Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hello Prince George

- 15 hours later, the Blazers completed their longest single trip of the season as they rolled into Prince George just after 12pm following a 5-4 loss in Portland. It’s strange to think two cities in the same conference would be the longest journey of the year…such is life in the Western Conference.

- The Blazers coaching staff was pleased with the effort in Portland. With 10 forwards, the Blazers hung with the Winterhawks but in the end, it was a reoccurring theme – the penalty kill just couldn’t get the job done. A late goal by Sven Bertschi was the game winner with 3:21 to play. The Hawks finishing the night 3/5 on the powerplay

-You heard it here first. Switzerland will medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships this year. When I asked Portland F Nino Niederrietter the chances of that he shied away from the statement rather playing the underdog card instead. Swiss hockey has come a long way.. The team they sent to Saskatoon last year was pretty good. They return a lot of players including their all-star goaltender of last year’s tournament.

- It’s a cruel game. The Blazers, who had won six straight games on the road earlier this season, have now lost seven straight away from Interior Savings Center.

- 16 year-old call-up Aspen Sterzer showed me he’s got a bright future in the WHL. He got his nose dirty, played a smart game and showed some confidence. This kid is living the life. Just a couple days ago he’s playing “AAA” midget hockey in Calgary. Then he’s jumping on a plane for Kamloops, bussing through the Pacific Northwest and playing hockey in Portland’s Rose Garden. He’ll have some stories for his midget teammates.

- Brendan Ranford added a couple of goals and a helper to increase his league lead in goals (28) and points (53). How many people would have picked Ranford to be leading the league in scoring at the midway point?

- Great job by Blazer captain Chase Schaber. Chase served his one-game suspension with myself in the broadcast booth as my color commentator. We went over a few things before we flipped the switch and he took the ball and ran with it.

- Schaber gets back on the ice tomorrow night in Prince George – a place he’s likely more comfortable. The cavalry arrives somewhat as D Josh Caron is set to make his return after a 13 week absence with a broken collarbone. The Blazers will also insert newly acquired F Thomas Frazee into the mix. He’ll likely jump on the top line along with Schaber and Brendan Ranford.

- The Blazer coaching staff had Caron on the bench for the game in Portland as an Assistant Coach. It was a chance for him to see the game from a different perspective.

- “He’s the toughest defenseman in the Western Conference” – the words of Prince George Cougar colorman Al Bristowe when describing Sena Acolatse Tuesday night. I’m thinking Caron may stake a claim to that title. 13 weeks in the stands though may mean he has some catching up to do.

- The team stopped for an 8am breakfast at a local diner in 100 Mile House. Imagine the scene as 26 weary-eyed players and staff took over the local morning coffee spot. I think Sea-Bass and the boys were sitting over in the corner.

- What do you do with a day off in Prince George? How ‘bout some bowling? Check back for pics later.


1 comment:

Spencer said...

Sorry I couldn't make the game in Portland last night. It was my grandfather's 85th birthday and I figured my presence (or more so, my two sons' presence) was pretty necessary at the party. They really do need to consult me on the schedule before it's finalized:) I hope the boys didn't miss me behind the bench, I'll try to make a couple games in Seattle or Chilliwack later in the season. Hopefully, they'll use the Rose Garden more in the future when Kamloops is in town as that is a much better venue than the Memorial Coliseum.