THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Oscar Möller (Chilliwack, 2006-08) signed a four-year contract extension with Skellefteå (Sweden, Elitserien). He has 12 goals and six assists in 22 games with Skellefteå this season. The contract ties Möller to Skellefteå through the 2016-17 season.
The Saskatoon Blades will go hunting for a franchise record tonight and they’ll do it without F Michael Ferland. He’s been suspended for one game after taking a cross-checking major late in Wednesday’s 5-1 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Tonight, the Blades will be in search of their 14th straight victory when they take on the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. This season’s team shares that record with the 1987-88 club that went from Feb. 14 to March 16 without losing. . . . Saskatoon goaltending coach Tim Cheveldave and assistant coach Curtis Leschyshyn both were on that 1987-88 team. Cheveldave was the starting goaltender; Leschyshyn was a defenceman.
Ch-ch-ching! . . . Mike Stothers, the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, was touched up for $750 after being tossed from that Wednesday game in Saskatoon. . . . Stothers apparently was upset after Saskatoon GM/head coach Lorne Molleken put out his top PP unit with a 4-1 lead late in the third period. Molleken said he did that because Moose Jaw D Kendall McFaull had gotten overly physical with Saskatoon F Josh Nicholls.
The Prince George Cougars have signed G Matt Kustra, who was an eighth round pick in the 2012 WHL bantam draft. Kustra, from Yorkton, Sask., plays for the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds, who play out of Wilcox. Kustra has dressed as the backup to Mac Engel in each of the Cougars’ last three games.
The Cougars now have five goaltenders under contract, one from each birth year from 1993 through 1997 — in order, Engel, Devon Fordyce, Brett Zarowny, Ty Edmonds and Kustra. . . . A while back, the Cougars also signed G Tyler Santos, who was born in 1995, but they have since dropped him from their list.
In a column on the hit by Vancouver Canucks F Jannik Hansen on Chicago Blackhawks F Marian Hossa, Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun touched on the NHL’s approach to contact with the head.
“If incidental head contact is cause for suspension,” Cole writes in Thursday’s Sun, “how is it possible for the league to continue to condone, even tacitly encourage, fighting, wherein two players punch each other repeatedly in the head, with nothing in mind other than intent to injure, and are given five minutes each, and remain in the game?
“This paradox, as we’ve noted many times before, cannot withstand any reasonable examination.
“If any point-of-first-contact head blow is cause for supplemental discipline, a participant in a fight has to be tossed out of the game, at minimum.
“I say this as someone who understands the fight-in-anger and even enjoys seeing a good, venomous scrap where a wronged party – or a more muscular teammate of his – is taking the required pound of flesh from the perpetrator of a dirty hit or a spear or a high stick. But then the combatants have to go.
“On the other hand, the staged, pre-meditated fight, off a faceoff — or three of them in a row, as in Vancouver-Dallas last week — is ridiculous, and the league should be embarrassed. Except the league is embarrass-proof.”
Cole’s complete column is right here.
The matchups, if the WHL playoffs opened today:
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Swift Current (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Medicine Hat (6)
Prince Albert (4) vs. Red Deer (5)
Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
Tri-City (4) vs. Spokane (5)
No games scheduled.
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