Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mpofu lays down the law . . . Cameron back in coaching game

Some old, some new . . . as I try to catch up after a few days away . . .
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F Carter Proft (Brandon, Spokane, 2010-14) signed a one-year contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL). Last season, with Spokane, he had 23 points, 11 of them goals, in 72 games. He has dual Canadian-German citizenship. . . .
D Petr Šenkeřík (Kootenay, Prince George, 2009-10) signed a tryout contract with Vitkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had a goal and two assists in 24 games. In 17 games with Berounští Medvědi (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had 11 points, four of them goals. . . .
F Gal Koren (Kelowna, 2010-11) signed a one-year contract with Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, KHL), he had one goal in 23 games. He had four goals and four assists in 15 games with Olimpija Ljubljana, and was pointless in four games with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . .
D Dmitri Sinitsyn (Regina, 2013-14) has signed a two-year, two-way contract with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had 44 points, including 10 goals, in 69 games with Regina. . . .
F Michal Pšurný (Medicine Hat, Kootenay, 2005-06) signed a one-year extension with the Manchester Phoenix (England, Premier). Last season, he led the league in scoring, putting up 99 points, including 45 goals, in 54 games. He was a first-team all-star. . . .
D Jace Coyle (Spokane, Medicine Hat, 2007-11) signed a one-year contract with Aalborg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, with the Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL), he had 31 points, including eight goals. He was pointless in three games on loan to the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL). . . .
D Tomáš Troliga (Calgary, 2003-04) signed a tryout contract with Hradec Králové (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had 24 points, 13 of them goals, in 46 games.
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F Vukie Mpofu, the 87th selection in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft, has informed the Red Deer Rebels that he won’t be returning for a second season. Mpofu, 18, is a native of Saskatoon, who had 15 points, including nine goals, in 65 games last season.
He has decided to attend the U of Saskatchewan and study business and marketing as he works toward a law degree.
“He called me and told me he’d thought about it all summer and that his goal was to attend law school,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner/GM/head coach, told Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate. “He felt it was important for him to start his schooling now (at the U of S) and then in four years enrol in law school in Toronto.”
Sutter told Meachem that he wasn’t surprised to hear from Mpofu.
“I don’t know how driven he was to be a hockey player and I told him that over the phone . . . that if his heart wasn’t in it then it was better to move on to school,” Sutter said. “I kind of had a feeling that something was up at the end of the season. After he got hurt he never had the same drive. His emotion for the game wasn’t the same when he came back and at our year-end meeting I had a feeling he really wasn’t all-in to being a player.”
Mpofu struggled in the second half of the season after returning from a lower-back injury.
 Mpofu told Meachem there wouldn’t be any looking back.
“I’ve had everything I could have ever asked for out of hockey and I’m at a point in my life — now that I’m out of high school — that every decision I make from here on in should be building toward my long-term goals and where I would eventually like to see myself in five to 10 years. That’s pretty much the basis of my decision,” Mpofu said.
“Hockey was a lot of fun for me, but I had to make a decision now for my future.”
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And now for some self-promotion . . .
Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, is a friend who writes daily on his blog. He also offers up some recommended readings for his followers.
The other day, he posted this right here:
“Here is one to put on your ‘Wish List’ so that folks can get you a book for your birthday or for Christmas…"
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Meanwhile, The Sports Curmudgeon also took time to dissect a claim by someone that the return of LeBron could put $500 million into the Cleveland economy. I always cringe when people, mostly of a political bent, start talking about how much a tournament or an event will mean to a city’s economy because there always seem to be a lot of numbers thrown around without a whole lot of proof. . . . Well, The Sports Curmudgeon explains the whole thing awfully well right here. Give this a read and the next time you hear/read about how much economic benefit there will be from an event coming to your town, you will feel a bit better informed.
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The Saskatoon Blades, under relatively new ownership and a freshman GM/head coach in Bob Woods, have realigned their scouting department. Doug Molleken, their head scout, now is director of scouting, eastern region, and will be responsible for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the U.S. Molleken, 54, has signed a two-year extension. . . . Dan Tencer, 28, has been promoted from regional scout to director of scouting, western region, and will focus on Alberta and B.C. . . . Molleken and Tencer will report to Colin Priestner, the franchise’s managing partner who will oversee the bantam and European drafts. . . . There is more on the Blades’ scouting staff right here.
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“Wilfred Rose, 58, spent a career studying the pants pockets of New Yorkers,” writes Joseph Goldstein in The New York Times, “always on the lookout for ‘a nice stiff wallet’ full of cash, or better yet, the fainter outline of a dozen folded bills.” . . . This is the story of a man who may have been the greatest pickpocket in New York City’s history, and you won’t want to miss it. It’s right here.
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The Montreal Canadiens have signed F Nikita Scherbak, their first-round pick in the NHL’s 2014 draft, to a three-year, entry-level contract. Scherbak, from Russia, had 78 points, including 28 goals, in 65 games as a freshman with the Saskatoon Blades last season. Under terms of the CBA between the NHL and NHLPA, Scherbak, who doesn’t turn 19 until Dec. 30, has to play with the Canadiens or the Blades in 2014-15. Of course, the Blades could also choose to trade him. . . .
As you will have noticed in The MacBeth Report, D Dmitry Sinitsyn of the Regina Pats has signed with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow. Sinitsyn, who turned 20 on June 17, may not have returned to the Pats anyway, as the Moscow native would have been a two-spotter -- a 20-year-old and an import. He was a seventh-round pick by the Dallas Stars in the NHL’s 2012 draft. The Pats’ roster also includes German F Maximilian Kammerer, who is preparing for his second WHL season, and Russian D Sergey Zborovsky, who was selected last month in the CHL import draft. . . . Regina finished last season with five other players who could be 20-year-olds on the 2014-15 roster -- F Braden Christoffer, F Patrick D’Amico, G Dawson MacAuley, F Logan McVeigh and F Chandler Stephenson. . . . Another note from The MacBeth Report has F Carter Proft (Brandon, Spokane, 2011-14) having signed with the Kassel Huskies of the German DEL. Proft, who turns 20 on Aug. 30, had 23 points, 11 of them goals, in 72 games last season with the Chiefs. Other 20-year-olds on Spokane’s roster are F Liam Stewart, F Marcus Messier, F Connor Chartier and D Reid Gow. . . .
The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Brendan De Jong, a seventh-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft out of Victoria. De Jong, 16, had 13 points in 32 games with the Pacific Sea Devils, an elite 15 team at the Pacific Coast Academy.
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THE COACHING GAME:
Malcolm Cameron, who spent last season as head coach of the Regina Pats, now is on staff at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C. Cameron, 44, guided the Pats to WHL East Division regular-season title last season, but was fired by the franchise’s new owners last month. Prior to last season, he was an assistant coach with the Pats for two seasons. . . . Before joining the Pats, Cameron was an ECHL head coach for eight season. . . .

