Thursday, April 24, 2014

Conference finals resume Friday night

D Brett Festerling (Tri-City, Vancouver, 2001-07) signed a four-year contract with the Hamburg Freezers (Germany, DEL), where he joins twin brother Garrett. This season with Nuremberg (Germany, DEL), Brett had 11 points, including two goals, in 31 games. The Festerlings hold dual Canadian-German citizenship. . . .
F Daine Todd (Medicine Hat, 2003-08) has signed a two-year contract with Jokerit Helsinki (Finland, KHL). This season, with Portland (AHL), he had 32 points, four of them goals, in 54 games. . . .
F Curtis Huppe (Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Tri-City, 1995-2000) has signed a one-year extension with the Guildford Flames (England, Premier). Huppe missed most of this season due to injury, but did have seven points, including four goals, in eight games with the Flames.
Queen City Sports & Entertainment has confirmed the names of its partners as it works through the process of purchasing the Regina Pats from Diane and Russ Parker of Calgary.
Anthony Marquart, who heads up QCSE, is joined by former WHL goaltender Todd Lumbard, Jason Drummond of DGC Entertainment Inc., and Shaun and Gavin Semple of Brandt Entertainment Inc., all of Regina. (Gavin and Shaun Semple are father and son, respectively. Jack Semple, a Canadian guitar player of note, is another son.)
According to a QCSE news release, “Marquart also said that in the coming weeks they will be sitting down with all Pats management, coaches, and employees to discuss their needs, their ideas, their goals, and their career aspirations. Once they’ve done that, they’ll be rolling out a business plan that will chart a course for a successful future for all of the Pats stakeholders – especially the fans.”
The WHL’s board of governors is expected to approve the sale on April 30 in Calgary.
(If you are at all curious about the Semple family, you may want to give this right here a read. It’s from the Prairie Policy Centre and details the growth of the Brandt brand.)

1. If you watched Canada beat Switzerland 3-2 in a quarterfinal game at the IIHF U-18 world championship on Thursday, you saw a prime example of how puck possession is most times more important than playing dump and chase. . . . Canadian D Travis Sanheim of the Calgary Hitmen mishandled a pass at the Swiss blueline and had to retreat into the neutral zone. He got control of the puck, with his head up, then stepped up and then around a Swiss defenceman to create 2-on-1 with F Travis Konecny, who took the pass, deked to the backhand and got the winner. . . . I’m thinking Sanheim’s draft standing, at least with a few NHL teams, jumped a few spots on that one play alone. He was at No. 53 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s last rankings.

2. I’m still trying to get my mind around the fact that New York Yankees starter Michael Pineda drew a 10-game suspension for using pine tar, while F Matt Cooke of the Minnesota Wild got seven games for a knee-on-knee collision that took an opponent out for what is expected to be four to six weeks.

3. What makes the Pineda suspension even more confusing is that virtually every baseball person who has spoken about this admits that most pitchers use pine tar, or another foreign substance, to help their grip on the baseball, especially in cooler weather.

4. What makes the Pineda suspension even more confusing than that . . . hitters say they don’t mind pitchers using pine tar to improve their grip, something that gives them better control. No pine tar might mean more hit batters and who wants that?

5. The adage “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’ ” used to belong to NASCAR. These days, it apparently belongs to Major League Baseball.

6. Rick Reilly, once of Sports Illustrated, now of, has written a column that is full of some truths that he has discovered over time. Of course, they all are true, including: “The best sports book ever written was Ball Four. Everything else has just been an attempt to copy it.” . . . That column is right here.

7. It was in the third period when TSN’s Gord Miller, calling the Boston at Detroit Stanley Cup game, said it was “Hudson Bay rules” and you knew right then that the Red Wings were done. Detroit GM Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock need to admit that the Red Wings won’t win anything unless they find another Bob Probert or Joey Kocur to ride shotgun and create room for the skaters.

8. Detroit F Henrik Zetterberg returned to action for the first time since a back injury took him out of the Sochi Olympics. Can we just give him the Grizzly Adams Award for best beard in the playoffs?

9. If the Portland Winterhawks and Edmonton Oil Kings both win their next games, it will set up the third straight WHL championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup between these two teams. . . . It also will be Portland’s fourth straight trip to the final. . . . Portland is in Kelowna tonight with a 3-1 lead on the Rockets; the Oil Kings are at home on Saturday and hold a 3-1 edge on the Medicine Hat Tigers.

10. Team Canada beat Switzerland 3-2 in a quarterfinal game at the IIHF U-18 world championship in Finland on Thursday. Canada will meet the Czechs in a Saturday semifinal game. The game starts at 9 a.m. Pacific time and will be shown on TSN. The other semifinal features Sweden and the U.S. It starts at 5 a.m. Pacific.

F Dyson Stevenson, who played out his junior eligibility with the Regina Pats this season, has signed a one-year deal with the AHL’s Portland Pirates. Stevenson had 76 points, including 38 goals, in 68 games with the Pats this season. In 252 career regular-season games with Regina, he had 168 points, including 75 goals.
The OHL’s Owen Sound Attack has signed general manager Dale DeGray, head coach Greg Ireland, assistant coach Drew Bannister and athletic therapist Andy Brown to contract extensions. . . . DeGray now is signed through 2016-17, which will be his 10th season as GM. . . . Ireland, who has been head coach for three seasons, is signed through 2015-16. . . . Bannister has been with the Attack for two seasons. . . . Brown, who has been with the Attack since 2005-06, is signed through 2016-17.
After playing three seasons (2010-13) with the Edmonton Oil Kings, F Stephane Legault didn’t play hockey in 2013-14, choosing not to play his 20-year-old season. Instead, he attended NAIT in Edmonton. . . . Now, Legault, who had 105 points in 172 regular-season games with the Oil Kings, has committed to attend the U of Alberta and play for the CIS-champion Golden Bears in the fall. Legault, who turned 21 on March 3, is from Edmonton.

THE THIRD ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)
(Edmonton leads, 3-1)
Season series: Edmonton, 5-0-1; Medicine Hat, 1-5-0.
(All games on Shaw TV)
Friday: Medicine Hat 3 at Edmonton 8 (7,694)
Sunday: Medicine Hat 1 at Edmonton 3 (5,763)
Tuesday: Edmonton 1 at Medicine Hat 2 (3,189)
Wednesday: Edmonton 4 at Medicine Hat 1 (3,832)
Saturday: Medicine Hat at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Monday: Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
x-Tuesday: Medicine Hat at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Edmonton: D Blake Orban, day-to-day.
Medicine Hat: F Anthony Ast, day-to-day; F Gavin Broadhead, day-to-day; F Hunter Shinkaruk, indefinite.
(Portland leads, 3-1)
Season series: Kelowna, 4-0-0; Portland, 0-4-0.
Friday: Portland 4 at Kelowna 5 (6,218)
Saturday: Portland 5 at Kelowna 3 (6,341)
Tuesday: Kelowna 3 at Portland 4 (OT) (9,259)
Wednesday: Kelowna 1 at Portland 5 (9,744)
Friday: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
x-Sunday: Kelowna at Portland, 2 p.m.
x-Tuesday: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
Kelowna: F Myles Bell, week-to-week.
Portland: None.
No games scheduled.

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