With the team in a practice week, I took a few days off from the blogging world…here are some Friday Randoms heading into the two game set this weekend against the Red Deer Rebels and the Everett Silvertips, both games at 7:00 at the Memorial Coliseum.
– The Hawks enter the weekend with the WHL’s best record at 12-2-0-1, having won six straight games. After the two home games this weekend, the team will depart on Sunday AM to head for the prairies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba for six roadies in eight nights on what is the longest trip of the year.
– Tonight’s game features the top two players from the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ty Rattie doing battle. Both are off to great starts with Nugent-Hopkins posting 3-22-25 in 17 games for the Rebels and Rattie producing 11-17-28 in 15 games. These two are targeted for the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in June and it should be fun to watch them go at it tonight.
– Special teams will also be a key tonight as the two teams are #1 and #2 in penalty kill in the WHL. Portland is #1 at 89.6% and Red Deer is #2 at 88.7%. Red Deer’s power play is #5 overall at 22.9% while Portland is #8 at 21.0%. One thing to note…Red Deer has had 105 power play chances in 17 games (6.2/game) while Portland has had 81 in 15 games (5.4/game). On the flip side, Portland has faced 96 short-handed chances in 15 games (6.4/game) while Red Deer has only faced 80 in 17 games (4.7/game).
– The Rebels started the U.S. Swing on Tuesday in Kent, falling to Seattle 4-1, despite out-shooting the Thunderbirds 47-16. (The Rebels are 1-1-0-0 against the U.S. as they did a one-off game in Spokane in October, winning 4-2.)
– According to a Twitter feed from the Saskatoon Blades, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons and his significant other Shannon Tweed (a native of Saskatoon) will be at the Blades/Hawks game next Friday night. Time to rock and roll all night and party every day…
– Saturday night is the annual Turkey Shoot following the game against Everett. If you’re planning on attending, plan on parking and traffic delays as the Portland Trail Blazers play at the same time in the Rose Garden.