Saturday, April 19, 2014

Winterhawks back on even ground; meet the bus driving radio man

With apologies to Elliotte Friedman, here are 10 thoughts . . .
1. Via Twitter, Friedman, of Hockey Night in Canada, explained the Quenneville-Lucic discipline discrepancy, of US$25,000 vs. $5,000: “Comparing Quenneville's fine to Lucic: players have a CBA, coaches don't. That's the difference. Drives coaches crazy.”
2. How many fighting majors have been handed out through four days of Stanley Cup play? Two? Four? Six? Eight?
3. There have been two fighting majors through 13 games, going into Sunday’s play. . . . Obviously, this is more proof that fisticuffs aren’t needed if hockey is to be entertaining.
4. You watch Boston Bruins F Milan Lucic spear D Danny DeKeyser of the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook drill F David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, and you wonder where the respect factor has gone? Shouldn’t the game be about taking the puck from an opponent, rather than putting an opponent out of the game?
5. If you’re a sporting fan, you have to admit that it’s neat to see some basketball fever in Toronto. And it is going to be interesting to see how much NBA commissioner Adam Silver lightens the wallet of Raptors GM Masai Ujiri for his “(Bleep) Brooklyn” comment on Saturday. . . . I’m thinking the fine will be closer to Quenneville country than to Lucic country.
6. If you weren’t aware, Brooklyn Nets small forward Andrei Kirilenko, who didn’t get off the bench on Saturay in Toronto, is preparing to open the first Hooters restaurant in Russia. The grand opening is scheduled for Moscow on April 28. As Sam Laird of wrote, the restaurant “will include 40 flat-screen TVs for sports-watching, as well as a gift shop featuring the Hooters merchandise Russians don't yet know they need.” (BTW, AK-47’s wife turned to Instagram to question why Nets head coach Jason Kidd kept her husband on the bench. Ahh, you just gotta love social media.)
7. If you were wondering, the two fighting majors went to F Brandon Prust of the Montreal Canadiens and D Radko Gudas of the Tampa Bay Lightning. They scrapped at 2:56 of the second period in Game 2 on Friday night.
8. By the time the Portland Winterhawks and Kelowna Rockets get through with each other, you wonder how much the survivor will have left. After two games, this is shaping up as one of those epic series that people will talk about for a long time. (If you’ve Portland GM/head coach Mike Johnston, who is your starting goaltender for Game 3?)
9. If the Saskatoon Blades haven’t handed a blank cheque to Mike Williamson, who was deposed as head coach of the Calgary Hitmen a couple of days ago, you have to assume it’s only because it’s a long weekend in Canada and their banker was at the lake getting his cabin ready for summer, which may only be two months away.
10. You realize, of course, that five OT goals have been scored in these Stanley Cup playoffs and that three have come from WHL grads. D Barret Jackman (Regina Pats, 1997-2001) and F Matt Calvert (Brandon Wheat Kings (2007-10) scored in extra time for the St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. On Wednesday, F Dale Weise (Swift Current Broncos, 2005-08) scored an OT goal for the Montreal Canadiens.

If you read one thing today, make it this column by Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun. It’s all about the legendary Bob Ridley, the bus driving radio man who is the voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers. This is good stuff.
Joel Quenneville, the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks, was fined US$25,000 for grabbing his man region as he expressed his disgust with the officiating in Game 1 of a playoff series against the St. Louis Blues the other night.
F Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins will be fined, perhaps $5,000, for a spear to the groin of Detroit Red Wings D Danny DeKeyser in Game 1 of their series on Friday evening.
Of course, the NHL is a bit confused.
Chris Peters of has more right here.
D Jaynen Rissling, who played out his eligibility with the Calgary Hitmen this season, had his NHL rights dealt by the Washington Capitals to the Nashville Predators on Saturday for a seventh-round pick in the NHL’s 2014 draft. . . . Rissling, who played five seasons with the Hitmen, had 37 points, including eight goals, in 54 games this season. He was Calgary’s captain. . . . He was a seventh-round selection by Washington in the 2012 NHL draft.

THE THIRD ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)
(Edmonton leads, 1-0)
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 at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
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, April 28: 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, April 27: 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.

In Kelowna, the Portland Winterhawks erased a 3-1 deficit with three quick second-period goals and went on to beat the Rockets, 5-3. . . . The Western Conference final is tied 1-1 with Games 3 and 4 scheduled for Portland on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . Kelowna took a 2-0 lead into the second period, thanks to first-period PP goals from F Nick Merkley, at 12:05, and D Ryley Stadel, at 12:37. . . . Portland F Dominic Turgeon got his first playoff goal 24 seconds into the second period, but Kelowna D Madison Bowey got that one back, with his fifth, just 1:09 later. . . . The Winterhawks then struck three times in 2:10, with F Nic Petan getting it started on a PP at 9:54. F Oliver Bjorkstrand tied it with his 12th goal at 11:51, and F Brendan Leipsic gave his guys the lead, with his ninth goal, at 12:04. . . . F Alex Schoenborn provided Portland with some insurance at 8:45 of the third. . . . Petan also had two assists, while Portland D Derrick Pouliot had three assists. . . . Bjorkstrand and Medicine Hat F Curtis Valk lead the WHL, each with 12 goals. . . . With 8:54 left in the second period and Kelowna leading 3-2, Portland freelancer tweeted that the Winterhawks already had 26 shots “which are as many as it had in the entire game (Friday) night.” . . . Portland outshot its hosts 24-14 in the second period and had a 4-1 edge in goals. . . . Of course, Portland took a 4-3 lead into the third period on Friday, too, and ended up losing, 5-4. . . . Portland opened with Brendan Burke in goal. But he left at 1:33 of the second period, after giving up three goals on nine shots. Corbin Boes, a January acquisition from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, came on to stop all 15 shots he faced. . . . Kelowna G Jordon Cooke stopped 48 shots. . . . The Rockets were outshot 17-4 in the third period. . . . The Rockets were 2-for-3 on the PP; the Winterhawks were 1-for-7, with three of those coming in the game’s last seven minutes. . . . Which goaltender does Portland GM/head coach Mike Johnston start in Game 3. Here’s a post-game tweet from Sepich (@SSepich): “Mike Johnston noncommittal about Burke or Boes right now, though he thought Burke was out of position on 2 goals and a change was needed.” . . . Johnston also told Sepich: “"We played our game tonight. When we're on, our puck movement is really crisp, really sharp. We were snapping it around good.” . . . Kelowna head coach Ryan Huska told Sepich: “They were the better hockey club tonight. They were skating, when you stand around against them they'll do that to you.”

From Randy Sportak (@SUNRandySportak) of the Calgary Sun: “Hate when coaches say, ‘I didn't see it.’ Makes them just as culpable. Show some leadership and admit your player has to stop that crap.”
That was after Boston head coach Claude Julien said he hadn’t seen video of Bruins F Milan Lucic spearing Detroit Red Wings D Danny DeKeyser in the groin.
From Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) of the Vancouver Sun: “That cute Because it's the Cup #nhl marketing phrase takes on new meaning with Lucic incident.”
From Kevin Paul DuPont (@GlobeKPD) of the Boston Globe: “Lucic $5k fine for DeKeyser spear. Coach Q weeps.”
From Makenna (@Mak_Alberts24): “My sister got out of a speeding ticket by telling the officer we were on the way to the @pdxwinterhawks viewing party!”
From Dan Russell (@DanRussellST): “Never's worked for me!”

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