Ferguson still in NHL … Delay of game? What delay of game? … Hart ties franchise record

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The Vegas Golden Knights had three goaltenders on the ice when they practised at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Wednesday morning and, yes, one of them was Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers.

Ferguson, 19, has been with the Golden Knights since being recalled under emergency conditions on Oct. 30.

Ferguson, who is from Lantzville, which is on Vancouver Islander, made his NHL debut on Tuesday night during an 8-2 loss to the host Edmonton Oilers. He came on in relief of Maxime Lagace to stop one of two shots in 9:14 of playing time.

The Golden Knights are scheduled to play the host Canucks tonight, and chances are that Ferguson will be backing up Lagace for an eighth straight game.

There was speculation earlier Wednesday that Lagace had been injured in Edmonton, but that chatter seemed to fade away after he joined Ferguson on the ice yesterday morning.

G Malcolm Subban, one of the team’s three injured goaltenders, also was on the ice, his first appearance in almost a month. He has been out since Oct. 22 when he was injured while stretching to make a save. Also on the shelf are veteran starter Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion), who has resumed skating, and Oscar Dansk.

Gary Lawless of the Golden Knights has more on Ferguson right here.

Ed Willes of Postmedia wrote about Ferguson on Thursday, too. That piece is right here.

The Blazers are at home to the Vancouver Giants on Friday night and the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday. If Ferguson isn’t back, the Blazers will continue to go with two freshmen goaltenders — Max Palaga, 17,  and Dylan Garand, 15.


There was an interesting sequence of events during the Prince George Cougars’ 5-4 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday night.

The Cougars were clinging to a 4-3 lead at 8:55 of the third period when they cleared the puck into the Kamloops zone from the neutral zone. As G Dylan Garand of the Blazers gloved the puck on the fly, referee Bryan Bourdon, stationed to Garand’s right, yelled at the goaltender to move it.

With forecheckers closing in, Garand hung on to the puck. Bourdon whistled play dead, pointed at Garand and then pointed to the penalty box. It seemed that the referee had called Garand for delay of game.

However, something happened on the way to the penalty box and the call wasn’t made.

Asked later what happened, Richard Matvichuk, the Cougars’ head coach, shrugged and said: “I don’t know.”

Then, at 15:16, a near-identical play occurred, this time in the Prince George zone. The Blazers, still trailing 4-3, dumped the puck at Cougars G Tavin Grant from the neutral zone. He played the puck with his stick and pulled it into his glove.

Nick Panter, the other referee, immediately signalled a penalty and hit Grant for delay of game. This time, the call stuck.

While killing that penalty, the Cougars got a goal from F Kody McDonald at 16:38 and it stood up as the game-winner.

But how did one goaltender get penalized and not the other? What happened to the apparent delay-of-game call on Garand?

“I don’t know,” Matvichuk reiterated.

Matvichuk, who is in his second season with the Cougars, was of the opinion that neither goaltender should have been penalized.

“As much as we’re trying to speed the game up, these kids are under so much pressure,” he said. “It’s a hockey game. If a goalie freezes the puck, he freezes the puck. It is what it is.

“I understand there are times when we try to speed the game up, but we have to remember these guys are here to develop and try to get to the next level.

“What happens if one of those kids puts the puck down, on either side, and shoots it into somebody and they score? He gets into trouble, that’s what happens.”


The Portland Winterhawks went shopping on Tuesday night. Yes, they did.

It was their fifth annual ‘Shop With a Hawk’ event in which the players go Christmas shopping with children from the Boys and Girls Clubs, all thinks to the club’s booster club, Fred Meyer and the Sunshine Division.

Thanks to the Winterhawks Booster Club each child had $100 with which to shop, and they were shown around the Hollywood Fred Meyer store by the players.

It’s worth noting that over the five years the booster club has donated more than $15,000 and it has helped more than 125 children.


