Saturday, April 18, 2015

McDavid as a d-man? . . . OT rules in WHL playoffs . . . Thunder booms at Allan Cup

With apologies to Blackie Sherrod, we’re scatter shooting on a Saturday evening:
1. There I was sitting at a counter in a DQ, enjoying a cup of coffee while my wife did the crossword puzzle in Saturday’s Vancouver Sun. I was tracking the NHL draft lottery on my tablet and wondering if the NHL intentionally created such humour.
2. Of course, the last thing the Edmonton Oilers, who won the lottery, need is another highly skilled forward. Perhaps they will select F Connor McDavid of the OHL’s Erie Otters and turn him into a defenceman?
3. Here’s a post-lottery tweet from Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports that says it all: “So Connor McDavid will go to #Oilers, who forced @ErieOtters owner Sherry Bassin to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. No justice. #OHL.”
4. Do you recall the comments by then-Vancouver Canucks head coach John Tortorella after his infamous dash towards the Calgary Flames dressing room last season? After that incident, he said of Flames head coach Bob Hartley: “I don’t like the way he does business.” . . . You can bet that wherever Tortorella was on Friday night, he was nodding his head.
5. If you’re like me, you’re wondering how much of that $50,000 fine will come out of Hartley’s pocket?
6. The WHL playoffs are almost through two rounds, and 21 of 61 games have gone to overtime. Unfortunately, these playoffs haven’t been as close as that might seem to indicate. To date, only three of 11 series have needed more than five games to decide. If Portland wins tonight in Everett, that will be three of 12.
7. If you’re a fan of the Portland Winterhawks, you have to like the way these playoffs are shaping up. The Winterhawks, who have been to four straight WHL finals, are relatively healthy, while the other four teams still standing — Brandon, Calgary, Everett and Kelowna — all have had injury issues. It could be, though, that the Rockets are getting healthy at just the right time.
8. You can bet that Brandon, Calgary and Kelowna, none of whom is likely to play before Friday, will make good use of the off days, simply by resting those players with bumps and bruises and worse.
9. There is speculation that Mike Johnston, who had so much success as the GM and head coach of the Winterhawks, is on the hot seat as his first season as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins winds down. . . . If you think that’s crazy, there is speculation that the Boston Bruins’ brain trust is giving at least some consideration to firing head coach Claude Julien and hiring Mike Milbury to replace him. . . . Peter Chiarelli, the GM the Bruins fired the other day, had three years left on his contract.
10. A Saturday night tweet from Randy Turner of the Winnpeg Free Press: “I don't know why media keeps asking MacT if he'll trade McDavid. The Edmonton Oilers would never trade the best hockey player in the world.”
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F Maximilian Kammerer (Regina, 2013-14) has signed a three-year contract with Düsseldorf (Germany, DEL). This season, with Red Bull Salzburg II (Austria, Russia MHL), he had five goals and eight assists in 35 games.
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SATURDAY’S GAMES:

No Games Scheduled.
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G Steve Christie, a 30-year-old Winnipegger, stopped 27 shots on Saturday, leading the South East Prairie Thunder to a 2-0 victory over the Bentley, Alta., Generals in the Allan Cup final in Clarenville, Nfld. The Allan Cup was awarded for the 107th time. . . . The Prairie Thunder, which plays out of Steinbach, Man., will be host team for the 2016 Allan Cup tournament. . . . The goals came from F Mark Agnew, a 32-year-old native of Hartney, Man., who played four seasons at Quinnipiac U, and F Shawn Limpright, 33, who is from St. Adolphe, Man., and played four seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Thunder’s lineup also included F Terry Yake, who played three seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings before going on to a pro career that included 403 games in the NHL. Yake had an assist in the final, giving him a goal and two assists in four tournament games. Yake is 46 years of age. . . . The scoresheet from the final game is right here.
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The Kelowna Rockets advanced to the third round of the WHL playoffs on Friday night and now await the winner of the ongoing series between the Portland Winterhawks and Everett Silvertips. Portland takes a 3-1 lead into Everett tonight. . . . Should the next round feature Kelowna and Portland, Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier writes that the Rockets could be “heavy favourites to avenge last year’s loss.” His reasoning? “Portland has a couple elite talents up front in Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nic Petan, but the tables have been turned on the back end, with Kelowna now boasting a clear advantage with (Josh) Morrissey in the fold. If (Leon) Draisaitl can pick up where he left off against Victoria, then the Rockets will be heavy favourites to avenge last year’s loss.”
Fisher’s story is right here.
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Here’s Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune, before the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the host New York Rangers 4-3 on Saturday:
The Pittsburgh Penguins are in tough in their first-round NHL playoff series with the New York Rangers, who owned the league's best record in the regular season (53-22-7). According to a column in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, first-year coach Mike Johnston — the former Winterhawks general manager/head coach — is on the hot seat if the Penguins lose.
"Mike Johnston should survive. He probably won't," writes columnist Rob Rossi, blaming the Penguins' late-season swoon on injuries and a poor job of salary-cap management by general manager Jim Rutherford.
If the Penguins axe Johnston, the Winterhawks would be wise to welcome him back with open arms.
Johnston's replacement, Jamie Kompon, has done a capable job coaching the Hawks into the WHL's Western Conference semifinals. But Johnston did a sensational job in his six years in Portland, resurrecting a woebegone franchise that was a laughingstock when he arrived in 2008.
Keeping Kompon as coach and bringing back Johnston as the club's GM would be a win-win for everybody.
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Jack Brodsky, a former owner of the Saskatoon Blades, will be presented with the Saskatchewan Order of Merit on May 13 in Regina. . . . Before the Blades were sold to Edmonton-based auto dealer Mike Priestner prior to the 2013-14 season, Brodsky was prominent in WHL circles. He was the Blades’ president and governor, and served on numerous WHL committees. . . .
F Tim Bozon (Kootenay Ice) made his pro debut with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs last night. Bozon, who played out his junior eligibility this season, was pointless but had six shots on goal as the host Bulldogs dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Lake Erie Monsters. Bozon had a chance to win the game in OT but Monster G Calvin Pickard came up with a tremendous save. . . . Kootenay D Rinat Valiev also made his debut last night. He was plus-1 as his Toronto Marlies beat the host Rockford IceHogs, 3-1.
F Cole Ully (Kamloops Blazers) was pointless as the Texas Stars scored a 4-3 OT victory over the San Antonio Rampage. It was Ully’s second pro game; he picked up an assist in a 3-2 victory on Friday night. Ully, who has signed with the parent Dallas Stars, is headed home to Calgary today. . . . BTW, former Kamloops F Brendan Ranford scored the OT goal for Texas last night.
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What is it like to be part of a family in which one individual is trying to cope with post-concussion syndrome? Kristin Reed has had six of these brain injuries, all while playing sports. She is 15 years of age. She yearns for a headache-free day. . . . Brandon Stoneburg of the Norristown, Pa., Times Herald has Stewart’s story right here.
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Wheaties, Hitmen, Rockets advance. . . . Winterhawks in control . . . Stoll in hot water








