Monday, August 4, 2014

Pats appear to have their man

F James Henry (Vancouver, Moose Jaw, 2006-12) has signed a tryout contract with Dresdner Eislöwen (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with the Stockton Thunder (ECHL), he had 36 points, 14 of them goals, in 66 games. . . .
F Martin Podlešák (Tri-City, Lethbridge, 2000-02) has signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). Last season, Podlešák, with Hradec Králové (Czech Republic, Extraliga), had seven points, three of them goals, in 23 games. He also had one goal in 23 games with Litoměřice (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). . . .
D Darrell Hay (Tri-City, 1996-2000) has signed a one-year contract with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite). Last season, with the Tohoku Free Blades Hachinohe (Japan, Asia HL), he had 30 points, including 11 goals, in 42 games. He led the league’s defencemen in goals.
The Sunday edition of the Vancouver Province included a question-and-answer piece featuring sports columnist Ed Willes and Trevor Linden, the president of the Vancouver Canucks.
NHLThe most interesting part of the interview comes at the end.
“You’ve had some interesting things to say about the role of fighting in the game,” Willes says. “Do you think things are changing there?”
Linden responds:
“Fighting is supposed to be there to protect our top players. I’m not sure it has that effect. I think that happened in the ’70s and ’80s, but I think that ended when the game progressed. I don’t speak for every fan, but I think there are a lot of fans out there who don’t understand the staged fight. Within the context of the game it isn’t relevant. Everyone loves playoff hockey and we saw incredible games in these playoffs. It was hard-hitting, fast and intense. And, generally speaking, fighting isn’t part of playoff hockey.
“Some of the best parts of our game are the hitting and clean body contact. The reaction now is to go after that guy. I don’t know what the answer is but we have to look at it. I’m open to having the conversation but I think we have to look at being progressive. I think (Tampa Bay Lightning GM) Steve Yzerman shares the same views. I know it’s not popular with some people.”
Hearing the president of an NHL club, a man who played the game at an extremely high level, talk like that makes me think that fighting in the NHL is one step closer to the precipice. In recent times, more and more NHL teams, like the Canucks and Tampa Bay, have inserted young men, all of them former players, into their front offices and have given them lots of authority.
To hear Linden talk like that makes me think that this conversation is an on-going exchange between the likes of Linden, Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Ron Hextall, Brad Treliving, Brad Pascall and other young guns who populate NHL team front offices these days.
If that’s the case, it can’t be good for fight fans.
The complete interview is right here.

The Regina Pats have signed John Paddock as their new head coach. Paddock, 60, is believed to have gotten the job ahead of former Saskatoon Blades head coach Dave Struch. . . . Struch now may end up as the general manager and head coach of the Humboldt Broncos. Dean Brockman, their former GM/head coach, now is an assistant coach with the Blades. . . . Paddock, from Oak River, Man., has played in the WHL, with the Brandon Wheat Kings (1972-74), but has never coached junior hockey. He has a 589-438-98 record as an AHL head coach and has been a member of that league’s hall of fame since 2010. Paddock also has NHL coaching experience with the Winnipeg Jets (1991-95) and Ottawa Senators (2007-08). . . . For the past five seasons, Paddock has been in the Philadelphia Flyers’ organization, either as an assistant GM or assistant coach. The Flyers announced on June 18 that he wouldn’t be back with them. . . . With Regina, Paddock replaces Malcolm Cameron, who was fired by the Pats’ new owners on June 22. . . . The Pats, who are scheduled to open training camp on Aug. 21, are the only one of the WHL's 22 teams without a head coach at this point. When they get a coach signed, they will be the 10th WHL team to have done so this off-season.
In reporting that the Pats and John Paddock are working out the final details of a contract, Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post also writes that “Paddock is expected to hold a dual role with management powers, including hockey operations control. It wasn't immediately clear what that means for the future of senior vice-president/GM Chad Lang, whose responsibilities would be altered under a new hierarchy -- if he elects to stay with the organization.”
Harder wasn’t able to reach Lang for comment. It’s never a positive sign when a hockey executive in Lang’s position can’t be reached for comment at a time like this. It’s worth noting that Lang has a year left on his contract.
Perhaps it is only fitting that the Regina Pats have been searching for a head coach and two assistants as the legendary Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry prepares to celebrate its centennial. And who better to write about that centennial than the great Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail. His piece is right here and, yes, it's terrific.
As mentioned here last week, Dale Hughesman, the father of former Tri-City Americans star F Adam Hughesman, died last week after a long battle with cancer. Dale was 51. A celebration of life is scheduled for Thursday, 1 p.m., at the North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Churct as 131 Gateway Road in Winnipeg. A private internment with family will occur at a later date. There is an online guest book at The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to CancerCare Manitoba or in Dale's name to River East Minor Hockey, 2Nations Female Hockey, Winnipeg Minor Hockey, or Hockey Manitoba. . . . The obituary that appears in today’s Winnipeg Free Press is right here.
LeBron James isn’t the only NBAer who is coming home. Check this out right here. It’s another NBAer announcing that he’s coming home and, gee, the whole thing just might sound a little bit familiar, but a whole lot funnier.

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