Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And It's Less Than 100 Days Until the Penguins' Pre-Season Opener.

The game: Replays and specials on the NHL Network. Hey, it's better than nothing.

But not to worry, soon there will be this: June 23 is the NHL Awards, June 25 is the start of the NHL Draft and July 1 is the opening of the free agent trading frenzy. Later this month the WHL will also get to choose from Europe's best teenage talent in the Euro draft. For Portland, the last time we snagged Nino Niederreiter, and fans are already buzzing about who we will get this time. Our trade with Lethbridge that brought Luca Sbisa to town also meant that we moved up in this draft. I shall report back.

Yes, I did this. Get over it: I registered online for the Brandon Sun newspaper for the sole purpose of reading an article about cutie pie WHL referee/corporate lawyer Matt Kirk. He is from Brandon and officiated the Memorial Cup final in that city. To refresh, I do not have a single shred of shame about crushing on cuite pie refs at any and all opportunities, especially close up in high def on the NHL Network.

I'm counting the days: September 22 is the first pre-season game for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who will be rematched with the Detroit Red Wings in their first game in the Consol Energy Center. That means as of this coming Tuesday, it's exactly 90 days until the start of the Pens' pre-season. I think I can, I think I can...live without live hockey if it's less than 100 days.

And on the local scene: The Portland Winterhawks have just announced that Ryan Johansen, captain Brett Ponich and Brad Ross have been invited to Canada's National Junior Team development camp this August. Ty Rattie has been invited to attend Canada's National Men's Summer Under-18 Team Selection camp.

The best part/fan geek moment: The National Junior Team camp is in St. John's, Newfoundland, the home of my favorite band, Great Big Sea. They are just as cool as hockey. Rumor has it that they performed at a private party at Sidney Crosby's house last year on his Stanley Cup day. And, I have a huge crush on their bass player Murray Foster. Not only is he hot, he does a mean rendition of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" with one of the other bands he's in. Cute, musician, loves the Toronto Maple Leafs, sings Dr. Seuss. What's not to like?

Speaking of honors, is there anything Nino Niederreiter hasn't accomplished this season?: Let's see now...Euro draft catch....learned English, got a driver's license, helped the Swiss World Junior team achieve victory over Russia, helped Winterhawks to the playoffs first time in 4 years...Swiss World Championship team..WHL 2nd All-Star Team...could be highest drafted Swiss player in NHL draft.. number 12 on the NHL Scouting report....um...let's see now, carry the two, plus three...oh right...no. He's done it all...and he won't even be 18 until September. It boggles the mind.

I so don't want to deal with the rules tonight: I had what can loosely be described as "one of those weeks" and I'm just waiting for Friday at this point. Here's the moral of my story:

Life: My mother told me that I shouldn't watch hockey replays because "that's violent, you shouldn't do that. You should take a bubble bath and drink some wine and listen to relaxing music. Hockey is too much stress." She's my mother. I'd like to think she above all people knows me. But friends, let's refresh: I was in fact, a guy in another life. I don't do bubbles, waterfall sound effects music and wine. Well, ok, I do the wine, but if it doesn't come accompanied by tall, smelly men who can't be wired for sound by NBC Game of the Week because they swear too much, it's just not working for me. Give me one night of the Winter Classic on my Sidney Crosby DVD and an extra glass of Abacela Dolcetto, and all will be right with my world. And it also means that:

I will get back to the rules and offer my predictions for the Winterhawks who are in the NHL Draft next weekend.

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