The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Archive for November, 2010

Game 9: T-Birds Upended by Americans

Hello again everyone!  I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving.  In my quest to finally get caught up with the Thunderbirds’ games (there have been four home games in eight days, and I can’t turn out these posts that fast…) I’ll be posting about the game on Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 24, tonight.    In the next three or four days I’ll get something about Saturday’s game aganst Kootenay, and in about a week I’ll (finally!) be caught up with photos from tomorrow’s matchup with Medicine Hat.  But enough of the scheduling conversation, let’s get to some photos, shall we?

We’ll start off with a photo that stumped me.  When I first saw this while looking for a good photo to send with the press release, I thought this one would be a really good one.  When I got back to it while working on this blog, I realized just how much of a pain it would be…  I’ll show you the original now…

Center Justin Hickman fights for position with Tri City left wing David Conrad while racing after a puck in the first period.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/3.2, 1/640th, Manual

So you can see the main action, but it definitely needs some cropping, right?  Well there was the tricky part.  How much do you crop?  What shape should it be?  I first cropped it so all you can see are Hickman and Conrad, but included all of Hickman’s stick.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/3.2, 1/640th, Manual

That doesn’t look bad, but I really don’t like all the empty space around the stick.   I wouldn’t mind it if there was something big at the end of the photo, but I’m not sure the stick itself justifies the wide crop.  So let’s trim it down a bit…

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/3.2, 1/640th, Manual

Ok, that’s a little bit better, but I still don’t really love it.  Maybe a little bit more space on the left would make it feel less crowded to me, but then again maybe not.  So let’s try something much different.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/3.2, 1/640th, Manual

I think this is my favorite.  I know there’s a lot of dead space in the middle between the two players and the puck, but I think the puck adds enough to the photo to justify it.  Dead space normally isn’t wanted in a photo—there’s a reason it’s called dead space—but there are times where it does good.   This may not be one of those times, but it doesn’t seem to detract enough to require a new crop.  Plus we’ve already tried a few other crops, and they don’t seem to work well.
You be the photographer: What crop would you have gone with?  Let me know in the comments section!

Oh, and you may have noticed that the metadata (the camera settings used for the photo I post under each picture) is different than the normal settings.  This wasn’t intended, I just forgot to check the settings after shooting the player introductions.  I compensated for the added light during game play, but I forgot to check anything other than my light meter to make sure everything on my camera is ok.  It happens all the time, I wish I was better at noticing these things.

Anyways, back to the game.  Five minutes into the game, center Tyler Alos found himself with the puck above the Tri City goal and being defended by the two Americans players that were back on defense, goalie Drew Owsley and defenseman Drydn Dow.  Fellow center Colin Jacobs was skating fast to the other side of the goal, but not being covered by anyone. Naturally Alos passed it over to Jacobs…

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And Jacobs sent it into the back of the net.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual
Already moving quickly, Jacobs lost his balance after getting the shot off (I think.  He might have purposely fell) and found himself on his back on the ice.  But he didn’t care, he just scored a goal!

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Leftwinger Mitch Elliot came over to Jacobs, not only to celebrate, but to help him up…

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

I had an unexpected visitor on the suite I was shooting in for that goal… Cool Bird!  He had entered my suite a little before the goal was scored and was entertaining fans and waiting for the first period media timeout to throw t-shirts into the crowd.  Jacobs’ goal must have fired Cool Bird up because after the goal he was on his feet cheering with the rest of the crowd.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

When Cool Bird finally started giving out the t-shirts, these two young fans pleaded for a shirt.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

The game, like nearly every Tri-City/Seattle matchup, was pretty physical.  There were plenty of checks and hits throughout the night.  Here, defenseman Dave Sutter throws Tri City Adam Hughesman off the puck.

Canon 7D, 195mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And Calvin even got into the action.  Here he tangles with Tri-City right wing Jordan Messier in front of the Seattle goal.  I’ve never seen a goalie do that before…

Canon 7D, 180mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Throughout the first period, the Americans did well to earn 19 shots on goal, including this one by leftwinger Neal Prokop.  All of them were saved, however, by goalie Calvin Pickard, as he’s doing here.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And that does it for the first period photos.  Let’s move down rinkside for the second period, shall we?  (Note: hopefully you said yes because that’s where we’re heading anyway…)

Let’s begin with a shot of center Charles Wells skating down the boards with the puck…

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Wanting to try something a little different, I took off my 70-200mm lens and put on my fixed 50mm (it can’t zoom in or out, it’s set at 50mm).  This would allow me to get a wider shot—not much wider, but anything helps when the players are normally just a foot away from you.  It did make a slight difference, especially in front of and behind the goal.  I didn’t cut any body parts off anyone this time!

