Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Good Morning Portland!

  • It is great to be back in Portland. Anytime you can stay in one of the best hotel's in the league (Crowne Plaza), play in one of the best facilities (Moda Center) and watch two of the best teams in the WHL collide in a playoff match up, I can't for the life of me find a negative. Ok, I have one negative and it is only minor. The trip from Kelowna to Portland is a lengthy one.
  • The team arrived in Portland Sunday while Doyle Potenteau, the Kelowna Daily Courier's beat writer, and I made the trek Monday with the use of our radio station vehicle. You can't miss us on the streets of Portland. We have radio signage all over our  Ford F-150 pick up and stand out like sore thumb. Thanks to Winterhawks Director of Media and Public Relations Graham Kendrick for taking care of us when we park at the Moda Center.
  • I will be honest, I am glad that games three and four are at the Moda Center. The building has such a pro feel to it. The score-clock/video board is nothing short of outstanding and the fans make it a great place to call a game. Let's hope the Rose Buds make an appearance too.
  • The crowd for game three should reach over 9,000. Game four's atmosphere is expected to be equally as electric.   
  • In the 2011 playoff series between the Rockets and Winterhawks, Jessey Astles would score the game winner in overtime in a game six win. The Rockets also won the opening game of that series with a 5-1 win.
  • Who starts on goal for the Winterhawks tonight? Corbin Boes came into game two and was steady after Portland GM Mike Johnston pulled starter Brendan Burke after giving up a goal to make the score 3-1 Kelowna. I anticipate Burke being back in goal for game three. The 18 year-old has carried the mail this season and you can't kick him to the curb despite two less than solid starts.
  • Both teams had a morning skate at the Moda Center. The Rockets had a full complement of players on the ice while the Winterhawks didn't put Derrick Pouliot, Nic Petan and Matt Dumba on the ice to name a few. Those players log a significant amount of ice time.   
  • I took the time this morning during the Winterhawks morning skate to talk with Head Coach Mike Johnston and Assistant General Manager Matt Bardsley. It was nice to just sit down a talk hockey 'off the record'. t

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