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Halloween Things, Ranked


CANDY!

Sometimes, it will float around in the office. Sometimes, it’ll float in the press box. Looks like Halloween claimed my gut again (hello, tomorrow’s cardio):

  1. 100 Grand
  2. Milky Way
  3. Heath
  4. Nestle Crunch
  5. M&M’s (pretzel)
  6. Twix
  7. Starburst
  8. Sugar Babies

851. Mr. Goodbar (allergies)

COSTUMES!

The non-practice day version:

  1. Any character from an 80’s movie / TV show
  2. The Beatles
  3. Any character from The Simpsons
  4. Super Mario Bros.
  5. Paw Patrol (ok, I have a son, so I’m biased).

Talk with you tomorrow.

Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton is in his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, and 12th in the game. Tweet at him here.

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MONDAY MATTERS: Whew. We’re Back (and in first place).


QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Common sense is like deodorant. The people who need it most never use it.”
– Unknown

Returning from the road, all 2,600+ miles of it, delivered four road wins (five overall), four cities, 44 (possible) energy drinks/shots/cups of coffee, and numbers falling out the ears by the time the bus returned to downtown Everett on Sunday.

I know many used the word “tired” on Sunday, so many like me were up to doing a deluxe face plant into the pillow of our own beds Sunday night. Oh the rewards, for landing into first place in the U.S. Division.

So here’s where we are with the Silvertips holding first place through 13 games:

  • DEPTH: The Silvertips just got Eetu Tuulola (eight games), and Devon Skoleski (five games) back into the lineup. While they were gone, Dominic Zwerger put up a 10-game point streak (still active), longest in the WHL. Noah Juulsen and Patrick Bajkov are over a point per game, each.
  • DEPTH IN THE PIPELINE: Six Silvertips prospects suited up in the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup. Two rock stars (Ethan Browne, Dylan Holloway) picked up a gold medal with Team Alberta. Both were nearly at a point per game in the tournament, and both scored in the championship game. I’d say the future is bright.
  • ANOTHER ONE IN THE WALL: Shane Harper’s NHL debut meant strong significance: he’s #16 in 14 years to graduate from the Tips and make the NHL. It means, proof positive, dreams to come true – even if you’re coming into WHL training camp as an undrafted, and listed player and miss a chance to be drafted by an NHL team. I never had the privilege to watch Shane Harper live, but heard the accounts of his work ethic, warm personality and freakish strength. The pieces fell into place. Oh and by the way, we’ll have more on him during this week’s broadcasts, including his first two NHL goals – both in the “legit” category.
  • GONE, AND CERTAINLY NOT FORGOTTEN: Hockey Canada’s World U17 Hockey Challenge fires up this Thursday in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, another display case for an “all star” type of setting for the young prospects of the CHL. With Two Silvertips representing in the event (Mitch Love, assistant coach and Brett Kemp, forward), they’ll be answering the nation’s call for the next several days. Expect them back after November 5.

    That will also induce a necessary shuffle in the Silvertips lineup (which, we’re waiting patiently on for the word by next game, on Thursday) and duties within the coaching ranks. Coverage is available on hockeycanada.ca/WU17 all tournament long, while TSN will provide telecast coverage starting with the semifinal games. More info here.

  • NEXT UP: Silvertips and Tri-City Americans, in a rare Thursday night 7:05pm game (get your tickets here, by the way, starting at just $8). A rematch with Victoria follows on Saturday, starting at 7:05 pm as well in downtown Everett. While that’ll be an attractive evening for memorabilia hunters at the gate (Silvertips hats will be given away free to the first several hundred fans), it’ll also be a delicious rematch after the Silvertips opened the series with a 3-1 win last Saturday (one night after Victoria overwhelmed Swift Current, 9-2).
  • RADIO: You know where to find us for all games this week, in addition to Tuesday night’s Hockey Show – Fox Sports 1380. Noah Juulsen and Patrick Bajkov will join me (and hopefully you) on Tuesday night at Sporty’s, so drop in, say hello, and fill up on $1 tacos. Because, you can never say “no” to tacos. Or a Juulsen & Bajkov handshake.

Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton is in his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, and 12th in the game. Tweet at him here.

Everett Silvertips versus the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2016 at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Washington. (Chris Mast via AP Images)

MONDAY MATTERS: Bus Play-by-Play

The hockey season is long. Sometimes, too long (especially if you take every day seriously, like life or death). You need some entertainment in your life.