Wells and Tri City defenseman Sam Grist fight for the puck behind the Tri City goal in the second period.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Wells attempts to block a clearing attempt by Tri City’s Owsley.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Right wing Marcel Noebels sends a puck off the boards towards the Tri City goal.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Here’s another one of those photos that are made by the objects in the foreground rather than the subject themselves.    Defenseman Travis Bobbee is controlling the puck—an important part in hockey, yes, but it would be a fairly bland photo unless Americans center Kruise Reddick was blocking Bobbee.  I’d like it even better if we could see Bobbee’s gloves on the stick but in any case the photo seems to suggest an imminent confrontation.  You probably want to see the photo by now, don’t you?

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

That ends the second period photos.  Sorry I didn’t get many photos of the two goals the T-Birds scored but that’s what happens when you shoot through glass.  Onto the third period and between the benches!

The third period was action-packed, to say the least.  Here, Tri City center Mason Wilgosh pokes the puck away from Wells along the boards.

Canon 7D, 195mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

While it’s not generally good for a team when someone falls to ice, it does make for a different and a decent photo.  Here right wing Burke Gallimore has a nice view of the puck he tried to win.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here’s a photo of Noebels (at least it looks like Noebels.  I can’t see a number in any other photos of that series) defending against right wing Jordan Messier of the Americans.  What’s really cool about this photo is that everyone’s perfectly lined up to show a perfect example of perspective.  Sometimes luck brings you photos that you couldn’t get even if you set up your own shot…

Canon 7D, 80mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Travis Toomey and Tri City defenseman Brock Sutherland jostle for position to receive the puck in front of the Seattle goal.

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The Americans unfortunately had a nice third period offensively.  They controlled the puck well and had 21 shots on goal during the period.  Calvin Pickard was working hard and earned this water break during a time out.

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Unfortunately three of those 21 shots found the back of the net.  That means, however, Pickard made 18 saves in that period alone.  Here’s one of them.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The game being tied 4-4, we moved into the overtime period.  Neither team snuck a goal past either defense so a shootout ensued.  Despite Pickard saving one of the two shootout attempts he faced—this one here being saved against Tri City rightwinger Patrick Holland—no Thunderbird attempt found the back of the net.  At least the T-Birds got one point though!

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

That’s it for this post.  As always leave any comments or criticisms or questions in the comments section below.

Til next time, go T-Birds!

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Game 8: T-Birds Tipped by Everett

So in the beginning of the last post I promised that we’d get to the Everett game soon, and here I am to keep it.  Last Saturday was the first time the Thunderbirds played host to their rivals from just up the road, and it was the first time since the season opener that the two teams faced off.  Inside the ShoWare Center you could tell it was a rivalry game:  the crowd was loud and into the game from the beginning, the refs were determined to keep the peace between the two teams, and the hits were hard and kept coming all night…

In fact let’s start out with a few hits.  Saturday also marked the home debut of center Justin Hickman, who had returned from injury during the Eastern road trip.  Hickman threw his weight around for the early part of the game, making more than a few hard checks on unsuspecting Silvertips.  Here’s two of those hits…

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Fellow center Charles Wells got in on the action too.  In these next photos, Wells got tangled up with Everett rightwinger Cody Fowlie when the two were chasing after the puck in the first period.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The Silvertips came out ready to play Saturday night, as evidenced by their three first period goals.  By the end of the first period, however, the T-Birds seemed to have gotten back into the game when defenseman Brenden Dillon fired a shot past Everett goalie Kent Simpson and into the net.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And here, rightwinger Burke Gallimore puts a hit on Everett leftwinger Tyler Maxwell to end the photos from period one.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

For the second period, I decided to keep myself behind and to the left of the Everett goal (the north goal).  I wanted to try out a new angle (as I’m normally to the right of the goal up there), and I must say I’m happy with what I got from that position.   It allowed me to get more of the action close to the benches like this particular battle for the puck between leftwinger Mitch Elliot (center) and Everett rightwinger Tyler Cote.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Of course, that position is not perfect, not for me and my equipment.  I mainly use a 70-200 milimeter lens; not only does it give me coverage of most of the ice, the photo quality of it is unbelievable (and no, I’m not getting a cut for this advertisement.  But I should, right Canon?).  The only drawback is that I have to be about five feet away from things in order to a) be in focus and b) to be able to see every part of an upright human.  Well when I’m right on the glass and the players are right on the glass, I can’t get a picture that includes every part of both players.  I commonly get photos that cut off players’ heads, hands, and feet.  Or, in this case, players’ heads AND feet.

