It was an interesting day in Vancouver, to say the least.
For a number of years there have been rumblings that the Canucks and former star Pavel Bure were feuding, or at least their camps weren't communicating. The Canucks moved to put all of that chatter to rest earlier this year when they announced that they would retire Bure's number this season.
That ceremony is to take place tonight as the Canucks and their fans honour Bure with the Toronto Maple Leafs in town. In advance of that, the Canucks staged a news conference on Friday with Bure the guest of honour.
Great stuff, right?
Well, that news conference was hardly over when the Canucks revealed that the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, had been signed to four-year contracts, each worth US$28 million.
That pretty much took care of the Bure headlines. He got about 15 minutes in the spotlight. And it causes one to wonder: Why the rush to announce the Sedin signings? Couldn't that have waited a few days, something that would have allowed Bure to have the spotlight to himself through tonight?
Unless all the talk of hard feelings . . . nah, never happen.
Of course, the B.C. Lions were at home to the Calgary Stampeders last night and maybe the Canucks wanted to make sure they didn't get a whole lot of publicity.
It also has been rather interesting on Twitter the last couple of days as a number of proponents of fighting in hockey have sent along a link to a column by pugilism fan Brian Burke that appeared in USA TODAY on Thursday. If you missed it, that link is right here.
However, the fight fans didn't bother sending along a link to the second part of the deal. You see, USA TODAY, in one of those pro and con features, also ran a column that was headlined: The case against fighting. . . . It was written by Michael J. Stuart, David W. Dodick and Aynsley M. Smith, all of whom are with the Mayo Clinic. Stuart has two sons and a daughter who play hockey; Mark is a defenceman with the Winnipeg Jets. . . . That column is right here.
A tweet from Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge): "Sounds like the Hitmen are getting O/A d-man Alex Roach back from the L.A. Kings. Now have 14 days to trade Jesse Zgraggen to stay at 3 O/A."
The return of Roach would leave the Hitmen with him, Zgraggen, also a defenceman, F Brady Brassart and D Jaynen Rissling as 20-year-olds on their roster. Each team is allowed to dress three per game.
The Regina Pats have released F Carson Samoridny, 19. He had one goal in 10 games this season but had been a healthy scratch on six occasions. . . . In his WHL career, he put up 23 points, 11 of them goals, in 103 regular-season games with Regina, the Calgary Hitmen and Everett Silvertips. . . . A native of St. Albert, Alta., the Pats acquired him from the Calgary Hitmen on Jan. 10 for F Colten Mayor and a fourth-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft.
Dear WHL . . . If you aren't going to publish a Guide this season, please update the hometowns on the individual player pages on your website. Thank you.
So . . . you are watching an NFL game on TV and notice all the pink stuff. Yes, the NFL, like so many other organizations, including the WHL and its teams, go pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. Now you're wondering how much of the money raised by merchandise sales ends up going to the fight against breast cancer. . . . Well, check out this piece right here by Father Raymond J. De Souza. It was in the National Post earlier this week.
In the QMJHL last night, the visiting Halifax Mooseheads dropped the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, 15-5. . . . Halifax set a franchise record for goals in a single game. . . . A tweet from Herd History (@HerdHistory): "Last time 20 or more goals were scored in a QMJHL game was on Jan 19, 1992 (22- Granby/Drummondville) via @MLalancette." . . . The Huskies did win 69 per cent of the faceoffs, though. . . . It was 4-4 after one period. . . . D Matt Murphy of the Mooseheads was plus-7.
Columnist Stephen Hume of the Vancouver Sun took on the NHL because of the amount of bullying and brain injuries he sees in the game. That was in Friday's newspaper. Then, right on schedule, the Philadelphia Flyers came along last night to make him look good. . . . That column is right here.
In Medicine Hat, F Curtis Valk and D Tommy (Milli) Vannelli scored in the shootout as the Tigers beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-2. . . . F Logan McVeigh forced OT with a goal at 14:18 of the third period as the Tigers erased a 2-0 deficit. . . . The Tigers (11-3-2), who won their fourth straight game, moved past the idle Calgary Hitmen (10-3-3) and on to the top rung in the Eastern Conference. . . . Tri-City F Parker Bowles, playing his first game after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, opened the scoring at 11:54 of the second period. . . . The Tigers were again without F Hunter Shinkaruk (hip), who spent the evening working alongside play-by-play man Bob Ridley. Next thing you know, Shinkaruk will be driving the bus. . . .
In Prince Albert, the Raiders scored five PP goals and beat the Regina Pats, 7-1. . . . The Raiders scored on their first five PPs and ended up 5-for-7. . . . D Josh Morrissey had a goal and three assists for the Raiders. . . . The Raiders honoured retired F Mike Modano, retiring his number (9) in a pregame ceremony. . . . An extremely humble Modano offered up a terrific speech to cap the ceremony. . . . Think about this for a minute: There was a time when the WHL East featured Modano, Theo Fleury (Moose Jaw Warriors) and Joe Sakic (Swift Current Broncos) all at the same time. . . . In the warmup, the Raiders wore retro sweaters, all with Modano on the namebar and sporting No. 9. . . . Prior to the game, Raiders head coach Cory Clouston told Drew Wilson, the team's radio voice on CKBI, that F Craig Leverton likely is out for "a couple of weeks." Leverton left Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers with an undisclosed injury. . . .