F Zdeněk Okál (Medicine Hat, 2008-10) has signed a one-year extension with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, in 47 games, he had 11 goals and nine assists. . . .
F Ondřej Veselý (Portland, Tri-City, 1996-98) has signed a two-year extension with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had 10 goals and 10 assists in 51 games.
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FRIDAY’S GAMES:

In Brandon, F Peter Quenneville scored at 6:15 of OT to give the Wheat Kings a 3-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Brandon won the series, 4-1, and next goes against the Calgary Hitmen in the Eastern Conference final. . . . Brandon was 3-1-0 against Calgary in the regular season. . . . The series will open with games in Brandon on April 24 and 25, before moving to Calgary for games on April 28 and 29. . . . Quenneville’s fourth playoff goal was set up by his brother, John. . . . Peter also had two assists. . . . Brandon F Nolan Patrick forced OT with his second goal of the game, and fourth of the playoffs, at 13:39 of the third period. . . . Patrick had opened the scoring at 12:52 of the first, while shorthanded. . . . Regina D Jake Leschyshyn tied it with his first goal at 13:41 of the second, and F Taylor Cooper gave the Pats the lead at 18:58, with his fourth goal. . . . Each team was 0-for-5 on the PP. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny stopped 25 shots. Regina G Daniel Wapple put on a clinic, turning aside 48 shots. . . . In the third period, Wapple stopped 19 of 20 shots. . . . F Morgan Klimchuk was back in Brandon’s lineup after a six-game absence. He drew one assist. . . . Brandon F Jayce Hawryluk, F Rihards Bukarts and D Colton Waltz sat out for a third straight game. . . . The Pats scratched D Sergey Zborovskiy, D Chase Harrison, D Connor Hobbs, F Rykr Cole and F Sam Steel, meaning they played without three of their top four defencemen. . . . Attendance was 4,333, the smallest crowd of the series.

In Calgary, D Travis Sanheim scored in the second OT period to give the Hitmen a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Calgary won the series, 4-1, and will meet the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference final. . . . Calgary was 1-2-1 against Brandon in the regular season. . . . Sanheim’s fifth goal of these playoffs came at 7:45 of the second OT. . . . The loss means that Wednesday’s game in Medicine Hat, which the Hitmen won 2-1 in OT, was the last game in the Arena. The Tigers will be in the new Regional Event Centre when next season gets here. . . . This was the third game in the series to go to OT; the Hitmen won two of them. In all, Calgary has played in six OT games in these playoffs, winning four of them. . . . F Jake Virtanen scored twice for Calgary, his second goal came with 44.9 seconds left in the third period and forced OT. It came on a PP with G Mack Shields on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Virtanen has four goals in these playoffs. . . . Tigers F Markus Eisenschmid, who was serving a hooking penalty when Virtanen tied it, had given the Tigers a 3-2 lead at 12:03 of the third. . . . F Cole Sanford gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 3:22 of the first, but Virtanen tied it at 15:03. . . . The Tigers took a 2-1 lead 59 seconds into the second on F Dryden Hunt’s fifth goal. . . . Calgary D Jake Bean, playing for the first time since March 27, scored his second goal at 17:31 of the second. . . . Bean hadn’t played since Game 1 of the first round. . . . F Adam Tambellini also returned to the Calgary lineup — he had one assist — but F Chase Lang remained out. . . .  Shields stopped 55 shots, four more than Medicine Hat’s Marek Langhamer. . . . Calgary was 1-for-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-for-1. . . . Attendance was 7,290. . . . Laurence Heinen wrote this game story for the Calgary Herald.

