MONDAY MATTERS: Everyone’s En Fuego.


“Mondays can either be the start to a struggle week or a fresh reminder that this week, you will be strong.”
– Unknown

The Silvertips have a strong future, a deeper goaltending pipeline, another Hart who could turn famous (potentially to join these two?) and a broadcaster with sore ankles.

  1. OUTBREAK IN ALBERTA: We documented on an earlier occasion of a whopping five Silvertips prospects latching onto the prestigious Hockey Alberta U16 Summer Camp (those who make the cut are in line for the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in Calgary):
  • Ethan Browne
  • Dylan Holloway
  • Conrad Mitchell
  • Aaron Hladiuk
  • Alex Young

    I texted Bil La Forge, Silvertips director of player personnel about all of them. He was in Camrose and saw them in person. He said “all five were very impressive.”
    More texts from Bil on each player:

  • BROWNE: “Displayed the elite offensive ability we expected.  Natural hat trick in the second period of a game on Saturday. [Had] 2 of the biggest hits in the camp.  Really growing now, 5’11” and over 185 lbs.”
  • HOLLOWAY: “Coaches dream. Wins face-offs, kills penalties, very good on the power play. Hockey sense is evident every shift.”
  • HLADIUK: “Plays with edge, but also has the skill to lug the puck up the ice. Not easy to play against. Looks like a player that has just begun to tap into his potential.”
  • MITCHELL: “Has continued to grow and is now a solid 6’4” (editor’s note: !!!).  Used his size well. Undervalued skill. Sees the ice very well. Reach makes him very effective in the defensive zone.”
  • YOUNG: “Opportunistic scorer. Scored in both games on the weekend. Finds goal scoring areas in the offensive zone. Responsible all over the ice. Not always flashy but very productive.”
  1. WHAT A SAVAGE: The numbers don’t lie, and they back up the skills. The narrative and resume continue to blossom for Silvertips prospect forward Ryan Savage, selected in last year’s WHL Bantam Draft and off to a roaring start with USA Hockey at their U16 development camp. He’s doing pretty well:

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No surprise here. Ryan began the games with a two-goal, one-assist effort on July 9. Remember that he’ll be draft eligible in 2018. And Savage’s father Brian, you won’t forget, forged a 12-year NHL career as a left winger for Montreal, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Philadelphia. This is quite a talent with a terrific numbers inside a prestigious program.

    1. DEVELOPMENT CAMPS: Silvertips of present and past continue to make their mark in NHL development camps. Of note: Noah Juulsen and Nikita Scherbak are with Montreal, Carter Hart’s with Philadelphia, Brycen Martin with the Buffalo Sabres, and Austin Lotz who continues to battle back after last season with the Winnipeg Jets.Hart, who turns 18 next month, has engaged digitally with a great read. Check out his blog on the Flyers website here.
    2. SPEAKING OF GOALTENDING: You may have heard of today’s trade that landed 6-foot-2 goaltender Lasse Petersen from the Spokane Chiefs, costing just a sixth round pick in next year’s Bantam Draft. Many on social media have understood the context of the trade, considering that Hart has started to move up the Hockey Canada elevator again this year. The top floor would be the World Junior Championships, this winter in Toronto and Montreal. Should he make the final roster, it would mean, maximum, a projected a partial or whole five of nine weeks he would be absent from the Silvertips for Team Canada commitments. The Silvertips now have three goaltenders on their roster with WHL experience: Hart, Mario Petit, and Petersen.



    3. EASY AS ONE, (EE)TU, THREE: Seen Eetu Tuulola lately? The Silvertips secured him in the CHL Import Draft, shortly after he was picked by the Calgary Flames in the NHL Entry Draft. Then he met the Flames Development Camp. This is what happened:






6. TAKING IT TO THE STREETS: I haven’t played in a game of competitive hockey since probably before the lockout (the 2004 one). Last Saturday at 122-year old Clark Park was a great venue to shake off the rust  – yours truly with one goal, two assists, a flubbed breakaway, a near-miss “put it all the way into my own goal” (errant pass from corner to blueline, we’ll leave it at that), and a tweaked ankle that calmed down after one hour of walking for the 1-2-1 Team Dunder Mifflin. Felt like Jim or Pam had more offensive touch than me, but that’s not what matters.


