THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Lukas Zeliska (Prince Albert, 2006-07) signed a one-year contract extension with Bordeaux (France, Division 1). He had 12 goals and 15 assists in 24 games with Bordeaux this season.
Last week, it was Hockey Alberta. On Sunday, it was Hockey Nova Scotia choosing to prohibit body checking in peewee hockey starting next season. According to Alan Maki of The Globe and Mail: “Both associations referred to medical studies, including one done by the University of Calgary that showed Alberta peewees were at three times the risk of being injured, and four times the risk of suffering a concussion, when compared to peewee players in Quebec who did not body check.”
Maki notes that “Hockey Nova Scotia is also banning body checking at the bantam B and C levels (ages 13 to 14) and at midget B and C (ages 15 to 17).”
“The family of Derek Boogaard has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the National Hockey League,” reports John Branch of The New York Times. “It contends that the N.H.L. is responsible for the physical trauma and brain damage that Boogaard sustained during six seasons as one of the league’s top enforcers, and for the addiction to prescription painkillers that marked his final two years.”
Branch’s complete story is right here.
A couple of notes from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal:
“Travis Green, who has filled in admirably for suspended Portland Winterhawks head coach/general manager Mike Johnston the last 5-1/2 months, is a hot item around the Western Hockey League. He could be coaching the Everett Silvertips next season. The connection: Everett GM Garry Davidson used to work as Portland’s director of player personnel. Plus, the former NHLer’s family lives in California. Johnston can’t be in any WHL rinks, even to watch games, which means he likely can’t sit in the stands at Saskatoon, either, for the Memorial Cup. He does watch all the games on his computer and talks to Green every day.
“I keep hearing Hockey Canada wants Red Deer Rebels owner/GM/coach Brent Sutter to coach the world junior team at Malmo, Sweden, this Christmas. Sutter, who won gold in 2005 at Grand Forks, N.D., and in 2006 at Vancouver, could let assistant Jeff Truitt, the one-time Oilers farm coach at Springfield, Mass., take care of the Rebels in his absence.”
The WHL’s playoff situation:
Portland vs. Edmonton
(Portland wins, 4-2)
Game 1: Friday, May 3 — Edmonton 4 at Portland 1 (10,097)
Game 2: Saturday, May 4 — Edmonton 0 at Portland 3 (10,947)
Game 3: Tuesday — Portland 3 at Edmonton 1 (8,513)
Game 4: Wednesday — Portland 2 at Edmonton 1 (8,400)
Game 5: Friday — Edmonton 3 at Portland 2 (OT) (10,947)
Game 6: Sunday — Portland 5 at Edmonton 1 (7,449)
In Edmonton, F Ty Rattie scored three times, two of them while shorthanded, to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . F Nic Petan added three assists for Portland, which got 26 saves from G Mac Carruth. . . . The Winterhawks won their third WHL championships, having also capped the 1981-82 and 1997-98 seasons with titles. . . . The Winterhawks were in the final for the third straight season, having lost to the Kootenay Ice in 2011 and the Oil Kings a year ago. . . . Rattie was named the series MVP. . . . Rattie led the league in goals (20) and points (36). He also set a WHL career record with 50 goals, breaking the mark of 47 that he had shared with F Mark Pederson (Medicine Hat, 1983-88). . . . Petan led all scorers in assists, with 19. He finished second to Rattie, with 28 points. . . . Rattie has 95 career playoff points, leaving him third on the all-time list. . . . Edmonton F Travis Ewanyk scored the game’s first goal, at 1:04 of the first period, but that was it for the home team’s offence. . . . Rattie scored shorthanded at 4:28 and then added a second shorthanded goal at 7:15 to give Portland a 2-1 lead. . . . Both goals came while Portland F Chase De Leo served a double minor for high-sticking. . . . F Oliver Bjorkstrand upped the lead to 3-1 at 3:54 of the second, with Rattie adding his third goal of the game at 13:25. . . . Portland F Taylor Leier concluded the scoring with an empty-net goal. . . . The Oil Kings were 0-5 on the PP; the Winterhawks were 0-2. . . . When the Oil Kings look back at the series, they will wonder what happened to their PP. They were 0-for-14 with the man advantage in the six games. Portland was 2-for-22. . . . The Oil Kings were again without D Griffin Reinhart and F Trevor Cheek. . . . Portland will play its first game at the Memorial Cup on Saturday, against the QMJHL-champion Halifax Mooseheads. . . . Portland won the Memorial Cup in 1983 as the host team — yes, Virginia, there was a time when the Memorial Cup was held in the U.S. — and again in 1998 as the WHL champions
Attendance at Game 6 in Edmonton was 7,449. the smallest crowd to attend any of the championship series’ games.
The announcement was greeted by derision on Twitter and that’s something I have never understood.
You can’t blame the fans for not showing up; it’s their hard-earned money that they are choosing not to spend. Rather, the onus is on the teams involved to get the fans to part with those dollars and get them into the arenas.
As the playoffs proceed, the price of tickets rises to the point where it will cost a family of four in the neighbourhood of $100 or more to get in the doors. As well, some series are televised live, which was the case with the Portland-Edmonton championship final.
On top of that, the WHL games are often up against NHL playoff games on television.
There are a lot of reasons, then, for people to stay home, and we haven’t even touched on whether the weather, as winter turns to spring and spring turns to summer, is a factor.
Those are the things that junior teams have to overcome to get people into their buildings at this time of the year.
At the end of the day, though, you can’t belittle the people who don’t attend.
“You know their moms are still proud of them,” writes Dave (Crash) Cameron of the Edmonton Sun. His game story is right here.
Columnist Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun was there and his report is right here.
Chris O’Leary of the Edmonton Journal writes that the torch has been passed. His game story is right here.
Columnist John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal writes: “The Portland Winterhawks proved Edmonton Oil Kings goaltender Laurent Brossoit wrong in the end, but they certainly didn’t diminish his post-season performance.” . . . His column is right here.
Evan Daum of the Edmonton Journal covered the game for The Oregonian. His story is right here.
Paul Buker of The Oregonian spoke with Portland GM/head coach Mike Johnston, who has been suspended since late November. That piece is right here.
CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (21):
CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT (7):
From Paul Danzer (@360Danzer): “Mike Johnston tells crowd how proud he is of organization. He will see his players for the first time since December in a few minutes.”
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.