Sunday, April 3, 2011

Things that make me go hmm....

  • The Rockets have the privilege in this series of playing their road games at the Rose Garden. This is the home of the NBA's Portland Trailer Blazers. This magnificent building was constructed in 1995 at the tune of about 262 million dollars. It seats over 20 thousand for basketball. The Rockets rarely play in this building and are relegated to the old and worn out Memorial Coliseum which is located next door. Not in this series though! The Rose Garden is 'major league' and will attract bigger crowds because of its amenities. The bigger crowds provide bigger excitement.
  • A series against Portland has its drawbacks with travel being one of them. In fact, the trip to Portland is just slightly further than it is to Prince George. But in saying that, being a visiting member of the media in that city for four days will be nothing short of spectacular. Nothing against Kennewick Washington, but been there done that. The Rockets and Americans have had some great playoff battles over the years but the change is a welcome one. How many more times can I visit that mall across from the hotel? It will be great touring around Oregon's largest city. Andy Kemper even invited me over for his world famous baby back ribs! Ok, that part wasn't true.
  • I've always found the hockey fans in Portland to be passionate about their team but never rude or over the top. If you plan on taking in a game or two down there, you will be treated well no matter if you are wearing Rockets colours or not.
  • The Hawks organization is always accommodating to the visiting media. Joining me in the broadcast booth for games one and two at the Rose Garden will be Kevin Parnell. Parnell joined me in a colour commentator capacity earlier this season when Gord McGarva fell ill. McGarva is unable to attend the road games because of work commitments, so I've twisted Parnell's arm into joining me. The Kelowna Daily Courier has even loosened the purse strings in allowing Rockets beat reporter Doyle Potenteau to attend games one and two. This series will be well covered from a Kelowna perspective .
  • It's the second round of the playoffs. Why not play the best. Portland won the U.S Division while the Rockets won the BC Division regular season title. Why not have the two division pennant winners facing one another in a best of seven series.
  • Blog wars! Ok, not really blog wars, but I invite you to click this link and get Portland Winterhawks radio caller Andy Kemper's view on what he witnesses as the series unfolds. What I like about Kemper's blog, whether I agree with him or not, is he has an opinion and shares it with his readers . I find nothing more boring than reading a blog entry that describes how every goal in a game was scored. Zzzzzzz. I encourage you to read his blog during the series and leave a comment if you agree or disagree. Let's have some dialogue between the fans in this series even if we are separated by 487 miles or 786 kilometers. We can all agree on one thing. We cheer passionately for our team and we love the Western Hockey League.
  • Keith Hamilton has to be excited about this series. Who? I am not sure if we will see much of him in this series, but Hamilton is the Hawks back up goaltender. The pride of Kelowna minor hockey, Keith Hamilton's father Larry was at one time the Kelowna Rockets billet coordinator. I will try to get him on the broadcast when we are down in Portland. He and his wife may be the only Kelowna residence cheering for the Hawks in this series. Larry Hamilton is a great guy, and for those readers who know him, you know what I am talking about.
  • Tyson Barrie has his hands full in this series. The Rockets captain faces not only former Team Canada teammate Ryan Johansen but Swiss world junior standout Nino Niederreiter. It should be a fun match up.
  • By the end of this series I may have the ability to spell Nino's last name without referring to my WHL Guide.
  • Can we bring back Dan Folwick for just one game? Pretty please. "Here comes the Hawks" would be music to my ears as it came ripping through the loud speakers at the Rose Garden. How does that not pump you up for game one? Yes, I am slow to change. I still like organ music at hockey games over heavy metal music being played during a stoppage of play. I'm old school.
  • My only concern as the stakes get higher is the officiating in this series. Shoddy refereeing can turn this series in one direction or the other. Let the two teams decide who moves on to the final four.
  • Two of the best 17 year-old forwards in the Western Conference collide as Portland's Ty Rattie tangles with Rockets sophomore Shane McColgan. McColgan had ten points in the opening round while Rattie had five points in five games. Both will be drafted by an NHL team this summer.
  • Rockets head coach Ryan Huska and Hawks head skipper Mike Johnston have something in common. Huska and Johnston have been assistant coaches for Canada's entry at the World Junior Hockey Championships. Huska was an assistant at the most recent tournament in Buffalo New York while Johnston served twice as an assistant in 1994 and again in 1995.


fax said...

Regan - I am always up for some good playoff banter

A couple of things - I believe Portland will win the series in five or six games - and the main reason I think the Hawks will prevail is their "strength down the middle".

Nobody in the Western Conference can match the one-two combo of Johansen and Cunningham IMHO.

As far as 17 year old (draft eligible) forwards go, I would expect Sven Bartschi (not Rattie or McColgan) to be the best young forward this series. He was very impressive in round one.

Great to see that the Kelowna newspaper is spending the money to send the Rockets "beat reporter" down for the first two games. The Oregonian has not sent a reporter to one road game this year in contrast.

Finally Regan .... a couple of "tips" for you

1 - Try to not get mesmerized by the replay screen in the Rose Garden - (it is amazing)

2 - Jake's Grill is an outstanding restaurant (across the river in downtown)

RW13 said...

And Ams fans everywhere will be heartbroken to miss out on you ane your color guys inability to pronounce players names correctly. WIN-WIN

Regan Bartel said...

I am heartbroken that you can't spell the word 'and'!

Mark said...

Actually, when you look at the replay screen, ask yourself the following question: Which costs more - the replay screen or your average WHL franchise?

Enjoy your time in pdx. Maybe you can use your media credentials to get into the Blazers / Lakers game on Friday!

Gord McGarva said...

LOL Good one partner.

American pronunciations and Canadian pronunciations can be different. Just look at how we spell "colour".

bonghit1 said...

"American pronunciations and Canadian pronunciations can be different. Just look at how we spell "colour"."

and please don't use "net front presence" pretty please!