Monday, April 12, 2010

I Shoot the Puck! The Puck Go In!

The game: There is absolutely no game whatsoever to highlight here. No NHL match up. No WHL do or die playoff game. BUT:

Tomorrow will make up for it: It's Game 6 of the WHL Playoffs, Round 2, against the Vancouver Giants. In the Rose Garden. We win or we're done. It's that simple. If we go to Game 7, that will also be on home ice. Also, tomorrow is the day the NHL picks the order of the teams for the June draft. Six Portland Winterhawks are in the running for that. Four have been invited to the NHL Scouting Combine in June. All will likely be snatched up, and talk is already circulating that a few will leave us early to enter the NHL next season.

The rule: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 430, Determining the Outcome of the Game.

What's the same as the NHL Rulebook, in a good way: The team scoring the greatest number of goals during the three 20 minute periods shall be declared the winner and shall be credited with two points in the standings.

What's different, but that's ok: In a game where a winner shall be declared, the game shall be prolonged, by an actual time "Sudden Victory" overtime period. In the NHL, this is referred to as "Sudden Death." But notice, in Europe and international play, they prefer to think of the glass as half full. And they're right. It is sudden death for one of the teams, but that also means that it is indeed "sudden victory" for the other.

Once again proving that Europeans do it better than we do: They keep it simple. They keep it honest. And they keep it positive. Which might explain this, which will serve as tonight's moral of the story:

In the Portland Winterhawks' Game 5 victory over Vancouver on Saturday, top NHL prospect Nino Niederreiter racked up two goals and one assist for a total of three points. When interviewed afterwards about his performance, he said simply "I shoot the puck. The puck go in."

Now mind, Nino is 17 and still learning English and American culture, but he nailed it. Wanna know how we're going to win and force Game 7 on home ice? Wonder how the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to survive the playoffs and bring another Stanley Cup back to Steeltown? Nino's got the answer.

That being said... next time your head starts spinning with thoughts of NHL playoff seeds, MVP Trophies, scoring titles, NHL draft lottery picks, Game 6 outcomes and who's going to be in net for Portland, think about this: winning isn't that complicated. They shoot the puck. The puck go in. Sometimes, in hockey and in life, it's just that simple.

And to refresh, sometimes my thoughts are more entertaining than reality: Nino is also now a licensed driver, if he passed the test. Why do I have an image of him being pulled over for speeding in some zippy little European sports car and explaining himself in a similar fashion to the Oregon State Highway Patrol?: "I step on gas. Car go very fast."

Next up on 4/14: Well, either I will be in mourning because the Winterhawks season will be over, I'll be really excited for Game 7 on Wednesday and/or I'll be totally distressed because Game 7 is the same night as the first night of NHL Playoffs. These are good problems to have...I shall report back.

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