Center Tyler Alos (left) is checked by Everett defenseman Ryan Murray.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

With my 70-200, though, I can get pretty much everything between the blue lines, give or take a few feet on either side.  That set me up perfectly to get this photo of a Burke Gallimore shot.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Unfortunately I missed getting a shot of Gallimore’s goal in the second period (note: the previous photo isn’t his goal-scoring shot).  I did, however, get a celebration photo with Dillon (who was credited with an assist on the goal) and rightwinger Marcel Noebels.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Since Everett and Seattle’s home rinks are separated by just about an hour’s drive (assuming light traffic… we all know it can take much longer to get to Everett some nights) there were plenty of Silvertips fans at the ShoWare Center Saturday night.  This Thunderbirds supporter felt it necessary to remind the ‘Tips fans in front of him what team had just scored.  Thank you, unnamed T-Birds supporter, for standing up for Thunderbirds fans everywhere…

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

And to close out the photos from the second period, how about a shot of leftwinger Chance Lund holding off Everett defenseman Alex Theriau while attacking the Silvertip goal.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Having cut the Silvertips’ lead down to one, the Thunderbirds came out and played a good third period.  They controlled the puck for much of the period…

Center Colin Jacobs controls the puck despite an attack from Everett leftwinger Josh Winquist.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Passed the puck fairly well…

Wells (back) skates towards the Everett goal while Noebels gets in position to receive a pass during the third period.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Checked the Silvertips often…

Gallimore checks Everett’s Josh Winquist into the boards during the third period.

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Travis Toomey hits Everett defenseman Rasmus Rissanen before Rissanen can get to the puck.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Hustled to un-controlled pucks…

Noebels races Everett’s Cody Fowlie to a loose puck during the third period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Got in position to tip a shot into the Everett net…

Center Luke Lockhart battles for position in front of the Silvertip net with Everett defenseman Brennan Yadlowski.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And earned 14 shots on goal throughout the third period.  Unfortunately, Everett goalie Kent Simpson blocked all 14 of those shots.

Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

But I hate to leave on a down-note, so I will end with a nice portrait of Brenden Dillon taken during a late timeout.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

That’s it for this edition of Bird Watching.  I hope you enjoyed the photos and I wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving.  Be sure to tell me how awesome your dinner is (or my photos are, either one) in the comments section below.

Til next time, go T-Birds!

 

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Game 7: Thunderbirds Smoke Chiefs

Hello there everyone!  Now that the T-Birds are back from their successful road trip, I have new photos for you to enjoy!  Even though there were two back-to-back games, I’ll only be talking about the Friday night game against Spokane for now.  We’ll get to Everett a little later.  So let’s set those time machines back a few days and relieve that shootout win over the Chiefs, shall we?

We had a special visitor to the press box before the game started; a Stanley Cup championship ring!  Mark Kelley, the director of amateur scouting for the Chicago Blackhawks, went to the game to look over some players with his recent championship ring in tow.  He was nice enough to let me get a shot of it for the blog.  Thanks Mark!

A 2010 championship ring from Chicago Blackhawks’ Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Kelly.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/1.8, 1/250th, Manual

Director of Media Relations Ian Henry told me that we had a big pre-game ceremony planned and that I should be on the ice for it.  So I went down there (didn’t fall again, I should go pro in ice walking with expensive equipment around my neck…) and waited for the pre-game to start.  It finally did once the players were introduced.  I got a nice photo of Dave Sutter side-light by the spotlight while waiting for the rest of the pre-game ceremony to start…

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

Since the team was back east for Veterans Day, the men and women of our armed forces were honored before the start of the game.    The local Veterans’ association presented the colors and the puck was rappelled down from the rafters by some current national guardsmen (and women).  Here’s a gentleman carrying the American flag. He also did well to keep on his feet while bringing the flag out.  As a reward for staying upright, here’s a photo of him.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/250th, Manual

I may have glanced over this part, but let’s go back: the puck rappelled down from the rafters.  More specifically, one of the guardsmen held the puck while rappelling down.  There were three rappellers and unfortunately I didn’t have a lens that could go wide enough to see all of them, but I did get some nice close-ups of one of them…

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

And here’s the guardswoman who brought the puck down…

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Alright, now that we have the puck, we can play some hockey!    The game started off fast when center Luke Lockhart got one past the Spokane goalie in under a minute.  I wasn’t in position to get a photo of the goal, but I had a nice view of the Seattle bench after the goal, and the bench was excited to have an early lead.

