Generals' unexpected woes puzzling

DAVE POLLARD, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:25 PM ET

Everyone expected the rebuilding Kingston Frontenacs to be bad this season.

The same could be said, to a certain extent, of the Erie Otters.

But the Oshawa Generals below .500 nearly halfway through the OHL season? Nobody would have predicted that.

After a weekend that saw them go 0-2-1-0 with regulation losses to the Guelph Storm and Windsor Spitfires, that's exactly where the Generals (10-13-1-3) find themselves. And it's starting to get a little ugly in Oshawa, where the fan base is going squirrelly over a team that boasts more talent -- among the forwards anyway -- that most of the teams in the conference.

The Gens have already made a coaching change, often the first response of ownership when a team gets off to a slower start than expected, so that boat has sailed. Chris DePiero turned the bench over to Gary Agnew, a two-time OHL coach of the year, but hung on to his gig as general manager.

Now it's up Agnew to find a way to get through to his core players -- Vancouver first-rounder Nicklas Jensen, 54-goal scorer and New York Rangers prospect Christian Thomas, 2011 second-rounders Lucas Lessio and Boone Jenner and gritty winger Andy Andreoff -- or this team could implode.

Something's a little funky with this group and you need look no further than the standings for proof.

"We're not figuring it out right now." Thomas said. "We think we're good already and we're going to come to games and just win them without having to put some work into it. Our new coach is trying to let us know hard work beats skill. We're getting a little bit better but we just have to work harder than the other team and our skill will show."

In the two weeks since Agnew was hired, the Generals have gone 2-4-1-0. They've lost twice to Kingston (once in OT), last in the conference, but have also beaten Peterborough and Ottawa, two teams they're looking up at in the East Division.

Sheesh, talk about a split personality.

"I think we've seen the good, the bad and the ugly," Agnew admitted. "We've seen some great periods, we've seen some awful periods and there's definitely a level of consistency that's not happening for this hockey club right now. That's our job as coaches, to make sure we get them to a level where we need to be more consistent, where we do the right things all the time. Right now we'll see it then we won't. So there's an inconsistency in how we play."

If the Gens don't get this thing pointed in the right direction soon, you can bet players will be shipped out. That's the way it works in junior hockey. If you're not a buyer at the trade deadline, you'd better be a seller.

The season started with championship aspirations in Oshawa. It could end in bitter disappointment instead.

EX-OHLER ON MEND

Former OHL defenceman/tough guy Trevor Koverko, who played for Owen Sound, Oshawa and London before briefly moving on to the Canadian university ranks, is recovering after being badly hurt in a car crash.

Koverko was airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital after colliding with a transport truck on Highway 401 near Milton Friday. His condition has reportedly been upgraded from critical to stable.

In 183 OHL games over parts of four seasons starting in 2004-05, Koverko had one goal and 34 assists. He was a fifth-round draft pick of the New York Rangers in 2005 but played just two games as a pro.

The 24-year-old from Toronto is a student at the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business and the founder of eProf.com, an online teaching tool that appears destined for success.

PEARSON TAKES AWARD

If Barrie Colts forward Tanner Pearson doesn't earn an invitation to the Canadian junior team camp next month, an inquest should be called.

Pearson, the OHL's player of the week, had a six-point (three goals, three assists) game against the Ottawa 67's Friday and followed it up with three helpers in a win over Kingston Sunday, upping his league-leading point total to 51 in just 22 games. The 18-year-old, a former 14th-round pick, had 42 points all last season.

Sure, Pearson still hasn't convinced everyone he's for real -- he's only 22nd in the OHL in the preliminary rankings by NHL Central Scouting -- but Hockey Canada would be remiss if it doesn't at least take a look at the kid next month.

AROUND THE O

Niagara IceDogs forward Ryan Strome had his point streak end at 13 games Thursday against Mississauga. The next night he had two goals in a win over Kingston ... Soo Greyhounds winger Chad Thibodeau has asked to be traded. The 18-year-old, in his second OHL season, is rumoured to be bound for Kitchener but Rangers coach/GM Steve Spott has denied that any deal is imminent ... Guelph Storm defenceman Matt Finn's stock is rising for the NHL draft. The Toronto native has already developed into the Storm's top two-way D-man. The last time they had a 17-year-old D-man make this much of an impact was Drew Doughty, and we know how that turned out. Finn isn't the same type of player as Doughty but he's been almost as effective this season ... Owen Sound Attack forward Artur Gavrus was released from hospital Sunday, a day after being hit by London Knights rookie Maxi Domi. Gavrus lost consciousness after the hit, which appeared clean, and was taken from the ice on a stretcher. The Attack have not commented on the nature of the injury to the 17-year-old Belarussian but it's unlikely he will play this weekend ... Kyle Raftis, who played for Oshawa, Kingston and Peterborough from 2002-07, replaces Joe Birch as the league's Director of Recruitment, Education Services and Player Development. Birch left the post to become a player agent.


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