Matt Savoie headed to Crusaders? . . . Tracey, Gauthier lead Canada past Finland. . . . WHL playoffs set to resume


MacBeth

F Chris Langkow (Spokane, Saskatoon, Everett, 2005-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with MAC Újbuda Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, he had 17 goals and 22 assists in 55 games. . . .

F Brayden Low (Portland, Everett, 2010-15) has signed a one-season contract with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). This season, with the Reading Royals (ECHL), he had 15 goals and 18 assists in 63 games. . . .

F Dylan Yeo (Prince George, Calgary, 2003-07) has signed a two-year contract with the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL), he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 52 games. . . .

F Jordan Draper (Red Deer, 2007-08) has signed a one-season contract with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). This season, with Mulhouse (France, Ligue Magnus), he had 12 goals and nine assists in 42 games. . . .

F Jaedon Descheneau (Kootenay, 2011-16) has signed a two-year contract with Brynäs Gävle (Sweden, SHL). This season, with Düsseldorf (Germany, DEL), he had 19 goals and 32 assists in 52 games. He led the team in assists and was second in points.


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It appears that the Savoie brothers, Carter and Matt, don’t have any plans of playing in the WHL. . . . Carter, 17, just finished his first season with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park SherwoodParkCrusaders and plans on returning for 2019-20. He has committed to attending the U of Denver and playing for the Pioneers in 2020-21.

On Thursday, Tyler Yaremchuk (@tyleryaremchuk) tweeted: “Despite having his rights traded to Winnipeg, Carter Savoie WILL NOT be going to the WHL. He will stay with the Crusaders next season.” . . . A ninth-round selection by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, his major junior were traded to the Winnipeg Ice on April 3 for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and two conditional selections. . . . At this point, the Ice holds the first and ninth picks in the 2019 draft.

Yaremchuk posted that tweet after having Kyle Chase, the Crusaders’ president of hockey operations and general manager, on his podcast — Inside The Cru.

Matt Savoie, who turned 15 on Jan. 1, is ranked by most, if not all, observers as the No. 1 prospect among players eligible for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft that is scheduled for Red Deer on May 2. . . . He has committed to the U of Denver for 2021-22. . . . He played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, and is expected to return there for 2019-20.

Savoie attended the Crusaders’ recent spring camp, which prompted Yaremchuk to ask Chase: “Is he that good?”

Chase’s response: “Yeah. Yeah, he is.”

Chase’s son, Greg, who played in the WHL and has played professionally for the past four seasons, watched Savoie for a bit before saying: “He’ll be in the NHL in four years.”

According to Kyle Chase, his son then asked “what a lot of us ask: How did he get that good so fast?”

Chase went on to describe Savoie: “He shoots bullets. He’s physical. He’s an elite skater. He’s tenacious. He’s on the puck. When you talk about those elite players . . . those guys are high-end and high-octane and high-energy. Matt’s got a little bit of Wendel Clark in him; when you take the puck from him he’s going to blow you up and take it back. He’s not just interested in lifting your stick. . . . He’s got a ton of courage and he’s got a ton of skill. . . . He’s head’s up . . . he’s unselfish.”

As for Sherwood Park’s plans, Chase said that “our intention is to affiliate him. We spoke to the family and to Matt. We want him affiliated . . . and play a minimum of 10 games as an affiliate with us next (season). The family has been very receptive . . . and Matt’s on board. We’re excited to have him around the organization.”

The complete podcast, which runs about 20 minutes, is right here.


F Brayden Tracey of the Moose Jaw Warriors scored twice as Team Canada erased a 3-0 Canadasecond-period deficit and went on a 5-3 victory over Finland in its opening game at the IIHF U-18 World Championship in Umea, Sweden. . . . Tracey tied the score at 3:57 of the third period, on a PP, as he finished off a 2-on-1 with F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice). . . . Tracey scored what stood as the winner at 14:31, with F Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers) getting the lone assist. . . . Krebs iced it with an empty-netter. . . . G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) stopped 39 shots. He was terrific in the first period in holding the Finns to two goals on 20 shots. . . . Canada is scheduled to play Switzerland today. . . . The tournament runs through April 28. . . . Team Canada added G Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) to its roster earlier in the week. However, F Kirby Dach of the Blades had to turn down an invitation due to an undisclosed injury suffered in Game 5 of a second-round series with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . In other opening-day games, Russia beat Slovakia, 6-3; Team USA dropped Sweden, 6-1; and Belarus beat Czech Republic, 4-3.


The WHL’s two games in the 2019 CIBC Canada-Russia Series will be played in Saskatoon and Prince Albert. . . . The six-game series that also features two games against the OHL and QMJHL, is to be played Nov. 4-14. . . . For the first time since 2013, the series will begin in the QMJHL (Saint John, Nov. 4; Moncton, Nov. 5), then move to the OHL (Kitchener, Nov. 7; London, Nov. 11). . . . The series-ending games will be played in Saskatoon on Nov. 13 and Prince Albert on Nov. 14. . . . There is a news release on the series right here.


The Prince George Spruce Kings won the franchise’s first BCHL championship — the Fred SpruceKingsPage Cup — on Wednesday night, beating the Vipers 3-1 in Vernon to sweep the championship series in four games. . . . That ended a remarkable playoff run for the Spruce Kings, who went 16-1, the best post-season record in BCHL history. . . . F Ben Poisson, the Spruce Kings’ captain, gave the visitors a 2-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:14 of the second period. That goal, his 13th of the playoffs, stood up as his second game-winner in as many nights. Poisson had scored the OT winner in a 4-3 victory in Vernon on Tuesday night. . . . With the victory, the Spruce Kings, who entered the BCHL for the 1996-97 season, also clinched a berth in the National Junior A Championship, which is to be played in Brooks, Alta. Before that, the Spruce Kings will meet the AJHL-champion Brooks Bandits for the Doyle Cup. . . . That series is to open in Brooks on April 26.