If you like what you see here, you may want to consider donating to the cause. Should you choose to help out, simply click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner of this page and away you go. Thank you!


The Kootenay Ice has returned F Connor McClennon, 15, to the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team that plays in the CSSHL. McClennon, who is from Wainwright, Alta., was the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He was pointless in two games with the Ice. . . .

D Brendan O’Reilly, a veteran of 153 games over four seasons with the Tri-City Americans, has joined the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. O’Reilly, 20, is from Southlake, Texas. He lost his roster spot with the Americans when they had to get down to three 20-year-olds. He then joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, putting up a goal and three assists in 13 games.


The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers announced Wednesday that they have named Mat Hehr as their general manager and head coach. He had been serving as interim GM/head coach since the club fired Casey O’Brien on Oct. 31. . . . Hehr had been an assistant coach under O’Brien, who was in his second season as GM and head coach. O’Brien had been with the Terriers since 2011 . . . Hehr joined the Terriers in November 2016 after being on staff with the La Ronge Ice Wolves. . . . The Terriers were 3-12-0 when O’Brien was dismissed. They went into Wednesday at 3-16-2.


WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, F Nick Henry had a goal and an assist in his third game after off-season shoulder surgery, leading the Pats to a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Pats (12-8-2) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Hitmen (11-9-2) have lost three in a row. . . . F Emil Oksanen (11) gave Regina a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:52 of the first period. . . . Calgary tied it on a PP at 7:20 when F Matteo Bennaro got No. 13. . . . Regina went out front 3-1 on goals from F Sam Steel (6), at 11:18 of the first period, and F Matt Bradley (16), at 11:30 of the second. . . . Calgary got back to wishin one at 12:03 as F Tristen Nielsen (6) scored. . . . Henry (1) restored the two-goal lead 15 seconds into the third period. . . . F Luke Coleman (5) pulled Calgary back to within a goal, on a PP, at 10:42. . . . Steel also had an assist. . . . Calgary got two assists from each of D Jake Bean and D Vladislav Yeryomenko. . . . The Hitmen were 2-4 on the PP; the Pats were 1-4. . . . G Max Paddock earned the victory with 25 saves. . . . At the other end, Nick Schneider stopped 36 shots. . . . D Cale Fleury, who was acquired by Regina from the Kootenay Ice on Monday, made his Pats debut. He was plus-1 with three shots on goal. . . . Announced attendance: 5,754.


At Saskatoon, D Evan Fiala’s goal at 18:48 of the third period broke a 4-4 tie as the Blades beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4. . . . Saskatoon (8-10-1) had lost two straight. . . . The Warriors (16-5-0) had a six-game winning streak snapped. They continue to lead the overall standings by three points over the idle Victoria Royals. . . . The teams were tied 2-2 after the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (11), at 0:57, and F Justin Almeida (11), shorthanded at 15:44, counted for the visitors, with F Alec Zawatsky, with his first WHL goal, at 1:47, and F Caleb Fantillo (4), at 17:53, replying for the home boys. . . . Saskatoon went up 4-2 on second-period goals from F Braylon Shmyr (9), at 3:14, and F Gage Ramsay (2), at 7:45. . . . The Warriors came right back and tied it. F Tanner Jeannot (12) counted at 17:31 of the second, then F Daemon Hunt, a 15-year-old, scored his first WHL goal at 8:39 of the third period. . . . Fiala won it with his first goal of the season. . . . F Cam Hebig and D Libor Hajek each had two assists for the Blades. . . . The Warriors got two assists from F Jayden Halbgewachs and one from Gregor. . . . Saskatoon was 0-4 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . The Blades got 34 saves from G Ryan Kubic. . . . Moose Jaw G Brody Willms blocked 46 shots as the Blades unleashed a season-high 51 shots. . . . D Matt Sanders made his WHL debut with the Warriors. Sanders, 16, was a fifth-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. He is the younger brother of G Nick Sanders, who was released by the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 27 and now is with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Included in the Warriors scratches were D Josh Brook, D Jett Wood, D Matthew Benson, D Dmitri Zaitsev and F Brett Howden, all key contributors and all injured. . . . Announced attendance: 2,745.


