Virus offers up reminder to NHL that it’s still around . . . NHL tells scouts to follow protocols . . . WHL deal includes 2025 draft pick

COVID-19 chose to rear its ugly head as the NHL regular season opened. . . . The Krakenexpansion Seattle Kraken played its first game on Tuesday night — it lost 4-3 to the host Vegas Golden Knights — with one player on the COVID-19 list after having five on there. F Cale Jarnkrok didn’t play, while F Joonas Donskoi, F Marcus Johansson, F Jared McCann and D Jamie Oleksiak, all of whom had been on the list, were cleared in time to play. . . . Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol had said during the morning skate that Donskoi, McCann and Oleksiak wouldn’t be available, but they were cleared in time to fly to Las Vegas and play. . . . As well, Everett Fitzhugh, the team’s play-by-play voice, was missing in action after he, too, tested positive. He is in the protocol and wasn’t able to travel to Las Vegas. . . . According to general manager Ron Francis, everyone on the roster is fully vaccinated. . . .

Meanwhile, F Nathan McKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche, one of the NHL’s best players, has tested positive, although he is asymptomatic. He won’t play tonight (Wednesday) against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. The Avalanche is hoping for negative tests so that McKinnon can play Saturday night when the St. Louis Blues visit Denver. . . . The Vancouver Canucks will be without F Brandon Sutter indefinitely as he deals with the long-term impact of having had COVID-19 when four coaches and 21 players tested positive in late March. There are reports that Sutter is dealing with fatigue-related issues. Sutter is the son of Brent Sutter, the owner and general manager of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels.


Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet posted his latest 32 Thoughts on Tuesday and it included this:

“There was a COVID breakout among scouts who attended the USHL Fall Classic Sept. 23-27 in Pittsburgh. Since then, the NHL has warned scouts there is a ‘zero tolerance policy with respect to the protocols in all partner leagues being respected and followed.’ Those leagues are being asked to make it known if anyone ignores protocols, with potential punishment of losing their ability to attend games — at the very least.” . . . The latest 32 Thoughts is right here.


Introverts


With the NHL’s 2021-22 regular season now rolling, there are three 18- and 19-WHLyear-old WHLers still in the big league. F Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks remains with the Carolina Hurricanes, while F Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings is with the St. Louis Blues and F Cole Sillinger of the Medicine Hat Tigers is on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ roster. . . . Jarvis, 19, was the 13th selection in the NHL’s 2020 draft and has signed, but has to be returned to Portland if he doesn’t stick with the Hurricanes. . . . Neighbours, 19, was the 26th pick in that 2020 NHL draft. He, too, has signed but has to play in the WHL if he doesn’t hang on with the Blues. . . . Sillinger, 18, was the 12th selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. He played with the Tigers in 2019-20, then spent last season with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. Because Columbus drafted him off the Stampede’s roster, he is eligible to play this season in the AHL. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic explains: “If Sillinger had been drafted out of Medicine Hat (or any other CHL club), the Blue Jackets would have had only two options this fall: either keep him on the NHL roster or send him back to junior. Per the CHL’s agreement with the NHL, its players are not allowed to play in the American Hockey League until they’re 20 years old. The USHL has no such age restriction with the AHL, mostly because it’s a feeder program for U.S. colleges.” . . .

Meanwhile, the Kamloops Blazers learned Tuesday that D Quinn Schmiemann, 20, will rejoin them later this week after being with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. . . . Three other 20-year-olds remain unsigned in AHL camps — Portland F Jaydon Dureau is with the Syracuse Crunch, F Tarun Fizer of the Victoria Royals is with the Colorado Eagles, and D Jackson van de Leest of the Calgary Hitmen is with Lehigh Valley.

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JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed six members of their hockey operations side to contract extensions. Head coach Mark O’Leary, assistant coaches Scott King and Gord Burnett, goaltender coach Matt Weninger, athletic therapist Brooke Kosolofski and equipment manager Tanner Arnold all signed extensions. The lengths of the deals weren’t announced. . . . It’s early and there are various kinds of restrictions in place at WHL arenas. Still, it’s worth noting that the Seattle Thunderbirds had their smallest opening-night crowd since 1996-97 on Saturday when the announced attendance was 3,246 for a 4-2 loss to the Portland Winterhawks. The other two crowds in the bottom three: 4,010 (2009-10) and 4,659 (2019-20). . . . Why only back to 1996-97? That covers all the games available via the WHL website. . . .

