THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Mike Wirll (Brandon, Prince Albert, Prince George, Lethbridge, 1997-2003) signed a one-year contract extension with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). He had 35 goals and 43 assists in 57 games for the Stars this season; that was good for fifth place in league scoring. . . .
F Radek Duda (Regina, Lethbridge, 1998-2000) signed a two-year contract with Plzen (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had two goals and 12 assists in 19 games with Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga) and 10 goals and 10 assists in 25 games with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) this season. . . .
D Tomas Voracek (Prince Albert, 2007-09) signed a three-year contract with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had one goal and three assists in 51 games with Vitkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga) this season. . . .
D Brett Palin (Kelowna, 2000-05) has declined a contract extension offer for next season from Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Palin had seven goals and 13 assists in 50 games for Chomutov this season.
Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail is following the NHL playoff series between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. . . . MacGregor, as only he can do, breaks down the reaction to the hit by Ottawa defenceman Eric Gryba on Montreal forward Lars Eller. . . . That piece is right here.
D Jaynen Rissling of the Calgary Hitmen has signed an ATO with the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals. . . . Rissling was selected by the Capitals in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2012 entry draft. . . . The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Rissling has played four seasons with the Hitmen. This season, he had 28 points in 61 games. . . . He is a nephew of F Gary Rissling, who played in the WHL (Edmonton, Calgary, 1974-77) and also for Hershey.
THE COACHING GAME:
Shane Kuss and Roger Ross will serve as co-head coaches with the junior B Delta Ice Hawks of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League. . . . "You're going to see a scenario where Shane will be at 90-95 percent of our games," Peter Zerbinos, the Ice Hawks’ general manager and director of hockey operations, told Mark Booth of the Delta Optimist. "That's why we went with the co-coaching roles." . . . Booth’s story is right here.
Fran Gow, who resigned this week as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder, has signed on as the AJHL’s vice-president of hockey operations. . . . Gow had spent more than 20 years and 1,000 games coaching in the AJHL, the last four of them with the Thunder.
Ron Robison, the commisioner of the 22-team WHL, met with the media in Portland prior to Game 1 of the championship final between the Winterhawks and Edmonton Oil Kings.
It was Robison’s first communication with the Portland press corps since before the WHL disciplined the Winterhawks for what the league calls “player benefit violations.”
So how did the tête-à-tête go?
Here’s Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune:
“Taking in WHL commissioner Ron Robison's response Friday night to reporters' questions about the ruthless sanctions imposed on the Winterhawks early this season brought to mind the famous line of distempered tennis legend John McEnroe: You can't be serious!"
At one point in his column, Eggers comes awfully close accusing Robison of not telling the truth.
Eggers apparently has seen the regulations that Robison says “are internal.”
“The regulations are absolutely not clear,” Eggers writes. “I looked through the WHL rulebook, which prohibits teams from paying for flights for family members during a team's annual ‘Parents Weekend.’ There is nothing, however, that specifically addresses any other time of year.
“The Hawks' contention was, ‘We didn't know flying in family members at other times wasn't legal.’ The league's contention was, ‘You should have known. It was understood by everyone in the league.’
“When asked a second time about the specific rules violations, Robison answered, ‘The regulations are internal. The information has been made very clear. There were violations. They're written down in the regulations, absolutely. The information was provided to the club, but for internal purposes only.’
“Wait a minute. They are written into the regulations, but kept secret from the general public? For what reason? It's like NBA Commissioner David Stern saying the Trail Blazers broke a rule for tampering with a player, and it's in the rulebook, but we're not going to let the public see it. You just have to take our word for it. Robison's stipulation is not only nonsensical, but untrue.”
Eggers’ complete column is right here.
Paul Buker of The Oregonian also was in attendance, and wrote:
"After arriving fashionably late — 10 minutes or so — for Friday’s scheduled WHL Finals series media availability, Robison was quickly inundated with questions about the sanctions levied against the hometown team on Nov. 28.
"'I’m hoping we don’t have to go into a lot of detail,' said Robison, who was true to his word on that one.
"No new ground was broken, and if anything, local media were left scratching their heads once again."
Buker's piece is right here.
The OHL final opened last night with the host London Knights dropping a 4-2 decision to the Barrie Colts. . . . London scored first, but the Colts got the next three. Still, it was 3-2 for 10 minutes in the third period, until Barrie F Mark Scheifele iced it with an empty-netter. . . . Attendance was 9,046. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for London on Sunday night.
The QMJHL final also opened last night. G Zach Fucale stopped 28 shots to lead the host Halifax Mooseheads to a 4-0 victory over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. . . . Attendance was 10,595. . . . Game 2 is to be played tonight in Halifax.
The WHL’s playoff situation:
Portland vs. Edmonton
(Edmonton leads, 1-0)
(All times local)
Game 1: Friday — Edmonton 4 at Portland 1 (10,097)
Game 2: Today, at Portland (Rose Garden), 7 p.m.
Game 3: Tuesday, May 7, at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Wednesday, May 8, at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Game 5: Friday, at Portland (Rose Garden), 7 p.m.
x-Game 6: Sunday, May 12, at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
x-Game 7: Monday, May 13, at Portland (Rose Garden), 7 p.m.
x – if necessary.
All games are being televised by Shaw in Canada. They also will be televised in Portland, with Games 3, 4, 5 and 6 on Comcast SportsNet, and Games 2 and 7 on Root Sports.
Comcast and Roots will pick up the Shaw telecast that feature play-by-play man Dan Russell, along with Bill Wilms, Peter Loubardias and Andy Neal.
In Portland, G Laurent Brossoit stopped 35 shots, 16 of them in the first period, and F Stephane Legault drew three assists as the Edmonton Oil Kings opened with a 4-1 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . The Winterhawks held a 16-6 edge in shots after one period but went into the second period trailing 1-0 on a goal by F Dylan Wruck at 2:03. That goal came on Edmonton’s first shot of the game. . . . F Henrik Samuelsson gave Edmonton a 2-0 lead at 11:17 of the second. . . . F Taylor Leier got Portland to within one at 3:00 of the third, but Samuelsson got his 11th of these playoffs just 47 seconds later. . . . Edmonton F Curtis Lazar got his ninth at 10:03 to put this one away. . . . Portland was 0-for-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-for-1. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth stopped 25 shots. . . . Referees were Brett Iverson and Brett Montsion. . . . Legault, who turned 20 on March 3, has 22 points, including 16 assists, in 17 playoff games. In the last two seasons, he has 36 points in 37 playoff games. He is coming off a regular season in which he had 41 points in 57 games. . . . The Oil Kings continue to be without injured D Griffin Reinhart and F Trevor Cheek. Reinhart won’t play in the series; Cheek isn’t expected to play in Game 2.
“The Portland Winterhawks might want to file a police report,” writes Chris O’Leary of the Edmonton Journal. . . . His story is right here.
“Game 1 of the WHL Finals was a bucket of cold water in the faces of the Portland Winterhawks,” writes Paul Buker of The Oregonian right here.
CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (21):
CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT (7):
From Lethbridge Herald sports writer Dylan Purcell (@dylpurcell), after the Portland Winterhawks had a goal disallowed last night: “Ron Robison waves off the Portland goal.”
From Calgary Sun sports writer Randy Sportak (@SUNRandySportak), after a late San Jose Sharks goal forced OT last night: “And writers on deadline swear. Sharks tie it 2-2 with 55.1 seconds remaining. Patrick Marleau with the tally.”
From Portland fan Larisa Strode (@Hawkiemom): “I haven't been this excited to wear white since my wedding day #1997 #WhlFinals #whiteout #adversity hawks#"
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