THE MacBETH REPORT:
The Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL) announced that they won’t offer contracts for next season to seven players, including F Tyler Beechey (Kootenay, Calgary, 1997-2002). He had 14 goals and 16 assists in 34 games with the Tigers this season. . . .
The Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL) announced that they won’t offer contracts for next season to five players, including G Scott Langkow (Portland, 1991-95. Langkow had a 2.60 GAA and a .906 save percentage in 48 games this season. . . .
F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) signed a one-year contract extension with Djurgården Stockholm (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He had 19 goals and 16 assists in 45 games this season. Johner led the team in goals and was third in points. . . .
Brothers F Brad (Red Deer, 1994-99) and Greg (Spokane, 1994-98) Leeb announced their retirement per the Coventry Blaze (England, UK Elite) website. Brad had 24 goals and 26 assists in 57 games, while older brother Greg had 17 goals and 39 assists in 59 games this season. Blaze head coach Paul Thompson, after Coventry had beaten the Cardiff Devils 11-5 on April 8 in the UK Elite bronze medal game to end the season: “They told me before the game they were going to retire – what careers they have had. They came here and never once took a day off, they have been the hardest workers in practice and they are a credit to themselves, their families and our club. They didn’t come just to finish their careers in Coventry, they wanted it more than anybody. Full respect to them both and they are quite proud to have finished in a Coventry Blaze jersey." . . . Brad Leeb tweeted after the game: “Huge thanks to @thommoblaze for putting Greg & I on ice for last shift of our last game. Then presenting us with official game sheet. #Class”
If you are a regular visitor here and if you peruse the messages that are sometimes left here, you will be aware that there is an anonymous fool out there who loves to troll in these parts.
Sometime Thursday, the troll left this message:
“How mad were you last nite when Kessy deflected that home? Blazers win again.”
The day is coming when this blog will fade to darkness and one of the reasons will be the idiots among us who hide behind the cloak of anonymity that is provided by the Internet. But I feel this latest comment warrants a response, simply because it provides me with an opportunity to provide some insight into how good journalists operate.
First, allow me to say that I was thrilled when Kale Kessy scored in overtime on Wednesday night. Just like I was really upset when the Kelowna Rockets scored two third-period goals to force overtime.
And I have a feeling that if you ask Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV in Kamloops how he felt, he will echo my reactions.
You see, in my business, it’s all about deadlines.
The newspaper at which I work publishes six days a week. The deadline on five of those nights is 11 o’clock. On Wednesday nights, that deadline is 10 o’clock. The deadline doesn’t mean my story has to be in by that time; it means the last page has to be out of the editorial department and to the prepress department by that particular time. Miss a deadline and you mess with a whole lot of schedules, from the prepress department to the pressroom to the distribution people. Miss a deadline often enough and you will be working somewhere that doesn’t have them.
On Wednesday nights, I want my story in by 9:40 p.m. . . . 9:45 at the very latest.
On Wednesday night, then, the Blazers finished the second period with a 3-1 lead. Things were looking good. (By the way, I would have felt the same way had the Rockets been leading 3-1.)
So after the second period I put together the foundation of a game story that had the Blazers winning in regulation time. Things looked even better when two of Kelowna’s top forwards, Tyson Baillie and Myles Bell, took penalties early in the third period. Baillie drew a minor; Bell ended up with a misconduct. I continued to tap away at that ‘Kamloops wins’ lead while those two took seats in the penalty box.
Of course, the Rockets then got goals from J.T. Barnett and Cole Linaker.
Linaker’s goal, at 9:24 of the third period, forged a 3-3 tie and brought an identical reaction from the media types in the press box: “We do not want overtime.”
But overtime it would be.
In the playoffs, there is a 15-minute break between the third period and the start of overtime. I used the time to quickly bang out a second game story, this one written as though Kelowna had won the game.
So . . . as the overtime started, I had two game stories on the go on my laptop.
The key now was to have the game end early in the extra period.
Because had the game not ended until 10 or later, not even the final score would have gotten into our paper.
