Ex-WHLer retires, turns to social media . . . Svejkovsky, Schuurman fill their hats . . . Holt blanks Winterhawks

F Nikita Popugaev — sometimes it is spelled Popugayev — says he has retired. Popugaev, who is to turn 23 on Nov. 20, is from Moscow. He played two-plus seasons in the WHL, starting with 110 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors (2015-17) and finishing with 44 with the Prince George Cougars (2016-18). . . . He put up 123 points, including 47 goals, in 154 regular-season WHL games. . . . The New Jersey Devils selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft.


While Popugaev was burning his gear, there were eight WHL games played on Friday night . . .

F Ridly Greig, newly named captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings, scored twice in a 5-2 victory over visiting Prince Albert Raiders (0-3-0). . . . F Ben Thornton also scored twice for Brandon. . . .

D Matthew Gallant’s first WHL goal stood up as the winner as the host Moose Jaw Warriors edged the Regina Pats, 3-2. . . . Gallant, the eldest son of former Pats’ radio voice Kevin Gallant, broke a 2-2 tie at 17:52 of the second period. . . . F Cade Hayes had Moose Jaw’s other two goals. . . .


F Lukas Svejkovsky scored three times to lead the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . It was Svejkovsky’s first career WHL hat trick. He has five goals in two games. . . . Svejkovsky also had an assist, giving him his first career four-point game. It came in his 141st regular-season game. . . .

D Simon Kubicek broke a 1-1 tie with a PPG at 2:36 of the third period as the Edmonton Oil Kings got past the host Swift Current Broncos, 2-1. . . . Edmonton’s Sebastian Cossa, with 23 saves, won the goaltending duel with Isaac Poulter, who stopped 35 shots. . . .

G Braden Holt blocked 23 shots as the Everett Silvertips beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-0. . . . F Jackson Berezowski scored twice. . . . Holt, an 18-year-old from Bozeman, Montana, has two career shutouts. On March 6, 2020, he stopped 16 shots in a 6-0 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Mike Benton worked his final Silvertips’ game as the play-by-play voice. He left the Silvertips for six seasons, and now is with Seattle radio station KJR where he is the host for Kraken pre-game, intermission and post-game shows. He handled the Silvertips’ first two regular-season games while they get a new radio voice in place. There should be an announcement coming shortly. . . .

The Victoria Royals scored four times on five second-period shots and went on to beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 6-3. . . . F Brayden Schuurman, 17, scored three times and added an assist for the Royals. Yes, it was his first hat trick. Yes, it was his first four-point game. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds broke a 3-3 tie with two late third-period goals to beat the Chiefs, 5-3, in Spokane. . . . D Tyrel Bauer scored the eventual winner at 13:06, with F Conner Roulette wrapping it up at 17:26. . . . The Chiefs got a goal and two assists from F Bear Hughes. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants snapped a 3-3 tie with three straight goals as they beat the Prince George Cougars, 6-4. . . . The Giants got two goals from F Adam Hall, with F Ty Thorpe and F Justin Sourdif each adding a goal and two assists, and D Mazden Leslie drawing three helpers. . . . The Cougars had taken a 3-1 lead into the second period.


Delta


The Ontario government has listed some COVID-19-related restrictions so that OHL teams based in the province will be permitted to play before crowds of 100 per cent capacity with everyone fully vaccinated. That all is effective today (Saturday).


There were six fights in WHL games on Friday night. The time for the WHL to get rid of fighting — teens punching each other in the face — passed us by a long time ago.


Plans are in place for a documentary series on the hockey rivalry between Canada and what was the USSR. It has the working title “72” and is to focus on the 1972 Summit Series, “a pivotal set of eight games played between the two nations in 1972 in Canada and Russia where political rivalry equalled the on-field competition,” wrote Naman Ramachandran of variety.com. “The tournament was rife with allegations of dirty play and disputes over officiating. In Canada, the games were set against a backdrop of a home-grown terrorist movement that had turned violent, while KGB agents and Soviet soldiers sat in the stands for the games in Moscow.” . . . . There is more right here.