At Langley, B.C., F Tyler Benson drew three assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Giants (9-8-4) have points in five straight games (4-0-1). . . . The Rebels (9-12-1) are 1-5-0 on a seven-game road trip that ends Friday in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . F James Malm gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 7:48 of the first period. . . . Red Deer took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Kristian Reichel (9), at 19:30 of the first, and F Brandon Cutler (1), at 6:17 of the second. . . . Vancouver F Brayden Watts (8) tied it at 12:53. . . . Malm, who has 10 goals, broke the deadlock at 12:04. He’s got six goals over his past three games. . . . F Ty Ronning scored his 20th goal of the season into an empty net at 19:29. He’s got 20 goals in 21 games. He also has scored in eight straight games. That’s 10 games shy of the WHL record that belongs to his father, Cliff, who did it with the 1984-85 New Westminster Bruins. . . . Benson has six assists over his past two games. In the eight games he has played this season, he has four goals and eight assists. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 31 shots for the winners, four more than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders. . . . Announced attendance: 2,277.


At Kamloops, the Prince George Cougars built up a 3-0 lead and hung on to beat the Blazers, 5-4. . . . The Cougars (7-9-4) moved four points ahead of the fifth-place Blazers in the B.C. Division. . . . The Blazers (7-13-0) had won their previous two games. . . . The visitors got first-period goals from F Ethan O’Rourke, at 4:18, D Cole Moberg, at 7:56, and O’Rourke again, at 15:19. . . . O’Rourke went into the game with two career goals in 39 games. . . . Moberg, who also had an assist, scored his first goal this season, in his 19th game. He scored once in four games last season. . . . D Chance Adrian earned assists on the last two of those goals, his first career points coming in his 13th game. . . . F Jermaine Loewen got the Blazers on the scoreboard at 6:13 of the second period. Loewen has scored in five straight games. He has nine goals in 14 games this season. In three previous seasons, he totalled 14 goals in 170 games. . . . F Brogan O’Brien, perhaps the best player on the ice in this one, scored his fourth goal at 12:24 of the second for a 4-1 lead. . . . Kamloops got to within a goal on scores from F Quinn Benjafield (5), at 18:32 of the second, and F Nick Chyzowski (6), on a PP, at 4:20 of the third. . . . F Kody McDonald (11) stretched the lead to two with a shorthanded goal at 16:38. . . . The Blazers got back to within a goal when F Garrett Pilon (8) scored with 46.9 seconds left. . . . The Blazers got two assists from Pilon and one each from Loewen and Chyzowski. . . . Kamloops was 1-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-5. . . . G Tavin Grant stopped 27 shots to earn the victory. . . . While Grant, 19, was in Kamloops with the Cougars, his junior A rights were changing teams with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings having acquired them from the CCHL’s Carleton Place Canadians. . . . The Blazers got 33 saves from G Dylan Garand, 15, who made his second career WHL start. . . . F Connor Zary and F Carson Denomie were among the Blazers’ scratches. Both players were injured in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Announced attendance: 3,405.


