Above the Glass
by Samantha on 10/01/11 at 06:00 PM ET
After tasting life in the NHL, local heroes Sven Bartschi and Ty Rattie returned to Portland last night to a rude awakening, as the Winterhawks lost to the Tri-City Americans 4 – 1. Sven especially had hoped he would stay with the Calgary Flames for a least a few regular season games, and it was clear last night that he was still visibly disappointed that didn’t happen. To return on a loss certainly didn’t help things, but all of our draft talent is already achieving more at their young age than I was in my late teens. I know them enough to know that they appreciate their good fortune and that they love playing here. But I also know how I saw the world at their age, and I’d be pretty tweaked right now if I were them. Which got me to thinking, what would I tell them about appreciating how lucky they are and how to make the most of this season?
1) The best is yet to come. Losing games and all, the good news is that there is so much more life to be lived, and much more great hockey to be played. To Sven I would say, Calgary’s loss is Portland’s gain. And there’s no reason this season can’t be just as good, if not better, than the last. Just ask Nino and Ryan: their second season with the Portland Winterhawks took them all the way to the WHL Conference Championship, a place the team had not been in 10 years.
2) Not every season and every game can be a winner. The best victories are the ones you earn by losing first. Life is messy, just like hockey. And the best way to learn is by doing. Disappointment and losing are a part of life; the more you can learn how to deal with it now, the better you will be in the long run.
3) Being good and being ready are two different things. Sven and Ty have already impressed the NHL brass, or they wouldn’t be where they are. Everything you read about them in their time with the NHL involved something akin to “continue to impress.” Dazzle was used in several headlines. But an NHL team also has to also be sure than their star players can handle the big time on every level. And for whatever reason, whether it be their physical size, working on the little details, or just plain old growing up, those same brass have a reason why they did what they did. Therefore:
4) Make the most of what you’re given. This season is a chance to get ready. To gain weight, to work on those details, whatever. Take it. Our draftees couldn’t entirely control whether they came back here, but they can control how they respond to it. The Portland Winterhawks are committed above all things to player development. It is one of the many great reasons to play junior hockey here. Well, that and of course, the awesome fans who will be behind you all the way. So enjoy the ride.
Read at your own risk: If you want to see what went down in Portland last night, you can do so here. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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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