Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday . . .

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2011 on Tuesday. It comprises former NHL players Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe and Joe Nieuwendyk, all of them most deserving.
Look, these things always are subjective and there always, always, always are great debates about who should or who shouldn’t be in there. And it doesn’t matter what the sports is. If you don’t believe that, sign on to Twitter and start following Peter King of Sports Illustrated. He is on the Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee and he always ends up debating the choices. Just the other night, in fact, he tweeted that he was taking time off from that particular debate.
Which brings us to the Hockey Hall of Fame. . . .
There are those who feel the likes of Pavel Bure and Eric Lindros should be in the hall. Others can’t understand why former Philadelphia Flyers head coach Fred Shero is on the outside looking in, and lots of folks feel Pat Burns should have been included among last year’s inductees, never mind this year’s.
All of which is fine. You can make a case, and a good one, for any number of former players and coaches and management types.
As far as I’m concerned none of that matters, not until Paul Henderson is among the inductees.
I’m sorry, but here’s a guy who scored the winning goal in each of the last three games of the greatest hockey series of all time, a guy who had a solid NHL career . . . and he isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
He scored the most-famous goal in the history of the sport, winning the 1972 Summit Series with 34 seconds left in the eighth and final game.
And it’s not like Henderson was a slug as a pro.
He played 707 regular-season NHL games, picking up 477 points, including 236 goals. He also played 360 games in the World Hockey Association, adding 140 goals and 143 assists to his professional totals.
He played in 56 NHL playoff games, scoring 11 goals and adding 14 assists.
All told, he played 18 seasons as a professional
On Tuesday, Bill Hay, the chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame, pointed out: “It’s always been the Hockey Hall of Fame and not the NHL Hall of Fame.”
That being the case, Henderson deserves a spot.
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THE IMPORT DRAFT:
The London Knights are expected to open the CHL’s 2011 import draft this morning by taking Finnish D Olli Maatta, who turns 17 on Aug. 22. He didn’t play a whole lot in the 2011 World Junior Championship, but still is the youngest player ever to play for Finland in that tournament. . . .
The Quebec Remparts traded into the No. 2 swap and chances are that Patrick Roy’s club will take Russian F Igor Grigorenko, who may be the best 1994-born player in that country. . . .
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The Kootenay Ice won the WHL championship for 2010-11 without any import players. Jeff Chynoweth, the Ice’s president and GM, felt he had a solid group of returning players, so didn’t partake in the 2010 import draft. History shows that he made  and history shows that he made the correct decision.
So . . . will the Ice take part today?
“Don’t know yet,” Chynoweth told me via text on Tuesday afternoon. “Right now no, but that might change.”
As he pointed out, “It is tough to get a good player when you are selecting 51st overall!”
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The Lethbridge Hurricanes hold the 12th and 72nd selections and are expected to use both, having released their two imports from last season.
Swedish F Jacob Berglund, who had 33 points in 61 games, is 20, so would have been a two-spotter. He will play in Sweden next season.
Russian F Alex Kuvaev, now 18, had 24 in 58 games in his freshman season. He will be available to other teams in today’s draft.
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Sean Rooney of the Medicine Hat News reports that the Tigers plan on making one selection in the import draft.
They have Finnish F Patrik Parkkonen and Swedish D Sebastian Owuya returning. However, Owuya is preparing for his 20-year-old season so would be a two-spotter. Owuya plans on attending the Tigers’ camp and seeing if he gets an opportunity to play professionally.
Rooney’s story is right here.
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The Victoria Royals, according to Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist, will select one player in the import draft.
They expect to lose Czech F Roman Horak, 20, who should play in the Calgary Flames’ organization.
But the Royals anticipate having Czech F Robin Soudek return. He’s 20, so will be a two-spotter. But he had 57 points in 61 games in his third WHL season.
Dheensaw's story is right here.
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The WHL plans to release its 2011-12 regular-season schedule today, despite the fact that the CHL’s 2011 import draft is being held today.
In recent years, the WHL has released its schedule in August, so it’s terrific that it has it ready in June.
But why release it on the same day as the import draft?
Why not capitlize on the situation and try to maximize the publicity during the offseason. To do that, you save the schedule for a day or two, then make sure to release it on a day when there is no other major WHL-related news.
Let the import draft dominate the news today. And then let the schedule be the story on another day. In some markets, it could be a headline that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the first overall pick in last weekend’s NHL draft, might be coming to town with the Red Deer Rebels.
But that may not even get a mention on the same day as the import draft.
Hey, WHL, you’re welcome .
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Charges have been filed in the June 12 death of Dain Phillips, 51, who was beaten to death in Kelowna. Phillips played for the Medicine Hat Tigers and Lethbridge Broncos (1978-80).
Kim Bolan, the Vancouver Sun’s top-notch crime reporter, has more right here. And it isn’t pretty — the Hells Angels are involved.
Bolan's story is right here.
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D Dylan Busenius, 18, of the Medicine Hat Tigers wasn’t selected in the NHL draft on the weekend but as accepted an invitation to the Minnesota Wild’s development camp, July 10-17. . . . D Evan Morden, 18, of the Everett Silvetips also wasn’t drafted and has signed on to attend the Dallas Stars’ development camp which begins today. . . . Tyler King, who had been doing radio work in Kingston, Ont., is on his way to Fort McMurray, Alta., where he will be the radio voice of the AJHL’s Oil Barons.
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THE COACHING GAME: The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed Jim McTaggart and Darren Rumble as assistant coaches to work alongside new head coach Steve Konowalchuk. Rumble, a former NHL defenceman with a Stanley Cup ring from the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning, worked last season as an associate coach with the QMJHL’s now-defunct Lewiston Maineiacs. . . . McTaggart worked as a Seattle assistant coach for the last seven seasons under former head coach Rob Sumner. He was also an assistant coach with Seattle from 1994-96. . . . According to a news release from the Thunderbirds, former assistant coach Turner Stevenson “has elected to pursue coaching opportunities” at the AHL level. . . .
The Dallas Stars have added Paul Jerrard as an assistant coach. He had been an assistant with their AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars. . . . Jerrard spent the last two seasons working under Glen Gulutzan, Dallas’s new head coach, with the AHL franchise. . . .
Terry Ruskowski is the new GM/head coach of the Central league’s Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. He had spent the previous nine seasons with that league’s Laredo Bucks. . . .
Brent Thompson, a former WHL defenceman (Medicine Hat, 1988-91), is the new head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders. He has been the head coach of the ECHL’s Anchorage Aces for the last two seasons. The Aces won the 2010-11 ECHL championship and Thompson was saluted as the league’s coach of the year.
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TWEET OF THE DAY:
Actually, this tweet showed up Monday. I made a note about it but forgot to include it last night. However, it’s from a favourite so here it is, a day late:
Scottie Upshall, a product of the Kamloops Blazers now with the Columbus Blue Jackets, tweeted this one:
“Surprised my beautiful mom Mandy w/ a new #BMW X1 for her 50th Birthday! http://t.co/DYN4PiA”
Check out this link for a photo of Upshall, his mother and the birthday gift.
Atta boy, Scottie! And a belated Happy Birthday to Mandy. May there be many more — BMWs and birthdays!

gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca
     
gdrinnan.blogspot.com
     
Taking Note on Twitter

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