At Everett, G Carter Hart stopped 25 shuts and tied a franchise record with his 21st career shutout as the Silvertips beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-0. . . . The Silvertips (9-10-2) have points in three straight games (2-0-1). . . . The Raiders (9-8-3) are 2-2-0 on a six-game trip that continues in Kennewick, Wash., and Spokane on Friday and Saturday nights. . . . Hart, who tied the career record held by Leland Irving, has put up back-to-back shutouts. He has two shutouts this season. . . . F Sean Richards (8) scored the game’s first goal, at 6:08 of the second period. He’s got goals in four straight games. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (10) got the game’s other goal, at 14:27 of the third period. Bajkov now has 216 career points, tying him with F Joshua Winquist for second spot on the franchise list. F Zach Hamill is No. 1, at 262 points. . . . D Kevin Davis had two assists. . . . Prince Albert was 0-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-8. . . . The Raiders have been shorthanded 28 times over their past three games. In Portland on Sunday, the Winterhawks were 5-12 on the PP in a 6-1 victory over the Raiders. On Tuesday, the Raiders beat host Seattle 6-4 despite the Thunderbirds going 2-8 on the PP. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 40 shots for the Raiders. . . . The Silvertips lost D Montana Onyebuchi at 13:16 of the first period with a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on F Carson Miller. Onyebuchi then was was involved in a fight with D Cody Paivarinta. There was leakage. . . . Announced attendance: 2,864.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Red Deer vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Prince Albert vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Seattle at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Americans’ days numbered in Kennewick? … Ridley set for No. 3,800 … Henry ready to return


Neither the WHL nor the Tri-City Americans is threatening to leave Kennewick, Wash., but if improvements aren’t made to the Toyota Center, well . . .

Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald reported Thursday night that the Americans are “revisiting” their future.

This comes after voters in Kennewick voted against a two-tenths of a percent sales tax increase — two cents on a $10 purchase — that would have been used to, among other things, upgrade the Toyota Center.

This was the second time that voters have rejected such a proposal, but this time the defeat was far more resounding than it was a year ago.

The WHL has demanded that improvements to the arena, including new boards, be made by September 2019.

Culverwell wrote:

“WHL Commissioner Ron Robison said the league’s new requirements must be in place by the start of the 2019-20 season. He characterized the requirements as non negotiable.

“The league wants an action plan. Failing that, it will consider other options.”

Culverwell quoted Robison as saying: “Let’s hope we can find a solution. We certainly want to keep them there. That’s our objective.”

Bob Tory, who owns part of the franchise and is the general manager, told Culverwell:

“If you look around the WHL, our facility is not just the worst facility in the U.S. Division, but it’s probably at the very bottom of the league as far as the quality of the amenities.”

Culverwell’s story is right here.

In another story, Corey Pearson, the manager of the Three Rivers complex that includes the Toyota Center, told Culverwell that he fears the future of the WHL franchise in the city could be in jeopardy.

“We thought we had a project people wanted,” Pearson said. “Obviously, it’s something that people don’t want.”

As for the Americans’ future, Culverwell wrote:
“The Americans lease expires in 2020 but includes terms that let the team negotiate a lower payment or even early termination if the coliseum doesn’t meet league specifications before then.

“Pearson said the Toyota Center falls short on lighting, back of house amenities such as locker rooms, and it lacks an overhead screen for instant replays and league commercials.”

She quoted Pearson as saying: “I don’t want to push the alarm bell and say the team is going to leave. But teams do move. The good news is they have support here. They have a good base.”

The Americans have been in Kennewick since 1988, having relocated from New Westminster after the 1987-88 season. The franchise originated as the Calgary Buffaloes (1966-67), then became the Calgary Centennials (1967-77), Billings Bighorns (1977-82) and the Nanaimo Islanders (1982-83.) It was in New Westminster as the Bruins for five seasons (1983-88).

That earlier Culverwell story is right here.


The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s and the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques will meet in an outdoor game in Ottawa on Dec. 17. The game will be played at The Stadium at TD Place, which is the home of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks. . . . This game is made possible because the NHL will play an outdoor game there between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 16, meaning the boards, ice, etc., all will be made available for the junior game. . . . From a news release: “Tickets for the . . . outdoor game will be priced at $15 for general admission and $20 for reserved seating. Those prices include all taxes, surcharges and free transportation to the game on OC Transpo in Ottawa and STO in Gatineau.” . . . OHL teams have been involved in two other games, both at Comerica Park in Detroit on Dec. 29, 2013. The Windsor Spitfires met the Saginaw Spirit and the London Knights played the Plymouth Whalers as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival in Detroit. The first game drew 25,749 fans to set OHL and CHL single-game attendance records. The second game broke both records, at 26,384. . . . The Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors are scheduled to play outdoors at Regina’s 33,350-seat Mosaic Stadium on Feb. 18.


