Saturday, June 24, 2017

Scattershooting about NHL draft ... McGrew, Ferguson intriguing picks ... Emotional week for Patrick

Scattershoot

SCATTERSHOOTING ON NHL DRAFT:

The NHL draft’s first round was held on Friday night in Chicago. Once again it was a gaudy celebration of middle-aged white men parading across the stage and shaking hands with Gary Bettman, the NHL’s commish, on the way.
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The star of Sportsnet’s first-round coverage had to be Sam Cosentino. He isn’t on Twitter, but that doesn’t stop him from knowing his stuff when it comes to draft-eligible hockey players.
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The goofiest thing of draft week may have occurred early on when Colin Campbell, the NHL’s executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, told reporters the league had taken an in-depth look at four playoff games and discovered 60 to 110 uncalled slashes per game. . . . You were watching the playoffs and you saw that; I was watching the playoffs and I saw that. So why did the NHL have to study video to see it?
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The NHL has a rulebook in which slashing is declared illegal. So how could that many go uncalled in one game? Hey, that’s a lot of uncalled hacking and whacking. . . . It was TSN’s Gord Miller who tweeted: “Take out the rulebook and call it.” … Gee, what a crazy idea.
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The Portland Winterhawks had four players selected off their roster during the draft. Two went in the first round, with F Cody Glass going to the Vegas Golden Knights sixth overall and D Henri Jokiharju to the Chicago Blackhawks with the 29th pick. As well, D Brendan De Jong was taken by the Caroling Hurricanes in the sixth round (166th) and F Skyler McKenzie went to the Winnipeg Jets in the seventh round (198th). . . . Meanwhile, four players whose WHL rights belong to the Winterhawks also were drafted. . . . F Ryan Poehling of Lakeville, Minn., was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, 25th overall. Poehling, 18, was a freshman at St. Cloud State last season, putting up seven goals and six assists in 35 games. He is a Portland list player. . . . With the very next pick, the Dallas Stars took G Jake Oettinger, a good friend of Poehling’s who also is from Lakeville. Oettinger, who is to turn 19 on Dec. 18, has completed his freshman season at Boston U. The Winterhawks selected him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . F Scott Reedy of Prior Lake, Minn., was picked by the San Jose Sharks in the fourth round, 102nd overall. Reedy, 18, played last season with the U.S. National U-18 team and is committed to the U of Minnesota for 2017-18. Portland picked him in the fourth round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . . F Cole Guttman of Northridge, Calif., was taken in the sixth round, 180th overall, by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Guttman, 18, played last season with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints and will be the team captain in 2017-18. He has committed to St. Cloud State for 2018-19. The Winterhawks selected him in the eighth round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . . All of this is worth mentioning because F Kieffer Bellows, 19, has decided to leave Boston U after one season and join the Winterhawks, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2013 bantam draft. The New York Islanders took Bellows in the first round, 19th overall, of the NHL’s 2016 draft.
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One of the draft’s more intriguing selections came in the sixth round when the San Jose Sharks took F Jake McGrew of the Spokane Chiefs with the 159th pick. McGrew, an 18-year-old from Orange, Calif., didn’t play at all last season after suffering a knee injury. An eighth-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2014 WHL bantam draft, McGrew had a goal and two assists in six exhibition games when he was hurt in practice. . . . In 2015-16, he put up 29 goals and 18 assists in 32 games with the U-16 Los Angeles Jr. Kings.
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Another intriguing move came in the seventh round when the Dallas Stars took G Dylan Ferguson of the
DYLAN FERGUSON
Kamloops Blazers with the 194th overall pick. Ferguson, from Lantzville, B.C., spent the past two seasons backing up Connor Ingram with the Blazers. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Ferguson got into only 16 games in 2015-16, going 4-10-0, 4.13, .875. Last season, he played in 31 games and was 16-10-2, 2.74, .922. . . . Ferguson played most of those 2016-17 games in December and early January, while Ingram was with Canada’s national junior team. Ferguson lit it up, too — he was 9-4-1 while Ingram was away — resulting in a lot of scouts showing up in Kamloops after Christmas when they knew he would be starting. . . . With Ingram, 20, expected to play in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization in 2017-18, Ferguson, who turns 19 on Sept. 20, should be the Blazers’ starter. . . . Don’t forget, too, that Tom Gaglardi, the Stars’ owner, also is the majority owner of the Blazers.
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The WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds had one player selected on Saturday and another traded. . . . D Jarret Tyszka, 18, was taken by the Montreal Canadiens in the fifth round, 149th overall. He will play
KEEGAN KOLESAR
his third season in Seattle in 2017-18. . . . Meanwhile, veteran F Keegan Kolesar was acquired by the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. They gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a second-round selection, No. 45, in return. Originally, that pick had belonged to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Golden Knights got it from Tampa Bay for agreeing to take D Jason Garrison off the Lightning’s roster in the expansion drafat. . . . Columbus promptly took French F Alexandre Texier. . . . The Blue Jackets had taken Kolesar in the third round of the 2015 NHL draft. . . . The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Kolesar, now 20, is from Brandon. He had 26 goals and 34 assists in 54 games last season, then was the leading scorer in the WHL playoffs with 31 points, including 12 goals, in 19 games. . . . Kolesar signed with the Blue Jackets on Dec. 20, 2015. He is expected to begin the season with the Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.
