Monday, May 25, 2015

Rockets back in the game . . . James facing another charge . . . Former enforcer pleads guilty








F Toni Rajala (Brandon, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Luleå (Sweden, SHL). This season, with Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia, KHL), he had three goals and nine assists in 21 games. In 31 games with Färjestad Karlstad (Sweden, SHL), he had 27 points, including 14 goals. . . .

KHLThe KHL ‘Junior Fair’ or entry draft was held on Saturday, and two players with WHL connections were selected. . . . F Jordan Weal (Regina, 2007-12) went in the third round (69th overall) to Sochi. This season, with the Manchester Monarchs (AHL), he had 20 goals and 49 assists in 73 games. Weal was third in the AHL scoring race and was named a second-team all-star. . . . G Patrik Bartosak (Red Deer, 2011-13) was taken in the fifth round (125th overall) by Dynamo Minsk. This season, with Manchester, he was 2.23 and .919 in 28 games. . . . The KHL draft is open to Russian players age 17 and non-Russian players ages 17-23 who don’t have any contractual ties to any KHL or other Russian club.
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F Nick Merkley scored on Kelowna’s first shot of the game last night and the Rockets went on to a 7-3 victory over the Rimouski Oceanic in the fourth game of the Memorial Cup in Quebec City. . . . Attendance was 6,981. . . . The Rockets are 1-1; the Oceanic is 0-2. . . . The Oshawa Generals are 2-0, while the host Quebec Remparts are 1-1. . . . The Rockets will play the Generals tonight. Should Oshawa win, it will get a bye into Sunday’s final. . . . The Oceanic is scheduled to play the Remparts on Wednesday. A victory by Kelowna tonight and Rimouski on Wednesday would put the Rockets into the final. . . . From Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports Canada: “The Oceanic, which gave up six or more goals for only the third time since Jan. 1, must defeat Quebec on Wednesday in order to advance to a tiebreaker game. Coach-GM Serge Beausoleil's team is 5-0 against the Remparts at the Colisée since both teams finalized their rosters at the QMJHL trade deadline.” . . . Last night, Merkley scored twice and added an assist, getting both goals after kicking the puck from a skate to his stick. . . . The Rockets led 3-0 before the first period was 15 minutes old, and took a 3-2 lead into the second period. . . . Rimousk’s chances at victory ended when the Rockets scored the only three goals of the second period. . . . Kelowna also got two goals and an assist from F Leon Draisaitl, who is riding a 10-game point streak, while D Madison Bowey had a goal and two helpers, and F Gage Quinney scored twice. . . . F Cole Linaker was terrific for Kelowna. He only had one assist, but was 12-for-21 on faceoffs and had a solid defensive night. . . . Draisaitl and Rimouski F Frederik Gauthier, touted as two of the top centres, struggled at the dots. Draisaitl was 11-for-25; Gauthier was 12-for-29. . . . Rimouski opened with Louis-Philip Guindon in goal, but he left after Kelowna took a 5-2 lead. He stopped 17 shots. Philippe Desrosier came on to stop 12 of 14 shots. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistle turned aside 28 shots. . . . Rimouski was 2-for-6 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-for-5. . . . Draisaitl’s second goal, the last one of the game, came while the Rockets were shorthanded.
——
Here is the Memorial Cup schedule (all games on Sportsnet; all times Eastern):
Friday, May 22: Kelowna 3 vs. Quebec 4 (9,497)
Saturday, May 23: Rimouski 3 vs. Oshawa 4 (8,409)
Sunday, May 24: Quebec 4 vs. Oshawa 5 (OT) (10,970)
Monday, May 25: Rimouski 3 vs. Kelowna 7 (6,981)
Tuesday: Oshawa vs. Kelowna, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Quebec vs. Rimouski, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday: Tiebreaker, if necessary, 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Semifinal, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: Championship game, 7 p.m.
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Graham James is facing yet another sexual assault-related charge.
It was revealed Monday that the 63-year-old James, who coached in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors (1984-85), Swift Current Broncos (1986-94) and Calgary Hitmen (1995-96), has been charged with one count of repeated sexual assaults.
Lawyer Robert Skinner of Regina represented James by phone with Swift Current provincial court on
GRAHAM JAMES
Monday. James has waived a preliminary hearing, electing to be tried by judge alone in Court of Queen’s Bench. His next appearance is scheduled for June 19.
On Monday, the judge in Swift Current issued a publication ban in order to protect the identity of the alleged victim.
According to the RCMP, a former Broncos player came forward with a complaint on Sept. 27, 2013. The complainant has said the alleged assaults took place in 1991 and 1992.
James is in prison, although prosecutors have not said where. He is in the final weeks of a sentence he received in 2012 for sexual assaults on former NHL/WHL star Theo Fleury, while he was with the Warriors, and his cousin, Todd Holt, when he was with the Broncos. In that case, James originally was sentenced to two years, but that was increased to five years on appeal.
As news of the latest charges hit social media, Fleury tweeted:
“By the time a pedophile gets caught he has over 120 victims, not surprised by the news of Graham James.
"For all of you asking if I'm ok, I appreciate it and it just gives me more conviction to keep fighting. I have a great life #epidemic.”
Prior to the Fleury/Holt-related sentence, James served 3 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, while he was with the Broncos, and two other players.
You may recall that the National Parole Board gave James a pardon in 2007, something that resulted in a huge outpouring of outrage and, later, a tightening of the rules regarding such situations.
Kennedy told the Calgary Sun on Monday that he was aware of the latest charge against James, adding that he wasn’t “at all surprised.”
“When the police did the investigation in my case,” Kennedy told 660News, a Calgary radio station, “they figured there was anywhere from 75 to 100 other victims.
“I go back to thinking about how important it is for the individual, that we focus on them as they came forward and I know that there’s going to be some struggles as they go through the process.
“Graham James is hopefully not getting out of jail anytime soon.”
——
“A former National Hockey League enforcer has pleaded guilty to a string of criminal charges dating back to last year,” writes Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week. “Rudy Poeschek was in Kamloops provincial court on Monday, where he entered guilty pleas to four counts — three allegations of driving while prohibited and one count of assault. He will be sentenced on July 2.” . . . Petruk’s complete story is right here.
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THE COACHING GAME:

QMJHLBradley Flynn has joined the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan as an assistant coach under head coach Mario Pouliot. . . . Flynn, the son of Saint John Sea Dogs head coach Danny Flynn, will work with fellow assistant Jean-François Grégoire. . . . Bradley Flynn had been an assistant coach with the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays. . . . The Titan also has added Nathan Dunnett as its goaltending coach. He played in the QMJHL with the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Most recently, he has been with the Maritime Hockey League’s Miramichi Timberwolves.
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OHLThe OHL’s Peterborough Petes are expected to announce today that they have added Jake Grimes to their coaching staff as an assistant under head coach Jody Hull. . . . Grimes spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach with the Belleville Bulls. The Belleville franchise has been sold and the Bulls now are the Hamilton Bulldogs.
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The four-team 2016 Cyclone Taylor Cup will be held in Victoria, April 7-10. The Cyclone Taylor Cup is the B.C. junior B championship. The Victoria Cougars of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League will be the host team. The tournament also includes the champions from the VIJHL, Kootenay International and Pacific junior leagues. . . . The VIJHL’s Campbell River Storm won the tournament this year in Mission.
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Trent Yawney, once a WHL defenceman (Saskatoon, 1981-85), is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks these days and is playing an important role in their playoff run. Eric Duhatschek of The Globe and Mail explains it all right here. . . . Brad Lauer, a former WHL player and coach, also is on the Ducks’ coaching staff.
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Mike O’Brien, who was a colleague when we both worked at the Regina Leader-Post, lost his battle with cancer on Monday. He was a special person. If you haven’t read the feature that Jana Pruden wrote about him recently, that story is right here.
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Generals need OT to stay perfect . . . Rockets, Oceanic on tap today . . . No Draisaitl was Oilers call








D Zack FitzGerald (Seattle, 2001-05) signed a one-year contract with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite). This season, as a player-assistant coach with the Braehead Clan Glasgow (Scotland, UK Elite), he had two goals and 12 assists in 50 games.
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THE MEMORIAL CUP:

The Oshawa Generals clinched a Memorial Cup playoff berth on Sunday, beating the host Quebec Remparts 5-4 in OT before 10,970 fans. . . . The OHL-champion Generals are 2-0; the Remparts 1-1. . . . The OHLGenerals, who outshot the Remparts 50-25, forced OT with a goal late in the third period, then won it on D Stephen Desrocher’s goal at 18:07 of OT. His wrist shot glanced in off the crossbar. . . . The goal came off a faceoff win by F Cole Cassels, who had been on the bench for a bit trying to recover after blocking a shot. . . . All three games in this tournament have been decided by one goal. . . . Tonight, the WHL-champion Kelowna Rockets (0-1) meet the QMJHL-champion Rimouski Oceanic (0-1). . . . Quebec F Dmytro Timashov scored twice, his second goal, at 8:48 of the third period, giving the Remparts their first lead of the game, 4-3. . . . The Generals forced OT when F Tobias Lindberg scored on the PP at 17:51. Before that goal, Oshawa’s PP was 0-for-8 in the tournament. . . . Cassels finished minus-1 but he drew an assist on each of Oshawa’s last two goals. . . . Quebec G Zach Fucale stopped 45 shots, 24 more than Oshawa’s Ken Appleby. . . . The Remparts were 1-for-3 on the PP; the Generals were 1-for-4. . . .
Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier sets the stage for tonight’s game: “Without doubt, the Generals (2-0) will be rooting for the Oceanic (0-1) to defeat the Rockets (0-1) today. If Rimouski wins, Oshawa will
 advance to Sunday’s championship game, regardless if the Rockets beat the Generals on Tuesday. . . . Sunday’s game was the third consecutive one-goal contest to open the 2015 Memorial Cup. The last time a championship opened with three straight one-goal outcomes was 2008.”
——
Here is the Memorial Cup schedule (all games on Sportsnet; all times Eastern):
Friday, May 22: Kelowna 3 vs. Quebec 4 (9,497)
Saturday, May 23: Rimouski 3 vs. Oshawa 4 (8,409)
Sunday, May 24: Quebec 4 vs. Oshawa 5 (OT) (10,970)
Monday: Rimouski vs. Kelowna, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Oshawa vs. Kelowna, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Quebec vs. Rimouski, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday: Tiebreaker, if necessary, 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Semifinal, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: Championship game, 7 p.m.
——
Kinsey Millhone has nothing on Sunaya Sapurji, one of the junior hockey writers for Yahoo! Sports Canada.
When F Leon Draisaitl didn’t play for Germany in the 2015 World Junior Championship, Sapurji wanted to know whether that was his decision or one made by the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, the team whose roster Draisaitl was on at the time.
(The Oilers later assigned Draisaitl to the WHL, but told the Prince Albert Raiders, with whom he had played in 2013-14, that they wanted him with the Kelowna Rockets. Draisaitl was dealt to the Rockets and was the WHL’s playoff MVP.)
Sapurji didn’t have any success finding an answer to her question during the tournament but she didn’t give up. On Sunday, she tweeted that she had gotten the answer from Draisaitl and that it was a decision made by the Oilers.
“That wasn’t really my decision, to be honest,” Draisaitl told reporters at the Memorial Cup. “It was the Oilers’ decision. I don’t want to comment too much on it. It’s their decision and I’m happy with whatever would have happened.”

Without Draisaitl in its lineup, Germany ended up being relegated.
“It’s never fun to see your country go down, especially your age-group,” Draisaitl said. “It’s kind of funny, all my best friends are on that team. I’ve played with all those guys for a number of years. It’s not easy to see something like that, so, obviously it’s disappointing. I would have loved to help them out a little bit at least. But at the same time, I played in the NHL, and that’s a kid’s dream. There’s nothing bad I have to say about that.”
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Jay Isbee, the governor of Washington, has signed a bill that makes players on the state’s four WHL teams amateur athletes. That exempts those teams from any minimum wage-related laws. However, Scott Sepich, writing for Yahoo! Sports Canada, reports right here that the story may not yet be over.
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F Andrew Johnson, who played out his junior eligibility this season with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, has committed to the U of Saskatchewan and the Huskies for next season. Johnson, who is from Saskatoon, played with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Seattle Thunderbirds and Swift Current Broncos (2010-15). He was a second-round selection by the Warriors in the WHL’s 2009 bantam draft.
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Tyler Richards, a goaltender with the NLL’s Vancouver Stealth, is retiring at the age of 28. Why? Because he has had three concussions in the last five years, all from being hit in the head by shots. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province has that story right here.
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NFL should spin goal posts . . . No Rush to get to Saskatoon . . . Marlins like paying managers