In Kelowna, D Josh Morrissey returned to the Rockets lineup with two goals and three assists as they dumped the Victoria Royals, 7-3. . . . The Rockets won the series, 4-1. . . . Morrissey, who sat out the previous two games, scored his first two goals of these playoffs. . . . Kelowna F Leon Draisaitl scored the game’s first goal, his fourth, at 1:24 of the first period. . . . Victoria got the next two goals, from F Jack Walker at 17:54 and F Brandon Fushimi at 18:17. . . . But the Rockets tied it on Morrissey’s first goal at 19:28. . . . The Rockets then pulled away with three second-period goals, from F Rodney Southam, F Tyson Baillie and Morrissey, the latter two scoring on the PP. . . . Baillie’s goal was his seventh; he’s got points in nine straight playoff games. . . . F Rourke Chartier, with his seventh, and F Cole Linaker, with his second, scored for Kelowna in the third, with D Travis Brown getting his second, on a PP, for Victoria. . . . Kelowna D Madison Bowey had three assists, with Draisaitl and F Nick Merkley each getting two. . . . Draisaitl had 11 points in the series, while Morrissey put up eight in two-plus games. . . . Kelowna opened with Jackson Whistle in goal, but head coach Dan Lambert took him out after the first period in an attempt to fire up his team. The game was tied 2-2 with Whistle having allowed two goals on nine shots. . . . Michael Herringer came on in relief and stopped 11 of 12 shots. . . . Victoria starter Justin Paulic gave up five goals on 26 shots, with reliever Coleman Vollrath giving up two on 13. . . . Kelowna was 2-for-4 on the PP; Victoria was 1-for-6. . . . Victoria F Jared Dmytriw took a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on Kelowna D Cole Martin at 11:54 of the second period. The WHL will review the play and Dmytriw, a 16-year-old from Craven, Sask., could open next season under suspension. He had 13 penalty minutes in 49 regular-season games, and was hit with 15 minutes worth last night. . . . Kelowna had F Justin Kirkland back in the lineup after a nine-week absence. Kirkland, who had 51 points in 50 regular-season games, hadn’t played since Feb. 14. . . . Attendance was 5,226.

In Portland, D Blake Heinrich scored at 5:40 of OT to give the Winterhawks a 2-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Winterhawks take a 3-1 lead into Game 5 in Everett on Sunday. . . . Heinrich has three playoff goals. . . . F Chase De Leo got Portland on the board with his third goal at 1:15 of the second period. . . . Everett D Ben Betker tied it with his first goal at 12:54 of the second. . . . Portland G Adin Hill stopped 29 shots, as did G Carter Hart of the Silvertips. . . . Portland was 0-for-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-for-2. . . . Among Everett’s scratchers were D Noah Juulsen, D Tristen Pfeifer and F Dawson Leedahl. Leedahl, who had missed the previous five games, played two periods in Game 3 on Thursday, but didn’t come out of the dressing room for the third. Last night, Everett F Jake Mykitiuk left in the third period. . . . Attendance was 8,590. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has a game story right here.
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The story broke in the middle of night No. 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
A CBS-TV outlet in Los Angeles reported that F Jarret Stoll of the Los Angeles was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday on suspicion of possession of cocaine and Ecstasy. He is reported to have been at the MGM Grand’s Wet Republic pool.
Stoll, a 32-year-old native of Melville, Sask., played four seasons (1998-2002) with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. He has spent the past seven seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, helping them win two Stanley Cup titles. His contract expired with the conclusion of this season and he appears headed for unrestricted free agency.
The Kings released this statement: “We are aware of police reports out of Clark County, Nevada, regarding Jarret Stoll. Our organization is concerned and has begun conducting a thorough internal investigation. While we continue to actively gather facts, we are withholding further comment at this time.”
Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told the Los Angeles Times: “We are aware of the reports tonight, and we obviously will follow up to understand the nature of the allegations that are being made. "We are not in a position at this time to comment further until we have more information.”
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The NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs are three nights old and we have seen starting goaltenders from Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Slovakia and Sweden. . . . Unfortunately, we won’t see anything like that in the CHL because it has chosen to ban European goaltenders from its three leagues — the OHL, QMJHL and WHL. . . . Marek Langhamer of the Medicine Hat Tigers had his WHL career come to an end last night. From the Czech Republic, he will go down in history as the WHL’s last European goaltender.
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The OHL named its coach of the year on Friday, with the award going to Sheldon Keefe, the head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. If you are at all familiar with Keefe’s story — to refresh your memory, he was one of David Frost’s boys — you know just what all of this means. For a good read on Keefe, pick up a copy of Bob McKenzie’s book Hockey Confidential. One chapter, a terrific chapter, tells Keefe’s story, warts and all. . . . In the meantime, Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports has a story right here on Keefe winning the coach-of-the-year award.
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The Saskatoon Blades have signed F Josh Paterson, the team’s first selection in the 2014 bantam draft. Paterson, a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder from Edmonton, was the 25th overall pick in that draft. Last season, Paterson led the Alberta bantam AAA league in scoring when he put up 97 points in 33 games for the South Side Athletic Club. This season, he played for the SSAC midget AAA side, picking up 19 points, including nine goals, in 32 games. . . .
The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Brett Clayton, 16, a list player who played this season with the B.C. major midget league’s Fraser Valley Thunderbirds. The 6-foot-3, 197-pounder had 34 points, 16 of them goals, in 40 games with the Thunderbirds. The Winterhawks placed him on their list after they liked what they saw of him in training camp in August. . . .
D Shea Theodore (Seattle Thunderbirds) had a goal and an assist last night, helping the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals to a 4-2 victory over the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms. In eight AHL games this season, Theodore has nine points, four of them goals. . . . Theodore began the season with the Admirals and had three goals and four assists in five games. He joined Norfolk when Seattle’s season ended, and has a goal and three helpers in three games. . . .
F Cole Ully (Kamloops Blazers) made his pro debut last night, earning one assist as the Texas Stars beat the host San Antonio Rampage 3-2 to clinch an AHL playoff spot. Ully, who has signed with the NHL’s Dallas Stars, drew the primary assist on F Brendan Ranford’s 17th goal of the season. Ranford also played in Kamloops. . . .
F Sam Reinhart (Kootenay Ice) drew two assists and was chosen the second star last night as his Rochester Americans dropped a 3-2 AHL decision to the visiting Utica Comets. Reinhart was selected by the parent Buffalo Sabres with the second pick of the NHL’s 2014 draft. Earlier this season, he played nine games with the Sabres; this was his first game with the Americans. . . .
F Liam Stewart (Spokane Chiefs) scored his first pro goal to help the visiting Quad City Mallards to a 3-2 victory over the Rapid City Rush in an ECHL game. It was Stewart’s first pro game. . . .
The Penticton Vees won the BCHL championship last night when F Dakota Conroy (Brandon, Victoria, Prince Albert, 2010-15) scored at 2:06 of OT to give them a 3-2 victory over the host Nanaimo Clippers. . . . The Vees lost the first two games of the series, then won four in a row. . . . In the AJHL, the Brooks Bandits posted a 6-4 victory over the host Spruce Grove Saints. Spruce Grove takes a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 in Brooks on Sunday.
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THE COACHING GAME:

Geoff Goodman is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Princeton Posse of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Goodman spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach with the KIJHL’s Osoyoos Coyotes. . . . Goodman replaces Bill Rotheisler, whose contract wasn’t renewed after two seasons there.
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Winterhawks in front of 'Tips . . . Former WHLer next top cop in Toronto? . . . Gong show in NHL








F Stanislav Balán (Portland, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract with Vítkovice Steel Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had 13 goals and 18 assists in 51 games. . . .
F Roman Horák (Chilliwack, 2009-11) has signed a one-year extension with Vityaz Podolsk (Russia, KHL). This season, he had 31 points, including 18 goals, in 53 games. . . .
D Michal Hlinka (Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, 2010-12) has signed a one-year extension with Dukla Trencin (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had 15 points, seven of them goals, in 43 games this season.
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THURSDAY’S GAME:

In Portland, the Winterhawks scored the game’s first five goals as they skated to a 5-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Portland takes a 2-1 lead into Game 4 tonight at home. . . . The teams hadn’t played since Saturday because of arena availability issues in Portland. . . . Portland D Anton Cederholm opened the scoring with his first goal at 17:52 of the second period. . . . By coincidence, freelancer Scott Sepich wrote a feature on Cederholm and his father, who is in Portland this week from Sweden, for The Oregonian. That piece is right here. . . . F Nic Petan got his sixth goal at 18:13 of the second, on a PP, and F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice, giving him eight, in the third period. . . . F Dominic Turgeon upped it to 5-0 at 14:27. . . . Everett scored three times in 1:46 late in the period, with D Kevin Davis, F Ivan Nikolishin and F Graham Millar scoring. . . . Petan also had two assists for Portland, as did F Miles Koules and F Chase De Leo. . . . F Logan Aasman had two assists for Everett. . . . Winterhawks G Adin Hill stopped 16 shots. . . . Everett starter Carter Hart gave up four goals on 34 shots. Reliever Austin Lotz was beaten once on two shots in 6:26 of playing time. . . . Portland was 2-for-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-for-2. . . . Everett F Dawson Leedahl returned to the lineup after a five-game absence, but the Silvertips remain without D Noah Juulsen and D Tristen Pfeiffer. . . . Leedahl was involved in a fight with F Keegan Iverson at 10:27 of the second period, then took a cross-checking minor at 19:01. Leedahl didn’t return to serve out his penalty to start the third period. Nikolishin actually finished serving the penalty. . . . Attendance was 5,518.