So, naturally, when on the road and in need of entertainment, it’s routine to pick the “I’m here for the entertainment guy,” the radio guy.

This happened last Thursday, en route to Spokane. In the middle of four games in five days (amazingly, the Silvertips channeling unheard-of energy to sweep the week), we’re weary. With my work done in preparation for Friday, I tuned into the MLB stat cast of the historic Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals NLDS “winner take all” game five.

Backtracking: with part of my roots tracing to the Pacific Northwest, I have a soft spot for the Seattle Mariners. But growing up for years in California, I bled Dodger blue. And stated before, obviously adopted Vin Scully as a role model. As this became natural education for our coaching staff over time, a nickname developed.

Sometimes, Kevin Constantine calls me “Vince” (long for “Vin”).

“Hey Vince! Can you help with this scoring change?”

 With our bus 25 minutes away from completing the 12-hour odyssey from Prince George to Spokane, the Dodgers headed to the ninth inning in the epic elimination game, sending Kenley Jansen to close the deal in his third inning of work. Clayton Kershaw (as many of you know the ending to this one) was in the bullpen.

“Hey Vince! Call play-by-play for us on the bus.”

 So, my voice belted over the bus for entertainment. As the first “baseball call” for me in roughly five years (my last was a Stockton Ports game), I channeled the inner Vin Scully for the final inning, delivering a half-serious call (“Jansen toes the rubber, glares in … and the strike two pitch is SWUNG ONNNNN AND MISSED!”) and half of comedy relief (Here comes Jayson Werth … fully bearded with a bat in one hand, beard trimmer in the other”).

Of course, the bus pulls in right when Kershaw is summoned. We all help unload the goods, which take about 10 minutes – enough to miss the high drama of Daniel Murphy’s pop out. But stepping back on the bus, the coaches beat me, and decided to have a little bit of fun …

“Uh oh Vince, game winner. Homer. Un-bee-lie-vable.”

And of course, I’m half laughing at them (“come on, stop it”) and half secretly checking Twitter for updates, nervously. I admit for a second, Mitch Love had me.

Back to the updates. Kershaw delivers the knockout blow: a two-strike curveball to Wilmer Difo.

“GOT HIM! And to the contrary, the Dodgers are headed to Chicago!”

I made sure the coaches heard that one.

Back to Spokane for this one. Tomorrow, 7:05pm. Items worth noting:

  • “Next man up”: the Silvertips stretch of four wins in five days is impressive, considering the crunch of schedule. Then, consider they had no Eetu Tuulola. Then, consider they lost both Matt Fonteyne and Lucas Skrumeda after Tuesday. Then, consider they lost Devon Skoleski and Brian King after Friday. Then, consider they had a full lineup by Saturday, but had to ask defenseman Mackenzie Dwyer to play out of position at center (by the way, he stole the puck off a breakout pass and delivered a juicy backdoor feed in the third period to Orrin Centazzo which nearly iced the game).

Voila, the Silvertips in the four-in-five stretch:

  • Won all four games
  • Rallied from a third period deficit in one of them (Friday’s OT win at Spokane)
  • Only trailed for a grand total of 4:29
  • Scored 17 goals
  • Outscored their opposition 17-8
  • Went 7-of-23 (30.4%) on the power play

Yeah, that’s not bad.

  • Helping those in need: Silvertips fans and Pink The Rink generated over $81,000 to help treat and prevent breast cancer, shipped along to Providence Medical Center in Everett. By count, according an organizational resource, the Silvertips also combined with building and external organizational partners to raise over a staggering $163,000 total from the event.

That’s not bad.

  • Radio intel: because it’s game on Tuesday night in Spokane, there’s no Silvertips Hockey Show again this week (things will pick up again next Tuesday at Sporty’s). This week, you have every game on Fox Sports 1380. You’re also reminded that we take your questions EACH GAME on the Tips App, via Tips Talk. We’ll invite you into the booth now for road games, so all you have to do is download the Tips App and enter your question via the Tips Talk news button. You get promo code points too.

That’s not bad.

Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton is in his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, and 12th in the game. Tweet at him here.

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MONDAY MATTERS: That Vinning Feeling

MONDAY MATTERS: That Vinning Feeling

A pleasant good evening wherever you may be.

Kid you not: setting up shop at Toyota Center yesterday, this came across my phone at 4pm. I almost cried in the booth.