The Medicine Hat News reported Friday that the Medicine Hat Minor Hockey Association is in a state of flux. According to James Tubb of The News, a source “with close knowledge of the situation” has said that some board members “have manipulated tryout evaluations to ensure their children play at a higher level than they are rated. One recently departed board member is backing that claim, and they both say it’s coming at the cost of other children’s development.” . . . The complete story is right here.


Resume


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.


Puzzle

Sutter steps down as Rebels’ head coach . . . Winterhawks win a wild one . . . Cougars end Miner’s shutout streak

I’m guessing that Brent Sutter went to bed on Friday night and spent the next few hours arguing with himself.

His Red Deer Rebels had been beaten, 6-3, by the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes a few hours earlier, their seventh straight loss dropping their record to 2-10-2.

After the game, Brent talked with Shaun Sutter, a nephew who is the Rebels’ RedDeerassistant general manager and director of personnel, and Merrick, his son who is the senior vice-president. The decision for him to step aside, Brent said, basically was reached at that time.

But there still was time for him to change his mind. After all, he’s the boss and he was born to coach.

As Sutter tossed and turned, the owner, governor, president and general manager titles were perched on one shoulder; on the other was the coach.

The argument, I’m thinking, raged all night long.

Sutter has owned the Rebels since 1999. He has been their head coach for all but five seasons since then. He spent two seasons (2007-09) as the head coach of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. And for the following three seasons, he was the Calgary Flames’ head coach.

This season, though, has been unlike any other. On the ice, it started in February for the Alberta teams. But for the likes of Sutter, with all their titles and responsibilities, it started long before then and it has gone on seemingly forever.

And then COVID-19 found the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and Sutter’s son, Brandon, ended up sick — perhaps with the P.1 variant — and quarantined in his basement, with a pregnant wife and two children, ages 2 and 3, upstairs. There isn’t a more-helpless feeling than being the parent of an ailing child, even a 32-year-old NHL player, and being unable to provide help.

Combine everything — oh, and I should mention that the injury bug has hit the Rebels hard, leaving them almost out of defencemen — and it could be that Brent Sutter simply wore down.

As he told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com: “Everthing (negative) that could happen has happened.”

So, at some time in the wee hours of Saturday, Sutter, the husband and father, the owner, governor, president and general manager, won out over the coach.

Early Saturday afternoon, the Rebels announced that Sutter was out as the team’s head coach. Shaun will join assistant coaches Ryan Colville and Brad Flynn in running the coaching side of things.

Once the organization gets this season behind it, a decision will be made on the next head coach.

“You have to put so much time into it, and when you’re doing that plus the management side of it . . . because you’re so dialled in on the coaching side you’re not there to help out with some of the other side,” Sutter told Meachem. “Mentally it’s been really tough for everyone with the whole environment we’re in. We need to get the players upbeat again.”

Including this screwy season, Sutter has 526 regular-season WHL coaching victories, eighth on the all-time list. The Rebels won the Memorial Cup under him in 2001.

Sutter also won back-to-back World Junior Championship gold medals in 2005 and 2006 as the head coach of Canada’s national team.

“I’ve been coaching for 22 years and two months and I’ve been so dialled into it, so passionate about it,” he told Meachem. “Yet you can’t be selfish. The players and the front of the jersey always come first, no matter what. The right thing for this hockey team and this organization is for me to step down right now. For me personally, it’s the right thing.”


Spy


Please don’t forget that Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to help her out, you are able to make a donation right here.


LethOn the ice, the Rebels were involved in one of six games played in the WHL on Saturday night. Playing in Lethbridge, the Rebels dropped a 5-2 decision to the Hurricanes, who got a goal, his third, and three assists from F Liam Kindree. . . . Lethbridge (5-6-2) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Rebels (2-11-2) have lost eight in a row. . . . If you’re wondering, the online game sheet didn’t list a Red Deer head coach. . . . F Logan Barlage scored his fourth goal and added two assists for Lethbridge, which also got goal No. 9 and two assists from F Justin Hall. . . . The Rebels lost D Trey Patterson, perhaps for the remainder of this season, with an undisclosed injury in Friday’s 6-3 loss to the visiting Hurricanes. The Rebels, with nine games remaining, are down to four healthy defencemen — Kyle Masters, Joel Sexsmith, Mason Ward and Jace Weir. Due to COVID-19 protocol, they aren’t able to bring in reinforcements, either. . . .

