Sunday, May 4, 2014

Winterhawks win championship final opener

1. The Vancouver Giants are in the market for a head coach and I am told that management held “serious discussions” with former NHL coach Marc Crawford, but that things didn’t work out. Crawford, who last coached major junior from 1989-91 with the OHL’s Cornwall Royals, and his family have a home in North Vancouver. . . . I am told that Giants majority owner Ron Toigo spoke with Crawford but that Crawford, 53, has no desire at this time to go back to riding the bus. . . . Crawford, who spent 15 seasons as an NHL head coach with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings, has spent the last two seasons in Zurich as head coach of the ZSC Lions of the Switzerland’s National League A. The Lions won the league championship last month, sweeping the Kloten Flyers in the best-of-seven final. . . . During this season, Crawford agreed to a two-year extension that runs through 2015-16.

2. When Todd Lumbard was tending goal for the Brandon Wheat Kings and I was writing for the Brandon Sun, he was a favourite go-to guy. Why? Because he was thoughtful, soft-spoken and respectful, and always quick with a greeting and a smile. Today, he’s the president and part-owner of the Regina Pats. . . . There’s more right here from Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post.

3. After 10 years in Vancouver with the Giants, Don Hay is back in Kamloops as head coach of the Blazers. Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun talked with Hay and the resulting column is right here.

4. If you are a hockey junkie, this is for you. Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier has a website ( on which you will find a list that contains the names of every ex-NHLer who played overseas in 2013-14. . . . The numbers will blow you away. . . . For example, there were 183 in the KHL alone. . . . The list was compiled by Jesse Gill, who obviously has a love for hockey. . . . Check it out right here.

5. Matt Dunigan was forced to end his professional football career because of concussions. That was in 1996. Today, he still feels the pain as he takes his message to others. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.

G Curtis Honey, 20, won’t be back with the Brandon Wheat Kings, who will run with Jordan Papirny as their starter. “I think he’s a good goalie,” Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner/GM/head coach, told Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun of Honey, “and we went back and forth and decided that Jordan was the way to go at the end . . . We won’t carry a 20-year-old goaltender next (season). We’ll look to get him an opportunity elsewhere.” . . . Honey, from Edmonton, battled injury problems as he went 12-14-2, 4.07, .888. Over three seasons with Brandon, he was 23-33-6, 3.98, .890. . . . Honey’s twin brother, Connor, is a forward with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
D Dalton Thrower, who played out his eligibility with the Vancouver Giants this season, is to have surgery on his left ankle on Tuesday, reports Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province. . . . Thrower has ligament damage in the ankle and last played on Jan. 24. . . . Thrower was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the NHL’s 2012 draft while with the Saskatoon Blades, but has yet to sign with the Habs. . . . Saskatoon dealt him to the Giants in May 2013. . . . With the Giants, he had 38 points, including 12 goals, in 42 games.
In Baie-Comeau, the Val-d’Or Foreurs got a PP goal from D Guillaume Gelinas at 7:24 of OT and beat the Drakkar, 4-3. . . . The goal was Gelinas’ second of the game and ninth of the playoffs. . . . The Foreurs forced OT when F Pierre-Maxime Poudrier got his fourth playoff goal at 18:27 of the third period. . . . The series is tied 1-1, the Drakkar having won 3-0 on Friday night. . . . Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday night in Val-d’Or.
Like the QMJHL, the OHL final is tied 1-1 and resumes Tuesday with the Guelph Storm travelling to North Bay to play the Battalion. . . . The Battalion is in its first season in North Bay after having moved there from Brampton last summer.

THE FOURTH ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
WHL final, for the Ed Chynoweth Cup
(x - if necessary)
(All games televised live by Shaw)
(All games televised by Root Sports -- Game 2 live, others on delayed basis)
PORTLAND (2, West) vs. Edmonton (1, East)
(Portland leads, 1-0)
Season series: Portland, 0-0-1; Edmonton, 1-0-0.
Saturday: Edmonton 2 at Portland 5 (10,947)
Sunday: Edmonton at Portland, 5 p.m. (Moda Center)
Tuesday: Portland at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Portland at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Friday: Edmonton at Portland, 7 p.m. (Moda Center)
x-Sunday, May 11: Portland at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
x-Monday, May 12: Edmonton at Portland, 7 p.m. (Moda Center)
Portland: None.
Edmonton: None.
In Portland, the Winterhawks got four goals from three American-born forwards and beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 5-2. . . . This was Game 1 of a best-of-seven series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. Game 2 is scheduled for today, 5 p.m., at the Moda Center in Portland. . . . The defending-champion Winterhawks built a 3-0 first-period lead on the strength of single goals from F Keegan Iverson of St. Louis Park, Minn., F Paul Bittner of Crookston, Minn., and F Chase De Leo of La Mirada, Calif. . . . The latter two scored in the last two minutes of the period, at 18:07 and 19:04. . . . Iverson has three goals; De Leo now has eight. . . . The Oil Kings got two early second-period goals -- F Brett Pollock scored his 11th of these playoffs 20 seconds in and F Henrik Samuelsson got his third at 2:20. . . . But the Winterhawks, as they had done in the first period, scored late in the second, with D Mathew Dumba counting on a PP at 19:23 to restore the two-goal lead. . . . He’s got four goals in these playoffs. . . . Bittner added his second of the game and fourth of the playoffs at 3:41. . . . F Nic Petan drew three assists for Portland, while D Derrick Pouliot had two. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand had one assist; he leads the playoff scoring race 29 points, one more than Pouliot, who has a WHL-high 24 helpers. . . . Each goaltender, Corbin Boes of Portland and Tristan Jarry of Edmonton -- stopped 31 shots. . . . Portland was 1-for-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-for-4. . . . A post-game tweet from Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas) of Yahoo! Sports: “I'm not going to go down that road with some of those calls." Edmonton Oil Kings coach Derek Laxdal on some of the penalties tonight. #WHL. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic, who has 27 points in 14 games, sat out the opener as he served a one-game WHL suspension left over from the Western Conference final. He was given a spearing major and game misconduct late in Game 5 against the host Kelowna Rockets. Leipsic is eligible to return for Game 2 tonight. . . . Samuelsson was hit with a double minor for spearing at the end of the third period last night. . . . Some observers felt that Samuelsson came after a play that was offside at the Portland line. Columnist Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun tweeted: “Replay shows linesman blew an offside call on Samuelsson goal.” . . . Edmonton F Mitch Moroz left in the second period, seemingly favouring his right leg, but was back to start the third. . . . The Winterhawks are 41-3 since Jan. 11, including a 29-1 run over the last two months. . . . Portland is 13-2 in the playoffs, including 8-0 at home. Edmonton now is 12-3. . . . These teams are meeting in the final for a third consecutive season. Edmonton won two years ago; Portland won last spring. . . .
Jones writes in the Sun that Jarry struggled in Game 1, but that Laxdal isn’t concerned. That column is right here.

From Kootenay Ice F Tim Bozon (@timbozon94): “Thank you everyone at the cap Breton #cers made lots improvement and met really nice people...#lifeisgood #shapeisback”
From Roy MacGregor (@RoyMacG) of The Globe and Mail: “Maybe we can't abolish the Senate -- but how about a Canadian law to ban afternoon playoff games?”
From the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers): “Aaaand the @pdxwinterhawks take Game 1 of the WHL Finals … is there something in the PDX water?”

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