"I left Winnipeg for Columbus at 7 (a.m.) because we have development camp this weekend," Kolesar told Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press on Saturday afternoon. "I land in Chicago and they call me and tell me I just got traded to Vegas. I'm in Columbus in a hotel room right now and I've gotta leave tomorrow or the next day for camp in Vegas. So, it's been a whirlwind, not even 24 hours for me.” . . . That story is right here.
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The NHL’s 31 teams combined to select 89 players off the rosters of the 60 CHL teams — 42 from the OHL, 33 from the WHL and 14 from the QMJHL. . . . The number of players selected from WHL teams, starting in 2017 and going back to 2007: 33, 34, 35, 37, 33, 32, 33, 43, 31, 37, 37. . . .
All told, 17 of the WHL’s 22 teams had at least one player selected. . . . The Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans each had four players go, while the Brandon Wheat Kings, Medicine Hat Tigers and Spokane Chiefs were at three. . . . The Swift Current Broncos, Regina Pats, Kootenay Ice and Kelowna Rockets each had two players taken, with one player being drafted from each of the Moose Jaw Warriors, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Red Deer Rebels, Prince Albert Raiders, Victoria Royals, Prince George Cougars, Seattle Thunderbirds and Kamloops Blazers. . . . Shut out of this draft were the Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Everett Silvertips, Saskatoon Blades and Vancouver Giants.
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And, finally, condolences to Nolan Patrick and his family on the death of their grandmother and mother, June. Nolan, a forward with the Brandon Wheat Kings, was the second overall pick in the draft, taken by the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday. He had a big week, too, including throwing out the ceremonial pitch prior to a Wednesday game at Wrigley Field. You can bet that he did it all with a heavy heart, his grandmother having died on June 16 in Winnipeg. She was the mother of Nolan's father, Steven, and uncle, James, who is the Kootenay Ice's head coach. . . . A complete obituary is right here.
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F Dustin Sylvester (Kootenay, 2004-10) has signed a one-year extension with Dornbirn (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he had 14 goals and 22 assists in 46 games. . . . 
F Tomáš Netík (Medicine Hat, 2000-01) has signed a one-year contract with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and four assists in 20 games, and two goals in nine games with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). . . .
F John Dahlström (Medicine Hat, 2016-17) has signed a two-year contract with Almtuna Uppsala (Sweden, Allsvenskan). Last season, with the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL), he had 30 goals and 29 assists in 63 games.
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Next up: The CHL import draft is scheduled for Wednesday, starting at 8 a.m. PT. It is held via telephone. . . . The Kootenay Ice is scheduled to be the first WHL team to make a selection. That will be the third-overall pick, behind the OHL’s Barrie Colts and the QMJHL’s Moncton Screaming Eagles. . . . The order of selection is right here.
chl.ca/draft
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The Red Deer Rebels have signed F Jace Isley, who was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Isley, who won’t turn 15 until July 14, is from Grande Prairie, Alta. Last season, he had a goal and 14 assists in 23 games with a bantam prep team at OHA Edmonton.
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F Harrison Blaisdell, 16, has committed to play for the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs in 2017-18. Two seasons ago, he had 20 goals and 34 assists in 25 games with a bantam prep team at the Yale academy in Abbotsford, B.C. Last season, with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, he put up 20 goals and 21 assists in 40 regular-season games. . . . Blaisdell, who already has committed to attend North Dakota for 2020-21, is the son of former Regina Pats F Mike Blaisdell, who was a 71-goal man in his only full WHL season. He played one season (1978-79) at the U of Wisconsin, then joined the Pats early in 1979-80. . . . Harrison was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the second round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.
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The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs have acquired F Luke Gingras, 19, and futures from the Vernon Vipers for F Jordan Sandhu, 18. . . . Sandhu, from Richmond, B.C., was a fourth-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. Sandhu has played two seasons with the Bulldogs. He has committed to Arizona State for 2018-19. . . . Gingras, 19, played 114 games with the Saskatoon Blades over the past three seasons, scoring six goals and adding seven assists. The Blades dropped him from their protected list during the 2017 bantam draft. . . . He was a fourth-round pick by the Blades in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . Gingras started last season with the Blades and finished up with the Vipers.
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The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have acquired F Shawn Kennedy, 18, from the CCHL’s Carleton Place Canadians for G Tavin Grant, 19, and futures. . . . Grant played 18 games with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars in 2014-15 and got into one game with them last season. . . . Interestingly, when G Nick McBride, 20, revealed in May that he was leaving the Cougars in order to go to school and with G Ty Edmonds, 20, moving on to the U of Lethbridge, general manager Todd Harkins said told the Prince George Citizen: “I’m not too worried about it because we’ve got young goalies and we have Tavin Grant.” . . . Also on the Cougars’ depth chart is Taylor Gauthier of Calgary, who was the ninth overall pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.
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I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).
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Coaching

