Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It was open season on the WHL’s referees on two separate occasions not that long ago on a radio station that is headquartered in a city that is home to a WHL franchise.
It all began when the team’s general manager appeared on a postgame show and was, shall we say, a wee bit critical of the officiating.
This GM mostly was concerned about what he repeatedly referred to as “inconsistencies.”
“It gets to a point where enough is enough,” he said following the game. “We certainly will call the league, if they don’t call me first. . . . Enough is enough. When is it going to stop?”
The GM was adamant that team officials want the referees to “call it for both teams . . . up straight and honest.”
“We haven’t bitched and complained all year long,” he continued, “but . . . the noncalls . . . a call (was made) on (one of our players) and seconds earlier the same call could have been made on (one of the other team’s players). All we want to see is consistency. Start from the very first whistle and make sure it happens for 60 minutes.”
Referring to that particular game, the GM said, the referees did a “fantastic job” for the first two periods. “They let us play. All of a sudden . . . (one of our guys) takes a penalty that wasn’t called for 40 minutes.
“It’s frustrating for players and coaches. . . . It certainly has to be messaged out.”
The radio station’s postgame show originates in a lounge with fans in attendance. The GM’s observations were greeted by a rousing ovation.
Three nights later, the GM’s complaints were aired again on the same radio station.
The GM mustn’t have heard from the WHL office because his name has yet to appear on the discipline page on the WHL website.
Which only can mean that the WHL doesn’t have ears everywhere.
Eastern Conference
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Moose Jaw (2) vs. Regina (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Brandon (6)
Medicine Hat (4) vs. Saskatoon (5)
Western Conference
Tri-City (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kamloops (2) vs. Victoria (7)
Portland (3) vs. Kelowna (6)
Vancouver (4) vs. Spokane (5)
So . . . you’re wondering which first-round series Shaw TV is going to show. . . . I haven’t been able to find a release or anything making that announcement but have been told the first two games of the series between the Kamloops Blazers and Victoria Royals will be shown. . . . Games 1 and 2 are scheduled for Kamloops on Friday and Saturday nights. Game time both nights from the Interior Savings Centre will be 7 o’clock.
F Taylor Vause, the captain of the Swift Current Broncos, joined the AHL’s Texas Stars in time to play in their game against the visiting Abbotsford Heat last night. Wearing No. 19, he was pointless with one shot on goal as the Stars dropped a 5-2 decision. . . . The Stars are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . Vause, 20, had 83 points in 72 games in his final season with the Broncos.
DEPT. OF JUSTICE: F Henrik Samuelsson will sit out the Edmonton Oil Kings’ first two playoff games. He drew a two-game suspension for a clipping major and game misconduct he incurred on Saturday in Red Deer. . . . F Campbell Elynuik of the Prince George Cougars was hit with a three-game suspension after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct in Kamloops on Friday. Elynuik sat out Saturday’s regular-season finale, so won’t be eligible to play again until the third game of next season.
G Damien Ketlo of the Lethbridge Hurricanes completed his WHL eligibility with the end of the season and now is joining the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles. . . . He went 20-24, 3.60, .902 this season.
D Cody Carlson, who played out his WHL eligibility with the Prince George Cougars, will be joining the Central league’s Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. He had 39 points in 72 games this season.
The Edmonton Oilers have signed G Tyler Bunz of the Medicine Hat Tigers to a three-year NHL contract. Bunz, who turned 20 on Feb. 11, was a fifth-round selection in the 2010 NHL draft.
G Calvin Pickard of the Seattle Thunderbirds will be joining the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters this week. He was a second-round selection by the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL’s 2010 draft. The Monsters are the Avs’ AHL affiliate.
Pickard has a lot of fans in U.S. Division cities and beyond. Here’s a note from a fan who was at Sunday’s game in Portland where the Thunderbirds, with Pickard in net, absorbed an 8-2 loss:
“With around five minutes to go in Portland (on Sunday), losing 8-2, (goaltender Brendan) Burke for Portland at the other end made a series of huge saves.
As play was stopped, Calvin slapped his stick on the ice a couple of times and held it up high towards the opposing goaltender.”
Those rumours about the OHL’s Erie Otters moving to Hamilton? Forget them. The Otters have signed a two-year lease to stay at Tullio Arena.
With the Brandon Wheat Kings having to play their first-round home games in Winnipeg, you’re wondering if the WHL would be a good fit there. Kelly McCrimmon, the owner of the Wheat Kings, thinks the answer is yes. Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun has more right here.
Erik Brady of USA TODAY has a story right here on some goofy parents. It is parents like these who give them all a bad name.
Joe Fitzgerald of the Boston Herald has more on goofy parents. That column is right here.
Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes right here about his friend Furman Bisher, a legendary sports columnist who died on the weekend. Bisher knew Ty Cobb and interviewed ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson.
And if you’re looking for a chuckle, check out this piece right here from Matthew Hansen of the Omaha World-Herald. It’s about an 11-year-old who got in a spot of trouble when he organized an NCAA basketball pool at his school.

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