Scattershooting, after watching Patrick Marleau score No. 500. . . .
The WHL pooh-bahs are flocking to Las Vegas this weekend for their semi-annual meeting, once again thumbing their noses at the cities that are inhabited by their franchises. Why not go to Prince Albert or Swift Current or Cranbrook or Brandon or . . .
Or, hey, why not take the semi-annual show into Nanaimo and give the fans there a taste of the league while throwing around some cash? After all, the WHL is hoping that taxpayers there will build them an $80-million arena that would be home to the transplanted Kootenay Ice.
On the subject of the Ice, F Adam Cracknell, who played with it from 2002-06, has written a letter to the Kootenay Advertiser, pleading with fans to support the team so that it doesn’t leave Cranbrook. “If we can keep the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, we all win,” writes the Dallas Stars forward, who makes his offseason home in Cranbrook. “Without it, our town stands way more to lose than just the team. Supporting the Ice means supporting Cranbrook, and that’s good for everyone. Don’t just sit back and let them go. Get your friends and family together and get out to a game.” . . . The complete letter is right here.
Last summer, Ken Hitchcock, the head coach of the St. Louis Blues and a sure-fire Hall of Famer, said this would be his final season as an NHL head coach. Hitchcock was fired on Wednesday, victimized by poor goaltending as much as anything. You have to think that Hitchcock isn’t going to want a firing to be his final chapter. Hello, Vegas Golden Knights. . . .
These are tough times for some Kamloops Blazers legends. Ken Hitchcock, who holds the franchise record for regular-season victories by a head coach, has been fired. Meanwhile, F Shane Doan (Arizona Coyotes) and F Jarome Iginla (Colorado Avalanche), both of whom own chunks of the Blazers, aren’t going to see the NHL playoffs unless they get traded. Both have let it be known that, yes, a change of scenery would be OK.
Asked on Wednesday for his take on the temporary travel ban placed on some refugees by the U.S. government, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell bailed, saying: “As commissioner of the NFL, I’m singularly focused on the Super Bowl right now.” . . . Italian poet Dante Alighieri, who died in 1321, is credited with having said: “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”
Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots, will get the seat to Goodell’s right. When Belichick was asked about those refugee-related goings-on, he responded: “I’m focused on the Atlanta Falcons.” . . . He was asked a second time. The reply: “I’m focused on Atlanta.”
Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, has said that he is doing to take a look at a lot of things as he ponders a number of serious, long-term injuries that have hit his club over the past two seasons. Will the WHL schedule be one of them? Yes, that same schedule that too many times has teams playing three games in fewer than 48 hours or four games in five nights.
We are into February and the WHL’s 2016-17 Official Guide and Record Book still isn’t available for download. Wouldn’t it be nice if the WHL put an explanation up on its website, something that let its fan know what has gone wrong and when/if the Guide might be available?
Howard Tsumura provided top-notch coverage of high school and university sports for the Vancouver Province until Postmedia let him walk earlier this week. A couple of days later, Tsumura announced a new sponsored website (varsityletters.ca) that will be a one-stop shop for all of his coverage. So now those interested in B.C.’s high school and university athletic scenes don’t have to bother with a newspaper or its website.
F Kevin Sundher (Chilliwack/Victoria, Brandon, 2007-12) has signed a contract with Olomouc (Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. He had five goals and 12 assists in 23 games with the Reading Royals (ECHL) this season before requesting his release.
— Corey Graham (@CoreyGraham) February 2, 2017
On Wednesday, Jesse Geleynse of the Everett Herald tweeted that Kevin Constantine, the Everett Silvertips’ head coach, had said that he doubted any team had been scheduled to play seven games in nine days “in the history of the league.”
The Silvertips, of course, are into one such stretch.
On Thursday, we learned otherwise.
The MacBeth Report flashed back about 30 years with this:
“Constantine's claim that no one has ever done seven games in nine nights is incorrect. When I was with the Victoria Cougars in the 1980s, we always did our eastern swing — back when you played every team in the other conference twice — as eight games in 10 nights in eight different cities. We played Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.”
You knew that TBird Tidbits would do some research, too. That’s what happened and it resulted in this tweet: “I'm assuming some sarcasm but it has happened before. Most recently for TBirds was Feb 9-17, 2008.(Actually happened 2x that season.)”
The Silvertips finish the 7-in-9 stretch on Saturday when they entertain the Vancouver Giants.
Everett then heads out for its East Division tour when it will play six times in nine days.
When it meets the Broncos in Swift Current on Feb. 18, Everett will have played 13 games in 23 days.
The Spokane Chiefs have signed assistant coach Scott Burt to a contract extension that runs through the end of next season. Burt, 39, is in his fourth season on the Chiefs’ coaching staff. He joined the Chiefs after spending two seasons as an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. From Mackenzie, B.C., Burt played four seasons in the WHL, making stops with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels.
The Everett Silvertips made a couple of roster moves on Thursday. . . . They returned F Cal Babych, 20, to the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, while F Dawson Butt, 16, has gone back to the U-16 Everett Jr. Silvertips. . . . Both players got into two games with the Silvertips and were pointless.
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Sorry to hear of the passing of former @SJHLTerriers Coach Lee Odelein, who was living in Honduras. He was 49.— SJHL (@theSJHL) February 2, 2017
Lee Odelein, from Quill Lake, Sask., was a brother to Lyle and Selmar Odelein, both of whom played in the WHL. Lee was the head coach of the Yorkton Terriers from 1993-98. . . . He was the owner/manager of a bar named Rehab in Honduras. . . . Selmar played three seasons (1983-86) with the Regina Pats; Lyle spent three seasons (1985-88) with the Moose Jaw Warriors.
— Saskatoon Blades (@BladesHockey) February 2, 2017
No Games Scheduled.
FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):
Edmonton at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Portland at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
Moose Jaw vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Red Deer at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Regina at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Kamloops vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.
Calgary vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.
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