THINKING OUT LOUD:
Considering the way outgoing head coach Bruce Boudreau was hung out to dry by the Vancouver Canucks’ ownership/management over the past while was there anything more tone-deaf than the above tweet posted anywhere on social media over the weekend? I mean, is that embarrassing, or what? . . .
Of course, it could be that the Canucks simply are so far past being embarrassed that they no longer can see it when it slaps them right in the face. . . .
Wouldn’t you like to know what NHL boss Gary Bettman thinks of the way the Canucks’ ownership/management handled Boudreau’s firing? . . .
Did Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin really open Sunday’s news conference by saying: “As of this morning, I decided to do a coaching change here with the Vancouver Canucks.”????? . . .
Do Canucks’ fans realize that this retooling is going to go on and on and on and on . . . kind of like Days of Our Lives? . . .
If all those Canucks’ season-ticket holders who have said over the past while that they won’t be renewing their tickets stick to their guns, how many empty seats will there be next season? . . .
Rick Tocchet? Really? . . . His contract takes him through the 2023-24 season and, according to Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) pays him in the “$2.75 million per year range.” . . . Really? . . . The Canucks are believed to be paying Travis Green something like $2,750,000 not to coach this season, and now they also are paying Boudreau to do the same. . . . That’s a lot of coin tied up in head coaches. . . . Boudreau was being paid $2.5 million for this season. . . .
Why not let Boudreau finish out this season and then dip into the AHL and hire Mitch Love, now the head coach of the Calgary Wranglers? Ahh, I forgot. Jim Rutherford, who runs the Canucks, would rather dip into the old boys’ club. . . .
Please give me one good reason why a quality free-agent player would want to sign with the Canucks knowing how this situation was allowed to drag on and on. . . . And let’s not forget that we now will move on to the Bo Horvat saga. . . .
Adam Foote, one of the Canucks’ new assistant coaches, was the head coach of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets in 2019-20, a season that was to have ended with them playing host to the Memorial Cup. Of course, the tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic. Before that happened, though, Foote had been fired. The Rockets were 24-26-4 when owner/general manager Bruce Hamilton fired Foote whose son, Nolan, was the team captain at the time. . . .
The Spokane Chiefs announced an attendance of 8,649 for their Saturday night game, a 6-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. That’s the largest crowd at a game in Spokane since Feb. 29, 2020 when 10,259 were in the house to watch the Chiefs beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3, in a shootout. . . . Less than two weeks later, the remainder of the season was postponed because of the pandemic. . . .
Interestingly, two teams that likely won’t make the playoffs are leading the WHL in attendance. According to figures based on announced attendance and compiled by the WHL, the defending-champion Edmonton Oil Kings’ average crowd is 5,531, with the Spokane Chiefs second at 5,281. . . . The Oil Kings are 31 points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot; the Chiefs are 10 points off the pace in the Western Conference. . . .
There will be one WHL game tonight, with Spokane visiting the Portland Winterhawks, and then nothing until Friday night. That’s because the Top Prospects Game is scheduled to be played at the Langley Events Centre, the home of the Vancouver Giants, on Wednesday night.
SUNDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
The host Swift Current Broncos erased a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-3, in OT. . . . F Josh Davies (13) won it at 1:29 of extra time. He also drew an assist on F Connor Hvidston’s 10th goal that tied it at 17:36 of the third. . . . The Broncos are tied for seventh with the Regina Pats in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Medicine Hat. . . .
In Calgary, the Hitmen scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Red Deer Rebels, 4-2. . . . The Hitmen had lost four in a row, while the Rebels had won five straight. Calgary also had been 0-3-2 against the Rebels this season. . . . F Sean Tschigerl’s 13th goal, at 18:11 of the second period, on a PP, broke a 2-2 tie. . . . The Hitmen are sixth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes with two games in hand. . . . The Rebels lead the Central Division by 13 points over the Hurricanes. . . .
G Carson Bjarnson stopped 19 shots for his third shutout this season as the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 2-0. . . . Bjarnson, a 17-year-old sophomore from Carberry, Man., which is located just east of Brandon, is 17-13-2, 2.84, .913 this season. . . . F Nate Danielson had a goal (23) and an assist. He’s now got 56 points in 44 games. Last season, he finished with 57 points, 23 of them goals, in 53 games. . . . Brandon is three points out of a playoff spot. . . .
The Victoria Royals, playing their third game in as many cities in fewer than 48 hours, went into Kelowna and beat the Rockets, 5-1. . . . The Royals dropped a 7-6 decision in OT to the Portland Winterhawks on Friday and then were beaten, 6-3, by the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday. . . . Last night, Victoria held a 31-14 edge in shots. . . . F Jake Poole, a 20-year-old who was acquired from the Rockets on Oct. 4 for an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2024 draft, scored his 25th goal for Victoria. He now has 14 points, four of them goals, in a seven-game point streak. . . . The Royals pulled into a tie with the Rockets for the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. Kelowna holds three games in hand. . . .
The Winnipeg Ice scored two PP goals and two others while shorthanded en route to a 6-0 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Ice swept the two-game series, having won 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night. . . . F Ty Nash (16) and F Connor McClennon (22) had the PP goals, with F Matt Savoie (18) and F Owen Pederson (19) scoring while shorthanded. . . . G Mason Beaupit blocked 20 shots for his first shutout this season and second of his career. . . . The Ice moved back atop the Eastern Conference standings, one point ahead of Red Deer. Winnipeg holds five games in hand. . . . The Warriors are fourth, one point behind the Saskatoon Blades, who have four games in hand.
Brad Brown, who a few years back covered the Swift Current Broncos for the Prairie Post, now is the publisher of the award-winning Quad Town Forum, a weekly newspaper in an area a few slapshots outside Regina. He was part of a sold-out crowd that watched the host Pats beat the Broncos, 5-2, on Saturday night and offered these thoughts on his Twitter account (@saskawhat):
- Swift did a good job defending (Connor Bedard) in the 1st but Bedard (first time seeing him play) more than lived up to the hype (2G, 1A + many A+ looks) by game’s end. Looked like a man among boys & didn’t shy away physically either.
- Capitals prospect Suzdalev was next best player on the ice. Rocket of a shot.
- No points for the local (Candiac) fella but Drew Englot was engaged physically all night.
- Game could have easily gone the other way if not for netminding wizardry from Pats goalie Drew Sim.
- I know attendance was strong the last four games but if Regina Pats lose $ this year they have no one to blame but themselves. Over $130 for 2 marginal seats + mediocre supper & popcorn for dad + kiddo. Coulda drove almost halfway to Disneyland for less. Lesson learned.
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