You may have heard that the IOC has stripped the U.S. men’s 4x100-metre team of its silver medal from the 2012 London Olympic Games because of Tyson Gay’s doping suspension. As Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post writes: “Good work, IOC: The Americans took 37.04 seconds to finish the race and you took nearly three years to catch up to them.” . . . . New York Yankees starter Chase Whitley is to become the 16th major league pitcher this season to undergo reconstructive surgery to repair an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm. “The procedure has become so prevalent,” Hamilton notes, “it seems like it’s being done on every Tommy John, Dick and Harry.” . . .

If you didn’t hear, the pooh-bahs at Wimbledon have decided to ban selfie sticks. “Great,” noted Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald. “Now what’s the Queen supposed to do between sets?” . . . Too bad the pooh-bahs at the French Open didn’t get the memo. . . . Here’s Dickson, again: “Warren Buffett said he began playing ukulele in college to impress a girl. A ukulele to impress a girl? Were all of the oboes checked out? Now that he's acquired some $72 billion, I'm thinking she's impressed.” . . . “The Portage Terriers won the RBC Cup,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com, “ending Manitoba’s Junior A hockey championship drought dating back to 1974. Or as the Chicago Cubs call it, just yesterday.” . . .

After the NFL made a rules adjustment, Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea noted: “The only extra-point rule change that would have meant anything is spinning the goal posts during the kick so it's more like miniature golf.” . . . Here’s Ratto on head coach Mike Babcock’s decision to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs: “He’ll be tunnelling back to Michigan by Christmas.” . . . That’s an interesting on-air crew that ESPN is using for the NBA’s Western Conference final between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. Analyst Mark Jackson was fired as Golden State’s head coach, while Jeff Van Gundy, the other analyst, once got gunned by the Rockets. . . .

There is speculation that the NLL’s Edmonton Rush is going to end up in Saskatoon. Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express doesn’t think that’s a good idea: “Professional lacrosse will not work in Saskatoon. Period. End of story. Teams in Buffalo and Colorado attract 16,000 people to their games. Calgary averages approximately 12,000. Edmonton had 7,000 at a game last week and is kicking tires for a new home.” . . . According to Hutchinson, “Nickelback is wanted in Australia for ‘crimes against music.’ Isn’t this the country that gave us Air Supply?” . . .  Has anyone told fans of the Edmonton Oilers that they didn’t win the Stanley Cup on Tuesday when Todd McLellan was introduced as their head coach? . . . Of course, the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup on Wednesday — didn’t they? — with the signing of Babcock as their latest head coach. . . . Forgotten in the champagne and caviar and releasing of balloons is that the Oilers missed the playoffs this season. By 36 points. The Leafs? They were 30 points out. . . .

“So do we finally have the real thing in American Pharoah?” wonders Bill Littlejohn, our South Lake Tahoe, Calif., correspondent. “Or will the Belmont Stakes turn yet another Triple Crown contender into Sam the Sham?” . . . You may have heard that Russian President Vladimir Putin scored eight times in an exhibition hockey game that featured a number of retired stars. As Littlejohn points out: “So much for Mitt Romney and his fight against Evander Holyfield” and “It was captured for posterity by the same photographer who caught Mao swimming the Yangtze.” . . . “Dwyane Wade reportedly wore three outfits at his wedding,” according to Littlejohn. “Was the wedding planner an Oregon Duck grad?” . . .

“Vladimir Putin just gave back Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl ring,” reports comedian Argus Hamilton, “saying if a team can’t play by the rules, it isn’t worth having.” . . . Headline at SportsPickle.com: Study: All the games you fall asleep watching have awesome finishes. . . . “Former Baltimore Ravens LB Ray Lewis will release a memoir,” notes Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen. “Will the publisher be DC or Marvel?” . . .

“History will be made when the new span connecting Detroit to Windsor is named in honour of hockey great Gordie Howe,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “It’s believed to be the first Howe-inspired bridge that wasn’t installed by a dentist.” . . . Here’s Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong: “A new bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor will be named after Gordie Howe. Calgary already has a street named after Gordie. It’s Elbow Drive.” . . . One more from Chong: “Newly hired Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock called the Leafs ‘Canada’s Team’ in his first press conference. Babcock seems to be confused — somebody please tell him that he’s the head coach of Toronto, not Canada’s Olympic team.” . . .

