Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday's stuff . . .

Defenceman Rasmus Rissanen of the Everett Silvertips has signed
a three-year deal with the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.

(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/Carolina Hurricanes)
THE CHILLIWACK-TO-VICTORIA SAGA:Things just get stranger and stranger . . .
It was just last week when Moray Keith, who along with Jim Bond owns 25 per cent of the Chilliwack Bruins, confirmed what everyone thought they knew when he told Jim Mullin of Vancouver radio station CKNW that the Bruins are in the process of being sold to Victoria interests.
Then, on Monday, in a letter through his lawyers, Brian Burke, who owns 25 per cent of the Bruins, informed Mullin that “Graham Lee has been promised a WHL franchise in that city.”
Graham Lee, if you aren’t aware, operates RG Properties, which holds a 30-year contract to manage Save-On Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria. And the City of Victoria has said it will extend that deal by 10 years if RG Properties is able to attract a WHL franchise.
Burke’s letter also stated that it was “. . . the WHL’s and Mr. Lee’s desire to have an established team in Victoria rather than an expansion team. This will not leave Chilliwack without a WHL team. The WHL is in the process of negotiating the movement of another WHL team to Chilliwack.”
Shortly after those two notes from Burke, who runs the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs these days, hit the Internet, I was informed by a source that “league members have been threatened with huge fines if they comment on the Chilliwack situation.”
So just when you might be thinking that clarification is needed and might even be on its way, what with the Bruins’ season having ended Saturday night in Spokane, the WHL gags everyone.
And then Tyler Olsen, a writer who is working hard to cover this situation for the Chilliwack Times, tweeted this late Monday afternoon: “#WHL league head office says my repeated pleas for an interview have been ‘unprofessional.’ News flash: that's my profession. #irony.”
Which would seem to indicate that the WHL again has adopted the strategy of trying to shoot the messenger. Again.
In another development, the Chilliwack Times rounded up a number of comments from former Bruins players -- off the Keep the Bruins in Chilliwack Facebook page -- on the situation. That piece is right here.
Meanwhile, Bruins fans have scheduled a rally for Wednesday, 7 p.m., at the front entrance to Prospera Centre.
And one Bruins fan sent me this email:
“This whole fiasco is a huge mess. It's embarassing for the league as well
as (Darryl) Porter, Burke and (Glen) Sather (each of whom owns 25 per cent of the Bruins). They are not showing any integrity or clarity here, all the fans have gotten is from the media. . . .
“This is not fair to the fans of the Chilliwack Bruins or any other team that is on the bubble that you have named. We're under Year 2 of the Marc Habscheid era and showing signs of turning it around, much better drafting than years past, better trades and it gets yanked from us because RG Properties wanted an established team over an expansion team. We sat
through the expansion, Edmonton sat through the expansion, what makes Victoria so different? And like you said, who knows if Victoria will be a success.
"This stinks."
As you will be aware by now, Mandi Schwartz lost her battle with leukemia on Sunday. Mike G. Morreale of has taken a look at Mandi and the legacy she has left. That is right here.
F Matt Ellison (Red Deer, 2002-03) signed a two-year contract extension with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia KHL). He had 21 goals and 29 assists in 53 games this season for Torpedo.
In the spring of 2001, Spokane swept the Kamloops Blazers from a first-round series in which Chiefs D Kurt Sauer was as dominant as a defenceman can be. He was tough and physical and absolutely ruled the ice surface through all four games. These days, he’s playing the role of Mr. Mom. Why? Because of concussion-like symptoms. He hasn’t been on the ice since September 2009. Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic has that story right here.
D Rasmus Rissanen of the Everett Silvertips has signed a three-year deal with with the Carolina Hurricanes, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL draft. Rissanen, 19, has put up 27 points and 192 penalty minutes in 139 games with Everett. He also played for Finland at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo. He has joined the Hurricane’s AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers. . . . Former Everett G Leland Irving earned his second straight 1-0 AHL shutout Monday, as the host Abbotsford Heat got past the Hamilton Bulldogs. That was his seventh blank job this season. F Justin Dowling, who played for the Swift Current Broncos this season, drew the second assist on the winner as he ran his point streak to three games. . . . F Shane McColgan is the WHL’s player of the week. He had five points in two games. . . . Drew Owsley of the Tri-City Americans is the WHL’s nominee as the CHL’s goaltender of the week. He was 2-0, 0.50, .975.
In Winnipeg, F Kellan Tochkin and F Emerson had two goals each as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 7-5 to win that first-round series, 4-2. . . . That was the last first-round series to be completed. The four tops seeds in each conference have advanced to the second round. . . . The Wheat Kings were playing their home games at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair has been in the rink in Brandon. . . . Medicine Hat F Linden Vey had three assists. Vey, who led the regular season in scoring, now tops the playoff point derby, with 12 points. That’s two ahead of F Nino Niederreiter of the Portland Winterhawks and F Brayden Schenn of the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Medicine Hat F Cole Grbavac scored once, giving him nine points, including four goals, in the series. . . . Tochkin’s goals were his first of the series. . . . F Mike Ferland had three goals for Brandon, which took a 2-1 lead into Game 4 in which it wasn’t able to hold a couple of three-goal leads. The Tigers won the last three games. . . . The Tigers continued to be without G Tyler Bunz (concussion) and F Tyler Pitlick (ankle), while the Wheat Kings scratched F Brenden Walker (concussion) and G Liam Liston (concussion) . . . Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun covered the game. His story is right here. . . . Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press also was there, and his game story is right here.
One minor:
Medicine Hat F Wacey Hamilton.
Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun wrote an interesting item out of that series between the Wheat Kigns and Medicine Hat Tigers:
“You may have noticed that the Brandon Wheat Kings had no backup goalie listed for Game 4 in Winnipeg, when Liam Liston was unable to play due to a concussion.
“Indeed the Wheat  Kings did have another puckstopper on the bench, but did not list him on the official gamesheet.
“It’s an uncommon — but not unheard of — occurrence, done to protect the identity of emergency goaltenders whose NCAA eligibility could be forfeited by appearing in a WHL game, and it’s something that the league office condones.
“It’s also a policy that seems a little disingenuous coming from a league that has levied heavy sanctions in the past against teams that have used players under assumed names to protect their NCAA eligibility and earlier this season came down on the Portland Winterhawks for letting an ineligible Swiss player take part in a training-camp scrimmage.
“Setting aside the NCAA rulebook for a moment (and frankly, disqualifying a player who happened to be one of the few capable of safely filling in on the bench at a hard-to-come-by position during extenuating circumstances is despicable in itself), hiding a player’s involvement is unbecoming of a league that strives to conduct its business in a professional manner. And withholding a name doesn’t change the fact that the player was there and could face repercussions if discovered.
“I’d be curious to know how others feel who have had their own NCAA eligibility burned after appearing on the gamesheet for a single WHL contest.
“I’m sure they would have appreciated the cover of the WHL’s version of the Witness Protection Program.”
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