F Conor Geekie scored at 2:13 of OT to give the Winnipeg Ice a 4-3 victory over Winnipegthe Prince Albert Raiders in Regina. . . . Geekie’s fifth goal allowed Winnipeg (11-4-0) to run its winning streak to five games. . . . The Raiders (4-9-2), who have lost three straight, had erased a 3-1 deficit with second-period goals from F Michal Horon (2) and F Evan Herman (4). . . . F Peyton Krebs scored his ninth goal for the Ice, running his point streak to 14 games. He was blanked in the season’s first game, and has nine goals and 19 assists in his past 14 games. . . . Ice F Zachary Benson, 15, had a goal and an assist. The 14th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, he’s got six goals and seven assists in 15 games. . . .

F Tristen Robins scored twice and added an assist to help the Saskatoon Blades Bladesto a 4-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina. . . . F Brayden Yager (4) gave Moose Jaw (7-8-1) at 1-0 lead at 9:01 of the first period. . . . Robins, who has 10 goals, tied it at 10:20 and gave the Blades (11-2-2) the lead at 14:11. . . . F Wyatt McLeod (2) upped the lead to 3-1 at 1:25 of the second. . . . F Tate Popple (5) got the Warriors to within a goal at 17:57, but Saskatoon F Kyle Crnkovic (6) scored shorthanded at 1:10 of the third. . . .

On most nights, you would think a five-goal period would guarantee a team PortlandAlternatevictory. That wasn’t the case with the host Spokane Chiefs who, despite scoring five times in the third period, dropped a 7-6 decision to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Winterhawks (5-4-2), who had lost three straight, scored three second-period goals and took a 4-1 lead into the third. . . . The Chiefs tied it by scoring three times in 2:19 early in the period. . . . Portland responded with three straight goals to take a 7-4 lead. . . . The Chiefs (2-5-3) finished the scoring with two goals in the final 36 seconds. . . . Portland F Simon Knak (8) was credited with the game-winner and it was rather fitting that it came into an empty net. . . . F Seth Jarvis (6) had two goals and an assist for the winners, with F Jaydon Dureau (3) adding a goal and two helpers. . . . F Adam Beckman ran his goal-scoring streak to four games with his sixth of the season. . . . The Chiefs’ last two goals came from F Ty Cheveldayoff and D Chase Friedt-Mohr, the first WHL score for each. . . .

The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first three goals and the last three to Americanstake a 6-2 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips. . . . F Samuel Huo (7) and F Jake Sloan (2) each had a goal and two assists for the Americans (5-5-0). . . . Everett (9-2-0), which had won its previous four games, got PP goals from F Cole Fonstad (7) and G Gage Goncalves (8) in the second period to get within a goal. . . . But F Booker Daniel (2) restored Tai-City’s two-goal lead at 16:07 of the second and Huo scored shorthanded at 11:16 of the third. . . .

F Jonny Hooker had a goal and three assists as the Prince George Cougars skated PGto a 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Kamloops. . . . Hooker drew the lone assist on F Craig Armstrong’s first goal, shorthanded, that broke a 2-2 tie at 4:40 of the second period. . . . Hooker (3) scored on a PP at 19:55, and D Hudson Thornton (1) made it 5-2 at 9:55. Thornton scored in his first WHL game. . . . D Mazden Leslie, who turns 16 on Thursday, had two goals for the Giants. He has four goals in his first six WHL games. . . . F Eric Florchuk drew three assists for Vancouver. . . . F Ethan Browne (3) scored for Prince George at 8:43 of the first period. That ended G Trent Miner’s shutout string at 234:31. Each of his previous three starts had ended in a shutout. Chris Worthy of the 1967-68 Flin Flon Bombers holds the record (265:13). . . . The Cougars (2-2-2) had lost their previous three games (0-1-2). . . . The Giants (5-2-0) had won five straight. . . . G Tyler Brennan stopped 26 shots for the Cougars. It was his final WHL game of this season as he now will join Canada’s U18 team at the IIHF World championship that opens in Frisco and Plano, Texas, on April 26.


