Congratulations to owner and president Bobby Smith and his Halifax Mooseheads for defeating the Portland Winterhawks 6-4 today to win the Mastercard Memorial Cup in Saskatoon.
Halifax’ Jonathan Drouin and 17-year old Nathan MacKinnon were outstanding for the winners, and should have no trouble whatsoever paying the bills for the next 20 years. MacKinnon scored three times and added two assists, while Drouin contributed five assists.
The Colorado Avalanche, who won the draft lottery a month ago, have the luxury of choosing between MacKinnon, Drouin, and Portland’s great young defenceman Seth Jones, which is a nice dilemma to have.
I’d choose MacKinnon, as many would. He’s just too explosive and smart to let slip to number two, but to be honest, I haven’t seen enough of all three to be absolutely sure. Maybe Jones is still the odds-on favourite. Those big, mobile d-men are a nice commodity.
Halifax had dominated the first period, jumping into a 3-0 lead, but in the second, Portland seemed to find their game, and chipped away until it became a 3-2 nail-biter.
But in the third, Halifax tallied three more times and the Hawks just twice to make it close for awhile, and the Nova Scotians were full marks overall for the well-earned title of best in the CHL.
Owner Bobby Smith was a beauty of a hockey player. Tremendously intelligent, big, and crafty in a Jean Beliveau sort of way, with hands as soft as can be. As a junior with the Ottawa 67s, he set a record of 192 points in one season, a record that still stands to this day. He would spend seven years with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1980s, crammed between stints with the Minnesota North Stars, and Smith would hoist Lord Stanley’s mug with the Canadiens in 1986.
Smith’s Montreal numbers included 505 games played, with 172 goals and 310 assists for 482 points.