Saturday, April 28, 2012

The always eloquent Ken Dryden has written another piece for The Globe and Mail, this one headlined: The anatomy of three hits. . . . It begins with an enthralling anecdote involving Johnny Bower, who is behind his goal line with Gordie Howe bearing down on him. . . . Check it out right here.
John Becanic, who has WHL coaching experience with Everett, Seattle and Vancouver, won’t be back as head coach of the NAHL’s Wenatchee, Wash., Wild. He announced his resignation Friday, although he told Brent Stecker of the Wenatchee World that he made the decision and informed management in February. “As a coach, you have a set of standards and beliefs that you coach within,” Becanic told Stecker. “Not necessarily does everyone involved understand those standards and beliefs, and having done this as long as I’ve done, I knew it was the right thing to step back and pursue other hockey opportunities.” . . . Becanic took over the Wild in the middle of the 2010-11 season, replacing Paul Baxter. This season, the Wild went 36-17-7, finishing second in the West Division. The Fairbanks Ice Dogs completed a division final sweep of the Wild on Thursday night. . . . The Wild, under president Bill Stewart, has been pushing for a couple of seasons to get into the BCHL. . . .
The Northern Ontario junior A league’s Soo Thunderbirds will be without their head coach and assistant coach when they begin play in the Royal Bank Cup in Humboldt, Sask., next weekend. Preston Mizzi and Jamie Henderson have been suspended indefinitely by the league as a result, according to the Sault Star’s Peter Ruicci, “of seven incidents in which alcohol was allowed and consumed by players on staff” on the team bus. . . . Zoltan (Toots) Kovacs, a former Soo head coach, has been named interim head coach. . . . Ruicci’s story is right here.
The OHL’s Oshawa Generals have hired Jeff Twohey as their general manager. Twohey, who spent 17 years as the Peterborough Petes’ GM, worked the last two seasons as a scout for the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. All told, Twohey spent 30 years in the Petes’ organization, a relationship that ended after the 2009-10 season. To those unfamiliar with the OHL, the General and Petes go together like oil and water. Twohey replaces Chris DePiero, who was fired earlier this month along with head coach Gary Agnew and assistant coach Joe Cirella. . . .

Tyler Olsen, a writer with the Chilliwack Times, spent a lot of time a year ago covering the mess that was the sale and relocation of the Chilliwack Bruins. It all resulted in his winning a Canadian Community Newspaper Association award for best business writing, circulation 10,000 and over. When someone sent congratulations via Twitter, Olsen replied with: “It wouldn't have happened w/out Darryl Porter & Ron Robison.”

Here are the dates for the WHL’s championship final (all times local):
Thursday, May 3: at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Friday, May 4: at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 6: at Portland (Rose Garden), 6 p.m.
Tuesday, May 8: at Portland (Rose Garden), 7 p.m.
x-Thursday, May 10: at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday, May 12: at Portland (Rose Garden), TBD
x-Sunday, May 13: at Edmonton, TBD
You can bet both teams are hoping this thing doesn’t go seven games, what with the schedule calling for the last three games to be played over four nights, which really works out to playing three times in little more than 72 hours.
In Edmonton, D Martin Gernat scored two goals as the Oil Kings scored a 4-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors to advance to the WHL’s championship final. . . . The Oil Kings, who won the series in five games, are in their fifth season, having been an expansion team in the 2007-08 season. . . . They will meet the Portland Winterhawks in the final. The Winterhawks used to be the Oil Kings; they moved to Portland after the 1975-76 season. . . . Edmonton head coach Derek Laxdal was a 16-year-old winger on the Portland team that won the 1983 Memorial Cup as the host team. Laxdal later was dealt to the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Last night, F Michael St. Croix opened the scoring for Edmonton at 2:46 of the first period, with Gernat getting a PP goal at 17:44. . . . F Sam Fioretti got the Warriors on the board at 7:09 of the second, but Edmonton F Curtis Lazar restored the two-goal lead with his eighth goal of the playoffs 10 minutes alter. . . . Gernat completed the scoring at 9:06 of the third with another PP goal. He has five goals in the playoffs. . . . F Tyler Maxwell and D Griffin Reinhart assisted on both Gernat goals. . . . Edmonton G Laurent Brossoit, who was named the series MVP, stopped 37 shots in running his record to 12-1. . . . Moose Jaw gave Justin Paulic, 16, his third WHL start and second straight in these playoffs. He turned aside 20 shots. . . . The Warriors were 0-7 on the PP; Edmonton was 2-3. . . . There were seven series in the Eastern Conference and not one went past five games. . . . As if the Warriors didn’t have a bad enough night, they ran into bus problems in Lloydminster as they made their way home. A tweet from James Gallo, the club's radio voice on CHAB: "Bus died in Lloyd, can this night get any longer"
After Laxdal picked up 13 points in 39 games with Portland in 1982-83, he found himself part of one of the biggest swaps in WHL history. On Aug. 28, 1983, the Brandon Wheat Kings dealt F Blaine Chrest to Portland for Laxdal, D Brad Duggan, F Dave Thomlinson, F Tony Horacek and F Ray Ferraro.
A Friday night tweet from Ferraro (@rayferrarotsn): “Congrats and good luck to a couple of old teammates, Travis Green(portland) and Derek Laxdal(edm) in the WHL final.”

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