A game preview is posted below.
The Broncos spent the day off in rainy Seattle yesterday as the boys practiced in Everett before making the half hour trip of the freeway to the Emerald City. Practice was light but up-tempo. Deano let me wheel around a little on the ice with the guys. It was a good experience to see the speed at ice level. It’s not the first time I’ve done this but it’s a good refresher as to how fast the game is played. A lot of us think it looks easy from the media box. This gives you a different perspective and a better feel for how skilled these guys are.
We did the showdown at the end of practice. I swear I use to have some moves… now I have nothing, and I mean nothing. I was 0 for 9 or 10 on Yonks and Curtis. At one point Yonks was saying “Five-hole. Five-hole” as I skated down as to let me know what he was giving me…. It didn’t help. Regardless it was fun and I hope I provided some comedy for the guys.
The team bussed into Seattle where the team had some free time. We headed down to the famous Pike’s Market for a look around. It’s the world’s 2nd largest working marker so I’m told. Lots of fresh fish, crab, handcrafts, everything. It’s pretty interesting.
The highlight for me may have been getting a coffee at the first ever Starbucks. Established in 1971, the chain has grown to over 15,000 outlets by now. Seattle is well known for it’s coffee and little coffee shops along the way. It’s part of the culture in this city, kind of like the rain.
Seattle is also one of the most wired wi-fi cities in North American. Virtually everywhere you go has wireless Internet. Enough of Seattle 101 though, the Broncos play Portland tonight in their first and only meeting of the season.
The Broncos play their fifth game of the six game swing tonight. The Broncos haven’t won in Portland since February 12th, 2000. That night the Broncos blanked the Hawks 5-0.
The Broncos have won the last three of four head to head contests. Most recently last season at the Civic Center where the Broncos blanked them 3-0 November 22nd. It was Travis Yonkman’s 2nd career shutout. He will get the start tonight in goal.
The last time Swifty played in Portland it was ugly. The Hawks won 4-0 back in 2004. Kyle Moir was brilliant in goal to keep the score at only 4-0. He made 49 saves in the loss as the Broncos were outshot 53-14. That was a bad game. How come you always remember the bad games like they were yesterday?
Portland enters the game with an eight game losing skid. They lost in Spokane Wednesday 7-1 in their last outing. Following tonight’s game they will play a home and home set with Everett to conclude the first half.
Their last win came November 20th against Chilliwack. Goaltender Kurtis Mucha made a remarkable 65 saves in a 4-3 win over the Bruins.
Their team looks substanably different after two major deals last month with both Lethbridge and Moose Jaw. The Hawks went out and picked up Travis Bobbee, Ryan Kerr, Nick Dietrich and Jacob Dietrich from Lethbridge. They also scooped up Travis Erhardt, Keith Voytechek, and Jason Grecica from Moose Jaw.
The Hawks shouldn’t be taken lightly despite their league worst record of 5-26-0-1. They are 2-1 against east division teams this season including a win over Regina 4-3. Plus the Broncos are dealing with some bumps and bruises, injuries, and a little sickness. Let’s hope they can put it together for tonight’s contest.
The good news is they’ve played well on this trip despite a 2-2 record in the first four outings. We’re on the air at 9pm with the pre-game show, 9:30pm with the play-by-play.
The people’s Premier Brad Wall will be our guest tonight in the pre-game show. The big sports fan has had quite the opening month as Premier of Saskatchewan. He hosted one kick-ass Grey Cup party on the Legislature grounds. He keeps tabs on the Broncos and routinely brings them up during opening member statements…. Usually after wins against Regina and Moose Jaw. He has to walk the line a bit more now. I’ll ask him about that.
Look for a recap later; I’ll try my best to piece something together on the bus ride home.
Here's some pics from the Thursday day off...
Moving in to another hotel. Paul Ayotte steers the trolley
Spencer McAvoy, Dale Wiese, Geordie Wudrick, Ian Curtis all catch a break unloading the gear in Seattle.
Key Arena in Seattle. The basketball court is out but the ice remains under the plywood floor.