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In the MJHL, the Portage Terriers beat the host Swan Valley Stampeders, 5-2, on Thursday night, tying the championship final, 3-3. . . . They’ll play Game 7 in Portage la Prairie on Monday. . . . Last night, the Terriers held a 50-26 edge in shots. . . . F Jay Buchholz, an 18-year-old from Fargo, N.D., had two goals for the winners, who trailed 2-1 with fewer than eight minutes to play in the third period. . . .

In the SJHL, the championship final between the Battlefords North Stars and Melfort Mustangs is to resume tonight. The North Stars, with a 3-1 lead, will play host to Game 5. . . . A sixth game, if needed would be played Sunday in Melfort.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL playoffs resume tonight as the conference finals get rolling with games in Prince Albert and Langley, B.C. . . . Each of the four teams still alive is 8-2 in these playoffs. . . . WHL fans have to be thinking it would be nice to see a couple of long series. The first round, with a maximum of 56 games, played out in 43, with three of the eight series going six games and one going the distance. . . . The second round, however, was finished in 19 games as the winners went 16-3. . . . F Dante Hannoun of the Prince Albert Raiders and F Davis Koch of the Vancouver Giants lead the scoring race, each with 14 points, one more than Vancouver D Bowen Byram. . . . Hannoun is tops in goals (9) and Koch leads in assists (12). . . . G Ian Scott of the Raiders and G Bailey Brkin of the Spokane Chiefs each has eight victories. Scott has the best GAA, at 1.81, while Brkin is tops in save percentage (.931). . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders, who finished atop the overall standings (54-10-4), will entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton topped the Central Division (42-18-8). . . . In the regular season, the Raiders won the season series, 3-1-0; the Oil Kings were 1-2-1. . . . They have met twice since the trade deadline, with the Oil Kings winning, 6-3, in Prince Albert on Feb. 1, and the Raiders winning, 5-1, in Edmonton three days later. . . . In the four games, Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky had five goals and two assists, while D Conner McDonald had three goals and three assists. . . . G Todd Scott of Edmonton went the distance in three of the games, going 1-1-1, 4.62, .883. G Dylan Myskiw, who has had the hot hand in the playoffs, was 0-1-0, 5.04, .853. . . . F Noah Gregor led the Raiders, with two goals and six assists in the four games. F Cole Fonstad, who missed the last two games of the Raiders’ second-round series, had four goals and three assists, while F Brett Leason had a goal and six assists in three games. . . . G Ian Scott of the Raiders was 2-1-0, 3.27, .897. . . . The Raiders will be without F Justin Nachbaur tonight as he completes a two-game suspension.

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In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants will be trying to prove that they are the WHL’s “top team” as they play host to the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Giants finished atop the Western Conference, at 48-15-5. . . . The Chiefs were second in the U.S. Division, at 40-21-7. . . . According to Steve Ewen of Postmedia, the Giants have seized on a couple of quotes from a Kevin Dudley story in the Spokane Spokesman-Review and are using them as a rallying point. . . . After the Chiefs had eliminated the Everett Silvertips, who had finished on top of the U.S. Division, at 47-16-5, head coach Dan Lambert made reference to having ousted “the top team in the league.” . . . At the same time, Spokane G Bailey Brkin told Dudley: “We just took down the top team in the league, without even a Game 6 or 7.” . . . Yes, the Giants took note. “It bothers you to a certain extent,” D Dylan Plouffe told Ewen. “We’re just going to use it for motivation. That’s really all.” . . .

The Giants went 3-1-0 in the season series; the Chiefs were 1-2-1. . . . They have played each other three times since the trade deadline. The Giants won 6-4 in Spokane on Jan. 18 and 5-4 at home on Feb. 15. The Chiefs won 4-1 in Spokane on March 8. . . . Chiefs F Riley Woods had a goal and five assists in six games, while F Luc Smith, in three games, had four goals. . . . Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw led his side with three goals and two assists in four games. F Davis Koch and F Milos Roman each had a goal and three assists. D Bowen Byram had a goal and two assists in the four games. . . . Brkin, who might be the playoff MVP to this point, was 1-1-0, 3.03, .915 against the Giants. . . . The Giants used both goaltenders — David Tendeck was 2-0-0, 3.88, .843; Trent Miner was 1-1-0, 4.13, .833.


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Hope, Price are liking status quo in Victoria. . . . They’ve got Raiders Fever in P.A. . . . Bandits wrap up AJHL title


MacBeth

F Adam Kambeitz (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Seattle, 2008-13) has signed a one-season contract with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). This season, with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he had four goals and nine assists in 44 games. The AIHL opens its 2019 regular season on Saturday. . . .

F Zach Hamill (Everett, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Bad Nauheim (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 10 goals and 29 assists in 34 games.


ThisThat

In the world of hockey, you learn never to say never. But it certainly doesn’t sound as though there will be a coaching change with the Victoria Royals.

The Royals went 34-30-4 to finish second in the B.C. Division this season, 29 points behind VictoriaRoyalsthe Vancouver Giants (48-15-5). The Royals ousted the Kamloops Blazers from a first-round series that last six games and then got swept by the Giants.

Dan Price completed his third season with the Royals, his second as head coach since taking over after Dave Lowry signed on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.

Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, liked what he saw this season.

