Saturday, May 8, 2010

Friday . . .

(Ed Chynoweth Cup)
Calgary (1E) vs. Tri-City (1W)
(Calgary wins best-of-7 series 4-1)
April 30: Tri-City 0 at Calgary 7 (10,980)
May 1: Tri-City 1 at Calgary 4 (10,049)
May 4: Calgary 4 at Tri-City 1 (4,699)
May 5: Calgary 2 at Tri-City 4 (4,532)
Friday: Tri-City 1 at Calgary 4 (15,335)
In Calgary, the Hitmen won their second WHL championship, beating the Tri-City Americans 4-1 to win the best-of-seven final, 4-1. . . . The Hitmen won their first championship in 1999, beating the Kamloops Blazers, 4-1. . . . They won their first title on May 7, 1999; they won their second title on May 7, 2010. . . . The first time the Hitmen won the title, it was known as the President’s Cup. This time they won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . One year ago, the Hitmen lost the WHL final to the Kelowna Rockets, in six games. . . . With the victory, the Hitmen advance to the Memorial Cup in Brandon. The tournament opens Friday night with the host Wheat Kings meeting the OHL-champion Windsor Spitfires. . . . The Hitmen will play their first game on the afternoon of May 15 against the QMJHL champions, either the Moncton Wildcats or Saint John Sea Dogs. The QMJHL final is at 2-2. . . . D Michael Stone scored twice for the Hitmen, while F Misha Fisenko and F Tyler Fiddler added singles. . . . F Adam Hughesman had Tri-City’s lone goal, giving his side a 1-0 lead early in the first period. . . . Fisenko tied it on the PP a minute later. . . . Calgary F Brandon Kozun, who won the playoff point derby, left the game seven minutes into the second period with an apparent leg injury. . . . The score was tied 1-1 at the time. . . . Stone then scored two second-period goals, at 6:43 and 9:57, the second on the PP, as the Hitmen took control. . . . Stone’s first goal came 17 seconds after Kozun left. . . . Fiddler finished the scoring at 13:34 of the second. . . . Calgary G Martin Jones stopped 32 shots and was named the series MVP. . . . Tri-City G Alexander Pechurskiy made 23 saves. . . . Calgary was 2-for-3 on the PP; the Americans were 0-for-4. . . . The WHL online scoresheet says the referees were Art Klym and Andy Thiessen. . . . Art Klym? . . . Actually, Thiessen’s partner in this one was Devin Klein. . . . Attendance was 15,335. . . . Kozun led all playoff scorers, with 30 points, five more than Tri-City F Brendan Shinnimin. . . . Kozun also led in assists, with 22. . . . Calgary F Joel Broda had a WHL-high 13 goals. . . . After the game, Kozun said he would by OK to play by Calgary’s first Memorial Cup game.
No matter your affiliation, you have to be thrilled for Mike Williamson, who is in his first season as the head coach of the Calgary Hitmen.
For the longest time, it had seemed that Williamson would be a lifer with the Portland Winterhawks.
A defenceman, he played three seasons for the Winterhawks. He was on the Portland team that went 11-5 in the playoffs in the spring of 1993, losing a seven-game final to the Swift Current Broncos.
He was an assistant coach with the Winterhawks, and was on the coaching staff of the team that won the WHL title and went on to win the 1998 Memorial Cup in Spokane.
And he was their head coach when the bottom fell out and the franchise almost sank in the not-too-distant past. He ended up in a contract dispute with the then-ownership group and, as far as I’m aware, that situation still is before the courts in Portland. Williamson, for his part, won’t discuss the matter.
Anyway . . . he ended up out of hockey for two seasons, although he and his family remained in the Portland area.
Calgary GM Kelly Kisio signed Williamson over the summer -- it’s believed that at one point Williamson was close to signing with the Tri-City Americans -- and the move has paid off with a WHL championship.
