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Taking a Glass full approach
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Taking a Glass full approach

Good day to all,

Driving south on Henderson Highway on Wednesday night, I had the radio on – not the ‘80s on 8 on SiriusXM, for a change – and was listening to Paul Edmonds on the CJOB broadcast of the Moose-Admirals playoff clash at Canada Life Centre. I’ve known him for decades and truly enjoy Paul the play-by-play guy just as much as Paul the person. Game 3 of the first-round American Hockey League series had barely begun when he suddenly described the first goal of the contest by Milwaukee forward Cody Glass on a rebound. Just 21 seconds after puck drop.

Not a bad series debut for the Winnipegger, who only rejoined Nashville’s minor-league squad Tuesday after the Predators were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in an opening-round NHL series. But it’s no big surprise the 23-year-old from West Kildonan would make an immediate impact, considering he was the driving force behind the Admirals offence all season long. Glass led the team with 14 goals and 48 assists in 66 contests during the 2021-22 regular season, while suiting up for eight games with the Preds.

Nashville Predators’ Cody Glass moves the puck ahead of Calgary Flames’ Noah Hanifin during a game last month in Nashville, Tenn. (Mark Humphrey / Associated Press files)

Expect him to factor in tonight as Milwaukee, ahead 2-1 in the best-of-five series, and Manitoba – without a hair’s breadth of wiggle room -- collide in Game 4, set for 7 p.m. at the downtown rink. While I have no skin in the game, a Moose victory would, indeed, set the table for a super Sunday, as the series clincher would go at 2 p.m., presumably with a raucous crowd spurring on the antlered herd. But I also find myself pulling for Glass, hoping his most productive season as a professional continues.

Indeed, the first three years of his NHL career could be accurately described as a roller-coaster for the 2017 first-round draft choice, as FP columnist Mike McIntyre notes in his piece today.

Frankly, well before his name was called sixth overall by the expansion Vegas Golden Knights at Chicago’s United Center, the then-Portland Winterhawks centre with a penchant for play making was on a wild ride. He wasn’t even a projected first-rounder to start the 2016-17 Western Hockey League campaign but quickly became the biggest riser among all prospects, moving into the top-10 by Christmas, firmly planted among the elite along with fellow Winnipegger Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier, Cale Makar, Miro Hieskanen, Casey Middelstadt and Elias Pettersson.

I’ve spoken to Glass twice but certainly can’t say I know him. The interview opportunities came on successive days in the Windy City, including moments after he was selected on the Friday night -- four picks behind Patrick (No.2) -- while he donned a Golden Knights hat and jersey. The first time we spoke was the Thursday, on a boat of all places. Several of the premier prospects took one of those architectural river tours, and reporters were invited to climb aboard for about a 90-minute cruise through the heart of the city.

It was my one and only time covering the NHL Draft and my inaugural visit to the home of the Blackhawks. (I made four return trips to the Chi-Town while covering the Jets and loved every second spent there.) A couple of things stick out from my June 2017 visit. Wrigley Field under the sun is just about as good as it gets. Deep-dish pizza should be its own food group. A $25 rum and Coke isn’t vastly superior to the same cocktail for four bucks. And the sheer joy of a kid getting drafted into the NHL and fulfilling a dream is palpable.

Glass was bursting during his chat with reporters afterward, describing his level of nervousness as the names Hischier (New Jersey), Patrick (Philadelphia), Heiskanen (Dallas), Makar (Colorado) and Pettersson (Vancouver) were called out, one by one, until it was finally his time to take the stage. "At one point I was sitting there waiting for my name to be called and my hands were shaking. I got picked by Vegas and now it’s a huge opportunity for me," he told us.

Cody Glass (third from right) wears a Vegas Golden Knights jersey after being selected by the team in the first round of the 2017 NHL hockey draft. (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press files)

I also had a chance to talk briefly with his, father, Jeff, who raised sons Matthew and Cody as a single dad, with help from his mother, Judy. She died a year before Cody was drafted, a tremendous blow to the Glass family.

Fast-forward to the 2021-22 season, his first with the Predators after a blockbuster trade from Vegas, and Glass lasted just two games with the big club before being demoted to the AHL. But that provided him with a full season to develop and could well lead to a permanent job in Music City in ’22-23.

I’ll be rooting for him.

Jason Bell

— Sports editor Jason Bell

Jason Bell

OUR COVERAGE

Goldeyes manager Rick Forney on the first day of training camp last week at Shaw Park. (Mikeala MacKenzie / Free Press files)

Veteran skipper: Long-time Goldeyes manager Rick Forney is stoked for the 2022 season but admitted to Mike McIntyre in today's column he's nearly ready to call it a career.

Solid appointments: An all-female coaching staff has been named for the provincial U18 female hockey team that will compete at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in P.E.I., Mike Sawatzky reports.

Get it done: The Winnipeg Ice can eliminate the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors from the WHL playoffs. Sawatzky sets up the crucial battle at Wayne Fleming Arena.

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A name receiver: While the Blue Bombers are giving Whop Philyor an audition this week, it's the speedy receiver's name that is getting attention, writes Taylor Allen.

Getting his kicks: Ali Mourtada is hoping the second time's a charm as he tries to win the kicking job with Winnipeg's CFL team, Allen reports.

 

ONE GREAT PHOTO

Tampa Bay Lightning centre Brayden Point (21) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal during sudden-death overtime in the game 6 playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night in Tampa, Fla. (Chris O’Meara / The Associated Press)

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