Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday . . .

Shane Doiron coaches an atom team in Shediac, N.B. I don’t know the won-loss record of his team of nine- and 10-year-olds . . . not that it matters. Because he is my coach of the year for all of Canada.
Why? Because he is a hockey coach who gets it.
Check it out right here.
The San Jose Sharks were playing in Chicago on Monday night when play-by-play man Mike (Doc) Emrick made reference to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and the fact that his brother, David, plays for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Which is when analyst Pierre McGuire informed that Kelly McCrimmon runs the Wheat Kings.
And someone mentioned that McCrimmon’s brother, Brad, is on the coaching staff of the Detroit Red Wings. If you weren’t aware, Brad’s nickname is The Beast. (Although at one time he was Sarge.)
To which Emrick intoned: “If Brad is The Beast, is Kelly . . . Beauty?”
No doubt Kelly has been called a lot of things, both during his career as a player and as an owner/general manager/coach. I have a feeling Beauty isn’t one of them.
Or maybe he has been. It could be that at some point in the past, someone perhaps has referred to McCrimmon as a “real beauty.” Don’t you think?
By the way, I’m thinking McCrimmon has to be given some consideration as the Eastern Conference’s executive of the year and also as coach of the year.
When you consider the Wheat Kings’ horrid start, the number of injuries they dealt with, the fact that they are riding two 17-year-ol goaltenders, and the fact that McCrimmon traded away F Brayden Schenn, well, who would have thought that Brandon would be a hard-charging sixth with a week left in the regular season?

McCrimmon may not win either award, but he has to be in the conversation with the likes of Lorne Molleken of the Saskatoon Blades and Jesse Wallin of the Red Deer Rebels.
Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, appears to have cleared his plate of all but one case.
Doerksen, who is the WHL’s disciplinarian, suspended F Garrett Mitchell of the Regina Pats for one game for a third instigator penalty, hit F Max Ross of the Lethbridge Hurricanes with two games for a boarding major, and sat F Jonathan Parker of the Prince Albert Raiders for a game for an elbowing major.
All that leaves on Doerksen’s plate, at least for now, is the case of F Brendan Ranford of the Kamloops Blazers, who was tossed from a Friday night game with the visiting Kelowna Rockets after he cross-checked linesman Kris Hartley while being escorted to the penalty box.
The Blazers have two games left in the regular season — they go home-and-home with the Prince George Cougars on Friday and Saturday — and you have to think Ranford, who already has sat out one game, won’t play in either of those games.
The Blazers are two points out of a playoff spot, and the only question may be whether the suspension runs into the playoffs or into the 2011-12 season.
The WHL rule book doesn’t appear to be on the league’s website, which is strange if only because the OHL and QMJHL both make their rule books available.
Anyway, the OHL book has two rules (41.3 and 41.4) involving automatic suspensions, either of which would seem to apply to the Ranford situation.
Rule 41 — Physical Abuse of Officials
Rule 41.1 Game Misconduct
Any player or goalkeeper who deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall receive a game misconduct penalty. In addition the following (41.2, 41.3, 41.4) disciplinary penalties shall apply:
41.2 Automatic Suspension — Category 1
Any player who deliberately strikes an official and causes injury or who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official with intent to injure or who in any manner attempts to injure an official shall be automatically suspended for not less than 20 games. (For the purpose of the rule, “intent to injure” shall mean any physical force which a player knew or should have known could reasonably be expected to cause injury.)
41.3 Automatic suspension — Category 2
Any player who deliberately applies physical force to an official in any manner (excluding actions set out in Category 1) in which physical force is applied without intent to injury shall be automatically suspended for not less than 10 games.
41.4 Automatic Suspension — Category 3
Any player or goalkeeper who, by his actions, physically demeans an official or physically threatens an official by (but not limited to) throwing a stick or any other piece of equipment or object at or in the general direction of an official, shooting the puck at or in the general direction of an official, spitting at or in the general direction of an official, or who deliberately applies physical force to an official solely for the purpose of getting free of such an official during or immediately following an altercation shall be suspended for not less than three games.
So depending on how Doerksen interprets Ranford’s actions, and depending on how closely the WHL’s rules are to the OHL’s, Ranford could be looking at a three-game suspension or one that runs at least 10 games.
Arenas around the WHL were quiet on Monday night; there are three games on tap tonight.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes will visit the Oil Kings in Edmonton. Lethbridge is two points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot, while the Oil Kings are seventh, three points behind the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The Kootenay Ice will meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat. The Ice, which has three games left, is fourth in the conference, five points behind the Tigers. An Ice loss, then, will mean it finishes fourth and will meet the Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. . . . A Tigers victory moves them to within two points of the Red Deer Rebels, who, as Central Division leaders, are the conference’s No. 2 seed. The Tigers will use up their game in hand tonight.
And, finally, the Regina Pats are to visit the Broncos in Swift Current. The Broncos, who won’t be in the playoffs, can play spoiler tonight because a victory will finish the Pats. Regina has three games left and is six points behind the Prince Albert Raiders, who hold down the conference’s last spot.

Despite what you may have read or heard, the Pats have not been eliminated. They still can tie for that last spot. And a tie for the final playoff berth would necessitate a sudden-death game.
JUST NOTES: F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels is the WHL’s player of the week. He had 12 points, including five goals, in four games last week. . . . Adam Brown of the Kelowna Rockets is the WHL’s nominee as the CHL’s goaltender of the week. He was 3-0-0, 0.65, .979 last week. . . . The Vancouver Giants have lost six in a row and won’t have F Brendan Gallagher back Wednesday when the meet the Winterhawks in Portland. He is expected to play Friday when the Kelowna Rockets visit Vancouver. . . . Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun also reports that Giants head coach Don Hay is likely to be one of the applicants for the position of head coach of Canada’s national junior team. The deadline to apply is today. . . . “I think I'd like to help Canada win a gold medal,” Hay told Pap. “I think it's always a good challenge for coaches to get involved with that program.” . . . The 2012 tournament will be held in Calgary and Edmonton. . . . According to Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald, the Warriors had F Antonin Honejsek (broken ankle) back on the ice Monday. He has missed 15 games. . . . However, the Warriors were missing F Cody Beach (leg), who was injured Saturday. Head coach Dave Hunchak said Beach is week-to-week. . . . Gourlie also reports that the Warriors are bringing in F Torrin White, the 21st overall pick in the 2010 bantam draft. He had 49 points in 33 games with the midget AAA UFA Bisons in Alberta. . . . Portland F Sven Bartschi has 83 points, the most by a Winterhawks’ freshman since Richard Zednik put up 86 in 1994-95. The franchise record is held by Jiri Beranek (94, 1991-92). . . . Yes, Bartschi is the WHL’s highest-scoring freshman, by 19 points. . . . The Winterhawks had G Mac Carruth (concussion, groin) back at practice Monday and are hoping to get him into at least one game by week’s end. Keith Hamilton has played well in Carruth’s absence, going 7-2 since the starter was first injured on Feb. 22.

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