ECHLJean-François (J.F.) Houle is the new head coach of the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors, who are owned by the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. He takes over from Troy Mann, now the head coach of the AHL’s Hershey Bears. . . . For the past three seasons, Houle, 39, has been head coach of the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. . . . He is the son of former Montreal Canadiens F Réjean Houle. . . . The Armada is working on finding a new head coach. . . .

The QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar is looking for a head coach after Eric Veilleux left to become head coach of the Norfolk Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Veilleux, who had been with the Drakkar for two seasons, replaces Trent Yawney, who now is an assistant coach with the Ducks. The Drakkar reached the QMJHL final in each of Veilleux’s seasons. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades have added Shane Endicott (Seattle, 1997-2001) to their staff as the franchise’s first skills coach. Endicott, who is from Saskatoon, spent six seasons in the AHL after being the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him 52nd overall in the NHL’s 2000 draft. He retired after playing in Europe and opened On Ice Connections in Saskatoon. Last season, he helped the U of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s team to its first conference title. . . .

BCHLKevin Kraus (Kamloops, Tri-City, 2006-08) is returning to Vernon as an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Vipers. He will work alongside GM/head coach Jason Williamson. A defenceman from Garden Grove, Calif., Kraus played 130 regular-season and 44 playoff games with the Vipers, helping them to two national championships. Kraus, 24, spent last season as an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. With the Vipers, he replaces Kris Mallette, now an assistant coach with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. . . .

Kim Dillabaugh has left the Kelowna Rockets after 11 seasons as their goaltending coach. Dillabaugh is moving on to work full-time with the Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings. While working with the Rockets, he also has helped the Kings for the past eight seasons in the area of goaltending development. He will continue in that area with the Kings, but now also will scout for them. The Rockets plan is to hire a goaltending coach to replace Dillabaugh.

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