Saturday, April 13, 2013

Paul Bittner

I've been thinking about a Paul Bittner post lately.  So was Paul Buker, apparently.

There's some great stuff in there about Bittner's background.  Good quotes from his family, and stories of his hometown.

Jon Bittner describes Crookston as a town of about 8,000 "five or six hours'' from Minneapolis-St. Paul, 140 miles south of Winnipeg, and 22 miles east of Grand Forks, North Dakota. He said the polka music did get the boys in trouble once at school. "One of our teachers gave us a call,'' he said, and told us, 'could you tell the boys to stop singing some of the songs they're singing? They're not appropriate.' " "There is no Beer in Heaven'' not appropriate for grade school? Who knew?

… life at Sunset High? “No one really treats me special,’’ he said. “I kind of just keep my head down, do my schoolwork, get out of there and go to the rink.’’ … he laughs, noting, “I guess there’s a rumor going around that I make a million dollars a year.’’

Well, there goes another 5 first rounders - and we hear a $200,000 number floating around sometimes...

While I like the direction Buker went, I think he missed a few things.  There's more to the controversy in MN with the kids defecting to the WHL:  Chris Peters has a great post about this issue.

The StarTrib also detailed the somewhat recent resignation of Jon Bittner from an executive board position with the coaches association last spring after his son, Paul, signed with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.
“I still take pride in community-based programs,” Jon Bittner said to David LaVaque of the StarTrib. “The only problem is I had one of those kids who wanted to play in the WHL.”

 As I mentioned earlier, I think the biggest part of the Bittner story is the success he's had when given the opportunity to get 1st line minutes with 1st line players.  In a 4 game span, he scored  2 goals & an assist  against Tri-City,  followed it up with a goal on New Years Eve,  had another 3 point night against Everett - capping off this stretch with the GWG against Prince George.  Game winning goals in 4 straight games, from the youngest player in the WHL.  I think that's a big story.  The last 2 games of the regular season saw #5 on the top line - and Paul potted goals in both of them.

Perhaps we should look at the video:





There was a really good Hockey Talk interview with Bittner from the 11/19/12 show -

 Bittner was also featured on the 3/25/13 edition - which was during the Everett series:

 (on a side note, that show is so much better with a hockey guy doing the interviews, but I suppose we are fortunate to have it in the first place.  should be interesting to see what next season brings).

The Winterhawks are bringing back 5 of their top 6 forwards next year, with Ty Rattie moving up to the AHL (or the Blues).  Seems like #5 fit in pretty well on the Petan / Leipsic line before - you'd think they will have a chance to shine.  Should be fun.

you better put two guys on #5 when he's out there

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