10th week – 18.11.2019 – 24.11.2019
THE TEAM “ON FIRE”
When Fribourg Gottéron announced Christian Dubé to be the head coach for the rest of the season last month, with Pavel Rosa as assistant coach and Sean Simpson as coach consulting, many people mocked the club for its choice. A choice that, however, after one month and in view of the facts, turned out to be the right one.
After the catastrophic start of the season that costed Mark French the job, one might have thought that Gottéron had already wasted a second consecutive season. And instead, it wasn’t the case. Look at this last week, during which the Dragons firstly earned a 4-3 overtime road win against Genève Servette and then gifted their fans with a magic hockey night thanks to the 5-1 home win earned against derby in the Zähringer derby!
What can we say? Fribourg are literally reborn and won 7 of their last 8 games. In between, they underperformed last week in Rapperswil, suffering a painful 9-4 road defeat. A defeat that, however, turned out to be the exception that proves the rule.
Right, because the troops now coached by Christian Dubé are rock-solid. If we exclude the 9 goals conceded in Rapperswil in fact, they conceded 1.55 goals on average in the last 9 games, which would be tantamount the best defensive record of the National League. This, thanks to the very good performances delivered by Reto Berra but almost, if not above all, thanks to a very good organization and to the impressive commitment of the players.
Let us not forget, moreover, that lately the Dragons have been able to score more goals. And, last but, not least, they’ve been able to score the important goals at the key moments of the games.
We think it’s unfair, and ungenerous, to talk about individual performances now. The truth is that everyone is working hard and is contributing to the team’s success. We mean, those guys are on fire! The recent results were a huge confidence booster for the whole club, and as we all know “self-confidence” is the key to success, even more so in such a balance league like the Swiss one.
Self-confidence allows you to bounce back immediately after a painful defeat, like the one suffered in Rapperswil. It allows you to win in Genève after that your opponents outplayed you during the central period. It allows you to approach the game versus Bern – a very delicate game considering the bad moment for the Bears – head-on with every intention to prove your strength.
It allows you, finally, to look with optimism to the continuation of the 2019-20 season!
Right, because now Fribourg Gottéron can look to the future with optimism. Complicated times will come, of course… just like they come, came and will come, for all the other teams of the league. But the truth is that the Dragons are now laying the foundation for a good season and are making their fans proud.
Then again, it’s very important now to stay grounded. Even more so considering the – with all due respect 🙂 – “schizophrenic” environment that usually surrounds the club on the shores of the Sarine, where the mood swings are a constant.
At this moment, however, we can really say that this is a very nice Fribourg Gottéron. A Fribourg Gottéron who can strive for a very good season.
Congrats, Dragons, you are on fire!
THE THREE STARS OF THE WEEK
Eric Fehr (Genève Servette HC)
Eric Fehr joined Genève Servette to bring his experience – over 700 NHL appearances – and to help the team become solid. In this regard, he gets better at every game and vaguely resembles a certain Lennard Petrell, who left the fans a great memory for what he did back in 2013-14.
The fact is, however, that Eric Fehr is turning out to be also a player capable of scoring points. And in fact, he’s already been able to score very important goals.
This last week he tallied 5 points in 3 games and so has now a total of 17 points after 24 appearances with the Eagles. These are some excellent figures for this 34 years old Canadian forwards who is turning out to be one of the most precious players of the league.
Moreover, we’re even pretty sure that he will increase furthermore his level of play as the season goes on, and that during the post-season he can become devastating. Perhaps players like Eric Fehr are not that spectacular, but they’re crucial for a team who wants to succeed.
Luca Hollenstein (EV Zug)
Luca Hollenstein is among our three stars of the week for the second consecutive time. Even though, frankly speaking, the whole defense of the Bulls would deserve the “star”. That because this week – firstly against the ZSC Lions and then in Langnau – finally proved to be rock-solid.
In our opinion, however, the truth is that Luca Hollenstein is delivering top notch performances. This last week he had a 95.5% saving percentage what is impressive for this, 19 years old guy, who has the thankless task of being Leonardo Genoni’s back up.
