Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Third Goals on the Third Day Are the Charms.

The games: Portland Winterhawks vs. Vancouver Giants (WHL) and Vancouver vs. San Jose.

Why I chose them: It's Vancouver all around, what's not to like? Besides, I'm in training for the day I will be pro Vancouver, all the time. And that would be the day Stefan Schneider joins the roster. But there is hope: about a week ago, the cameras did a close up shot of the Canucks' GM in his box seat over his shoulder. On a tiny scrap of paper was his roster, a handwritten list that included Stefan's name. There in a small corner of an NHL rink, on a small piece of paper, was a small part of Portland. He's been reassigned to the Manitoba Moose for now, but you go boy. We'll be waiting and watching. And we will have faith.

Is breakaway one word?/best play by a draftee so far: Brad Ross, turning over a new leaf with more scoring on 2 breakaway goals (so far) and fewer penalties. It's his third of the season (the first was also a breakaway), and he just got back to action on Monday. Also, I met him on Monday, and just like Spencer he's totally polite, direct and way more charming than you'd expect of someone who likes to start some business out there. Most impressive all around and it's very clear he grew up over the summer. Oh and speaking of Spencer, he just scored HIS third goal of the season.

Thank god this is happening: There's two simultaneous fights underway, courtesy of Derek Pouliot and Tayler Jordan. Both following a clean hit. That's hockey...clean hits mean dirty fights.

And get used to these names: Ty Rattie and Sven Bartschi just combined for our fourth goal and we are now 4 -1 in the second. Oh, and if I heard Andy Kemper correctly, Rattie just scored his third goal of the season.

To refresh: The Portland Winterhawks' regular season is three days old.

And across town: Nino Niederreiter is playing with the New York Islanders in a game with Calgary. I either have to get up in the middle of the night or watch the replay tomorrow morning. I can think of no better reason to go to bed early and get up with the sun tomorrow.

He must have used the force: Portland Winterhawks forward Luke Walker has signed with the Colorado Avalanche and is currently in training camp with their AHL Team, the Lake Erie Monsters. Luke was never drafted by the WHL: he made the Winterhawks' roster after answering a training camp invite. He went through two NHL drafts without being chosen, and this was his third and last chance. He ultimately played on the US World Junior Team that won the Gold Medal, even though he got kicked out of a scrimmage in the tryouts, and he had to fight to stay there. You go boy, indeed. Other than Stefan, this is the story that truly does warm my heart. Luke was one of my favorite players and I suggest you put him on your NHL radar. You will be glad you did.

Now, in case you're wondering what all of Portland's NHL stars in the making will be earning one day:

Section 10, Free Agency.

10.2, Restricted Free Agents. Group 2 Players and Free Agents. Any player who meets the qualifications set forth in the following chart and (1) is not a Group 1 Player or Group 4 Player, and (2) is not an Unrestricted Free Agent, shall be deemed to be a Group 2 Player and shall at the expiration of his SPC, become a Restricted Free Agent. Any such Player shall be free to negotiate and sign an SPC with any such Club, and and any Club shall be completely free to negotiate and sign an SPC with any such Player, subject to the provisions set forth in this Section. As used in this Section 10.2, "age," including "First SPC Signing Age" means a Player's age on September 15 of the calendar year in which he signs an SPC regardless of his actual age on the date he signs such SPC.

First SPC Signing Age Eligible For Group 2 Free Agency
18 - 21 3 years professional experience
22 - 23 2 years professional experience
24 or older 1 year professional experience

Morals of the story:

The game: So the key to getting to free agency faster is to sign later. That is, if the NHL doesn't think of you as "old" for being 24 years old at your first SPC signing. Plus, you always think when you hear free agent (restricted or unrestricted), it means the player is free to do as he pleases, and go where he pleases. Forget that. According to this rule, you're not free to do anything except try to read this bloody rule several times over to figure out just what exactly you are entitled to do.

Life: We think that people who live their dreams in the NHL or anywhere else are happy and free and never have problems. Bullshit. They are just as restricted by rules as we are, and one blindside hit can end your dream just like that, as it may have in Marc Savard's case. Living a free life is everyone's dream, but who really does? It's like the Joni Mitchell lyric...dreams lose their grandeur coming true. And sometimes they don't come true at all, or get cut short by unforseen circumstances. Junior hockey players are out there right now, taking their chance while they have it. Doing the very most with it. They have it right. Go out there and score your own version of three goals in three days. Take the chances while you have them and keep taking them if they come along again. Life is short and there is only one real chance to live it right, so what are you waiting for?

Next up: Section 10, Free Agency. Section 10.2, Restricted Free Agents, Definition of a "Defected Player."

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