THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Petr Vala (Seattle, 1997-98) signed a one-year contract extension with Zell am See (Austria, Inter-National-League). He had 22 goals and 26 assists in 23 games to finish third in league scoring this season. Vala also was captain of Zell am See this season. . . .
F Robin Soudek (Edmonton, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-12) requested and was granted his release by Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had one goal and one assist in 11 games this season before suffering a knee injury that caused him to miss the rest of the season. Soudek signed a two-year contract with the club last summer but asked for his release so he can return to Canada and go to school.
F Justin Feser of the Tri-City Americans is the Western Conference’s player of the year. . . . . Feser, from Red Deer, completed his WHL eligibility this season and now is with the AHL’s Portland Pirates. . . . He finished his final season with 106 points, including 44 goals, in 72 games. He had 40 more points than Tri-City’s second-leading scorer. . . . He also set a WHL record by playing in 321 consecutive regular-season games. . . . Feser is the third Tri-City player to be so honoured in the last five years – F Brendan Shinnimin was saluted last season, while F Colton Yellowhorn was the pick in 2008. . . . F Adam Lowry of the Swift Current Broncos was named the Eastern Conference’s player of the year on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Wade Klippenstein, the Prince George Cougars’ assistant GM and director of player personnel, tweeted this from @CoachKlipp: “One more day, then off to see the best 1998 born players BC has to offer. #WHLBantamDraft13 #Bcbestever @BCHockey_Source”
On Thursday morning, Klippenstein tweeted: “Thanks to everyone involved with the PG Cougars Its been a wonderful 6 years. Best of luck to all down the road. #Thanks”
Later in the day, the Cougars issued a press release that began: “Prince George Cougars General Manager Dallas Thompson has accepted the resignation of Assistant General Manager/Director of Player Personnel Wade Klippenstein effective immediately.”
Thompson found out about the resignation via an email from Klippenstein.
Klippenstein had spent the last four seasons as the assistant GM and director of player personnel.
Julie Stewart-Binks of CTV in Regina (@JSB_CTV) tweeted: “Klippenstein says he resigned over ‘philosophical differences’, but has no ill will toward anyone.”
All of this comes with the WHL’s bantam draft looming on the horizon. It is scheduled for May 2 in Calgary.
G Luke Siemens, who played out his eligibility with the Prince Albert Raiders, has committed to the U of Alberta Golden Bears. Seimens, from Delta, B.C., had a 2.89 GAA and a .912 save percentage this season and was named the Raiders’ MVP in the regular season and playoffs. . . . He also played with the Prince George Cougars, Everett Silvertips and Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .
The Allan Cup semifinals in Red Deer will feature the Kenora, Ont., Thistles against the host Bentley Generals, while the Rosetown Redwings will meet the Clarenville, Nfld., Caribous. . . . Kenora advanced with an 8-2 victory over the Fort St. John Flyers on Thursday, while Rosetown dumped the Stony Plain Eagles, 4-1. . . . Former WHLers J.J. Hunter and Casey Lee each scored twice for Rosetown. . . . And how about Kenora D Mike Garrow, who is vice-principal at H.J. Cody High School in Sylvan Lake, Alta.? Danny Rode of the Red Deer Advocate reports that Garrow “flies to Kenora throughout the season to play weekend games with the Thistles,” whose roster comprises “players he grew up with and played with at the junior level.”
They’re playing musical franchises in the AHL and the season isn’t even over. . . .
On Thursday, the AHL’s board of governors approved the relocation of the Houston Aeros to Des Moines, Iowa. The franchise is affiliated with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and will be known as the Iowa Wild.
The board also OK’d the sale of the Peoria Rivermen from the St. Louis Blues to the owners of the Vancouver Canucks. According to an AHL news release: “No determination has been made relative to the operation of the franchise for the 2013-14 season.”
However, there is ample speculation that the franchise will be relocated to Abbotsford, B.C. The Calgary Flames, who own the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat, are said to be moving that franchise to Utica, N.Y.
Meanwhile, the Canucks also have an affiliation with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, with their two-year agreement ending after this season.
The WHL’s playoff situation:
Edmonton (1) vs. Calgary (3)
(Calgary leads 1-0; Game 2 tonight in Edmonton; all games on Shaw TV, with Dan Russell calling the play.)
Portland (1) vs. Kamloops (3)
Series opens tonight in Portland.
In Edmonton, F Brady Brassart scored at 1:44 of OT to give the Calgary Hitmen a 3-2 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Brassart has seven playoff goals, having scored three times in each of Calgary’s previous series-opening games. . . . Calgary G Chris Driedger stopped 33 shots, while Edmonton’s Laurent Brossoit turned aside 16. . . . Edmonton F Henrik Samuelsson forced OT with his seventh goal of the playoffs, on the PP, at 13:05 of the third period. His father, former NHLer Ulf Samuelsson, was in the stands. . . . Edmonton F Curtis Lazar hit the crossbar just 13 seconds into OT. . . . The Oil Kings didn’t give up even one PP goal over their first two series. The Hitmen, however, scored on their first PP opportunity, taking a 2-0 lead on a goal by F Zach Jones at 3:32 of the second period. . . . The Hitmen were outshot 10-3 in the first period but scored on their first shot, by F Victor Rask, just 85 seconds in. . . . Rask has at least one point in each of Calgary’s 11 playoff games. . . . Calgary F Jake Virtanen, the first overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft, had two assists. . . . F Trevor Cheek, who began his WHL career with Calgary in 2010-11, got Edmonton on the board at 13:42 of the second. . . . F Dylan Wruck had two assists for Calgary. . . . The Hitmen have played five road games in these playoffs and each one has gone to OT. They are 3-2 in those games. . . . It also was Calgary’s franchise-record sixth OT game of these playoffs. . . . Amazingly, the teams hadn’t played each other since concluding their regular-season series on Dec. 18.
CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (16):
CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT (5):
From Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones (@sunterryjones): “Not huge crowd for Oil Kings-Hitmen. Thursday night a killer for family crowd? Backlash on Kevin Lowe comments? Series being shown on SHAW?”
From the Edmonton Journal’s Evan Daum (@evandaum): “6,337 in attendance tonight. Smallest Edmonton playoff crowd since Game 4 of 2011 conf. quarters. 5,938 watched Red Deer win 5-1 that night”
There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Just click HERE. . . and thank you very much.