This is my inspiration, this is the Uncle I never had, and this is my role model.

So, with music blasting and the shred of skates during pregame warmups, as we went on the air – I  felt appropriate to lead off the pregame show with this. Hope you didn’t mind.

If you’re getting the feeling that reading this blog, and ingesting Vin Scully tributes is starting to feel like drinking water from a fire hydrant, my apologies. And I swear, this will be the last time (at least for now) that we’ll wander off topic for this tribute.  So, thanks for bearing with me in the last few weeks as the heart was poured, and the soul was filled.

Admittedly, the emotions are still in “reconciling” mode that my Commentator-in-Chief has jockeyed into the sunset. However, I don’t cry because it’s over. Indeed, I smile because it happened.

THE TOP FIVE:

  1. IT’S A START: The Silvertips were a goal away from their first 4-0-0-0 start since the Craig Hartsburg era. While Michael Rasmussen’s goal prevented that reality, seven of eight possible points are nothing to grimace over – especially given the fact they’ve played all but one game on the road, are second in fewest goals allowed (2.0), got 17 players with a point or more already, and Carter Hart has a .932 save percentage.
  1. “PLEASE PICK UP THE WHITE COURTESY PHONE”: For those tuning into the meat of Sunday’s game and noticing a rather grainy, static like texture to your audio experience, our apologies. And fear not. Without getting into excessive detail about how broadcasts work, building issues eliminated our ability to set up our equipment and transmit a signal properly. Thanks to Americans radio voice Craig West, and thanks to the Toyota Center crew, who helped troubleshoot for a temporary solution, although a rather routine one for a communication device: the telephone.That got us on the air. So for 2.5 hours, one side of my mouth attended to my headset (to record our game and also feed the WHL Live viewership), while the other side was busy with a phone mouthpiece to feed the radio beast. I felt like this guy. But we made it. And thank you for bearing with us (back to normal, expectedly, tomorrow for the hockey show).
  1. SPEAKING OF THE SHOW: In case you missed it, I better start hitting the treadmill. Mitch Love is a size 32 waist. I’m a 36. And it just so happens a dare made last Tuesday is now in effect that if we win the U.S. Division, I must wear Mitch Love’s white suit (brandished during the home opener, derisive of Colonel Sanders). Gulp.

  1. WELCOME TO THE CLUB, EETU: I just can’t get Eetu Tuulola’s goal out of my head from Sunday. Getting the elephant out of the room, his injury late in the second period eliminated his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame and forced a line shuffle all the way to the finish line. But when he returns, let’s remember he’s capable of high-octane goals like these. (00:25)

THE CALL (Fox Sports 1380 / Tips App)

 

  1. GIVING BACK: First major stop of the in-season “shake hands and kiss babies” tour was at Providence hospital today. Several Silvertips (mainly, those who had finished high school) trotted the hospital’s circuit to greet nurses (two we met who are rabid season ticket holders, so they were up for amazing conversation), adult age patients, and the cutest/most adorable little ones in the pediatric ward. Indeed, time well spent.

Talk with you tomorrow at Sporty’s.

Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton is in his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, and 12th in the game. Tweet at him here.

 

 

 

 

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MONDAY MATTERS: Pull Up A Chair

SPEAKING OF MONDAYS  A SPECIAL MONDAY TO YOU, WHEREVER YOU MAY BE

“Pull up a chair.” Because this one’s got all the feels.

Again, one of my role models is calling it a career in less than a week, and said goodbye to his last houseguest yesterday. There is enough room in this blog to pass thanks into the baseball world, for a man who defined the art of play-by-play and making the viewer/listener feel important. I was thrilled when the Dodgers gave him the perfect home send-off, and choked up for his “Wind Beneath My Wings” swan song while holding my 22-month old son on my lap.

Perfect. Bless you, Vin.

