Thursday, April 10, 2014

Winterhawks into fourth straight Western Conference final








Czech-ELHG Dusan Salficky (Tri-City, 1990-91) has announced his retirement to become sports club manager at Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season with Pardubice, Salficky was 2.30 and .926 in 15 games. . . .
F Derek Ryan (Spokane, 2003-07) has signed a two-year contract with Örebro (Sweden, SEL). He played this season with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), putting up 84 points, including 38 goals, in 54 games. Ryan led the league in goals and plus-minus (plus-26), and was second in points. He was named the league’s MVP, winning the Ron Kennedy Trophy. Kennedy is a former WHL player (Estevan/New Westminster, 1970-73) and head coach (Medicine Hat, 1988-1990). Kennedy was head coach of the Austrian national team (1996-2002) for six world championships and two Olympics. . . .
F Jared Aulin (Kamloops, 1997-2002) signed a one-year extension with Örebro (Sweden, SEL). This season, in 50 games, he had 27 points, including seven goals.
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The NHL has been hit by a second concussion-related lawsuit. This one, filed in the United States District Court Southern District of New York, includes the names of ex-players Dan LaCouture, Dan Keczmer, Jack Carlson, Richard Brennan, Brad Maxwell, Michael Peluso, Tom Younghans, Allan Rourke and Scott Bailey. . . . If you are so inclined, the filing is right here.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports has more on the lawsuit right here, including the fact that Gordie Howe isn’t dead, as the lawsuit claims.
Jeff Z. Klein and Ken Belson of The New York Times have more on the lawsuit right here.
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Roy Sommer played one game with the Edmonton Oil Kings and two seasons (1975-77) with the Calgary Centennials, back in the early days of the WHL. He also spent a season (1988-89) as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Today, he is a veteran of the AHL coaching wars and is with the Worcester Sharks. On Wednesday night, his son, Marley, who has Down syndrome and is autistic, sang the American national anthem prior to a hockey game. You should watch it right here.
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The Tri-City Americans have named D Justin Hamonic, 20, as their captain for the 2014-15 season. Hamonic becomes the 26th captain in the franchise’s history. Hamonic, from Winnipeg, just completed his third WHL season. In 183 regular-season games, he has 27 points, including two goals. . . . He has spent all three seasons with the Americans, who selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2009 bantam draft. . . . Hamonic served as the Americans’ interim captain for the last two months of this season with D Mitch Topping out with an injury.
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The WHL’s Western Conference final will open with games in Kelowna on April 18 and 19. Game 1 is to begin at 7:30 p.m., with Game 2 to start at 7:05. . . . It likely is safe to assume that the 7:30 start time on a Friday night is for the benefit of a potential Sportsnet telecast.
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The CHL announced Thursday that the annual Subway Super Series, featuring CHL all-star teams against a touring Russian side, will begin in the WHL next season and then run through the OHL and then finish up in the QMJHL. . . . The six-game series will be played from Nov. 10 through Nov. 20. . . . The series will begin in Saskatoon on Nov. 10, with the next game scheduled for Nov. 11 in a WHL city yet to be named. . . . The OHL games will be played in Peterborough on Nov. 13, with the next game in Kingston on Nov. 17. . . . Then the series will move on to the QMJHL centres of Acadie-Bathurst (Nov. 18) and Rimouski (Nov. 20). This will be the first time the series has concluded in Quebec. . . . The entire series will be televised by Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
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AHLD Shea Theodore of the Seattle Thunderbirds will finish his season with the Norfolk Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Theodore was a first-round selection by the Ducks in the NHL’s 2013 draft. Theodore, who turns 19 on Aug. 3, just completed his third season with Seattle, which was swept from a second-round series by the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday night.
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A WHL team that is looking for a general manager should be at least considering a chat with Matt Bardsley, the assistant GM with the Portland Winterhawks. Jason Vondersmith of the Portland Tribune has more on Bardsley right here.
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Paul Lukas of ESPN.com reports that some fans of the Cleveland Indians are “de-Chiefing” -- removing the Chief Wahoo logo from jerseys and caps that they have purchased. It is, writes Lukas, “a form of silent protest by a small but growing number of Indians fans who love their team but are opposed to the Wahoo logo, which they view as an offensive caricature. They say they're not accusing pro-Wahoo fans of being racists or telling them what they should or shouldn't wear. They've simply made a decision not to wear the Chief themselves.” . . . There’s more right here.

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THE SECOND ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)
EASTERN CONFERENCE
EDMONTON (1) vs. BRANDON (7)
(Edmonton leads, 3-1)
Season series: Edmonton, 3-1-0; Brandon, 1-2-1.
Thursday: Brandon 0 at Edmonton 5 (5,899)
Saturday: Brandon 0 at Edmonton 3 (7,115)
Tuesday: Edmonton 5 at Brandon 2 (3,522)
Wednesday: Edmonton 2 at Brandon 5 (3,246)
Friday: Brandon at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Monday: Edmonton at Brandon, 7 p.m.
x-Wednesday: Brandon at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
INJURIES
Edmonton: F Brandon Baddock, day-to-day; D Blake Orban, day-to-day.
Brandon: G Curtis Honey, day-to-day.
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MEDICINE HAT (4) vs. KOOTENAY (6)
(Kootenay leads, 3-1)
Season series: Medicine Hat, 3-3-0; Kootenay, 3-3-0.
Saturday: Kootenay 4 at Medicine Hat 2 (3,750)
Sunday: Kootenay 2 at Medicine Hat 5 (3,755)
Wednesday: Medicine Hat 1 at Kootenay 3 (2,461)
Thursday: Medicine Hat 4 at Kootenay 7 (2,578)
Saturday: Kootenay at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
x-Monday: Medicine Hat at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
x-Wednesday: Kootenay at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
(NOTE: Kootenay plays home games in Cranbrook, B.C.)
INJURIES
Medicine Hat: F Gavin Broadhead, day-to-day; F Hunter Shinkaruk, indefinite.
Kootenay: F Tim Bozon, indefinite; F Ryan Chynoweth, indefinite; D Tyler King, day-to-day; D Tanner Faith, 3-5 months.
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WESTERN CONFERENCE
KELOWNA (1) vs. SEATTLE (4)
(Kelowna wins, 4-0)
Season series: Kelowna, 2-1-1; Seattle, 2-1-1.
Thursday: Seattle 2 at Kelowna 6 (4,581)
Saturday: Seattle 3 at Kelowna 6 (5,675)
Tuesday: Kelowna 5 at Seattle 4 (5,029)
Wednesday: Kelowna 5 at Seattle 2 (2,219)
INJURIES
Kelowna: F Myles Bell, week-to-week.
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PORTLAND (2) vs. VICTORIA (3)
(Portland wins, 4-1)
Season series: Portland, 1-1-2; Victoria, 3-1-0.
Friday: Victoria 2 at Portland 8 (6,152)
Saturday: Victoria 3 at Portland 6 (10,947)
Monday: Portland 1 at Victoria 2 (6,505)
Tuesday: Portland 4 at Victoria 3 (6,745)
Thursday: Victoria 1 at Portland 5 (8,083)
INJURIES
Portland: None.
Victoria: None.
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THE THIRD ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)
WESTERN CONFERENCE
KELOWNA (1) vs. PORTLAND (2)
Friday, April 18: Portland at Kelowna, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 19: Portland at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Remainder of series TBA.
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THURSDAY’S GAMES:
WHL Playoffs
 In Cranbrook, the Kootenay Ice scored the games last goals, five of them in the third period and two of them into an empty net, as it dumped the Medicine Hat Tigers, 7-4. . . . The Ice leads the second-round series 3-1 and gets its first chance to wrap it up when the teams play Game 5 in Medicine Hat on Saturday night. . . . F Jaedon Descheneau got back on track with three goals for the Ice. Descheneau had picked up 17 points in six games in a first-round victory over the Calgary Hitmen, but was pointless in the first three games with the Tigers. . . . He now has 20 points, including a WHL-leading 10 goals, in 10 games. . . . The Ice got a goal and three assists from F Luke Philp, who has 12 points, five of them goals, in 10 games, and three assists from F Sam Reinhart. He leads the WHL in assists (16) and points (22). . . . Descheneau opened the scoring, on a PP, at 2:24 of the first period. . . . The Tigers then rattled off four straight goals, with F Chad Labelle getting it started at 8:11 of the first. . . . D Dylan Bredo, F Myles Koules and F Curtis Valk added second-period goals in a span of 2:59, sending Ice G Mackenzie Skapski to the bench in the process. He surrendered four goals on 18 shots. . . . Wyatt Hoflin came on to stop all 21 shots he faced. . . . Philp got the Ice to within 4-2 at 16:26 of the second. . . . D Rinat Valiev cut it to 4-3 at 12:16 of the third and Descheneau tied it at 15:45, then got the winner at 17:54. . . . Tigers G Marek Langhamer stopped 26 shots. . . . Each team was 1-for-2 on the PP. . . . According to Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman, there may be a scoring change involving the goal that was credited to Valiev. “Reinhart apparently got his stick on” Valiev’s point shot, according to Crawley. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach, told Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News: "We didn't finish it. I don't know if we got thinking a little bit too far ahead and were thinking about winning the game instead of just the shift in front of us. I sensed that might have happened, where some of the guys were just a little bit out in front of themselves. We just have to play each shift. On the flip side, you have to give them lots of credit."


In Portland, the Winterhawks advanced to their fourth straight Western Conference final with a 5-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Winterhawks won the second-round series, 4-1, and will open the conference final against the Rockets in Kelowna on April 18. . . . The Rockets are the conference’s No. 1 seed; the defending-champion Winterhawks are No. 2. . . . Kelowna won all four regular-season meetings, outscoring Portland 28-10 I the process. Kelowna won 9-3 and 7-2 in Portland on Dec. 31 and Jan. 2, after posting 6-2 and 6-3 victories at home on Oct. 4 and 5. . . . The Winterhawks took control last night with the only two goals of the first period, F Taylor Leier scoring on a PP at 13:46 and F Adam de Champlain scoring at 19:26. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand, celebrating his 19th birthday, got his ninth goal at 10:31 of the second for a 3-0 edge. . . . Victoria F Steven Hodges scored at 15:11 of the second, on a PP. . . . The Winterhawks got that one back at 12:22 of the third when F Chase De Leo counted. . . . De Leo scored again, his fifth of the playoffs, at 17:57, on a PP. . . . Bjorkstrand also had three assists, leaving him with 19 points in nine playoff games. Including the regular-season, he has 128 points, 59 of them goals, in 78 games. . . . The Winterhawks outscored the Royals 9-1 in third periods and 25-11 in total. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic had one assist, running his point streak to 16 games, going back to the regular season. He’s got 30 points, including 13 goals, in those 16 games. He had 10 points in the series. . . . Portland D Derrick Pouliot earned two assists, giving him at least one assist in nine straight games. . . . This game had some nastiness in it with a melee at the end of the second period that resulted in game misconducts to Pouliot, along with Victoria D Joe Hicketts and Hodges. . . . At 15:10 of the third period, Portland F Nic Petan ended up down on the ice after a hit from Victoria F Brandon Magee, who was assessed a match penalty for attempt to injure. Should Magee return for his 20-year-old season, you have to think he’ll miss the start with a suspension of some sort. . . . Petan ended up taking an instigating penalty and a game misconduct for a scrap with Victoria D Ryan Gagnon. . . . The Royals ended up with 88 of 151 penalty minutes. . . . According to Portland freelancer Scott Sepich: “Petan was coherent and talking with (Winterhawks GM/head coach Mike) Johnston and teammates in the locker-room.” . . . A tweet from Mike Walker (@MikeWalkerCHEK) of Victoria TV station CHEK: “That was a malicious crosscheck to the head from Magee on Petan. The series is over. No need to go out on that note.” . . . And one from Kelley Robinett (@kdrobinett), the Winterhawks’ senior vice-president, operations and marketing: “Embarrassing display by Victoria late with the game out of reach.” . . . The story that Sepich filed for The Oregonian is right here.
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From Bruce Luebke (@wheatkingsvoice), the play-by-play voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings: “Oilers play tonight so today’s practice would be decided in a shootout if it goes beyond the three regulation drills and two OT drills.”

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