Bob Woods is back with Bruce Boudreau. The Minnesota Wild announced Saturday that Woods, who has a long history with Boudreau, its head coach, has signed on as an assistant coach. Woods, 49, was an assistant coach with Buffalo last season, but lost his job as the Sabres went through another regime change. . . . Woods spent two seasons (2014-16) as the GM/head coach of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades. . . . This will be the fourth time Woods will have worked as an assistant coach alongside Boudreau. They were together with the Anaheim Ducks (2012-14), Washington Capitals (2000-12) and the AHL’s Hershey Bears (2005-07). . . . Woods also played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings (1987-89).
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The KHL season has yet to start, but that didn’t keep Dynamo Minsk from relieving head coach Craig Woodcroft of his duties. According to a release from the team, Woodcroft’s contract “was terminated by agreement of the parties.” . . . Dynamo CEO Anatoly Kurilets said the team was willing to move forward with Woodcroft as head coach, but that Woodcroft “wished for the termination of the contract, (so) we agreed . . . without paying severance pay.” . . . Woodcroft, 47, had signed a three-year contract in April 2016. . . . Assistant coaches Rob Davison and Ron Pascoe and trainer Christian Scarfagen also left Dynamo Minsk. Their departures were revealed three days before Woodcroft’s termination was announced.

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Los Angeles draft pick has opportunity to make difference ... Anderson-Dolan ready to be leader in LGBTQ community


One of the 217 selections made in the two-day NHL draft that wrapped up Saturday in Chicago has a chance to have a bigger impact than all the rest combined. The Los Angeles Kings used a second-round
(Photo: @LAKings)
pick, 41st overall, to take F Jaret Anderson-Dolan of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.
Anderson-Dolan, or JAD as he’s come to be known in this Twitter-ruled world, is from Calgary, where his home life was put together by two mothers — Fran and Nancy.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Anderson-Dolan is a terrific WHL player. The puck follows him around and he makes things happen. He followed a 14-goal, 26-point freshman season by putting up 39 goals and 37 assists in 72 games last season.
He has an impeccable work ethic and is mature beyond his 18 years.
He has said repeatedly that he is quite prepared to get involved with the LGBTQ movement. Last season, for a Feb. 26 game against the visiting Kelowna Rockets, he used Pride Tape on a stick for a game. It was all part of a program known as Hockey is for Everyone. His teammates quickly followed suit for the warmup and some, including JAD, kept the tape on for the game.
He was featured in a number of stories from the draft. Here’s what he told Jon Rosen of lakingsinsider.com about living in a two-mother household:
(PHOTO: @spokanechiefs)
“For me, growing up it was really normal. Obviously, I don’t know any other way of growing up. Even though people may say obviously it’s a little bit different, but for me it’s completely normal. For me it kind of gives you a little bit of perspective, just how much the world is changing. I think it’s come a long way in the past couple years, so it’s really cool to be in this situation and have a voice in the community that way.”
He provided Rosen with some insight into his youth, with this:
“Growing up, Nancy, she has her own business with food addiction treatment, so I was raised in a house where we eat well and eat organic food and things like that, so for me, it’s just kind of a habit, just talking about things you can do to get an advantage of your opponent. If I’m disciplined with that, then maybe it’ll give me a little bit of an advantage. I was raised in a house where we eat right, so it’s pretty easy for me.”
He also is a leader, witness his wearing an ‘A’ with the Chiefs and being named captain of Canada’s team at the U-18 worlds.
“It meant a lot,” he told Rosen. “Just to represent Canada is a huge honor. Being named captain was a huge honor, and it was something that was really exciting. I think you learn from your parents. Fran was a leader on almost every hockey team she played for, so I think just being raised right, a lot of credit to my parents. For me, I just try to lead by example.”