“In my time in hockey,” Hope told CHEK News earlier this week, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with some terrific coaches, guys who are head coaches in the National Hockey League right now in the playoffs . . . I can tell you that there isn’t a coaching staff that works harder, prepares more, is more intelligent in the way they do it and get their players to buy in more than this coaching staff. It’s remarkable what Dan Price, J.F. (Best) and Doug Bodger have done. It’s remarkable.”

Best and Bodger are the Royals’ assistant coaches.

Price, for his part, told CHEK News that he isn’t wanting to move.

“I would love to be here for as long as Cam and (owner) Graham (Lee) would like to have me,” Price said. “It is one of the best jobs if not the best job in hockey. I am grateful every day. . . . I love it here. I don’t want to go anywhere.”


JUST NOTES: The Eastern Conference final between the Prince Albert Raiders and Edmonton Oil Kings is scheduled to begin with Games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday nights in the Saskatchewan city. Single-game tickets went on sale in Prince Albert on Tuesday at 9 a.m. People started lining up as early as 5:30 a.m. . . . In the OHL, the Guelph Storm scored the game’s last five goals to beat the Knights, 6-3, in London in Game 7 of a second-round series. The Storm is the fifth team in OHL history to lost the first three games of a series, then win the next four. The Storm is the first team to do that against a No. 1 seed.


The QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have fired Marc-Andre Dumont, who had qmjhlbeen general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Brent Hughes. Dumont had been in that position since December 2012. . . . This season, the Screaming Eagles went 40-22-6 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, where they lost in five games to the Rimouski Oceanic. . . . “We made a commitment to evaluate the team back when I became president almost a year ago and under new ownership we also made the commitment that we would evaluate the team,” Gerard Shaw, the organization’s president, told Jeremy Fraser of the Cape Breton Post. “We felt that we wanted to go in a new direction, so we decided the time was right to make a change and to take a new direction.”


USA Hockey has named Scott Sandelin the head coach of its national junior team. USAhockeySandelin just completed his 19th season as the head coach of the U of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, who have won two straight NCAA championships. . . . Sandelin was the head coach of the national junior team in 2005 and was an assistant coach in 2012 and 2019. . . . The IIHF’s 2020 World Junior Championship is scheduled to run from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.


The Brooks Bandits won their fifth AJHL championship in 10 seasons on Tuesday night, beating the Spruce Grove Saints, 2-0, to win the series, 4-0. . . . G Pierce Charleson, a 19-year-old freshman from Aurora, Ont., stopped 22 shots to earn the shutout. . . . The goals came from F William Lemay of Marieville, Que., who is committed to the U of Vermont, and F Jakob Lee of Owen Sound, Ont., who will attend Canisius College. Lemay and Lee both are in their first AJHL seasons. . . .

In the MJHL, F Bradly Goethals scored at 1:46 of the third OT period to give the Swan Valley Stampeders a 4-3 victory over the Portage Terriers. The Stampeders hold a 3-2 lead in the championships series, with Game 6 in Swan River on Thursday. . . . Goethals, from Île-des-Chênes, Man., has played in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swan Valley also got goals from F Brian Harris, who has played 54 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings, F Kasyn Kruse of Luverne, Minn., and F Matthew Osadick of Grande Pointe, Man., who is ticketed for the U of Maine. . . .

In the BCHL, F Ben Poisson scored at 12:07 of OT to give the Prince George Spruce Kings a 4-3 victory over the Vipers in Vernon. . . . The Spruce Kings hold a 3-0 lead and get their first chance to wrap it up tonight in Vernon. . . . Poisson’s brother, Nick, drew the lone assist on the winner.


Garry Childerhose is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. He replaced Clayton Jardine, who, according to a news release, “has stepped aside to pursue other career opportunities.” . . . Jardine just completed his first season as the Klippers’ GM/head coach, and he was named the SJHL’s coach of the year. The Clippers finished 36-16-6 in the regular season, placing second in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division. They lost a first-round playoff series to the Melfort Mustangs in five games. . . . Childerhose has been the Flin Flon Bombers’ assistant GM/assistant coach for the past five seasons.


The MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals have chosen not to renew the contract of Troy Leslie, who had been with the organization for seven seasons. . . . From a news release: “Troy helped lead the team to six straight playoff appearances and a league championship final, and helped develop many players to the next level of hockey and careers beyond the game.” . . . This season, Virden finished 31-21-8, good for fifth place in the 11-team league. The Oil Capitals were 4-6 in the playoffs, beating the Selkirk Steelers in six games, then losing in four to the Portage Terriers.


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Scattershooting on a Wednesday, after watching lightning hit Tampa Bay’s outhouse. . . .

Scattershooting

“Arizona beat the Dodgers on March 29 in the longest regular-season game in Dodger Stadium history — 6 hours, 5 minutes and 13 innings,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “L.A. fans were so confused that, after leaving early in the seventh inning as usual, they came back twice more so they could leave again in the 10th and 12th.”



The defending NHL champion Washington Capitals and their captain Alex Ovechkin visited the White House,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Afterwards, President Trump denied any involvement with the Russian.”


A couple of Robservations from Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post . . .

Pet peeve: References to someone setting a “new record.” The “new” is unnecessary.

Another pet peeve: Media types who make a statement and then expect an interviewee to answer. Some of the worst offenders are veteran reporters. How difficult is it to ask a question?



ICYMI, Earvin Johnson has resigned as the president of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, or, as Vancouver comedian Torben Rolfsen noted, “Magic lived up to his name — by disappearing.”


“I’m so old,” writes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “I remember when the Clippers were Los Angeles’s dysfunctional NBA franchise.”


