Will Rasmussen be back in WHL? . . . Giants, Royals prepping for tripleheader weekend. . . . Wheat Kings close on playoff spot


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F T.J. Mulock (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-03, Kamloops, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany DEL). This season, he has one goal and 15 assists in 43 games. Mulock, who is a dual German-Canadian citizen, is completing his 10th season in the DEL, his 13th overall in Germany. . . .

F Grant Toulmin (Swift Current, 2005-07, 2008-09) has signed a one-season contract extension with the Sydney IceDogs (Australia, AIHL). Last season, he had 15 goals and 33 assists in 21 games. He was second in team scoring and was named the team’s MVP. This will be Toulmin’s fourth season in Australia. The AIHL regular season begins on April 20.


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There is speculation that the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings may return F Michael Rasmussen, 19, to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

The 6-foot-6 Rasmussen was selected by the Red Wings with the ninth overall pick of the tri-city2017 NHL draft.

The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 48 games. A short time ago, they sent him to their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, on a conditioning stint, and he had two goals in three games.

However, Rasmussen isn’t eligible to play in the AHL because of his age. If the Red Wings want him to be playoff eligible with Grand Rapids, Rasmussen would have to be returned to Tri-City, and he could be assigned to the Griffins whenever the Americans’ season might end.

Ansar Khan of mlive.com reported on Wednesday that the Red Wings “are contemplating” returning Rasmussen to Tri-City.

Last night, Rasmussen was pointless, and minus-1, in nine minutes 36 seconds of playing time as the Red Wings dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

That was the fourth time in six games that he has played fewer than 10 minutes.

The Americans have 12 games left in their regular season. They are third in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Portland Winterhawks and one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs.

Rasmussen had injury problems in each of the past two seasons, but still put up 63 goals and 51 assists in 97 games with Tri-City. Last season, he was tremendous in the playoffs, scoring 16 goals and adding 17 assists in 14 games.


The cities of Vancouver and Victoria are separated by about 115 kilometres, including the Georgia Strait.

So you wouldn’t think it would be that tough for the cities’ WHL teams to complete a 10-game season series over the course of six months without having to play a tripleheader. You know, catch a ferry and play a doubleheader, or even just pop across the strait for a singleton.

The Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals have three games remaining in the season series. At this point, Vancouver is 4-2-1 in the season series; Victoria is 3-3-1.

The Giants have 12 games remaining, with the Royals having 11 left on their schedule, meaning time is running out.

So, hey, why not do it up in fewer than 48 hours this weekend?

That’s right. The Giants and Royals are going to face each other three times this weekend — Friday at the Langley Events Centre, and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in Victoria.

The Giants (39-14-3) are atop the B.C. Division, 18 points ahead of the Royals (30-24-3), who appear headed to a second-place finish. The Giants, though, are hoping to finish atop the Western Conference — they are four points behind the Everett Silvertips with two games in hand — so still have something for which to play.


The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit has extended the contracts of general manager Dave Drinkill Saginawand head coach Chris Lazary through the 2020-21 season. . . . Drinkill is in his fourth season as Saginaw’s GM, after working with the Barrie Colts for nine seasons in various roles. . . . Lazary, 36, signed on with the Spirit as the associate coach prior to 2016-17. He took over as head coach on Nov. 18 after Troy Smith was fired. Since then, the Spirit is 25-6-3. . . . Overall, the Spirit is 36-15-5, good for third place in the 10-team Western Conference.


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Evan Vossen is out as the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice larongeWolves. He had been with the Ice Wolves since taking over from the fired Shawn Martin early in the 2016-17 season. . . . Vossen, 32, played for the Ice Wolves in 2006-07 before going on to play five seasons with the McGill U Redmen. In fact, he was the team captain when the Redmen won the 2012 national championship with him scoring the title-winning goal in OT. . . . This season, the Ice Wolves are 10-42-2 and in fourth spot in the four-team Sherwood Division. . . . Gaelan Patterson, who played four seasons with the Saskatoon Blades (2006-10) will be the Ice Wolves’ GM and head coach for the remainder of this season. Patterson, 28, joined the Ice Wolves as an assistant coach prior to this season, after playing last season with the Coventry Blaze of the Elite Ice Hockey League.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Stelio Mattheos and F Cole Reinhardt each had four points as the Brandon Wheat Kings BrandonWKregulardumped the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 5-1. . . . Brandon (28-22-7) has won five in a row. With this victory, Brandon moved into a tie with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Calgary. . . . Calgary (30-22-5) had won its previous two games. The Hitmen are fourth in the Central Division, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Mattheos and Reinhardt had two goals and two assists each, as they figured in each of Brandon’s last four goals. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-0 lead before this game was six minutes old, thanks to goals from F Ridly Greig (12), at 0:30; Mattheos, at 4:29; and Reinhardt, on a PP, at 5:32. . . . Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko (4) scored at 15:10. . . . Reinhardt got his 21st goal at 19:43 of the second period, and Mattheos got No. 39 at 1:25 of the third. . . . Mattheos, who came awfully close to landing with the Everett Silvertips at the Jan. 10 trade deadline, now has 39 goals and a career-high 49 assists in 54 games. Since Jan. 10, Mattheos has 13 goals and 24 assists in 19 games. . . . Reinhardt, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, has 21 goals and 18 assists in 56 games. He has career highs in all three major offensive categories. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 27 shots for Brandon.


