Monday Update…

First, the big news today wasn’t good news as the Portland Winterhawks announced today that 19 year old Captain Brett Ponich is going to have surgery to repair a torn ACL on Thursday and could miss the remainder of the season.

Ponich hurt his knee on January 18th against Tri-City and if he is able to return depends on just how far the Winterhawks go in the post-season.  Ponich will remain in Portland to do his rehab, so he’ll still be a fixture in the room, providing leadership and support while he recovers.

The injury is lessened a bit by the emergence of 19 year old William Wrenn over the past couple of weeks.  Wrenn has 2-4-6 and a +18 rating in just 12 games.

The Hawks split the two games this weekend, falling to the Americans on Friday and then knocking off the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, both by the score of 5-2.

Portland remains at the top of the U.S. Division and Western Conference with 71 points after 52 games.  They are three points ahead of Spokane (having played 50 games) and six points ahead of Tri-City (having played 47 games).  The Chiefs and Americans will go head-to-head seven more times (four times in Kennewick, three in Spokane) and that will go a long way towards determining the fate of the Division.

Portland faces Tri-City three more times (2 at home, 1 on road) and Spokane just twice more (1 at home, 1 on road).

The game on Saturday was the 2,500th regular season game in Winterhawks history.  With the win, the Hawks are now 1224-1102-127-33-14 all-time having earned 2,622 points in the 2,500 games, a win percentage of .524.  In the 2,500 games, Portland has scored 10,743 goals (4.30/game) and allowed 10,610 (4.24/game).

On Wednesday Winterhawks players will be at the Lake Oswego Flying Pie location serving pizza as part of a fundraiser for Portland Junior Hawks player Mitchell Lammert, who is currently battling cancer. Winterhawks players will be serving pizzas, taking drink orders and greeting customers, with their tips going to help the Lammert family pay for Mitchell’s medical bills. In addition, there will also be numerous fundraising initiatives for the Lammerts at the Winterhawks game on Feb. 11. Details on that game will be announced soon.

On Friday, the Edmonton Oil Kings come to town for their lone visit every other year.  The Oil Kings (or at least this incarnation of the Oil Kings) are the only team that Portland has never beat on home ice in the WHL.  Granted, the Oil Kings have only played here once, getting a 5-2 win at the MC on 11/5/08.  Portland is 1-1-0-0 in Edmonton, winning 5-2 (man is that a popular score today or what?) on 10/15/09 at the Rexall Place in Edmonton.

On Saturday, the Tri-City Americans visit the MC and it will be the annual Buckaroos Salute, a tribute to the Portland Buckaroos teams that won three Lester Patrick Cups in 1961, 1965 and 1971 in the old Western Hockey League. Among the former players who will be in attendance that night will be Jim Hay, Art Jones and Tom McVie. There will be a display of Buckaroos memorabilia and opportunities for fans to meet the players and get autographs.

Lastly, here is the broadcast schedule for February:

Feb. 4 vs. Edmonton: Freedom 970 AM

Feb. 5 vs. Tri-Cities: Newsradio 750 KXL

Feb. 9 @ Spokane: Freedom 970 AM

Feb. 11 vs. Tri-Cities: Freedom 970 AM

Feb. 12 @ Seattle: Freedom 970 AM

Feb. 19 @ Chilliwack: Newsradio 750 KXL

Feb. 22 @ Prince George: Freedom 970 AM

Feb. 23 @ Prince George: Freedom 970 AM

Feb. 25 @ Everett: Freedom 970 AM/Televised on FSN Northwest

Feb. 26 @ Seattle: Newsradio 750 KXL

Check, Test..1,2…Test…

Hello, is this thing on?  Test, 1,2…

OK, my log-in still worked for the blog, so I thought I’d throw out a numbers based theme following the Hawks 9-2 win over the Chilliwack Bruins last night at the MC (highlights available at www.whl.ca and www.winterhawks.com).

5 – The point output for Brendan Leipsic last night.  After reviewing the video, an assist was added on the ninth goal for Leipsic, capping off his five-point night.  The 16 year old has been playing tremendous of late and he was rewarded last night on the score sheet for his efforts.

4 – The number of players who finished with four points.  An assist was also added for Ty Rattie on Craig Cunningham’s goal giving Rattie 2-2-4 on the night.  Cunningham (1-3-4), Bartschi (1-3-4) and Riley Boychuk (1-3-4) were the other three.  As far as I can tell, last nights game with five players with four points or more was a first in team history, but the early years when points were more prevalent, only tracked players with five points or more in a game.

12 – The combined points for the Rattie/Cunningham/Bartschi line last night.  Also, Rattie now has 12 points during a six game point streak.

