THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Michal Lukac (Prince George, 2001-02) signed a one-year contract extension with Kladno (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had one goal and eight assists in 36 games with Kladno and was pointless during a three-game loan assignment to Pisek (Czech Republic, 1. Liga) this season. . . .
F Malte Strömwall (Tri-City, 2011-13) signed a two-year contract with Växjö (Sweden, Elitserien). Strömwall, who turns 19 on Aug. 24, is from Luleå, Sweden. He had 21 goals and 45 assists in 66 games with the Americans this season. He put up 27 points, including 11 goals, in his freshman season of 2011-12. . . .
D Craig Schira (Regina, Vancouver, 2003-09) signed a one-year plus option contract with HPK Hämeenlinna (Finland, SM-Liiga). He had 17 goals and 18 assists in 45 games with Frisk Asker (Norway, GET-Ligaen) this season. Schira was the second-leading point-getter among defencemen in GET-Ligaen.
The news that Russian forward Dmitri Uchaykin had died after taking a hit to the head during a game in Kazakhstan a couple of weeks ago brought memories flooding back to Barret Kropf.
Kropf, a veteran hockey coach, was coaching Briercrest College in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference “almost 10 years ago” and was part of a group of ACAC, CIS and junior players who made trip to Kazakhstan to play a few games.
“In our third game against their first league pro teams,” he writes, point out that this was prior to the advent of the KHL, “one of our players, Dan Hesje, was violently sucker-punched with a running, full strides haymaker.”
According to Kropf, Hesje “was out before his head smashed on the ice.”
In fact, Kropf writes, “Running from the bench, I thought he was dead . . . blood everywhere.”
How bad was it?
Kropf says that “only a miracle kept him alive that night in hospital.” He adds that the hit ended Hesje’s hockey career and Hesje still feels its affects.
As for the player who delived the below, Kropf says that he “got two minutes for roughing.”
So the ACAC team left the ice in protest.
“After some hallway negotiations,” Kropf recalls, “we agreed to replay the next night” when the arena was expected to be sold out. But the team agreed to play only if the offending player didn’t suit up.
“However,” Kropf remembers, “the next night he was out for the warmup. So we skated right off the ice.”
And that’s when the fun began.
As Kropf recalls it:
“There was a knock on the door and it was a Mafia-looking dude. Through an interpreter, we heard how he dragged their player and coach into the hallway and tore strips offf them . . . left them sitting in the hallway, cowering and in tears.
“These Mafia (businessmen!) then apologized profusely and begged us to play on.”
As the ACAC team made its way to the ice surface, players and coaches had to walk past the other team’s coach and the player in question.
“They were in the hallway crying as we walked by,” Kropf writes.
As for that night’s game, he notes: “We enjoyed a safe, high-skilled, fun game. Both teams took the high road and played a safe game with lots of skill.”
Having been through this so many years ago, having had those memories reawakened and having watched hockey evolve to where it now is, Kropf concludes:
“Maybe North America needs some Russian-styled businessmen to set the tone for headshot punishment!”
Mark Lamb, the GM and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos, says a change is coming in terms of how the WHL uses video review.
The host Broncos lost Game 4 of a first-round series with the Calgary Hitmen when on-ice officials missed a glove pass in overtime that led to the winning goal by the visitors. That left Calgary with a 3-1 lead in the series and heading home for Game 5, which it won.
"They have to deal with that and they're going to deal with it," Lamb told Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Broncos on The Eagle 94.1 FM. "It was one of the worst things that's ever happened in hockey . . . not just in our league. When you're in overtime and there's a glove pass and there's an overtime goal, it's devastating to the franchise. They're going to acknowledge it and there's going to be some changes."
Mullin’s interview with Lamb, in which they look back and ahead, is right here.
The WHL’s playoff situation:
Edmonton (1) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
(Edmonton wins, 4-0)
Calgary (3) vs. Red Deer (4)
(Calgary leads, 3-1; Game 5, tonight, in Calgary)
Portland (1) vs. Spokane (4)
(Portland wins, 4-0)
Kelowna (2) vs. Kamloops (3)
(Kamloops wins, 4-0)
Three series ended in sweeps last night. Yikes! This means that of the 11 series that have been completed this spring, five have ended in four games and three others have gone five.
The Calgary Hitmen are in position to take out the visiting Red Deer Rebels in five games tonight in the only series left standing.
The Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks will open the Western Conference final with games in the Oregon city on April 19 and 20. Yes, they now will enjoy eight days off before they play again.
In Medicine Hat, the Edmonton Oil Kings erased a 2-1 deficit with goals 39 seconds apart in the third period and beat the Tigers, 4-2. . . . F Henrik Samuelsson scored twice for Edmonton and F Dylan Wruck drew three assists. . . . Tigers F Hunter Shinkaruk gave his side its first lead of the series when he scored shorthanded at 5:41 of the first. . . . That also was the first time in these playoffs that Edmonton had trailed. . . . Samuelsson forged a 2-2 tie at 12:40 of the third, and D Griffin Reinhart broke the tie at 13:19. . . . Samuelsson, who also had an assist, later added an empty-netter. . . . Edmonton G Laurent Brossoit stopped 32 shots, while Medicine Hat’s Cam Lanigan blocked 38. . . . The Oil Kings have outscored their opponents 44-9 in nine playoff games. . . .
In Kamloops, F Kale Kessy scored a PP goal in overtime to give the Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kessy got his second goal of the game and 11th of these playoffs after Kelowna D Madison Bowey was penalized for delay of game. . . . The Blazers were 3-for-11 on the PP; the Rockets were 0-for-1. . . . Yes, PPs were 11-1. . . . Kamloops F Brendan Ranford had three assists, giving him nine points in the four-game sweep over the Rockets. . . . Kamloops F JC Lipon, who leads the playoff scoring race, had two assists. He remains the only player in the WHL with at least one point in each of his team’s playoff games. Lipon leads the scoring race with 21 points, two more than Portland F Ty Rattie and Ranford. . . . The Rockets trailed 3-1 going into the third after D Marek Hrbas and F Matt Needham scored in the last three minutes of the second. . . . F J.T. Barnett and F Cole Linaker pulled Kelowna even with goals at 5:03 and 9:24 of the the third. . . .Bowey went off 27 seconds into OT and the Blazers fired seven shots at G Jordon Cooke before Kessy scored. . . . Kessy shares the playoff goal-scoring lead with Rattie. . . .
In Spokane, G Mac Carruth stopped 30 shots to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-0 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Carruth has two shutouts in these playoffs and five in his career. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie scored once, giving him 11 goals in these playoffs. That was his 41st career playoff goal, tying him for second with Reg Leach (Flin Flon, 1967-70). The record of 47 goals is held by Mark Pederson (Medicine Hat, 1984-88). . . . F Taylor Peters scored a shorthanded goal and added an assist. . . . Portland outscored Spokane 18-3 in the four games. . . . Among the Chiefs scratches were F Todd Fiddler and F Jackson Playfair. Fiddler had a team-high 42 goals during the regular season. . . . Portland is into the conference final for a third straight season.
CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (16):
D Madison Bowey, Kelowna
CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT (5):
From Paul Buker (@Pnbuker) of The Oregonian: “I asked Travis Green if he was good enough to get traded for 3 players. He shot back, ‘if you ask Medicine Hat, they would probably say no.’ ”
Green, the Portland Winterhawks’ interim GM and head coach, was Spokane’s leading scorer on Jan. 26, 1990, when the Chiefs dealt him to the Tigers for F Mark Woolf, F Frank Esposito and D Chris Lafreniere.
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