Wednesday, January 25, 2012

THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Jakub Sindel (Brandon, 2004-05) was released from his tryout contract with Kärpät Oulu (Finland, SM-Liiga) after Kärpät signed ex-NHL F Jozef Stumpel. Sindel had three assists in 11 games with Kärpät during his tryout. Sindel had agreed to extend his tryout contract one more week earlier Tuesday but, when Kärpät signed Stumpel Tuesday evening, Sindel was released.
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Mac Engel, meet Mac Engel. Yes, the Spokane Chiefs’ goaltender has a big, big fan named, uhh, Mac Engel. Same name, same spelling. Check it out right here.
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Kevin Allen of USA TODAY takes a look at the NHL and the state of concussions. This is a thorough overview of what is going on in the NHL, including the number of concussions this season, the number of games players have missed because of concussions, and the cost. That story is right here, and it’s a good one.
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A Tuesday afternoon tweet from TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie: “No decision req'd until trade deadline but my sense is TBL more inclined to keep Brett Connoly in NHL than return him to Tri City (WHL).”
McKenzie, Part 2: “If Connolly finishes NHL season with TBL, and Bolts miss playoffs (as expected), he can be assigned to Norfolk for AHL playoffs.”
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In the last while, the weather in various parts of B.C. has been dicey, at best. As a result, we have heard stories of teams, including the Kootenay Ice and Lethbridge Hurricanes, having faced lengthy delays as they attempted to bus from one place to another.
And now we can add the Victoria Royals to the list.
The Royals completed their East Division swing on Saturday night with a 9-6 loss to the Saskatoon Blades. Naturally, the Royals left for home right after the game, which would have been around 10:30 p.m. CT, or 8:30 p.m. PT.
The Royals arrived home Monday afternoon, two weeks after the trek to the eastern hinterlands had begun. You may recall that as the Royals were about to start the trip, F Kevin Sundher was informed that he had been traded to the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Anyway, it seems the Royals arrived at Tsawwassen to catch the ferry to Schwartz Bay near Sydney By The Sea only to discover that high winds had cancelled a number of sailings. So the team spent Sunday night at Tsawwassen, waiting and hoping for the winds to decrease.
The Royals, who went 2-4 on their swing, are back in action Friday and Saturday against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. The Blazers, who take a nine-game winning streak into Kelowna tonight, are 5-0-0 against Victoria this season.
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Don’t look now, but there is an interesting race going on for the last couple of playoff spots in the WHL’s Western Conference.
And it could be that loser points will play a rather large role in settling the issue.
The Everett Silvertips, who lost 7-4 last night in Portland, are last in the 10-team conference in which eight teams will qualify for the postseason.
But the Silvertips have picked up seven points over their last seven games and are just six points behind the eighth-place Victoria Royals (15-28-5), who are one point behind the Seattle Thunderbirds (17-26-2). The Prince George Cougars (15-29-2) are ninth, three points behind Victoria and three in front of Everett.
Keep in mind, too, that Victoria is 2-7-1 in its last 10 games, although six of those (2-4-0) came in the East Division. Prince George is 2-8-0 in its last 10. Seattle, meanwhile, is 1-8-1.
That has allowed Everett, which is in its ninth season and has never missed the playoffs, to sneak back into the picture.
Everett (10-28-9) may end up holding something of an edge, too, because of its nine loser points to this point in the season.
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The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Presten Kopeck, a 16-year-old third-round selection in the 2010 bantam draft. Kopeck, who is from Medicine Hat, has 19 points, including seven goals, in 45 games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. Last season, with the midget AAA Medicine Hat Tigers, he had 19 points in 34 games. Kopeck, who was in training camp with the Winterhawks prior to this season, will finish this season with the Bobcats.
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There is a neat story in Tuesday’s Edmonton Sun about the Edmonton Oil Kings, who have become involved in a snow-shovelling program that benefits needy homeowners. That story is right here.

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D Daniel Gibb of the Prince George Cougars took part in a program called Breakfast Idol at P.G. radio station The River 101.3 on Tuesday. No, he didn't sing Stayin' Alive. . . . You can catch it all right here — he’s a wizard with the Cube. You also should go over there and vote for Gibb, who needs all the help we can provide.
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TUESDAY’S GAMES:
In Swift Current, G Luke Siemens stopped 32 shots to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-0 victory over the Broncos. . . . Siemens had sat out his club’s last three games due to what head coach Mike Stothers had said was a need to re-focus. . . .. F Kenton Miller scored the game’s opening goal, on the PP, at 18:37 of the first period. . . . Moose Jaw F Cam Braes, who missed Monday’s practice because he was ill, got his 28th goal of the season. . . . The Warriors had lost their first two games in Swift Current this season. . . . G Jon Groenheyde made his 20th straight start for the Broncos. He stopped 39 shots. . . . Moose Jaw D Joel Edmundson had two assists. . . . The Warriors have put up four shutouts this season, three by Siemens. . . . The Broncos have been shut out twice. . . .

In Cranbrook, G Curtis Honey stopped 34 shots for his first WHLshutout as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the host Kootenay Ice, 1-0. . . . Brandon had G Corbin Boes in the lineup for the first time since he suffered a broken hand on Dec. 7. G Brandon Anderson was a healthy scratch. . . . This was Brandon’s second shutout of the season; Boes has the other one. . . . It was the first time this season the Ice has been blanked. . . . F Kevin Sundher scored the game’s only goal, his 23rd of the season and his first with the Wheat Kings since he was acquired from the Victoria Royals on Jan. 9. That came at 16:28 of the first period. . . . Brandon is 7-3-1 in its last 11 trips to Cranbrook. . . . Bruce Luebke, the radio voice of the Wheat Kings, reports that it’s Brandon’s first 1-0 victory since Feb. 20, 2008, when Joe Caligiuri stopped 30 shots and F Jay Fehr scored the lone goal in beating the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks ran their franchise-record home-ice winning streak to 18 games with a 7-4 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Winterhawks got two goals from each of D Joe Morrow and F Marcel Noebels. . . . Portland G Brendan Burke, the son of former NHL G Sean Burke, stopped 29 shots to earn his third victory of the season. . . . Everett, trailing 4-2, tied it with goals from F Ryan Harrison and F Reid Petryk 48 seconds apart midway in the second period. . . . Portland F Taylor Peters broke the 4-4 tie with his 10th goal at 14:51 of the seocnd. . . . Harrison had two goals for Everett, giving him 13, while D Ryan Murray had two assists. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie had two assists, giving him a WHL-leading 83 points, two more than Regina Pats F Jordan Weal. . . . The Winterhawks were without D William Wrenn, their captain, who was suspended by the WHL “for actions at Spokane on Jan. 22.” According to Jim Beseda of the Oregonian, Wrenn was suspended “for an altercation as he was leaving the ice after Sunday’s 6-1 loss at Spokane.” . . .
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TUESDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
D Graeme Craig, Swift Current.
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After reading here about the sportsmanship shown by Seattle Thunderbirds G Calvin Pickard the other night, another WHL fan has sent me a note, this one involving Everett Silvertips D Ryan Murray:
“When Everett was last (in Kamloops) . . . when they were announcing the three stars, Ryan Murray came out for his star and took time to pose with kids who were giving out the (goods). Then, on his way off the ice, he went out of his way to tap the Blazers star on the shin pads.
“It’s nice to see something like that and then read the story about Pickard.”
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For today’s good ready, here is Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe with a terrific look at Tim Thomas and how he screwed up by not visiting the White House with his Boston Bruins teammates on Monday. That piece is right here.

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