GENÈVE SERVETTE HC – Analysis of the 2018-19 season
When it comes to analyze Genève Servette’s 2018-19 season, first of all we must make an essential introductory remark. That is, the Eagles played at their full strength only the first 10 minutes of the first game of the season in Bienne back on September 21st… it was the time that took Tommy Wingels to get injured. Thereafter, during the third game of the season in Lausanne, also the other new import player Lance Bouma got injured and his season was over after only two games and one period of play.
Next up, in turn, almost all the players got injured. There were those whose injury was a bad one and those whose injury was only a slight one. But the truth is that, at the end of the Regular Season, only Eliot Berthon collected 50 appearances!
They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… and perhaps all these countless injuries made Chris McSorley’s group stronger. They had their ups and downs of course, but they never gave up until the end. Actually, right at the end – during playoffs – they found a way to make their fans so proud thanks to some commendable and even touching performances!
Genève Servette had an unlucky season. A season that we’d like to name an… “injured” one.
A season that, however, overall and considering the circumstances, we consider to be a positive one. It was the season of Chris McSorley’s great comeback… one of the Swiss hockey legends who never ceases to amaze. “His” Eagles looked on the brink of falling the cliff and up against the wall countless times this season… yet, even when they seemed “plucked”, they always found the way to bounce back and resurrect, even when most people had written them off.
To sum up, Genève Servette fantastically earned the playoffs at the last gasp and then sold their lives dearly against the big favorite Bern. We mean, it’s been an “injured” season but also a season made of pride,passion… fierté!
THE REGULAR SEASON
It all started with a 3-0 away defeat suffered in Bienne and it all ended with en epic 3-2 home win earned against the ZSC Lions that earned Genève Servette the playoffs. In between, many ups and downs… and overall, approximately half of the season spent below the line. Initially the Eagles were flawless at home (7 consecutive wins at les Vernets) and catastrophic away from home (8 consecutive losses away). Then, they had some positive periods and some negative ones… and finally, they earned 4 wins in their last 5 games of the Regular Season that allowed them to make it to the post-season.
SC Bern – Genève Servette HC 4-2
The quarterfinal Bern vs Genève Servette was so darn exciting… 6 real epic battles. 2 times an overtime period was required to establish the winner… 1 time, two overtimes periods were required… and 1 time, even three overtimes periods were required… we mean, the series wasn’t suitable for the faint of heart. Bern prevailed in the end, but the Eagles sold their “feathers” dearly!
Let’s see few things that in our opinion worked well and few things that didn’t work at all.
Genève Servette never gave up… They went down… they got back up… they went down again… they bounced back again… both during the Regular Season and the playoffs. The character was always a trade mark of Chris McSorley’s Genève Servette and this season was no exception. The Eagles, even though they’ve finished the Regular Season 8th placed and their season came to an end at the quarterfinals stage, found the way to make their fans proud!
The Eagles have been having some ups and downs throughout the Regular Season when it comes to power-play efficiency. Overall, however, they’ve been very effective. They had a 20.0% power-play efficiency during the Regular Season (3rd in the league) and a 26.3% power-play efficiency during the playoffs (2nd in the league at the end of the quarterfinals). We mean, Chris McSorley’s troops were able to make the difference during power-play opportunities.
Face-offs are potentially a pivotal play in ice hockey, especially at the key moments of the games. Well, in this regard, Genève Servette have been the second best team of the National League (53.5%) behind Fribourg Gottéron. Among the players who took face-offs regularly, only Eliot Berthon had an efficiency lower than 50.0%. Of all, Tanner Richard had an impressive 60.6% during the Regular Season!
The last part of the season
Genève Servette won 4 of their last 5 games of the Regular Season and therefore found a way to make it to the playoffs at the last gasp when they looked doomed. During the post-season then, the Eagles went beyond their limits and almost shocked Bern. We mean, Chris McSorley’s troops last part of the season was terrific!
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Genève Servette had the worst defensive record among the 8 teams that made the playoffs. In fact, only the playout finalists Davos and Rapperswil conceded more goals than the Eagles. We mean, overall throughout the Regular Season, Chris McSorley’s troops haven’t been very effective in the defensive zone. This, by extension, had an impact also on the team as penalty killer. (79.8%, third worst penalty killing of the league).
It took 9 away games to Genève Servette to win their first game on the road. During the second part of the season then, things improved and also during the playoffs the Eagles were good enough to win two games out of three at the PostFinance Arena. All those points that had been wasted away from home earlier this season, however, could cost a lot.