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D Connor Hobbs of the Regina Pats has drawn one of those ‘tbd’ suspensions from the WHL for a hit in Game 4 against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Wednesday night. Hobbs took out Brandon D Ryan Pilon, whose status for Game 5 in Brandon tonight isn’t known.
Here’s Rob Henderson, the Brandon Sun’s sports editor, with some thoughts earlier Thursday:
“It would be in the Wheat Kings’ best interest to end the series as soon as possible. In addition to the obvious desire to not let the Pats force a Game 6 on Sunday in Regina, the physical series is also taking a serious toll on both teams’ lineups.
“Wheat Kings Jayce Hawryluk, Rihards Bukarts, Colton Waltz and Ryan Pilon have all been injured since the series began, with Pilon being knocked out of Game 4 by the hit that led to Hobbs’ major. . . . Pats defenceman Sergey Zborovskiy still has one game left in his suspension for the hit that sidelined Hawryluk, while Regina’s Rykr Cole and Chase Harrison have also gone down to injuries in the series.”
Henderson added that Kelly McCrimmon, Brandon’s general manager and head coach, “didn’t divulge any information when asked if any of his injured players would return for tonight’s game.”
Brandon F Morgan Klimchuk, who has sat out six games, took part in Thursday’s optional skate.
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The Calgary Hitmen can eliminate the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers tonight and book a berth in the Eastern Conference final. . . . The Hitmen are coming off a 2-1 OT victory in Medicine Hat on Wednesday night that gave them a 3-1 lead in the series. . . . Calgary F Adam Tambellini, who leads the WHL playoffs in assists (10) and points (19), missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, but was back on skates Thursday. He likely will skate again this morning and then be re-evaluated. . . . You can bet that the Hitmen go into tonight’s game with their first-round series victory over the Kootenay Ice fresh in their minds. Calgary was ahead 3-1 in that series and it ended up going seven games. . . . The Tigers may be without F Blake Penner, who left Game 4 with an undisclosed injury. . . . Laurence Heinen wrote this story for the Calgary Herald.
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The NHL’s Colorado Avalanche is dropping its affiliation with the AHL’s Cleveland-based Lake Erie Monsters. . . . The NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to announce today that they are moving their affiliation from Springfield, Mass., to Lake Erie. . . . There is speculation that the Arizona Coyotes will hook up with Springfield, at least for one seasno. . . . Former WHL GM/coach/player Dean Chynoweth is Lake Erie’s head coach. . . . Jared Bednar, another former WHL player, is the head coach in Springfield. . . . Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, who broke the story, writes that the Springfield coaching staff, which includes another former WHLer in Nolan Pratt, would move to Lake Erie. . . . Portzline’s blog piece is right here. . . . Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reported last night that the Avalanche will affiliate with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, which had been hooked up with the Florida Panthers. Next season, Florida will be affiliated with the AHL’s Portland Pirates, who had been Arizona’s farm team. Arizona, of course, will end up cutting a deal with Springfield, and the circle will be complete.
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The Globe and Mail is reporting that former WHLer Dale McFee, who is the president of the Prince Albert Raiders, is the “wild card contender” to become Toronto’s next police chief. McFee, who played four seasons with the Raiders (1982-86), also is a former Prince Albert police chief; he now is Saskatchewan’s deputy minister of corrections. . . . Robyn Doolittle’s story is right here.
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As Pierre LeBrun of ESPN notes in this piece right here, the NHL series between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators already has degenerated into a “gong show,” and it's only one game old. . . . It could be that Ottawa F Chris Neil, who didn’t play in Game 1, will be doing his thing tonight in Game 2.
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Just as things heat up in the NHL players and we are wondering if something might relieve the pressure, if only for a few minutes, along comes a video starring ESPN’s Britt McHenry. . . . If you haven’t seen it or read about what happened, well, it’s like something out of Dumb and Dumber and Dumbest. Seriously, you thought stuff like this only happened in Judd Apatow movies. . . . At one point, McHenry says to the attendant at a towing company’s lot: “Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh? . . I’m in television and you’re in a f------ trailer, honey.” . . . Sheesh, wouldn’t you think that someone who is in the TV business would realize that she just might be on camera in a place like that?
Richard Deitsch of SI.com has more right here.
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The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed D Jarret Tyszka, who was the 16th overall selection in the 2014 bantam draft. From Langley, B.C., Tyszka played this season for the midget team at the Yale Hockey Academy, putting up 10 points, three of them goals, in 23 games.

F Tyler Jeanson of the MJHL-champion Portage Terriers has signed a letter of intent with the Colgate University Raiders. Jeanson, 17, was selected by the Kamloops Blazers in the ninth round of the 2012 bantam draft. The MJHL’s rookie of the year last season, he had 54 points, including 23 goals, in 56 regular-season games this season.

The Melfort Mustangs won the SJHL championship last night, beating the host Notre Dame Hounds 4-0 to win the series, 4-0. Trevor Blevins, the Mustangs’ head coach, is from Melfort. He was a player with the Mustangs when they last won the SJHL title, in 1996. . . . The Mustangs went 12-2 in their playoff run, with both losses coming in OT. . . . In the BCHL, the host Penticton Vees beat the Nanaimo Clippers 3-2 last night. The Vees take a 3-2 series lead into Nanaimo for Game 6 tonight. The Clippers had won Games 1 and 2, both in Penticton. . . . In the AJHL, the Spruce Grove Saints hold a 3-1 lead on the Brooks Bandits with Game 5 scheduled for Spruce Grove tonight. . . . Three teams — the host Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Melfort and the MJHL-champion Portage Terriers — now have spots in the Western Canada Cup. It runs in Fort McMurray, April 25 through May 3. The top two teams move on to the Royal Bank Cup, the national championship tournament. This year, it will be held in Portage la Prairie, Man.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Another WHL team looking for head coach . . . Brandon boys win two in OT . . . Royals still alive








