Monday, April 21, 2014

Conference finals resume tonight

1. It’s Canada versus Russia at the U-18 world championship in Finland this morning. If you’re near a TV set, the game is on TSN at 6 a.m. Pacific time.

2. I took the night off from watching hockey on TV. Felt like a breath of fresh air, too. Kept track of the scores via Twitter.

3. Matt Cooke? No. Not Matt Cooke.

4. Spent some time with the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. It was worth it just to see Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton go from first to third on a Joey Votto tapper back to the mound. Oh, and Hamilton hesitated going around second, too. . . . Hamilton may be faster than Cool Papa Bell who, legend has it, would get up to turn off the light before going to bed and be under the covers before it was dark.

5. Also saw Ike Davis, who was acquired by Pittsburgh from the New York Mets on Friday, hit a grand slam. That put him into the MLB record book as Elias reported that he is one of three players to have hit grand slams for two different teams against the same team in one season. (Earlier, he hit one for the Mets agains the Reds.) The others were Ray Boone and Mike Piazza. Coincidentally, Aaron Boone, one of Ray’s grandsons, was working the Reds-Pirates game for ESPN. Aaron says his grandfather’s nickname was Ike.

6. Phil Jackson, the president of the New York Knicks, fired head coach Mike Woodson and his five assistant coaches on Monday. Do all NBA teams employ six coaches? If so, is that the highest coach-per-player ratio on sports? BTW, the Knicks’ assistants were Dave Hopla, who was the shooting coach, LaSalle Thompson, Jim Todd, Darrell Walker and Herb Williams.

7. The Seattle Mariners have lost seven straight games. The Houston Astros snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory in Seattle last night. The visitors beat up on King Felix in the process. All of which is not a good sign for Mariners fans.

8. In the OHL, the Guelph Storm beat the host Erie Otters 7-1 to take a 3-0 edge in the Western Conference final. Kris Knoblauch, former head coach of the Kootenay Ice, is the Otters’ head coach.

9. A tweet from Adrian Dater (@adater) of the Denver Post: “Wild ‘media relations staff’ won't be making any Wild players available tomorrow. Mickey Mouse.” . . . Dater is trying to cover the NHL playoff series between the Colorado Avalanche and the Wild.

10. Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun writes: “ ’Tis the season, once more, to celebrate the things humans will do to one another, and to themselves, in order to climb over their opponents’ cold, dead corpses to the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.” . . . That column is right here.

The WHL’s Western Conference final resumes in Portland tonight with the Winterhawks meeting the Kelowna Rockets. . . . In losing four regular-season games to Kelowna, the Winterhawks averaged 34.2 shots on goal. In erasing a 2-0 deficit and winning 5-4 in Kelowna on Saturday, the Winterhawks had 53 shots on goal. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic and D Derrick Pouliot each has at least one point in each of the team’s 11 playoff games. Leipsic has 21 points; Pouliot has 20. . . . Going back to the regular season, Leipsic is riding an 18-game point streak, while Pouliot’s is at 17. . . . Pouliot also has played in 75 playoff games, two shy of D Troy Rutkowski’s franchise record. F Shay Stephenson of the Red Deer Rebels (2000-04) holds the WHL record, having played in 87 playoff games.
The Edmonton Oil Kings have some added inspiration this season as they move towards what they hope will be a third straight appearance in the WHL’s championship final. As Alicja Siekierska of the Edmonton Journal writes right here, Kristians Pelss is “is never far from his former teammates’ minds and always close to their hearts.”

THE THIRD ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)
(Edmonton leads, 2-0)
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 at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday: Medicine Hat at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Monday: Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 29: 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.
(Series tied, 1-1)
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 at Portland (Moda Center), 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Kelowna at Portland (Moda Center), 7 p.m.
Friday: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
x-Sunday: Kelowna at Portland, 2 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 29: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
Kelowna: F Myles Bell, week-to-week.
Portland: None.
No games scheduled.

From WHL Facts (@WHLFacts): “6 - Through 6 days, the NHL playoffs already have more overtime games this year (6) than the WHL does in a month of post-season (5).”
From ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo): “The Red Sox drop to 9-11 with loss to the Orioles. Sox have never made the playoffs when starting first 20 games under .500 (@EliasSports).”

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