Big finish to first half of season coming up for Birds and Michael Salmon

Dec 9, 2010, 8:15 PM | Updated: Apr 6, 2011, 11:23 am

How time flies. There are just five games left in the first half of the WHL season for the Thunderbirds. Yes, I know there are actually eight games until the nominal halfway mark but for all intents and purposes the Holiday break is the mid-season marker. For the Birds it will be a tough ending as they have to play three of the best teams in the league in those final five games. They will play a home and home with Tri-City, a home and home with Spokane (both teams are hot) and a home game against the Winterhawks.

Michael Salmon will be starting at least the first four games and possibly all five. Salmon has only played in a game and half thus far but in those limited minutes he’s been very good. He works hard to stay focused and he certainly has the respect of his teammates and the coaching staff.

I sat down and spoke to Salmon as well as Defenseman Travis Bobbee, who has been playing extremely well as of late, racking up some points and improving his plus minus numbers.

Michael Salmon

On being prepared for his upcoming role as the starting goalie

Well basically I just prepare as though Calvin is here. I will just try to take things one step at a time just like any other game. I won’t do anything to psyche myself out.

On having to play several games in a short period of time

It’s going to be different, but it’s why I play hockey. I love playing hockey. It’s why I’m here, if I didn’t love it I wouldn’t be here. I’m looking forward to it.

On staying prepared all season

I try to keep positive, workout hard in the gym. I try to stay later every day to do a little bit extra work. I try to keep a healthy mental attitude towards it.

On the coaching staff always talking about him being prepared

It makes me happy that they feel that way. Having a team that believes in you is a real confidence boost on the ice. I know they will play well behind me.

On having to play against some real high powered offensive teams

I should be prepared. Busy games like that aren’t always the worst. Sometimes games where you only get a few shots can be worse. It’s going to be a good challenge and I’m looking forward to it.

On the possibility of playing more games if Calvin makes his team

I think Calvin has a great shot at making it. I hope he makes it for himself and for me a bit too cause what happens with him affects me as well. Calvin is a good friend of mine so I wish him the best. If he makes it I will just take those games one at a time as well.

On working with Calvin during the season

Once in a while we will talk about specifics. We are different kinds of goalies. We work on basic saves, controlling rebounds.Our goalie coach Paul Fricker does a really good job on working on each of us and our own specific needs.

On working with goaltending coach Paul Fricker

I can only say good things about Paul. I love working with him. We get to go out before practice to work with him. He breaks it down real simple. I worked with him during the summer. The game is played with a different mentality when you are with him.

Travis Bobbee

On developing some chemistry with Erik Bonsor

It’s definitely starting to kick in. We are starting to read where each other is better. We are also starting to play better defensively. The last couple of games have been really good.

On increasing his offensive numbers as of late

If I get the puck at the point I just try to get it to the net. Sometimes I just make passes out of the zone that lead to goals. In practice I try to work on my shot.

On the key to keeping the shots against down

You really just try to keep them to the outside. Stick on stick so you can get pucks up into netting.Trying to get them (teams) to cycle rather than put shots on net. Mainly stick on stick is the key.

On possibly depending on Calvin too much

We kinda depend on him. We need to get the shots against down. It might be good for his numbers but it can be dangerous. We have to block shots more.

On the no quit attitude we have seen with the team

I think we are starting to get to the point where we don’t let things bother us. We never stop going, just keep our heads up and keep going. When you do that the game can tighten up pretty quick.

On the need for the team to get better starts

We just need to stick to our game plan. We have been getting away from that in the early going. If we come out early sticking to the game plan, getting shots on net it will lead to better starts.

On his strengths as a Defenseman

I like my passing, the ability to read the play. My shots as well. I think my skating has gotten better over the years so that’s probably one of my better attributes.

On winning battles being one of the smaller guys

I just try and outwork the guy in the corner. I use my stick a lot more, try to get the puck out of the corner. I play the body a bit but not too much cause it can take you out of the play. Using my stick is a key.

On taking a leadership role as a 20 year old

I’m not one of the louder guys in the room. I like to be there one on one if guys are having a rough time or a rough game.

On going from a small town with Swift Current to Seattle

It’s different cause I was so close to the rink there. Here the traffic is a lot worse so it takes longer. There are also malls here and theaters so there is more to do, it’s definitely different.


In other news, The Thunderbirds have become the first team in North America to allow people to buy tickets through the teams facebook page. VP Colin Campbell talks about it on the Birds website.


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