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

I eventually moved up to the second level of the ShoWare Center from rinkside—I wanted to have a view of the goal the T-Birds were attacking—and started shooting again.   Naturally, the first good photo from that position would have been more dynamic if I had just stayed put.  Oh well, it’s still a nice shot, though…

Goalie Calvin Pickard blocks a shot from Spokane rightwinger Matt Marantz in the first period.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here, center Charles Wells (right) and Spokane defender Brendon Kichton battle for the puck in the first period.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

It was a brutal, bitter game; about what you’d expect for a rivalry game.  There was a lot of face-to-face confrontations throughout the game, like this one between rightwinger Jacob Doty and Spokane leftwinger Colin Valcourt…

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And also some shoves, like this altercation between center Colin Jacobs and Spokane defenseman Jared Cowen.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here’s a photo of rightwinger Marcel Noebels controlling the puck.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And actually that last photo ends the second period of play for us.  Either time flies when you’re having fun (you guys are having fun reading this, right)  or I just didn’t get many good shots during the first two periods…

Anyways onto the third.  Three minutes into the third period, Spokane snuck a goal past Calvin to tie the game.  Of course I got a photo of it, and unfortunately a nice-looking photo, too.  Why are my best always of the other team doing well?

Spokane center Tyler Johnson (left) slips a shot past Seattle defenseman Travis Bobbee (center-right) and goalie Calvin Pickard (center) in the third period.

Canon 7D, 75mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

This next photo is actually one of a string of fifteen or so photos of defenseman Dave Sutter trying to get the puck away from Spokane center Brady Brassert.  I might end up giving you that strain eventually, but here’s one of the better ones (although they’re all pretty good)…

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here’s a faceoff between Jacobs and Spokane center Kenton Miller.  It’s not a particularly important photo (I mean it is just a faceoff, those happen all the time), but I like how Miller’s face is framed by Jacobs’ arm.  Again, why are my coolest photos of Spokane?

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here’s a photo of defenseman Travis Bobbee and Spokane center Steven Kuhn scrambling for the puck while Pickard looks on.

Canon 7D, 110mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And here linseman David Tise has to step in between Noebels and Spokane rightwinger Blake Gal.  The refs were adamant to stop any fights from happening Friday night.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

In case you haven’t noticed, many players have grown mustaches for the month of November.  As well as it being no-shave-November (check out your local college campus if you don’t believe me) it’s also Mo-vember in the NHL where many players have grown their mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health problems like Prostate cancer.  Many WHLers decided to join in on the mustache-growing fun.  Here’s two of them…

Defenseman Erik Bonsor and Spokane defenseman Brenden Kichton battle for the puck during the third period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Now this next photo I’d normally not put in the blog: nothing important is happening and it’s not that great of a photo anyway.  I just thought like how Bobbee is surrounded by the flying ice particles.  And I guess you can see Pickard making another save in the background, but this photo is really about Travis…

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

With the score tied, the two teams went to overtime, five minutes of four-on-four action.  Nothing slipped past either goalie, though, and we went to a shootout.  Since I missed out on my chance at being in between the benches for the third period, I was relegated to finding a rinkside seat (what’s that? I’m lucky to have such great seats anyway? You have a point there…).  I ended up setting up just to the right of the goal Pickard was defending.  That, in theory, would give me a head-on view of the goal the T-Birds were shooting at.  It did, but I did not take into account that a certain referee would be blocking my view…

It’s a successful shootout attempt!  You can’t see the goalie or much of rightwinger Burke Gallimore but you can see the puck just off of the referee’s right hand…

Canon 7D, 185mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

I did, however, have a unique view of the Seattle goal.  Here Pickard blocks the attempt by Spokane center Tyler Johnson.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And of course the team rushed out to Pickard to celebrate with him.  Jacob Doty seems particularly excited.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And that’s it for this blog post.  I hope to get the thread from Saturday’s game up soon, but they do take awhile.   There is a day coming up Thursday where I don’t have to do much but help out in the kitchen.  Hopefully I can get it done by then, huh?

As always, leave your comments/criticisms/critiques/quandaries in the comments section below.

Til next time, go T-Birds!

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Calvin Pickard: The Energizer Bunny in Pads

Monday night, 10:44 pm:  I’m writing this blog post in the dark, seeing as the wind storm that’s rolling through the area finally won its battle with the local power lines and my house lost power.  Not much from my preferred working environment has changed though; sure it’s a tad dark, but I can still type this up on my laptop, listen to music on my ipod (right know it’s Human by the Killers, in case you’re wondering), and still text friends and family on my cell phone.  It’s nice to know that even though I depend on electricity for so much, I can live without it (in short doses, though;  I’m SOL when my batteries run out).  Batteries are the fail-safe of today’s society, and they really should be appreciated more; they help keep everything running when the power goes out, and they have saved untold hardship and lives just because they’re a great fail-safe.

