Thursday, December 18, 2014

If WHL playoffs started today . . . Ch-ch-ching! . . . Rids can't believe it!

D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) has reassigned by the Minnesota Wild (NHL) from the Alaska Aces (ECHL) to the Augsburger Panther (Germany, DEL). This season, with Alaska, he had four assists in 20 games. . . .
F Tyler Spurgeon (Kelowna, 2001-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Thurgau (Switzerland, NL B). This season, with the Ontario Reign (ECHL), he had two goals and eight assists in 12 games. He was pointless in one game with the Adirondack Flames (AHL). . . .
G Alexander Pechursky (Tri-City, 2009-11) has been traded by Metallurg Magnitogorsk to Amur Khabarovsk (both Russia, KHL) for G Alexei Murygin. This season, in nine games with Magnitogorsk, Pechursky was 2-6-0, 2.40, .910.


In case you have forgotten, the WHL has redone its playoff format.
This season, it is using a formula that involves conference standings, division standings and wild cards.
Yes, it’s wild.
With the league on its Christmas break -- the next games are scheduled for Dec. 27 -- let’s take a look at what would happen were the playoffs to start today.
Under the new format, eight teams from each conference will qualify for the playoffs. It all starts with the top three teams from each division advancing. After that, the remaining two spots on each side go to wild-card entries -- the two teams in each conference with the most points.
As of this moment, here are the qualifiers, with their point totals:
East Division

Brandon         52
Regina         42
Swift Current     38
Central Division
Medicine Hat    50
Calgary        41
Red Deer        40
Wild cards
Edmonton        37
Kootenay        36
B.C. Division

Kelowna        59
Victoria        37
Prince George    34
U.S. Division
Everett        44
Portland        41
Spokane        39
Wild cards
Tri-City        35
Vancouver        32
(Note: Vancouver and Seattle are tied, with 32 points, for what right now is the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. Were this the end of the regular season, they would meet in a play-in game in Vancouver. For the sake of this exercise, I have given the spot to Vancouver on the basis of more victories -- 16-14.)
In the first round of the playoffs, the division winners go up against the wild-card entries, with the team with the most points meeting the team with the fewest points. All playoff series are best-of-seven affairs.
In the Eastern Conference, that would be:
Brandon vs. Kootenay
Medicine Hat vs. Edmonton
In the Western Conference, that would be:
Kelowna vs. Vancouver
Everett vs. Tri-City
Meanwhile, the second- and third-place teams in each division would meet:
Regina vs. Swift Current
Calgary vs. Red Deer
Victoria vs. Prince George
Portland vs. Spokane
For the second round, the teams stay within their brackets with the winners meeting. Home-ice advantage in each series goes to the team with the most regular-season points. . . . And on it goes.

The Medicine Hat Tigers have done their bit for Christmas. Give it a look right here.
There were issues with a gate early in a Wednesday night game between the Kamloops Blazers and the host Medicine Hat Tigers. Sean Rooney of the Medicine Hat News covered that story like a blanket and it’s all right here. Yes, it’s worth reading. (Kamloops head coach Don Hay suggested that the game, which was delayed almost an hour, should have been forfeited to the Blazers. Whoa! He was joking.)
If you are interested in the KHL and the latest developments, make sure you are following Slava Malamud on Twitter. You are able to do that right here. . . . On Thursday, he live-tweeted the KHL owners’ meeting. ---
Neil Doef, a promising young hockey player with the Smiths Falls, Ont., Bears, suffered a serious injury during a Junior A Challenge game in Kindersley, Sask., on Sunday. . . . Don Butler of the Ottawa Citizen has more right here, including various avenues open should you wish to make a donation in support of Doef and his family.
Peter Anholt says his Lethbridge Hurricanes aren’t quite the 1977 Montreal Canadiens. Yes, the Hurricanes’ new general manager and head coach brought his sense of humour to Lethbridge with him. Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.
Sy Berger, who was the father of the modern baseball card, died Sunday at the age of 91. If you are of a certain age, you will remember when Topps was the only name in the area of collectible baseball cards. Tyler Kepner of The New York Times remembers right here.
And now for something completely different. . . . If you’ve been wondering what’s going on with Sony, North Korea, hackers, the movie The Interview . . . well, Mike Fleming Jr. of has spoken with George Clooney. That story is right here and it’s a good read.
Department of Discipline

The WHL has suspended two players for a game each and fined two teams a total of $2,000 following a line brawl on Wednesday night. The Moose Jaw Warriors and host Prince Albert went at it in the final minute of the Raiders’ 5-1 victory. . . . Moose Jaw F Jaimen Yakubowski and Prince Albert D Mackenze Stewart won’t play on Dec. 27 as each sits out a one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the last five minutes of a game. The Warriors are at home to the Brandon Wheat Kings, while the Raiders are scheduled to entertain the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Meanwhile, the Warriors and Raiders each was fined $500 for having a player instigate a fight in the last five minutes and another $500 for being involved in their first multi-fight situation of the season. . . . Ch-ch-ching! The cheques should arrived in the WHL office just in time for some last-minute Christmas shopping.


The way things are going, the shopping trip for a new computer will happen before too long. If you are a regular in these parts and feel like chipping in, don’t be bashful. Just click on the donate button and away you go. . . . As of late Thursday, the blog master’s computer fund was at $1,015, thanks to the generosity of 19 readers just like you.

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