Headline at The Onion: Engineers Unveil New Driverless Car Capable Of Committing Hit-And-Run.

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Headline at Fark.com: Hapless Mariners can’t even get a rebuilding year right.

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Headline at SportsPickle.com: Will Trent Richardson and Johnny Manziel have to wait 5 years to be inducted into the AAF Hall of Fame?


It was Thursday afternoon in Kamloops when two stories broke.

First came this one, with the lead from Kamloops This Week:

“Stormy Daniels is coming to Kamloops.

“The award-winning porn actress who wrote a tell-all book about her encounter with U.S. President Donald Trump — and the ensuing $130,000 payment he made to her — will be at The Duchess, 377 Tranquille Rd., on June 2 for a meet-and-greet event, according to her website.”

That was followed by this from the local WHL team: “The Kamloops Blazers have announced that the hockey club and head coach Serge Lajoie have mutually parted ways.”

Which one do you think created more buzz in the city that used to be known as Little Montreal?

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James Miller, in the Kelowna Daily Courier: “Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran needs to immediately impose economic sanctions on the City of Kamloops. First, Kamloops ends the Kelowna Rockets’ season in a single-game showdown for the final berth in the Western Hockey League playoffs. Next, they secured the biggest book tour of 2019 — Stormy Daniels. How are these things possible?”


Dorothy and I spent Monday on the road. We went from Kamloops to Salmon Arm, then over to Vernon, down to Kelowna, and back to Kamloops. A couple of observations: There are no speed limits on the highways we travelled. Those signs with numbers on them on the sides of those highways? They aren’t even guidelines. . . . There seem to be a lot of drivers who make a right or left turn onto a highway assuming that oncoming track will see them and slow down. How many times does one of those drivers do this before finding themselves in a wreck?



“Just think,” notes comedian Argus Hamilton, “if they send Lori Loughlin up the river, her daughter can row her there.”


The WHL, which has requested that a number of its team’s landlords install new glass, boards and scoreclocks at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, may want to think about requesting indoor fishing pools stocked with bass, too. After all, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic on the Tennessee River drew 153,809 fans over three days in March.


“Last time LeBron missed the playoffs was in 2005,” notes Bleacher Report. “That year . . . Netflix was delivering DVDs. . . . Apple didn’t have an iPhone. . . . YouTube was founded. . . . Aubrey Graham wasn’t Drake yet; he was Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi.”


From the Twitter account of Brad Dickson (@brad_dickson): “You complain about the Nebraska football team going 4-8 last season? If the Nebraska Legislature were a football team its record would be 1-11 yet you re-elect almost all the same people to it every time.”

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One more from Dickson: “The Dept of Homeland Security Chief just ‘retired.’ I won’t speculate on how she plans to fund her retirement but somebody just put 9 million pairs of confiscated nail clippers up for sale on eBay.”


I really liked Patti Dawn Swansson’s take on Tiger Woods, The Masters, and what a lot of folks were calling the greatest comeback in the history of the universe. Here’s Swansson . . .

You want to talk about comebacks? Okay.

  • Try golfer Ben Hogan, who lost an argument with a Greyhound bus in 1949 and suffered a double fracture to his pelvis, a fractured collar bone, a fractured left ankle, a chipped rib, near-fatal blood clots, lifelong circulation problems, and required blood transfusions. He won the U.S. Open the following year, and another five Grand Slam tournaments after that.
  • Try Muhammad Ali, banned from boxing for 3½ years due to the political climate of the day, then returning to win the heavyweight title.
  • Try Monica Seles, stabbed in the back with a nine-inch knife by a crazed Steffi Graf fan during a tennis match, disappearing for more than two years due to depression and the fear of another attack by a man who never spent a day in jail, then returning to win the Australian Open.
  • Try Mario Lemieux, who won a battle with cancer and returned to the NHL to win multiple scoring titles.
  • Try driver Niki Lauda, hauled out of a fire-engulfed car and his head and face burnt to a crisp, then returning to win the Formula 1 driving title one year later and again five years after his first retirement.

Woods battled back from self-inflicted public humiliation and numerous physical challenges that could have ended his career, but nothing life-threatening. His is a terrific story, to be sure. But the greatest comeback ever? Not even close.

The entire column is right here and, as usual, it goes down well with morning coffee.

Mondays With Murray: Gen-Xers Need Not Apply

SUNDAY, APRIL 19, 1998, SPORTS

Copyright 1998/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY

JIM MURRAY

Gen-Xers Need Not Apply

  PHOENIX — Whither sports in the 21st century?

  That was the subject of an informal seminar of some of the ablest historians of our day when we met at the Wigwam resort in old Arizona over the weekend.

  The purpose of the convocation, in addition to trying to make par-fives in eight or less, was to consider what lay ahead for the games people play or pay to see played in the new mondaysmurray2century.

  Will baseball survive? Should it? What about boxing? Can it shake off the devastating image of what may be its greatest practitioner, its most famous personality, stumbling around with slurred speech and trembling hands?

  What about football? Is it a sport or a concussion? Can tennis survive the Rube Goldberg scoring system it’s barnacled with? How many spoiled brats can we put up with?

  To consider these cosmic issues we brought together a panel consisting of Blackie Sherrod of the Dallas Morning News, Edwin Pope of the Miami Herald, Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Dan Foster of the Greenville (S.C.) News, Dan Cook of the San Antonio Express-News and Bill Millsaps of the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch. About a century of sporting experience.

  You have to remember that, as the 20th century dawned, there was no World Series, no Super Bowl, no Masters, no NFL, no Final Four. There was, in fact, only one tentative Olympics.

