Oil Kings wrap up WHL title . . . Cossa pitches Game 6 shutout . . . Paddock: Pats plan to build around Bedard, not trade him

The Edmonton Oil Kings won their third WHL championship on Monday night, beating the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-0, to win the best-of-seven series EdCupfor the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 4-2.

The Oil Kings last won the title in 2014 when they needed seven games to get past the Portland Winterhawks in the final. They also took seven games to sideline Portland in the 2012 final. Those teams also met in the 2013 final, with Portland winning in six games.

The Oil Kings went on to win the Memorial Cup in 2014, the last time a WHL team has won the national title.

Edmonton, the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, skated through these playoffs in 19 games, going 16-3. The Oil Kings swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 4 Red Deer Rebels before taking out the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, 4-1.

The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, were the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed. They got past the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-1, then went seven games against both the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. In the process, Seattle became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s in the same playoff season on the road. The Thunderbirds trailed Portland, 3-1, in that series, then fell behind Kamloops, 3-2.

Last night, the Oil Kings came out determined to get more pucks and bodies to Edmontonthe Seattle net. . . . F Jakub Demek (5) opened the scoring, on a PP at 7:15 of the first period, corralling a loose puck in the Seattle crease off a shot by F Josh Williams and tucking it home. . . . Edmonton went ahead 2-0 at 3:44 of the second period as D Kaiden Guhle set a franchise record with his eighth goal of these playoffs. The previous Oil Kings record belonged to Martin Gernát, who scored seven times in 2012. One year later, he scored six more. . . . Guhle was named the playoff MVP. . . . Guhle also played for the Prince Albert Raiders, who won the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2019. That was the last time the WHL completed a playoff season as COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 postseason. . . . F Jake Neighbours drew two assists. . . . After getting ahead 2-0, the Oil Kings went into a 1-2-2 defence that oftentimes looked more like 1-4. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 27 shots. He finished the playoffs at 16-3, 1.93, .919, with five shutouts. . . . Seattle got 34 saves from G Thomas Milic, including 20 in the first period when his guys were outshot, 21-4. . . . Edmonton was 1-for-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-6. . . . Seattle was without D Tyrel Bauer, who served the second of a two-game suspension. . . . Edmonton played again without F Dylan Guenther. . . . The Oil Kings will join the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL and the QMJHL-champion Shawinigan Cataractes at the four-team Memorial Cup tournament that opens on June 20 in New Brunswick.

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Meanwhile, the OHL championship for the J. Robertson Cup is going to a seventh game. The host Windsor Spitfires beat the Hamilton Bulldogs, 5-2, on Monday night to tie the series, 3-3. . . . They’ll decide the whole thing in Hamilton on Wednesday night. . . . F Daniel D’Amico led the Spitfires with two goals as they erased a 2-1 second-period deficit with the game’s last four goals. . . . F Logan Morrison had both Hamilton goals.


The Regina Pats held a spring camp on the weekend and Rob Vanstone of the ReginaRegina Leader-Post was there. No, he wasn’t competing for a spot on the Pats’ protected list; he was there in search of a story, and he found two. . . . For starters, John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, told Vanstone that the plan is to build around F Connor Bedard, meaning that the organization is more likely to acquire players than to trade away their star. . . . That story is right here.

Vanstone also chatted with Paddock about a health scare with which the latter dealt during this hockey season. Paddock left the coaching game in early February and didn’t return as he dealt with COVID-19 and lymphoma. Everything seems under control now, though, and Paddock is planning on being behind the Pats bench when a new season arrives. That story is right here.



GasPrice


Before arriving in Toronto for a four-game series with the Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles placed OF Anthony Santander, one of their best hitters, and COVIDsouthpaw reliever Keegan Akin on the restricted list. From Sportsnet: “The moves suggest Santander and Akin could not cross the border due to an insufficient COVID-19 vaccine status. Unvaccinated people cannot enter Canada or the United States without a quarantine period.” . . .

From the San Francisco Chronicle: The Golden State Warriors are going to their broadcaster bench for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night against the Boston Celtics. Tim Roye, the Warriors’ radio play-by-play announcer on radio station 95.7 The Game, tested positive for the coronavirus and was knocked out of action for the broadcast. Roye will also miss Game 6 Thursday in Boston. . . .