“Now back to this one…”

  • WEEKEND ONE: To say the Silvertips began the year at 2-0-0-0 at an impressive mark would be stating the fact pretty modestly. After all, they outshot Vancouver, 31-13 on Saturday, and 64-36 on for the entire weekend. The five goal detonation in the first 13 minutes set the mark for the most goals in one period since Sept. 2014. The Tips line of Millar – Fonteyne – Bajkov combined for 11 points. Bryce Kindopp and Brett Kemp earned their first WHL goals. It is just a total of one week out of a year featuring 72 games, but let’s just say “flying colors” were a part of the starting act.
  • GOOSEBUMPS: “From Everett Washington … defenseman … Wyatte Wylie” … hearing Greg Piland belt the introduction through the public address speakers sent a shockwave of emotion through the crowd of XFINITY Arena, formally putting another brick in the structure of Everett, Washington as a hockey town. Wylie is the first born and trained player to be drafted by the Tips, and make his WHL debut. Pretty awesome moment, and pretty awesome to see the faithful send up their salute.
  • THE WINDS OF CHANGE: A near point per game player from last season is now coming to the Silvertips in the Dominic Zwerger deal (for a third rounder). To start, Mario Mucka had a smile on his face and terrific attitude from day one while proceeding through training camp and the start of the season. He’ll be great in his next stop. Turning the corner, Zwerger is entering his overage season, so he and his 27 goals from last year fill the last overage hole with Graham Millar and Lucas Skrumeda as the 20’s, and the second and final import spot with Eetu Tuulola (not too shabby). Zwerger arrived in town late tonight, had a beaming smile on his face as he entered Silvertips headquarters, and will wear #96. He’s a native of Austria and speaks fluent english. Nearly on the date two years ago (and also a week into the season), the Tips acquired Nikita Scherbak from Saskatoon.
  • HOCKEY SHOW: Mitch Love and Matt Fonteyne will stop by at Sporty’s, so why not stop by and say hello to a legendary assistant coach, and one of the top returning forwards? We’ll be giving away a Mitch Love bobblehead to those attending live, plus tacos are just $1 at Sporty’s. No one can say “no” to tacos. Send us your questions too via Facebook and Twitter (we’ll give away tickets there to one lucky commenter), and don’t be shy about anything.
  • TIPS / NHL MATTERS: Eetu Tuulola slipped into Flames duds this evening at the Saddledome (Flames fell short, 2-1 to Edmonton / Tuulola had 3 shots) … Jujhar Khaira laid out 3 hits in the Rogers Place lid lifter … Carter Hart had a smashing debut in Philadelphia, splitting duty in a shutout rookie win over the Islanders.
  • AND … SCENE: Lamoureux Real Estate (good friends of the Silvertips) released a commercial featuring Carter Hart on the sidewalk, the Bud Blaster, the Fanboni, pizza, Mitch Love on a lawn, and yours truly calling morning play-by-play in a bathrobe. You have permission to laugh (probably at me). (Watch it here)

Talk tomorrow at Sporty’s. “Good night, everybody.”

Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton will be entering his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. Tweet at him here.

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The Vin Scully “I Know”

Let me start by reaffirming that the page you’re reading is a hockey blog. It’s meant to detail, disseminate and deliver stories from the hockey world, in between broadcasts.

But what you’re reading is partially inspired by not just a great voice, but an icon. And that icon is retiring the mic this season, and leaving everyone who leant an ear to the speakers with a flood of memories. That icon made an impact on not just those working in baseball, but across the entire sports landscape.

That icon is Vin Scully.

The figure who inspired me will leave the booth forever after he signs off in the Los Angeles Dodgers regular season finale at San Francisco on Oct. 2. It compelled me to pour out my heart and explain the Vin Scully “I know,” like crystalizing a warm, gentle, wise and incredibly articulate family member. Except he wasn’t a part of my family. He felt like it, though. And there are few people in many lives that influence decisions on a career path. He was one of them.

I wanted to be Vin Scully.

I was one of hundreds of thousands – maybe millions – of kids who pretended to go to sleep just to satisfy mom and dad, when truth be told I was sneaking a radio under my covers just to listen to him clean up the ninth inning. I was mimicking Orel Hershiser in my Mom and Dad’s bedroom to their mirror, while the game blasted on 790 KABC-AM.

I was glued to the TV when he would lyricize each image on KTTV and KTLA. I rewound the 1988 World Series VHS tape a thousand times, copying every lyric he and Joe Garagiola articulated on a spur-of-the-moment script carried out on NBC (I don’t know how long it’ll last, but there’s a full length version now on YouTube).

It’s the tone, diction, and countenance of Vin who creates motherlode of appointment viewing/listening. He is timeless. Of course, over time, a broadcaster learns to cultivate his own genuine personality, and not copy his role models. But over time, his fundamentals remain the root of my broadcast philosophy (talk “with the listener,” not “at the listeners” – notice the change to plural in the latter).

This reaffirmed in my only personal, one-on-one encounter with him that will be one of the greatest highlights of my life, let alone in my career.