  The 20th century will be defined by its craze for sports. More people can tell you the year the Mets won the pennant than can tell you the year the first atomic bomb was dropped. People who don’t know who the secretary of state is can tell you who plays center field for the Yankees. People who couldn’t find Kansas on a map can tell you where the high post is on a basketball court.

  Will the new millennium be more of the same? Our panel of experts who answer to the inelegant club name of “Geezers IV” are divided on their answers.

  Baseball is in a suicide pact with itself, Pope believes. “It’s taken leave of its senses. Someone should put a net over them when they pay $60 million to a Gary Sheffield. There is no way they can recoup that kind of outlay.”

  Sports needs saviors, larger-than-life performers, glamour figures, the panel feels. Babe Ruth took baseball out of the low-rent district when he began to hit almost one-quarter of all the home runs hit in the league.

  Will Mark McGwire bring the game back to that level? Well, it was pointed out, Roger Maris couldn’t. Neither could Henry Aaron. They both broke Ruth’s records. But they never could fill seats the way the Babe could. Or sell products.

  Basketball is the new darling of the sports firmament, the panelists agreed. Michael Jordan is the most identifiable sports figure on the scene. He’s not only good, he’s loved.

  And the game itself is the only one that has been speeded up. In baseball, players almost become cobwebbed between at-bats. Football has elements of a Geneva Convention when the striped officials get together after every play to try to sort out what happened.

  But basketball used to have a center-jump after every basket. Now they don’t have one even to start the second half. You have a jump ball only when an aggravated assault has taken place.

  Golf found its messiah (at least that’s what Tiger Woods’ father called him) wrapped in swaddling clothes and lain on its doorstep. A game that had been lost in the galling anonymity of a different winner a week suddenly had a star.

  But the panel thinks the game itself has to be rescued from its technology. What happens when a Tiger Woods is handed a bag full of instruments that turn a 600-yard hole into a three-wood and a wedge? Two- and three-irons are already obsolete. Will they be followed by four-, five-, six- and seven-irons? Thirty-five years ago only half a dozen golfers could hit tee shots 250 yards. Today, the tour average is over 280. There are more than a dozen golfers who regularly hit it out there 315 yards or more.

  Where will they find the real estate to host the game when technology mandates 450-yard drives, balls that seek the hole and compensate for breaks in the green on their own?

  Horse racing is folding in the stretch. Nobody bets on the bay any more now that they can get a bet on the red in the Native American casino or play the state lottery in the liquor store and blackjack on a riverboat.

  Millsaps says he has “fallen out of love with basketball.” He notes, “It used to be such a lovely finesse sport, now it’s a dock fight. It’s just football without the helmets and shoulder pads. They score baskets the way the Chicago Bears used to score touchdowns.”

  Baseball is too slow to last, Pope thinks. “It’s even slower on television. They had 47½ minutes of commercials in World Series broadcasts.”

  “Nobody will be able to afford baseball players,” predicts Cook, “not even Disney and Rupert Murdoch. The players will kill the golden goose.”

  Sports franchises offer confused allegiances, double-parked franchises, free-agent players who have to call the front desk to see what town they’re playing for.

  Is the situation really that bleak?

  Well, come to think of it, the panel agreed, how can it be? We’ve still got Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Mark McGwire. Maybe the Golden Age of Sport is right now. Maybe these are “the good old days.” Maybe the public likes cheering for the filthy rich.

Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 60753, Pasadena, CA 91116

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What is the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation? 

  The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1999 to perpetuate the Jim Murray legacy, and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. Since 1999, JMMF has granted 104 $5,000 scholarships to outstanding journalism students. Success of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s efforts depends heavily on the contributions from generous individuals, organizations, corporations, and volunteers who align themselves with the mission and values of the JMMF.

Like us on Facebook, and visit the JMMF website, www.jimmurrayfoundation.org.

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A dozen years ago, Linda McCoy-Murray compiled a book of Jim Murray’s columns on female athletes (1961-1998). While the book is idle waiting for an interested publisher, the JMMF thinks this is an appropriate year to get the book on the shelves, i.e., Jim Murray’s 100th birthday, 1919-2019.  

Our mission is to empower women of all ages to succeed and prosper — in and out of sports — while entertaining the reader with Jim Murray’s wit and hyperbole.  An excellent teaching tool for Women’s Studies.

Proceeds from book sales will benefit the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization providing sports journalism scholarships at universities across the country.

NHL Central Scouting likes WHLers. . . . Former Pats sniper dead at 42. . . . BCHL coach of the year makes move


MacBeth

F Milan Bartovič (Brandon, Tri-City, 1999-2001) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). An alternate captain, he had 15 goals and 25 assists in 54 games this season. . . .

F Kris Foucault (Swift Current, Kootenay, Calgary, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). This season, with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL), he had five goals and two assists in seven gams. He missed most of the season after suffering a concussion. . . .

F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) announced his retirement via his Twitter account. This season, with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite), he had 23 goals and 23 assists in 58 games. . . .

F Jordan Knackstedt (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dresden (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 21 goals and 50 assists in 41 games. He led his team in assists and points. He was second in the league in assists and fourth in points.


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NHL Central Scouting issued its final rankings prior to the 2019 draft and three of the top whlfive-rated North American skaters are out of the WHL. . . . D Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants moved from No. 4 in the midseason rankings to No. 2. F Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades is at No. 3, and F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is ranked fifth. . . . F Jack Hughes of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program U-18 team is the top-ranked North American skater. . . . Central Scouting has seven NTDP skaters rated as potential first-round picks. . . . F Kaapo Kakko of TPS in Finland is atop the list of international skaters. . . . All told there are 50 WHLers in the final rankings. . . . The draft is scheduled for Rogers Arena in Vancouver, June 21 and 22. . . . There is more on the rankings right here.