F Radek Duda (Regina, Lethbridge, 1998-2000) has signed a two-year extension with Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, as team captain, he had 19 goals and 17 assists in 46 games.
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THE COACHING GAME:

There now are three WHL teams without head coaches.
The Kootenay Ice joined the fray on Wednesday with the announcement that it won’t be renewing head coach Ryan McGill’s contract when it expires on June 30.
"At this time, we feel we need a fresh face and voice moving forward to lead our team,” Jeff Chynoweth, the Ice’s president and general manager, said in a news release.
The Ice will be an awfully young team next season, so Chynoweth told Taking Note that a decision was made to find a new voice.
“Just looking at what we are losing this year, in terms of players, and how much of a step back I think we are going to take next (season) with a young and unproven team,” Chynoweth told Taking Note via text.
The Ice’s roster includes 11 players born in 1995 and three who were born in 1994. F Sam Reinhart isn’t expected back, while F Tim Bozon, F Austin Vetterl and F Levi Cable used up their junior eligibility.
McGill, 46, is from Sherwood Park, Alta.
This was McGill’s second stint as the Ice’s head coach. He was in his third season this time around; he also was head coach 1997-2002. In total, his record is 280-222-53. Under McGill, the Ice won the WHL championship in 1999-2000 and 2001-02, and the Memorial Cup in the spring of 2002.
Between his two tours of duty with the Ice, McGill was an AHL head coach for seven seasons and an assist with the NHL’s Calgayr Flames for two seasons.
The Ice went 37-31-4 this season to finish fourth in the Central Division and earn the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card berth. The Ice then lost a first-round series in seven games to the Calgary Hitmen.
You have to think that McGill will wait and see if any pro offers come his way before he decides on his next move.
Along with the Ice, the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Vancouver Giants also are without head coaches.
Peter Anholt, who stepped in as GM and head coach in Lethbridge in mid-season, has said he won’t be back as head coach and will be hiring. In Vancouver, the Giants parted company with Claude Noel at season’s end. Noel also had been a mid-season replacement.
Last off-season, 10 of the WHL’s 22 teams made coaching changes.
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:

In Regina, F Tanner Kaspick scored at 3:36 of OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 3-2 victory over the Pats. . . . The Wheat Kings lead the series, 3-1. Game 5 is scheduled for Brandon on Friday. . . . Kaspick, who is from Brandon, scored his first WHL playoff goal. He had one goal in 53 regular-season games. . . . Kaspick turned 17 on Jan. 28. . . . Regina D Connor Hobbs was hit with a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on Regina D Ryan Pilon at 7:22 of the third period. . . . Pilon needed help leaving the ice. . . . Brandon scored once on the ensuing PP as F Peter Quenneville scored his third goal at 7:53. That tied the score 2-2. . . . Hobbs had scored Regina’s second goal, at 6:27 of the second, on a PP. . . . Brandon F Nolan Patrick scored the game’s first goal, his second, at 19:37 of the first period. . . . Regina D Colby Williams came out of the penalty box, took a breakaway pass from F Pavel Padakin and went into to score his third goal at 4:27 of the second. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny stopped 30 shots, 15 fewer than Regina’s Daniel Wapple. . . . Brandon was 1-for-4 on the PP; Regina was 1-for-3. . . . Earlier in the game, Brandon F Mark Matsuba (headshot) and D Ivan Provorov (boarding) were given minor penalties for fouls the Pats felt could have been majors. . . . “It’s tough but it is what it is,” Wapple told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “We can’t point fingers but at the same time there were a couple hits that definitely could have been more than a two-minute penalty and ours is a five-minute penalty. It is what it is. You can’t do anything about it now.” . . . Regina head coach John Paddock offered:“Clearly to us Provorov should not have been in the game and clearly (Tuesday) night Reid Duke shouldn’t have been in the game (after a cross-check to Adam Brooks). Those are things we have to deal with. You have to find a way. We found a way. We played good enough to win.” . . . Regina again was without D Sergey Zborovsky, who is serving a three-game suspension for a hit on Brandon F Jayce Hawryluk in Game 2. Zborovsky had his suspension set at three games on Wednesday, meaning he will be eligible to return for Game 6. . . . Hawryluk hasn’t played since being hit by Zborovsky, who took an interference major and game misconduct on the play. . . . Attendance was 5,161. . . . The Wheat Kings have played five road games in these playoffs and each of them has ended in a 3-2 score. Brandon is 4-1 in those games. Two of them have gone to OT and Brandon has won both. . . . BTW, F Jesse Gabrielle had been credited with the game-winning goal in Regina’s 3-2 victory on Tuesday night. Sometime after that game, it was changed to F Taylor Cooper. Both are former Wheat Kings.