All signs point to important news coming in the days ahead for WHL teams, especially those in the Western Conference. In B.C., it’s expected that health officials will clear arenas 100 per cent capacity in the immediate future. B.C. facilities are allowed 50 per cent capacity at the moment. As well, there were numerous reports on Tuesday night that the U.S. government is expected to open its border for southbound fully vaccinated travellers early in November. What restrictions will be involved for re-entry into Canada aren’t yet known. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have acquired G Colby Knight from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2025 draft. Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) noted via Twitter that this “is the first traded pick from the 2025 WHL draft. That draft will be 2010-born players. The kid the Oil Kings will get for Colby Knight is 10 or 11 years old today.” . . .

There was one game in the WHL on Tuesday night. . . . In Victoria, the Kamloops Blazers opened up a 3-0 lead and went on to beat the Royals, 3-2. G Dylan Garand earned the victory with 16 saves. He was beaten twice in the third period. The Blazers (3-0-0) and Royals (1-3-0) will play again tonight in Victoria.



You will recall that the OHL and WHL announced recently the additions of one female to their on-ice officiating staffs. Well, the AHL announced Monday that its “roster of on-ice officials . . . includes female referees and linespeople for the first time.” . . . Not one. . . . Not two. . . . But 10 of them, including seven referees. . . . And one of the three women who will work the lines is Alex Clarke of Weyburn, Sask., the same Alex Clarke who is the first female on-ice official in WHL history. . . . Katie Guay will become the first woman to referee an AHL game on Saturday night when she works a game between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the host Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. . . . Amalie Benjamin of nhl.com has more on this story right here.


Monsters


The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets have cut ties with G Kyrie Irving “until he is eligible to be a full participant” in practices and games, general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. . . . Irving has chosen not to get vaccinated, at least to this point. . . . “Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose,” Marks said. “Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.” . . . Marks later told reporters that the decision to exclude Irving was made by himself and owner Joe Tsai. . . . The Nets are scheduled to open the regular season in Milwaukee against the Bucks on Oct. 19.


There was a positive test in MLB with the Atlanta Braves revealing that OF Jorge Soler is out of action. The Braves were allowed a roster replacement so added OF Cristian Pache and he got into Tuesday’s game in the late going. . . . The Braves beat the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, 5-4, to win the best-of-five series, 3-1.


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

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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.


Ass

Johnston 18th WHL coach with 400 victories . . . Habscheid one W from catching McLean in sixth . . . Oil Kings’ Knight proves dreams do come true

Mike Johnston, the vice-president, general manager and head coach of the Portland Winterhawks, ran his WHL regular-season victory total to 401 on PortlandAlternateSunday as his guys beat the Chiefs 4-3 in Kent, Wash. This one will go into the books as a Portland home game thanks to the schedule that has been put together in the midst of this pandemic. The remainder of the Winterhawks’ home schedule is expected to be played in Portland’s Veterans Memorial Coliseum, starting Friday with a visit by the Everett Silvertips.

But back to Johnston . . .

He became the 18th coach in WHL history with at least 400 coaching victories on Saturday night when the Winterhawks dumped the host Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-1.

Johnston, 64, has recorded all of his victories behind Portland’s bench. He is only the fourth head coach in WHL history to post at least 400 victories with one franchise. The others? Ken Hodge (Edmonton-Portland, 742), Brent Sutter (Red Deer, 526) and Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon, 465). While Ernie McLean put up 548 victories with the Estevan/New Westminster Bruins, he did it with two Bruins franchises — the one that relocated from Estevan and one that moved from Nanaimo.

Next up on the victory list for Johnston is Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna, 411).

Other active coaches with at least 400 victories are Marc Habscheid of the Prince Albert Raiders, with 547; Sutter, 526; and Shaun Clouston of the Kamloops Blazers, 432. The Blazers, of course, have yet to play a game this season.

Habscheid has an opportunity to tie McLean for sixth place on the list tonight when the Raiders meet the Swift Current Broncos at the Brandt Centre in Regina.

Don Hay, who is on Johnston’s staff in Portland, leads the list, at 750, with Hodge second at 742.