F Riley Sutter of the Everett Silvertips has joined the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of Everettthe NHL’s Washington Capitals. Sutter, who will turn 20 on Oct. 25, was a third-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . This season, Sutter had 14 goals and 27 assists in 38 games. He missed 37 consecutive games with an undisclosed injury, before returning for Game 3 of a second-round series against the Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs won that series in five games. . . . In 204 career regular-season WHL games, Sutter had 137 points, including 60 goals. . . . Hershey is scheduled to open the AHL playoffs on Friday. . . . If you’re wondering, Riley is a member of the famed hockey family. His father, Ron, is one of the Sutter twins and played 19 seasons in the NHL.


Three skaters from the WHL are on the roster for the Czech team that will play in the IIHF U-18 World Championship that is to begin on Thursday. . . . F Martin Lang of the Kamloops Blazers, F Matej Toman of the Prince George Cougars and D Simon Kubicek of the Seattle Thunderbirds are on the final roster that was revealed on Monday. . . . The tournament is to run through April 28 in the Swedish cities of Ornskoldsvik and Umea. . . .

Team Canada won its second pre-tournament game on Monday, beating Russia, 5-4, in Umea. Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), who had three assists in a 6-5 OT victory over Belarus on Sunday, scored twice, one on a penalty shot. F Peyton Krebs (WInnipeg Ice) had two assists. G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) stopped 32 shots. . . . Team Canada is to open tournament play on Thursday against Finland.



Joe Martin, the BCHL’s coach of the year for this season, has left the Merritt Centennials AlberniValleyto sign on as the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ general manager and head coach. Martin, 38, spent four seasons as the Centennials’ general manager and head coach. This season, the Centennials were 36-15-4-3 and finished second in the Interior Division. They lost a first-round series, 4-1, to the Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Martin had been with Merritt since signing on as an assistant coach prior to the 2011-12 season. . . . In Alberta Valley, Martin replaces Matt Hughes, who, according to the Bulldogs, “resigned his position from the club by mutual agreement” late in March. . . . Taking Note actually was told by a reliable source on April 4 that “Joe Martin is going to Alberni Valley.” On Friday, that same source told Taking Note: “It’s happening. Joe Martin to Alberni Valley.” . . . That same day, when Bulldogs business manager David Michaud was asked about Martin, his response was: “Joe Martin is under contract with the Merritt Centennials. If you want to write gossip about a man who just gave birth to a newborn have at it. Get better sources or call me.” . . . If Martin was under contract to Merritt on Friday and my source was feeding me gossip, it would seem that the deal between him and the Bulldogs got done in a hurry.


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Did Chiefs take out WHL’s top team? . . . High Noon arrives for Blades vs. Raiders. . . . P.A. moves into conference final


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F Clarke Breitkreuz (Regina. Prince George, 2008-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Lausitzer Füchse Weißwasser (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 18 goals and 15 assists in 41 games. . . .

F Chris Francis (Portland, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Saale Bulls Halle (Germany, Oberliga). In 26 games, he had 21 goals and 38 assists. He actually started the season with the Tulsa Oilers (ECHL), recording one goal and one assist in 10 games.


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It seems that the Spokane Chiefs are of the opinion that they eliminated the WHL’s best team when they ousted the Everett Silvertips from the playoffs on Saturday night.

The Chiefs beat the visiting Silvertips, 2-1, in Game 5 on Saturday to win the Western SpokaneChiefsConference semifinal, 4-1, and advance to the conference final against the Vancouver Giants. That series is to open in Langley, B.C., with games on Friday and Saturday nights.

“We just took down the top team in the league, without even a Game 6 or 7,” Spokane goaltender Bailey Brkin, who just may be the biggest individual story of these playoffs, told Kevin Dudley of the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “I’m just so proud of the boys for pulling it out.”

Dan Lambert, the Chiefs’ head coach, told Dudley that Everett is “the top team in the league. The reason for that is the way they compete and outwork (teams). . . .”

Don’t tell the Chiefs, but the regular-season standings — never mind the second round of the playoffs — would seem to indicate that the Silvertips weren’t the best team in the league.

The Prince Albert Raiders finished atop the overall standings, at 54-10-4. Because of the unbalanced schedule — it is terribly unbalanced due to the WHL being spread over four provinces and two states — comparing teams in different conferences really is an apples-and-oranges thing.

But the Giants topped the Western Conference, at 48-15-5. They were 11 points behind the Raiders and two in front of the Silvertips.

The Chiefs? The finished 40-21-7, good for eighth place in the overall standings, 12 points behind the Silvertips and 14 behind the Giants, their next opponent.


We may have solved a couple of mysteries left over from Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal between the Spokane Chiefs and Everett Silvertips.

You will recall that Spokane D Filip Kral was suspended for one game for “game misconduct versus Everett on April 12,” according to the WHL. Kral was given a game misconduct at 19:28 of third period of a game that the host Chiefs went on to win, 4-1. There were rumblings that Kral was ejected from the game while seated on the Chiefs’ bench.

Well, a follower of the Chiefs who is a reader of this blog informed Taking Note on Saturday night that “Kral squirted water from the bench and I guess it hit the linesman’s leg.” The source spoke with Kral while he was serving his suspension by missing Game 5 in Spokane on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the WHL also fined the Chiefs $500 “for warm up violations.”

