Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Things that make go hmm...

  • I came away impressed after speaking Saturday night with Spokane Chiefs forward Tyler Johnson. OK, the fact that he knew me by name gave him bonus points, but what a quality individual. The interview I conducted with the personable Johnson can be heard on 'WHL This Week-Radio Edition' this weekend with Jon Keen.
  • I am amazed that Johnson is playing his 20 year-old season in the WHL. This guy should be playing pro somewhere. Johnson is as solid in the defensive zone as he is at the other end of the ice. Is he not the best overage player in the Western Conference?
  • Thanks to the Chiefs, specifically Public Relation and Marketing Director Jay Stewart for his efforts in helping me get out of a jam in the broadcast booth Saturday night. Phone line issues in the building prevented us from calling the opening period. The Chiefs organization could have taken a 'to bad, so sad' approach over my dilemma, but took the time to help me out under somewhat stressful circumstances.
  • After what happened Saturday night, I have a better appreciation for what an athlete feels if his routine is interrupted. It was tough getting back on track when the interview's you conducted and pre-game prep is all for not. Trying to pick up the ball and run with it after not witnessing the first period was tough to do.
  • I've always heard of the tremendous rivalry the Spokane Chiefs have with the Tri City Americans, but now I know why. I knew the two centers were close in proximity, but not that close. After our game in Spokane, we drove to Kennewick that night, which is just a short two hours away.
  • After three straight games south of the border, you really get to appreciate the passion of the American hockey fan. You don't find to many dead heads in the crowd. It's like they love to party and will take every opportunity to enjoy themselves, and if a hockey game is the place to do it, so be it. You can't but appreciate that unbridled enthusiasm.
  • Annie Fowler of the Tri City Herald handed me an envelope before Sunday's game meaning one thing. The Tri City Herald 'Best of the West' poll is now being conducted. Fowler goes to great lengths to make sure every team has a say on the poll, which is a nice cross section between the media, players and coaches. It's nice to see in a time of slashing features and coverage, the Tri City Herald is still taking the time to conduct the survey. For Fowler, the poll is likely a labour of love. The poll comes out in February.
  • The opposition player that impressed me the most over the three days was Americans forward Carter Ashton. I was told after the game that he can play better. Look out! This guy is a stud. Unfortunately because he played in Lethbridge and Regina, I never got to appreciate him as much when he was playing out east.
  • The most disappointing opposition player over the three games? Burke Gallimore of the Seattle Thunderbirds was flat Friday night. The T-Birds leading scorer looked so uninspired and lethargic, I could only assume he was sick or hurt. If it is neither, lets hope for the T-Birds sake it was just a poor showing.
  • Prior to this weekend, when was the last time the Rockets won all three games on the road during a stretch of three games in three nights? It was February 21st, 22nd and 23rd of 2009 when the Rockets beat Vancouver, Everett and Chilliwack.
  • Zach Franko now has the third longest active point streak in the WHL. His 11 game stretch with at least a point is only outdone by Tri City Americans Brendan Shinnimin (17 games) and Spokane's Tyler Johnson (14 games).
  • In case you are wondering, the longest point streak by a Rockets player last season was 21 straight games. Tyson Barrie had the longest streak in the WHL last season.
  • The longest point streak in Rockets franchise history is held by Brett McLean. McLean went 24 straight games with a point.
  • Speaking of Brendan Shinnimin. Had he not been suspended for 12 games this season, would he not be leading the WHL points parade? I gave him a hard time earlier this season, but no question he is a dynamic player.
  • MacKenzie Johnston scored his first WHL goal Sunday in Tri City and who was in attendance to witness it? His dad Stan. Following the game, MacKenzie handed the puck over to his dad who brought it back home to Swift Current. A proud moment for the Johnston's know doubt. Stan came up to the broadcast booth to say hello before the puck dropped Sunday afternoon.
  • Mike Callahan, the father of Rockets forward Mitchell Callahan, and his lovely wife attended all three games on the weekend and you couldn't help but notice that permanent smile on his face. He has to be one proud papa!
  • Rockets goaltender Adam Brown informed me after Friday's win in Seattle that the team indeed won a game earlier this season wearing their red jersey. So, after three straight victories this weekend you can now make it four wins in the jersey I like the most.
  • Coach Ryan Huska coached in his 250th WHL regular season game Friday in Seattle.

1 comment:

Toro said...

Nice to see the Rockets pulling away a little in the BC div. Looks like it might be a fight between them and Van to the wire just when you thought Vancouver had mailed it in on the season....

What the heck has Spencer Bennett been eating since he moved to Vancouver? Early on but that Cunningham trade is looking BAD for Portland. Playoffs will be more telling I guess.