The Hawks’ Nest

Ross-Nino-Johansen line
January 5, 2010, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Winterhawks | Tags: ,

I don’t know if Brad Ross has many leather-bound books and an apartment that smells of rich mahogany, but he is kind of a big deal.

Brad Ross earned the WHL’s Player of the Month Award for December today, a well-deserved honor for a player really coming into his own right now. With Nino Niederreiter and Luke Walker away, he and Ryan Johansen have shouldered the scoring load in their absence and helped the Winterhawks maintain their hold on second place in the division and third in the conference.  He’s also the only player in the league leading his team in both scoring and penalty minutes.

Before long, he and Johansen will be reunited with their usual linemate, Niederreiter. The Swiss team’s miraculous run to the medal round came to an end today with a loss to Sweden, but given they had to play their way into the tournament last year, fourth place is no small feat. With Niederreiter having two more years of eligibility left, Switzerland will be able to build around him and keep the momentum rolling in future years.

When he gets back, he’ll find himself in the thick of rookie scoring race with Johansen. Nino had been leading the league before leaving, but having missed the last six games he’s fallen to fifth. Johansen has taken the lead (with Vancouver’s Kevin Connauton) , and it promises to be a tight race down the stretch. When was the last time one team had players finish 1-2 in the Rookie of the Year race? It could happen with Portland this year with Nino and Johansen (with either a solid candidate to be #1).

In addition to the Rookie of the Year Award, all three players are strong candidates to be first round picks in June’s NHL Draft. Having three players get taken in the first round is incredible, but all of them linemates? It’s staggering when you think about it.

Anyway, getting back to the World Juniors for a second, the final between Canada and the U.S. gets underway in about an hour. The team pushed back practice a bit today so the players could come right off the ice, shower and hunker down in the lounge to watch the game. The Americans in the locker room are grossly outnumbered, with Taylor Aronson, Mac Carruth and Seth Swenson the sole Americans on the roster (although Gasper Kopitar spent the last several years living in Los Angeles). They can expect any amount of grief if Canada prevails (again).


2 Comments so far
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Chris Francis is from Las Vegas, last I knew that was still south of the border.

Comment by Pat Nolan

Absolutely, my mistake. I guess there’s a first time for everything.

Comment by portlandwinterhawks

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