The Miami Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond last Sunday. They ended up putting general manager Dan Jennings in the dugout as the manager. Because they still are paying Ozzie Guillen, who was fired after the 2012 season, the Marlins now have three managers on their payroll. We should also mention that they dumped catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia the other day. They still owe him US$14 million. . . . Now let’s not shed any tears for Miami owner Jeffrey Loria, whose fingerprints, you may recall, were all over the demise of the Montreal Expos. . . . In 20 years with the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter played for three managers. Giancarlo Stanton first played for the Miami Marlins five years ago. He now is playing for his seventh manager — Jennings. . . .

“Police said they found about 1,000 weapons at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco after the shootout last weekend,” reports Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe. “Well, gosh, I can certainly see why Texas lawmakers are pushing to loosen the state’s gun laws.” . . . Here’s Hough, again: “A Norwegian Cruise Line ship that ran aground in Bermuda has been refloated. No word on what NCL might do regarding compensation for the passengers. If it was an airline, it would probably charge for an extra stop.”

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at gdrinnan.blogspot.ca and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Generals get past Oceanic . . . Rockets pay price for 'negative comments' . . . Tochkin turns to coaching

The OHL-champion Oshawa Generals eked out a 4-3 victory over the QMJHL-champion Rimouski Oceanic before 8,409 fans at the Memorial Cup in Quebec City on Saturday. . . . On Friday, the tournament opened with the host Quebec Remparts beating the WHL-champion Kelowna Rockets, 4-3. . . . The Remparts and Generals will clash this afternoon, with the Rockets and Oceanic meeting Monday night. . . . Only the left shoulder of Ottawa G Ken Appleby prevented OT as he beat Rimouski F Alexis Loiseau with six seconds left in the third period. The Oceanic was shorthanded at the time and had G Philippe Desrosiers on the bench for the extra attacker when Loiseau came loose directly in front of Appleby. Loiseau tried to go high on Appleby, and the puck hit him on the shoulder and ricocheted just wide of the post. . . .  The Generals appeared to take control of the game in the first period, as they led 2-0 before the 10-minute mark. . . . However, the Oceanic scored two goals 44 seconds apart late in the period and the teams were even going into the second. . . . Oshawa went back in front at 18:33 of the second when D Stephen Desrocher scored directly off a face-off win by F Cole Cassels. . . . Rimouski tied it at 3:46 of the third, on a PP, with D Jan Kostalek getting the goal. . . . The game-winner came at 9:24 when F Hunter Smith fired a long shot at Desrosiers and was able to get to his own rebound and score. . . . Rimouski’s chances were damaged late when it was penalized for too many men as it tried to get Desrosiers off for the extra attacker. . . . Desrosiers finished with 33 saves, 14 more than Appleby. . . . Rimouski was 1-for-4 on the PP; Oshawa was 0-for-5. . . . Brett Iverson, the lone WHL referee in the tournament, worked this game. . . . There was hardly any post-whistle shenanigans in this one, certainly not in comparison to all that went on in Friday’s game.
——
On Saturday afternoon, the CHL tweeted: “Kelowna Rockets fined $500 for a member of organization approaching #CHL Hockey Ops Dept. and making negative comments regarding officiating.”
No one has coughed up the name of the person who made the “negative comments,” but speculation is that someone complained about the misconduct penalty assessed to F Leon Draisaitl following the buzzer to end the second period. (Feel free to take part in our poll over there on the right.)
Of all the calls made during Kelowna’s 4-3 loss to the host Quebec Remparts, none had a larger impact than the one that took Draisaitl off the ice for the first half of the third period.
——
Here is the Memorial Cup schedule (all games on Sportsnet; all times Eastern):
Friday, May 22: Kelowna 3 vs. Quebec 4 (9,497)
Saturday, May 23: Rimouski 3 vs. Oshawa 4 (8,409)
Sunday: Quebec vs. Oshawa, 4:30 p.m.
Monday: Rimouski vs. Kelowna, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Oshawa vs. Kelowna, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Quebec vs. Rimouski, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday: Tiebreaker, if necessary, 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Semifinal, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: Championship game, 7 p.m.
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OHLAccording to court filings made Friday, the OHL’s Erie Otters are US$5.4 million in debt, that includes $296,688 owing to former player Brad Boyes, who now is with the NHL’s Florida Panthers. . . . The money owing Boyes is from a loan he made to the team almost six years ago. . . . Ed Palattella has more on this story right here from GoErie.com.
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Michael Beschloss provided a terrific read in Saturday’s New York Times. It’s right here and it deals with the M&M Boys — Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris — and the home run race of 1961. . . . You may want to check out the comments, too.
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THE COACHING GAME:

Former WHL F Kellan Tochkin is the new head coach of the Everett Jr. Silvertips 16U AAA team. Tochkin, 24, has decided to retire as a player to coach the Tier 1 elite midget team. . . . In the WHL, Tochkin, who is from Abbotsford, B.C., played for the Everett Silvertips, Medicine Hat Tigers and Prince Albert Raiders (2006-12). . . . He played three seasons of professional hockey, making stops in the Central league and ECHL, and in Sweden.
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NAHLAlmost every time a coach is fired, the team issues a news release, thanking the coach for the time he has given to the organization and wishing him the best of luck.
Not the NAHL’s Austin, Minn., Bruins, who fired general manager and head coach Chris Tok on Friday, after five years on the job. He is the only GM and head coach the franchise has known. The relationship doesn’t seem to have ended well.
Here is an excerpt from the team-issued news release:
“No one doubts coach Tok's ability to have success on the ice. In fact we believe that Chris is one of the best coaches in the NAHL. Unfortunately being head coach/ general manager involves far more than coaching. The position requires the exercise of solid managerial decisions behind the scenes, and it requires those managerial decisions be focused primarily on the long-term interests of the team.
“Over the years as coach of the Austin Bruins, Chris Tok made a number of managerial decisions which were not consistent with the team's interests nor consistent with team policy. Those decisions have created tension and conflict between Chris Tok and management which has proven difficult to resolve. In light of those managerial issues and the conflict they have produced, the team has decided to seek a new head coach.”
Assistant coach Jamie Huffman, who resigned earlier in the week, told ABC 6 News, that the Bruins had been "planning (to fire Tok) since February.” Huffman also said the firing was an "absolute shame.”
Jason Feldman of the Rochester, Minn., Post-Bulletin has more right here.
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Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports that the Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t yet decided whether to sign F Peter Quenneville, who played out his junior eligibility this season with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Quenneville was a seventh-round selection in the NHL’s 2013 draft. . . . Portzline’s piece is right here.
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To date, the 2015 Hockey Coaches Conference has two NHL head coaches on its roster of presenters — Willie Desjardins of the Vancouver Canucks and Mike Johnston of the Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . The conference is scheduled for July 24 and 25 in Vancouver. . . . There’s more right here.
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Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, spoke with reporters on Thursday, during an intermission in the playoff game between the host Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks. At one point, Bettman had something to say about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Nicholas J. Cotsonika writes right here that Bettman should have kept quiet. . . . If you are interested in a balanced look at the NHL and concussions, this is it.
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Friday, May 22, 2015

Rockets drop opener to Remparts . . . Lowry on Sharks' radar . . . Hiller on move