By now you’re probably thinking “this is a photoblog about a hockey team, why are you writing about batteries, Kyle?”  If so I don’t blame you, but trust me I’m heading somewhere with this…

Batteries are a lot like a goalie in hockey.  More specifically, batteries are like a reliable goalie in hockey, one who can be depended to immediately and effectively defend the net if something gets behind the defense, much like how batteries are called upon once the electricity stops flowing.  Since batteries have a near 100% effectiveness, this goalie has to be nearly perfect, saving 93 percent of the shots that come at him.  Hmm, a dependable, reliable goalie that saves nearly every shot taken on him? Why, that sounds a lot like our own Calvin Pickard, doesn’t it?

Say hi to the readers, Calvin!

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

As you may have just now guessed, this post is dedicated to our fearless netminder, the man who never met a shot he really liked and never met a puck he couldn’t stop. He backs up the Thunderbirds defensive line and is probably the best goalie in the WHL right now.  In fact, for the next two days he’ll represent the WHL in the Subway Super Series, two games that pits a team of WHL stars against a team of Russian junior stars. Since the Thunderbirds have a few well-earned days off after their eastern road trip (in which they did quite well, taking 8 of a possible 12 points) and Pickard is playing in the series, it seems like a great time to have a post saluting our never-stopping netminder. Here are 15 photos of Pickard doing what he does best: backing up the T-Birds and looking good while doing it…

Pickard stops a shot from a diving Lethbridge left winger Jacob Berglund during a game Oct. 1 against the Hurricanes.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard goes down to stop Lethbridge center Cam Braes.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Picarkd attempts to block a shoot-out attempt by Tri-City right winger Jacob Holland on  Oct.  26.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard watches as defenseman Brenden Dillon steals the puck from Prince George center Nick Bounassisi Oct. 29.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard re-directs a shot towards teammate and T-Birds center Luke Lockhart.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard tracks the puck while center Colin Jacobs (left) and PG center Charles Inglis fight for it during the Oct. 29 game against the Cougars.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard prevents Red Deer left winger John Perrson from redirecting the puck into the Seattle goal Nov. 2.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard stretches out to make a save against Red Deer.

Canon 7D, 85mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Pickard makes yet another stop against Red Deer.

Canon 7D, 75mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

See the previous cutline.  Just know that he made 46 saves that night.

Canon 7D, 73mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Pickard makes another sprawling save against the Rebels on Nov. 2.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

Pickard passes the puck to defenseman Dave Sutter during the third period of the game against the Rebels.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Pickard, Sutter (left) and Red Deer right winger Daulton Siwak (top right_ all have a nice view of the puck before Pickard falls on it for another save).

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

And let’s end this post the best way I know how: with a picture of Calvin celebrating a win!

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Hopefully you enjoyed this look at Calvin Pickard, and be sure to tune in to the Subway Super Series against the top Russian junior players.

Til next time, go T-Birds (and WHL)!

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View From the Top

Hello again everyone!  The T-Birds have just two more games on their road trip, but won’t be back at the ShoWare Center until next Friday.  To celebrate the road trip so far (five points in four games), how about we take a talk about what it’s like to be up on the ShoWare catwalks?

In this post I’ll be trying something new: video!  My camera has video capabilities and I tested those out along with my video-editing know-how (or should I say no-how, as I have none?).  Since these are my first videos they’ll be short and have abrupt transitions.  I promise to keep working at making better ones, though.   Oh, and they’ll be out of focus at times.  My camera can’t auto-focus while in taking video.  Just warning ya…

So let’s get up to the catwalks, shall we?  Since the doors to the catwalks are on the roof, we have to get up there.  Let’s get past this sign, go up the staircase and hit the roof then!

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/80th, Manual

Thankfully it wasn’t raining Nov. 2 (the night of the Red Deer game and when I was on the catwalks), although it was kind of chilly.  Here’s a video of the walk on the roof to the center ice door.

Timeline note: at the end when we’re inside the arena, you see some actual game footage.  That video was taken before and during the second period and not before the game.  I did this because my video from before the first period was taken inside when I was figuring out where to stand.  In fact, let’s watch it now…

At the end there, I mentioned I was going to stay over the T-Birds goal in the north end for the first period.  Well I got over there in time for the players to be introduced on the ice.  Since there’s a spotlight that lights up the T-Birds players as they’re introduced, there was some nice lighting for a few pictures.  Being behind them and facing the spotlight, I got nice, long shadows off the players.  Since this isn’t even making sense in my head, much less in writing, I’ll just show you the picture.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/320th, Manual

There!  There’s my cool photo from the player introductions, it’s exactly as I described it.  😛

