Monday, November 1, 2010

Things that make me go hmm....

  • It is usually the kiss of death at the pro level, but a vote of confidence given by Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton towards head coach Ryan Huska was good to hear. The coach is not the problem with what currently ails the hockey club and Hamilton is wise enough to know that. Hamilton is a man of his word. Player changes will happen if things don't improve, but one of the bright minds in junior hockey isn't going anywhere.
  • I didn't have a chance to mention the conversation I had with Brandon Wheat King GM Kelly McCrimmon last week. I spent a couple of minutes casually talking to a coach I admire and respect from afar. McCrimmon is really the only Eastern Conference coach I have any type of relationship with. It may have to do with how long we have both been in the league and the changes in coaching staff elsewhere out east.
  • Speaking of WHL executives, I am really getting to like Everett Silvertips GM Doug Soetaert. Soetaert isn't guarded around me in casual conversation. At least that's my perception. I will warn Soetaert of one thing though. This doesn't apply to all media personnel in the WHL. I won't mention names.
  • The Portland Winterhawks Booster Club member I met on the weekend was likely Stuart Kemp. Kemp is the president of the club, which has its own website, I wasn't the happiest camper after a 6-1 loss to the Hawks Saturday night, but Kemp put a smile on my face, and I appreciate him sticking around after the game to make contact with me.
  • A nice touch by Andy Kemper on Friday night's Hawks broadcast. He encouraged listeners from outside Portland to listen to our broadcast on-line during Saturday's rematch. Because of scheduling conflicts with football, the Hawks radio broadcast was unavailable for listeners in the area. One Hawks fan came up to me before Saturday's game and told me Kemper made the suggestion, saying "I hear you are a real story teller". I chuckled at that saying, "when you are 4 and 9, on some night's you have to revert to story telling to ease the pain on the scoreboard.
  • The hardest part about being a broadcaster when a team is struggling is being too negative. It's especially tough when the players you've witnessed in the past putting out a tremendous effort appear to now be playing uninspired hockey. I can't be critical of a player who has an off night, because that's going to happen. But extended periods of perimeter play and failing to get involved in puck battles has me biting my tongue.
  • The biggest disappointment outside of the Rockets performance on the weekend was the crowds in Portland. It's a shame that about 25 hundred fans are coming out to see the Hawks play. They are fun to watch. They are skilled, play high tempo and are tough. I am told the attendance numbers will improve as the winter rolls along. This team deserves to play in front of more than the small numbers they are getting.
  • It would be interesting to see what the attendance numbers would be like if all of the Hawks games were played at the Rose Garden. You would have to think they would be significantly better, even against a non-division rival.
  • Who's better, Ty Rattie or Red Deer's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Hawk fans can compare when the Rebels visit the Hawks Friday night.
  • The Hawks cheerleaders rock! They are solid in their on-ice dance routine and do a great job mingling with fans.
  • The Hawks were giving away posters in the lobby of the seven players taken in this summers NHL draft. As a kid, that poster would have been gobbled up so quickly, it would have hit my bedroom wall the instant I walked through the door.
  • The return of Nino Niederreiter means one thing. The Hawks are going for it. Why wouldn't you? Clearly when the stars align like this, you have to shoot for the moon. If that means giving up some of your future for the possibility to acquiring another forward or defenceman, you have to do it. Having this many highly skilled players doesn't come around often. Look at the Rockets team from 2009. Ian Duval and Ryley Grantham were brought in to provide more depth to a team already highly skilled with Jamie Benn, Colin Long, Cody Almond and Mikael Backlund and Tyler Myers. If that means trading a player like your top 16 year-old to put you over the top, so be it. That player or a 1st round bantam pick can fetch you a pretty good player that many teams simply wouldn't normally consider trading.
  • What is the worst part of calling at game at Memorial Coliseum in Portland? Sitting. The broadcast booth is located in such an area where fans are located directly behind you. Moose Jaw and Swift Current also have you sitting down for the entire game. If Hawks home games are played at the Rose Garden, the visiting broadcaster can stand and be as animated as he wants.


MG said...

I noticed Wall didn't play all weekend. Did he go travel ? We have seen this before where Hamilton has threatened player changes and we have seen him ship players off. The thing is that a move like that usually means starting from square one, rebuilding for the future. It is too bad because we really looked quite good on paper, especially with all the rumours of that Finish player comming to our team. If change is what needs to happen lets get on with it.

Regan Bartel said...

He's been out with a concussion and didn't make the trip to Portland.

Mark said...

1. You could have offered me $200 and 4 free tickets to the game Saturday and I wouldn't have gone. The U of O is ranked #1 in the nation in football for the first time... ever. Even though the game was in LA, it was the biggest game of the season. I would never have missed it. This is coming from someone who has been to 3 Memorial Cups and watches the NHL network every night to get my hockey fix. Attendance will improve after the first of the year.

2. When the Rockets were in Tacoma, they had cheerleaders if my memory is correct. It was a novel idea at the time. Ask your owner about it.

Regan Bartel said...

Interest. Thanks Mark.