11 – The combined points for the Leipsic/Taylor Peters/Boychuk line last night.  Peters now has goals in three of his last four games after having just one goal in his previous 25 games.

101 – Career points for Rattie.  He passed the 100 career point plateau last night, having picked up 101 points in 120 career WHL games, an average of .84 points per game.   Niederreiter is just three points shy of the century mark having 97 points in 98 career WHL games.

1 – The number of points for Ryan Johansen in the Hawks biggest offensive outputs this season.  He scored a short-handed goal against Prince Albert in the Hawks 8-2 win that night but didn’t hit the score sheet in an 8-6 victory in Kamloops and the 9-2 win last night.  Not to worry, the Johan has 47 points in the other 38 games that he has played in.

39 – The number of games that Bartschi has produced at least one point this season…meaning that he hasn’t registered a point in just six of the 45 games he has played in his rookie season.

16 – The number in the plus/minus column for William Wrenn after just 10 games as a Hawk.  Wrenn and Taylor Aronson were both a +5 last night, although neither registered a point.

20 – The number of victories on home ice this season (Hawks are 20-6-0-2 on home ice – 11-2-0-1 at the MC/9-4-0-1 at the RG).  This marks the 22nd time in the 35 year history that the Hawks have won at least 20 games on home ice.

11.5 – The Hawks magic number to clinch a playoff spot.  Right now, the Everett Silvertips (based on maximum points earned potential) could finish with 91 points if they went 24-0-0-0 to finish the season.  Portland has 69 points now, separating the teams by 22 points.  The 11.5 is the games either won by Portland or lost by Everett in regulation that would equal 23 points.    The Kamloops Blazers, despite being two points ahead of Everett in the standings have the fewest points potential as they have played three more games than Everett, giving them a maximum points potential of 87 points.  Confused yet?

Don’t forget the Hawks/Ams game tomorrow night will be televised on FSN live at 7:00.  The game is also on Freedom 970 with the pre-game show starting at our new time – 6:35…

OT Winner Highlight…

From Tuesday…

A Respite…

I sat down tonight (or this morning) to write a recap of the very entertaining game at the Prospera Place in Kelowna tonight and…I don’t know…I seem to have the lost the creative writing bug.  This isn’t new (for me, anyway) as I’ve been fighting the battle for a while now.

It’s not because the Hawks lost or that they haven’t been winning as much as they did in the first half of the season…this has been an ongoing battle for me for the past six months or longer.  I’ve fought through it, but it hasn’t been great writing as my opinions seem strained and my attempts at humor seem sarcastic and snippy in my head, so I don’t type them.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, while in high school  I was an Editor on both the Newspaper and Yearbook staffs and even in writing proposals for customers now.  The blog has been an outlet for me to write about the sport and team I love and it has been received well by most people.  I don’t know the exact numbers of readers since I wrote my first blog on the Winter Hawks (then, Winterhawks now) website back in the 2005-06 season, but it is a large six-figure number.

I know that many people feel that what I write is sanitized by the Hawks organization, but nothing could be further from the truth.  I’ve never been told what I can or can not write nor have they tried to control the message that I send.

When I started, there weren’t very many (or any) WHL specific blogs that I can remember, now there are dozens.  They are a great source of information and mine has been lacking in that lately.  I’ve kept writing, mainly for the parents of the players who frequent the site looking for any shred of news on their sons.   I am always flattered and humbled when I meet the parents (for either the first time or the 20th) and they tell me how much they appreciate what I write.

But, with that being said…I need a break from feeling obligated to write.  I’ve thought about this for a while and the time is right in my head now.  I will return soon, hopefully recharged and mind cleared.  I may give Todd the ability to post here to fill some space, but I haven’t talked to him about that in a while…and that is if he wants to.

And I will say that Dylan and Samantha each bring a lot in the OregonLive blogs that I’ve linked to on the left…if you haven’t check them out, do so.

Thanks for reading…and thanks for your patience until I return…lastly, you can always send me questions at hawksblog@comcast.net or to Todd and I both at hawksradio@gmail.com.

A Note About Tonight…

The Portland Winterhawks will honor Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter, who was killed in the line of duty last Wednesday, at tonight’s game against the Spokane Chiefs.

Painter’s daughter, Julianne Painter-Heuer, will perform a ceremonial puck drop, followed by a moment of silence. The national anthem will then be performed by a member of the Hillsboro Police Department.

January 9 vs. Everett Highlights…

Three of the four Portland goals and the entire shootout…

January 8 vs. Seattle Highlights

Someone asked about highlights from this weekends games…here are the two Portland goals and the sliding save by Mac Carruth from Saturday…I’ll see if I can Sunday’s done later today:

  • Questions?

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