It lasted three days, in the summer of 2000, as a production intern for Fox Sports West (they had the Dodgers rights for years until forming their own network, SportsnetLA). As an intern, in part to the educational experience, at every sporting event in the greater Los Angeles area they covered you’re given the “option” of shadowing:

  • Personnel in the production truck and leaning about the bells and whistles
  • The broadcasters, stage manager, and statistician in the broadcast booth

Three Dodger games were coming up on the schedule. I admired the honest, hard-working individuals in the truck, but this was like getting a chance to watch Picasso paint inside his studio. Vin, please.

I didn’t talk to him (nor, have any ounce of courage to do so) that first night. On night #2 (June 26), inside a hot, cramped, but historic Dodger Stadium broadcast booth, I give him a “hello” nod and he returned the favor (a lot was happening – it happened to be Orel’s last game in his Major League career).

Side note: I’ll never forget the silent exchange Vin had with former Dodger broadcaster Ross Porter (handling radio that night), who took the time to drop into Vin’s TV booth after Hershiser was pulled by manager Davey Johnson. Hershiser left the mound to a standing ovation. All it took was for Ross to stare at Vin, and Vin to return the favor for a few seconds of silence to understand the gravity. We all realized Orel had emptied the tank.

On night #3, a couple of weeks later, I finally worked up the courage. Leaving Vin’s booth to use the restroom in the Dodger Stadium press box after the game, I returned to the dining hall quarters to find Vin sitting down over a cup of coffee with his stage manager, Boyd Robertson.

I thought “this is now or never, so let’s do this.” I walked up and found opportunity to tactfully interrupt Vin’s conversation when he made eye contact with me. And it was the most errantly fumbled introduction I ever had. I was legitimately starstruck.

“Excuse me Mi—Mister Scully …  pardon me …”

Vin (with a smile and in his familiar and elegantly soothing tone): “hi son, how are you doing?”

Did that ever release the pressure valve.

We exchanged names, “pleased to meet yous”, the short “get to know you,” and I explained to the greatest about THE GREATEST three days of my whole life getting an educational experience from a figure I looked up to since I was eight years old. And now interning for Fox Sports West, hopefully it’s a springboard to a career he served as an inspiration.

Vin: “terrific Mike, I am very glad to hear it! Welcome aboard, It’s great to have you here!”

Feeling compelled to let him go and return to his one-on-one conversation, I thanked/apologized for any interruptions, and got into my car for the drive home from Dodger Stadium on one of the greatest adrenaline highs of my whole life. It’s often said, “don’t meet your heroes – you’ll be disappointed,” but this is one example couldn’t have turned out any better, short of him inviting me for lunch the next day (I probably would have fainted).

Experience taken, immediately to heart. What I learned about Vin Scully that night, on a deeper level, is the root of his “charm.” It’s genuine. It’s what delivered the obvious and seemingly natural connection with every listener for decades. Even though you’re separated by a TV screen or a radio apparatus, you feel like it’s just you and Vin in the room, enjoying the game together.

Case in point: you know how Vin makes each call so incredibly intimate, even though it’s just him, on-air in the booth? He relies on others in the booth who are off the air. For instance, Vin’s line of communication is transmitted as sheer “broadcaster-to-listener,” but he looks at the stage manager, statistician, or others as he shares a story – as if he’s talking with THEM. That enhances his tone of voice. I consider it my “a-ha” moment.

Not to mention, his scorebook is about the size of a Marcel Proust novel. He is an expert at the game. He does his homework.

I admire Vin Scully.

It’s his kind of on-air style, the “intimate, storytelling, engaging” figure that serves as my backbone and I hope continues to live on. It taught me about the importance of a listener, as if they’re already a friend (and the bonus to meet them in real life). Your responsibility is to manufacture an “on air” relationship, and give the details.

Sure, there’s less time in hockey to review in detail what Carter Hart routinely eats for breakfast, comparable to when Vin shared a story of Madison Bumgarner killing a snake to save a baby rabbit.  As recent as 20 years ago, terrestrial broadcasting was the only way to find out the score and “how it happened” (now we have the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, etc … in addition to the good ol’ fashioned AM/FM/XM dial!). But the timeless standard that carries on is Vin’s genuine, friendly, and inviting charisma that offers you to “pull up a chair” for each broadcast.

