THE MacBETH REPORT: F Justin Keller (Kelowna, 2003-06) signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Linz Black Wings (Austria Erste Bank liga) after a successful four-week tryout. He had five goals and four assists in nine games during his trial period with the Black Wings.
Kelly McCrimmon, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, informs that Mike Vandenberghe will remain in the team’s employ.
“He will be staying on in an undetermined role that will include advance scouting and consulting, along with other responsibilities,” McCrimmon wrote in an email.
Vandenberghe signed on with the Wheat Kings after assistant coach Kevin Gylywoychuk suffered a broken neck over the summer. Gylywoychuk has returned to the bench, so Vandenberghe has returned to his family’s home in Regina Beach, Sask.
“Mike was offered the opportunity to stay on with the club in his assistant coaching capacity,” McCrimmon added, “but was unable to make it work due to family commitments.”
The Wheat Kings, of course, got some good news Thursday when the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings returned C Brayden Schenn to them.
Schenn, the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft. began this season in the NHL but played only eight games there, the last one on Oct. 30.
A 99-point man last season, Schenn joins 89-point man Scott Glennie, who went to the Dallas Stars with the eighth overall selection in 2009, to provide Kelly McCrimmon with a few options.
For starters, he could keep both of them and hope they are able to help the Wheat Kings get into the playoffs and then make a run into the second or third round.
Right now, Brandon, which has lost seven straight games, is tied for eighth in the 12-team Eastern Conference.
McCrimmon will have to decide whether the presence of Schenn and Glennie is enough to make his club competitive with the Saskatoon Blades, Kootenay Ice, Red Deer Rebels and Medicine Hat Tigers, the four teams at the head of this conference’s class.
Or he could decide to be a seller between now and the Jan. 10 trade deadline.
This always is an interesting time of the season because of the impending arrival of that deadline.
Were you a WHL general manager, you would have to look at the trade deadline something like this: Although the deadline is more than a month away, the window really is much smaller. Today is Dec. 3. Trading isn’t allowed from Dec. 15 through Dec. 27. You might have players away at one or more of the various Christmas tournaments that are on the schedule, and those players will start leaving any day now. That being the case, you may not have what now is your roster together for more than a game or two between, say, Dec. 10 and Jan. 10.
If you’re McCrimmon and you have Schenn back in time to play at some point this weekend, you may only have him for two or three games before he leaves for the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp. That camp opens Dec. 11 in Toronto.
If we assume Schenn will make the Canadian team, he will be gone until after Jan. 5. That means he would miss as many as eight games, and it could be nine or 10 should he be given three or four days off after the World Junior Championship.
So McCrimmon has to try and figure out where in the standings his Wheat Kings might be by Jan. 10?
And that isn’t an easy task.
(As of late last night, Schenn’s travel plans weren’t known. What is known is that he won’t play tonight in Edmonton against the Oil Kings. The Wheat Kings meet the Rebels in Red Deer on Saturday and then return home to face the Everett Silvertips on Wednesday.
The Kelowna Rockets have signed head coach Ryan Huska to a three-year extension that runs through 2013-14. Huska is in his fourth season as the team’s head coach. He started with the team as an assistant coach in 2002-03. . . . Moose Jaw D Dylan McIlrath (knee) is to return from a six-game absence tonight as the Warriors meet the Pats in Regina. The Warriors won four of six games without McIlrath, who was selected 10th overall by the New York Rangers in the NHL’s 2010 draft. . . . He was injured Nov. 13 and the Rangers flew him to New York for an MRI where he was found to have a Grade 1 sprain of the medial collateral ligament. . . . F Richard Vanderhoek, 19, has left the Vancouver Giants and returned to the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. He played in one game with the Giants after joining them two weeks ago. "Over the last week it became apparent that it wasn't a good fit for either party," Giants' general manager Scott Bonner told Marc Weber of the Vancouver Province. "He was having a great year in Surrey and I never really felt he was comfortable with this situation." Vanderhoek has 43 points in 25 with the Eagles. . . .
The Regina Pats have brought back D Tyler Borstmayer, 17, from the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs. Borstmayer played in 39 games with the Pats last season and got into two this season before being re-assigned. He had two assists in 14 games with Melfort. . . . Kevin Allen of USA TODAY has done up a piece showing that “the NHL, once resistant to having an abundance of former college hockey players, could soon reach the point where one of three players has an NCAA background.” That story is right here. . . . And right here is a rather interesting Toronto Star story by Kate Allen about a minor hockey coach who took his team off the ice when one of his players was the target of a racial slur. That coach now is serving an indefinite suspension. Give it a read. You may not believe it. But, then, it's minor hockey so you might.
And, finally, a note from an interested observer regarding the posting a couple of days ago from Murray in Saskatoon:
“The club seating and knowledge of this price change was common knowledge to the season-ticket holders for well over two years and possibly three. It was not implemented because last season Jack Brodsky and CUC knew the season-ticket holders would also be paying for World Junior tickets and wanted to defer the cost until after that event.
“The reason for the increase was to help pay for the new seats which are light years from the old ones in terms of comfort.
“Lost in there as well is the fact that Blades season-ticket holders no longer get advance-purchase privileges on every CUC event. The season-ticket holder who has a club seat, though, does get that seat for a concert and gets advance-purchase privileges. Back when it was a free-for-all for season-ticket holders to have advance-purchase privileges there were people who would buy children's tickets, never attend a game and use the tickets for advance-purchase privileges.”