With Anderson-Dolan opening up a world of new marketing opportunities for hockey, it will be interesting to see how the WHL handles this situation.
In May, Josh Horton, then with the Spokane Spokesman-Review, wrote a feature on Anderson-Dolan that included this:
“When Anderson-Dolan was going through the WHL bantam draft process, some teams told him and his family they would not take him because of his two mothers.
“Anderson-Dolan, with the talent to be picked in the top five of the draft, slipped all the way to No. 14 to Spokane.”
Anderson-Dolan told Horton:
“I can’t change people’s opinions. If that’s how they feel about it, I’d honestly rather not be in that organization if they’re going to be like that. I’d rather be in an organization with the Chiefs where they support it completely.
“Maybe that ended up with me falling in the draft a little bit, but I don’t really care, honestly.”
What do the Kings think?
Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times tweeted this quote, from Mark Yannetti, the Kings’ director of amateur scouting: “If anyone has a problem, they should screw themselves and find another job. . . . He has two loving, wonderful parents.”
(It may be only a coincidence that in the week leading up to the draft, Los Angeles added former Chiefs head coach Don Nachbaur to its coaching staff as an assistant.)
Interestingly, while all sorts of radio, TV, newspaper and Internet-based reporters were writing about Anderson-Dolan’s home life, a pre-draft feature that was posted on the WHL’s website (whl.ca) on June 19 doesn’t mention it, his mothers or the role his prepared to play away from the arena.
No matter, though, because as JAD told Horton:
“I’m proud of my moms. I’m proud of my uncles, my aunties, everyone I know that is openly gay. I have no shame about it, and neither do they.”
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Meanwhile, in Saskatoon, the Blades, including president Steve Hogle, spent Saturday showing support for that city’s LGBTQ community.




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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Doing some scattershooting ... Dahlstrom returns to Sweden ... Nachbaur off to NHL

Scattershoot

The Vancouver Canucks fired John Tortorella and now he’s the NHL’s coach of the year. The Canucks fired Mike Sullivan and now he’s the head coach of back-to-back Stanley Cup winners. I’m thinking things look good for Willie Desjardins.
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Does anyone know what’s going on with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes? That’s what I thought.
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Hey, Alberta and B.C., you should get rid of those highway signs that encourage drivers to stay right and allow others to pass. Why? Because it seems there are a lot of drivers out there who can’t read.
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With the news that Floyd Mayweather will scrap with Conor McGregor in Las Vegas on Aug. 26, Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen pointed out: “It will also be P.T. Barnum Bobblehead Night.”
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Jeff Pearlman, a well-known author, has penned a book on the USFL, which, of course, involved Donald Trump. Notes Pearlman: “One thing I can say with authority: Donald Trump is the biggest liar I’ve ever written about. Zero integrity.”
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From Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express: “Buck Martinez is a decent broadcaster when he is sitting beside Dan Shulman.” . . . I caught some of the Toronto Blue Jays game on Thursday afternoon and noted that analyst Pat Tabler has dropped any pretence of independence and now sprinkles “we” into  his chattering.
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Greg Cote, in the Miami Herald: “Want the exact definition of ‘your football career is over’? Comeback-attempting Vince Young got cut by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.”
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You take a look at the roster of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and you realize that US$500 million doesn’t buy much these days.
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Did you chuckle the other day when NHL commish Gary Bettman said the NHL isn’t ready for another expansion just yet? Hey, wave US$500 million in front of Bettman’s face and you’ll have a franchise lickety-split.
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Headline at SportsPickle.com: Kevin Durant silences all the critics who said he could never help a 73-9 team win a championship. . . . Headline at TheKicker.com: Durant to spend offseason travelling around booing Rihanna’s concerts.
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Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “With another NBA season coming to an end, commissioner Adam Silver gets to return to his other job: Holding the pitchfork in American Gothic.”
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F John Dahlstrom, 20, won’t be returning to the Medicine Hat Tigers for a second season. He has
signed a two-year contract with Almtuna in his native Sweden. Almtuna plays in the Allsvenskan, which is one level below the SHL. . . . Dahlstrom, a seventh-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 2015 draft, had 30 goals and 29 assists in 63 games with the Tigers last season. . . . He will attend a Chicago prospects camp next month. . . . Had Dahlstrom returned to the Tigers, he would have been a two-spotter — a 20-year-old import. Latvian D Kristians Rubins, the Tigers’ other import last season, also is a two-spotter. . . . Including Rubins, Medicine Hat still has seven 20s on its roster, the others being G Michael Bullion, D Jordan Henderson, D Ty Schultz, D Brad Forrest, F Zach Fischer and F Mark Rassell.
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The Swift Current Broncos have revealed that as of Thursday morning they had sold 1,493 season-ticket packages, “including 137 new season-ticket holders.” . . . The Broncos have stated that their goal is 1,700 before the start of the 2017-18 WHL season. . . . The Broncos have a number of prizes up for grabs, all tied into season-ticket sales, and one fan will receive a season-ticket for life if the goal of 1,700 is reached.
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D Shaun Dosanjh, who played with four different WHL teams last season, will attend York U and play for the Lions in 2017-18. Dosanjh, now 21, is from Richmond, B.C. He began his WHL career with the Vancouver Giants, and finished it up last season with stints with the Prince George Cougars, Kamloops Blazers, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Portland Winterhawks. . . . In 173 regular-season games, he put up four goals and 10 assists. . . . Dosanjh was a third-round pick by the Giants in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft. . . . Victor Findlay (@Finder_24) reports that the Lions also have landed G Keelan Williams, 21, of Calgary. He played 13 games with the Kootenay Ice over two seasons (2014-16). Last season, he was with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.
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The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Trevor Thurston to a WHL contract. Thurston, from Delta, B.C., was a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, Thurston had nine goals and 11 assists in 20 games with a bantam prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy, where he will play again in 2017-18. . . . Trevor is the son of Brent Thurston, who played for the Victoria Cougars and Spokane Chiefs (1988-92). . . . The Blazers now have signed their top three picks from the 2017 bantam draft.
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If you’re a regular here, and even you aren’t, feel free to contribute to the feeding of the Drinnan family by making a donation to the cause. You are able to do so by clicking on the DONATE button and going from there.
BTW, if you want to contact me with some information or just feel like commenting on something, you may email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).
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Coaching

