Friday, July 13, 2012

Cool Bird proves he can fly on Wednesday at KeyArena in Seattle.
(Photo courtesy Seattle Thunderbirds)

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have exercised the option on general manager/head coach Rich Preston’s contract, meaning he now has two years left. Yes, he is signed through 2013-14. . . . Which takes care of rumours that he was soon to join the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach under old friend Darryl Sutter. . . .
The OHL’s Soo Greyhounds have signed Joe Cirella to a two-year deal as an assistant coach. Cirella is a former OHL and NHL defenceman who captained the Oshawa Generals to the 1983 OHL title. . . . He later went on to a 14-year NHL career. . . . He has worked as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Florida Panthers (1997-98) and has spent seven seasons as an assistant with the Generals, which is where he was for the last two seasons. . . . In Sault Ste. Marie, Cirella will work alongside head coach Mike Stapleton and fellow assistants Mike Oliverio and Seamus Kotyk. . . .
The Edmonton Oil Kings have re-signed Randy Hansch, the assistant general manager and director of player personnel, and assistant coach Steve Hamilton. . . . Hansch, a former goaltender, joined the Oil Kings after spending 15 seasons with the Kamloops Blazers. He has been with Edmonton since before it took part in an expansion draft in 2007. . . . Hamilton has spent two seasons with the Oil Kings. Prior to that, he was the GM/head coach of the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints for four seasons. . . . The length of the contracts wasn’t disclosed. . . .
Ryan Mougenel, the head coach of the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers, was involved in an attempt to save a man from drowning in Boston on Thursday. . . . Ed Hauth of the Las Vegas Sun has that story right here.
D Kevin Smith, who played 286 regular-season and playoff games in his WHL career, has decided to go to the U of British Columbia and play for the Thunderbirds. Smith, who is from North Vancouver, split last season between the WHL's Kelowna Rockets and the BCHL's Victoria Grizzlies.
F Mason Wilgosh, who played five seasons in the WHL, will attend the U of Prince Edward Island and play for the Panthers. The Charlottetown-based Panthers play in Atlantic University Sport. . . . Wilgosh, from Winnipeg, played out his WHL eligibility last season with the Tri-City Americans. He had 38 points in 59 games.
F Brenden Silvester, who played 159 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds (2007-10), is headed for Simon Fraser University where he will play for the school’s British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League team.
Cool Bird, the Seattle Thunderbirds’ mascot, attended the Seattle Storm’s Kid’s Day game on Wednesday.
The Storm, a WNBA team, was playing host to the Atlanta Dream.
According to Ian Henry, the Thunderbirds’ media guru, Cool Bird “took part in media timeouts and halftime promotions, including a dunk contest with other mascots.”
Henry added that he was told the game, at KeyArena, was sold out.
The game began at noon and is a big promotion involving chidren’s summer camps and youth groups getting in through special ticket offers.
The KeyArena was home to the Thunderbirds before they moved to Kent.
The Buffalo Sabres have signed Latvian F Zemgus Girgensons, 18, who ws the 14th overall selection in the NHL’s 2012 draft. Girgensons played last season with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints and had committed to the U of Vermont. By signing a pro contract, of course, he has forsaken his NCAA eligibility. . . . Girgensons WHL rights are held by the Kelowna Rockets, who selected him in the CHL’s 2011 import draft. However, it is unlikely that Girgensons will ever see Kelowna. Because he was drafted out of the USHL and because he has never played in the CHL, he is eligible to play with Buffalo’s AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans. . . . Girgensons had 104 points, including 45 goals, and 115 penalty minutes in 100 USHL regular-season games over two seasons.
If you’re a baseball fan, you are aware that the Washington Nationals plan to shut down pitcher Steven Strasburg at around 160 innings, which should happen in early September. This has become one of the biggest talking points in Major League Baseball this season. Everyone has an opinion. Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post explains right here why this is the right thing to do.
The can of worms opened just a little bit wider on Thursday when the Michigan Daily released this statement:
“On June 28 The Michigan Daily published an article on its website that said hockey player Jacob Trouba was considering an offer to play for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. The article was updated to include further developments on July 2, July 3 and July 4. The Rangers and the Trouba family have denied the offer, and the Rangers have threatened legal action. The Daily stands behind the story and the reporter, Matt Slovin. The Daily will respond to threats of legal action in an appropriate fashion.”
To go back, Slovin’s original story claimed, via an OHL source, that the Rangers had come up with a $200,000 package in an attempt to entice Trouba, a first-round selection by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2012 NHL draft, to Kitchener instead of the U of Michigan.
The Rangers, a community-owned team, was quick with the denials. The Trouba family quickly issued a statement saying that Matt was going to Michigan and would play for the Wolverines.
The Rangers also threatened legal action if there wasn’t a retraction.
The retraction never came.
On Tuesday, the Waterloo Region Record reported that the Rangers did indeed visit court and filed a suit seeking $500,000 in general damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.” The suit was filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Kitchener.
The blog United States of Hockey summed it up this way:
“The Rangers may be backed into a corner now into where they have to stand by their word and pursue this case despite the fact that it is unlikely they will be able to collect damages. This is due to the SPEECH Act protecting U.S. media outlets from foreign libel/defamation judgments so long as the report satisfies First Amendment standards. Should the Daily lose the case, most likely the worst that will happen is the defendants would be denied entry into Canada due to the outstanding judgment (via Student Press Law Center).
“This case has so many different angles of importance from how the Canadian Hockey League’s member leagues and clubs do their business to NCAA vs. CHL recruitment to journalism ethics and ‘libel tourism.’ The eyes of more than just the hockey world will be fixed on this case.”
If you’re a fan of the Boston Red Sox, well, this doesn’t appear to be your season. And it sure looks like the snowball is gathering speed as it tumbles down the hill. Right here is a piece by veteran baseball write Gordon Edes of on the trials and tribulations of the BoSox and manager Bobby Valentine.

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