THE MacBETH REPORT:
D Jeff Smith (Red Deer, 1998-2002) signed a one-year contract extension with the Hull Stingrays (England, UK Elite). He had three goals and 12 assists in 55 games for the Stingrays this season.
1. After 19 years with one radio station, it seems the Prince George Cougars may have a new play-by-play host station when another season arrives. . . . I am told that Prince George radio station 99.3 The Drive and the Cougars weren’t able to work out a new contract, so have decided to part company. . . . The radio station that was 550-CKPG before morphing into 99.3 The Drive in 2003 is owned by The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. . . . The decision to part also means the end of Cougar View, a weekly 30-minute show on the Cougars that aired on CKPG-TV for 16 seasons. CKPG-TV also is owned by The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. . . . There are four other radio stations in Prince George — 94 X and 97.3 The Wolf, both of which are owned by Vista Radio; 93.1 CFIS, which is a non-profit owned and operated by the Prince George Community Radio Society; and, CBC. . . . Hello, Vista . . .
2. There can be no doubt but that the day’s biggest story comes from Moscow — that would be Russia, not Idaho — where The Associated Press reports: “A perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood has been found on a remote Arctic island, fueling hopes of cloning the Ice Age animal, Russian scientists said Thursday.” . . . There is more right here.
3. D Derrick Pouliot of the Portland Winterhawks will finish this season on an ATO with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Pouliot was the eighth overall selection in the NHL’s 2012 draft. Earlier in the week, the Penguins added D Olli Maatta and D Scott Harrington, both of the London Knights, to their roster. . . . The Penguins are involved in a semifinal series with Syracuse, and trail the Crunch 2-1 with Game 4 tonight in Wilkes-Barre. . . . Pouliot had 45 points in 44 regular-season games, missing a good chunk of time with a high ankle sprain. He added 20 points in 21 playoff games.
4. The Montreal Canadiens have signed F Tim Bozon of the Kamloops Blazers to a three-year, entry-level NHL contract. Bozon was a third-round selection, taken 64th overall, in the NHL’s 2012 draft. This season, his second in the WHL, he had 91 points, including 36 goals, in 69 regular-season games. Bozon finished up his season by playing for France at the IIHF world championship in Helsinki and Stockholm.
5. The Buffalo Sabres have signed F Colin Jacobs, a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NHL draft, to an entry-level deal. Jacobs had 53 points, including 25 goals, in 66 games with the Prince George Cougars this season, then moved on to the AHL’s Rochester Americans, where he had a goal and two assists in 11 games.
6. The first time I heard that Hockey Canada and the CHL were discussing the state of goaltending was during the Memorial Cup when CHL commissioner David Branch mentioned it on one of 92.9 The Bull’s pregame shows late in the week. . . . It seems that Hockey Canada isn’t at all enthralled with the state of goaltending and is at least thinking about asking for a ban on imports. . . . Hockey Canada already got rid of its head scout and its goaltending coach. Hey, let’s ban import goaltenders, too. . . . I have long felt that major junior hockey is in the entertainment business and the onus is on the owners to put the best possible product on the ice. If that means a few teams have import goaltenders, so be it. . . . Anyway, Chris Peters, over at The United States of Hockey, takes a look at the situation right here, including a count of just how many import goaltenders got major playing time this season. . . . Brock Otten of OHL Prospects has his take on this issue right here.
7. Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel has an interesting piece right here that explains how Tim Duncan, a free agent during the summer of 2000, almost ended up with the Orlando Magic rather than re-signing with the San Antonio Spurs. Did Duncan's soon-to-be ex-wife figure in his decision?
