Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's the New Year. Time for hockey, of course.

The game: The Winter Classic. Duh. And yes, I've been sitting home watching the all day hype-o-rama on NHL Network.

The other game: Seattle Thunderbirds 4, Portland Winterhawks 3 (WHL).

It was all going so well: Last night's annual New Year's Eve extravaganza was not exactly the glorious shutout of 2009, but they can't all be showstoppers. Kudos to Craig Cunningham for nabbing the natural hat trick and to Brad Ross for making a concerted effort to stay off the penalty bench. You can read all about it here:

But then, there was this: If Portland fans care what I think, here you go: I agree that the questionable officiating had an impact on the game, but the boys also had a choice about the way they responded to that. They could have gotten their heads back into the game and tied it up instead of proceeding to chirp at the refs and get into some mini scraps. And the fans throwing cups and other debris onto the ice was simply unacceptable. What my father used to call T for Tacky. A "nattie hattie" by our newest prize possession shouldn't be lost in all that. Nor should a very choice, well-justified fight that Tayler Jordan started in defense of one of our other prize possessions, Ty Rattie. I went into last night's game feeling a little sentimental because last year's game was due in large part to Ian Curtis, who is no longer with the team. It will always rank among my top sports moments of all time. And Craig's hatter did kinda rival it, but the loss took the bloom off the rose. There. I said it. Now I feel better.

Meanwhile, in Buffalo: Linemates Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter will face off against each other tomorrow afternoon for the chance to move on to the semifinals. It rivals the USA-Canada Olympic game from 2010 in my mind, but it's also a bit sad because one of those teams will not be moving on. oreognlive readers may recall I asked Nino what if this scenario happened, and as for Team Switzerland's chance, he said "Why not Switzerland? Anything is possible." I quite agree. Good luck to Ryan, Nino and Sven Bartschi, who is on Team Switzerland with Nino.

And the younglings aren't doing too bad either: Portland Winterhawks Derrick Pouliot and Brendan Leipsic are playing in the U-17 World Challenge for Team West, where Derrick is wearing the C and Brendan is wearing the A. Last night, they beat the Czech Republic 5 - 2. But wait, there's more. Brendan assisted on the first goal, and scored on the second with help from Derrick and Brendan Harms.

We like shiny things in Portland: Last year, Luke Walker returned from the World Juniors with a gold medal after playing with Team USA. No matter who brings it back, we definitely could use a little bling to brighten our spirits here.

T-minus 30 minutes: It's time to check out and get ready to devote my undivided attention to the Winter Classic face-off. Happy New Year to all and thank you for reading.

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