Monday Matters: Hart, Knights, and a big thank you.

Today, this isn’t intended to be a click-hole of hot takes. Let’s cut right to the chase:

  • CARTER HART: The Silvertips goaltender, who will turn 18 about two months after the NHL Entry Draft, continues to stockpile his trophy case with the CHL Goaltender of the Year award. We’ve already been through this, as to why he is well deserving of such an accolade. More important, he joins fine company – his idol, Carey Price, is a winner of the award. What amazes me is his ability to isolate, or, set aside the accolades in favor of the blueprint to success. He’s well-trained mentally to get it done. As far as an NHL suitor, now we wait.
  • MEMORIAL CUP CHAMPS: As the scary-good London Knights added to their championship lore, Matthew Tkachuk scored a goal on Sunday he’ll remember for the rest of his life. Consider the amazing story that Tkachuk unfolded: his billet parent, Wayne Burke, honored his late wife during the whole Knights Cup run. Then this pretty amazing thing happened.
  •  SEEING RED (DEER): Hats off to Brent Sutter’s squad, the last WHL team standing this season after knocking out the league champion Brandon Wheat Kings. As the Rebels reportedly were spectacular hosts, the moves they made were intended on firming up a Cup finish. Adam Helewka, Jake DeBrusk, Luke Philp and were part of an assertive midseason acquisition run, and the Rebels finished 5th in goals for and goals allowed.
  • 1425577_10100111949973720_1568995843_nTHANK YOU: Finally, many of us have the day off work today and an opportunity to gather with loved ones because countless lives put in an honest day’s work with the armed forces of the United States. While I cannot claim any close family members who passed away while serving in the military, my Grandfather, Doug (right), lived a full and honest life before and after serving in World War II, shortly before his passing in 1988 due to natural causes. He brought back a lot of stories from Germany, and it delivers perspective on how much gratitude is due to those lost in service. Thank you, on this Memorial Day.

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

Monday Matters: Quenneville Goal, Sutters, Sharkies

On Saturday night, John Quenneville of the Brandon Wheat Kings – a first round draftee of the New Jersey Devils – scored not just a filthy goal.

It was a Pigpen-level, out-of-your-seat, go-find-your-eyeballs-and-replace-in-your-sockets, hit “share” a thousand times filthy goal.

The rocket-like, thread-the-needle, outlet pass made by Ivan Provorov, connecting with Quenneville, delivered an individual moment tethered to our hockey emotions. We love skill. We love “did you see that” plays. We love when it happens.

And it just so happened on the grand stage of the Memorial Cup. It didn’t take long to spread across the internets like wildfire, thanks to our accessibility with technology these days that allows everyone to hit retweet, share, and post.

PuckDaddy, who serves the NHL’s readership daily sweets, picked up on it.

He was on LBJ’s tail.

The hockey digital sire, aka John Buccigross, aka BucciMane, picked up on it.

And for sure, the Devils couldn’t ignore it.

Of course, it’s not like this is the first time someone has gone between the wickets and roofed one. It was a move yours truly practiced in the driveway with his middle school buddies back in the 90’s (and failed with flying colors). Back in the 90’s, Jaromir Jagr pulled it off. Marek Malik pulled it off. Most recently, Tomas Hertl blew the Shark Tank’s mind and pulled it off. Downtown Everett even saw it by one of our own, one of the most iconic goals in Tips history.

Now Quenneville gets the honors. Just go back and watch that goal again, then consider the elements at hand:

  • Provorov starting the breakout, in an idle position, 200 feet away from the Rouyn-Noranda net.
  • Provorov spinning away from an oncoming forechecker, to manufacture more time and space.
  • Provorov then heaving a 160-foot rocket pass up ice – melting the Huskies defense like a hot knife through butter.
  • Quenneville then accepting said 160-foot rocket nearly onto the tape (think how hard it is to hit the tiny hole on one of those center ice car contests) – he kicked it to his stick blade – and then getting a breakaway.
  • Quenneville then reaching into his bag of tricks and pulling out … no, not a forehand deke … no, not a backhand roofer … ah, the ol’ “just zoom on net at a high rate of speed and casually reach behind my left leg and flick one bar down” move. #nbd

Needless to say, that’s confidence.

