Mother Nature interferes with WHL schedule . . . Silvertips’ Zellweger day-to-day . . . Warriors, Winterhawks gain ground


Mother Nature has thrown a wrench into the final week of the WHL’s regular-season schedule.

The Regina Pats, who are trying to get into the playoffs, were to have played the ReginaIce in Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday nights. On Tuesday afternoon, on the heels of the NHL’s decision to postpone a game scheduled for tonight between the visiting Seattle Kraken and the Jets, the WHL postponed Thursday’s game between the Pats and Ice.

The WHL’s news release didn’t mention Friday’s game; nor did it mention the possibility of Thursday’s game being rescheduled. These are the only two games left on the Ice’s schedule; the Pats, who are two points out of a playoff spot, are to entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors on Sunday to close out the regular season.

ICYMI, residents of southeastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba have been told that the worst blizzard in decades is expected to wreak havoc over the next couple of days.

If the storm is as bad as is being forecast there isn’t any guarantee the Pats will be able to get to Winnipeg for Friday’s game, which would only make things even more interesting.


Alice


The WHL’s 22 teams are into the final week of their 68-game regular seasons. Here’s a look at where things are in terms of playoff opponents (GR — games remaining) . . .

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Everett Silvertips — Hold three-point lead over Kamloops, each with two games to play. Will meet Vancouver, Spokane, Prince George or Victoria in first round. . . . Will be without Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, until at least the start of the playoffs. . . . GR (2): at Portland on Friday, at Tri-City on Saturday.
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Three points behind Everett and tied with Portland. . . . GR (2): at home to Prince George on Friday and Vancouver on Saturday.
  3. Portland Winterhawks — Will finish second or third. Beat host Tri-City in OT on Tuesday night to move into tie with Kamloops. . . . GR (1): at home to Everett on Friday.
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Will finish fourth and will have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . GR (2): at Vancouver tonight, at Tri-City on Friday.
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Will finish fifth and meet Seattle in first round. . . . GR (2): at Vancouver on Friday, at home to Prince George on Saturday.
  6. Vancouver Giants — Have three games remaining and are one point ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . GR (3): at home to Seattle tonight, at home to Kelowna on Friday, at Kamloops on Saturday.
  7. Prince George Cougars — Tied with Spokane for seventh with same records (23-28-5), one point behind Vancouver and one ahead of Victoria. . . . GR (2): at Kamloops on Friday, at Kelowna on Saturday.
  8. Spokane Chiefs — Tied with Prince George. . . . GR (2): at Victoria on Friday and Saturday.
  9. Victoria Royals — One point behind Prince George and Spokane. . . . GR (2): at home to Spokane on Friday and Saturday.
  10. Tri-City Americans — Not this season.

——

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Winnipeg Ice — Will finish atop the overall standings so is assured of home ice through the playoffs. First-round opponent will be Swift Current, Calgary, Regina or Prince Albert. . . . Home game versus Regina on Thursday has been postponed due to impending weather condtions. No word on whether it will be rescheduled. Have to think it won’t be unless Regina is still in playoff hunt. . . . GR (2): at home to Regina on Thursday (ppd.) and Friday. That is assuming Regina is able to get to Winnipeg through what should be the blizzard’s aftermath.
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Will finish second and open against Lethbridge. . . . GR (2): at Medicine Hat on Friday, at Red Deer on Saturday.
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Will finish third and meet Saskatoon, Moose Jaw or Brandon in the first round. . . . GR (2): at Calgary tonight, at home to Edmonton on Saturday.
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Won 5-2 in Brandon on Tuesday to move two points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . GR (2): at Lethbridge on Friday, at Regina on Sunday.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Two points behind Moose Jaw and each team has 37 victories. . . . Three points ahead of Brandon. . . . GR (1): at home to Brandon on Friday.
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Three points behind Saskatoon. . . . GR (2): at Saskatoon on Friday, at Prince Albert on Saturday.
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (2): at home to Moose Jaw on Friday, at Calgary on Sunday.
  8. Swift Current Broncos — Holds down conference’s last playoff spot but has only one game remaining. . . . One point ahead of Calgary, two ahead of Regina and Prince Albert. . . . GR (1): at home to Prince Albert on Friday.
  9. Calgary Hitmen — One point behind Swift Current, two in front of Regina and Prince Albert. . . . GR (2): at home to Red Deer tonight, at home to Lethbridge on Sunday.
  10. Regina Pats — Tied with Prince Albert, two points behind Swift Current and one behind Calgary. . . . Three games remaining but two are at Winnipeg and the first one, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed with no word on whether it will be rescheduled. . . . GR (3): at Winnipeg on Thursday (ppd.) and Friday, at home to Moose Jaw on Sunday.
  11. Prince Albert — Tied with Regina, two points behind Swift Current and one behind Calgary. . . . GR (2): at Swift Current on Friday, at home to Brandon on Saturday.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.


The Everett Silvertips will play out the final week of the WHL’s regular season without D Olen Zellweger after he was injured in the first period of a 4-1 loss to Everettthe host Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday.