The Regina Pats erased a 4-0 deficit and beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 5-4, in a shootout. . Pats. . Regina (17-38-3) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Ice. . . . Kootenay (11-37-9) has lost six in a row (5-0-1). . . . The Ice got first-period goals from F Jakin Smallwood (11) and F Jaeger White (24), then went ahead 4-0 on second-period scores from F Connor McClennon (9) and F Brad Ginnell (13). . . . D Brady Pouteau (3) started Regina’s comeback at 15:30 of the second period. . . . The Pats tied it on third-period goals by F Brett Clayton, at 8:29; F Carter Massier (3), at 10:20; and F Logan Nijhoff (6), shorthanded, at 16:59. . . . The Ice had the only four shots of OT but wasn’t able to beat G Dean McNabb, who had replaced starter Max Paddock in the second period. McNabb stopped all 13 shots he faced through OT. . . . Regina won it in the shootout when F Garrett Wright, the first shooter in the fifth round, scored. . . . Regina F Ty Kolle and Kootenay F Peyton Krebs and scored in the second round. . . . Earlier in the day, the Ice added D Anson McMaster to its roster from the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers, and he played in this one. He now has played five games with the Ice this season. McMaster, 16, is from Siksika, Alta. He was a second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft.


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Scattershooting after a football-filled Sunday . . . Peckford and Franklin enjoy five-pointers . . . Woods fills his hat for Chiefs

Scattershooting


It won’t be long until the Oakland Raiders are at their new home in Las Vegas. As Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle noted: “Usually when a high-rolling loser comes to Vegas, the casinos set him up with a comp hotel room. With (owner Mark) Davis, they’re giving him a comp stadium.”


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion): Sarah Huckabee Sanders Denies Doctoring Footage Showing Jim Acosta in Clown Makeup Blowing Up Gotham Hospital.



After word got out that President Trump was to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley, comedian Argus Hamilton noted: “It was a brilliant move. Trump finally figured out a way to get a sports champion and a member of the entertainment industry not to refuse an invitation to the White House.”


The ex-husband of a good friend died recently. Here’s a line from his obit: “If you wish to honour Rod, boycott Trump by avoiding a trip into the United States. Now that would make him happy.” . . . They — he and his ex, not he and Trump — were friends until the end.


Headline at Deadspin: Most annoying Warriors player says he and second-most annoying Warriors player are cool now.



“Supporters of Rijnsburgse Boys, a soccer team in the Netherlands, hired a porn star named Foxy to run in nothing but shoes and socks across the field to unnerve rival Amsterdamsche FC players, but it didn’t work as first-place AFC breezed to a 6-2 win,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Now that’s what you call a losing streak.”


There was a report the other day that American CEOs earn 312 times what the average worker takes home. To which Brad Rock of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City wrote: “Latrell Sprewell’s first thought: ‘Hey. They got families to feed.’ ”



The best sit-down/stand-up comedy act in the NHL? That’s easy . . . it’s the play-by-play team of Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley, who give you the most-slanted coverage of an NHL team (Boston Bruins) that you can imagine. . . . Go in knowing what you are going to hear and the whining and whimpering becomes hilarious.



Slava Malamud, aka Twitter’s official Russian sports writer, tweeted this the other day, and it’s impossible to disagree with his premise: “Do any fans, ever, in the history of life, look forward to between-the-periods player interviews? Do you learn anything from them? Are they in any way whatsoever needed at all?”



The owner of Benshot, a Wisconsin company, chose to offer handguns to its 16 employees as Christmas presents because they are “kind of fun and exciting gifts.” . . . Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, offered: “And you thought your office Christmas party got out of control after people get drunk and argumentative.”


Ever wonder what the late Howard Cosell would have thought of today’s sports-media landscape? “He would hate social media,” said Al Michaels, NBC-TV’s top football play-by-play man. “He would hate talk radio. . . . He would describe it as a ‘cacophony of crap.’ ”


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Austyn Playfair spent three seasons (2014-17) in the WHL, playing for the Tri-City Americans, while dreaming of following his father Jim’s path to the NHL. However, a shoulder injury derailed those plans and he ultimately left hockey and jumped into the world of fashion design. . . . Audrey Lim of dailyhive.com has that story right here.


