Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Portland or bust!

  • It is off to Portland today in advance of Friday's game one opener between the Rockets and Hawks. With the closure of the Coquihalla Highway until 4 o'clock this afternoon, travel plans have changed as we seek lower ground. That means a trip through the Osoyoos border crossing. It also means an additional hour of travel, so the trip will turn into a 9 and a half hour affair. Bring a pillow!
  • Rockets Assistant Director of Public Relations Kevin Parnell will be joining me on the trip. Yes, we are not traveling with the team but are again driving the AM 1150 Community Cruiser. You can't miss us with - News - Talk - Sports lettering on the front and sides of the Honda Pilot. Parnell will provide color commentary on the radio broadcasts as Gord McGarva stays home because of more important matters. It's called family.
  • AM 1150 will again provide it's listeners with an extended post game show in the playoffs. Parnell will be armed with a remote microphone and will go down to the dressing room for post game comments with Rockets players. This worked to perfection last season at the Rose Garden and adds to the overall sound of the broadcast. Like the players, even the radio guys need to elevate their performance in post season.
  • Let me stick my neck out and admit that I predicted the Rockets to beat the Hawks last night on Dan Russell's 'Sports Talk'. My theory is you don't bail on the team you call the games for even if rough waters are ahead. And trust me, this series is no canoe ride. There are white rapids ahead and the Rockets will have to be skilled in order to get through them. There will be bumps along the way. But in sport, like in life, anything is possible.
  • Blazers broadcaster Jon Keen picked the Hawks in six while Royals play-by-play man Marlon Martens also took the same approach. Vancouver Giants radio man Dan Elliott was the only one to predict the Hawks advancing in four short games.
  • A buddy of mine laughed at my prediction. I'm fine with that. But my philosophy in sports has always been the same. When I golf with him, my objective is to beat him. He is a scratch golfer and I am a 22 handicap. He plays 70 rounds of golf a year and I play 10. Despite those odds, I don't lie down and play dead. If you are a competitive person you never go into anything defeated before the game has even started.
  • Both games in Portland are at Memorial Coliseum. It opened in 1960, eight years before I was born. It looks old. It is as old and tired as I look! It is no Rose Garden. But in saying that, once the game starts the focal point is on the ice, not on the luxurious amenities that surround you. While the neutral zone is smaller, the Coliseum has an old school feel to it. And heck, if the cheerleaders come out and rock it, I'm all good.
  • The plan at Memorial is to stand up while doing the broadcast. Over the years I have always sat down in that location considering I may block the view of the off-ice officials and fans seated nearby . I have now been told that standing, which I always do while calling a game, is acceptable. The only concern I have is Winterhawks Booster Club Head Poobah Stuart Kemp throwing popcorn on my head.
  • I hope to interview several Hawks players and feature them on our broadcasts during the series. I think this gives Rockets fans specifically a better understanding of these players and the individuals they truly are. I too get a better appreciation for them when you stand face-to-face and see them as a person, a teenager, a son and not some face-less player with a name bar across his shoulders. I would like to hear from Brad Ross or Mac Carruth and find out what makes these players tick.
  • I find it interesting that the Hawks are meeting the Rockets in the first round? I say that after Hawks GM Mike Johnston didn't hide the fact that he was interested in acquiring Brett Bulmer at the trade deadline. I applaud Johnston for openly speaking to me about it when we chatted in early January. Could you imagine if Bulmer was indeed a Hawk and playing against his old team in the playoffs? Weird. Maybe the Hawks would have given up a first round pick, much like they did to Seattle for Marcel Noebels, to get Bulmer? All I know is Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton wanted a player, a prospect, a proven performer if he was going to move Bulmer. Johnston says he wasn't willing to do that. There is a pretty good 1994 born player on the Hawks roster that I am sure many teams inquired about but Johnston wisely held onto him.
  • See you down in Oregon State. If I am no where to be found Friday night in the broadcast location, I likely took a right instead of a left somewhere in Washington State. That, or I am in jail after going one mile an hour over the speed limit in Moses Lake or Yakima.
  • Hey, someone in Portland tell Andy Kemper to kick his blog back into gear. I'm looking for a good read. That 'Happy New Year' post is getting old.


Gord McGarva said...

I am picking the Rockets in 7 as well, gotta believe! And just like you said Regan ... "Don't bail on the team you call the games for even if rough waters are ahead. "

Safe travels in the first of three trips to the Rose City.

acco said...

Haha. That must have been McGarva who laughed at your series prediction! I can't imagine there are many other scratch golfers who would put up with your 22 cap.

GG said...

Hawks fan here. I always enjoy reading your blog and for that reason, am glad we're facing the Rockets in the first round. While I have faith our boys can get the job done, the Rockets will NOT make it easy. They're a good team and I'm looking forward to a competetive series.

Trent said...

The Coliseum is being used because the Blazers play tonight and a concert is scheduled for Saturday. I'm just glad we have two venues to choose from unlike the situation with Brandon.

Trent said...

The Coliseum may be old and cold, but at least we have two venues to avoid the situation Brandon has.

The reason we're playing in the old gal is the Blosers, I mean Trailblazers, play tonight and there's a concert Saturday.