Williamson, of course, will say the players won the championship. And, while that’s true, you have to know that Williamson and his coaching staff, that includes Joel Otto, Brent Kisio and Darcy Wakaluk, had something to do with it.
And you also have to know that Williamson, who had to wonder what he had done to deserve what went on during his final two seasons in Portland, has to be smiling, at least on the inside, after Friday night’s victory.
In the QMJHL, the visiting Saint John Sea Dogs scored a 3-2 overtime victory over the Moncton Wildcats on Friday to even the series, 2-2. The winner came from Nicholas Petersen at 12:43 of OT. . . . They’ll play Game 5 on Saturday in Saint John.
For an interesting take on the WHL final, check out this blog right here. The writer was a journalist when the Hitmen won their first championship; on Friday night, she was a fan. Either way, she has witnessed both Calgary championship-clinching victories.
F Chris St. Jacques (Medicine Hat, 1999-2004) has elected not to re-sign with the Tilburg Trappers (Netherlands). He wishes to play in a higher level league. St. Jacques finished second in league scoring with 50 goals and 49 assists in 45 games this season. St. Jacques was the league’s leading goal scorer. . . .
F Ondrej Vesely (Portland, Tri-City, 1996-98) signed a one-year contract with HC Kometa Brno (Czech Republic Extraliga). He had 11 goals and 11 assists in 52 games for Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic Extraliga) this season. . . .
F Marcel Hossa (Portland, 1998-2001) signed a two-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia KHL). He had 35 goals and 19 assists in 56 games for Dinamo Riga (Latvia KHL) this season. Hossa’s 35 goals was tops in the KHL this season and his 54 points was good enough for seventh in league scoring. . . .
F Mark Pederson (Medicine Hat, 1983-88) signed a one-year contract extension as head coach of the Tilburg Trappers (Netherlands). Pederson also served as head coach of Serbia at the World Championships Division 1, held in Tilburg last month. . . .
D Darryl Hay (Tri-City, 1996-2000) signed a one-year contract with HC Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic Extraliga). He had six goals and 27 assists in 48 games for Lillehammer (Norway Get-Ligaen) this season. He is the son of Vancouver Giants head coach Don Hay. . . .
F Jakub Klepis (Portland, 2001-02) was released by Avangard Omsk (Russia KHL). He had 10 goals and 12 assists in 56 games for Avangard this season. . . .
A scan of rosters for the World Championships finds 29 participants with WHL ties:
Canada (11) -- G Chris Mason (Victoria/Prince George, 1993-97); D Kyle Cumiskey (Kelowna, 2003-06); D Tyler Myers (Kelowna, 2005-09); D Kris Russell (Medicine Hat, 2003-07); F Jordan Eberle (Regina, 2006-10); F Evander Kane (Vancouver, 2006-09); F Brooks Laich (Moose Jaw, Seattle, 2000-03); F Ryan Smyth (Moose Jaw, 1991-95); F Ray Whitney (Spokane, 1988-91); Assistant Coach Billy Moores (Edmonton, 1966-70, Head Coach Regina, 1985-86); General Manager Mark Messier (Portland, 1977-78).
Czech Republic (5) -- D Tomas Mojzis (Moose Jaw, Seattle, 2000-03); D Filip Novak (Regina, 1999-2002); D Michal Rozsival (Swift Current, 1996-98); F Martin Erat (Saskatoon, Red Deer, 1999-2001); F Jakub Klepis (Portland, 2001-02).
Germany (1) -- Sven Butenschoen (Brandon, 1993-96).
Italy (2) -- D Trevor Johnson (Kootenay, Seattle, Tri-City, 1998-2003); Pat Iannone (Kootenay, Tri-City, Regina, 1999-2003).
Latvia (1) -- F Lauris Darzins (Kelowna, 2004-06).
Norway (1) -- D Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Brandon, 2002-04).
