- The season isn't over. Seattle can still forge a tie with Everett by winning in Portland this evening. On paper this is a monumental (and potentially impossible) task... but the Winterhawks have nothing to play for and as much as they would love to send their I-5 rivals home for the summer, they are going to have much bigger fish to fry. So what does that mean? I imagine Portland will start 16 year old Brendan Burke in goal. Risking injury to Mac Carruth would be a huge risk. Especially given the chippy nature of the play between Seattle and Carruth. Expect to see Burke in net. I would have to think that some of Portland's top players will be given a day to rest with Portland's younger players being dressed for the game. Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying... this doesn't mean the victory is assured. Portland will still have a superior roster of players even if they scratch some of their veterans but Seattle will definitely have a better chance at getting this done. In case you were wondering, Burke is 2-1 against Seattle and 2-0 at home in Portland.
- Should they win tonight by hook or crook... They will host Everett on Tuesday night at Showare Center in a game that will be marketed as an additional 2 for Tuesday opportunity. Half price tickets and $2 concessions.
- A few notes on players - I spent a good portion of the first half of the season defending Dave Sutter against fans who I thought weren't being very fair to him. By the end of January, he was only -5 on a team that was flush with minus players. Well... it has become pretty tough to defend him lately. Sutter was a remarkably -18 in February and has "added" another -7 in March and now sits at -33 for the season. He hasn't continued to improve, he has regressed and he now plays like he is afraid to make a mistake.
- I will say it again... if Branden Troock ever learns to use his teammates and pass the puck he is going to be a special player. Sure, there are times when your team needs an individual effort, but Troock has to learn how to pick his spots. His goal last night was a thing of beauty... but making it happen 1 out of every 15 times isn't good hockey and until he learns to use his teammates and work without the puck he will be limited as a player.
- Evan Wardley was well deserved as the Most Improved Tbirds player. An afterthought at the beginning of the year, Wardley has worked his tail off and done everything the coaching staff has asked him to do and his improved play has landed him in the regular rotation. Having a defender willing and able to deliver a big hit on almost every shift makes it impossible for the opposing team to operate comfortably. If he and Shea Theodore can learn a slap shot over the summer they are going to have a very good chance at taking the next step forward.
- Connor Honey continues to impress. He skates hard, he forechecks his ass off and he has great hockey sense. He scores pretty goals and greasy goals. There is a lot to like about this kid and he has a very bright future ahead. I would not be surprised to see him over 45 points next year and possibly more.
- The game was like Rocky III. Twitter doesn't allow for enough space for me to have explained that comment but the game was like two boxers who hold their hands at their sides swinging and landing wild bombs back and forth until someone finally falls down. It was two bad hockey teams just taking their best wild swings and ultimately Everett got a lucky bounce and buried Seattle with a roundhouse cross.
- Awards were passed out last night. I can't remember all of them... as I was a little too bummed out to be paying much attention. MVP was Calvin Pickard (shocker), Most Dedicated was Brad Deagle and Cason Machacek, Most Improved was Evan Wardley, Top Defensemen was Brad Deagle. Scholastic POY was Mitch Elliot for I believe the 3rd year in a row and the Booster Club's award for most popular player was Jacob Doty. Leading scorer was Burke Gallimore.
Season on the Brink
I don't want to write. I just don't. Seattle wasn't able to seal the deal last night and the issues that have plagued them all season chose to show up again in the biggest game of the season. This loss wasn't for lack of effort but simply a lack of execution. Calvin Pickard arguably wasn't at his best and the defense wasn't able to clear pucks from the front of the net well enough to deserve the victory. Where does Seattle go from here?
5:05 Tonight in Portland. Final game of the season, final chance to stay alive for the playoffs. Do or die boys. Get it done or regret it forever.