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

“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 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.

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