THE MacBETH REPORT:
The mind behind The MacBeth Report really does pay particular attention to goings-on in Europe. Here’s an interesting file on what has been happening in Sweden . . .
From Sweden, a note on the economics of being relegated from Elitserien, the top league.
In Elitserien qualification games Thursday night, Örebro beat Rögle Ängelholm 5-2 in Ängelholm and Leksand beat Timrå 8-3 in Timrå.
The series includes the bottom two teams from Elitserien (Rögle Ängleholm and Timrå) and four from Allsvenskan (Leksand, Södertälje, Västerås, and Örebro) and is a double round-robin. The top two teams in the series play in Elitserien next season while the remaining four teams play in Allsvenskan.
With three games left in the series, Örebro has clinched one of the two places in Elitserien for next season and Leksand has pretty much done the same with the second available place. None of the other four teams can catch Örebro, and Timrå can only tie Leksand.
However, the tie-breaker is goal differential and Leksand at +17 has a 24-goal advantage over Timrå (—7).
Rögle and Timrå will be demoted to Allsvenskan for next season.
For Örebro, this is a return to Elitserien after an absence of 34 years; Leksand has been out of Elitserien for only six years.
Örebro made it without the services of Jared Aulin (Kamloops, 1997-2002), who won the scoring championship in Allsvenskan this season with 16 goals and 34 assists in 48 games but was hurt with two games to go in the regular season and hasn’t played since. But Aulin gets to reap the rewards as he is under contract with Örebro for next season.
This was a devastating loss for Timrå. The home club of Henrik Zetterberg (his number 20 is retired), Magnus Pääjärvi and Mats Näslund, Timrå has been in Elitserien since 2000.
Before and after the game, Timrå club management went public with the economic issues they face in trying to return to Elitserien. Standard Elitserien contracts have a clause that the contracts terminate on May 1 if a team is relegated to Allsvenskan, which means that the 12 players under contract to Timrå for next season suddenly become free agents; the other 12 players were on contracts that were already set to expire after this season.
Management estimates that their revenue will drop from SEK 95-100 million ($14.5-$15.4 million) this season to about SEK 60-65 million ($9.2-$10 million) for next season. They will lose SEK 24 million ($3.7 million) in Elitserien television revenue and an additional SEK 10 million ($1.5 million) in advertising, sponsorship, and ticket sales.
Management figures they will need to cut their player budget by two-thirds, from SEK 29 million ($4.5 million) to SEK 10-12 million ($1.5-$1.8 million).
Leksand had their own problems during their six years in Allsvenskan. The team was very agressive financially during the first two seasons in Allsvenskan in an effort to return to Elitserien and almost went bankrupt as a result, avoiding liquidation by undergoing a court-monitored restructuring instead.
Players were paid for a while from the government salary guarantee fund and they were almost relegated to Division 1 because of the financial problems.
However, this run through the qualification series has resulted in all five of their home games being sold out, including their two remaining games which now appear to have no meaning. This has added SEK 6-8 million ($900,000-$1.2 million) in revenue to the club's bank account.
Timrå has said that they will be fiscally prudent and will not follow Leksand's aggressive plan.
The injury bug has taken another couple of bites out of the Kelowna Rockets. Down 3-1 in their first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds, the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed will be without veteran D MacKenzie Johnston (shoulder) and freshman F Rourke Chartier (undisclosed) for up to eight weeks.
Johnston was injured when hit from behind by Seattle F Connor Honey in Game 4 on Wednesday night. Honey, who was given a double minor, was handed a ‘tbd’ suspension on Friday. According to the Rockets, Johnston has a “2nd-degree shoulder separation.”
Chartier was injured in Game 3 on Tuesday when he was hit by Seattle D Evan Wardley.
The Rockets already are without F Colton Sissons (shoulder), F Carter Rigby (shoulder, foot) and D Mitchell Wheaton (shoulder), each of whom is long-term. As well, F J.T. Barnett (ill) has played in only three games since Feb. 15.
The Rockets play host to the Thunderbirds in Game 5 tonight.
D Davis Vandane, who completed his junior eligibility this season with the Prince Albert Raiders, has signed a PTO with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads. . . . The Raiders acquired the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Vandane from the Spokane Chiefs as this season started. He started his career with the Saskatoon Blades, and then played two seasons with the Chiefs. . . . This season, in 65 games with the Raiders, he had 36 points, 12 of them goals. . . .