Here’s a note from Stanks’ Sermon, the blog that belongs to Darren Steinke:

“These days at age 73, Bob Ridley is still the only play-by-play voice in the history of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. He gave up driving the team bus about three years back, but he is still going as strong as ever calling games on the radio, as the Tigers play through their 48th season of existence.

“On Friday when the Tigers (10-6) travel to Calgary to take on the Hitmen (6-10-1) at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Ridley will call his 3,800th game as the Tigers’ play-by-play voice. His total of 3,799 games called to date includes 3,379 of the Tigers 3,380 regular season contests, one standings tiebreaker game, all 399 contests the Tigers have played in the WHL playoffs and all 20 contests the team has played in the Memorial Cup tournament.

“If someone called an average of 80 games between the regular season and playoffs each season for 47 seasons, that person would still fall short of the total number of games Ridley has called.

“It is extremely likely no one in the Canadian media industry will ever come close to Ridley’s still growing games called total as the play-by-play voice of one team.”

Stanks’ Sermon is right here.


F Nick Henry is expected to be back in the Regina Pats’ lineup tonight for the first time this season. The Pats are to entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The 18-year-old Henry, who had off-season shoulder surgery, has missed 19 games. Last season, as a freshman, Henry put up 35 goals and 46 assists in 72 games. He was selected by the Colorado Avalanche with the 94th pick of the NHL’s 2017 draft.

The Warriors may be without F Brett Howden, who suffered an undisclosed injury during Team WHL’s 7-0 victory over a touring Russian side in Moose Jaw on Monday. Howden didn’t practise with the Warriors on Thursday.

According to a tweet from Marc Smith (@MarcSmith18), Warriors head coach Tim Hunter said that Howden is “day-to-day” and will be re-evaluated before tonight’s game.”

Regina D Josh Mahura, who played for Team WHL on Monday but sat out Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Russians in Swift Current with an undisclosed injury, is expected to be in the Pats’ lineup tonight.


Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun reported via Twitter on Thursday that two of the Brandon Wheat Kings’ injured players appear close to returning to the lineup for the first time this season. . . . D Daniel Bukac skated Thursday “for the first time since having off-season surgery.” Last season, Bukac, who is from Czech Republic, had two goals and 15 assists in 72 games. After his freshman season, the Boston Bruins selected Bukac, 18, in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Meanwhile, D James Shearer, 20, “is no longer skating in a red non-contact jersey . . . suggesting his return is near.” Shearer had off-season surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. . . . Shearer’s return would leave the Wheat Kings with four 20-year-olds, the others being G Logan Thompson, D Kade Jensen and F Evan Weinger, who was acquired from the Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 10. Weinger has one goal and one assist in 10 games with Brandon. . . . After Shearer’s return to active duty, the Wheat Kings will have a week to get down the maximum of three 20s. . . . They are scheduled to play host to the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday night.


At Owen Sound, Ont., Russia scored five goals on 18 shots and beat Team OHL, 5-2, in Game 3 of the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series. . . . The Russians lost the opener, 7-0, to Team WHL on Monday in Moose Jaw, then beat the WHLers, 4-3, in Swift Current on Tuesday. . . . The series resumes in Sudbury on Monday. . . . Last night, the winners got 35 stops from G Alexey Melnichuk. . . . F Artyom Manukyan and F Alexey Polodyan each scored twice for Russian, with D Dmitri Samorukov adding a singleton. . . . Team OHL got its goals from F Taylor Raddysh, on a first-period penalty shot, and F Adam Mascherin, on a PP. . . . Russia held periods leads of 2-1 and 4-2. . . . Announced attendance: 3,116.


