Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In case you were wondering...

  • The Rockets' extended stay in Portland between games one and two isn't coming out of their pockets. League rules stipulate the Hawks will pay for the extra two nights of accommodations and meals.
  • My understanding is the Hawks rejected the Rockets offer of playing the first two games of the series at Prospera Place. Had that happened, the next three would have been played back in Portland and would have followed a 2-3-1-1 format. The Hawks didn't like that idea and went for playing the first two games on home ice despite the extended break between games one and two.
  • One. Only one member of the Kelowna Rockets has ever played a game at the Rose Garden in Portland. That one player is 20 year-old defenceman Zak Stebner. Stebner played in that building this season as a member of the Tri City Americans. Not even Evan Bloodoff or Geordie Wudrick - over their five seasons - have ever stepped foot inside that building.
  • Is it payback time for Hawks forward Craig Cunningham? The last memory the 20 year-old had of a playoff game against the Rockets was a controversial loss in the 2009 Western Conference final as a member of the Vancouver Giants. Mikael Backlund tipped home a Tyson Dowzak shot that beat Giants goaltender Tyson Sexsmith.
  • Speaking of Cunningham, the veteran forward leads all players in this series with playoff experience. Cunningham has played 62 games, with 58 of those as a member of the Giants.
  • Clearly the Hawks have a size advantage in this series. Forward's Tayler Jordon and Riley Boychuk stand out....literally. Jordon is 6'6" while Boychuk is 6'5". But don't be fooled by the size of the dog. The bite isn't always that bad. Boychuk had eight fighting majors this season, only two more than Rockets forward Spencer Main. Boychuk led the Hawks in playoff penalty minutes with 16, so he obviously loves to get his nose in the face of the opposition. For the record, Jordon is as tough as they come.
  • In case you are wondering, the Rockets were 22-13-0-1 from January 1st to the end of the regular season. The Hawks were 25-7-0-0 over that same period. The Rockets obviously played 4 more games.
  • Something that may have been lost from the first round series against Prince George was Rockets captain Tyson Barrie led the team with a plus 4 rating.
  • Rockets assistant coach Dan Lambert and Hawks assistant Travis Green have something in common. Both were drafted in the 1989 NHL draft. Green was a second round pick of the Islanders while Lambert was picked in the 6th round by the Quebec Nordiques.

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