Chilliwack Chiefs bench boss Jason Tatarnic isn’t pushing the panic button over his team’s one-win-in-six-games start, but that doesn’t mean he is happy with what he’s seen.
Tatarnic provided an uncharacteristically blunt assessment after Saturday night’s 6-3 home loss to Penticton.
When asked what went wrong during a 4:32 stretch of the second period when the Vees scored four times, the coach had this to say.
“We stopped competing.”
When Tatarnic says competing, he’s talking about battling for pucks, skating back to the right coverage areas and other ‘effort’ plays.
He attributed some of the errors to inexperience, but then carried on with another thought.
“We can carry 23 players this year and if you want to be in the lineup you have to be doing your job,” he said. “If I’m a forward, I’m looking at Anthony Vincent, who is a very good player and a key part of our team last year.
“You know he brings it every night and you know he’ll be in the lineup when he’s healthy.
“Same thing for Jared Turcotte who is a 20 year old who brings it and will be in the lineup when he’s ready.
“If two guys are coming into our lineup soon, that means two guys going out.”
Tatarnic is putting his players on notice that competition for their spots is coming, and his defenceman are not safe from this either.
“Powell (Connor) is a bright spot right now who is playing really well, but there’s some guys back there who’ve got to figure some things out quicker than they realize,” Coach T noted.
All that said, he doesn’t think his crew is too far off and he takes solace in how close most of their games have been.
A 5-5 tie in Prince George could have gone either way, as could home ice losses to Langley (2-1) and Nanaimo (3-2).
“If we were in games and we weren’t competing at all, then there would be concerns,” he said. “We’re putting ourselves in situations where we can win those games and now we’ve just got to figure out how.”