Travis Green has accomplished his goal of becoming a head coach in the NHL. But Green, who is preparing for his first season as the Vancouver Canucks’ head coach, knows that the work is just beginning. Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune has spoken with Green and they talked about that and a whole lot more. It’s all right here.
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NHLDon Nachbaur, the third-winningest coach in WHL regular-season history, has joined the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach. Nachbaur spent the previous seven seasons as the head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, but they parted company after the 2016-17 season despite there being one year left on his contract. . . . Nachbaur, who also coached the Seattle Thunderbirds (1994-2000) and Tri-City Americans (2003-09), has 692 regular-season victories, behind only Ken Hodge (742) and Don Hay (720). . . . Nachbaur and Stevens have a history, having played together with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and AHL’s Hershey Bears and coached together with the AHL‘s Philadelphia Phantoms (2000-02). . . . In Los Angeles, Nachbaur joins head coach John Stevens, who was promoted on April 24, and assistant coach Dave Lowry, who joined the Kings after being the head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Royals.
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NHLStu Barnes, a former WHL/NHL player who owns a piece of the Tri-City Americans, has been added to the Dallas Stars’ coaching staff. Barnes, 46, spent the previous two seasons on the coaching staff at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C. In 2016-17, he was the head coach of the one of the academy’s midget prep teams. . . . Barnes also was an assistant coach in Dallas from 2008-12. . . . He played 16 seasons in the NHL after spending three seasons (1987-90) in the WHL with the New Westminster Bruins and the Americans. . . . In Dallas, he will work alongside head coach Ken Hitchcock. The Stars also have added Rick Wilson to their coaching staff as an assistant. Wilson, a career assistant, was with the St. Louis Blues last season. Wilson spent 15 seasons (1993-2004, 2005-09) on the Stars’ staff. He is a former assistant coach and head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders (1980-88).
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Trevor Letowski, the new head coach of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, has been named an assistant coach with Canada’s national junior team. With Team Canada, he replaces Kris Knoblauch, the former head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters, who now is an assistant with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. In Windsor, Letowski took over from Rocky Thompson, who now is head coach of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. . . . Dominique Ducharme of the QMJHL’s Drummondiville Voltigeurs is back as Canada’s head coach, with Tim Hunter of the Moose Jaw Warriors returning as the other assistant coach.
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The 2019 RBC Cup will be held in Brooks, Alta., May 11-19. The AJHL’s Brooks Bandits will be the host team. This will be the seventh time the event has been held in Alberta. It was in Lloydminster in 2016. The Bandits, who won the RBC Cup in 2013, are the AJHL’s defending champions. The 2018 RBC Cup is scheduled to be played in Chilliwack, B.C. . . . 

