Thursday, April 20, 2017

Anholt responds to Paddock's chatter ... Playoffs resume Friday ... Ex-WHL coach honoured in OHL


Things are heating up as the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Regina Pats prepare to open the Eastern Conference final in the Saskatchewan capital tonight (Friday). On Wednesday, John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, lit the fire when, in reference to Lethbridge captain Tyler Wong, he told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post: “He‘s a hard-working, inspirational guy who has skill. He’s physical. He jumps a couple feet in the air when he hits guys and doesn’t get called.” On Thursday, Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt tossed a couple of logs on the fire while chatting with Matt Battochio of Global News. “Love the man,” Anholt said of Paddock, “but he’s sly like a fox. “I think really, ultimately, the facts speak for themselves. (Dawson) Leedahl takes (Lane) Pederson out of the Swift Current series. . . . The Regina Pats take runs at top players, I think it’s pretty obvious. Facts speak for themselves.” Anholt went a step further, asking the Lethbridge fans to prepare a welcome for Paddock’s arrival in the Alberta city. “I hope our fans show their ire towards John Paddock when he comes back here for Games 3 and 4,” Anholt said. “It doesn’t make sense to me, but the facts speak for themselves. . . . I think our top players better be very wary and watch because their team has a history of taking runs at top players.”
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 Regina is expected to be without F Adam Brooks, F Jake Leschyshyn and D Dawson Davidson when the series opens. Brooks hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury in Game 2 of the seven-game second-round series with the Swift Current Broncos. He dressed for the last three games and was on the bench, but never got on the ice. That scenario very well may continue in the conference final. Leschyshyn (knee) has been out since February and won’t play again this season. Without Brooks and Leschyshyn, the Pats are missing two of their top three centres. Davidson, meanwhile, suffered an undisclosed injury in the Game 7 victory over the visiting Broncos on Monday night. He isn’t likely to play in this series, so Jonathan Smart will move back to defence. Smart, who was acquired from the Kelowna Rockets during the season, is a defenceman by trade, but has been playing on a forward line. The Hurricanes scratched D Calen Addison, F Matt Alfaro, F Zak Zborosky, F Zane Franklin and F Ryan Vandervlis, all of them regular contributors, from Game 7 against the host Medicine Hat Tigers on Tuesday.
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 Things are a little quieter in Kent, Wash., where the Seattle Thunderbirds will play host to the Kelowna Rockets tonight in Game 1 of the Western Conference final. The Rockets will be without D Cal Foote, as he completes a three-game suspension left over from the second-round victory over the Portland Winterhawks. Foote was suspended after he elbowed Portland F Skyler McKenzie in the head during Game 3. McKenzie came out of that with a concussion and missed the last two games. Also, it’s not known if Kelowna D Braydyn Chizen is ready to return. He suffered a leg injury in Game 3 against Portland and sat out the last two games of that series. Seattle’s Rylan Toth, who led all WHL goaltenders with 36 victories in the regular season, has yet to dress for a playoff game. In Toth’s absence, G Carl Stankowski has backstopped the Thunderbirds to eight victories in as many games.
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 There won’t be a medal for Team Canada at the IIHF U-18 World Championship. Canada was beaten 7-3 by Sweden in a quarterfinal game on Thursday at Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia. . . . D Mark Rubinchik of the Saskatoon Blades and Team Russia advanced to a semifinal game with a 3-2 victory over Slovakia. Rubinchik didn’t record any points, leaving him with six in five games. . . . Russia and Finland will meet in one of Saturday’s semifinal games. . . . The other will feature Sweden and Team USA, which got past Switzerland, 4-2. . . . In the best-of-three relegation series, D Vladislav Yeryomenko of the Calgary Hitmen had a goal and an assist as Belarus beat Latvia, 2-0, in Game 1. 
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 Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald used to cover the Everett Silvertips for the newspaper. Now he is a sports columnist there. In both roles, he has seen a lot of Kevin Constantine, who was the team’s head coach for eight seasons — two four-year stints — before being told Tuesday that his contract won’t be renewed. . . . Patterson, using the word “shaft,” opined on the move and that piece is right here.
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 MORE ON THE MOVE: D Noah Juulsen of the Everett Silvertips has joined the St. John’s IceCaps, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. He was a first-round selection in the 2015 NHL draft. Juulsen signed a three-year entry-level contract with Montreal before the 2015-16 season. In this regular season, he had 12 goals and 22 assists in 49 games.
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 Ryan McGill, a former WHL player and coach, has been named the OHL’s coach of the year. McGill guided the Owen Sound Attack to a 49-15-4 record in what was its best season in franchise history. . . . The 49 victories and 102 points broke franchise records of 46 and 97 from 2010-11. . . . McGill is in his second season in Owen Sound. . . . From Sherwood Park, Alta., he played four seasons (1985-89) with the Lethbridge Broncos, Swift Current Broncos and Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . He was on the Edmonton/Kootenay Ice’s coaching staff for seven seasons (1996-2002) and later returned for three more (2012-15). . . . The Attack opens the third round of playoffs tonight in Erie against the Otters. 
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THURSDAY’S GAMES:

No Games Scheduled
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FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Kelowna vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m. (Game 1) Lethbridge at Regina, 7 p.m. (Game 1)
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