If you like what you see here, you may want to consider donating to the cause. Should you choose to help out, simply click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner of this page and away you go. Thank you!


Wes Mussio and his wife, Penny, have purchased the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Mussio, managing partner of the Vancouver law firm Mussio Goodman, had owned the junior B Delta Ice Hawks, but a Pacific Junior Hockey League rule forbidding ownership in a competing league meant he had to sell. Mussio has told Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo Bulletin that Darren Naylor, Delta’s GM and head coach, will become the Clippers’ director of hockey operations, with Mike Vandekamp staying on as GM/head coach. . . . Sakaki’s story is right here. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have acquired D Jordan Henderson, 20, from the Merritt Centennials for future considerations. Henderson has seven goals and 29 assists in 158 WHL games, split among the Spokane Chiefs, Saskatoon Blades and Medicine Hat Tigers. He started this season in camp with the Kootenay Ice but was released before the regular season started. . . .

F Jackson Keane, 20, has signed a letter of intent to attend the U of North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. The son of former NHL/WHL player Mike Keane, Jackson is in his first season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, after spending two seasons with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. . . . Keane was selected by the Swift Current Broncos in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft.

F Brendan Budy, 17, has signed a letter of intent to attend the U of Denver and play for the Pioneers, starting in 2019-20. He is in his second season with the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen and is the team captain. . . . From Langley, Body was a fourth-round selection by the Red Deer Rebels in the 2015 bantam draft. . . .


F Tanner Kaspick of the Brandon Wheat Kings won’t play Saturday against the visiting Saskatoon Blades after being suspended for one game by the WHL. Kaspick took a headshot major and game misconduct on Tuesday in Team WHL’s 4-3 loss to a touring Russian side during the CIBC Canada-Russia series in Swift Current. . . . Russian D Alex Alexeyev, who was hit by Kaspick, wasn’t injured. Alexeyev plays for the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels.


THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Spokane at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Red Deer at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Everett at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


Outdoor games at Safeco Field? … Living with tragedy in Renfrew, Ont. … Blazers goalie in NYC

If you’re watching the World Series, here’s hoping you have access to Fox-TV because analyst John Smoltz is good. Really good.


Larry Brooks of the New York Post related this anecdote in a Sunday column:

So Antti Raanta, the former Rangers netminder now with Arizona, was talking about adjusting to life in the desert.

“It takes a little time to get used to the weather and remind yourself that you’re not on vacation,” said Raanta. “But everything has been good.

“Except maybe for the scorpions my wife saw in our bedroom.”


I ran into the effervescent Guy Charron while doing some shopping the other day. He’s looking good. In fact, he hasn’t looked this good since before he dipped his toe in the WHL coaching pool with the Kamloops Blazers.


Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle with a first-person baseball tale:

That was cute when the Dodgers sent Vin Scully to the mound for the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series, and then Vinny summoned Fernando Valenzuela to do the job. Reminded me of the 2010 Series, Giants at Texas. In the press box there was a line for the men’s room. I completed my stand-up business, turned and saw that the on-deck man was Juan Marichal. I tapped my right arm with my left hand and said, “Juan, I’m bringing you in for relief.”

No, he didn’t laugh.


Here’s Ostler, again:

The NFL blew it.

The recent meeting between 11 team owners and 12 players at NFL headquarters in New York, called to discuss player protests during the national anthem, would have been more exciting had it been smartly marketed.

First of all, give it a name: “Sons of Bitches vs. Sons of Riches.”

Then, for god’s sake, televise it. From the ESPN account of the showdown, it was a lot more exciting than half the football games.


And one from Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News:

As Dave Roberts of the Dodgers, who at one point in this World Series used 17 pitchers in 20 innings, went through eight relief pitchers in Game 2, I kept hearing the voice of my Hall of Fame friend Bill Madden inside my head.