From The New York Times: The Rolling Stones postponed a stadium concert in Amsterdam on Monday, after Mick Jagger tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement came shortly before the show was to begin and after some fans had already entered the stadium, the AP reported. . . .

From Entertainment Weekly: One day after performing on the Tony Awards, Hugh Jackman has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time and will miss performances of ‘The Music Man.’ . . .

From ESPN News Services: NBA commissioner Adam Silver canceled plans to attend Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics on Monday night in San Francisco because of the league’s health and safety protocols. Silver typically attends all Finals games. The league did not say if Silver had tested positive for COVID-19 or been deemed a close contact of someone who had, nor did it release any details about his health.


Snowman


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s Neepawa Titans have added Zak Hicks and Landon Cameron as assistant coaches. Hicks played in the MJHL with the Winkler Flyers under then-head coach Ken Pearson, who now is the Titans’ head coach. Cameron is a familiar face in Neepawa, having been involved with various levels of hockey in the community.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Single

Scattershooting on Wednesday night while waiting for spring and Year 3 of pandemic . . .

Scattershooting2

Sheesh, a guy steps away from the keyboard for a day or two and, well, let’s review . . .

Theo Fleury surfaced on Fox-TV on Tuesday night, telling an audience of a gazillion Trumpsters that the convoy of Canadian truck drivers — with time on their hands and apparently having somehow lost their freedoms — that started last weekend will bring 1.4 million people to Ottawa in about 50,000 trucks. . . . Uhh, that’s 28 people per truck. . . . He also told the Trumpsters that those same truckers are “going to stay there until (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau resigns or they give us back all of our freedoms and rights.” . . . . Prior to hearing about this, I wasn’t aware that Fleury, with C.W. McCall apparently unavailable, had become Fox’s Trucking Convoy Insider, kind of like Darren Dreger is a TSN Hockey Insider. . . . BTW, a respected citizen of our land who has followed Fleury’s behaviour for a lot of years, recently told Taking Note: “It started a few years ago and it’s all been downhill since then.” . . .

Also this week came news that there were a lot of grocery stores out there with empty shelves. Except that search parties sent out in search of same weren’t able to find them. Not in big box stores. Not in the chain grocery stores. Not in the neighbourhood grocery marts. . . . That didn’t stop members of the official opposition at the federal level, the CPC, from hitting up social media to tell us about these food shortages. One of them tweeted a photo showing a woman looking at empty shelves as though it was a regular occurrence in Canada. Except that Internet sleuths found out the photo actually was from London, England, and was a ‘stock’ photo, meaning you and I are able to purchase and use it. If you looked closely, the price tags that were visible were in Euros. . . . Geez, they don’t even try to fib a little bit now; it’s just blatantly lie to us without even thinking twice about it. . . .

Here in Kamloops, my wife and I were in a grocery store on Monday and the only thing we couldn’t find was canned mushrooms. Of course, we live in B.C., so it could be that people are smoking them, or whatever they do with those things out here, so there has been a run on them. . . .

And then there’s Creston, B.C., where the goofballs were out in force on Saturday night. As Kelsey Yates of the Creston Valley Advance reported: “Five people have been charged with mischief after barging into a Creston Valley Thunder Cats game without masks and encouraging others to come inside. . . . the five men ignored security at the Creston and District Community Complex (CDCC) without showing vaccine passports or tickets to the hockey game. Once inside the Johnny Bucyk Arena, the men started opening locked doors of the building to let in other trespassers from outside.” Yates’s complete story is right here.

The past couple of days have shown that (a) social media, and Twitter in particular, just gets loonier and loonier, and (b) this pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon. . . . So get triple-vaxxed, mask up, wash your hands and try to stay safe.


Let’s drop in to Saskatoon and see how Colin Priestner, the general manager of the WHL’s Blades is doing.

Here he is on Monday . . .

There was something of a reprieve on Tuesday, when he tweeted: “This Just In: the PCR lab I got the COVID test at called and said due to a lab error . . . the result was misidentified as positive! I just have a regular boring chest cold! The tech (who felt terrible) said he basically screwed up and entered the result wrong. All is forgiven!”

