No Looking Back…OK…Maybe Just a Little…

With the 3-2 win over the Spokane Chiefs last night at the Spokane Arena, the Portland Winterhawks have hit the official halfway point of the 2009-10 season having played their 36th game of the season.

Traditionally, I have compared the statistics for the current season to the statistics of the prevous season at this point and I’ll hold to that tradition (even if there is no comparison between the two!).

Obviously, the teams has performed very well for the first half of 2009-10 compared to years past and here are some numbers to back that up:

Overall Record:

2009-10:  22-13-0-1 — 45 points, 2nd in US Division

2008-09:  10-25-1-0 — 21 points, 5th in US Division

Goals For:

2009-10:  136 — 3.89/game

2008-09:  80 — 2.22/game

(A side note…the Hawks have scored more goals on the road — 81 — in 21 games this season than they scored in 36 games last season.)

Goals Against:

2009-10:  125 — 3.57/game

2008-09:  144 — 4.00/game

Shots For:

2009-10:  1235 — 35.29/game

2008-09:  987 — 27.42/game

Shots Against:

2009-10:  1208 — 34.51/game

2008-09:  1249 — 34.69/game

Power Play;

2009-10:  36 for 171 — 21.1%

2008-09:  21 for 169 — 12.4%

Penalty Kill:

2009-10:  152 of 197 — 77.2%

2008-09:  125 of 171 — 73.1%

Individual Returning Players Comparison:

2 – Rutkowski

2009-10:  36 gp, 7-18-25

2008-09:  32 gp, 2-4-6

5 – Morrow

2009-10:  31 gp, 1-13-14

2008-09:  16 gp, 0-3-3

6 – Ponich

2009-10:  34 gp, 1-9-10

2008-09:  36 gp, 1-6-7

11 – Gabriel

2009-10:  5 gp, 0-1-1

2008-09:  28 gp, 2-3-5

12 – Francis

2009-10:  36 gp, 15-25-40

2008-09:  30 gp, 6-16-22

14 – Walker

2009-10:  32 gp, 15-15-30

2008-09:  36 gp, 11-9-20

17 – Boychuk

2009-10:  30 gp, 10-7-17

2008-09:  29 gp, 3-4-7

18 – Ross

2009-10:  36 gp, 16-19-35

2008-09:  33 gp, 6-11-17

28 – Schneider

2009-10:  36 gp, 6-8-14

2008-09:  31 gp, 4-2-6

55 – Jordan

2009-10:  31 gp, 1-2-3

2008-09:  19 gp, 2-2-4

34 – Curtis

2009-10:  20 gp, 12-4-0-1, 3.32, 90.3%, 2 SO

2008-09:  1 gp, 0-1-0-0, 4.00. 86.7%

Now, for the first time, I’ll present my selections for first half awards…these are my opinions and your opinions are always welcome in the comments section.  Without further adieu…my selections for the first half awards:

Bill Anderson Award for Character/Ability:  Stefan Schneider

Schneider won this award last year and in my opinion, he has brought even more to the table in his overage season.  He is a bear on the forecheck, playing clean, hard-hitting hockey, creating havoc against the opposing teams top lines night in and night out.   He has good offensive skills as well as he has almost matched his point total for last season.

In addition, Schneider is a leader in the room and he is a player that the young forwards can look to as an example for work ethic and perseverance.  He blocks shots better than anyone on the team and consistently puts team first in every situation.

Honorable Mentions:  Chris Francis & Brett Ponich

Robert R. Boss Memorial Award/Top Defensive Player:  Joe Morrow

Quiet Joe, as I like to call him, is having a very good season as a 17 year old second year player and for the most part, he goes unnoticed a lot of nights.   That is one of the best compliments you can give a d-man…going unnoticed as that means you are doing your job.   Morrow is exceptionally calm and poised with the puck on his stick and he skates so well that he can carry the puck out of danger and create scoring chances.

Has led the team in plus/minus all season and has a rocket of a point shot.  Being a late birth date and not eligible for the 2010 NHL Draft, I think his stock will only rise as he is getting a long look by NHL scouts who are watching the Hawks draft-eligible players this year.

Honorable Mentions:  Jacob Berglund & Stefan Schneider

Leading Scorer:  Chris Francis

A no-brainer here as Francis is leading the Hawks with 40 points through 36 games.   He has been the most consistent performer on the score sheet all season long, picking up points in 23 of 36 games, including 12 multi-point nights.  He has two hat-tricks and is threat even-strength, on the power play and on the penalty kill.

With so much adversity last year, it is great to see Franny back in Portland and producing so well as an overage forward.

Rookie of the Year:  Nino Niederreiter

Not an easy selection as there have been so many good performances by first year players for the Hawks, but you cannot question what Nino has brought with him from Switzerland.  His 21 goals lead all Hawks and his 39 points puts him atop all rookie scorers in the CHL.

He plays hard in all three zones and plays physical as well…the complete package.  Off the ice, Nino has fit in very well and is a tremendous asset in the locker room with his positive attitude and ever-present smile.

If he is not a first round NHL selection in June…there needs to be an investigation.

Honorable Mentions:  Taylor Aronson, Ryan Johansen & Ty Rattie

Brian C. Shaw Most Valuable Player:  Brad Ross

I may be going a bit off the board with that selection, but you know once the puck drops, Brad Ross will be giving 100% every second of every shift to do what it takes to have success.   He is on pace for over 30 goals, 70 points and almost 200 penalty minutes.   That, my friends, is not a typical season for a 17 year old second year player.

He is a pain in the butt to play against and a player that every team needs to have on their roster.  He leads the way in physical play and has one of the best wrist shots on the roster.   Simply put, he hates to lose and he’ll do whatever he can to prevent it from happening.

By the time he graduates the WHL, he may be more hated than Marty Standish in the U.S. Division…that is saying something and he deserves to be recognized for what he brings to the table every night.

Honorable Mentions:  Chris Francis, Nino Niederreiter & Luke Walker

I’ll see if I can get some video highlight together for the game last night in Spoke to post later…

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the half-season awards. I really endorse your position on Brad Ross. This kid is developing at an astonishing pace. Brad billeted at my sister’s house for his age 15 camp with the Hawks, and this is not the same guy.

    However, I will still hold-off on projecting him for the Standish Standard of Hated-By-Opponents. Brad will have to exceed Marty in a bunch of the hated-by-opponents areas because he is cursed with normal size.

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