Mr. Madden, from the first time I sat down next to him in a press box, has always talked about “the endless search for the guy who doesn’t have it.”

That’s what we saw in Game 2, exactly.


Wonder Woman and I made another successful return trip over the Coquihalla last weekend — successful in that we survived it. On the return trip, I deliberately set the cruise control at 120 — if you’ve never been there, that is the speed limit — and there were times when I thought I was standing still. (To our American friends, that would kilometres per hour.) I also would swear that Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed us a time or two.


Headline at TheKicker.com: Adam Silver approves huge order for Warriors vs. Cavaliers 2018 NFL Finals shirts.


Dilly! Dilly!!


F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Freiburg (Germany, DEL2). He had one assist in 13 games.


The WHL has had teams involved in two outdoor games to date, with another one scheduled for this season.

Now a source has told Taking Note that the WHL is looking into the possibility of playing two games at Safeco Field in Seattle early in 2019.

The WHL’s first outdoor game took place at Avista Stadium in Spokane on Jan. 15, 2011, with the Chiefs beating the Kootenay Ice 11-2 before 7,075 fans.

On Feb. 21, 2011, there were 20,888 fans at McMahon Stadium in Calgary as the Hitmen dropped a 3-2 decision to the Regina Pats.

This season, the Regina Pats will entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors at 30,048-seat Mosaic Stadium on Feb. 18.

The source told Taking Note that outdoor games at Safeco Field would feature the Seattle Thunderbirds, who play out of Kent, Wash., and Everett Silvertips playing one game each.

Safeco Field, the home of the Seattle Mariners, seats 47,943 for baseball.

It could be that outdoor games in Seattle would be a big deal to hockey fans who follow teams in the WHL’s U.S. Division. There regularly is grumbling from many of those fans because their favourite teams have, for whatever reason, been left out in the cold when it comes to having their communities play host to such things as the Memorial Cup, Canada-Russia games or the Top Prospects Game.


The junior B Renfrew, Ont., Timberwolves and their fans are trying to heal as they deal with the aftermath of a weekend single-vehicle accident in which two players were killed and two others injured.

One of the players, Brandon Hanniman, 18, was pronounced dead at the scene early Saturday morning. A second player, Alex Paquette, 18, died in hospital Saturday afternoon.

Two other teammates, Jake McGrimmon and Ben Scheuneman, both 18, were injured in the accident and remain in hospital. Scheuneman is in critical condition.

The Timberwolves play in the Central Canada Hockey League Tier 2.

A report from cbc.ca says police believe alcohol played a role in the accident and that three of the players weren’t wearing seatbelts. That report is right here. . . .

There is more right here from the Ottawa Citizen.

Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen writes:

“It adds up to a hockey parent’s worst nightmare. Under-aged drinking. Teenaged drivers. An open road and a car’s willing throttle after midnight. Boys being boys and blowing off what should be a reflex habit: buckling up when getting into a car.

“Teenage independence can come at a horrible cost.”

Scanlan’s column is right here.


D Artyom Minulin of the Swift Current Broncos and D Alex Alexeyev of the Red Deer Rebels are on the roster of the Russian team that will play against Team WHL in the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series. Games are scheduled for Monday in Moose Jaw and Tuesday in Swift Current. . . . Minulin, in his third season with the Broncos, has 10 points, including three goals, in 13 games. In 155 career regular-season games, he has 16 goals and 77 assists. . . . Alexeyev has seven assists in six games with the Rebels this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had four goals and 17 assists in 21 games. His 2016-17 season was cut short by a knee injury. This season, he has recently returned from a shoulder injury.


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G Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers had a front-row seat Tuesday night as the visiting Vegas Golden Knights lost, 6-4, to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Ferguson, 19, was on the Golden Knights’ bench as their backup goaltender after being summoned under emergency recall follows. The Golden Knights have three injured goaltenders on their roster.