Paul Buker of The Oregonian gets to the bottom of the Chase De Leo story right here. Finally, we learn the proper pronunciation of De Leo. . . . And there is a photo here that features De Leo and Seth Jones that, well, you have to see it. . . .
The Saskatoon Contacts won the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League championship on Friday, beating the host Prince Albert Mintos, 3-1. Dave Leaderhouse of the Prince Albert Herald was there — he describes it as a thrilling game — and his story is right here.
THE COACHING GAME:
The U of Alaska-Anchorage has announced that Dave Shyiak won’t be back as head coach in 2013-14. Shyiak, 46, is from Brandon. He played four seasons at Northern Michigan and has been coaching since 1995-96. He just finished his eighth season at Alaska-Anchorage. . . . The Seawolves have finished last in the WCHA in each of the last two seasons. In fact, the Seawolves joined the WCHA in 1993-94 and have yet to experience their first winning season. . . .
The USHL’s Fargo Force has signed head coach John Marks to a two-year contract extension. At the time of the announcement, the Force was 35-16-7 and in second place in the Western Conference. He has been with the Force since the summer of 2011 when he left the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers and headed to Fargo.
The WHL’s first-round situation:
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
(Edmonton wins 4-1)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
(Medicine Hat wins 4-0)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (6)
(Calgary wins 4-1)
Red Deer (4) vs Prince Albert (5)
(Red Deer wins 4-0)
Edmonton (1) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Red Deer (4)
The Eastern Conference’s first round is over. The second round will feature the defending-champion Edmonton Oil Kings, the top seeds, against the No. 7 Medicine Hat Tigers, and the No. 3 Calgary Hitmen versus the No. 4 Red Deer Rebels.
The Tigers and Oil Kings will open with games in Edmonton on Friday and Sunday, April 7.
The Hitmen and Rebels will begin Thursday and Friday in Calgary, with Games 3 and 4 in Red Deer on April 8 and 9.
Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
(Portland leads series 3-1; Game 5 tonight in Everett)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
(Seattle leads 3-1; Game 5 tonight in Kelowna)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
(Kamloops leads 3-1; Game 5 tonight in Kamloops
Spokane (4) vs. Tri-City (5)
(Spokane leads 3-1; Game 5 tonight in Kennewick, Wash.)
In Edmonton, F Curtis Lazar scored twice to help the Oil Kings to a 4-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Lazar had the winner and an empty-netter. He broke a 1-1 tie at 11:35 of the second period. . . . Ice D Jagger Dirk left with a boarding major and game misconduct at 5:02 of the third period. F Mitch Moroz, the nail, wasn’t injured. . . . The Oil Kings outscored the Ice 25-4 in the five games, thanks to 9-0 and 7-1 victories in Games 1 and 3. . . . A year ago, the Oil Kings began their march to the championship by sweeping the Ice in the first round. . . . A tweet from columnist Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun: “With extra gate Edmonton outdraws Kootenay 22,756 to 4,236.” . . . To which Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer), the analyst on Edmonton Oilers broadcasts, added: “How much longer can Jeff Chynoweth keep team in Cranbrook?” . . . Is it too soon to start calling them the Winnipeg Polar Bears? . . .
In Everett, F Ty Rattie scored three times and set up two others as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Silvertips, 11-4. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic added two goals and three assists, and F Nic Petan, the third member of that line, had two assists. . . . Rattie and Leisic each was plus-5; Petan was plus-4. . . . Portland D Tyler Wotherspoon had two goals and two assists. . . . Leipsic tied a franchise single-game playoff record with four first-period points. He now shares the record with Ray Ferraro (April 16, 1983) and Adam Deadmarsh (Arpil 20, 1994). . . . Rattie has 69 career playoff points, tying him with Dennis Holland and leaving him two shy of Heath’s franchise record. . . . F Josh Winquist scored twice for Everett. . . . This was Portland’s first playoff double-digit explosion since the Winterhawks dumped Spokane 11-2 on March 25, 1987. That was Game 1 of a best-of-nine first-round series.
CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (9):
CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT (4):
From Portland F Chase De Leo (@Dels9): “Got dusted in the back of the helmet with a quarter from the stands tonight! Always wear a helmet kids! #SafetyFirst #Rude”
From Paul Buker of The Oregonian (@Pnbuker), who was in Everett last night: “Refs re-appear to the kind of reception Ron Robison might get in the Rose Garden”
This was prior to the start of the third period.
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