Lack of winning runs
Genève Servette never lost more than 4 consecutive games this season. At the same time, however, they never won more than 4 consecutive games either! We mean, a long winning run was missing. A winning run that could have helped the Eagles to climb the table and maybe also to avoid living such a problematic final part of the Regular Season. Let us not forget, moreover, that a long winning run always helps you to enter a positive vortex and instils a lot of self-confidence.
One wonders what the hell happened in Genève this season. Again. The countless injuries prevented the team from squaring the circle and, in fact, had a huge impact on the Eagles’ performances. Be it bad luck… be it, maybe, a problem linked to the physical condition… the truth is, that injuries were like a plague in Genève this season!
THE 3 STARS OF THE SEASON
At the end of last season, probably few among you were wondering why, during the summer of 2017, half of European teams wanted to sign Henrik Tömmernes. Last season in fact, it’s safe to say that Henrik’s performances were not top notch. This season, however, all of us had the answer why back in the summer of 2017 half of the European clubs wanted to sign this defenseman! Henrik had a terrific 2018-19 season, certainly he was the best defenseman of the league!
Tanner Richard is the real deal… Quality, class, quantity, energy, determination, commitment, ability to win almost every face-off… we mean, Tanner has it all and is a very dominant player. He even tallied 36 points in 49 Regular Season games and 7 points in 6 playoffs games, thereby he finished the season as the team’s Top Scorer. What a hell of a season!
During the Regular Season he went through some ups and downs… as usual. At a certain point, it looked like Gauthier Descloux was about to become the number one goalie. During the last part of the season though, that is at the key moment, Chris McSorley had a lot of faith on him and the coach was right! Robert Mayer played some great games during the last part of the Regular Season and some terrific playoffs!
Unfortunately Floran Douay got injured (nooo, that’s impossible!!) back in mid-December and his season ended there. Until then, however, Floran was doing great. He had tallied 18 points in 28 games but, most and above all, he had that long-waited qualitative leap. We just can’t wait to see him back next season.
THE SPECIAL MENTION
Chris McSorley (Coach)
Oftentimes, reheated soup gives you a terrible digestion… Chris came back to coach “his” Genève after a season of “break” and many of you wondered whether he could be the right man in the right place again. Well, in our opinion, yes. He’s the right man for the job, the right man in the right place! He’s always able to make his players give their best, he’s always sharp as a tack, he’s always able to find some good import players (see Tommy Wingels and Daniel Winnik this season)… we mean, he’s always Chris McSorley!
THE SEASON IN NUMBERS – THE STATS
GOALS FOR & GOALS AGAINST
Both during the Regular Season and the playoffs, Genève Servette scored slightly less than their opponents. However, it’s interesting to see the chart of the development of goals scored and conceded over the arc ove the 60 minutes during the Regular Season… as we said, the Eagles have been tormended by injuries, therefore their physical condition was basically never optimal. This, in our opinion, is well reflected by the fact that they conceded a lot of goals during third periods.
SHOTS & SHOTS AGAINST
Overall, Genève Servette shot more than their opponents… also in this case, however, it’s interesting to look at the chart of the shots per period of play. We mean, we think when it comes to shots it applies the same thing we just wrote few lines above about injuries and tiredness.
SCORING & SAVING PERCENTAGE
Genève Servette had a decent scoring percentage during the Regular Season while during playoffs they had to deal with a certain Leonardo Genoni and the percentage decreased. Quite the contrary to the saving percentage, that was only decent during the Regular Season and outstanding during the post season!
POWER-PLAY & PENALTY-KILLING
As we’ve written already in detail, Genève Servette were effective during power-play situation both during the Regular Season and the playoffs. When shorthanded instead… the Eagles weren’t good penalty killers during the Regular Season but drastically improved during playoffs!
Overall, Genève Servette had a decent puck possession percentage during the Regular Season and this is great. Then of course, during the playoffs against Bern, the puck possession’s percentage decreased…
It’s always easy to quarterback after the fact… “ifs” and “buts” are meaningless and a waste of time. However, we wonder what Genève Servette could have done this season even with only few injuries less.
We think it’s quite safe to say that, with a bit more of “luck” in this regard, the Eagles could have reached the semifinals. They’re a playoffs team, after all. Always were, always will be with Chris McSorley.
Having said that, it’s clear that if we look at the raw numbers – 8th place at the end of the Regular Season and defeat 4-2 overall at the quarterfinals stage – the season is to be considered negative. But, if you look at the whole picture, we feel like saying that Chris McSorley’s troops season was a positive one!
Genève Servette have a good base of players for the future. They proved to have an above average character and proved able to fight against adversity.
We just can’t wait for the next season to start… we’re pretty sure that you feel exactly the same, guys.
Enjoy your holiday, Genève Servette!