Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tuesday's Portland Winterhawks' news and notes: Adin Hill left off Canada Selection Camp roster

Hockey Canada announces their camp roster:

-Adin Hill was left off of a roster of 30 players invited to 2016 Hockey Canada World Juniors' selection camp, which starts December 10th and goes through December 14th. Leaving Hill off the roster is one thing, but Hockey Canada is only inviting two goalies to the camp, which is a bit of a surprise. Usually teams bring three goalies to WJC tournaments that take place overseas, in order to account for injuries over the short tournament. My belief is that Hill's recent play allowed them the ability to leave him off the roster. He was only a late invite to Team WHL, because he was on fire in the month of October. He was named Goalie of the Month in October for the WHL, after posting a 2.02 GAA and a 0.944 save percentage, along with three shutouts.
Photo courtesy of Jubilee Le

In November though, he fell back to earth a bit. He posted a 3.91 GAA and a 0.882 save percentage and had zero shutouts. If he had kept his great numbers up where he had them the previous month, I think he gets an invite to slection camp for a closer look.

The fact is, someone like Hill, who has not been on Team Canada's radar at all in previous year, needed to be playing his very best hockey in order to even get an invite. He was not doing this recently, so they are justified in leaving him at home. Portland fans should be somewhat relieved through, because the last thing they wanted was Hill to go to Finland and sit in the crowd as their third goalie.

Mathew Barzal of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Noah Juulsen of the Everett Silvertips were the only U.S. Division players invited to selection camp. Barzal's creativity and Juulsen's two-way play should make them locks to make the final team. Barzal will miss four games for certain, due to the camp and will likely miss a total of ten games, if he makes the team. This would include the December 31st game in Portland. He could also miss an 11th game if Seattle decides to rest him for the Winterhawks' game in Seattle on Friday, January eighth. The tournament goes from December 26th through January fifth in Helsinki, Finland.

Noah Juulsen, will also miss four games during the camp and 10 total if he makes the team. His team's only game with Portland in that span is December ninth in Everett. The recent acquisition of Brycen Martin from Saskatoon should take some of the sting out of the loss of Juulsen for so many games.

The other WHL players named to the selection camp are defensemen Joe Hicketts (Victoria), Travis Sanheim (Calgary), Haydn Fleury (Red Deer) and forwards Rourke Chartier (Kelowna), Nick Merkley (Kelowna), Brayden Point (Moose Jaw), John Quenneville (Brandon) and Jayce Hawryluk (Brandon). The Winterhawks do not play any games with these other teams over the span of the tournament.

Preview of two games with Prince George:
-The P.G. Citizen had a piece previewing the two-games in two-nights in Prince George between the Cougars and Winterhawks. In my opinion, the players to watch for the Cougars in the games are #13 Jesse Gabrielle (leads in the team in scoring with 22 points), #12 Jansen Harkins (has recovered from a poor start to put up six points over his last three games), #25 Tate Olson (leads team in assists with 12) and #3 Luke Zorko (hulking 6'5" Slovenian born d-man).

Pucklandia with two new pods:
-Chad over at Pucklandia had some great, recent podcasts with Gregg Drinnan and Julie Robinhymer. Drinnan goes over the B.C. Division which Portland plays their next four games against. The Winterhawks play P.G. Tuesday and Wednesday, travel to Kamloops to play the Blazers Friday and then head to Kelowna to take on the Rockets on Saturday. Robinhymer, meanwhile, previews the U.S. World Junior possibilities for four Portland Winterhawks.

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