Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ahh, you have to love social media.
Before the Portland Winterhawks were able to announce a deal with the Everett Silvertips for D Seth Jones, the names of two players included in the swap had surfaced on Twitter.
D Ben Betker, one of four players the Winterhawks gave up in the exchange, changed his twitter profile to read “Product of Cranbrook BC, Canada. Everett Silvertips of the #WHL. #LivingTheDream.”
F Mitch Skapski also had changed his Twitter profile to reflect the trade.
As it turns out, the Winterhawks also sent along F Tyler Sandhu and D Reece Willcox in the deal.
It all was made official in a late afternoon news conference in Portland.
Betker, a defenceman who turns 18 on Sept. 29, had 18 points for the BCHL’s Westside Warriors this season. Undrafted, he was placed on Portland’s protected list in June. He had signed with the Winterhawks.
Skapski, the younger brother of Kootenay Ice G Mackenzie Skapski, was a fourth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. Mitch, who is from Abbotsford, B.C., had 49 points in 40 games with the major midget Fraser Valley Bruins.
Sandhu, a second-round pick by Portland in the 2011 bantam draft, is 16 and also signed with the Winterhawks. From Surrey, B.C., he had 45 points in 38 games with the major midget Vancouver Canadians this season.
Willcox, who also is from Surrey, had 23 points in 52 games with the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. Now 18, Willcox was a third-round selection in the 2009 bantam draft. He has committed to attend Cornell U and play for the Big Red.
The Silvertips, then, acquired the rights to four players in exchange for Jones, who is projected as an early pick in the NHL’s 2013 draft.
All indications are that the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Jones, 17, may well be one of those once-in-a-lifetime players. But he wasn’t going to report to Everett, so the Silvertips had no choice but to trade his rights. They also got an undisclosed bantam pick from Portland just for the right to speak with Jones and his family.
Right now this looks like win-win for both teams, but don’t forget the adage about the team getting the best player winning the trade.
Garry Davidson, the Silvertips’ general manager, spent almost four full seasons as the Winterhawks’ director of player personnel. So he certainly is familiar with the players he acquired from Portland, having drafted three of them and listed the other.
From a WHL fan, via email:
“When did the WHL start webcasting the signing of players? And why not do it for everyone?”
Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail weighed in Tuesday with his view of the Stanley Cup playoffs vs. the world championship.
“The Stanley Cup playoffs, for some years now, has been a tournament run largely in reverse,” he writes, “with the climax and greatest interest in Round 1 followed by a sliding war of attrition that culminates in June with exhausted players and weary fans just wishing it would get over with so summer could start. It does not help in Canada when they schedule Sunday afternoon games when cabin-fevered Canadians are thinking far more of bikes and canoes than of skates and pucks.
“The Stanley Cup playoffs are also so overly coached that, inevitably, defence rules. Far easier to teach trapping and shot-blocking than knocking the goalie’s water bottle off the top of the net with a high wrister.”
He’s right, you know, and his complete column is right here.
You know that there is a problem when the play-by-play voices and the analysts talk more about blocking shots than scoring goals and when they make reference to the team having blocked the most shots having won the most games.
In a column that appeared Tuesday, Gregg Doyel, a national columnist at, tries to answer this question: “Knowing what awaits NFL players after retirement, is it ethically defensible to watch it – and enjoy it – as they do this to each other?” . . . That column is right here and it’s food for thought.
JUST NOTES: The 2013 U-17 World Hockey Challenge will be held in the Quebec communities of Victoriaville and Drummondville, running from Dec. 28 through Jan. 4, 2013. . . . The 10-team tournament always features five teams from Canada (Atlantic, Ontario, Pacific, Quebec, West) and five international teams. . . . G Matt Tomkins, who played this season with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders, has committed to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes starting with the 2013-14 season. You will recall that the Vancouver Giants at one point were taking a long, hard look at Tomkins. . . . F Jordan DePape of the Kamloops Blazers lives with Type 1 diabetes and is preparing to head out on the Diabetes Heroes Tour for a second straight year. Last year, the tour made three stops; this time, it’ll stop in five cities – St John’s (May 14), Barrie (May 15), Winnipeg (May 16), Edmonton (May 17) and Prince George (May 18). The tour also includes country singer George Canyon. DePape appeared on the morning show at CTV Winnipeg on Tuesday. There’s more information on the tour, including how to get tickets, right here. . . .
In the spring of 1991, the Oshawa Generals, coached by Rick Cornacchia, and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, under Ted Nolan, met in the OHL’s championship final. On Tuesday, the two men went head-to-head one more time, this time at the world championship in Stockholm. Cornacchia is Italy’s head coach, while Nolan fills the same role with Latvia. . . . The Greyhounds won the OHL title in 1991; on Tuesday, Latvia won, 5-0. . . . The video that was shot and put together by Chris Rumble at Seattle Children’s Hospital really has gone viral. On Tuesday afternoon, Kelly Clarkson sent this tweet to her 1,344,307 followers: “Oh my goodness y'all have to see this! It's beautiful! I can't wait to visit these kids and nurses! It's Seattle Children's Hospital, I believe. God Bless y'all!” That video, if you haven’t seen it, is right here. As of the wee hours this morning, it was closing in on 177,000 views.