The Silvertips aren’t saying, nor are they likely to, anything about the extent of his injury, if there is an injury, or whether he’ll be in the lineup when they open the playoffs. Zellweger is listed as being out day-to-day on Tuesday’s injury report.

Here’s Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald:

“Everett was on the power play when Zellweger skated the puck to the Seattle blue line, passed to a teammate while continuing into the offensive zone, received the return pass, then was plastered along the back boards by T-birds defenceman Samuel Knazko. Zellweger remained motionless on the ice for several moments and had to be attended to by athletic trainers from both teams before he was placed on a stretcher. Zellweger gave the crowd the thumbs up as he was being carted off following a 13-minute delay. Knazko was not penalized on the play.

The good news, according to Tips coach Dennis Williams, was that Zellweger was released from the hospital and rejoined the team just prior to leaving ShoWare Center following Sunday’s game. Williams declined to elaborate on the nature of the injury and said Zellweger had no timetable for a return, beyond being unavailable for the final two games of the regular season.”


Map


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

In Brandon, the Moose Jaw Warriors opened up a 2-0 first-period lead en route MooseJawto a 5-2 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . F Ryder Korczak had a goal and two assists for the Warriors, who scored the game’s last two goals as well as the first two. .  . . Korczak has 24 goals. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (33) had a goal and an assist for Brandon, which had won its previous five games. . . . You can bet the Warriors hightailed it out of Brandon when this one was over. With a big, ugly blizzard on the way, the RCMP said it would be closing all major highways in southern Manitoba “around midnight or when it begins to snow.” . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F James Stefan scored in OT to give the Portland PortlandWinterhawks a 4-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Stefan’s 34th goal at 1:37 of OT gave Portland its fifth straight victory. . . . The Americans had tied the score, 3-3, on F Parker Bell’s 17th goal at 12:36 of the third period. . . . The Winterhawks had a 43-23 edge in shots.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Cody Beach, who played in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen and Moose Jaw Warriors, made his NHL refereeing debut on Tuesday night, working a game between the host Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils. He worked alongside Trevor Hanson, a former WHL referee. Beach, 29, played professionally through the 2015-16 season before turning to officiating. Yes, Beach worked WHL games as a referee. He is the younger brother of former WHLer Kyle Beach.


Movie


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation in these parts. That’s because my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation 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

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.


Donut

Scattershooting on Sunday while mourning the death of a dear friend . . .

Cory

For most of our 17 years in Regina, Dorothy and I lived across Grosvenor Street from Marilyn and Bill Morrison and their three children — Tracy, Cindy and Cory. . . . All of us quickly became friends and then best friends. . . . To say that Cory was a sports fan would be something of an understatement. As a youngster, Cory never met a sports question he didn’t want to know the answer to, and having a guy living across the street who worked in The Leader-Post’s sports department and just might have some of the inside info, well, our conversations started with 20 questions and quickly grew from there. . . . He never did lose his love for sports as he journeyed through a life that would include diabetes and kidney disease. We spent an evening with him late in the summer of 2019, trying to answer any questions he might have about a potential kidney transplant and to offer him comfort. . . . Yes, there also were sports-related questions and lots of conversation. . . . We were heart-broken to wake up Saturday to learn that Cory won’t ever get to have that transplant because he died on Friday. He was 47. . . .

His sister, Tracy Morrison Johnson, who is responsible for the collage above, wrote this:

“Dad. Son. Brother. Uncle. Coach. Friend. Dog Lover. Comedian. Como. This is my brother. And it is with a most heavy heart that I write to say he lost his battle with Diabetes and Kidney Disease. He was 47. He was also passionate, stubborn, goofy, feisty, wicked smart and loving. He never forgot a sports stat in his life. And he made a unique and lasting impression on anyone he met. We will miss him and his loving heart and bad jokes terribly.”

Cory was all of that and more. I only hope that wherever he is he is able to find someone who will answer the questions and chuckle at his giggle.


Santa


The QMJHL has had to do some juggling of its playoff schedule after what it qmjhlnewsays is a “possible positive COVID-19 test within the Rimouski Océanic organization.” . . . The Océanic and Val-d’Or Foreurs and officials who worked the first two games of their series on Friday and Saturday are in “precautionary isolation.” . . . The Océanic and Foreurs were to have played tonight (Monday), but that game has been postponed. They also are scheduled to play on Wednesday. . . . A game between the Victoriaville Tigres and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada that was to have been played Sunday now will be played this afternoon. . . . All four teams are playing in Quebec City.