After the introductions came the national anthem(s).  Since Red Deer is from Canada, the Canadian anthem was sung as well as The Star-Spangled Banner.  Having shot many sporting events—and listening to the American anthem before every single one, too—I’m not quite used to sitting through two yet.  Oh well, at least O Canada is just as nice to listen too, especially Anne Jones’ (the singer that night) rendition of it…

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/160th, Manual

Now for the game to start!  I actually found myself moving around a lot.  I started out at center ice (although over the fans on the one hundred-tens side—the sections are all in the one-teens, or whatever the proper term for 110-119 is), moved to left of the Seattle goal (over the ice), then to just above the crease (still over the ice).  I got this photo of Pickard returning the puck to a referee from just to the left the Seattle goal…

Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

When over the goal, the bottom of the catwalk prevented me from seeing all but just the goal and one corner of ice.  If I just leaned to the other side of the walkway, though (as the catwalks are pretty much bridges over the ice: a walkway with pipes on either side to prevent you from falling down), I could see both neutral zones and both benches.  That viewpoint gave a cool photo of the T-Birds bench during a media timeout.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

When the puck was in play, I’d be switching between my goal vantage point and my neutral zone vantage point to get the most photos possible as I subscribe to the theory “the more I shoot, the more good photos I’ll have”.  Despite getting dizzy when the T-Birds kept clearing the puck, I did actually get some cool shots.  Here’s one of Pickard right after making one of his 46 saves.  You can see the puck on his glove, which is why I like this shot…

Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Unfortunately I couldn’t see the south goal where the T-Birds were shooting at thanks to the hanging scoreboard. Of course, the only fight I was on the catwalks for happened at the far end of the ice.  As you saw in the last post, I used the video screen to see the fight and to “shoot” it.  Here’s a shot of the screen, or a shot of a shot of the fight, as it were…

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

After the fight, Mitch Elliot was sent off the ice since his five minute penalty wouldn’t be over until the second period.  His teammates had to collect his stick, gloves, and helmet off the ice and take it over to the bench.  There, equipment manager Jason Berger laid them aside to give back to Elliot for the next period.

Canon 7D, 165mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Right before the game restarted, the officials chatted with players from both teams, again in my sights from above.

Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

For the second period, I continued my roving ways.  I started out over the Seattle bench so I could see more of the ice; from that vantage point I could see both goals.  I also had a very nice view of the Seattle bench, which I’ll show you now…

Canon 7D, 90mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

From there, I went back to above the north goal (this time defended by Red Deer) and hoped for some offense from the T-Birds.  Luckily I got it, but those photos were already posted in the last post.

That’s actually all the content I have for you today.  Sorry for the short post, but I didn’t shoot as much of the actual catwalks as I should have.  Next time I’m up there, I’ll try to remember to give you guys  more.  Sound like a deal?
As always, feel free to leave me a comment or two in the comments section below.

Til next time, go T-Birds!


Game 6: Thunderbirds Topple Rebels

Hello again everyone.   Sorry for the long delay in getting last Tuesday’s game thread up but not only have I been busy, I also have to make sure I have enough content to get through the two and a half week eastern swing the Thunderbirds are now on.

Last Tuesday’s game against the Red Deer Rebels was a fun one for everyone: the players seemed to really enjoy themselves in the win, the fans had plenty of goals to cheer for, and I got to shoot from what’s always a cool angle: the catwalks above the ice.  I’ll have a post dedicated to my experiences from above later on in the road trip, but I will say this: the catwalks above the ShoWare ice are cool places to watch a hockey game.

I decided to move around a lot during my time on the catwalks to make sure I had different types of images.  I started off at center ice (along the side though; there’s no ramp to the scoreboard directly over center ice) and got a nice looking photo right after the opening faceoff…

Center Luke Lockhart gets knocked down shortly after the opening faceoff by Red Deer leftwinger Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Center Luke Lockhart gets knocked down shortly after the opening faceoff by Red Deer left wing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

After a few minutes, I decided to move down over the Seattle goal (the goal in the north end of the stadium is the only one with a catwalk over it) since the Thunderbirds had played nearly exclusively defense up to that point.  I also wanted to get some cool overhead shots of a Pickard save or two (or 18 in the first period alone).  And get cool overhead shots of a save I did.  See them for yourself…

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a save in the first period.

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a save in the first period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a save in the first period.

