After nearly two weeks since the Winter Hawks final game of the 2008-09 season, I am reaching the point where I’m envious of my WHL broadcasting brethren that are still working, calling playoff games for their respective teams.
It’s been three years since the Hawks took part in a postseason contest, ending on an Easter Sunday in Vancouver in April of 2006. Dean Vrooman, John Kirby and I made that trek together in Scooter’s small SUV in what would turn out to be Scooter’s last postseason appearance behind the mic.
We all know that the Hawks, if they continue on their growth pattern, will return to the postseason eventually, hopefully as soon as the 2009-10 season and I am looking forward to calling playoff games for the Hawks. I did work a couple playoff games for Shaw TV a couple years ago and then did one broadcast with Regan Bartel and the Kelowna Rockets last year, but it isn’t the same as when your team is involved.
I may make some games in Round 2 of this years playoffs, depending on work and family schedules. So far, Round 1 has shown that the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” is greater this year than in years past with four series being four game sweeps in the opening round.
There are two series that are even after four games (with Everett and Tri City playing game four tonight). I believe that Saskatoon will prevail over Lethbridge in the first one and the other is a tougher call. The Medicine Hat/Swift Current series was the biggest coin flip of the first round. Personally, I select Medicine Hat as I will always pull for a team with Shaun Clouston on the bench rather than one with Dean Chynoweth…old rivalries die hard, ya’ know? He’s still a Thunderbird in my eyes…while Clouston will always be a Winter Hawk.
I see Spokane and Tri City advancing to face Vancouver and Kelowna respectively in the second round in the West…those should be some good battles. If the East prevails like I predict, it will be Calgary taking on Medicine Hat with Saskatoon facing Brandon…more good battles…I’ll be watching as much as possible on WHL TV.
Some stats to chew on…
In the WHL in 2009-10, there were a total of 653 players who played at least one game in the league…71 players born in 1988, 141 born in 1989, 156 born in 1990, 149 born in 1991, 107 born in 1992, 29 born in 1993.
For the 653 players, they combined for:
30,036 Games Played
27,108 Penalty Minutes
1,533 (30.2%) of the goals were scored on the power play.
221 (4.4%) of the goals were scored while short-handed.
For the Winter Hawks, there were these numbers of note:
– Chris Francis’ 67 points tied him for 12th amongst all 1989 born players (141 players in total) in points. His 46 assists were 9th overall amongst 1989 born players.
– Luke Walker’s 52 points placed him 16th amongst all 1990 born players (156 players in total) in points. His 29 goals was 7th amongst 1989 born players.
– Killian Hutt’s 35 points placed him 23rd amongst all 1991 born players (149 players in total) in points.
– Brad Ross’ 26 points placed him 11th amongst all 1992 born players (107 players in total) in points. His 119 penalty minutes were the most by any 1992 born player.
– Troy Rutkowski’s 15 points were 2nd overall amongst all 1992 born defensemen. His 6 goals were the most by any 1992 born defensemen in the WHL.
– Radim Valchar’s 41 points were tied for the 4th best for all European imports of any age in the WHL. (Milan Kytnar, SAS, 64 pts; Bostjan Golicic, CAL, 56 pts; Zdenek Okal, MH, 47 pts; Stepan Novotny, KEL, 41 pts).
That’s it for now…