The NHL has decreed that the Vancouver Canucks, who are still recovering from Canucksan ugly run-in with COVID-19, will return to game action on Friday. Yes, this Friday. . . . They are to play host to the Edmonton Oilers that night, and it is to start the Canucks on a schedule that calls for them to play 19 games in 31 nights. Seriously! . . . The Canucks last played on March 24. . . . The Canucks had seven games postponed. Their schedule now is to end on May 16. . . . The Canucks still had 19 players on the COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday and some of them, judging from reports, have been quite ill. If Saturday’s tests come back OK, the Canucks will re-open their facilities today, 12 days after F Adam Gaudette was identified as the first of their positive tests. . . . Today’s activities are to include some training and individual practice sessions. The team isn’t likely to practice as a team until Wednesday. . . . All told, the organization had 21 players and four coaches test positive.


joy


The UMass Minutemen won the NCAA men’s hockey championship on Saturday, beating the St. Cloud State Huskies, 5-0, in the final game in Pittsburgh. . . . This was UMass’s first NCAA hockey title. . . . Anthony Travalgia of College Hockey News has all the details right here.


If everything falls into place, the World men’s curling championship, which postponed all of Saturday’s games in its Calgary bubble, could hold three draws today. . . . The competition ground to a halt after four people from three different teams tested positive for COVID-19 during exit testing. Participants have to be tested before leaving the bubble, and they can’t go without a negative result. . . . Players on four other teams were deemed close contacts. Some of those teams were to have played on Saturday had play gone on as scheduled. . . . Still to be played are a qualification game between Switzerland and the U.S., the semifinals, a third-place game and the championship game. . . . The tests carried out on Friday were the first in the bubble since April 1. Dr. Bob McCormack, the event’s chief medical officer, was asked if there should have been more testing. His response: “What I would say to that is that we had a lot of discussion with experts and also Alberta Health to come up with the protocols that we felt were safe to establish a clean bubble. The bottom line is the protocols were established with experts and Alberta Health, saying this is reasonable, appropriate and safe.” . . . There are three more events scheduled for the Calgary bubble — two Grand Slam of Curling competitions and the World women’s championship that is to run from April 30 through May 9.


The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association was to have held a Secret Dream Gap Tour showcase in St. Louis this weekend, but it had to be postponed because “of a COVID exposure one of our teams,” according to the PWHPA. The St. Louis event was to have included two games. It is expected to be rescheduled.


DST


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.


HorseGames

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while eagerly awaiting Opening Day (it arrives on Thursday) . . .

Scattershooting2

Let’s start with a gem from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “A Dodgers fan group is rubbing it in against the Red Sox by paying for a ‘Thank you for Mookie Betts’ billboard next to Fenway Park. ‘Now why didn’t we ever think of that?’ moaned the chairman of the Babe Ruth Preservation Society.”

——

Perry, again: “Ohio State safety Marcus Hooker was arrested on DUI charges after he passed out behind the wheel while waiting in a McDonald’s drive-thru line. Defense lawyers can’t decide whether to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or ‘I deserve a break today.’ ”


The visiting Calgary Hitmen got 41 stops from G Brayden Peters as they handed CalgaryEdmonton its first loss of the WHL’s developmental season, beating the Oil Kings, 2-1, on Sunday. While Calgary improved to 5-5-1, Edmonton now is 9-1-0. . . . The Oil Kings had beaten the Hitmen twice on the weekend — 4-3 in Edmonton on Friday and 5-2 in Calgary on Saturday. . . . F Sean Tschigerl (4) and F Riley Stotts (3) had Calgary ahead 2-0 before F Josh Williams (7) scored for Edmonton at 8:30 of the third period. . . . Calgary remains without D Tyson Galloway, who was injured on Friday, and D Luke Prokop, who was hurt on Saturday.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco, in a column dedicated to pet peeves:

“The I’m-so-cool NBA arena walk-in, every player wearing headphones. Do you guys ever, like, talk among yourselves, like teammates? . . .

“At college football games in the South, how the head coach always has to have a mean-looking cop in a Mountie hat escort him on and off the field, like he’s the pope or something. Let the cops go do cop stuff. . . .

