Saturday, May 18, 2013

This is what the Memorial Cup is all about . . . a fan travels from Oshawa to Saskatoon because he wants to be there for Thursday's ceremony in which the trophy arrived at the city’s Vimy Memorial.
Kevin Menz of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has that story right here. . . . And, please, while the tournament is being played, let's not forget why it's called the Memorial Cup.
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I’m not going to post a lot about the Memorial Cup, simply because I’m not there, and those who are will provide you with lots of great information.
But if I see something or hear something, I’ll put it up here.
Like this . . .
The Saskatoon radio station that handles the Saskatoon Blades’ games (92.9 The Bull) is carrying every game in the Memorial Cup, with Les Lazaruk calling the play and Cody Nickolet providing the analysis.
With apologies to those two, who were solid in Game 1 on Friday, the highlight of The Bull’s coverage was the 90-minute pregame show and the postgame show.
And the star of both those shows, at least on Friday, was Dave Hunchak, the newly named head coach of the Kamloops Blazers. The pregame show also features Peter Loubardias, Dave Thomas of CJWW and Lazaruk. Hunchak wasn’t afraid to disagree with points being made by any of the others, such as when it was suggested that Friday’s game might be the biggest game in the history of the Blades.
Hunchak also provided terrific insight from a coach’s perspective. For example, in touching on each of the four teams, he talked about the gap played by the Portland Winterhawks’ defenceman, and how they are able to play a “soft gap” because that team’s forwards do such a good job of coming back as a group.
He also talked about how teams are able to go with four defencemen because of the TV timeouts.
In the postgame show, Hunchak was quick to point out that the Blades, who dropped a 3-2 decision to the OHL-champion London Knights, had to build on the positives but that, because of the format of this tournament, they couldn’t afford to be patient.
The pregame show will be on the air today at 3:30 p.m. CT to set up the much-anticipated game between the Halifax Mooseheads and the Winterhawks.
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Outfielder Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals thundered face-first into the wall at Dodger Stadium on Monday. Did he come out of it with a concussion? . . . Stefan Fatsis at slate.com takes a look right here.
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The Everett Silvertips have released F Stathis Soumelidis, 19, a move that will allow them to use the 10th overall selection in the CHL’s import draft, likely on a potential high-end forward. That draft is scheduled for July 3. . . . Soumelidis, from Brno, Czech Republic, was a second-round pick in the 2012 import draft. He had 11 points and 119 penalty minutes in 67 regular-season games. His penalty total included 17 fighting majors. . . . Everett’s roster now includes one import — D Mirco Mueller of Switzerland, 1n 18-year-old who is expected to be selected in the first two rounds of the NHL’s draft on June 30.
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THE COACHING GAME:
AHLMark French won’t be back as head coach of the AHL’s Hershey Bears. The Bears and the parent Washington Capitals made the announcement on Friday. French had been the head coach since July 13, 2009. . . . In speculating on a potential replacement, Tim Leone at pennlive.com had this: “Mike Stothers, 51, head coach of the WHL's Moose Jaw Warriors, is a former Bears assistant and the club's all-time leader in penalty minutes (1,519). He was head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2007-08 and has served NHL assistant coaching stints with the Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers, along with an AHL stint with the Philadelphia Phantoms.”

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