Canon 7D, 73mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Next I’ll talk about the shortfalls of shooting above the goal: the scoreboard blocks the opposite third of the ice.   And, just as you can imagine, the only fight in the first period happened in the T-Birds attacking third of the ice, weaving in and out of my sightlines.  After “shooting” the fight from the jumbotron, the fighters, left wing  Mitch Elliot and Red Deer defenseman Colin Archer, came into my view.  I tried to get a frame that contained both the fighters and the jumbotron screen.  I’m not real happy with it since Elliot’s head is cut off on the jumbotron, but it’s still a cool enough photo…

Leftwinger Mitch Elliot (left) and Red Deer defenseman Colin Archer fight during the first period.

Left wing Mitch Elliot (left) and Red Deer defenseman Colin Archer fight during the first period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Both Elliot and Archer were given five minute major-fighting penalties and since there were less than five minutes left in the period, Elliot was sent off the ice (I assume Archer was too, but did not witness him leave).  Here’s a photo of him heading down the tunnel towards the locker rooms.

Elliot leaves the ice after receiving a five minute penalty for major fighting with just two minutes left in the first period.

Elliot leaves the ice after receiving a five minute penalty for major fighting with just two minutes left in the first period.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/200th, Manual

Meanwhile, while the penalty situation was being discussed among the officials, Pickard was just hanging out waiting for the game to restart…

Pickard waits for the game to restart after the fight between Elliot and Archer.

Pickard waits for the game to restart after the fight between Elliot and Archer.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Maybe to make up for the fight being out of my sight, there were a few hard checks right behind Seattle’s net and right in my view.  Luckily I got a few of them on film (well, digital, but close enough).  Here’s one…

Seattle leftwinger Chance Lund checks Red Deer center Byron Froese behind the Seattle goal in the first period.

Seattle left wing Chance Lund checks Red Deer center Byron Froese behind the Seattle goal in the first period.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

For the second period, the teams switched sides like normal.  Not being able to be over Pickard’s goal, though, didn’t mean I couldn’t get a good frame of him.  I got this from somewhere over the Thunderbirds’ bench…

Pickard makes a save in the opening minutes of the second period.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

Right wing Burke Gallimore broke the scoreless deadlock in the second period.  After receiving a pass from Marcel Noebels, Gallimore blew a slapshot past Red Deer goalie Bolton Pouliot.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

And after the goal, Gallimore skated over to the T-Birds bench to get a high-five from his teammates.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

Later on in the period, center Colin Jacobs found himself with the puck in front of the Rebel goal.  He put a nifty backhand on it…

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And Pouliot couldn’t stop it from getting over the red line and onto the net.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The players were celebrating with Jacobs right under me.  That gave me a cool frame of the celebration from an angle you don’t normally see.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

By this time, I was pretty happy with my foray onto the catwalks above the ice, but there was still something I was missing: a cool check right under me.  Thankfully center Travis Toomey gave me a string of check shots shortly before the end of the period and the end of my time up above.

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Center Travis Toomey knocks Red Deer defenseman Alex Petrovic to the ice late in the second period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

For the third period, I went back to my normal last period spot in between the benches.  My good photo luck must have followed me downstairs as I got a sweet shot of the faceoff to open the period…

Center Luke Lockhart and Red Deer’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins try to win the opening faceoff in the third period.

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Was a break in play shortly after the period began, and the players returned to their respective benches.  While the T-Birds were back on the bench strategizing, I was trying to get a shot of the coaches interacting with the players.  Unfortunately, though, I had too much lens and ended up with a close-up of assistant coach Turner Stevenson gesturing.  It turned out to be a nice shot, though, so I’ll share it with you all.

Assistant coach Turner Stevenson discusses tactics with the Thunderbirds players during a break in third period action.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Later in the period, Gallimore had a breakaway with just one Red Deer defender in front of him.  He earned some space and took a shot that made its way past Pouliot again for the third T-Birds goal of the night.  He went into the corner to celebrate not only with his teammates, but with the fans too…

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Red Deer tried their best to make a game of it again, but they could only get one past Pickard, and that was on a 4 v. 3 power play for the Rebels.  Pickard continued his brilliance with save after save, including this one.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

In the end, time ran out on any Red Deer comeback and the Thunderbirds earned their third home win and two points.  Time to celebrate, right Calvin?

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

And that’s it for this game thread.  Check back periodically during the Eastern swing for a new post.  If there’s anything you’d like to see or know in the next two weeks, feel free to ask in the comments section below.  I’d also love to hear what you thought about this post, so leave those comments there too!

I think I’ll end this post with something new I’ll try: a slideshow of all these photos used!  Enjoy seeing them again!

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Til next time, go T-Birds!


