THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Brett Breitkreuz (Kelowna, Edmonton, Vancouver, 2006-10) signed a one-year contract with Augsburger Panther (Germany, DEL). He had three goals in 35 games with Cologne (Germany, DEL) and seven assists in 12 games while on loan to Duisburg (Germany, Oberliga) this season.
Ken Dryden, the Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender, spent the early part of this week in Calgary talking brain injuries. . . . “This is an ongoing problem,” he told Natalie Stechyson of the Calgary Herald. “This is not a run of bad luck, and so now it’s about finding ways of dealing with it as an ongoing problem. This is the most significant issue facing sports right now.” . . . Dryden also said: “I think that decades from now, people will look back on us and in sports they’ll say ‘how could you not have gotten it? How did you not understand that there would be these kinds of consequences?’ ” . . . Stechyson’s story is right here.
Donna Spencer of The Canadian Press was at the U of Calgary as Dryden led a discussion on brain injuries in sport. Her story is right here.
There really wasn’t anything new in the report that surfaced Monday about the WHL wanting to put a franchise in Nanaimo. That is old news. Even before the Victoria Royals moved from Chilliwack where they were the Bruins (remember them?), the WHL was talking about wanting to have a team in Nanaimo. There was a time when the WHL’s pooh-bahs said they wouldn’t put just one team on Vancouver Island, that it had to be two teams. . . . Well, now they’ve got one team there and they badly want another one, simply to alleviate some of the travel logistics.
But, as mentioned, there’s nothing new in what transpired Monday because there isn’t a WHL-ready arena in Nanaimo.
Once again, though, reports are suggesting relocation and the Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos are in the list of usual suspects. Ho-hum! That just isn’t going to happen. You are free to talk about relocating franchises all you want, but don’t even think about Prince Albert, Swift Current, Lethbridge or Moose Jaw.
Those are the WHL’s four community-owned teams – they actually are owned by local shareholders – and they aren’t going anywhere.
The ownership group of the Trenton Titans has pulled the franchise out of the ECHL. It looks like poor attendance was a major factor, but is sounds like the owners are hoping to resurrect the franchise after a year away. . . . The Titans were affiliated with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. . . . According to a statement from the ECHL, all Titans players signed to ECHL contracts, except those owed as future considerations, are unrestricted free agents. . . . Jenna Pizzi of the Times of Trenton has the story right here.
The AHL’s Chicago Wolves have signed a three-year affiliation deal with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues. . . . The Wolves had been hooked up with the Vancouver Canucks, while the Blues owned the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen. However, the Blues have sold the Peoria franchise to the Canucks. . . . Speculation was that Vancouver would end up with its AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, B.C. But the Calgary Flames have said they will continue to operate the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat.
THE COACHING GAME:
The Red Deer Rebels and assistant coach Bryce Thoma have parted company “after a mutually agreed upon decision,” according to a news release. . . . Thoma played four seasons (1999-2003) with the Rebels and was part of their 2001 Memorial Cup-winning team. He also played for the U of Saskatchewan Huskies while earning a commerce degree. . . . He had been on the Rebels’ coaching staff since 2008. . . .
The ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers announced Tuesday that Ryan Mougenel, the general manager and head coach, won’t be back for another season. He had been with Las Vegas for four seasons.
The WHL’s playoff situation:
Edmonton (1) vs. Calgary (3)
(Calgary leads series 2-1; Game 4 tonight in Calgary; all games on Shaw TV, with Dan Russell calling the play.)
Portland (1) vs. Kamloops (3)
(Portland leads series, 2-1; Game 4 tonight in Kamloops.)
In Calgary, the Hitmen scored five second-period goals and beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 5-2. . . . F Trevor Cheek got Edmonton on the board at 6:29 of the first, via a PP. . . . F Greg Chase scored for Calgary just 24 seconds into the second period and the Hitmen went on to build a 5-1 lead. . . . Calgary had 12 players with at least one point, but only F Calder Brooks with two. He had a goal and an assist. . . . Calgary was 2-for-8 on the PP; Edmonton was 2-for-5. . . . Hitmen G Chris Driedger stopped 27 shots; Edmonton starter Laurent Brossoit didn’t finish. . . . Edmonton D Griffin Reinhart left in the third period with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Hitmen were without F Jake Virtanen, who was suspended for two games earlier in the day. That was for a knee-on-knee hit on Edmonton D Cody Corbett in Game 2. The Oil Kings have said Corbett will miss at least two games. . . .
In Kamloops, the Blazers reunited the line of Tim Bozon, Colin Smith and JC Lipon, and then beat the Winterhawks, 5-1. . . . Bozon had two goals and two assists. . . . Smith had a goal and two assists. . . . Lipon had one assist. . . . The Blazers got 35 saves from G Cole Cheveldave, who was especially good in the first period. He finished with 35 saves. . . . Portland got the game’s first goal, from F Ty Rattie on an early 5-on-3, but didn’t score again. . . . Rattie leads the WHL with 14 goals this spring. This one was the 44th goal of his playoff career, leaving three shy of former Medicine Hat Tigers F Mark Pederson, who holds the WHL career record. . . . Rattie also has 85 career playoff points, one shy of former Calgary Hitmen F Brad Moran, who is third on the list.
CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (19):
CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT (6):
From Portland freelance writer Scott Sepich (@SSepich): “I thought Kamloops could certainly win the game, but I don’t think I’ve seen Portland outplayed that thoroughly in 85 games this season.”
From Paul Buker (@Pnbuker) of The Oregonian: “It's Cheveldave's night. He was probably sick and tired of reading about Carruth, so I guess he was entitled”
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