Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mike Aviani: guts

Mike Aviani is a warrior. He demonstrates the guts required to pull that Chiefs sweater over head every time he steps on the ice.   Not just any player could play second fiddle to Holmberg - but Aviani plays that role to perfection.   We just witnessed a profile in courage from #16 tonight.   In my opinion, Aviani tonight was right up there with Bobby Baun, or Paul Kariya.  Pure guts.  If you look closely, its apparent that de Champlain may have actually touched Aviani on this play:

Sadly, the Chiefs couldn't find a way to rally around their fallen teammate, who mustered up the strength to remain on the ice for the ensuing faceoff.  Bravo!

BONUS:  did Carter Proft bite Adam de Champlain in a fight?  You be the judge:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Subway Superseries and what it means to you

Every year about this time the Russian National team brings over a group of kids looking to make their World Junior team, to play against CHL players hoping to make team Canada.  They play two games each against the QMJHL, OHL, and WHL.

From Wikipedia:

The Subway Super Series[1] is an annual six game exhibition ice hockey tournament held between a select team of Russian junior players and all-star teams representing the three leagues of the Canadian Hockey League. The current corporate sponsor is Subway. The event was first held in 2003 as the Re/Max Canada-Russia Challenge. From 2004 until 2008 it was known as the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. The CHL holds a commanding lead in the overall series.
The Russian Selects play two games each hosted by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. All games are broadcast nationally in Canada on Sportsnet. The series features many players, also on the Canadian National junior team.

You hear every year that the Russians don't bring over their top guys, and perhaps that shows in the records over the years.   The CHL is 46-12-4 all time in this series.  That being said, team Russia has been doing better the last few years.

We've seen Russian CHL players play in this series as well - guys like Nail Yakapov for example.  This time we'll see our old friend Kirill Vorberev play for his motherland.

This is a Hockey Canada run tournament.  Therefore it features Canadian players from the CHL - no Americans are invited.   With each league getting 2 games, sometimes guys play in both, sometimes just one game.  Schedules of the players' club teams affect this (can't have the kids going 4 games in 5 days for example), or sometimes they just want to see an additional viewing from a kid.

In 2010, our old friends Brett Ponich, Brad Ross, Ryan Johansen, and Ty Rattie made team WHL.  Ross, Rattie, and Joe Morrow represented the 'Hawks in 2011.  Last year, Rattie represented the WHL along with Derrick Pouliot & Tyler Wotherspoon - and we remember Spooner & Rattie playing significant roles in bringing home the silver for their great nation (Seth Jones brought the gold home to 'merica - USA! USA! USA!).

This season the 'Hawks are sending Pouliot, Brendan Leipsic, Taylor Leier, and Nic Petan.  How will they do against team Russia?  We'll know in a couple days.  Will they make the world junior team?  Guys like Pouliot are valuable, but historically there are lots of good offensive D men on this team.  You have to like the odds of the two leading scorers in the 'dub making this team, but they are both undersize and Petan is a 18 year old in a 19's tournament.  Leier seems like a dark horse, but a guy with his defensive play & good hands he could be huge in a bottom 6 role for Canada.  Time will tell.

(sadly, we don't have any USA candidates on this team this year - unless something changes).

The WHL leg of this years series is this Wednesday & Thursday.  All of our guys are scheduled for both games.  There has been free streaming of these games - but I've ran into an issue where they aren't streamable in the US before.  I have had success with finding the games on in the past - but I haven't attempted to stream this years edition of this series.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I'm hopping on the #canetrain

I'm now officially a fan of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.  I'm on the #canetrain.

Its goddamned tough sledding up there right now.  Things like this keep happening:

 They've even got NHL teams swinging hammers at 'em.

Man, we've been there.   I remember watching a good defenseman go from a +6 over parts of 3 years in Moose Jaw to a - 78 in two years here.  We had a dude get cut from this team 3 times, and kept fighting for a roster spot.  There was a time where the 'Hawks were 7 games into the season, and had scored goals in 3 of 'em.   How many teams have seen a 22 game losing streak?

