Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Look out Vancouver Giants, here come 2 of the Winterhawks

The news: In one of the biggest trades they've pulled off since acquiring Luca Sbisa last winter, the Portland Winterhawks have acquired Vancouver Giants' Captain Craig Cunningham. He won the Memorial Cup in his rookie season with the Giants (2007) and he was the WHL Western Conference player of the year last season, when he racked up a total of 97 points (37 goals, 60 goals, and that was just in the regular season). Oh, and he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins.

But it came at a high price: In the trade Portland has lost Spencer Bennett and Teal Burns and several future draft picks. I'm as excited as the next person to see Cunningham on our ice tonight, but it has come at the price of losing one of my favorite players. Spencer -- a Calgary Flames prospect -- is on fire this season, and he's a masterful penalty killer. He's also one of my favorite people and a natural leader. Spencer will not be forgotten in Portland, where he scored the 2009 Teddy Bear Goal and assisted on the very best goal ever scored on Portland's ice:

Last year, in the Dash for Cash we were down by one point with less than 2 seconds to go in the third and pretty much on our way to losing to Seattle. After a stoppage in play, Mike Johnston convinced the ref to put a second or so back on the clock and we went to a face-off in front of the Seattle net. People had already begun leaving, assuming the game was a foregone conclusion. And it was. Until Spencer tipped the face off to Chris Francis, who parked a shot in the Seattle net in time to tie the game. It was a hat trick for Chris, who went on to top it off with the shootout winner. Most people think of Chris when they think of that goal, but I always remember Spencer too. Portland has gained a great player today, but we have also lost one. Very, very best wishes to Spencer, who I'm sure will bring to the Vancouver Giants everything and more that he brought to the Winterhawks.

Woohoo! alert: The Winterhawks have been busy since returning from the holiday break. Today, Taylor Aronson signed a three-year deal with the Nashville Predators. Happy New Year to him and his family. By signing an entry level deal he will make more money than I've ever made in a year in my lifetime. It boggles the mind. But like all the Winterhawks who are getting drafted, signed, prospected, etc. Taylor deserves all of the good fortune that has and will come his way.

What, no goals?: After scoring what turned out to be the game winner against Russia in the World Juniors, Ryan Johansen loaned an assist tonight to Team Canada's first goal by Brayden Schenn, as they beat the Czech team 7 -2. But this too, came with a price tag: Zach Kassian, Ryan's linemate, was ejected for a controversial hit on Petr Senkerik that sent the latter away on a stretcher, and Ryan's roommate Calvin DeHaan and Jaden Schwartz both left with injuries.

But minor bummer alert: Finland cooked Switzerland 4 - 0 in the World Juniors, and Nino Niederreiter only managed three shots and was a minus-1. They must not have provided him with an ample supply of chocolate. I'm telling you, just give him a little Swiss chocolate truffle and all will be well. He doesn't even need to see it. Just tell him about it. He got all excited when I merely mentioned during an interview that we have a Swiss chocolate store here in Portland. Trust me...chocolate = goals.

And with that, I'm off to watch our new acquisition take the ice in a game against Tri-Cities. Back to the rules tomorrow. And to repeat: very, very best wishes to Spencer and Teal.


  1. Hi Samantha! How can I email you?
    Jolene (Gable Park Rd)
    Happy New Year!

  2. OMG! Since it's public on press releases and such, go ahead and use my work email samantha.meese@regence.com to start, and I'll give you my personal email and phone from there. So good to hear from you...I'm glad you found me. I look forward to hearing from you!