Tickets for the seventh annual Young Stars Classic in Penticton, B.C., will go on sale on July 7. The six-game preseason tournament will run from Sept. 8-11, featuring teams of prospects from the host Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Isn't it time to stop hockey's merry-go-round? ... Everett writer looks at 'Tips and NHL ... Hossa to sit out season


Oji Eagles Tomakomai (Japan, Asia HL) have announced that assistant coach Aaron Keller (Kamloops, 1992-96) has “retired.” Keller played 17 seasons in Japan, five with Sapporo and 12 with Oji. He also was on the Japanese national team for nine years. Keller was an assistant coach for Oji and the national team in 2014-15, took off 2015-16 off, then returned to Oji last season. . . . 
F Edgars Kulda (Edmonton, 2012-15) has signed a one-year extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he had three goals and six assists in 39 games. . . .
F Zach Hamill (Everett, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract with Lørenskog (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, with Björklöven Umeå (Sweden, Allsvenskan), he had seven goals and 11 assists in 29 games. . . . 
F Colton Gillies (Saskatoon, 2004-08) has signed a one-year extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, in 43 games, he had eight goals and six assists.
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In 2015-16, at the age of 17, F Nolan Patrick played in 105 games. That included 21 WHL playoff games. In the last few of those games, he tried to play through an injury that turned out to be a sports hernia.
That 105-game total included three games at a U-18 camp, four at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, two in the Canada-Russia series and three at the Memorial Cup. Yes, those 105 games included a whole lot of high-intensity hockey.
Think about it for a moment — 105 games at 17 years of age.
In 2016-17, after undergoing surgery in July and missing training camp, he returned in time for opening night, but spent most of the season battling injuries — it turned out he had a second sports hernia — and
NOLAN PATRICK
played in only 33 games, none in the playoffs.
Patrick, now 18, was one of nearly 200 players invited by Hockey Canada on Tuesday to a summer camp. He will be in Plymouth, Mich., late next month at the camp for national junior team prospects where they will play a series of games against Finland, Sweden and the U.S.
Oh yes, let’s not forget that Patrick is expected to be the first or second selection in the first round of the NHL draft on Friday. (He threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon.) The team that picks him no doubt will hold a prospects camp of some sort in the next two or three weeks.
He won’t turn 19 until Sept. 19.
Meanwhile, let’s take a look at F Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks, another player who will be an early selection on Friday.
Glass, 18, played in 69 regular-season and 11 playoff games in 2016-17, his second WHL season. Those 11 playoff games included six against the Prince George Cougars in a series that was played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, which meant lots and lots and lots of bus travel.
Glass’ WHL season ended on April 14. Almost immediately, he was on a plane to Slovakia where he joined Team Canada in time to play three games at the IIHF U-18 world championship in Poprad and Spisska Nova Ves.
Then it was back to Canada — he’s from Winnipeg — where he had to prepare for the NHL combine that
CODY GLASS
was held in Buffalo, May 28 through June 3. All told, there were 104 players on hand for that event.
After the combine, it was time to get ready for the draft that is scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Chicago.
In the two or three weeks following the draft, many of the NHL teams hold camps for all of their selections.
After that, Glass will head to Plymouth for Hockey Canada’s summer camp that is to run from July 29 through Aug. 5.
Presumably there will be a few days off before it’s time to get to Portland for the start of training camp in late August.
As one fan wrote in a note to Taking Note: “Does anybody else besides me think this is utter and complete madness?”
The fan continued: “When does Glass get to be a kid? . . . When does his body get to recover? . . . You can't tell me that playing and training for hockey nearly all year round is good for you.
“Does anybody care — truly care — about the stress, mentally and physically, that this type of campaign puts on a player like Cody Glass?”
At the same time, the off-season for a bunch of under-18 players ends in late July when they gather in Calgary for a five-day selection camp. The survivors leave on Aug. 2 for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament that is scheduled to be held in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Bratislava, Slovakia.
When Team Canada arrives back home, it will be almost time for the players to head for their club teams and the opening of training camps.
Seriously, it all has become something of a merry-go-round that never stops. If adults aren’t going to get these teenagers off that crazy ride, who will?
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Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has taken an in-depth look at the Everett Silvertips and their place in the world of developing players. How have they done when stack up against other WHL teams when it comes to developing NHL players? . . . Patterson writes: “The Silvertips are heading into their 15th season of existence, a success story that’s seen the team hang seven banners and turn itself into one of the pillars of the community. But something is missing. For everything Everett has accomplished, the Tips are still waiting to establish a firm foothold in the NHL.” . . . Why is that? Patterson tries to answer that question right here. . . .
In looking at the Silvertips’ situation, Patterson also put together a number of charts through which you are able to see how many NHL players have been developed by each WHL team in recent years. . . . This chart right here deals with ex-WHLers who played in the NHL last season and from where they came. . . .
This chart right here features NHL draft picks from WHL teams since 2006. . . .
This chart right here shows former Everett players who have made it to the NHL.
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F Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks hasn’t announced his retirement, but the NHL team revealed Wednesday that he won’t play in 2017-18. . . . “Over the course of the last few years,” Hossa said in a news release, “under the supervision of the Blackhawks medical staff, I have been privately undergoing treatment for a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat the disorder. Due to the severe side effects associated with those medications, playing hockey is not possible for me during the upcoming 2017-18 season. While I am disappointed that I will not be able to play, I have to consider the severity of my condition and how the treatments have impacted my life both on and off the ice.” . . . Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has a good piece right here on what this means to Chicago’s salary cap situation, and whether Hossa, who played one season (1997-98) with the Portland Winterhawks, is a shoo-in as a hall of famer.
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There isn’t an doubt in my mind but that we will be waving farewell to a handful of Western Canadian junior hockey teams over the next few years. There simply are too many teams that are staring into the abyss these days, and something is going to have to give. . . . Stefanie Davis of Yorkton This Week has taken a look at the Yorkton Terriers and a couple of other SJHL teams and the picture isn’t pretty. Davis reports that the Terriers’ season-ticket sales have dropped by 33 per cent, with revenue going from more than $145,000 to $95,000 over the past two seasons. If you ever wondered what it costs to run a junior team, Davis has a lot more figures right here.
Meanwhile, the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, who were talking relocation not that long ago, have approached city council and asked for a grant to help the team through a rough spot until it is able to access gaming monies. Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin has more right here.
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If you’re a regular here, and even you aren’t, feel free to contribute to the feeding of the Drinnan family by making a donation to the cause. You are able to do so by clicking on the DONATE button and going from there.
BTW, if you want to contact me with some information or just feel like commenting on something, you may email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).
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Coaching

