One WHL team went up 3-0 in its best-of-seven conference finally by winning on the road in Monday’s lone playoff game. Two others have the same opportunity tonight. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings went into Red Deer last night and beat the Rebels, 5-4 in OT, to take a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series. . . . Tonight, the Winnipeg Ice takes a 2-0 lead into Moose Jaw for Game 3 with the Warriors, while the Kamloops Blazers are up 2-0 and in Langley, B.C., to face the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Blazers are likely to be without F Luke Toporowski for a second straight game, while the Giants aren’t likely to have D Mazden Leslie or F Colton Langkow available. Head coach Michael Dyck told Steve Ewen of Postmedia that both players are “doubtful.” All three of those players were injured in Game 1 of this series.
MONDAY IN THE WHL:
In Red Deer, F Jake Neighbours scored in OT to give the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings a 5-4 victory over the No. 3 Rebels. . . . The Oil Kings hold a 3-0 lead in the conference semifinal and get their first opportunity to wrap it up on Wednesday night in Red Deer. . . . D Luke Prokop (2) put the visitors out front at 1:55 of the first period. . . . F Liam Keeler (2) scored the Rebels’ first goal of the series — they had been blanked 4-0 and 5-0 in Edmonton — at 9:44, on a PP. . . . The Oil Kings went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from F Dylan Guenther (7), at 6:32, and F Carter Souch (4), on a PP, at 15:56. . . . Guenther has a goal in each of Edmonton’s seven playoff games. . . . Red Deer got back to within a goal at 18:22 when F Kalan Lind (1) scored. . . . F Justin Sourdif (2) scored while shorthanded, at 7:38 of the third period, to give the visitors a 4-2 lead and really put the home side in a hole. . . . But the Rebels climbed out of it with two goals 36 seconds apart — F Arshdeep Bains (4) scored at 12:50 and F Jhett Larson (2) tied the game at 13:26. . . . Neighbours won it with his first goal of the playoffs, at 7:17 of OT. . . . G Connor Ungar blocked 47 shots for the Rebels, 29 more than Edmonton’s Sebastian Cossa, who drew an assist on Neighbours’ winner. . . . The Rebels went without D Jackson van de Leest who served a one-game suspension under supplemental discipline from Game 2. Also out: G Chase Coward and D Christoffer Sedoff, both with undisclosed injuries.
ICYMI, Lou Lamoriello, the general manager of the NHL’s New York Islanders, fired head coach Barry Trotz on Monday morning. Trotz, the pride of Dauphin, Man., has one year left on a five-year deal worth US$20 million, so don’t be weeping too long for him. He also is the NHL’s third-winningest regular-season coach of all-time, with 914 victories. Under his guidance, the Islanders reached the NHL’s Final Four twice — in 2020 and 2021. But the Islanders didn’t make the playoffs this season, so Lamoriello pulled the plug on Trotz. . . . “I’d rather not get into any of the reasons because that’s my job upon the information that I have and I experienced to make these type of decisions,” Lamoriello, 79, said during a conference call. . . . Trotz, who played three seasons (1979-82) with the Regina Pats, was the head coach when the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup in the spring of 2018. The Capitals later let him go rather than extend his contract. That’s how he ended up with the Islanders. . . .
The Islanders’ coaching staff includes two former WHL head coaches in Lane Lambert, their associate coach and long-time Trotz lieutenant, and Jim Hiller. . . . Lambert, the head coach of the Prince George Cougars for a season and a half (2003-05), is seen by some observers as the leading candidate to replace Trotz. . . . Hiller, the head coach of the Chilliwack Bruins and Tri-City Americans (2006-14), just completed his third season with the Islanders after spending four seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. . . .
The Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets, along with the Islanders, are NHL teams presently in the market for a head coach.
Congratulations to Shell for the terrific start to 2022. Well done! . . . Oh, and congratulations to the Shell gas station on the Trans-Canada Highway in the Valleyview area of Kamloops. The price of a litre of unleaded hit $2.04 there sometime Monday, to the best of my knowledge the first gas station in Kamloops to smash through the $2.00 barrier. Again, well done! . . . Can hardly wait to see what you have in store for us before Christmas.
Steve Kerr, the head coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, wasn’t able to work Monday night’s playoff game against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. You guessed it! He tested positive earlier in the day. . . . In his absence, associate head coach Mike Brown served as the acting head coach. Interestingly, Brown already has signed on for next season — as the head coach of the Sacramento Kings.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The NHL’s Minnesota Wild has signed F Pavel Novak of the Kelowna Rockets to a three-year entry-level contract that is to begin next season. Novak, who turned 20 on April 16, is from Czech Republic. He had 72 points, including 29 goals, in 62 games with the Rockets this season. . . . The Wild selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . .
Craig Didmon is out as the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. He has held both positions for the past seven-plus seasons. . . . Didmon has been coaching in Victoria since 2002, either with the junior B Cougars, the WHL’s Royals or the Grizzlies. . . . Taking Note was told last week that Rylan Ferster, a former GM/head coach with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, will be the Grizzlies’ next head coach. . . .
Chris Lynn is the new head coach of the junior B Victoria Cougars of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Lynn, a veteran of the coaching game, is a member of a real hockey family. He takes over from Brady Coulter, who has chosen to step aside. . . . Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times-Colonist has more right here.
My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.
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
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
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
Or, for more information, visit right here.