By The Bakersfield Californian
One thing has become abundantly clear over the past two weeks: The Condors, in their current form, don’t have the horses to be competitive in the ECHL.
“We need to get healthy, we need to upgrade in a couple of areas which I think we’ll be able to do, and we need the NHL lockout to end,” Condors coach Matt O’Dette said of his assesment after 11 games. “If the lockout ends it levels the playing field and leaves us in good shape.”
The current make up of the Condors is not what it was before they went on their current five-game winless streak (0-4-1). The list of inured Condors went from zero to a bunch in the span of a couple of games: Center Robbie Dee (finger) has missed seven straight; forward Brett Perlini (broken jaw) has missed four straight; center Parker Stanfield (upper body) has missed three straight and defenseman Ryan Annesley (upper body) has missed three straight. Dee is slated to be back in the lineup on Friday night against Idaho, but forward Zach Cohen suffered a concussion in Wednesday night’s game against the Steelheads and is no on the injury list.
Already having difficulty generating sustained time in the offensive zone (while spending way two much time in their own end) the loss of the two centermen (Dee and Stanfield) has probably hurt the most as the Condors are losing the majority of their faceoffs, impacting play at both ends of the ice.
The Condors have allowed an average of 38.5 shots per game over the past five games while generating just 25 shots. They have not dressed a full compliment of 10 forwards for three straight games and will be at least one shy again on Friday and Saturday nights.
Goaltending has kept the Condors close for two periods in each of their last three losses, but the Condors have been outscored 9-2 in those third periods, turning close games into 6-1, 5-2 and 6-3 losses.
“Maybe there’s a little lack of composure,” admitted Condors coach Matt O’Dette. “With our depleted lineup we have to play a perfect game ... when we face a little adversity we let it build on us and then you see us unravel.”
When the season started O’Dette figured the Condors could be competitive but other teams have loaded up with more talent (either through assigned players from the NHL or AHL or by signing NHL players). Idaho has 10 players assigned by AHL teams, looking much like the Condors did at the start of the 2009-10 season when Anaheim did not have an AHL affiliate and loaded the Condors with players). Alaska has taken another tact, with four NHLer’s now on its roster.
“Without the lockout and us healthy,” I think we’d be in a different position,” O’Dette said. “A lot of teams would lose a lot of players right away.”
The Condors have no NHL affiliation and have just two players assigned to them.
While he can’t control injuries or the lockout (the two sides met for a third straight day on Thursday) O’Dette can continue to tweak his roster, just as he did last season, turning a sub-par team into an above-average team in the second half of the season.
“We’re working on a couple of things,” he said. “There’s things going on to bring in some new guys.”