In Medicine Hat, F Jordy Stallard scored at 7:22 of OT to give the Calgary Hitmen a 2-1 victory over the Tigers. . . . The Hitmen lead the series 3-1 with Game 5 scheduled for Friday in Calgary. . . . Should Calgary win on Friday, last night’s game will have been the last one for the Tigers in the Arena. They will move into the Regional Event Centre next season. . . . Interestingly, attendance was 3,518 — not the usual 4,006. . . . Stallard, like Kaspick, is from Brandon. Stallard, 17, had six goals in 58 regular-season games; he has three goals in these playoffs. . . . Tigers D Ty Lewington scored the game’s first goal, his first, at 19:41 of the first period on a PP. . . . Calgary tied it when F Jake Virtanen scored his second goal, on a penalty shot, at 6:24 of the second. . . . Calgary F Elliott Peterson was awarded a penalty shot just 29 seconds after Virtanen’s goal. Peterson, however, lost control of the puck and wasn’t able to get off a shot. . . . Calgary G Mack Shields turned aside 35 shots, while Medicine Hat’s Marek Langhamer kicked out 20. . . . The Tigers had a 14-3 edge on shots in the third and 6-2 in OT. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-for-5 on the PP; Calgary was 0-for-1. . . . F Adam Tambellini, the WHL’s leading playoff scorer, was among Calgary’s scratches. He has an undisclosed injury. The Hitmen continue to be without D Jake Bean and F Chase Lang. . . . The Tigers had F Chad Butcher (broken thumb) back after a five-game absence. As a result of his return, F Mark Rassell was scratched. . . . Laurence Heinen wrote this game story right here for the Calgary Herald.

In Victoria, F Greg Chase scored at 5:30 of OT as the Royals stayed alive with a 5-4 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kelowna, which had won its first seven playoff games, holds a 3-1 edge in the series, with Game 5 scheduled for Kelowna on Friday night. . . . Chase has seven goals in these playoffs. . . . The Rockets had 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 leads before the Royals tied it with goals 24 seconds part in the third period. . . . F Jack Walker scored his second goal of the game and third of the playoffs at 10:42 and F Brandon Magee got his WHL-leading ninth goal at 11:06. . . . D Lucas Johansen, with his first goal, and F Tyson Baillie, with his sixth, gave the Rockets a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . Victoria F Austin Carroll got his first goal at 17:47 to cut into the lead, but Kelowna F Rourke Chartier, with his sixth, got that one back 26 seconds later. . . . Walker and Kelowna F Tomas Soustal traded second-period goals. . . . Soustal, who had eight goals in 65 regular-season games, has four in eight playoff games. . . . Kelowna went 0-for-8 on the PP, including a chance in OT after Magee was penalized for goaltending interference at 0:18. . . . Victoria G Justin Paulic stopped 36 shots, 10 more than Kelowna’s Jackson Whistle. . . . The Royals were 0-for-3 on the PP. . . . F Alex Forsberg had two assists for Victoria, including one on the winner. . . . Kelowna F Nick Merkley wasn’t able to score on a penalty shot at 4:29 of the second period, with his side ahead 3-1. . . . Attendance was 4,909.
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There has been an interesting development in Regina where a company that is owned by co-owners of the Pats has registered a builders’ lien against the team's landlords, the Regina Exhibition Association. It all has to do with work done installing the Brandt Centre’s score clock earlier this season. . . . Austin M. Davis of the Regina Leader-Post has the story right here.
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The Everett Silvertips have signed F Brian King, who was a fourth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. He was born in New Hampshire but now is from Golden, Colo. From the Silvertips’ news release: “King, 16, served as an alternate captain this season for the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders 16U AAA team based in Westminster, Colo. In 10 games at East Coast Elite League events, King scored six goals to lead the RoughRiders and tied for third on the team with seven points. Playing another 18 games in the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association, the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder had 11 points on three goals and eight assists. He attended USA Hockey’s 2014 Select 15 Development Camp last summer, notching a goal and an assist in five games.”
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Mike Stothers, who spent the previous three seasons as head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, is the AHL’s coach of the year. Stothers, 53, left the Warriors prior to this season to take over as head coach of the Manchester Monarchs, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. . . . With three games still to play, the Monarchs are 48-16-6-3. They will go into the playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s top seed. . . . The AHL award is voted on by coaches and media members in each of the league’s 30 cities.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pats gain some life . . . Rockets have Royals on ropes . . . Brown a hall of famer








D Michael Busto (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Kootenay, 2001-07) has signed a one-year extension with Angers (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, in 24 games, he had three goals and 11 assists. . . .
F Riley Emmerson (Tri-City, 2004-06) has signed a one-year contract as player/head coach with the Edinburgh Capitals (Scotland, UK Elite).This season, with Edinburgh, had had 14 goals and 18 assists in 50 games. That was strictly in a playing role; he was an alternate captain.
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TUESDAY’S GAMES:

In Regina, the Pats broke a 1-1 tie with two second-period goals and went on to beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2. . . . Brandon leads the series 2-1 with Game 4 in Regina tonight. . . . Game 5 is scheduled for Brandon on Friday. . . . The Wheat Kings had won their previous six games. . . . F Jared McAmmond’s first playoff goal gave the Pats a 1-0 lead at 4:45 of the first period. . . . That was Regina’s first lead of the series. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos, the first pick in the 2014 bantam draft, tied it with his first goal at 15:48. . . . D Carter Hansen put the Pats back into the lead with his first goal at 1:53 of the second. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle, who was acquired from the Pats from Brandon in January, got his second goal at 5:08 for a 3-1 lead. . . . Brandon F Peter Quenneville, with his second goal, cut into the lead on a PP at 18:32 of the second. . . . Regina G Daniel Wapple stopped 39 shots, 11 more than Brandon’s Jordan Papirny. . . . Brandon was 1-for-3 on the PP; Regina was 0-for-1. . . . Among Brandon’s scratches were F Rihards Bukarts, F Jayce Hawryluk, F Morgan Klimchuk and D Colton Waltz. . . . D Chase Harrison (undisclosed injury) and D Sergey Zborovskiy (suspended) were among Regina’s scratches. . . . D Brady Pouteau, a fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft, made his playoff debut with the Pats. Poteau, who turned 17 on Jan. 9, is from Oak Bluff, Man. (Not Oak Lake. Not Oak River. Oak Bluff.) He played for the midget AAA Pembina Valley Hawks. . . . Attendance was 5,236.

In Victoria, special teams were a big deal as the Kelowna Rockets dumped the Royals, 4-2. . . . The Rockets lead the series, 3-0, having outscored the Royals 13-5. . . . The Rockets scored a shorthanded goal and two on the PP as they erased an early 1-0 deficit. . . . F Alex Forsberg got Victoria on the board with his third goal at 1:03 of the first period. . . . Kelowna F Leon Draisaitl tied it with a shorthanded goal at 8:18. It was his first goal of this series and third of the playoffs. . . . F Nick Merkley gave Kelowna the lead with a PP score at 14:19. It was his second goal of the playoffs. . . . The Royals tied it when F Greg Chase got his sixth goal 54 seconds into the second period. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s last two goals, with F Gage Quinney getting his fourth goal at 9:02 of the second and D Madison Bowey scoring his fourth, on a PP, at 15:16. . . . Kelowna was 2-for-6 on the PP; Victoria was 0-for-6. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistle stopped 28 shots as the Rockets ran their winning streak to seven games. . . . Victoria G Coleman Vollrath turned aside 24 shots. . . . Rockets F Tyson Baillie had two assists. . . . Yesterday, in this space, I mentioned that Shaw TV was covering the Medicine Hat-Calgary series in its entirety. Yes, that was in error. Shaw actually is showing all games in the Kelowna-Victoria series, including Game 4. It will be played in Victoria tonight. . . . D Josh Morrissey was among Kelowna’s scratches, although he is in Victoria with his teammates. . . . Attendance was 5,517.
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F Cole Ully of the Kamloops Blazers has been reassigned to the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, Ully was selected by Dallas in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2013 draft and has signed an NHL deal. Ully has been in Texas for a while now, but the move was just made official, which frees him up to dress for the AHL team. This season, he had 94 points, including 34 goals, in 69 games.
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I was remiss in not mentioning earlier in the week that Bob Brown, the architect of those great Kamloops Blazers teams in the late-1980s and early-1990s, was inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday. (I, too, was surprised that he hadn’t been inducted a long time ago.) Brown was the general manager, head cook and chief bottle washer when the Blazers on the 1992, 1994 and 1995 Memorial Cup titles. . . . If Brown wasn’t the best GM in WHL history, he certainly is in the conversation. . . . These days, Brown is a scout with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
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F Connor McDavid totalled 14 points in the Erie Otters’ sweep of the London Knights in the OHL playoffs. Erie will play the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the next round.
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In the MJHL, the Portage Terriers completed a sweep of the Steinbach Pistons to sweep the championship final. The Terriers, the host team for the RBC Cup, went 12-0 in the playoffs. The Terriers had gone 53-3-4 in the regular season. . . . In the BCHL, F Dakota Conroy (Brandon, Victoria, Prince Albert, 2010-15) drew four assists to lead the Penticton Vees to an 8-5 victory over the host Nanaimo Clippers. The Clippers won twice in Penticton; the Vees won twice in Nanaimo. They’ll play Game 5 in Penticton on Thursday and Game 6 in Nanaimo on Friday.
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THE COACHING GAME:

QMJHLThe QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs and head coach Ross Yates announced Tuesday that they have chosen to part company. . . . Yates joined the Sea Dogs as an assistant coach in 2012 and was the head coach by October 2013. He also was co-general manager, with Christian Vermette. Prior to this season, Yates dropped the GM part of his duties as Darrell Young became director of hockey operations. The Sea Dogs finished this season 32-26-10, then lost a first-round series to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
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OHLThe OHL’s Niagara IceDogs announced Tuesday that GM/head coach Marty Williamson will be out of action for the immediate future. “Williams is currently suffering from heart issues, which he is working to address,” according to a news release from the team. . . . Assistant coaches Dave Bell and Billy Burke are handling the team in Williamson’s absence. . . . Later Tuesday, the IceDogs beat the visiting Oshawa Generals 7-3 in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Generals lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 in St. Catharines on Thursday.
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SJHLThe SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers have decided not to renew the contract of general manager/head coach Rockie Zinger. This season, the Klippers went 37-12-7 to finish atop the Kramer Division. Only the Sherwood Division’s Melfort Mustangs, with 87 points, finished with more points than the Klippers (81). Kindersley was 6-4 in the playoffs, losing a semifinal series in six games to the Notre Dame Hounds. . . . Zinger moved up from assistant coach to head coach in Kindersley in December 2010 when he replaced Larry Wintoneak.

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