JUST NOTES: The Prince George Cougars, who earlier Tuesday announced that director of scouting Russ Smart’s contract won’t be renewed, have named Wade Klippenstein, already the assistant general manager, as director of player personnel. Klippenstein, who got a three-year contract, is preparing for his third season with the Cougars; he stepped in as interim head coach in December when they fired Drew Schoneck. Klippenstein will work out of Lethbridge. . . . The Cougars also added two men to their scouting staff – Rob Larke in Anchorage, Alaska, and former WHL/NHL player Jeff Odgers of Spy Hill, Sask. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders have announced that all their home games will start at 7 p.m. According to a press release, this includes “all weekday and weekend games.” And that about covers it all, doesn’t it? . . . The Portland Winterhawks have come up with an enticing gimmick in an attempt to get former season-ticket holders back into the fold. According to a press release: “The Winterhawks are offering a $100 credit to any former season-ticket holders who would like to purchase 2009-10 season tickets. The offer is available to anyone who was a Winterhawks season ticket holder prior to the 2008-09 season.” . . . Now that the Rich Sutter Fan Club has held its meeting in Lethbridge – you can read about it here and here – you are free to wonder when the Supporters of Brad Robson and those behind any other candidates for the general manager’s job with the Hurricanes – will be holding their public rallies.
THE COACHING GAME: The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed head coach Dave Hunchak to a multi-year contract. Hunchak is heading into his third season as the club’s head coach. He signed his original contract on June 14, 2007. It isn’t often that a head coach survives the disappearance of the GM who hired him, but Hunchak has managed to do it. Chad Lang, the GM who hired Hunchak, was dismissed May 29 and Jeff Truitt was hired as director of hockey operations two days later. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post is reporting that the Pats’ search for an assistant coach has narrowed the field of candidates to two – Dean Brockman, the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, and former WHL player Shaun Sutter. Sutter, the 29-year-old son of former NHL/WHL head coach Brian Sutter, spent this season playing in Italy. . . . Just a thought: If the intense Brent Sutter, who resigned Tuesday as head coach of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, ends up spending the season in the front office of the Red Deer Rebels, the WHL team that he owns, would you want to be the club’s head coach? . . . If you’re like me, you’ll be absolutely shocked – absolutely shocked, I say – if Brent Sutter isn’t the head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames by the time another season gets here. . . . Here’s George Johnson of the Calgary Herald and his take on the Sutter/Flames situation.
RANT TIME: It’s time to do away with the two-man refereeing system. Every time I watch a hockey game – and Game 6 of the NHL final was no exception – there are a million reasons why it’s time to go back to the days when one man was in charge. . . . It begins with the fact the two referees get caught up in the play far too often and extends to the fact that, yes, the rules change depending on the situation. . . . The winning goal in Game 6 came off a blatant can-opener – stick between the legs – performed by Pittsburgh F Ruslan Fedotenko on Detroit D Nik Lidstrom. Neither referee called it – we will assume that had either of them seen it, there would have been a call, although the mind boggles to think that an NHL official wouldn’t see such an infraction when it happened right near the puck. The point is that it could have gone uncalled with the one-man system just as it was with two of them out there. But, then again, if there was just one referee out there, there would be no doubt who is in charge and that official would no doubt be more vigilant. . . . In Game 6, there were two minor penalties called through 40 minutes and the first one was a bogus call. You could have officiated this one from the comfort of your couch. . . . In the third period, again from the comfort of your recliner, you also could have called the slashing penalty to Pittsburgh D Brooks Orpik when he whacked Detroit’s Dan Cleary on the left shoulder during a breakaway. Somehow two NHL referees missed that one, too, and you might even suggest that the proper call would have been a penalty shot. At least by the standards that were in force at one point this season. . . . So let’s just get rid of the two-man system. Admit it has been a failure and move on. . . . We won’t even get into the fact that the last thing this game needs is another body on the ice. Never in the history of the game have the referees been in the middle of the play as much as they now are. . . . So get rid of the second official and, in the process, save money and ease the administrative and scheduling headaches.