Saturday, October 20, 2007

10/19/2007 Wolves-s Hogs, an introduction

Last night in the Allstate arena the Chicago Wolves and the new and improved AHL Rockford IceHogs shook hands for the first time. Was this the start of a genuine rivalry? The jury is still out on that one but it was a intensely physical first period. So physical it included single matches and a line brawl.

Not to beat on a dead horse but this Hog team is not the same team we cheered in Rockford last May for the Colonial Cup. They are transplants for Norfolk VA, the mysterious east where players sleep in their own beds every night and travel budgets are spent on gas for the team bus. Listening to the PPP Show one can learn the East is a very chippy place they play a physical game out there, nothing personal. But everyone seems to have the Broad Street Bully attitude, if they cant beat you they will beat you. The Wolves first encountered this philosophy in the 05' Calder Cup final series against the Philly Phantoms. Simply put in 05' the Wolves had never played such an unrelentingly physical team that year and they sent us home without a cup in four games. Given last nights win Coach John Anderson learned his lessons well 05' because the Wolves got their bearings and the win last night in this first meeting of the East and West.

Here are some images from the game...


Pekka Rinne, another reason to respect him.

Last Saturday when Rinne started against the Wolves in their home opener I noticed on the the back of his helmet was a pink ribbon. As a woman who has friends and family touched by breast cancer, Thank You Pekka. One out of eight women will be diagnosed with some form of breast cancer in their lifetime. When I took my nursing boards in 89' the correct answer on the test was one out of ten.. This disease is changing the lives of families and taking the lives of sisters,mothers and friends. Presently, early detection and research is the best shot we have at a cure. Ladies get your mamos. Men, get the women in your lives to their appointments for their mammograms. In the meantime, Tanks again Pekka, many guys will pin one on but few will paint one on.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chicago Wolves Home opener!

Saturday night, at last the Chicago Wolves fans arrived at the Allstate Arena ready to see the puck drop for the first time since Memorial Day weekend. The opponent for the home opener was fittingly our rivals to the north the Milwaukee Admirals. The first period both teams were still shaking out the rust, evidenced by the low SOG, a total of 18 by the end of the frame.

By the start of the second the boys had found their rhythm again. Our exciteable boy, Boris Valabik totalled 14 PIM for tripping, unsportsmanlike conduct and abuse of officials. Kevin Doell showed his developing reputation as an agitator getting his second 2 minutes of the game . Milwaukee's Pekka Rinne, always a pleasure to watch in goal made many pretty saves yet let in Chicago's first goal of the night.

With the score tied third period seemed endless, finally OT started. Considering that the Wolves hadn't won a home opener since 03' the best most in the stands hoped for was that the game wouldn't end in a shoot out but in hot action at the goal. Haters of the shoot out were to win the day along with the Wolves, 1:46 into OT defenceman Brian Fahey nailed the net for the winning goal.

To paraphrase Roddy Doyle, with two wins in two outings, "It's a good start and I believe in starts.". Now on to Rockford on the 19th.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blackhawks and Snowdrops

I am feeling a bit like a gardner these days, peeking out the door the on St. Bridget's day looking to see if the snow drops are up yet. This week the Chicago Blackhawks are like snow drops in February showing signs of the early stirrings of life.

Bob Pulford has been relegated to what appears to be a "gentleman's office role" in the organization, dare I say it we may see the Hawks on our television screens by the end of the season. Friends report that they receiving calls from ticket reps offering assistance with information and tickets for this season for the first time. This is a major change from the organization which gave every appearance of enjoying empty houses. Practically inviting season ticket holders to make the drive to to Rosemont to check out the winning Wolves.

Rocky Wirtz, it would still take a press pass to get me to the United Center. However, my nose is peaking out the door and hoping for signs of life. You officially have my radar up, as the season progresses and you tend your fallow garden, I wish for Blackhawk blooms.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Oct 6th, Quad City Flames-v- Rockford Ice Hogs, innagural AHL game.

Last night we packed up the van with the usual suspects, Alvious, Wolfkeeper,Princess, Kissane and myself. We then hit the road for the inaugural games of these two former UHL teams and arch rivals in their AHL incarnations. Both teams look "new", but I'll leave the improved analysis to others.

All I can say is that although we were in QC and surrounded by familiar faces in classic Hog sweaters, at least at this point in the season the old UHL soul seems to be gone from the teams. Like an injured vetran player, the old UHL spirt just was missing from both benches. It begs the question; "Can the dedicated fans of these two great UHL traditions bring their new teams and the rest of us, their UHL enthusiasm and desperately needed soul?" If there is a Hockey God in heaven they will, I for one will be lighting candles and wearing out the prayer beads in this effort. If any group of fans can get the rest of us off of our well padded rumpuses it is the Rockford Boosters. Any team that can inspire an Elvis tribute artist to follow them on the road, well, you just have to believe in insanity like that.

You read it here first,the UHL soul will rise again! It will be the true believers from QC and Rockford that like a crazed hockey fan shall lead us.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Saturday Afternoon, Thrashers -vs-New York Rangers

It is difficult not to have an amazing time at the Red Wings Prospect Tournament. Traverse City is just beginning to blush with fall colours, the tempatures are usually a temperate 60-70 degrees and the skys clear. Best yet hockey action starts at 3:00 allowing time for side trips to the town itself or local attractions including the many fine wineries on the pinsula.

Saturday after a side trip Leelanau Cellars to restock our dwindeling supply of our favorite whites and reds we arrived at Center Ice ready for some hockey action. Todays afternoon game featured Atlanta Thrashers aganist the New York Rangers. It has been years since Atlanta's farm team the Chicago Wolves faced the Bingahamton Senators, New Yorks affiliate. New York also featured prospect Alex Bourret who skated briefly for the Woles during the 06'season. We were interested to see if Bourret would be pouring it on looking to see New York or would he be sent down to gasp! Bingo!


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Focus on the players not the score, Wild -vs- Stars

The mantra of the pre season and the training camps around our house is focus on the players, the score means nothing. What do the kids look like, do they have skating skills? For those of us with a figure skating background that all important "line" combined with that "swing" that makes for a deadly hip check or cross check. That beautiful economy of motion that is instantly recognizable as the hallmark of the "sweet skater" in hockey. Rare in a 19 year old but sometimes there. The deadly slap shot or wrister, the eye of the tiger in a goalie, every writer, photog, scout,coach or fan has their favorite quality. We are all there looking for that magic spark in the preseason, some years we even find it.

Pre season is ending this weekend for most of us, remember like the opening night of the playoffs next April, the season before it means nothing. It is the heart and talent of the player that means all. Focus on the player, as this new season begins at this point the score means truly nothing.

On Friday afternoon of the Traverse City Rookie Tournament my partner and I grasped this mantra and sat down to watch the Wild and the Stars play. I've always had a soft spot for any Minnesota team. My Father was from Minneapolis, the name of this blog Powderhornhockey is named after Powder Horn Park in South Minneapolis where my Dad played Augustina Lutheran League hockey.I wish I could say these kids were all big Swedes from South Minneapolis like Dad but he would have cheered for them all the same. Here are a few images from the game.