Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday . . .

F Andrej Podkonicky (Portland, 1996-98) signed a two-year contract with Kometa Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had nine goals and 19 assists in 52 games for Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) this season.
Here are the highlights to date from the WHL annual general meeting which is being held somewhere in Calgary, as tweeted Tuesday by Cory Flett, whose title is Director, Communications:
1. “We did not issue a #WHL AGM agenda yesterday, will issue a release outlining the outcome of the mtg tmrw at 1pm MT.”
2. Three hours later . . . “The #WHL has officially decided to move away from printing a 'pocket schedule' for the 11-12 reg. season #makesense”
3. Immediately after that one . . . “The #WHL however, will remain the only League in the #CHL that does a FULL print order of media guides still #makessense”
So . . . there you have it, WHL fans. Another exciting day at another WHL AGM.
Here’s a thought: Why doesn’t the WHL hold its AGM in the home city of its championship team? Gotta think it wouldn’t have done the Kootenay Ice any harm at all to have all of the WHL pooh-bahs talking it up in Cranbrook.
Of course, if the WHL isn’t going to let people know what’s going behind its closed doors, it may as well hold the AGM in Rankin Inlet.
JUST NOTES: City council in Swift Current voted Monday night to spent $251,000 on a new scoreclock that will have video capabilities. However, it isn’t likely to be installed in the Credit Union i-plex in time for the start of the 2011-12 season. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders have signed F Reid Gardiner, the eighth overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft. Gardiner, a Prince Albert native, had 81 points in 24 games with the bantam AA Humboldt Broncos last season. . . . The Prince George Cougars have signed D Jordan Harris, the 10th overall selection in the 2011 bantam draft. Harris, from Prince Albert, had 34 points in 23 regular-season games with the bantam AA Prince Albert Pirates, who won the provincial championship. . . . The NHL’s Calgary Flames have purchased the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks. Mike Moore, the Calgary Hitmen’s director of business operations, will wear the same hat with the Roughnecks. Moore is a former GM with the Kamloops Blazers and Medicine Hat Tigers.
Two former WHLers -- Terry Ruskowski and Terry Egeland -- are said to be in the running for the vacant head-coaching position with the Central league’s Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. There is more right here.
A few thoughts on the NHL and the way its game is being played in the Stanley Cup final:
1. It is quite evident that the cross-check is back in the game, especially has wielded by a player defending the turf in front of his goaltender.
2. I still am trying to come to some kind of understanding of the four-game suspension given to Vancouver D Aaron Rome for that hit on Boston F Nathan Horton. . . . Mike Murphy, who is handling discipline in this series on behalf of the NHL, said the hit was late. By one second. . . . If that one second is worth a four-game suspension in the Stanley Cup final and if the NHL is going to maintain consistency, that hit is going to be worth at least 12 games in the 2011-12 regular season.
3. I thought the NHL had outlawed the can-opener, but Boston D Johnny Boychuk took out Vancouver F Mason Raymond with it just 20 seconds into Game 6 on Monday night. (Raymond ended up with a compressed fracture of a vertebrae and won’t play again for perhaps four months.) There wasn’t a penalty on the play and the NHL chose not to take another look at the incident.
4. I am not a fan of the blustery Brian Burke, who is the king of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But were he the GM of the Vancouver Canucks, do you think he may have come up with a world-class rant to take some of the heat off that team? Surely you remember his rant from a 2002 series with the Detroit Red Wings: "I want to point out to the officials that Todd Bertuzzi does not play for Detroit, it just looks like that because he's wearing two or three Red Wings sweaters all the time. . . . Sedin is not Swedish for punch me, or headlock me in a scrum.” . . . The Canucks, the Sedins and Roberto Luongo in particular, really could have used something like that to relieve the pressure. And you just know that the media would have eaten it up.
So . . . who wins Game 7? I’m thinking Luongo wins 1-0 (or 2-0 with an empty-netter). Like a hitter who sees the ball well in a particular park so has real success there, Luongo’s comfort zone in Rogers Arena seems especially large. So I would look for him to play well there, again. . . . But should the Bruins win, and that is a real possibility, I would expect the Left Coast of British Columbia to slide quietly into the water.
And the light created by the burning of those Canucks flags flying from automobile windows will light up the sky and confuse a whole lot of birds.
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