The men and women who hold a microphone and talk with you still matter. People still watch or listen to a game simply because it’s 2-3 hour live theatre at its best, and they still want to relate to and enjoy the presence of other people.

The games are a never-ending book of humanity. It needs the ultimate narrator. That’s Vin Scully.

He’s got only a few weeks left until his entire career rides into the sunset. And aside from holding out hope the Dodgers release a “Best of Vin Scully’s Games” on Blu-Ray, I feel satisfied/happy/fulfilled to have experienced three decades of his on-air masterpiece that left an impression on me as a listener, and three unforgettable nights that made a difference in my career, forever.

I will forever remember Vin Scully.

Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton will be entering his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. Tweet at him here.

(Photo credit: Dominic DiSaia)

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MONDAY MATTERS: It’s Time.

MONDAY MATTERS

Welcome back.

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T-minus four days and counting until we play for real. T-minus five days until downtown Everett comes alive again. I can type with full honesty, even with the Tips getting into the second round, that the summer flew by quickly.

When you help provide the narrative of a team that had its season come to a close unfortunately in late April, we tend to mentally prepare for an offseason that’s way too long.

(Fortunately, there was Carter Hart, a slam dunk of an Import Draft, the big day signing of Ethan Browne, and voila – training camp snuck up on us.)

So it brings me great pleasure to deliver the four words we’ve waited to hear for a while:

Welcome

To

Hockey

Season.

Training camp is in the rear view mirror, at 2-3-0-2. We love to predict, but the purpose of preseason is experimentation and manpower maneuvering, so with the auxiliary dressing rooms empty, the roster is a little more defined, and the real calendar upon us, you can’t judge preseason on the connection to regular season success / sluggishness. It’s time to get it going. Among the elements setting the scene (we’ll be quick) this week:

  1. NEW BLOOD: It’s obvious we start with the roster. Goaltender Lasse Petersen, acquired from Spokane, helps strengthen goaltending depth with all-world / Flyers prospect Carter Hart coming off a ridiculously decorated season. Mario Petit earned a shutout in his playoff debut. Safe to say, the Tips are solid here this season.

Then, there are fresh faces up front, aiming to fill the gaps left by the departed (Laurencelle, Leedahl, Stadnyk, etc). Eetu Tuulola was over a point per game and dazzled on every shift in preseason (he’s back soon presumably from Flames camp). Brett Kemp, the first player off the board for the Tips in the 2015 draft, earned a legit goal in the preseason finale on a power play wrister. Gianni Fairbrother (on the Hockey Canada radar), Everett native Wyatte Wylie, Montana Onyebuchi, and Ian Walker have taken siginifcant turns on the blueline. They haven’t looked out of place.

Taking into account the returning Matt Fonteyne, Patrick Bajkov, Noah Juulsen (soon, from Montreal), Graham Millar, Lucas Skrumeda and more, the hybrid of grizzled veterans and youth with be a fascinating development starting Friday.

  1. FRIDAY STARTS ANEW, FOR MANY REASONS: Vancouver Giants, Langley version makes its debut at the new (soft number) 5,000-seat venue just across the border. That’s easier access for traveling Tips fans than say, the commute, through bustling downtown. It’s also a more diminutive venue than the Pacific Coliseum.

Gordie Howe will be honored (former co-owner of the Giants, mind you) during the evening. Expect many of these tributes this season, the first following his passing (family will be in Saskatoon the following evening to spread his ashes outside the SaskTel Centre).

  1. HELLO, (BIG LEAGUE) HOCKEY WORLD: The Tips were pretty busy – former and current – making some noise at respective rookie camps.

Noah Juulsen:

Nikita Scherbak (just keep playing this as long as you’d like):

Eetu Tuulola:

Ben Betker:

Carson Stadnyk

I had the following text exchange with Carson Stadnyk, who has a deal with U. of Saskatchewan waiting in the wings, after today’s finale vs. Winnipeg. He’s pretty pumped from the experience with the Oilers.

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Stadnyk ended last season in the top five of all-time Silvertips games played. All signs point to a long and continuous future in hockey.

  1. HOCKEY SHOW! It’s bigger, badder, tastier. With Tuesday delivering the season debut of the Silvertips hockey show, I am reminded how at this time last year, admittedly I fostered some butterflies. It felt like the first day of school.

Now it feels like the first day, but with the same friends in the same classroom. We’re back at Sporty’s, the 20-year olds (Skrumeda, Millar) get the mic first, we debut new segments, we give you a new sound, we have the same unbelievable food (trust me, the $1 soft tacos taste priceless).

