Wednesday, May 2, 2012

F Curtis Huppe (Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Tri-City, 1995-2000) signed a one-year contract extension with the Guildford Flames (England, Premier). He had 29 goals and 25 assists in 35 games for the Flames this season. . . .
F Daniel Rakos (Swift Current, 2005-07) signed a multi-year contract (length not announced) with Trinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had one goal and four assists in 27 games for Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga) this season. . . .
F Zdenek Bahensky (Saskatoon, 2004-06) signed a one-year contract with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had 17 goals and seven assists in 47 games for Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic, Extraliga) this season.
If you have been paying attention to the NHL playoffs, you will have noticed that Alex Ovechkin, not that long ago one of the league’s most exciting players, has had his playing time somewhat limited of late.
That is, of course, because Washington head coach Dale Hunter is getting paid to win games and not to entertain hockey fans. Therefore, as the NHL slides back into another dead puck era, shot blockers are more important than shooters.
Ovechkin, then, has become almost a situational player. When the Capitals are behind, Ovechkin’s ice time increases; when they are nursing a lead, Ovechkin’s bench time increases.
A couple of tweets from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe:
“Alex Ovechkin on the bench. Ladies and Gents: we give you the parakeet in the coal mine. For $200 a seat.”
“Today's NHL would have Guy Lafleur on fourth line and PK duty.”
The Central league’s Laredo Bucks have ceased operations. According to a press released from the team: “The Bucks have struggled with declining attendance over several seasons. Even though drastic changes to the seating structure, amongst other areas, did make an improvement last season, it was not enough to keep the franchise going.” . . . The ownership group maintains a franchise in the Central league, but it will be dormant from this point. . . . The Bucks’ final roster included former WHL G Torrie Jung.
Former WHL D Bruin McDonald has committed to play next season for the Simon Fraser University Clan, which plays in the B.C. Intercollegiate league. McDonald, 20, has played in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars and Spokane Chiefs, and also played with the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques.
Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, revealed last month on Dan Russell’s Sportstalk, Vancouver radio station CKNW’s talk show, that D Neil Manning would be attending UBC and playing for the Thunderbirds. He has been accepted into the Sauder School of Business. The Giants made it official with an announcement on Tuesday. . . . Manning is the only player in franchise history to have played five complete seasons with the Giants. He played out his eligibility this season and holds the franchise record for regular-season games played (310). . . . The Thunderbirds are coached by Milan Dragicevic, a former WHL defenceman and Giants head coach.
Former WHL player and coach Terry Virtue no longer is with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack. Virtue had been an associate coach under head coach Greg Ireland. In 2009-10, Virtue, who had been on the Tri-City Americans’ staff, signed with the Attack and worked as an assistant coach under Mark Reeds as the Attack won the OHL championship. Virtue’s contract was up after this season and, according to Bill Walker of the Owen Sound Sun Times, they reached a mutual decision to part company. Virtue likely is looking for something closer to home as he lives in West Virginia, where his family stayed over the winter.

The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Jordan Davies, 15, who played this season with the Sherwood Park NIC Squires of the Alberta minor midget league. He had 27 points in 38 games and was named the team’s top defenceman. Davies was added to Portland’s protected list after attending its training camp prior to this season. . . .
The Winterhawks flew into Edmonton on Tuesday afternoon to begin preparations for Game 1 of the WHL final on Thursday night.
F Kristians Pelss of the Edmonton Oil Kings has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL draft. Pelss, a Latvian, had 50 points, including 28 goals, in his second season with the Oil Kings. . . .
The Oil Kings will be without F Dylan Wruck (shoulder) for the remainder of this season. He is to undergo surgery at some point this week. . . . Wruck, a 19-year-old from Saskatoon, had 80 points, including 21 goals, in 66 games this season, his third with the Oil Kings. He had four points in eight playoff games.
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), 6 p.m.
x-Sunday, May 13: at Edmonton, 6 p.m.

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