While the WHL didn’t offer any specifics, including which game it was, the same Chiefs follower tells Taking Note that a violation may have occurred prior to Game 4 when Spokane F Luke Toporowski “shot a puck into Everett’s net just before the horn sounded to end” the warmup. “I saw him do it and thought that wasn’t allowed,” the source told Taking Note.

So . . . while all of this is speculation, it just may have solved a couple of mysteries. A tip of the Taking Note fedora to the observant and interested Chiefs follower who took the time to write.


Going into these playoffs, many of the hockey whisperers were of the opinion that the Spokane Chiefs may have had a goaltending problem. Not that they didn’t have any goaltending, but that their play in that department may have been lacking when compared to some other teams.

Well, Bailey Brkin is in the process of shooting that theory to smithereens.

A 19-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., Brkin was 27-11-3, 2.75, .914 in the regular season, and now is 8-2, 2.26, .931 in the playoffs. He is preparing to lead the Chiefs into the Western Conference final, having beaten the Portland Winterhawks (Shane Farkas, Joel Hofer) and Everett Silvertips (Dustin Wolf) in the first two rounds.

It could be that the whisperers still haven’t forgotten Brkin’s numbers from the 23 appearances he made with the Kootenay Ice last season — 7-12-2, 4.51, .874.

His time with the Ice ended on Jan. 8, 2018, when the Chiefs acquired him for — get this! — an eighth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

The Ice, of course, hasn’t been a good team for a few seasons now, so it’s likely that Brkin found Spokane to be a breath of fresh air.

Considering Brkin’s numbers this season, you would have to say the feeling is mutual.


When the Spokane Chiefs and Vancouver open the Western Conference final on Friday in VancouverLangley, B.C., Giants F Jadon Joseph will be appearing in his third consecutive conference final. . . . In each of the previous two seasons, Joseph was with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Two years ago, they lost to the Regina Pats in six games. Last season, the Hurricanes again were ousted in six games, this time by the Swift Current Broncos. . . . In 2017, Joseph, a 19-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., had two goals and an assist in 20 playoff games. Last spring, he put up three goals and nine assists in 16 games. . . . The Hurricanes dealt him to Regina this season, and the Giants acquired him from the Pats on Jan. 4, giving up a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a sixth-rounder in 2020. . . . In the regular season, Joseph had 10 goals and 18 assists in 32 games with the Giants. In the playoffs, he has six goals and two assists in 10 games. . . . Most importantly, as far as the Giants are concerned, is that he joined them having already appeared in 36 playoff games.


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NOTES:  The WHL’s conference semifinals are over, with nary a one of the four series going to seven games. . . . Two of them were sweeps — the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Calgary Hitmen, and the Vancouver Giants dumped the Victoria Royals — while one went five games and another six. . . . The Spokane Chiefs took out the Everett Silvertips in five; the Prince Albert Raiders beat the Blades, 6-3, in Saskatoon on Sunday to win that series in six games. . . .

The WHL now goes dark until Friday night when the conference finals are scheduled to open, with the Oil Kings in Prince Albert, and the Chiefs meeting the Giants in Langley, B.C. . . .

When Prince Albert beat the host Blades, 6-3, on Sunday, it marked the 66th playoff victory for Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid. That moves him into a tie for ninth place with Ken Hitchcock on the WHL’s all-time list, one victory behind Willie Desjardins and Don Nachbaur. . . . Who’s No. 1? Don Hay, of course. Hay has recorded 108 playoff victories as a head coach, seven more than Ken Hodge. . . .

Habscheid also has moved to ninth place on the WHL’s list of combined coaching victories. He now has 575 regular-season and playoff victories, four behind Brent Sutter. . . . Hay also is No. 1 here, at 858, with Hodge second, at 843.

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Dante Hannoun scored three times to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 6-3 victory PrinceAlbertover the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . The Raiders won the Eastern Conference semifinal, 4-2, and will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the final. That series is to open with games in Prince Albert on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . The Raiders are into the conference final for the first time since 2005. . . . F Parker Kelly (4) put the Raiders out front, 1-0, at 10:28 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Ryan Hughes (1) tied it at 16:45. . . . The Raiders took a two-goal lead on second-period goals from Hannoun (7), at 5:08, and F Aliaksei Protas (4), on a PP, at 8:18. . . . Hughes (2) halved the Saskatoon deficit, on a PP, at 15:24. . . . Hannoun (8) restored the two-goal lead, at 3:33. . . . F Sean Montgomery (7) upped the Raiders’ lead to 5-2, on a PP, at 5:27. . . . F Tristen Robins (3) scored for the Blades 29 second later. . . . Hannoun (9) completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:58. . . .

The Raiders acquired Hannoun, along with fourth- and eighth-round picks in the 2019 bantam draft, from the Victoria Royals on Jan. 3, for F Carson Miller, F Kody McDonald and a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. . . . In 28 regular-season games with the Raiders, Hannoun, 20, had 10 goals and 21 assists. In 10 playoff games, he has a WHL-leading nine goals. He is tied for the points lead with F Davis Koch of the Vancouver Giants, each with 14. . . . Prince Albert was 2-3 on the PP; Saskatoon was 2-4. . . . F Noah Gregor and F Brett Leason each had two assists for the winners. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 19 shots for the Raiders, seven fewer than Saskatoon’s Nolan Maier. . . . The Raiders scratched F Cole Fonstad for a second straight game and had F Cole Nagy, an AP, dressed for this one. . . . The Raiders were without F Justin Nachbaur, who served the first of a two-game suspension. He also will sit out the first game of the Eastern Conference final on Friday.