Tweet a question in response to the following below, and you may win my opening night tickets (I have a full slate to give away this year).

  1. SATURDAY: My favorite booth gets opened again. The same passionate, friendly, and courteous faces decked in green return. We play for keeps. There’s anticipation in the air. The blast of the Silvertips goal horn awaits the first snipe. The changeover in the booth (the spirit of Al K. lives on, while Justin M. had a slam dunk “dry run” last weekend with yours truly … he’ll be good). It’s opening night baby, and I can’t wait for the energy. Hope to see you there (or, on the radio – at Fox Sports 1380 or the Tips App)!

    Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton will be entering his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips. Tweet at him here

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MONDAY MATTERS: Intermission

In an effort to keep you updated with what’s happening, and yet meet the responsibilities of my full time job (I get paid to do more than just be on the air, and the regular season is approaching us as fast as a speeding bullet train), we’re bringing “Monday Matters” back soon on a consistent basis. Among the topics you’ll be seeing:

  • Preseason wrap / roster report
  • Hockey Show details
  • An ode to Vin Scully (there is relevance here)
  • A commercial we shot last weekend (you should hear the chirps)
  • Road trips (there will be more of them)
  • Tristen Pfeifer getting engaged

Before closing this post, here’s ode to a swell guy, friendly face, gentle spirit, and honest worker Brandon Ralph:

As he was passed through the waiver wire and then let into the world as a free agent, it’s comforting to know his next step in life will be in his own original backyard.

Thanks, Ralphy. You’re a great man, and all the best.

Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton will be entering his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips. Tweet at him here

 

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MONDAY MATTERS: Benton Photo Dump

SPEAKING OF MONDAYS:

A picture tells a thousand words. So how many words can the camera lens of a 64 gb iPhone capture through one hockey season?

If you’re a packrat like me, it’ll dwarf a reading of War and Peace.

Thus, we release the rarely or never-before-seen photos of the 2015-16 season, all for your eyes to capture. Curl up and enjoy.

Camp opens in three days. Before we get on with the new, it’s time for “out with the old.”

FULL GALLERY HERE

 

Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton will be entering his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips. Tweet at him here

ice level arena shot

MONDAY MATTERS: Return of the Rink

SPEAKING OF MONDAYS

Take that, Monday.

 

  1. IT’S COMING: Let’s just all take in the fact that a new icy canvas, devoid of cuts and smooth as glass, is on the way in just a few days. We hope you survived the offseason, because it’s swiftly coming to a close. Once the Silvertips logo, lines and sponsor ads are painted and the final layer is installed, we’re officially good to go in downtown Everett. Expect the proceedings to be frozen over (pun not intended by Thursday night).

Now just add ice. 🏒🏒

A photo posted by Everett Silvertips (@everett_silvertips) on

 

 

  1. NIGHTHAWK TRAIN COMING: We’re getting close to a nickname for the Las Vegas NHL team (the “Fighting McCrimmons” are apparently not in the mix). If it comes to fruition: I’m just curious how many confused folks will be in the seats when the Blackhawks come to town.

 

  1. THE GREAT 8, THE DOUGH HE’LL RAKE: Just take in the fact that the payout for a size-58 Reebok worn by Alexander Ovechkin (it was the first jersey he ever wore in an NHL game) could land you a new car.

 

  1. OFFSEASON TWEETS: We like movies. We like to be entertained. We like to ingest a good story. We like to be inspired. We like to laugh. A few friends in the business, and yours truly, present you with the Twitter inspired #fav7films …

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. GOODBYE JOHN: Last week presented the unfathomable, with the departure of longtime personality John Saunders from this earth. I never met him. I know of a few who had the privilege. To be admired:
  • His versatility (ESPN National Hockey Night, College Football studio host, The Sports Reporters host chair, Toronto Raptors Play-by-Play)
  • His transparent and disarming delivery
  • His ability to be “compelling” without being “overbearing.” It’s becoming a lost art these days in some parts of TV land.

 

He made ESPN good TV. As many are saddened to see him pass, so am I. And to paraphrase the perfectly articulated Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press, “he will now be a memory, living in our hearts.”

 

(John appears at the 4:50 mark.)

John: you were a face of my youth. Thanks for making every telecast enjoyable.

Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton will be entering his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips. Tweet at him here