Saturday, January 15, 2011

Portland Winterhawks fans like being number one, if you don't mind

The games: Montreal vs. Rangers, Edmonton vs. LA, Chicago vs. Nashville. Portland Winterhawks vs. Kamloops Blazers.

Why I chose them: Mike Cammalleri is back from his battle with strep throat cooties, Anze Kopitar vs. Taylor Hall, and thanks to recent losses, Portland's #1 division and conference standings are on the line tonight. Feels kinda like a playoff, now that I think about it.

Prospect watch: Non-Portlanders tuning in to the CHL Top Prospects Game this week should keep an eye on the following: Sven Bartschi, Ty Rattie, Tyler Wotherspoon, Joe Morrow. Sven is on Team Orr, the others are all on Team Cherry.

A for the A: Ty Rattie has been named an alternate captain for Team Cherry. Ty and his linemate Sven Bartschi are the Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter of the 2011 Entry Draft. Look for Sven and Ty to go top 10, very likely close to one another. And don't worry about NHL greatness going to their heads. I've spent quality time getting to know them, and if who they are now is any sign, nothing of the sort will be happening. When I asked Sven about his goals for this year, he told me "I just hope I get to play a lot." Done. When I asked Ty what it was like to be awesome, he thought I was talking about the team. It took me three questions before he realized I was asking him what it was like to be awesome personally, and even then he still credited good linemates and teammates as part of his success. I'm in for Joe going top 20, and at least one mock draft is with me. Mike Morreale of has him going 16 to the Colorado Avalanche, which would be supremely cool since they already drafted two other Winterhawks (Luke Walker, Troy Rutkowski).

He got lucky twice: I was most distressed when Portland traded Spencer Bennett and Teal Burns to the Vancouver Giants. But we gained an equally awesome play in Craig Cunningham and Spencer and Teal are wasting no time helping Vancouver rock the house. Check it out here: The first time I interviewed Spencer, ironically enough it was a winning game against Vancouver in which he scored two goals. When I asked him about his success that night, he said "I got lucky twice." And so he did. Carry on boys. If you hear a Winterhawks fan cheering you the next time you're back in Portland, it was me. I did it. And I'll do it again.

The rule: 16.4, Active Roster Size: Playing Roster. (a) For the 2005/6 season and thereafter, there shall be a maximum of 23 Players on each Club's Active Roster at any one time, provided, however, that on the date of each season's Trade Deadline, a Club's Active Roster may be increased to any number of Players the Club, in its discretion, so determines, subject to Article 50 hereof. (b) Except in case of emergency, there shall be no reduction of the required minimum Playing Rosters of the Clubs, below 18 skaters and 2 goaltenders.

Morals of the story:

The game: This is like one of those complicted math equations from high school. If two trains leave the station at the same time and one makes three stops of 10 minutes each on a route with 20 stops and one makes one stop of 10 minutes on a route with 25 stops, which one will arive at the next station first? I thought this sport was all about keeping it simple. So are there 23 players on the roster, or aren't there?

Life: It could be a good and bad thing if we had this rule for Corporate America during the bad economy. On the one hand, if companies were required to keep their full employee roster, nobody would have to worry about being fired. On the other hand, our spend now, pay later culture would never have a wake up call to make us think about our spending habits, and rethink whether the rate race is really worth it. We don't have a legally binding agreement that makes it so, but getting fired, job hopping and the like are just life's way of pushing us towards the roster we really belong on. I find it best not to fight fate, because a lot of the time it leads you right where you should have been all along.

Next up: NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, 16.5, Restricted Days.

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