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Monday, March 11, 2013

Les Lazaruk, the ol’ redhead, without the curls?
Apparently, the longtime play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades made something of a hair-losing statement at some point in this WHL season.
And now it seems that he is going to have to pay up.
But, hey, it’s all for a good cause.
Check it out right here and bring your cheque book — or a credit card, or a PayPal account — with you.
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Brad Brown of the Prairie Post covers the Swift Current Broncos so is quite familiar with the WHL.
And, frankly, he’s seen enough.
“What if the first hit from behind or to the head earned the offender an automatic game misconduct — regardless of severity?” he writes.
“What if the subsequent penalties carried an automatic suspension, up to and including a rest-of-the-year ban?
“That would turn some heads — and, for a change, not directly into the boards or the ice.”
His complete thought-provoking piece is right here.
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The matchups, if the WHL playoffs opened today:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (6)
Red Deer (4) vs Prince Albert (5)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
Spokane (4) vs. Tri-City (5)
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SUNDAY’S GAMES:
In Victoria, the Portland Winterhawks clinched first-place overall with a 5-2 victory over the Royals. . . . The Winterhawks, who last won the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy in 1997-98, assured themselves of home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. . . . F Chase De Leo scored three times for Portland, giving him 17, while F Taylor Leier had four assists. . . . It was De Leo’s first career hat trick. . . . The Winterhawks have 109 points with four games remaining, so the franchise record for points in a season (113, 1980-81) is within reach. . . . The Royals continue to be without F Alex Gogolev, their leading scorer, and D Tyler Stahl, their captain. Both are out with undisclosed injuries. . . . The Royals and Winterhawks meet again Tuesday in Victoria. . . .

In Calgary, F Calder Brooks scored at 1:48 of OT to give the Hitmen a 4-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Brooks scored his second goal of the season on the PP. . . . F Jake Virtanen had two assists for Calgary, giving him 31 points in 59 games. He was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . Red Deer D Mathew Dumba, who was penalized for hooking with five seconds left in the third period, had a goal and two assists, while F Rhyse Dieno drew two assists. . . . The Hitmen have won four in a row. . . . Calgary F Cody Sylvester got his 38th goal and now has scored in four straight. . . . The Hitmen are locked into the No. 3 seed for the first round of Eastern Conference playoffs and will open with home games on March 21 and 22. . . . The Rebels will be the No. 4  seed with a first-round series starting in Red Deer on March 22 and 23. . . . .

In Vancouver, F Cain Franson had a goal and three assists as the Giants dropped the Prince George Cougars, 5-3. . . . The Cougars had won three in a row. . . . The Giants have won five in a row on home ice. . . . Franson has 29 goals. . . . F Colin Jacobs had a goal, his 24th, and two assists for the Cougars. . . . Vancouver lost F Scott Cooke with a boarding major at 17:16 of the second period. . . . The Cougars are four points out of a Western Conference playoff spot with four games remaining.
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CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
None

CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
None
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 From Kelley Robinett (@kdrobinett): “In the words of Diddy ‘can’t nobody take my pride, can’t nobody hold us down.’ Winterhawks are the WHL’s top seed heading into the playoffs”
Robinett is the Winterhawks’ senior vice-president, operations and marketing.


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