8. So, I wonder how George Brett is enjoying his new gig as the Kansas City Royals’ batting coach? He joined the Royals in St. Louis on Thursday. . . . His first game, in St. Louis, began with a one-hour rain delay. . . . Later, the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead into the ninth. The Royals scored three runs to take a 4-2 lead and had the bases loaded when the the rains came. . . . I am listening to the guys on the Cardinals radio network. Kevin Wheeler and Mike Claiborne are starting to get giddy. Mike Shannon and John Rooney, the play-by-play team, are sitting out until the game resumes. . . . It’s interesting that the umpires doing this game will make the 300-mile drive to Chicago in a limo once it ends. They’ve got to work a day game at Wrigley Field between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cubs. First pitch in that one is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. . . . Portland freelancer Scott Sepich is watching on TV and reports that the San Francisco Giants have checked into their St. Louis hotel and are in the rooms the Royals had occupied. . . . The Royals open a series in Texas later today with a night game. . . . Before the rains came, the big story involved St. Louis right-hander Michael Wacha, 21, who made his MLB debut by retiring the first 13 hitters he faced. He threw seven innings, giving up two hits and a run. He struck out six and didn’t issue a walk. Oh, and he singled in his first at-bat. . . . Yes, just what the Cardinals need — more pitching! . . . Shannon and Rooney are back. It’s 3:04 a.m. in St. Loo. Shannon sounds as though it’s past his bed time. . . . Joe Kelly is on the mound for the Cards. . . . It’s a rain delay of four hours 32 minutes. . . . Miguel Tejada hits into a 6-2-3 double play on Kelly’s first pitch. . . . An intentional walk and a flyball and the half inning is over. . . . Attendance earlier was 43,916. Sepich figures there are about 40 Cardinals fans behind their dugout and maybe 15 Royals fans behind their dugout. . . . The Cardinals go 1-2-3 and just like that it’s all over. . . . It’s 3:15 a.m. in St. Louis. It took about 10 minutes to finish once they resumed play. . . . The Royals are happy because they snapped an eight-game losing streak. . . . The time of the game is 2:27; the rain delays lasted 5:32. . . . You have to love baseball because there’s no clock.
THE COACHING GAME:
Jacques Beaulieu was fired as general manager and head coach of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting on Thursday. . . . Co-owner Rob Ciccarelli said in a statement that : "The reasons for his dismissal are not related to the on ice performance of our hockey club. As per the advice of our lawyers we cannot comment any further at this time.” . . . Ciccarelli later told Paul Owen of the Sarnia Observer: “The only comment I'm going to make is that I'm extremely angry, and I'm not going to make any further comment.” . . . Beaulieu and his son, Nathan, a Montreal Canadiens prospect, are facing assault charges from an incident in a home in April. However, Ciccarelli told Owen that the firing didn’t have anything to do with that incident. . . . Owen’s story is right here.
Matt Shaw, who spent this season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, will be introduced today as the general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. . . . Shaw, 47, is a veteran coach, having worked with the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild in the NHL and Houston Aeros in the AHL. . . . He replaces Jim Montgomery, who left to become the head coach at the U of Denver.
Peter Ruicci of the Sault Star reported Thursday evening that the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds will pick up a one-year option on head coach Sheldon Keefe that will take him through 2014-15. . . . According to Ruicci, an announcement is expected sometime today. . . . At the same time, the club is negotiating an extension with general manager Kyle Dubas, who has one year left on his deal. . . . The Greyhounds went 23-12-4 after Keefe replaced Mike Stapleton on Dec. 3. . . . Ruicci’s story is right here.
The OHL’s Barrie Colts have signed general manager/head coach Dale Hawerchuk to a three-year contract extension. The Colts took the London Knights to Game 7 of the championship final this season.
Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reported late Wednesday night that Regina Pats head coach Malcolm Cameron has declined the opportunity to serve as head coach of Team West at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in Cape Breton, N.S. . . . Cameron was named Team West’s head coach just before he was named the Pats’ head coach. . . . Regina assistant coach Josh Dixon will keep his post as a Team West assistant. . . . Harder’s complete story is right here.
From Tyler King (@tyler_king), the radio voice of the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons, who encountered some problems trying to confirm a transactions last night: “Who would've thought it'd be just as difficult to confirm junior A trades as it is to confirm whether Toronto's mayor smoked crack?”
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