How much confidence? Well, you better know what you’re doing. That’s why we call that move, “high risk, high reward” in this business.

You think coaches agree? I texted Mitch Love on the goal. His response:

“My feeling is …. if you’re confident to pull it off then why not? …”

The game has changed.

“… 15 years ago when I played in the league if you pulled that off, you better spend the rest of the season series looking over your shoulder. Haha.”

Tough return for Brandon. They lost (emphatically), 9-1 to Dale Hunter’s London Knights, assuring London a spot in the tournament semis. Brandon – the WHL champs – has to beat Red Deer to stay alive.

  • Sutters Storm the Centrium: Fascinating to see the Sutter brothers congregating in one photo in Red Deer, accepting the WHL Milestone Award on Sunday night. Riley Sutter must be proud (his Dad, Ron, in the middle dressed in the blue shirt). Silvertips broadcast alumnus Jon Rosen detailed more, since Ron’s brother Darryl coaches the Los Angeles Kings and has two Stanley Cup rings. Good read here.
  • EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL: Tampa Bay can close out the Pittsburgh Penguins to secure their third berth in the Stanley Cup Final tomorrow night. Remarkable to consider the Lightning have done this sans Ben Bishop, Steven Stamkos, and front page headline avoidance by Evgeni Malkin.
  • WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL: San Jose can close out the St. Louis Blues, remarkably, on Wednesday at the Shark Tank and reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time ever after crushing the third period in Game 5 with three unanswered goals. Joe Pavelski scored the game-tying goal, the game-winning goal, and set up the 1-0 goal. Technically, I don’t have a dog in the fight with this one. But I’ve been fortunate to document similar adventures with the Sharks in the playoffs before. Naming Joe Pavelski captain this season was one of their best decisions in the last 10 years. They could have quit down 3-2. They decided the outcome would be different, because, this team is different.

Days until next hockey season: (TBD – though we know it’s approximately four months away!)

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

Carter Hart Deserves This.

Consider this an ode.

The WHL Goaltender of the Year award is a celebration of many things:

  • Carter Hart is not just good, he’s scary good.
  • Carter Hart plays on a good team, who excel at defense.
  • Carter Hart’s bursting resume gets even bigger for the NHL Entry Draft.
  • The validation of a strong foundation in the Silvertips crease.

Amazingly, it’s the first time a Silvertip goaltender has claimed the WHL Goaltender of the Year award. But it comes with stiff competition each year, and much of that competition paves the way to NHL careers. Consider the names who have won the award in WHL history:

Darcy Kuemper

Martin Jones

Carey Price

Cam Ward

Josh Harding

Brian Boucher

Corey Hirsch

Jamie McLennan

Trevor Kidd

Mark Fitzpatrick

Ken Wregget

Mike Vernon

Grant Fuhr

Glen Hanlon

John Davidson

That’s a lot of NHL coin those goaltenders earned. And that’s a lot of fine company he’s joining.

In just his second year, and with the understanding he would need to shoulder an incredible load of minutes between the pipes, you never heard any public complaints about Carter Hart being “fatigued.” Nobody in the WHL, except Adin Hill, played more minutes (3,693) than he did. Nobody in the WHL, except 20-year old Landon Bow (who notched most of them when upgrading to the Seattle Thunderbirds defense) had more shutouts.

Consider the fact that Carter Hart is:

  • 17 years old
  • Is just reaching eligibility status for the NHL Entry Draft
  • Accomplished this season that was light years ahead of most 17-year olds
  • Now has a WHL Goaltender of the Year award under his belt

My first year behind the mic often involved unfolding the story of this well-mannered, ice-cold focused, insanely-skilled talent. As goaltenders operate interpersonally and psychologically in a different realm than their skating brethren, getting to know Carter Hart was a tale of youth embracing “the moment,” “being real” in every conversation, and refusing to accept false hype of what could be around the corner (another fancy way of saying “doesn’t get too up, doesn’t get too down”).

It’s a pleasure to witness his resume continue to build. Carter Hart, his family, and everyone in the Silvertips dressing room/seats should be proud.

Enjoy the moment and enjoy future, Silvertip Country.

A lot of people seem to be (pretty cool, of the Seahawks).

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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