The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit fired head coach Troy Smith on Sunday, replacing him with associate coach Chris Lazary. The Spirit is 11-9-2, after losing twice on the weekend — 5-2 to the Rangers in Kitchener on Friday and 5-1 to the visiting Windsor Spitfires on Saturday. Saginaw is tied for second with Windsor (11-10-2) in the five-team West Division, six points behind the Soo Greyhounds. . . . Smith was in his second season as the Spirit’s head coach.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ryan Peckford scored four goals and added an assist to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to MooseJawWarriorsa 9-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Warriors (10-5-4) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Ice (7-14-4) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Ice went 0-2-1 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. Kootenay lost 5-0 to the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Friday night, then dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the Rebels in Red Deer on Saturday. . . . On Sunday, the Warriors scored the game’s first four goals as they took a 4-0 lead on Peckford’s second goal of the game at 12:17 of the opening period. . . . He added his third and fourth goals at 5:05 and 10:56 of the second period. . . . Peckford went into the game with four goals this season and came out with eight. This was his first four-goal game and second five-point outing; he had a six-pointer (one goal and five assists) while with the Victoria Royals in 2016-17. A 19-year-old from Stony Plain, Alta., who was acquired last season from the Royals, Peckford now has eight goals and eight assists in 18 games. . . . F Tyler Smithies added his first two goals and an assist for the Warriors. He went into the day with one goal in 54 career regular-season games. . . . The Ice’s goal came from F Owen Pederson, who has goals in two straight games since being brought in Saturday from OHA-Edmonton’s prep team. . . . Moose Jaw had a 43-20 edge in shots. . . . The Ice scratched F Peyton Krebs, while the Warriors remain without F Justin Almeida.


F Zane Franklin scored once and added four assists to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 7-3 Kamloops1victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . The Blazers (8-9-2) have won two in a row. On Saturday night, they beat the host Cougars, 5-1. . . . Prince George (9-10-3) has lost two straight. . . . The Blazers have won their last eight games in Prince George. . . . Franklin, an off-season acquisition from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, assisted on four of the Blazers’ first five goals as they took a 5-0 lead before the second period was 14 minutes old. . . . Franklin, 19, had never had a four- or five-point game in 155 regular-season outings prior to this one. He had three three-point games to his credit. Franklin now has 14 goals and 11 assists in 19 games. He finished last season with 14 goals and 24 assists in 67 games. . . . The Blazers were 2-3 on the PP and also had a shorthanded goal. The Cougars went 1-9 on the PP. . . . F Orrin Centazzo and F Luc Smith each had two goals and an assist for the Blazers, with D Nolan Kneen and D Luke Zazula each recording three assists for the Blazers. Smith has eight goals, while Centazzo has four.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last three goals as they skated to a 3-1 victory over VictoriaRoyalsthe Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Victoria (12-6-0) has won two in a row. This was the Royals’ fifth road game of the season; they are 3-2-0. . . . The Giants (14-6-2) have lost two straight. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (2) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 5:03 of the first period. . . . F Logan Doust (1) got Victoria into a tie at 7:43, and F D-Jay Jerome (11) broke the tie at 13:12. . . . F Dino Kambeitz (4) added insurance with a shorthanded empty-netter at 19:47 of the third. . . . Doust, who notched his first WHL point, is from North Vancouver. . . . The Giants had been 9-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal. . . . The Royals got 28 saves from G Griffen Outhouse as he posted his 98th career regular-season victory. . . . Vancouver’s Trent Miner stopped 22 shots. . . . Outhouse made his 165th appearance, which tied Coleman Vollrath’s franchise record (2012-16) for most appearances by a goaltender.


F Riley Woods scored three times to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 3-2 OT victory over the SpokaneChiefshost Everett Silvertips. . . . Spokane now is 12-8-3, with Everett at 16-7-1. . . . Woods, who has 18 goals, opened the scoring with two PP goals — at 6:24 and 8:42 of the first period. . . . Everett pulled even on goals from D Wyatte Wylie (5), on a PP, at 11:15 of the first, and F Dawson Butt (5) at 6:00 of the second. . . . Woods won it at 2:27 of the extra period as he completed his first WHL hat trick. . . . Woods, who was acquired from the Regina Pats during 2016-17, has 18 goals and 15 assists in 23 games. Last season, the 20-year-old from Regina finished with 25 goals and 32 assists in 72 games. . . . G Bailey Brkin stopped 38 shots and picked up an assist on the game’s first goal for Spokane. . . . D Ty Smith had two assists for the Chiefs; he’s got three goals and 28 assists in 20 games. . . . For the second straight weekend, Everett played three games in fewer than 48 hours. After going 3-0-0 the first time, the Silvertips were 1-1-1 this time. . . . The Chiefs also went three times in fewer than 48 hours this weekend, finishing 2-1-0.


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