It’s his first NL season and he already proved to be worth the top tier of Swiss hockey. He’s fast, he’s precise, he is calm and can transmit his calmness to the whole team. We mean, he’s doing outstanding things for a guy his age!
Perttu Lindgren (HC Davos)
Perttu Lindgren is likely to be the most decisive player of the league. It’s true that he’s currently the Top Scorer of Davos… but his contribution goes well beyond the points scored. In fact, he’s one of the few players around who can seriously improve the level of play of whoever is lined up with him.
We all knew all that. His qualities are undisputed, after all. However, after the last difficult couple of seasons – see injuries and more… – it could be not so obvious to see him back at the top of his game for this 2019-20 season.
And instead, here he is, back to shine in this team coached by Christian Wohlwend that is having a fantastic season and that is highlighting the immense talent of the imports, of wily old fox like Marc Wieser and Andres Ambühl and of young gems like Benjamin Baumgartner.
Perhaps lately Davos haven’t been consistent over the arc of the 60 minutes in terms of performances. However, they almost always find a way to win the games. We mean, the Ibexes have the right mindset. All this, because they can also count on an expert, top class player like Perttu in the dressing room. Welcome back!
THE SPECIAL MENTIONS FOR…
The right man in the right place… Dario Meyer (EV Zug)
Dario Meyer had a “troubled” start of the season. He played for Davos, and on loan with the Ticino Rockets in the Swiss League. Then, he was loaned out by Davos also the Zug and…
And guys, we have the impression that Dario Meyer fits very well in Dan Tangnes’ system of play. He’d already delivered a very good performance on Friday night against the ZSC Lions. On Saturday night in Langnau then, he even scored his first goal of the season. It was the game winning goal by the way. We mean, the right man in the right place!
What more could you want… Sandro Schmid (HC Fribourg Gottéron)
Sandro Schmid is a young talent who played in the Gottéron’s youth organization before moving to Sweden for the last three seasons, where he played for the U18 and U20 of the Malmö Redhawks. He came back to Switzerland this summer though, and then…
And then, the 19 years old forward collected is 20th National League appearance in the derby against Bern and scored his first ever National League goal! A goal that even turned out to be the game winning goal. We mean, first NL career goal, game winning goal and scored against the bitter rivals of Bern. What more could you wish for?
Pure charisma… Scottie Upshall (HC Ambrì-Piotta)
Scottie Upshall immediately turned out to be a precious addition for Ambrì-Piotta. His experience comes in handy for Luca Cereda’s troops and his qualities are undisputed.
Moreover, Scottie brought in a lot of emotions during the derby of Saturday night and we’re pretty sure that the fans appreciated that. In fact, Scottie Upshall found himself at home at the Valascia with such a great environment… in fact, it looked like he had fun. He’s pure charisma!
Lugano won only one game out of three this week, and overall, they lost 7 of their last 8 games played. These are some merciless figures. In our opinion, however, the figures are only part of the problem.
The worst thing is that, watching from the outside, it looks like the Bianconeri are playing an emotionless hockey.
Mind you, the guys coached by Sami Kapanen has already proven capable of playing a very enjoyable, fast, dynamic and even modern hockey. And they can still get back to play that way. Yet, it’s obvious that something is wrong right now.
At times you could keep things simple. With all due respect, and from the outside, our idea is that when you’re going through a rough patch you should try to be more flexible, put the system of play partially aside, to keep things simple and “only” try to earn points in order to build up self-confidence.
Then again, it’s always easy to judge from the outside. The truth is, that when things go wrong, you’re dragged into a vortex of negative emotions that, without any particular reason, makes you underperform. Everything you do, just turns out to be the wrong thing, and you’re sort of absent-minded.
If to all this we add the fact that Lugano never won a game this season when they had a bad night… also because the single players struggle to make the difference, here is that everything just goes south, at this moment.
It’s not time to panic yet, though. There is still – relatively – a long way to go until the end of the regular season. We mean, there is still time to bounce back and get back to earn long rounds of applauses. Just like it was the case until one month ago.
Up and at them, Bianconeri!