is doing his part leading the team in scoring, on pace to best last season’s point totals, but is also last on the team in the plus minus category with a -8. Definitely not what you would want to see from a highly sought after commodity, but you knew what you were getting when trading from him.

The big difference this season is the blueline. It is not as solid as it was a year ago as it misses the experience Blacker and Stanisz provided, but they can learn and turn it up in the second half. A work in progress is a work in progress but sometimes you can not wait and maybe a move is necessary to help out your goaltenders. I say this because on average Stajcer and Binnington face over 30 shots a night. Sure that is pretty average but it is also the quality of shots they are facing. Unlike games featuring the Missisauga Majors, these shots are not clappers at JP Anderson from 100 feet away hoping to catch him off guard. The goalie duo are having to come up big more often than not and it is catching up to them in the W/L category.

But you may be asking yourself, ‘so you have pointed out their faults, so what is the solution?’ Good Question.
Plain and simple, the Attack need to unload their veterans and give the kids a chance to learn and play. Lets face it the Attack, if they choose to attend currently have to deal with the Soo, London, Plymouth and possibly Kitchener, all currently ahead of them. It is a big hill to climb so why not get value from your pieces. The way the Western Conference currently looks, you will be making the playoffs, and the young guys will be getting the experience you want them to get.

The Trading block may only have Scott Stajcer on it right now as he has been rumoured to be off to Saginaw for at least 3 weeks now, but Oshawa is also in the mix as Chris DiPiero is not happy in the lack of progress in ‘stud’ Daniel Altshuller.
The rumour mill has also been churning in regards to Matt Petgrave and Jay Gilbert, there is interest in the two defenceman, both as individuals and as a package.
If there is a serious offer for the two defenceman, then look for a rebuild in the Sound which will undoubtedly put the GM in the hot seat considering what was given up for Catenacci just to pull the plug after a third of the season.

This is the dilemma in Owen Sound at the moment… maybe making a move will turn the ship around. Or maybe it will sink the ship. Owen Sound is always an interesting case study and no one ever knows the answers. 

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