F Chet Pickard (Tri-City, 2005-09) signed  one-year-plus-option contract with RHW Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). This season, with Odense (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he was 2.65 and .909 in 36 games. . . .
F Martin Cibák (Medicine Hat, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Olomouc (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had 11 goals and nine assists in 48 games. . . .
F Tyler Mosienko (Kelowna, 2000-05) signed a one-year extension with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite). This season, he had 26 goals and 37 assists in 60 games.
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As you no doubt are aware, the games began at the Memorial Cup in Quebec City last night. . . . The host Quebec Remparts dumped the WHL-champion Kelowna Rockets, 4-3, before 9,497 fans. . . . In each of the last six tournaments, the host team had lost its opener. . . . The Remparts outchanced the Rockets and, at one point, held a 2-0 lead that could just as easily have been 5-0, but not for some solid play by Kelowna G Jackson Whistle. . . . A key part in this game occurred as the buzzer sounded to end the second period. The Remparts held a 2-1 lead at the time, with Kelowna F Nick Merkley having scored a shorthanded goal at 17:56 of the second period to get the Rockets to within a goal. . . . There was some milling around, some pushing and shoving, at the buzzer and the referees chose to slap misconducts on Kelowna F Leon Draisaitl and Quebec F Marc-Olivier Roy, both of whom are NHL draft picks of the Edmonton Oilers. That took Draisaitl, the WHL’s playoff MVP and Kelowna’s most-dangerous player, off the ice for the first half of the third period. . . . The Rockets didn’t do much offensively with Draisaitl off and, in fact, gave up a shorthanded goal to Quebec F Ryan Graves at 2:08 for a 3-1 Remparts lead. . . . Draisaitl came back and later scored the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 19:24. . . . The Rockets took 44 of the game’s 70 penalty minutes. If they are to win this tournament, they are going to have to stop giving the referees the option to make some of those calls. . . . The Rockets were 2-for-6 on the PP, but gave up that shorthanded goal. . . . Quebec was 0-for-5 on the PP. . . . Quebec G Zach Fucale stopped 26 shots, one fewer than Whistle. . . . Kelowna was 30-for-58 on faceoffs, and that was with Draisaitl struggling — he was 13-for-29. . . . Rockets D Madison Bowey had a game-high six shots, but he can play a lot better than he did. He fought the puck for a good part of this one. . . . The Rockets don’t play again until Monday, so will have some time to think about the loss.
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Here is the Memorial Cup schedule (all games on Sportsnet; all times Eastern):
Friday: Kelowna 3 vs. Quebec 4 (9,497)
Saturday: Rimouski vs. Oshawa, 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: Quebec vs. Oshawa, 4:30 p.m.
Monday: Rimouski vs. Kelowna, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Oshawa vs. Kelowna, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Quebec vs. Rimouski, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday: Tiebreaker, if necessary, 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Semifinal, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 31: Championship game, 7 p.m.
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An interesting note from Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier, who is in Quebec City:
“The Colisée Pepsi is a wonderful, albeit aging, rink, one filled with
history. Located steps away is the city’s newest construction site, the home of Videotron Centre, an 18,482-seat arena that fans in this hockey-mad market hope will soon be home to an NHL team. And steps away from the Videotron Centre is Pavillon de la Jeunesse, a small but outstanding rink of which some WHL teams would be envious. The rink seats 5,000, has a low roof and an ice surface that, with the touch of a button, can be expanded from NHL to Olympic size in only eight minutes. If that sounds crazy, here’s something really crazy: The rink doesn’t have a main tenant, and, according to staff, is mostly used for cultural events.”
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NHLThose of us on the outside really have no idea how serious a contender Dave Lowry is for the head-coaching position with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. But if you believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire, the Victoria Royals head coach very well may be in the hunt. . . . It could be that someone like Randy Carlyle or Peter DeBoer will replace Todd McLellan. But, hey, it could be Lowry, who played 143 games with the Sharks back in the day. . . . David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News has more right here. . . . “I tried reaching Lowry through the Royals’ media relations director,” Pollak writes, “only to be told Lowry and Royals general manager Cam Hope — who indicated he thought the moment his coach would get a shot at an NHL job was getting closer — weren’t interested in talking any more about the subject. That, of course, only adds to Lowry’s viability as a serious candidate.”
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The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Koby Morrisseau, who was the ninth overall selection in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. Morrisseau, 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, is from Grandview, Man. He had 61 points, including 39 goals, with the Parkland Rangers, who play in the West Division of the Winnipeg bantam AAA league. . . . The Chiefs had two first-round selections in the 2015 draft. Earlier, they signed D Ty Smith, who was the draft’s first overall selection.
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THE COACHING GAME:

QMJHLThe QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs have signed Danny Flynn to a three-year contract as head coach. Flynn, 57, spent this season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. . . . Flynn, a veteran of the coaching wars, spent six seasons (2007-13) as head coach of the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats, guiding them to the 2010 championship. Flynn replaces Ross Yates, the head coach for the past two seasons.
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NHLAnsar Khan, who covers the Detroit Red Wings for MLive.com, reported Friday afternoon that former WHL coach Jim Hiller will be joining the Toronto Maple Leafs coaching staff. . . . Hiller, 46, coached in the WHL with the Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?) and Tri-City Americans. This season, he was an assistant coach under Mike Babcock with the Red Wings. . . . In Detroit, Hiller was responsible for the PP, which was the second most-prolific in the NHL.
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