Next week: this space will take a break. I’m on vacation to California to see my parents in Los Angeles and my wife’s in the Stockton area. Fresh entry coming July 25!

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: It’s the offseason, and Mitch Love is in midseason form.


“May your clothes be comfy, your coffee be strong, and your Monday be short.”

– Unknown

  1. CARTER HART WATCH: The NHL Entry Draft is 11 days away.


  1. THE END: Pygoscelis antarctica* 4 – Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos** 2 for the Stanley Cup. And now we have summer. Everyone’s done. Brandon gets the WHL trophy, London takes the entire CHL marbles, Allen imbibes the ECHL hardware, Lake Erie seizes the Calder Cup, and the Penguins drink the brandy from Lord Stanley (tribute to Mike Lange).

So how did it happen? Culminating a year featuring a coaching change (out: Mike Johnston, in: Mike Sullivan), a newfound goaltending story, and the resurgence of Sidney Crosby, the Penguins were just flat-out better. They were faster. They delivered speed throughout the entire lineup. That’s zero disrespect to the San Jose Sharks. Martin Jones required 44 saves to keep San Jose alive in Game 5. Logan Couture went to the next level.

But aside from the critical, Final shaping goals by Nick Bonino in Game 1 and Conor Sheary in Game 2, this goal defined the difference the in series.

This is Crosby in a nutshell: breakneck speed, but in full control. And just another garden variety, backhand pass on the tape for a goal. Adore him? Prefer another player suited to your “taste”? Fine. But watch him. Because Sidney Crosbys don’t grow on trees.

After all, James Mirtle nailed it: he’s one of the best. Ever.

* Penguins   ** Sharks

By the way: did you see yet another amazing version of “The End,” brought to you by Hockey Night?

  1. LOVE TO SHARE THE STORY: Today began with a refreshing reminder on how much life is ahead of you in middle school. Mitch Love shared more this morning at Mt. Pilchuck Middle School, for a graduation ceremony. When you’re a respected assistant coach and have a gold medal, engaging an audience isn’t hard. Part of his message that I love:

“How many of us in this room play sports? (**raise of hands**) Lots. The beauty of sports: it teaches you life lessons. All the time. When I was sitting there, and had someone tell me the same thing, I laughed at him. I did. Because we think we know it all. But now that I’m a coach, and I’m the guy standing up here, man … isn’t that true – you live, you learn. Everything you do in life. Adversity, teamwork, work ethic, all those things come into play in life. Mom and Dad get up in the morning. They go to work so they can provide for you. They learned those lessons going through school.”

Fast forward 15 minutes later through Mitch’s address and a short Q & A session: countless kids (and even parents) had absorbed a fascinating educational experience on adversity, and the possibility of overcoming a career-ending injury, and the joys of shaping young lives through coaching and teaching. For kids taking a middle school diploma, it might be one of the best days they’ll have in a long time (thanks, “Mrs. Larson” and Brandy Hackney, for making the trip possible).

  1. O’ CANADA: Mitch Love returning to the Hockey Canada scene is incredible on different levels. First, his resume continues to get heavier. Second, it’s a diamond for the Silvertips testimony, relayed to future Tips (come play here and this is the world-class coaching you’ll receive). Lastly, it’s another bolt in the foundation that we’re witnessing, in the continuous build of a hockey factor in Everett. Mitch’s resume is well deserving of the incredible honor, and many benefit from it.
  1. GET WELL, DAVE: Sometimes in this blog space, I’ll jot down names behind the mic you may have heard of. This isn’t intended to shamelessly name drop. It’s a tribute to those who’ve helped shape who I am and how I work today. That being said, I don’t know Dallas Stars/NBC play-by-play voice Dave Strader. I do know people who know him. And the accounts are unanimous: tremendous broadcaster (to which I agree with) and better human being. He’s been an enjoyable listen for decades. So it’s with a gut-punch to relay the news that Dave is now battling cancer.

We don’t know how long he’ll be undergoing treatments. We don’t know how long this battle will go on for. We do know that for his amount of service, and the amount of ears he’s delivered a spectacular experience, the hockey world is surrounding him with everlasting support.

You got this, Dave.

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: 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

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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