Thursday, April 01, 2004

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Everett Silvertips...The expansion WHL hockey team I have season tickets to. Well, they made it through the first round of the playoffs, sweeping the Spokane Chiefs. They begam the first expansion team in the WHL to ever win a playoff series in this year of many firsts and mosts. the team begins it's second round in Canada...home of the Vancouver Giants. According to the Vancouver Sun:

Silvertips aim to ‘bore Vancouver to death’

Everett, under former NHL coach Kevin Constantine, plays a disciplined, tight-checking, lock-it-down system


Break out the No-Doze. The Vancouver Giants are about to go into a second-round playoff matchup with the WHL’s answer for insomniacs everywhere.
“Hopefully, Everett doesn’t bore Vancouver to death,” said Kamloops head coach Dean Clark when asked for his thoughts on a Giants-Silvertips matchup after his Blazers were eliminated by Vancouver on the weekend.
The Silvertips, U.S. Division champions in the regular season, set WHL records for wins (35) and points (80) for an expansion team with a disciplined, tight-checking, lock-itdown system under former NHL head coach Kevin Constantine. Everett’s 157 goals were the third-fewest in the league; their 153 goals against the second-best mark.
Still, it was somewhat of a surprise when they swept the Spokane Chiefs, who had finished just five points back in fourth place, in four games in the first round.
“I don’t think one guy in the room thought we’d sweep,” said Everett goaltender Jeff Harvey after the clincher. “We’re a confident group right now.”
The Silvertips twice won 3-0 with empty-net goals in both games. But they also gave up 47 and 34 shots in two games in Spokane.
“You’ve got to patient,” Clark said. “You can’t get frustrated. It’s real important to play with the lead against them because they’re a better team when they have a lead.”
The Giants went 4-2 against the Silvertips in the regularseason, outscoring them 17-11 while winning twice on homeice and in Everett.
While Clark preached patience, Giants’ head coach Dean Evason says his club may have to force the issue.
“They’re not going to give us a lot and in order for us to get opportunities we’re going to have to take some chances offensively to take them out of their comfort zone.”
Of course, getting opportunities is one thing, converting them is another.
Harvey, 20, had those two shutouts — the other two games, the ’Tips won in overtime — and leads the WHL with a scintillating .962 save percentage in the playoffs.
“They’re obviously going to be really well prepared, they’re that type of team,” said Giants’ GM Scott Bonner of a Silvertips’ club that was easily the least-penalized team in the league. “Things got a little ugly at the end [of the teams’ last game, with a couple of fights]. There’ll be no love lost by the end.”
Bonner said he expects fans of both teams to make the trip up and down the I-5 for games.
“Their fans down there are ruthless. We’ve got to make sure we’re disciplined in their building because they’ll have no problem jumping all over us.”

The new, 8,500-seat Everett Events Center is one of the loudest buildings in the WHL, in part because the sharp banking of seats puts the crowd right on top of the action.

"We have the best fans in the WHL, bar none," says G Jeff Harvey. "They're ruthless, they cheer loud and that's what a hockey rink is supposed to be like. It's not supposed to be a library like the Pacific Coliseum has been every time we've been there."

"The difference," fired back Giants' GM Scott Bonner, "is our fans are a lot more knowledgeable than Everett fans about hockey."

Harvey will likely a find a different atmosphere in the Coliseum in Games 1 and 2 Friday and Saturday. In three regular-season Everett-Vancouver games, average attendance was just 4,103. But the Giants drew 7,816 for its Game 5 clincher over Kamloops.

BORING TO WHOM?: Everett didn't take kindly to Kamloops' coach Dean Clark's comment that he hopes the tight-checking, defensive-minded 'Tips don't "bore Vancouver to death."

"Tell Dean Clark and that Kamloops team it's a lot more exciting when you're still in the playoffs," said Harvey. "Is winning boring hockey? Winning is what's exciting."

This should be fun!