“TV college game announcers who remind us every four minutes what a ‘well-coached team’ this is. Announcers, many of them former coaches, are insufferable coach suck-ups. Please throw in an occasional ‘crappily coached team.’ ”


The Brandon Wheat Kings ran their winning streak to three games with a 5-2 Brandonvictory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings now are 6-2-1. . . . The Broncos (2-6-1) opened the schedule with five straight losses, running their two-season skid to 23, then went 2-0-1 before this loss. . . . Swift Current led 2-0 with 13 minutes left in the second period, only to give up the game’s last five goals. . . . D Braden Schneider was back in Brandon’s lineup after sitting out two with an injury.



F Gage Concalves enjoyed his first career three-goal game and also added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-1. . . . The Silvertips, who are 5-0-0 for the first time in franchise history, led 3-0 before the game was 14 minutes old and never looked back. . . . Goncalves has five goals. . . . D Ronan Seeley had a goal and three assists for Everett F Samuel Huo scored his fourth goal for the Americans (2-3-0). . . . G Braden Holt stopped 20 shots for the Silvertips, who have allowed two goals in their five games.



The visiting Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and six of the last seven as they beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-4. . . . F Simon Knak (4) tied the game 4-4 tie at 13:50 of the second period and F Seth Jarvis (2) scored while shorthanded at 4:49 of the third to give Portland its first lead. . . . Jarvis finished plus-5. . . . The Winterhawks (3-1-2) have four shorthanded goals in their six games. . . . Seattle (3-2-0) got the game’s opening goal from F Connor Roulette (3) scored on a first-period penalty shot. . . . D Nick Cicek had three assists for Portland.


The QMJHL scrubbed a Sunday game between the Cape Breton Eagles and qmjhlnewCharlottetown Islanders because of COVID-19 protocol. According to the QMJHL, on Sunday morning “a few players from the Eagles experienced flu-liked symptoms and as a precaution, the QMJHL has cancelled the game. In the current context and as per QMJHL protocols, all Eagles’ players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 and put in preventive isolation prior to returning to regular team activities.”


F Oren Shtrom’s first WHL goal, at 4:11 of OT, gave the host Medicine Hat Tigers Tigersa 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers (7-3-0) had beaten the Hurricanes 3-0 at home on Friday and 6-3 in Lethbridge on Saturday. . . . Shtrom, a 16-year-old from Gilbert, Ariz., was a third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. He has a goal and four assists in nine games. . . . He is believed to be the first Oren to score for the Tigers since Oren Koules struck six times in 33 games in 1979-80. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (5) had two goals and an assist for the Tigers, while D Cole Clayton had three assists. . . . F Justin Hall scored his eighth goal in 11 games for Lethbridge (3-6-2). He went into the season with 16 goals in 102 games.



F Tristen Nielsen scored three times and added two assists to spark the VancouverVancouver Giants’ 6-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in Kamloops. . . . The Giants were the home team, so this was their home-opener. . . . Nielsen scored once on the PP, once shorthanded and once at even strength, all in the first period. . . . F Justin Sourdif drew four assists. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots for his fifth career shutout. . . . D Mazden Leslie, the 10th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, scored twice in his first WHL game. . . . Nielsen turned 21 on Feb. 23; Leslie won’t turn 16 until April 15. . . . The Giants now are 1-1-0, as are the Rockets. Kelowna had blanked the visiting Victoria Royals, 6-0, on Saturday.


Time


F Peyton Krebs had a goal, his sixth, and two assists as the Winnipeg Ice got Winnipegpast the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-1, in Regina. . . . No less an authority than Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post says that Krebs has been the “best player in the East Division hub.” . . . Krebs has 11 points over his past four games so Vanstone may be correct. . . . Vanstone also pointed out that while there have been 10 shutouts in the WHL this season, none of them have been in the Regina hub. . . . Krebs has six goals and 11 assists as the Ice, which had lost its previous two games, has opened 6-3-0. . . . The Warriors (4-5-0), who have lost four in a row, were without D Daemon Hunt (suspension) and F Ryder Korczak (undisclosed injury). . . . The game was played in 2 hours 3 minutes, the fastest game to date this season.


Tuna



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.


Dogs