Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bob Ridley just keeps on driving and smiling. Yes, here he is — the man, the
myth, the legend — taking the Medicine Hat Tigers out on the playoff trail
one more time. Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News passed along these
photos as the Tigers headed to Edmonton last week to begin a second-round
series. If you aren't aware, Ridley also is the radio voice of the Tigers.

(Darren Steinke / Medicine Hat News)

We are into the second round of the WHL playoffs and things really are starting to heat up.
Of course, there is some friction between the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets. As you read here yesteday, the Rockets don’t think that F Tyson Baillie should have been suspended for his hit on Kamloops F Colin Smith.
And now we have the Edmonton Oil Kings and Medicine Hat Tigers talking about whether to use the three-metre board or go straight to the tower.
“They’ve gone down easy all year,” Derek Laxdal, the Oil Kings’ head coach, told Dave (Crash) Cameron of the Edmonton Sun after Game 2 of that series, “and I don’t know if it’s a coaching technique or what. My teams don’t play like that so I’ll worry about myself.
“But at the end of the day, if we’re going to engage with stick position, we can’t get too close to the feet. We’ve got to keep it stick-on-puck or stick-on-stick and have a really good mindset of where we are because they are trying to draw penalties and if that’s what they have to do to try and win a series, that’s what they have to do.”
When asked about that, Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ GM/head coach, told Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News: ““I didn’t really play much soccer growing up.”
Clouston then caught himself and continued: “I just prefer to take the high road. They are a great team with great players. I think their coaches have done a great job.”
Medicine Hat F Boston Leier told Steinke: “I don’t think we are really a diving team. We just go hard. “I don’t think we really consider ourselves that. I don’t know why we would.
“(Laxdal) can have his own opinion, right. I don’t necessarily agree with it.”

WHL team logoThe Red Deer Rebels were without F Matt Bellerive for last night’s 2-1 OT victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. The WHL suspended Bellerive for two games earlier in the day, that for a hit on Calgary F Pavlo Padakin. . . . Padakin (knee), a freshman from Kiev, Ukraine, is expected to be out up to six weeks. . . . The Hitmen also are without D Kenton Helgesen (hand). . . .

The WHL also suspended F Tyson Baillie of the Kelowna Rockets for two games for a hit on F Colin Smith of the Kamloops Blazers in Game 1 of their series. Baillie sat out Game 2 and won’t play tonight in Kamloops. . . . Smith, who has a suspected concussion, didn’t play in Game 3 and isn’t expected to play tonight. . . .

The WHL also finalized the suspension of Seattle Thunderbirds F Justin Hickman at four games. He drew a checking-to-the-head major for a hit on Kelowna Rockets D Jesse Lees in Game 6 of their first-round series. Lees hasn’t played since the hit. . . .
F Ty Rattie of the Portland Winterhawks leads the WHL with nine playoff goals. That leaves him with 39 career playoff goals, good for third spot on the career list. He is two goals behind Reggie Leach (Flin Flon, 1967-70) and eight behind Mark Pederson (Medicine Hat, 1983-88).
Paul Buker takes a look right here at freshman F Paul Bittner of the Portland Winterhawks. And I have a feeling Bittner may be the only player in the WHL who knows who Frankie Yankovic is. . . . Seriously, this is an interesting story because Bittner’s father, Jon, is a member of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame. When his son left for the WHL, Jon resigned as chairman of the executive board of the coaches’ association and stepped down as a high school coach. . . . Yes, this is an interesting read.
USHLMike Aikens won’t be back as general manager/head coach of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. The team has two games remaining this season and assistant coach Brian Kaufman will run the bench. . . . The Lancers are 34-27-1 and won’t qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 24 seasons. . . . Aikens replaced Bliss Littler on Nov. 30, 2011, and went 63-38-2 as head coach.

2013 Playoffs
The WHL’s playoff situation:
Edmonton (1) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
(Edmonton leads, 2-0; Game 3, tonight, in Medicine Hat)
Calgary (3) vs. Red Deer (4)
(Calgary leads, 2-1; Game 4, tonight, in Red Deer)
Portland (1) vs. Spokane (4)
(Portland leads 2-0; Game 3, tonight, in Spokane)
Kelowna (2) vs. Kamloops (3)
(Kamloops leads 2-0; Game 3, tonight, in Kamloops; also on Shaw TV)
In Red Deer, D Mathew Dumba scored in OT as the Rebels beat the Calgary Hitmen, 2-1. . . . Dumba got his second goal of these playoffs at 6:33 of extra time while on the PP. . . . Calgary D Spencer Humphries was off for high-sticking Red Deer F Rhyse Dieno. . . . “I didn’t think it was a great call at all,” Calgary head coach Mike Williamson told Scott Fisher of the Calgary Sun. “Their guy was reaching for the puck, so he ended up basically two or three feet off the ice. But he sold it. Regardless, we have to kill it off.” . . . Calgary D Peter Kosterman gave his guys the lead at 7:05 of the first period. . . . Red Deer F Brooks Maxwell tied it with a shorthanded goal at 14:29 of the first. . . . Red Deer G Patrik Bartosak stopped 38 shots, four fewer than Calgary’s Chris Driedger.
D Brady Gaudet, Red Deer
D Spencer Humphries, Calgary


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