Don Nachbaur, who has joined the Tri-City Americans as associate coach, is third, at 692, with Lorne Molleken fourth, at 626.

They are followed by Mike Williamson, 572; McLean, 548; Habscheid, 547; Sutter, 526; Pat Ginnell, 518; Jack Shupe and Peter Anholt, each 466; McCrimmon and Dean Clark, each 465; Bob Lowes, 453; Clouston, 432; Doug Sauter, 417; Comeau, 411; and Johnston, 401.

Please note that the figures involving active coaches are unofficial and subject to adjustments from the 2019-20 season should any of them have missed games while scouting or for any other reason. The WHL hasn’t yet updated its record book to include coaching records from that season.


Narc


G Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips had quite a weekend — two games and Everetttwo shutouts. He stopped 22 shots on Saturday night in a 2-0 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs, then turned aside 18 shots in a 7-0 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., on Sunday. Wolf now has 22 career regular-season shutouts, four of the WHL record that is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 179 games, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 190 games, 2013-18). Wolf now has appeared in 129 games. . . . Wolf’s career GAA of 1.82 is second among goaltenders with a minimum of 100 games played. Kelly Guard (Kelowna, 115 games, 2002-04) holds the record of 1.73. . . . The Calgary Flames selected Wolf in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2019 draft. He has signed with the Flames. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels (2-6-2) got swept in a three-game series with the RedDeerEdmonton Oil Kings on the weekend, losing 5-0 in Edmonton on Friday, 3-1 in Red Deer on Saturday and 5-2 back in Edmonton on Sunday. . . . The Rebels won’t play again until early April — the WHL hasn’t yet released the April schedule for the five Alberta teams — and they are without five players so can use the time off. F Ben King and F Kyle Masters were injured Friday and missed the next two games, but could return in two weeks. D Mason Ward apparently was injured Saturday, because he couldn’t go last night. D Joel Sexsmith last played on March 12, while F Jayden Grubbe, the team captain, won’t play again this season as he is to have knee surgery. . . . With three defencemen injured, the Rebels dressed five blue-liners on Sunday, two of them (Hunter Mayo and Jace Weir) 16 years of age. . . .

G Colby Knight of the Oil Kings earned his first WHL victory on Sunday in Edmontonbeating Red Deer. The victory allowed the Oil Kings to run their record to a WHL-leading 7-0-0. . . . “It feels amazing,” Knight, an 18-year-old from Red Deer, told Andrew Peard of oilkings.ca. “I had a dream about it last night and to have it happen, it’s just awesome.” . . . The Oil Kings selected Knight in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Edmonton has won each of its last 14 meetings with Red Deer.



Brent Brekke, the head coach of the St. Lawrence U men’s hockey team, has tested positive for COVID-19, meaning the Saints have had to withdraw from the NCAA championship tournament. . . . The Saints (4-8-3) won the Eastern College Athletic Conference title on Saturday night, beating Quinnipiac in the final after sidelining Colgate in a semifinal game. . . . “The roller-coaster of emotions in the last 24 hours for everyone is unimaginable,” Brekke said in a statement released by the school on Sunday. “(Saturday) night we are holding the trophy above our heads and today we are shaking our heads in disbelief that the season is over. This hurts.” . . . Quinnipiac, which had won the ECAC regular-season title, will replace St. Lawrence in the NCAA tournament.

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As I watch the NCAA men’s basketball championship, I have to wonder why they bother having the coaches wear masks. I mean, what’s the purpose? . . . You have to know that a whole lot of coaches live in another world — they really are oblivious to the world outside their small circles — and they prove it with the way they handle masks. Embarrassing! . . . Perhaps hearing that Brent Brekke, the head coach of the St. Lawrence U men’s hockey team, has tested positive will be enough to make other coaches, no matter the sport, wear their masks properly at all times. Then, again, maybe not.


Spotted this headline on Twitter on Sunday — Tiger Woods didn’t brake before car crash. . . . Perhaps someone can explain why this is news.


Joey Votto, the Cincinnati Reds’ all-star first baseman, rejoined the team on Sunday for the first time since March 10. Votto, 37, left spring training in Goodyear, Ariz., after testing positive. . . . Votto indicated that doesn’t have any idea when he will be ready to play again, or whether he will be in the Reds’ starting lineup when the season opens on April 1.


Fish


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.


Poop