David Killip has signed on as an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Kelowna native had been the director of player development with the Western Michigan Broncos for one season after being an assistant coach there in 2015-16. . . . He played for the Silverbacks for three seasons (2008-11) and was the team captain in his final season. . . . He played four seasons at Western Michigan, which is coached by former Silverbacks owner Andy Murray. . . . With Salmon Arm, Killip replaces Darrell Hay, who left last month after one season in the role.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Blazers won't replace departed coach ... Iverson inks pro deal ... Will Hossa have to retire?


F Rodrigo Ābols (Portland, 2015-17) has signed a two-year contract with Örebro (Sweden, SHL). Last season, with he had one assist in two games with the Portland WInterhawks (WHL), then moved east and had 18 goals and 32 assists in 52 games with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL). . . .
D Dalton Yorke (Kelowna, Prince Albert, Tri-City, 2012-17) has signed a one-year contract with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). Last season, he had 15 assists in 72 games with Tri-City. Yorke has dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .
F Filip Ahl (Regina, 2016-17) has signed a one-year contract with Örebro (Sweden, SHL). Last season, he had 28 goals and 20 assists in 54 games with Regina.
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The Kamloops Blazers revealed on Tuesday that they won’t be replacing veteran assistant coach Terry Bangen. He left to join the Worcester Railers, an expansion team that will begin play in the ECHL in 2017-18.
Jamie Russell, who is a Kamloops native, is the general manager and head coach in Worcester and was able to get Bangen to head east.
The remainder of the Blazers’ coaching staff will remain intact, with Don Hay back for a fourth season. Hay will go into the 2017-18 season with 720 regular-season coaching victories, just 22 shy of the record held by Ken Hodge, who coached with the original Edmonton Oil Kings and the Portland Winterhawks.
Mike Needham is returning for a fourth season as Hay’s lead assistant, while Chris Murray is back for a fourth season in a part-time role. Dan De Palma will begin an eighth season as the club’s goaltending coach.
As well, Colin (Toledo) Robinson returns for a 13th season as the team’s athletic trainer. This will be his 22nd season in the WHL.
The Blazers also will have Matt Recchi back as the director of player personnel, with Ken Fox returning as head scout.
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F Keegan Iverson, the captain of last season’s Portland Winterhawks, has signed an AHL contract with the Ontario Reign, which is affiliated with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. . . . Iverson played 293 regular-season games over six seasons with the Winterhawks. He put up 190 points, including 80 goals. . . . Last season, as a 20-year-old, he had 26 goals and 44 assists in 55 games. . . . He also played for the Winterhawks as they won the WHL’s 2013 championship. . . . From St. Louis Park, Minn., Iverson was selected by the New York Rangers in the third round of the NHL’s 2014 draft but they never signed him.
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Stefan Burzan of Surrey, B.C., is the new general manager of the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He takes over from Rob Evers, who now is the team’s head coach. . . . Burzan, 22, was a sixth-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL’s 2009 bantam draft and played two games with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 2011-12. . . . He presently is a business student at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
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Hockey Canada has invited about 200 players and all kinds of support staff to various summer camps. For more info, including rosters, check out Hockey Canada’s website. At the same time, let’s banish all thoughts about summer hockey being a nuisance and admit that when the governing body gets involved like this it officially is declaring hockey a year-round thing. So, kids, forget about playing more than one sport and forget about golfing and fishing and ice cream at the Snack Shack. Hey, get back into the gym, then get the blades sharpened and hit the ice. There no longer is an off-season when it comes to hockey.
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Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada has filed his weekly 30 Thoughts, and he leads with a piece on former Portland Winterhawks F Marian Hossa. Friedman reports that Hossa has developed a nasty allergy, one that involves the hockey gear that he wears, and may have to retire. . . . That, and so much more, is right here.
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If you enjoy stopping off here and catching up with goings-on in the hockey world and especially the WHL, you may want to make a donation to the cause. You are able to do so by clicking on the DONATE button and going from there.
BTW, if you want to contact me with some information or just feel like commenting on something, you are free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).
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Coaching