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Raiders have chance to oust Blades today. . . . Chiefs finish off Silvertips. . . . Lacombe hoists fourth Allan Cup


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D Filip Kral of the Spokane Chiefs sat out Game 5 of their series with the visiting Everett whlSilvertips on Saturday night with a one-game suspension. According to the WHL, he was suspended “for game misconduct” in Game 4 on Friday night. Kral was ejected from the game, which Everett won, 4-1, at 19:28 of the third period. In many situations, and this is one of them, the WHL is as transparent as tinfoil. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to keep the fans informed by letting them know the nature of the transgression. Perhaps the player had a stickboy go to a concession area to get him a hotdog and the referees were upset that he forgot to order for them, too.

At the same time, the Chiefs were fined $500 for what the WHL termed “warm up violations.” Again, the WHL chooses, as it usually does, not to let the sun shine in on these decisions, but these infractions usually involve players staying on the ice too long at the end up the pregame warmup, or a player or players crossing the centre line into enemy territory during the warmup. In this instance, though, perhaps the hotdogs weren’t warmed up properly in the officials’ room.

The WHL also handed down one other suspension on Saturday, as it gave F Justin Nachbaur of the Prince Albert Raiders two games for an interference major and game misconduct he incurred in Game 5 of their series with the Saskatoon Blades on Friday night. He was penalized for a  hit on Blades D Dawson Davidson at 14:52 of the third period in a game that the host Raiders won, 6-1. . . . Nachbaur will sit out Game 6 in Saskatoon tonight, and also will miss either Game 7 against the Blades or the first game of the Eastern Conference final.


F Jesse Todd scored twice to help the Lacombe Generals to a 5-2 victory over the Innisfail Eagles in the championship final of the Allan Cup tournament on Saturday. The Generals were the host team for the six-team senior AAA tournament that also included the South East Prairie Thunder, Stoney Creek Generals, who were the defending champions, Haut-Madawaska Panthers and Rosetown Red Wings. . . . F Chase Norrish, F Dylan Nowakowski and F Cody Cartier also scored for Lacombe. Cartier’s goal and Todd’s second score were empty-netters in the game’s final minute. . . . Lacombe got 26 saves from G Tyler Weiman. . . . The Eagles got two goals from F Justin Cox. . . . G Allen York stopped 37 shots for Innisfail. . . . The Generals, who were in the final for a fifth straight season, now have won four Allan Cup titles — 2009, 2013, 2016 and now 2019.


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NOTES: The Prince Albert Raiders have their first opportunity to wrap up their Eastern Conference semifinal today when they meet the Blades in Saskatoon. The Raiders hold a 3-2 lead in the series after beating the visiting Blades, 6-1, on Friday night. . . . Should the Blades win tonight — and they are expecting somewhere around 10,000 fans in the SaskTel Centre — the teams would settle the issue with Game 7 in Prince Albert on Tuesday. . . .

F Kirby Dach of the Blades left Friday’s game in the second period with an apparent injury to his left leg after an awkward looking collision with Raiders F Brett Leason. He missed about half of the second period, then returned for the third. . . . Blades D Dawson Davidson was helped off the ice late in the third period after taking a hit from Raiders F Justin Nachbaur, who has been suspended for two games. I would expect Davidson to play today, otherwise I’m thinking Nachbaur would have been hit with one of those TBD suspensions. . . .

The winner of this series will meet the well-rested Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference final. That series is expected to open in Saskatchewan with games on Friday and Saturday nights. . . .

In Saturday’s only playoff game, the host Spokane Chiefs beat the Everett Silvertips, 2-1, to win that series 4-1. . . . The Silvertips had gone 47-16-5 to finish atop the U.S. Division, 12 points ahead of the Chiefs (40-21-7). . . . Spokane will meet the Vancouver Giants in the Western Conference final, starting with games in Langley, B.C., on Friday and Saturday nights, with Games 3 and 4 in Spokane on April 23 and 24. . . . The Giants went 48-15-5 in the regular season to finish atop the conference. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 3-1-0; Spokane was 1-2-1. . . . The Giants won two of three games since the trade deadline — 6-4 in Spokane and 5-4 in Langley. The Chiefs won 4-1 on home ice on March 8.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Riley Woods’ second-period goal stood up as the winner as the Spokane Chiefs beat the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Everett Silvertips, 2-1. . . . The Chiefs won the series, 4-1, and move into the Western Conference final against the Vancouver Giants. That series is to open Friday in Langley, B.C. . . . Last night, F Robbie Holmes (4) gave the Silvertips a 1-0 lead at 1:32 of the first period. . . . Spokane D Nolan Reid (1) tied it, on a PP, at 10:00. . . . Woods scored his sixth goal of these playoffs at 5:24 of the second period, on a PP, and it ended up being the winner. . . . D Ty Smith assisted on both Spokane goals. . . . Spokane was 2-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs were 6-14 on the PP in the five games; Everett was 2-15. . . . The Silvertips spent the final 3:27 of the third period on the PP after Chiefs F Luc Smith was given a double-minor for boarding. However, Everett wasn’t able to beat G Bailey Brkin, who finished with 34 saves. The Chiefs were outshot 13-5 in the second period and 16-4 in the third. . . . Everett got 19 saves from G Dustin Wolf. . . . With D Filip Kral serving a one-game suspension, the Chiefs moved Matt Leduc up to play alongside Reid. They had D Egor Arbuzov in the lineup to fill the vacancy created by Kral’s absence. . . . Leduc set an early tone when he stepped up and hit Everett F Connor Dewar with a thundering check at 8:24 of the first period. Dewar went to the dressing room and missed a few shifts before returning to finish the game.


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