After living through the dark ages of those years, I'd never wish that on my worst enemies.  Hell, I'm excited for Seattle to be doing well this year (so far, at least).  I've only lived in WHL country since 2005, and I can't remember the Hurricanes being good.  The only time I was excited to see them come to town focused solely on heckling Kyle Beach - as his Everett days rubbed me the wrong way.  I also gave it to Colton Seviour, "HEY - I SAW YOU GET BEAT UP ON YOUTUBE" - related to that same incident.  Lastly, I was real excited to heckle Luca Sbisa, who had just got sent down from the NHL.   Of course, we were fortunate enough to see both Sbisa & Beach share Rose Garden ice later on (which I would argue could have been the turing point for this franchise transforming them into a winner).

Lets get the goddamned 'Cane train back on track.  I love the community owned teams.  I love small markets.  Zach Boychuck, Bryce Salvador, & Brent Seabrook played for the 'Canes.  If it means trading a couple 16 or 17 year old promising forward prospects for Pilon, that ultimately help their cause - and I think the 'Hawks should make that sacrifice.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Evan Wardley charge on Adam de Champlain

That's the video the league has to go off of.  I wish them luck, as its hard to see much of anything.  Of course, many 'hawks fans missed it in real time - but that's a different story.  It was called a charge,  which the league looks at differently than a check to the head.

At the worst, it looks to me to be a hockey play gone wrong.  The puck arrives in Champ's skates about the same time as Wardley lays the hit.  Its a full speed head on collision, which always looks bad & often times has injurious results.

One positive I saw in the video is that Champ's leg looks hurt.  Its hard to cast that as a positive, but I'm just hoping that his head is OK - we tend to assume its a head injury when a guy is laying in a heap like that.  You'd rather deal with a leg injury than a brain injury, right?  This is a player who missed time with a brain injury last season, and has been known to engage in hockey fights.

It should be interesting to see how the WHL handles this.  We've seen these things left as 5 min + the game being adequate punishment lately.  We've seen mystery suspensions as well.  Often the league leaves these alone for a few days to evaluate the injured players status, as that tends to factor into the punishment.

All major penalties are automatically reviewed for subsequent discipline.  I'm not sure if there is a secret Canadian holiday Monday or Tuesday - so presumably the WHL offices are open this week.  As of noon on Saturday there's nothing on the WHL's discipline page.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Open letter to Neulion / WHL Live

Dear Neulion / WHL:

My beloved Portland Winterhawks are playing a game RIGHT NOW - as I write this.  Sure, I'd love to be able to watch the game, as I have a WHL live subscription, but that would be assuming that the damn thing works.

I've purchased the streaming package for several years now, so this is nothing new to me.  I have a fast machine & screamin' internet connection, so that's not an issue.  I watched my favorite NHL team win in OT just tonight, for example.

The streaming this season has been particularly bad.  My theory is that with the 'Hawks throwing in the road games as part of season tickets, the traffic is increased which further taxes the system.  This is not acceptable.

Perhaps its just me, as Neulion tech support has told me in the past.  Perhaps not:

anybody else getting tired of all these buffering issues...seemingly every frickin game

I have decided on an open letter to Neulion as a blog post
Funny how the feed was ok during pre-skate but went south to choppy and buffering when the game started - due to lots more people logging and other games I
Also, tried to chat online with them but after 15min I gave up
I have tried chatting with them online as well. They never answer
I got my away games as a part of my package with the Hawks. I'm mulling asking them to cancel the rest of it. Too hit and miss.
The access was part of my hawks package so I was thinking of sending a msg to hawks office pointing out that including this in the package is nice if it works. That said most of the time it does. Only last game the audio of the announcer was bad which may have been a feed from the venue

Are people watching whl live experiencing choppy buffering video feed??
View more items
you also forgot to mention pixelated..
it's been fairly solid for the last 10 minutes or so
.... spoke too soon... buffering

Dylan Bumbarger, community blogger
anyone had better luck with the buffering?
no, after logging out and logging back in it had gotten better for a little bit, but its right back to a hot mess now.
Sounds like what I'm hoping to pick up at the casino after my sports watching/listening wraps up tonight! :-)
No, I've packed it in for now. Will try later.

Chad Balcom
I wonder how many more Portland fans watch the stream now that its part of season tickets, and if that extra usage could push the league to upgrade equipment
Yes on the first notion, no way this century on the 2nd.

So far, the video feed is a buffering mess, I missed the first goal! LOL
we just exited all the way out of the video and it is fine now-if you're still stuck it might be worth a try
I've done that twice, no joy so far

dang. I'm totally locked up still for video......