Saturday, June 4, 2011

Friday . . .

F Wacey Rabbit (Saskatoon, Vancouver, 2001-07) signed a one-year contract with Jesenice (Slovenia, Austria Erste Bank Liga). He had 12 goals and 27 assists in 53 games for Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia, Austria Erste Bank Liga) this season.
A regular visitor to this blog asked if I had any idea how many WHL players who were selected in the NHL’s 2009 draft weren’t signed by the June 1 deadline?
So I scurried over to Small Thoughts At Large and found Alan Caldwell’s list of WHLers who were selected in that draft. After subtracting recent signees, here is what’s left:
Second round:
43. San Jose: D William Wrenn (Portland Winter Hawks)
Third round:
67. Florida: F Josh Birkholz (Everett Silvertips)
81. Philadelphia: G Adam Morrison (Saskatoon Blades)
Fifth round:
141. Calgary: F Spencer Bennett (Vancouver Giants)
Sixth round:
155. Atlanta: F Jimmy Bubnick (Calgary Hitmen)
157. Phoenix: F Evan Bloodoff (Kelowna Rockets)
Seventh round:
185. Atlanta: F Levko Koper (Spokane Chiefs)
To the best of my knowledge, none of the above seven players signed. However, because Wrenn and Birkholz were drafted out of the U.S. college ranks, they weren’t subject to the June 1 deadline. They don’t have to be signed until their classes are scheduled to graduate.
Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes signed D Tommi Kivisto, whom they took 208th overall after he played a season with the Red Deer Rebels. However, he returned to his native Finland for 2010-11 and played for Jokerit. The contract he signed allows him to return to Jokerit and then come to the NHL in 2012-13, should he choose.
Matt Coxford of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman had an interesting chat with WHL commissioner Ron Robison. Most of the conversation dealt with the attendance at Kootenay Ice games during the playoffs. Among other things, Robison said:
"The margin for error in these small centres is not there. They have to fill the building, they have to get to a position that we're dealing with 90 per cent capacity attendance. Sixty per cent is just not acceptable. A club can't be expected to operate under those circumstances.
"The reality is, if the Western Hockey League is going to continue to operate in the Kootenays — and we're fully committed to making that happen — we need to increase the season ticket base and we need to increase the attendance in a game-by-game basis."
Coxford’s complete story is right here.
Wasn’t it just a short time ago when the WHL was fully committed to making a go of it in Chilliwack? That’s what I thought.
F Joey Hishon of the Owen Sound Attack was on the receiving end of that elbow from Kootenay Ice D Brayden McNabb at the Memorial Cup. . . . Mike Savage of the Stratford, Ont., Beacon Herald talks with Hishon about his concussion and the impact it has had on him. That story is right here.
One of the benefits of living as close to the Left Coast as I do is that I, with a newspaper addiction that needs to be fed every day, have access to four daily newspapers, not counting the one for which I work. Had I the time, I would read all four — The Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Vancouver Province and the Vancouver Sun — every day. Not having the time, I pick and choose, but I always try to read columnist Pete McMartin of the Sun. Having started in this business when some of us really did have a bottle in the bottom desk drawer, and when you couldn’t write without chainsmoking and taking coffee via IV, I can easily picture McMartin in a news room in that era.
Anyway, the Seattle Times asked McMartin to write a column for them on the Stanley Cup final. That column is right here and it’s worth your time.
Jack Knox of the Victoria Times Colonist is another Left Coaster who can write. There are a lot of news columnist out here who have caught Stanley Cup fever and decided to try their hand at sports writing. Knox is no exception and his piece his right here.
JUST NOTES: The OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds have filled out their coaching staff with the hiring of three assistants — Nick Warriner, Seamus Kotyk and Mike Oliverio. Warriner is back for a fourth season with the Soo. Kotyk was promoted to fulltime assistant after serving as the goaltending coach last season. Oliverio, who played five seasons as a player with the Soo, spent the last 14 seasons scouting for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers. They will work under new head coach mike Stapleton. . . . G Robin Lehner stopped 21 shots Friday night as the host Binghamton Senators blanked the Houston Aeros in Game 4 of the AHL’s championship final for the Calder Cup. . . . Attendance was 4,710. . . . The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 in Binghamton tonight. . . . The series will return to Houston for Game 6 on Tuesday. A seventh game, if needed, will be played in Houston on Thursday. . . . The OHL released its 2011-12 schedule on Friday. . . . More than 48 hours have passed since Game 1 of the NHL final was played and I’m still trying to figure out why Boston head coach Claude Julien assigned D Zdeno Chara to the front of the Vancouver net on the Bruins’ power play. Gotta think Vancouver’s penalty killers much prefer having Chara there, rather than using his 105 mile an hour slapper from the point. It will be interesting to see where Chara finds himself on Boston’s PP in Game 2. Assuming, that is, that the referees choose to call penalties. . . .
A note from Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post:
“Two and a half months have elapsed since the Regina Pats’ season concluded, but there has yet to be an announcement regarding the status of head coach Curtis Hunt and director of scouting Todd Ripplinger. At this point, we can only presume that both men will be retained, because that is the only fair decision general manager Chad Lang can make after taking so long to assess the organization.”
Of course, the other side of that thought process is that if the Pats were going to have them back, they would have made the announcement well before now.
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