In Saskatoon, the Swift Current Broncos were 2-for-2 on the PP as they beat the Blades, 5-3. . . . Broncos D Julius Honka, who would seem to be the real deal, had a goal, his sixth, and an assist. He has 19 points in 18 games. . . . Saskatoon F Nikita Scherback scored his 12th goal as the Russian freshman ran his point streak to 10 games. . . . It was the Blades' 1,000th game in what now is Credit Union Centre. . . . Swift Current has won three straight, while Saskatoon has lost three in a row. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix covered the game and his story is right here.
In Kent, Wash., the Portland Winterhawks outshot the Seattle Thunderbirds 15-2 and outscored them 3-0 in the first period en route to a 5-2 victory. . . . When the game began, Portland was atop the overall standings, one point ahead of Seattle. . . . The Winterhawks (13-3-1) now hold a three-point lead over the Medicine Hat Tigers (11-3-2), Spokane Chiefs (12-5-0) and Seattle (11-4-2). . . . F Brendan Leipsic scored the game's first two goals, the first on a 5-on-3 PP at 3:45. . . . Leipsic and teammate Oliver Bjorkstrand are on 11-game point streaks. . . . The Thunderbirds were trailing 3-0 before they got their first shot on goal. . . . In fact, Portland mounted a 15-shot attack before Seattle managed its first shot on goal. . . . Portland held a 32-8 edge in shots after two periods. . . . In the second period, Seattle D Evan Wardley was tossed with a charging major for a hit on F Adam De Champlain, who needed help to get off the ice and didn't return. . . . Early in the third period, Seattle radio voice Thom Beuning, who is as good a play-caller as there is in the WHL, suggested that Portland had had the puck "75 to 80 per cent of the time." . . . Moments after that, Seattle scored to cut the Portland lead to 4-2. . . . The Winterhawks, who have put together nine-game winning streaks in each of the last four seasons, now have won 10 in a row. . . . Seattle F Jaimen Yakubowski wasn't suspended after a penalty he took in Wednesday's 4-2 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings was changed. Originally, he was penalized for a headshot on D Tyler Green, but it was later changed to a charging major. Yakubowski scored Seattle's first goal, a shorthanded effort, cutting Portland's lead to 4-1 in the second period. . . . Seattle F Connor Honey missed his 10th game with an undisclosed injury. . . .
In Prince George, the Kelowna Rockets got shootout goals from F Myles Bell and F Justin Kirkland to beat the Cougars, 7-6. . . . The Cougars trailed 6-2 late in the second period before scoring four straight goals to force OT. F Troy Bourke tied it 6-6 with his second goal of the game at 14:42 of the third period. . . . The Cougars have lost four in a row, but have picked up three loser points from those games. . . . Kelowna D Madison Bowey, named team captain earlier in the day, had three first-period assists. . . .
In Vancouver, F Adam Helewka, who is from Burnaby, B.C., scored four times to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 6-4 victory over the Giants. . . . The Chiefs had lost their last two games, while the Giants had won three in a row. . . . Helewka, who also had an assist, now has eight goals in seven games this season. He finished last season with 10 goals in 60 games as a freshman. . . . Spokane F Mitch Holmberg, the WHL's leading scorer, had four assists. . . . G Jared Rathjen made his second straight start for the Giants, after returning from an undisclosed injury. . . .
In Everett, the Brandon Wheat Kings scored three early PP goals and went on to a 6-3 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Brandon F Jayce Hawryluk went in with three goals and came out with six after counting his first WHL hat trick in his 77th regular-season game. . . . Hawryluk had been a scratch (coach's decision) on Wednesday for a 5-2 loss in Portland. . . . Everett F Dawson Leedahl was tossed with a checking-from-behind major just 35 seconds in the first period. Brandon struck three times in 2:41 on the ensuing PP. . . . It turned out to be Brandon's only PP opportunity through two periods. . . . Brandon ended up with four goals on its first five shots. . . . Everett G Daniel Cotton started in place of the injured Austin Lotz (ankle). . . . Brandon G Curtis Honey didn't dress with an undisclosed injury. The Wheat Kings had Jason Hadaller, from the Seattle Sno-Kings organization, on the bench in support of Jordan Papirny. . . . At one point, Everett head coach Kevin Constantine pulled Cotton for the extra attacker with 7:53 left in the third period and his side down, 6-3. . . . The Wheat Kings finished 1-4 on their trip through the U.S. Division. . . . Everett had won its last four games. . . . The Wheat Kings also were without D Rene Hunter, F Tim McGauley and D Kord Pankewicz, all out with undisclosed injuries. . . . Brandon F Jens Meilleur moved to defence for this one. . . .
In Victoria, G Patrik Bartosak stopped 42 shots to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 2-1 victory over the Royals. . . . Red Deer had lost its last five games, all on home ice. . . . Red Deer D Haydn Fleury gave hs guys a 2-0 lead with a PP goal late in the second period. . . . F Ben Walker got the Royals to within one at 6:04 of the third but the home side wasn't able to beat Bartosak again. . . . The Victoria Times Colonist reports that Royals D Joe Hicketts, 17, could miss up to three months of the season. He has undergone surgery on an undisclosed injury after being injured during a game against the visiting Kelowna Rockets last
From Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff), a former radio voice of the Kamloops Blazers who works for Team 1040 radio in Vancouver: "#WHL crowds in 3 BC rinks on a Friday night: Vancouver 4772, Victoria 3787 & Prince George 1406. Where are the fans?"
From game show host Pat Sajak (@patsajak): "Love hockey, but Flyers are part of reason it remains a niche sport. Shameful tonight (including Philly radio team.)"
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