Meanwhile, there were three games in the WHL on Sunday night, with two of the teams completing their seasons. . . . There now are only three nights — and five games — remaining in this developmental season. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Portland Winterhawks struck for five second-period PortlandAlternategoals and then coasted to a 9-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Winterhawks, who have won two in a row, are 11-8-3. . . . The Americans, who have lost three straight, slipped to 7-11-0. . . . These two teams will wrap things up in Portland on Tuesday. . . . F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (2) and F Cross Hanas gave the Winterhawks a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . They followed that with five more goals before the second period was 14 minutes old — from F Seth Jarvis (15), F Simon Knak, Hanas (2), F Jaydon Dureau (9) and D Nick Cicek (4). . . . D Luke Zazula (4) scored for the Americans before the period ended. . . . Knak (16) and F Marcus Nguyen (1) finished Portland’s scoring in the third period. Nguyen, an 11th-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal in his 16th game. . . . Dureau and Jarvis each had two assists, with Knak adding one, giving them three-point outings, and D Clay Hanus drew three assists. . . . Portland got 31 stops from G Brock Gould. . . . The Americans had only one goaltender dressed, so Mason Dunsford went the distance, stopping 28 shots. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds unleashed a 58-shot attack as they skated to a 3-0 Seattlevictory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kent, Wash. . . . It was the final game of the season for both teams. Seattle finished 10-12-1; Spokane wound up at 6-9-5 after losing its last four games (0-2-2). . . . Interestingly, Seattle G Jackson Berry stopped 21 shots and would have recorded his first WHL shutout had he not become embroiled in a fight with Spokane G Mason Beaupit at 19:29 of the third period. Scott Ratzlaff took over for the last 31 seconds but didn’t face any shots. Geoffrey Brandow (@Geoffrey Brandow) reports that it’s the “club’s first two goalie shutout in Internet Era.” . . . Beaupit had made 55 saves by the time he left, with Campbell Arnold finishing up. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon, playing his final WHL game and the 250th regular-season game of his career, had a goal and an assist. His 17th goal of the season, on a PP just 33 seconds into the second period, stood up as the winner. He finished the season with 27 points in 23 games. . . . F Mekai Sanders (1) and F Sam Oremba (2) also scored second-period goals. . . .

In Kamloops, the Kelowna Rockets scored a pair of first-period goals and went Rocketson to a 2-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Kelowna (9-4-1) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Prince George (9-9-3) has lost two straight. . . . F Alex Swetlikoff (4) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 9:24 of the first period, with F David Kope (6) making it 2-0 at 13:15. . . . F Trevor Wong drew an assist on each Kelowna goal. . . . D Majid Kaddoura (2) scored for the Cougars, on a PP, at 6:37 of the third period. . . . The Rockets got 30 saves from G Cole Schwebius, with Taylor Gauthier stopping 23 for the Cougars.


Fat


When you’re looking for the top sports columnist these days, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post is in the discussion. Here she is starting a column earlier this week:

“Somewhere along the line Baron Von Ripper-off and the other gold-plated pretenders at the International Olympic Committee decided to treat Japan as their footstool. But Japan didn’t surrender its sovereignty when it agreed to host the Olympics. If the Tokyo Summer Games have become a threat to the national interest, Japan’s leaders should tell the IOC to go find another duchy to plunder. A cancellation would be hard — but it would also be a cure.”


Still with the Washington Post, I subscribed because of one writer — Thomas Boswell, a hall-of-fame baseball writer and a wonderful wordsmith on any other subject he chooses to tackle. . . . I once attended a gathering of sports editors in Reston, Va., and Boswell led a session on column writing. Later, around a lunch table, I asked him how he reacted when a copy editor would want to change his copy. He replied: “I want a phone call.” . . . “No matter the time of day or night?” I asked. . . . “Definitely,” he replied. . . . From that point on, I never objected to being called at home about anything. . . . Boswell is retiring as of June 30. Oh boy, will I miss his words, especially on baseball. If you don’t know of Boswell, find a copy of Why Time Begins on Opening Day or How Life Imitates the World Series. You’ll be glad you did.


Hey, you . . . yeah, you. The guy who struggles to get off the couch on a lot of days . . . this one’s for you.


“The Atlanta Falcons signed undrafted Jack Batho IV, a 6-foot-7, 315-pound tackle from South Dakota School of the Mines,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Hey, if a guy from there can’t open a hole, who can?”

——

One more report from Perry: “Ian Nepomniachtchchi can’t play under the Russian flag in his upcoming world-championship match because of his country’s ban from international sporting competitions by the World Anti-Doping Agency. For the record, Nepomniachtchchi plays chess.”


An interesting note from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: “How often has this been true? There are three Canadian men in the top 20 of the ATP Tour — Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime — and no Americans in the Top 30.”

—— 

One more note from Simmons: “Marc-Andre Fleury has moved into third place all-time in wins for a goaltender. That’s an amazing accomplishment. It’s also skewed somewhat over time. There are no ties anymore in the NHL. Terry Sawchuk played in 171 tie games. Glenn Hall had 163. To place Fleury and Roberto Luongo ahead of Sawchuk and Hall in wins is true just not necessarily accurate.”


Rod Carew — now there’s a man who could hit! — remembers facing the great Bob Gibson one time: “When I was 20, I faced Gibby at an exhibition (game) in Florida. I tried to fill in a hole in the batter’s box and he told me, ‘Get in the box. I’m double parked!’ He knocked me down four times and walked me. As I walked to first base, he said, ‘Don’t even try to steal.’ I didn’t.”


YardSale


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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.


SocialMedia

%d bloggers like this: