Sunday, June 1, 2014

Blades hope Bob can lead them out of the Woods

F Brandon Magee (Chilliwack/Victoria, 2009-14) has signed a tryout contract with Kometa Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, Magee had 67 points, including 25 goals, in 65 games.

1. Bob Woods, a defenceman for two seasons (1987-89) with the Brandon Wheat Kings, is headed back to the WHL as the next general manager and head coach of the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix broke the story on Twitter late Sunday afternoon. His piece is right here. . . . The Blades will introduce Woods at a news conference today. . . . From LeRoy, Sask., a community two hours east of Saskatoon, Woods, 46, has spent the last two-plus seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. . . . He has been in the coaching game for 17 seasons, including two as an assistant coach with the Washington Capitals. He also has coached in the ECHL and the AHL, where he spent four seasons with the Hershey Bears. . . . He won AHL championships in Hershey as a player, assistant coach and head coach. . . . Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau, with whom Woods has a long history, is signed through 2014-15, while the contracts of Woods and fellow Ducks assistant Brad Lauer are up this month. . . . Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, reported that Woods signed a five-year contract that includes performance bonuses, including one that would reward him should the Blades be named the WHL's scholastic team of the year. . . .
The Blades, who won 16 games last season, are looking to replace Lorne Molleken and David Struch, the GM and head coach, respectively, who were released after last season.

2. Sooner or later, sporting teams are going to realize that, in this era of social media, there aren’t any secrets. The days of a team holding a news conference and having a new head coach walk out from behind a curtain to the surprise of many are over. . . . Word began to leak out early Sunday afternoon that the Saskatoon Blades had signed Bob Woods as their new general manager and head coach. . . . Late in the afternoon, Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix tweeted a link to his story on the Woods signing. In that story, Nugent-Bowman noted that Blades managing partner Colin Priestner had declined comment. . . . Shortly after Nugent-Bowman’s story hit Twitter, the Blades’ own Twitter account confirmed the hiring in a series of tweets, and also revealed that a news conference will be held Monday morning. . . . With so much emphasis on social media and the immediacy it provides, it could be that the time has come for an organization, assuming it wants to control the story, to make an announcement as soon as a deal is done.

3. As you will have read in The MacBeth Report, F Brandon Magee, who turned 20 on Jan. 23, has signed a tryout deal with Kometa Brno of the Czech Republic’s Extraliga. . . . Should Magee return to the WHL for his 20-year-old season, he would miss the first 12 games. That’s because he drew a 12-game suspension from the WHL for two cross-checking incidents in the Victoria Royals’ final playoff game of last season. . . . Magee’s deal, and it’s only for a tryout, will be finalized upon completion of physical and medical testing. . . . Magee, who is from Edmonton, played one season with the Chilliwack Bruins and three with Victoria. In 268 regular-season games, he put up 203 points, including 90 goals.

4. F Steven Hodges of the Victoria Royals has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Florida Panthers, who selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 2012 draft. . . . Hodges, from Yellowknife, turned 20 on May 5. Last season, he had 47 points, including 21 goals, in 52 games. In 247 regular-season games, he has 157 points, including 75 goals. He played one season with the Chilliwack Bruins and the last three with Victoria.

NHL5. The deadline for NHL teams to sign players selected in the 2012 draft came and went over the weekend. It’s believed that a number of WHL players didn’t get NHL deals, so most will be eligible for the 2014 draft later this month. Among those players who went unsigned are D Travis Brown (Victoria, Chicago Blackhawks); F Alexander Delnov (Seattle, Florida Panthers); F Coda Gordon (Swift Current, Calgary Flames); F Logan Nelson (Victoria, Buffalo Sabres); D Dmitry Sinitsyn (Regina, Dallas Stars); F Tyrel Seaman (Brandon, St. Louis Blues); F Lukas Sutter (Red Deer, Winnipeg Jets); D Nick Walters (Lethbridge, St. Louis Blues; and F Mike Winther (Calgary, Dallas Stars). . . . Sutter and Nelson, who have completed their 20-year-old seasons, become unrestricted free agents if they are unsigned. . . . Seaman actually retired with concussion problems after the 2012-13 season. . . . Delnov signed a two-way deal last week with Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk of the KHL.

6. There was a neat ad in Saturday’s Edmonton Journal, with the Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group, the new owners of the Regina Pats, buying space to send a message that reads: “Hail to the Kings on returning the Memorial Cup to the WHL.” . . . In all the time I’ve been around the WHL, I can’t ever remember one organization taking out an ad in a newspaper to congratulate another team on winning the Memorial Cup. Well done, Pats!

AJHL7. The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats will play host to the 2016 RBC Cup for the national junior A championship. That means, of course, that the Bobcats get into the tournament as the host team. . . . The 2015 RBC Cup will be played in Portage la Prairie, Man., with the MJHL’s Terriers as the host team.

8. Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen writes right here that “Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is spearheading an international movement to boycott the products of major sponsors, including Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch InBev, until the 2018 World Cup is moved away from Russia.” . . . As Warren points out, Melnyk “is livid at the hypocrisy of FIFA . . . for allowing (Russia) to stage the tournament while Russian president Vladimir Putin is waging war.” . . . I keep waiting for someone to start asking questions about why the CHL continues to be involved with the Subway Super Series while Putin continues his military aggressiveness.

9. If you’re into baseball and reading, Bryan Curtis of Grantland has a long read just for you. It’s all about baseball books, old and new, and it’s right here.

10. Here’s the schedule for the Stanley Cup final between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers (all times Pacific; x - if necessary):
Wednesday: at Los Angeles, 5 p.m.
Saturday: at Los Angeles, 4:30 p.m.
Monday, June 9: at New York, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, June 11: at New York, 5 p.m.
x-Friday, June 13: at Los Angeles, 5 p.m.
x-Monday, June 16: at New York, 5 p.m.
x-Wednesday, June 18: at Los Angeles, 5 p.m.

11. And just to get your ready for the Stanley Cup final, there’s a little earworm right here. Enjoy!
ECHLDerek Lalonde is the new head coach of the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. He had been the general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. . . . Lalonde replaces interim head coach Dan Watson, an assistant who stepped up when Nick Vitucci resigned as head coach in February.

This actually was a late Friday night tweet . . .
From Denis Skapski (@skapper20): “20 yrs ago, our son Mackenzie was born the night NY won the Cup. 20 yrs later the Rangers return to the Final and today he signed with them.”

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