Kukla's Korner

Above the Glass

From the Dub: Rat Trick!

St. Louis Blues fans may have already heard of Ty Rattie. But if you haven’t, now would be a good time to tune in, because his frequency is about to get very loud. Drafted 32nd overall by the Blues this past summer, Ty was one of four Portland Winterhawks who were all taken in the first two rounds of the 2011 draft. He’s got some physical growing to do, but in terms of maturity and personality, he’s already there. Ty’s a true team player, he likes mashed potatoes, and oh yeah, he likes to score hat tricks.

Rat trick!: On November 27, Ty scored a hat trick in a game against Swift Current and proceeded thereafter to score one more goal and get an assist. It was the team’s first hat trick of the season, and they won 6-2 over the Broncos. He was named the first star of the night, but of course. The next morning, he was named to invited to Team Canada’s World Junior camp. A few days later, he did this:

Excuse me while I go buy a warm and fuzzy kitten:  On Saturday, December 3, Ty scored the teddy bear goal in our annual teddy bear toss for the second year in a row. The night before, he had predicted that Joey Baker would be the prize winner. He was close: right player, wrong goal. Later that night, Joey went on to score the team’s seventh goal, which was also his first WHL goal. The final score was Portland Winterhawks 7, Seattle Thunderbirds 1.  Keep an eye out for Joey, as he’s eligible for the 2012 Entry Draft.

Rat trick! Part 2: Nine days after scoring that first hat trick, Ty did it again. On Tuesday, December 6, he scored three goals in a game against Prince George and the Winterhawks went on to win 5-3. His linemate Nic Petan scored the game winning goal. Keep an eye out for Nic at the World U-17 Challenge this year, where he will play on Team Pacific. He is eligible for the 2013 draft.

I mean, really, how could he not make the roster?: When I asked Ty about what he thought of his chances of making Team Canada’s WJC roster, he was humble and just excited to get the chance.  It is my humblest of opinions that if Don Hay does not put Ty on the final roster, there are no hockey gods.

The sign of things to come: In the 2010 WHL playoffs, Ty put himself on the map when he scored the OT winning goal in Game 7 against Spokane, propelling the Hawks into the second round of the playoffs. At the time, they had not seen the playoffs in four years. He was a rookie, playing in his first year after being drafted 2nd overall in the 2008 bantam draft.  It was a beauty, that goal, and it signaled the team’s return as a playoff and Memorial Cup contending championship team. Flash forward to 2011, Ty and his teammates went all the way to the WHL finals before falling in five games to the Kootenay Ice. En route, they eliminated the Spokane Chiefs to win the Western Conference title. In the final game of that series, the Winterhawks beat the Chiefs by a score of 6 - 3; Ty scored the insurance marker goal number 5. 

He’s a true team player: So, you can see he’s on a tear of the very best kind. But ask Ty about what he’s doing to get all those hat tricks and what not (a different brand of Wheaties, extra mashed potatoes maybe, perhaps something special at practice?) and you will get the same answer: his linemates.  In fact, he pretty much puts the team first all around. When I asked him about their recent 17-day, 9-game extravaganza, among other things, he cited that he’d never been on a team as close as this one. And you can see it on the ice. They’re all on the upswing this year, but Ty is already on my personal list for team MVP at the conclusion of the season.

Bartschi, Petan and Rattie oh my!: Ty comprises one third of this year’s Niederreiter-Johansen-Ross Line. He shares the honors with Sven Bartschi and rookie Nic Petan. They are the powerhouse line of the 2011 -2012 season. Together they have combined for a total of 133 points so far this season. But really, the very best part about him isn’t on the scoresheet:

He puts others first: Last season, when I flat out asked Ty what it was like to be awesome, I was referring to him personally. It took three more questions before he realized I was talking about him. He had spent the whole time answering my questions about why the team was so great. Ask him about hat tricks and assists and goals and what not, and I’d put down money he’ll credit his linemates or teammates. I don’t claim to know our players the way their friends and family do, but I know Ty enough to know that when he says those things, he means it. It’s not a soundbite somebody gave him out of a book, or a well-rehearsed answer. It’s who he is and what he believes. 

Oh, and about those mashed potatoes: At one of our local Booster Club events last season, Ty relayed a story about he and roommate Riley Boychuk . It seems that when Ty would come down for dinner at their billet’s house, if Boychuk had arrived first, Ty would usually find one scoop of mashed potatoes left if he was lucky. That will happen when you room with somebody who’s 6’5”, so I hope he learned his lesson on that one before the season was over.

So here’s the deal St. Louis:  Ty joins former Portland Winterhawk captain Brett Ponich as a Blues prospect. He may need to eat a few more scoops of mashed potatoes before he’s ready for you, but I assure you he’s worth the wait. For a few short seasons, Portland had the privilege of watching both of them play on the same ice. If you are lucky and all goes well, you will have the privilege for much longer. Treat them well, use them wisely and appreciate them as long as they are with you. And, ya’ know, maybe give them your recipe for mashed potatoes while you’re at it.

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com