Slovakia (6) -- G Rastislav Stana (Moose Jaw, Portland, 1998-2000); F Milan Bartovic (Brandon, Tri-City, 1999-2001); F Stanislav Gron (Seattle, Kootenay, 1997-99); F Andrej Podkonicky (Portland, 1996-98); F Marek Svatos (Kootenay, 2000-02), Head Coach Glen Hanlon (Brandon 1974-77).
Switzerland (1) -- F Nino Niederreiter (Portland, 2009-10).
USA (1) -- F Brandon Dubinsky (Portland, 2002-2006).
THE MacBETH REPORT, Part 3: A part of Soviet and Russian hockey history died April 30 with the announcement that Dynamo Moscow has merged with HC MVD Balashikha to form OHK Dynamo, the OHK standing for the Joint Hockey Club in Russian. This was announced by KHL president Alexander Medvedev and HC MVD president Mikhail Tyurkin. Here is the interesting part of the press release:
"The decision to create OHK Dynamo was made by the head of the following agencies: Federal Security Service, Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Courier Service of the Russian Federation, Federal Tax Service, the Federal Tax Service's Special Committee to the President, Ministry of Justice, the Federal Security Service of Russia, Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia, Federal Service of Russia for control of trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the Russian Federation Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Management, and Federal Agency for Atomic Energy."
That's 12 Russian federal agencies who signed off on the merger -- Dynamo's outgoing president referred to them as "law enforcement agencies." HC MVD is run by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and Dynamo was originally the KGB's team, so that could explain all these federal agencies completely unrelated to hockey.
But with the folding of Dynamo, a large piece of Soviet/Russian hockey history dies. Dynamo won nine Soviet or Russian championships, two Spengler Cups, one European Champions Cup, and three USSR Cups since it was founded in 1946.
Current NHL players who played for Dynamo include Alexander Ovechkin, Alexei Kovalev, and Alexei Ponikarovsky.
Former WHL players F Konstantin Panov (Kamloops, 1998-2001) and F Denis Tolpeko (Seattle, Regina, 2003-06) played for Dynamo this season.
The Regina Pats are looking for a general manager after Friday’s announcement that Brent Parker is stepping aside after 15 years in the position. Russ Parker, the Pats’ owner and governor, announced Friday that Brent, who is his son, will now serve as president and governor. . . . Brent is the only GM the Pats have had since Diane and Russ Parker purchased the franchise from the WHL. . . . Say what you want about Parker, who became one of the most polarizing figures in the history of Regina sporting teams, but he more than anyone else is responsible for turning the Pats from a second-tier franchise into one of the WHL’s flagship organizations. The Pats may not have won a championship under Parker, and he certainly has had his differences with the team's landlord, but the organization bears absolutely no resemblance to what it was when he first walked into his office. . . . Speculation began in mid-season that former Moose Jaw Warriors GM Chad Lang would be Regina’s general manager before the 2010-11 season gets here. Time will tell if the speculation holds up.
The OHL’s Oshawa Generals have named Joe Cirella as their assistant GM/assistant coach and Roger Hunt their director of player personnel/assistant coach. . . . Cirella, a former NHL defenceman, captained the Generals when they won the OHL championship in 1983. He also is a former Generals assistant coach; last season, he was a defensive consultant for the Peterborough Petes. . . . Hunt has extensive coaching experience in Great Britain.
(all games on Rogers Sportsnet)
(all times local)
May 14: Windsor vs. Brandon, 7 p.m.
May 15: Calgary vs. QMJHL, 2 p.m.
May 16: Brandon vs. QMJHL, 2 p.m.
May 17: Calgary vs. Windsor, 7 p.m.
May 18: QMJHL vs. Windsor, 7 p.m.
May 19: Brandon vs. Calgary, 7 p.m.
May 20: Tiebreaker (if necessary)
May 21: Semifinal, 7 p.m.
May 22: No game scheduled.
May 23: Championship final, 2 p.m.

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