Friday, December 28, 2012

THE MacBETH REPORT:
There weren’t any moves of note yesterday, but here’s a look at WHL ties in the Spengler Cup that is being played in Davos, Switzerland . . .
Referees — Graham Skilliter, Brent Reiber.
Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL) — Dominik Bittner (Everett, 2011-12), Luca Sbisa (Lethbridge, Portland, 2008-10; on lockout contract with Lugano, added to Mannheim for this tournament), Yannic Seidenberg (Medicine Hat, 2003-04). Shawn Bell (Regina, Tri-City, 2000-05; on the roster for Mannheim this season but he is not playing in the tournament. He is out with an arm injury and is expected back in early January).
Fribourg-Gotteron (Switzerland, NL A) — Joel Kwiatkowski (Tacoma/Kelowna, Prince George, 1994-98).
Salavat Yulaev Ufa (Russia, KHL) — Ivan Baranka (Everett, 2003-05), Oleg Saprykin (Seattle, 1998-2000).
Vitkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga) — Tomas Kudelka (Lethbridge, 2005-07), Ondrej Roman (Spokane, 2006-09), Denis Rehak (Prince George, 2003-04), Tomas Voracek (Prince Albert, 2007-09).
Team Canada — Cam Barker (Medicine Hat, 2001-06; free agent), Josh Holden (Regina 1994-98; Zug, Switzerland NL A), Brett McLean (Tacoma/Kelowna, Brandon, 1994-99;  Lugano, Switzerland NL A), Byron Ritchie (Lethbridge, 1993-97; Bern, Switzerland NL A), Ryan Smyth (Moose Jaw, 1991-95; Edmonton, NHL), Micki DuPont (Kamloops, 1996-2000; Kloten, Switzerland, NL A), Devan Dubnyk (Kamloops, 2001-06; Edmonton, NHL).
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The Sports Curmudgeon has this in one of his latest postings:
“The Dos Equis ad campaign featuring ‘The Most Interesting Man In The World’ has jumped the shark. Allow me to suggest that The Most Interesting Man In The World go to wherever he must so he can join the Geico Caveman, Speedy Alka-Seltzer, Bucky Beaver, Elsie the Cow and Spuds MacKenzie as advertising characters of the past.”
Yes, he was feeling downright curmudgeonly when he took his annual look at the worst of TV commercials.
But, hey, it’s to our benefit because it’s a fun read.
And it’s right here.
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John Feinstein, noted author and Washington Post columnist, writes right here about the NHL situation. Yes, he points fingers at the owners.
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In the OHL, the London Knights dropped the visiting Windsor Spitfires 9-4 last night for their 22nd consecutive victory. . . . The Knights (30-5-2) and the 2009-10 Barrie Colts have the OHL’s second-longest winning streaks. The record (25) is held by the 1983-84 Kitchener Rangers.
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JUST  NOTES:
F Michael Ferland, 20, skated with the Brandon Wheat Kings again on Thursday. After playing in the Calgary Flames’ system in the season’s first half, he hopes to be freed up to return to the WHL. Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun reports that Ferland skated on a line with Richard Nejezchleb and Tim McGauley. . . . D Rene Hunter, who was away from the Wheat Kings on personal leave when the Christmas break began, did not return to the team. . . .

The Vancouver Giants made it official yesterday when they revealed that G Liam Liston, 19, has left the club to concentrate on his education, likely at the U of Alberta. . . . Payton Lee, 16, has been the Vancouver starter, but he is with Team Pacific at the U17 World Hockey Challenge in snowy Quebec. That means Tyler Fuhr, 17, who hasn’t played since Nov. 18, will start tonight against the visiting Kelowna Rockets. Fuhr also is expected to start Saturday in Kamloops and Sunday against the visiting Prince George Cougars. In other words, a goaltender who hasn’t played in 40 days is likely to make three starts in less than 48 hours. . . . No word on who will be backing up Fuhr, but Alex Ahnert, 19, from the junior B Delta Ice Hawks, was at practice yesterday. . . .

F Dominek Volek, 18, had one assist Thursday as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Oil Kings 5-3 in Edmonton. Volek was playing his first game with the Rebels, who acquired his rights from the Regina Pats prior to Christmas. . . . Volek had 32 points in 70 games with Regina last season, but chose not to return. Instead, he was playing for Farjestad’s junior team in Sweden, putting up six points in 17 games. . . . “I liked the junior fans, but I wasn’t happy in Regina,” Volek told Danny Rode of the Red Deer Advocate. “I asked to change the billet and nothing. The coach wasn’t playing me and some of the promises they made they didn’t come through with, so I didn’t have a lot of interest in coming back this year.” . . .