Before leaving for the arena, Mark Hunter, my partner in the sports department here, and I chatted about Plan B. That would be implemented if the game ran past 10 p.m. Had that happened, readers of Thursday’s Daily News would have found one photo from the Blazers game, indicating that it still was in progress at press time. Instead of a game story, readers would have been treated to a Canadian Press story about the Toronto Maple Leafs.
As you are aware, Kessy ended the game at 2:24 of OT.
The important time, however, was 9:47 p.m. That was the time the game ended. That meant I had time to get a story into the office.
I quickly wrote a lead for The Canadian Press and filed it and the game summary, which also was sent to members of the Western Major Junior Hockey Writers Association.
I then deleted the game story I had started that had Kelowna winning.
I fine-tuned the ‘Kamloops wins’ story and emailed it to The Daily News.
Of course, the story didn’t contain any quotes or reaction of any kind. That simply isn’t possible with deadlines that tight. So after filing I journeyed to the dressing room areas and got enough reaction to write two stories for Friday’s newspaper, stories that you are able to find on this blog today. (If you want to be a journalist, it might be worth knowing that those stories were written at home on a day off. In this business, at least when you work for a smaller newspaper, a day off often means only that you won’t be in the office.)
So, to answer the troll’s question, I wasn’t mad when Kessy scored; rather, I was ecstatic. As I would have been had Madison Bowey scored for the Rockets in OT.
You have to understand that real journalists aren’t cheerleaders. It doesn’t matter to us who wins or who loses. Rather, it’s all about the story. All we want to do is report the story. And if an overtime goal allows us to do that and beat a deadline, hey, we’re happy.
The Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care is well into some brain-related research that involves a number of men, including about 25 retired NHL players. The first results should be made available in a few months, but the research is going to continue for years. . . . Rachel Brady of The Globe and Mail has the story right here.
Well, folks, that’s it! The WHL is done for a week.
The Calgary Hitmen eliminated the Red Deer Rebels last night in a series that took five games. The second round of WHL playoffs featured four series — three ended in sweeps and the other in five games. And, sheesh, but it was ugly, as the winning teams held a 70-16 edge in goals scored.
So all will be quiet for a few days.
The Hitmen will open the Eastern Conference final in Edmonton with games against the Oil Kings on Thursday and April 19.
The Western Conference final begins with games April 19 and 20 in Portland with the Winterhawks meeting the Kamloops Blazers.
The WHL’s playoff situation:
Edmonton (1) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
(Edmonton wins, 4-0)
Calgary (3) vs. Red Deer (4)
(Calgary wins, 4-1)
Portland (1) vs. Spokane (4)
(Portland wins, 4-0)
Kelowna (2) vs. Kamloops (3)
(Kamloops wins, 4-0)
In Calgary, the Hitmen limited the Red Deer Rebels to 17 shots and posted a 5-1 victory. . . . Calgary F Zane Jones broke a 1-1 tie at 10:37 of the first period. . . . The Hitmen nursed a 3-1 lead into the third period when they scored two shorthanded empty-netters, at 17:58 and 18:40. . . . Red Deer G Patrik Bartosak stopped 29 shots, 13 more than Calgary’s Chris Driedger.
CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (16):
CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT (5):
From Spokane Chiefs D Brenden Kichton (@B_Kichton8): “Can't believe my junior career is over....it feels like yesterday I was headed to Spokane as a 16 year old...ready for the next chapter tho!”
From Regan Bartel (@Reganrant), the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets: “Officiating so good in 1st rd and so bad in 2nd. Like Seinfeld episode where Jerry dates good looking girl only to realize she has man hands”
From Spokane Chiefs F Liam Stewart (@LiamStewart11): “That awkward moment when your in 5guys burgers n fries with @rachelhunterx and @rodstewart comes on… #HeyDad”
From Rachel Hunter (@rachelhunterx): “@LiamStewart11 @rodstewart ‘Stay With Me’ was my #favourite song of your dads”
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