Game 5: T-Birds Beat Up, get Beat by Cougars

Hello again everyone.  Well, I’m sure we’ve all recovered from not only Halloween, but that rough, chipper game the Thunderbirds played Friday night.  In case you’ve forgotten all about it, I’m here to remind you and let you relive the game.  So brace yourself because this post will leave you black and blue…

The game started at 7:40 pm on Friday night.  Before the clock struck 7:41, we had our first fight of the night. Center Mitch Elliot and Prince George’s (PG) Brock Hirsche dropped the gloves and resorted to fisticuffs after just 40 seconds of game play.  The fight didn’t last long, however, as Hirsche apparently suffered a leg injury during the fight.  Here’s a picture of the two going at it…

Left wing Mitch Elliot lands an early punch on Prince George center Brock Hirsche just a half minute into the game.

Canon 7D, 190mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Don’t worry, though.  A hockey game broke out after the early fight.  Both teams had their chances in the first period, but both goalies had great games and kept it scoreless for two plus periods.  Here are a couple shots of the T-Birds’ chances in the first…

Prince George goalie Ty Rimmer collects a Seattle shot.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Left wing Chance Lund takes a shot on PG’s Rimmer.  The shot went high

Canon 7D, 110mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

It wasn’t just the T-Birds controlling the puck, however.  Here defenseman Brenden Dillon tries to win the puck back behind his own net.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

This was the first game this season (that I noticed at least) that had a lot of pucks leave the ice and go high in the air.  Seeing that, I really hoped to get a shot of someone knocking the puck down.  One of those shots came to me (yay!) when Burke Gallimore tried to knock the puck down midway through the first period.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Alright, back to the hits and fights.  Here defenseman Scott Ramsay gets pushed by a Cougar player.  Ramsay, however, did well not to retaliate and drew a penalty, giving the T-Birds a two minute power play.

Defenseman Scott Ramsay is pushed by PG left wing Wilson Dumais.  Dumais was given a 2:00 roughing penalty for this shove.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

There were many times where the refs had to intervene and separate players from both teams.  Here linesman Adam Brastad is forced to separate center Travis Toomey and PG defenseman Sena Acolatse.

Center Travis Toomey (top middle) gets a few extra punches on PG defenseman Sena Acolatse (middle left) during a scrum in the third period.

Canon 7D, 190mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And it happened again later in the third period (note: the players are different, and I can’t identify the official that is pictured)…

An official steps in between Lund and PG defenseman Jesse Forsberg.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The scrappiness continued into the second period.  Here, center Luke Lockhart is pushed off-balance by Hirsche.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And here’s Lockhart controlling the puck.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here, Mitch Elliot fires a shot in front of the PG goal, hoping for a re-direct into the net.

Canon 7D, 73mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Now onto the third period which brought on another fight, this one between rightwinger Jacob Doty and PG center Greg Fraser.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Doty gains the upper hand- literally -on  PG’s Fraser.

Canon 7D, 185mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

It seemed that all night I had players randomly skating in front of me and into the foreground of my shots.  Most of the time the completely block me from the play, but sometimes they help create a nice looking shot.  This next picture is one of the latter.

PG left wingeTaylor Stefishen (middle right) waits for a pass in front of the Seattle goal while Dave Sutter jostles for position with him.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

When I first saw this next photo I dismissed it because it was too cluttered: there were players all around the goal and I didn’t see any obvious crop that wouldn’t cut someone in half.  After looking a little more (and zooming in) I decided to try a tight crop on Pickard.  What turned out looks pretty good, although it makes me wish for an even better camera to help reduce some of the noise and improve the picture quality (zooming in and close-cropping takes away the quality and clarity of a photo).  Here it is…

Pickard makes a glove save in the third period.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

In my photo career, I’ve shot a lot of gymnastics and have seen some athletes bend their bodies in incredible forms and still stay on their feet.  According to this next photo, center Charles Wells has that same control over his body gymnasts do.  Check out how far down he goes and still stays on his skates…

Center Charles Wells (right) manages to stay on his skates to knock the puck away from PG’s Bounassisi.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here, defenseman Travis Bobbee races for the puck with PG center Charles Inglis.

Defenseman Travis Bobbee (right) and PG center Charles Inglis go after the puck.

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Both teams had quality chances in the third period, as well.  Again, the goalies did well to keep the puck in front of the red line (although PG did eventually get two in at the end of the game).  Here’s a shot of PG goalie Ty Rimmer saving a Burke Gallimore shot on goal…

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And here’s Pickard making one.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And we’ll end with a shot of Lockhart and PG rightwinger Brett Connolly fighting for the puck late in the third quarter…

Canon 7D, 165mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

That’s it for this post.   Please leave any comments or questions or anything else in the comments section.  Let me know how I’m doing and if there’s anything you’d like to know or see differently, just let me know!

Til next time, go T-Birds!