It would seem that 20-year-old goaltenders are in demand in the WHL.
On Tuesday, the Seattle Thunderbirds dealt a 2013 third-round bantam draft pick to the Calgary Hitmen for G Brandon Glover, who turns 20 on Aug. 21.
The Thunderbirds, of course, are in the market for a goaltender as they don’t expect to get Calvin Pickard back for his 20-year-old season. Pickard is likely to play somewhere in the Colorado Avalanche’s system.
Glover went 20-12-0, 3.11, .885 with the Hitmen last season. They acquired him from the Moose Jaw Warriors prior to the 2010-11 season. A native of Victoria, he was selected by the Warriors in the sixth round of the 2007 bantam draft.
With Glover gone, Chris Driedger, 18, is No. 1 on the Calgary depth chart.
The Thunderbirds, who didn’t qualify for the playoffs this season, now show 11 20-year-olds on their roster – Glover, G Michael Salmon, Pickard, D Dave Sutter, D Braeden Laroque, D Brad Deagle, D Mitch Spooner, F Chance Lund, F Luke Lockhart, F Brendan Rouse and F Sean Aschim — but only six or seven of those are serious contenders for the three spots.
Each team is allowed to dress a maximum of three 20-year-olds per game. In fact, teams must each declare a maximum of three 20-year-olds at a cutdown date in mid-October.
On Thursday, during the bantam draft in Calgary, the Lethbridge Hurricanes acquired G Ty Rimmer, 20, from the Tri-City Americans, while the Prince Albert Raiders got G Luke Siemens, 20, from the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Kurt Kleinendorst won’t be back as head coach of the Binghamton Senators, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. Kleinendorst’s two-year contract is up in June but he made the decision not to return. "I've thought long and hard about it," Kleinendorst told Joy Lindsay of the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin. "I have nothing but good things to say about (general manager) Bryan Murray and the organization, and the same is true for Binghamton. It's been one of my nicer stops along the way. The people here are wonderful. The players that I've experienced for two years have been wonderful." . . . Binghamton put up a 71-70-8-7 regular-season record under Kleinendorst and went 16-7 in the playoffs, including winning the AHL championship a year ago. . . .
Kevin Hartzell won’t be back as GM and head coach of the USHL’s Sioux Falls, S.D.,  Stampede. Hartzell just completed his seventh season with the Stampede, going 224-152-44. The Stampede recently underwent a change in ownership. A new coach is expected to be in place may May 22, which is when the USHL holds its entry draft. . . . Ryan Clark of the Fargo Forum has more on the Hartzell situation right here.

Game 4 . . .
In Portland, F Rhett Rachinski scored twice, including once in OT, to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 4-3 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . The championship final now is tied 2-2 with the teams returning via shared charter flight to Edmonton for Game 5 on Thursday. They flew out of Portland right after last night’s game. . . . A sixth game is scheduled for Portland’s Rose Garden on Saturday. . . . The Rose Garden was home to a concert by The Black Keys on Monday night and ice conditions worsened as the game progressed. . . . Rachinski was able to corral a loose puck after Portland F Oliver Gabriel wasn’t able to handle a pass from D William Wrenn. Rachinski, 20, then scored his sixth goal of these playoffs at 9:07 of OT. . . . The Oil Kings were in OT for the first time in these playoffs; Portland now is 2-1 in extra time. . . . The Oil Kings had taken a 3-1 lead into the third period only to have Portland F Sven Baertschi scored twice, at 3:49 and 9:06. . . . He now has 13 playoff goals and is tied with linemate Ty Rattie for the postseason points lead, each with 32. . . . Baertschi has goals in five straight playoff games. . . . F Marcel Noebels opened the scoring for Portland at 1:21 of the first period, with Rachinski pulling his side even at 15:50. . . . F Tyler Maxwell gave the Oil Kings the lead at 8:17 of the second with his first goal of the final. Interestingly, Maxwell is one of the veterans whom Edmonton head coach Derek Laxdal said prior to Game 4 had to be better. . . . Edmonton F Stephane Legault scored for a 3-1 lead with 56 seconds left in the second. . . . Edmonton G Laurent Brossoit stopped 39 shots, one more than Portland’s Mac Carruth. . . . Each team was 0-2 on the PP. . . . Attendance was 10,947.
Here is the schedule for the WHL’s championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup (all times local):
Thursday, May 3: Portland 2 at Edmonton 3 (7,466)
Friday, May 4: Portland 5 at Edmonton 1 (10,720)
Sunday, May 6: Edmonton 3 at Portland 4 (10,947)
Tuesday, May 8: Edmonton 4 at Portland 3 (OT) (10,947)
Thursday, May 10: at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 12: at Portland (Rose Garden), 6 p.m.
x-Sunday, May 13: at Edmonton, 6 p.m.

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