October 13, 2015 By Paul Gackle

Sommer Speaks Bluntly About Barracuda’s Home Opener

SAN JOSE — Roy Sommer disliked the Barracuda’s performance on Friday as he watched them lose to the Rockford IceHogs 4-2 from the team bench at the SAP Center.

His feelings changed after he re-watched the team’s home opener later in the weekend.

“After watching the game on tape, it was even worse than what I’d thought,” the Barracuda’s head coach said after practice on Monday. “To a man, we didn’t have one guy who played up to his standards.”

With the Barracuda’s next game slated for Thursday in Stockton, the team will be busy in practice this week working on the laundry list of problems that Sommer identified in his video review.

At the top of the Barracuda’s to-do list is being more responsible with the puck, stopping in the attack zone rather than swinging around the net and cleaning up the breakout.

“There’s a lot of things to correct,” Sommer said. “We looked like a bunch of peewees out there — but not Triple-A peewees, house league peewees.”

While Sommer’s analysis of the team’s opening game is harsh, he also provided reason for optimism.

“Everything’s fixable,” he said. “I could go on and on. I’m not going to totally bash these guys. But it wasn’t what I wanted to see for opening night — that’s for sure. But it is what it is, and it gave us a lot of things to work on this week.”

Among the challenges that plagued the Barracuda in the season opener was the team’s lack familiarity with one another. Eight of the 20 players on the roster didn’t play a single game with the Worcester Sharks squad that qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs last season.

In addition, Nikolay Goldobin suited up for just nine contests with team and Mirco Mueller took the ice for only three games. Patrick McNally and Nikita Jevpalovs both made their professional hockey debuts on Friday.

“You want your team to play the same way that we did last year, but we don’t have the same personnel,” Sommer said.

The Barracuda are also carrying six left-handed defensemen, some of whom aren’t used to playing on their off side, which requires some adjustment.

The team was also missing two of the top players on its current roster: Melker Karlsson and Petter Emanuelsson.

Emmanuelsson skated with the team on Monday and is expected to suit up for Thursday’s bout with the Stockton Heat. Karlsson is still day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Sommer said Emanuelsson “looked good” in his first practice since he suffered an upper-body injury in the Barracuda’s preseason game at Sharks Ice on Oct. 1

“His wind’s a little off, but he hasn’t skated for a week, which is to be expected,” Sommer said. “Today was kind of a hard practice, a lot of up and down the ice going 200 feet, so it was good.”

Leadership Group Still Taking Form: Sommer isn’t rushing to name a second alternate captain.

After giving Bryan Lerg the ‘C’ and John McCarthy an ‘A’ last week, the Barracuda’s coach is going to let things play out a little more before he rounds out the team’s leadership hierarchy.

“[I] just want to see how guys work,” Sommer said. “It’ll all come out. We’re in no hurry.”

Team Getaway: After Friday’s disappointing opener, the Barracuda received an opportunity to get away from things for a day over the weekend, taking a camping trip to Bodega Bay.”

They played volleyball, had a campfire and received a chance to get to know one another away from the rink.

In addition to bonding, Sommer said the trip provided him with an opportunity to observe his players off the ice.

“You watch who does certain things — who helps, who doesn’t,” he said. “As a coach, you just kind of more observe who does what.”

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