Thursday, April 11, 2013

Daily News Sports Editor

Dan Russell isn’t sure what the future holds.
What he does know is that he’ll be a free agent when his contract at Vancouver radio station CKNW runs out on Aug. 31.
“I have absolutely no plans,” said Russell, prior to Wednesday’s WHL playoff game between the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers at Interior Savings Centre. “I have a commitment to finish out my contract at CKNW.”
Tom Plasteras, CKNW’s program director, revealed in mid-March that Russell’s contract won’t be renewed.
For now, Russell continues as the host of Sportstalk, the station’s nightly three-hour show that is heard throughout B.C. He has been behind that microphone for 21 of the past 22 years.
These days, Russell also is doing the play-by-play of WHL games for Shaw TV.
When the WHL season is over, he said, “I’ll focus on the next step. Who knows? I may have to re-invent myself and, if that’s the case, I’m looking forward to it.”
Russell, 52, is married with three children.
“The youngest is six,” he said, “so I’m too young for retirement.”
He also admitted to feeling some excitement over the uncertainty.
“I don’t know where it’s going to take me,” he said.
Russell admitted he would prefer to stay on the Lower Mainland but that he isn’t opposed to leaving the area.
“If the right opportunity comes along . . .,” he said.
On April 6, 1996, F Jarome Iginla scored at 13:23 of OT to give the host Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans.
On April 9, 2013, F JC Lipon scored at 3:43 of OT to give the Blazers a 5-4 victory over the visiting Rockets.
In between those two games, the Blazers lost seven consecutive OT games on home ice. (Interestingly, the Blazers lost each of the series in which they were beaten in OT at home.)
On March 29, 1998, F Jarrett Smith got the winner in a 4-3 victory by the Prince George Cougars.
On May 5, 1999, F Jordan Krestanovich scored in triple OT to give the Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 victory.
On March 30, 2005, F Dale Mahovsky scored at 1:25 as the Kootenay Ice won, 3-2.
On March 23 and 24, 2007, the Cougars won in OT, thanks to goals from F Nick Drazenovic and F Devin Setoguchi.
On March 24, 2009, F Cody Almond gave the Rockets a 3-2 OT victory.
On March 23, 2010, F Brett Breitkreuz scored in OT to give the Vancouver Giants a 5-4 victory.
Over that same time period, the Blazers were 4-6 in OT games on the road.
Goaltender Dustin Butler, who holds the Blazers’ single-season shutout record, made his NHL debut last night with the Vancouver Canucks.
The 25-year-old Butler, who has played five seasons with the U of Calgary Dinos, was on the bench in support of starter Roberto Luongo after Cory Schneider became ill.
Butler, who is from Calgary, set the Blazers’ single-season shutout record with seven in 2006-07.
Former Blazers F C.J. Stretch has joined the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons for the second time this season.
Stretch, 23, put up 62 points in 60 regular-season games with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign, then added five points, all goals, in four first-round playoff games.
Earlier this season, he had six points in 10 games with the Barons.
The Reign is between series, having swept the Utah Grizzlies in a first-round series. Stretch set a franchise single-game record with four goals in a 7-2 victory in Game 2.
The Reign, which finished off the Grizzlies on Saturday, won’t play again until April 19, so Stretch may well be back by then.

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