In the last week or so,I've been getting blog comments, and hearing comments second hand, that the Melville Millionaires are under-acheiving, not playing for their coach, and that a change needs to be made.
The Millionaires are 16-14-2-3... 4th place in the Sherwood Division at the Christmas Break. Is that where they thought they'd be? No.
But, let's take a look at what key players have missed how much time.
Jesse Mireau (arguably their best player): 8 games
Lee Christensen (Captain, one of the league's top defensemen): 12 games
Bob Pond (another 20 year old defenseman): 9 games
Brett Kipling (yep, another 20 year old defenseman): 8 games
Lucas Froese (one of their top returning forwards from last year): 12 games
TJ Reeve (maybe their best rookie): 9 games, and not coming back anytime soon.
Colin Mospanchuk (Power Forward, promising 18-year-old): 10 games
Those 7 names alone, which includes four 20-year-olds, have combined to miss 68 man games due to injury, and the season's only 35 games old.
It's also worth noting, the three players the Mils received from Melfort for Metz/Hanson (Christensen, Mireau, Aschim) have combined to play 50 games (of a possible 105). Mireau and Christensen have missed 20 games between them, while Aschim, penciled in for the top line centre role before cracking the WHL and sticking, remains in Seattle and all indications are he'll stay.
The Mils are in a rut right now, going 2-8 in thier last 10 games, with all the injuries, and they started the season on the road with their rink still under construction, and won just one of their first 6 games.
But in the middle, with close to a full lineup, a span of 19 games from October 5th to November 22nd, the Millionaires picked up points in 16 of those games, going 13-3-1-2.
They ARE a top end team in this league, when they've got everyone in the lineup, or at least close.
To say Jamie Fiesel's the problem is way off the mark. Yes, it's his job to provide depth and get the 20 players (or 18 or 19 in some cases lately) who are healthy to battle through the adversity, but take 5 regulars off any team at any level, and I can assure you they'll under-achieve.