Ferguson backed up Maxime Lagace, who made his NHL debut on Monday night, entering what would be a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders after starter Oscar Dansk left with an injury.

Ferguson got the call on Monday, at about 6 p.m. He caught a flight to Vancouver, then took a redeye flight to Toronto where he made a connection to New York City. He arrived there at 11 a.m., and joined the Golden Knights at their hotel.

Vegas is scheduled to continue its road trip against the Boston Bruins on Thursday, the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday and the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

The Blazers, meanwhile, will go home-and-home with the Vancouver Giants this weekend, playing Friday in Langley, B.C., and in Kamloops on Saturday.

Max Palaga, a 17-year-old from Kamloops, is expected to start both games. He has made four appearances this season, going 0-2-0, 3.89, .853.

Dylan Garand, 15, is expected to be backing up Palaga. Garand, from Victoria, was a third-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. He is attending the Delta Hockey Academy and playing for the prep team in the CSSHL.


F Nick Henry of the Regina Pats is almost ready to return after having off-season shoulder surgery. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reports right here that Henry, who had 81 points, including 35 goals, in 72 games as a freshman last season, might play Friday agains the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . .

The Vancouver Giants have dropped D Austin King-Cunningham from their roster, and he has joined the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. King-Cunningham, 17, is from Pilot Butte, Sask. He was pointless in four games with the Giants. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported that King-Cunningham left the Giants “over a lack of playing time after the East Division road trip.” . . . Last season, he had three goals and eight assists in 33 games with the midget AAA Battlefords Stars, and one assist in three games with the Giants. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings have named F Colton Kehler as the 11th captain in the franchise’s modern history. Kehler is in his third season with the Oil Kings. Kehler, 20, has six goals and five assists in 15 games this season. He was a seventh-round selection by Edmonton in the 2012 bantam draft. . . .

Team USA will hold its pre-tournament training camp in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 15-19 as it prepares to defend its gold medal at the World Junior Hockey championship that is to open in Buffalo on Dec. 26. . . . Team USA will play two exhibition games — against Belarus, in Jamestown, N.Y., on Dec. 20, and against Sweden, in Erie, Penn., on Dec. 22.


The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers have fired general manager/head coach Casey O’Brien. . . . Assistant coach Mat Hehr was named interim GM/head coach. . . . O’Brien was in his second season as the Terriers’ GM/head coach, after spending five seasons as an assistant coach. . . . The Terriers were 3-12-2 and in fourth place in the Viterra Division — 11th overall — at the time of the firing. The Terriers also are the SJHL’s most-penalized team. . . . The move came two weeks after O’Brien’s wife, Laura, suffered two heart attacks while undergoing routine bloodwork. She is said to be recovering nicely. . . . Dave Baron, the team president, told Stefanie Davis of Yorkton This Week that “the timing was just so terrible, but we have to put the team first. We felt it had to be done.” . . . Davis’s story is right here.


Cliff Ronning, a former WHL star and the father of Vancouver Giants F Ty Ronning, has been added to the coaching staff of the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star.

Mike Keenan, the team’s GM and head coach, announced Tuesday that Ronning will be the team’s development coach.

Here’s Keenan:

“He takes on responsibilities of skill development throughout the organization at various levels. He’s got a great NHL background and experience as a player, also he did a superb job for us last summer in Vancouver where we had evaluation camps.

“He brings more experience to our staff dealing with the KHL, VHL and MHL teams as well as our academy in Toronto and I think that his skills and his ability to communicate with younger players will be invaluable to the organization.

“Another part of his responsibility will be scouting the Vancouver area. There are thousands of Chinese descendants playing in this area, it’s a very populated Chinese hockey program and he’s got a good handle on the players in that community.”


TUESDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Regina, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Portland, 7 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


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