Above the Glass
by Samantha on 07/03/12 at 03:38 PM ET
The Nashville Predators roster is looking a lot like the Portland Winterhawks these days. Thanks to the past few years’ Entry Drafts and the current free agent frenzy, the team now has numerous Winterhawks (past and present) on their current roster or in their system, including Paul Gaustad, forward Cam Reid, defenseman Taylor Aronson and forward Brendan Leipsic, acquired in the 3rd round of the 2012 Entry Draft. Brendan is known around these parts as a fearless, chirpy and gritty forward who is also a crafty little goal scorer. He’s a good solid choice by a good solid team; just don’t ask him to cut his hair.
He wins the blue ribbon for best nicknames. At any given Winterhawks home game you may hear fans yelling one of several nicknames at Brendan: Scrappy Doo, Mighty Mouse or Bouncer. A word or two about those: There’s nothing scrappy about Brendan. He’s a tough, confident and fearless player who may be the only person in the rink who pays zero attention to his size (he’s 5’8”). For example, he once toppled 6’3” Kelowna Rockets’ defenseman Brett Bulmer right into the Winterhawks’ bench during the 2011 playoffs. So you can see he probably would make a good bouncer if hockey didn’t work out. And as for the other one, small but mighty is how I would describe our players who still have some growing to do, including Brendan. They all have the personality and heart of an entire roster. Speaking of which:
Size matters not. Brendan will pretty much take on any player, anytime, anywhere, regardless of his size or theirs. Case in point: In Portland, if you see a sudden and huge pile-up of players near either team’s net, you can pretty much guarantee that Brendan is somewhere right in the middle of it. Whether he’s starting the business himself or answering the opponent’s challenge, he’s the first player to jump right into the fray. And when he does, at least we know he’ll look good doing it:
He’s got great hockey hair. In addition to the requisite hockey name, Brendan hails from a good hockey town (Winnipeg) and has arguably one of the biggest and best heads of hair on the Winterhawks’ roster. Thanks to a clever Twitter retweet challenge, he and Chase De Leo are supposedly not cutting their hair for the entire season. Brendan is already rocking the Scott Hartnell flow, so I’m a little afraid of what will happen to it over the course of the season; it may very well take on a life of its own. At the least, it will definitely need its own stall in the dressing room. To see whether they keep their word, you can follow Brendan and Chase on Twitter: @leip28 and @Dels9.
He tells it like it is. In interviews, when meeting fans and on Twitter, Brendan is not afraid to tell you what he really thinks. I asked him once why one game against the Tri-City Americans had gone so poorly, and the following night had been a winner. On the winning game, he replied: “well, we showed up for one thing.” Brendan’s outspoken ways can occasionally get him into penalty trouble, but off the ice fans view his honesty, work ethic and outgoing personality as a plus. Which brings me to this:
Pick a Winterhawk, any Winterhawk. In choosing Brendan Leipsic, the Nashville Predators have chosen well. Behind the player a lot of local Portland fans also call a spark plug is a big-hearted kid who would do anything to support his team and its fans. Always eager to please, Brendan is often the first player to show his appreciation for local fans on Twitter. Speaking of social media, I would say that among all this year’s NHL draft talent, Brendan is a #hiddengem. So get ready Nashville; because as in life, hidden gems are usually the ones that shine the brightest.
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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