Well, we know that Ryan Johansen will return to Portland with a medal…the question is will it be Gold or Silver? Johansen and Team Canada will take on the team from Russia at 4:30 local time this afternoon for all the marbles in Buffalo, NY. The game can be seen on the NHL Network for those that have access.
Johansen has had a great tournament, getting at least one point in every Canada game and has been arguably the Canadians best forward in the last two games. His numbers (3-6-9 and a +5 in six games) are getting buried by the offensive exploits of Brayden Schenn, but it is quite the tournament for a player that had never played on the International stage at any point prior to this tournament.
The other Hawks playing in Buffalo – Nino Niederreiter and Sven Bartschi – finished their tournament on a good note, knocking off Finland yesterday in a shootout to finish fifth overall in the 10 team tournament.
Neither put up huge numbers but from the two games that I saw on television, both played well and created chances.
At the World U17’s, Team West with Brendan Leipsic and Derrick Pouliot finished sixth overall in the tournament that ended yesterday. Leipsic had 3-2-5 in five games while Pouliot (who was named a tournament All-Star) had 0-3-3 in five games.
All of the players that took part in these tournaments are expected back in Portland in time for the Hawks two home games this weekend against Seattle on Saturday and Everett on Sunday.
William Wrenn is signed, sealed and delivered and he too will be looking to be in the lineup this weekend. He will wear #44 for the Hawks. The physical, stay at home defenseman has been skating the last couple of days with the Hawks and it will be an interesting story to see how he transitions from the NCAA to the WHL.
Not only is the style of game different, but there is a transition from wearing a full face cage to a half visor…not as easy as it sounds. Having these few days to practice with the visor will help for sure.
Portland will be without Tayler Jordan for the next 4-6 weeks after suffering an abdominal injury. The Hawks will miss his physical presence and his penalty killing, where Jordan has been really good this year.
With Jordan out, that leaves just Craig Cunningham as the Hawks lone overage player in the lineup this weekend. With the trade deadline looming at 2 PM local time on Monday, January 10th, we’ll see if that continues to be the case.
One radio note for this weekend, Saturday’s game will be broadcast on AM 750 KXL Newsradio instead of Freedom 970. Pre-game show will be at 6:40.