The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads have named Jim Midgley as their new head coach. He takes over from Andre Tourigny, who left to become head coach of the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. . . . Midgley spent the past six seasons with as an assistant coach in Halifax, one working alongside Tourigny and five with Dominique Ducharme. . . . Midgley also has been on the coaching staff of the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, as well as the Acadia U Axemen.
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Kyle Adams is the new head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. Adams has junior A coaching experience in B.C., Alberta and the Maritimes. . . . He spent last season with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs as assistant GM/associate coach. . . . The Thunder recently underwent an ownership change. . . . Adams takes over from Jesse Dorrans, who resigned in May.


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Monday, June 19, 2017

Americans get d-man from Blazers ... Pats lose forward to Sweden ... Meet Silvertips' valedictorian


F Matěj Stránský (Saskatoon, 2010-13) has signed a two-year contract with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL) after his KHL rights were traded to Cherepovets by CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) for cash considerations. Last season, with the Texas Stars (AHL), he had a team-high 27 goals, along with 20 assists, in 76 games.
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The Tri-City Americans have acquired D Dan Gatenby, 19, from the Kamloops Blazers. The news release from the Americans didn’t indicate what went the other way; the Blazers’ release indicates that they received a conditional seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.
Gatenby had a goal and six assists in 41 games with Kamloops last season. In 2015-16, he had one assist in 22 games with the Kelowna Rockets.
Gatenby struggled to get ice time behind some experienced defencemen in Kamloops, especially as the Blazers made a late-season run in an attempt to finish atop the B.C. Division.
The Blazers acquired Gatenby and his brother, Joe, along with a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft, from the Rockets for F Jake Kryski on Aug. 18.
Joe Gatenby, also a defenceman, is eligible to return to the Blazers for his 20-year-old season. He is one of six 20s on Kamloops’ roster, with F Rudolfs Balcers (San Jose Sharks), G Connor Ingram (Tampa Bay Lightning) and F Devon Sideroff (Anaheim Ducks) likely to play pro next season. That would leave Gatenby, F Nick Chyzowski and F Nic Holowko as holdovers.
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One and done — that describes Swedish F Filip Ahl’s WHL career. Ahl played last season with the
Regina Pats but will spend next season with Örebro HK in Sweden’s top professional league. . . . Ahl, who turned 20 on June 12, was a fourth-round pick by the Ottawa Senators in the NHL’s 2015 draft. With the Pats, he put up 28 goals and 20 assists in 54 games, then added five goals and 13 assists in 20 playoff games. . . . Of course, had he returned to Regina he would have been trying to make the Pats’ roster as a two-spotter — a 20-year-old import. . . . Regina has six 20s on its roster — F Matt Bradley, an off-season acquisition from the Medicine Hat Tigers, G Tyler Brown, D Connor Hobbs, F Wyatt Sloboshan, F Austin Wagner and Russian D Sergey Zborovskiy. However, Hobbs (Washington Capitals), Wagner (Los Angeles Kings) and Zborovskiy (New York Rangers) may well move on to the pro ranks.
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F Brian King of the Everett Silvertips was the valedictorian at Everett High School, and he did it at Xfinity Arena, which is where he spends so much of his time as a WHL player. The league’s scholastic player of the year graduated with a 4.0 GPA. . . . King, 18, is from Golden, Colo. He has eight goals and 19 assists in 122 games over two seasons with the Silvertips.
Jesse Gelenyse of the Everett Herald has more right here.
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If you’re a regular here, and even you aren’t, feel free to contribute to the feeding of the Drinnan family by making a donation to the cause. You are able to do so by clicking on the DONATE button and going from there.
BTW, if you want to contact me with some information or just feel like commenting on something, you may email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).
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