But then came Wednesday morning . . .


On Monday, the WHL shut down the Blades and postponed two of their games because of their inability to ice a team due to having nine players in COVID-19 protocols. The Blades were to have gone into Alberta and played the Medicine Hat Tigers on Tuesday and the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday. . . . On Wednesday, the WHL postponed Friday’s game that was to have had the Blades playing host to the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . As of Wednesday night, Brandon’s game in Saskatoon on Sunday was still on the schedule. . . .

Also on Monday, the Wheat Kings and Kelowna Rockets were cleared to return to team activities. . . . And the WHL also has announced new dates for some reschedule games. So, again, check your favourite team’s schedule for updates.

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While the WHL hasn’t given any indication that it is looking at extending its schedule past what now is the final day (April 3), the OHL may end up doing just that. Josh Brown of the Kitchener Record reported on Wednesday that David Branch, the OHL commissioner, said “all options are on the table,” including running its 68-game regular season past what now is an April 3 closing date and lobbying to have the Memorial Cup schedule changed. The Memorial Cup is to held in Saint John, N.B., opening on June 4 and closing on June 13. . . . Gilles Courteau, the QMJHL’s commissioner, told Global News last week that his league also is prepared to extend its season and “we’re even prepared to modify our playoff format. We’re even looking at the possibility of pushing back the start of the Memorial Cup a week or two later.”


Lavatory


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: There was a real WHL touch to an NHL game in Seattle on Tuesday night as the Kraken entertained the Nashville Predators. The linesmen were Ryan Gibbons and Travis Toomey, both of whom are former WHL players. Gibbons, 37, played five season (2001-06) with the Seattle Thunderbirds; Toomey, 31, was with the Saskatoon Blades for three seasons (2007-10) and the Thunderbirds for 2010-11. . . . Patrick McNeil, the play-by-play voice and communication co-ordinator for the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles, points out via Twitter: “When Quebec moves to next phase on Feb. 7, maximum attendance would be 500 people. Previous indication was that league wouldn’t resume with less than 50 per cent capacity.” In the meantime, the three QMJHL teams from New Brunswick are planning to set up mini-training camps in Quebec centres to prepare for a return to play. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan will be in Carleton-su-mer, the Saint John Sea Dogs are going to set up shop in Rivière-du-Loup, and the Moncton Wildcats will go to Quebec City. The QMJHL has been paused since Dec. 18 and hopes to resume play on Feb. 1. . . . The junior A BCHL has chosen to extend its regular season by one week, allowing it to get in games that were postponed from earlier in the season. So rather than wrapping up on March 20, the regular season now will finish on March 27, with playoffs to begin on April 1. Barring further change, of course.



Pat Siedlecki, a former play-by-play voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has left radio station CJOC. His last day there was on Wednesday. In a Jan. 21 tweet, Siedlecki wrote: “After 15 years at CJOC and now 25 years in radio, I’m leaving for a new career in the funeral industry.” Most recently, he was the station’s news director.


One of my weekly reads comes from Jeff Pearlman (pearlman.Substack.com), the author of a number of books, including the terrific The Bad Guys Won, which was subtitled A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo-chasing and Championship Baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, The Kid, and the Rest of the 1986 Mets, the Rowdiest Team Ever to Put on a New York Uniform — and Maybe the Best. . . . Anyway, here’s Pearlman’s take on the Baseball Hall of Fame voting that was announced on Tuesday and, yes, I happen to agree with him:

“For the first time, I’m supporting Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s Hall of Fame candidacies (although they’re all DOA). This comes after my fellow writers voted to elect David Ortiz, a clear-cut juicer whose smile and warmth won over the crowd. There’s simply no longer a justification to keep other cheaters out. I know Bonds was a jerk, but if we’ve decided to overlook PED usage, he has to be in well before Ortiz. So, for that matter, do Clemens, Sosa and McGwire. Oy. What a mess — and what a disgraceful showing.”

BTW, Pearlman also wrote Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty. . . . I haven’t yet read it, but it is on the list. . . . And if you haven’t read Pearlman’s Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL, well, you’re cheating yourself. Yeah, a guy named Trump took down that version of the USFL.


Wings


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Walken

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