Sunday, April 22, 2012

F Hampus Gustafsson (Regina, Brandon, 2009-11) signed a one-year contract with Tingsryd (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He had 11 goals and 14 goals in 30 games for Stjernen Fredrikstad (Norway, GET Ligaen) this season. . . .
D Bohdan Visnak (Saskatoon, 2006-07) signed a one-year contract extension with Montpellier (France, Division 1). He had two goals and three assists in 21 games for Montpellier this season. . . .
F Jiri Cetkovsky (Calgary, 2002-03) signed a one-year contract extension and F Martin Sagat (Kootenay, 2003-05) signed a one-year contract with Pardubice (Czech Repubic, Extraliga). Cetkovsky had no points in seven games with Pardubice and three goals and seven assists in 28 games on loan to Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic, Extraliga) this season. Sagat had 13 goals and 35 assists in 46 games with Slovan Ustecti Lvi (Czech Republic, 1.Liga) and one goal and one assist in eight games on loan to Pardubice this season.
Sheesh, the baseball game between the New York Yankees and host Boston Red Sox on Saturday was more predictable than what the NHL has become.
I mean, does anyone, the NHL included, know what’s going on?
The news yesterday that Raffi Torres of the NHL-owned Phoenix Coyotes had drawn a 25-game suspension was good for a double-take. What? Did I hear/read that correctly?
Prior to yesterday, the longest suspension in these playoffs had been a four-gamer.
Twenty-five games? That’s kind of like a parent running out of patience and telling a child: “That’s it. I’ve had enough. You’re grounded for the rest of your life.”
Yes, Torres is a serial offender. Yes, that was a terrible hit on forward Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks. Yes, there had been previous suspensions. But none of those suspensions even approached 25 games.
So . . . Shea Weber gets fined pocket change. Brett Burns walks. Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville gets fined 10 grand for telling the truth. And on and on it goes. . . .
Now we all await the next case.
That baseball game? If you missed it, the Red Sox blew a 9-0 lead and dropped a 15-9 decision to the Yanks.
The time has come for coaches to stop teaching players to finish their checks.
These days, when a player says all he was doing was “finishing his check,” what he really means is “I was hitting to hurt.”
Following the game in which Torres hit Hossa, Torres said he was finishing his check.
During the WHL series between Kamloops and Portland, Blazers F J.C. Lipon provided a turning point in Game 4 when he drilled Winterhawks F Ty Rattie from behind, a hit that went unpenalized but later drew a one-game suspension.
After that game, in which Kamloops erased a 4-0 deficit en route to a 5-4 victory, Lipon said he had been finishing his check.
Hockey always will be a contact sport, so there always will be body contact, some of the hits harder than others. But the game should be about the puck and separating an opposing player from it. It shouldn’t be about hurting the opposing player and to hell with the puck.
Unfortunately, there are players in the game today who target opposing players with the intent of hurting them. Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe has called it “human skeeting shooting.”
He’s not far wrong.
If you haven’t yet heard about Vancouver Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa’s decision to take a turn as teammate Ryan Kesler, you should check this out right here.
Terry Yake, who played for the Brandon Wheat Kings back in the day, scored the game-winner as the Southeast Prairie Thunder, which plays out of Steinbach, Man., won the Allan Cup on Saturday in Lloydminster, Sask.
There’s more right here.
In the AHL, the Norfolk Admirals had their winning streak halted at 29 games last night as they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Manchester Monarchs in Game 2 of a first-round series. . . . F Linden Vey, who played with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, had two goals for the Monarchs. . . . Norfolk had opened the best-of-five series with a 3-2 victory over visiting Manchester on Friday.

The Moose Jaw Warriors and Edmonton Oil Kings resume hostilities in the Alberta capital today. The Oil Kings, of course, lead the Eastern Conference final, 1-0. . . . Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun reports right here that the eyes of the scouting world are on this series.
In Kennewick, Wash., F Ty Rattie scored his third goal of the game in OT to give the Portland Winterhawks a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Rattie finished off a shorthanded 2-on-1 break at 7:58 of the first OT period to give Portland a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference final. . . . The Winterhawks won 4-3 in extra time on Friday night. . . . Rattie leads the WHL with 16 playoff goals in 13 games. He has one four-goal game and two three-goal efforts. As they say in Portland, he has three playoff rat-tricks. . . . He also leads the WHL with 27 points. . . . Rattie is the first Portland player ever to score three goals in a playoff game against the Americans. . . . Rattie also has three career OT winners — one this season and one in each of the two previous seasons. . . . The Americans held a 4-2 lead with less than 11 minutes left in the third period. . . . Portland F Joey Baker scored his first career playoff goal at 9:55 of the third and Rattie tied it on the PP at 18:07. . . . Portland D Derrick Pouliot, who was in the penalty box when Rattie won it, had four assists. . . . This was the third game in four nights for both teams. . . . Tri-City F Brendan Shinnimin ran his point streak to 36 games with an assist on the game’s first goal, a PP score by F Jordan Messier. . . . That was Messier’s first goal of these playoffs. . . . Winterhawks G Mac Carruth stopped 34 shots, nine fewer than Tri-City’s Ty Rimmer. . . . Carruth has stopped 15 OT shots in this series’ two games. . . . Portland was 2-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 2-7. . . . Herte’s a goofy stat: In these playoffs, the Americans are 7-0 in games decided in regulation time and 1-5 in overtime. . . . The series now moves to Portland for games Wednesday and Thursday in the Rose Garden. . . . You can blame Coldplay for the delay. . . . Coldplay is in the Rose Garden on Tuesday, thus the Americans and Winterhawks go Wednesday and Thursday. . . . Coldplay also is the reason for the delay in the NHL first-round series between the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings. Those two teams last played Wednesday in Los Angeles when the Canucks won Game 4, 3-1. With Coldplay in Rogers Arena on Friday and Saturday nights, the Kings and Canucks were forced to wait until Sunday to play Game 5. Game time today is 5 p.m. Pacific.

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