F Jayden Hart, 18, has asked the Medicine Hat Tigers to trade him and is at home in Spruce Grove, Alta., awaiting developments. Hart told Sean Rooney of the Medicine Hat News that “I felt like it was the best choice for my career right now. It was probably one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made.” . . . Hart has 10 points in 18 games this season, but has missed time with illness and knee and wrist problems. . . .

The Victoria Royals should have F Austin Carroll back in their lineup as they play host to the Prince George Cougars tonight and Saturday. Carroll, an 18-year-old from Scottsdale, Ariz., had 15 points in 29 games, including six points in his last five games, before leaving the Royals and missing two games after the death of his father, Phil. . . .

The Tri-City Americans go home-and-home with the Portland Winterhawks this weekend, playing tonight in Kennewick, Wash., and Saturday, 3 p.m., in Portland. . . . The Americans are hoping to have F Marcus Messier back in their lineup. He hasn’t played since Nov. 30 when he suffered an undisclosed injury during a game in Kamloops. . . . Tri-City F Phil Tot, out since Oct. 26 with an undisclosed injury, is doubtful for the weekend. . . . The Winterhawks have won six straight and are atop the overall standings. . . . Portland interim head coach Travis Green told Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Herald that D Derrick Pouliot “won’t play because of an injury.” . . . The Winterhawks may have D Linden Springer, 18, in their lineup. He has eight points and 146 penalty minutes in 32 games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. He played last season with the Prince George Cougars, putting up six points and 89 penalty minutes in 56 games. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have added F Mitch Skapski to their roster for the remainder of this season. Skapski, 16, was acquired from Portland in the deal that had D Seth Jones go to the Winterhawks. Three of the four players who went to Everett in that deal — Skapski, D Ben Betker and F Tyler Sandhu — now are with the Silvertips. . . . D Reece Willcox, the fourth player acquired by the Silvertips, is at Cornell University. . . . The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Skapski, a fourth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft, had eight points in 29 games with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs before deciding to head for Everett. . . . He is the younger brother of Kootenay Ice G Mackenzie Skapski.
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I’m not about to start listing all of the players who have been added to WHL rosters over the last couple of days. There have been enough additions to fill a bus or two. Yes, the WHL needs to take a serious look at extending its Christmas break into January. Either that or start charging exhibition game ticket prices until the international tournaments have ended and all the regular players have returned.
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LAST NIGHT:
F Tanner Eberle, a Regina native, scored twice to help the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors to a 4-3 victory over the Pats. . . . “I do (love playing the Pats) even though I was getting booed for the first star,” a laughing Eberle told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “There’s nothing better than making the crowd boo. It’s fun to compete like that against a team that used to be my favourite ’Dub team. Now I’m scoring against them.” . . . Eberle is a second cousin to former Pats star Jordan Eberle, who is with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons during the NHL lockout. . . . F Chandler Stephenson, who missed 25 games with a skate cut to a foot, scored twice for the Pats in his first game back. . . . The Warriors had lost three in a row. . . . Regina also had D Luke Fenske and F Dyson Stevenson back after extended injury-related absences. . . .

G Bolton Pouliot stopped 53 shots to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 5-3 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. Pouliot, starting because Patrik Bartosak is at the World Junior Championship with the Czech Republic, stopped all 19 shots he faced in the third period. D Matt Dumba, a late cut by Team Canada, had two goals for Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings had won five a row going into this one. . . . Red Deer is 12-2-1 since owner and general manager Brent Sutter went behind the bench. . . .

In Kelowna, F Zach Franko had two goals and three assists to lead the Rockets to a 7-3 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Franko, 19, has 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) in 34 games. Last season, he finished with 39 points, including 14 goals, in 72 games. . . . This was his first five-point WHL game. He had two three-point outings in 2011-12. . . . Kamloops F Colin Smith had a goal and an assist. He is tied for the WHL lead in goals (26) and leads in assists (38) and points (64). . . . Attendance was 6,257, giving the Rockets their first sellout this season. . . . The Rockets now are four points behind the B.C. Division-leading Blazers.
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CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
D Ryan Rehill, Kamloops (major)

CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
F Ryan Olsen, Kelowna
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From Kamloops G Cole Cheveldave (@ChevSauce38): “I love how fans think that when they tweet at me about being a sieve or riding pine makes me made. It makes me laugh. Where are you in life?”
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Former Medicine Hat G Tyler Bunz (@tylerbunz), with a tweet for G Liam Liston, who has retired from the Vancouver Giants: “heard the news man, hope youre doing well. Never easy to make a decision like that but proud to see you handle it the way you are.”

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