I went on a coffee run to Tim Horton’s today. My son and Katie in the Sports department put in an order before I left. I went to the one just down the road from my hotel. Before I leave tomorrow morning, I must return to get the guys on staff some donuts. I could have gone to the Tim Horton’s on the corner of Main and Broadway, which is a couple of miles from the hotel in the heart of the drug and prostitute business in this part of Vancouver. I passed. I thought about going there just to give you all a taste of the seedier side of Vancouver, but the gal at the front desk told me it would not be a good idea. I decided to trust her.
I came back from my coffee run and it was raining in my room. I got hit with dripping water the moment I walked in the door. It was coming down pretty good in my closet and in the bathroom. I got a new room — a presidential suite. The room is huge. A formal living room, dining table for six, separate bedroom, HUGE bathroom and a walk-in closet. Plus, a microwave and fridge.
I just love TSN (Canadian version of ESPN). I got to watch Tri-City-Vancouver highlights, the announcers refer to the Phoenix Coyotes as the Desert Mutts and you get more hockey than anything else. On ESPN, hockey gets a segment of the show. Here, the show is hockey, with a sprinkle of everything else.
Around the WHL: Shane Pilling of the Prince George Cougars was named the WHL Dickies Hardest Working Player of the Year. Shane’s dependability, quality of play, and commitment during the regular season has earned him the WHL’s top honor in this category. Shane is the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship, Dickies merchandise, and a custom Dickies Hardest Working Player of the Game jersey.
Who votes on this? I’m sure Shane Pilling is deserving, but I think Ams forward Mason Wilgosh may have been overlooked.
The most important note today is that Adam Hughesman passed his mandatory drug test last night after the game. Coach Jim Hiller told me this morning at breakfast that they would have known last night if there had been a problem. After missing 14 games, then scoring two goals, Adam was at the top of my list of people to talk to. Oh, well. He told me this morning that he felt good out there and was ready for tonight.
Last night, Kruise Reddick played his 58th postseason game, passing Jarrett Toll (57) for first on the all-time list. And, with an assist, collected his 50th playoff point.
It was nice to see the line of Justin Feser, Patrick Holland and Neal Prokop back together last night. They were quite productive last year and for a few games this season before Prokop injured his left leg again.
Drew Owsley (3-0), fresh off a 4-0 shutout Tuesday night in Game 3, is in goal for the Ams. Justin Hamonic, Lucas Nickles, Clinton Atkinson, Marcus Messier and Max Moline are on the scratch list. Owsley needs three wins to pass Chet Pickard (17) for first on the team's all-time playoffs wins list.
Mark Segal (0-3), who has 3.32 goals against average and an .892 save percentage in the series, is back in the crease for Vancouver. Joel Rogers, Dalton Sward, Matt Bellerive, Cain Franson, Marek Tvrdon, Nathan Smith, Anthony Ast, Dalton Olsen, Nathan Burns and Connor Redmond are in the stands.
I’ve noticed that this is not a typical Don Hay team. There is not as much heart. The gritty blue collar work ethic is not there. These are qualities the players need to have when they walk in the door. These are qualities you cannot teach. Save a couple of players, Mr. Bonner may want to take a trip through the Saskatchewan farm land this summer.
Coach Hay still is stuck at 101 career playoff wins. His team has failed in three attempts to get him to 102 to break a tie with Ken Hodge and take over the top spot all by himself. There was a time earlier this season that Hay needed a win to get to 500 career wins in the regular season. It took his team five games or so to get him that win.
The Ams can wrap this thing up tonight with a win. Only one team has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series — the 1996 Spokane Chiefs rallied to beat the Portland Winterhawks.
Hay has put his name in the hat to coach Team Canada next season. If selected, he could coach at a couple of different levels. If he gets the World Junior team, he should bring in Spokane coach Don Nachbaur to run the power play and penalty kill. The two of them together could be a dominant force. Two old school, blue collar guys. Wimps need not apply.
In the WHL tonight:
Saskatoon is at Prince Albert. The Blades lead the series 2-0.
Kootenay is at Moose Jaw. The Warriors led 2-1.
Chilliwack is at Spokane. The Chiefs have a 2-0 lead.
Kelowna is at Prince George. The Rockets can close the series out tonight with a win.
Portland is at Everett. The Winterhawks have a 2-0 lead.
The Silvertips will be without Clayton Cumiskey and Parker Stanfield tonight (both have concussions). The Tips also are expected to be without G Kent Simpson (ankle). ... Chilliwack’s T.C. Cratsenberg was suspended two games by the WHL for a charging major and game misconduct in Game 2 against Spokane.
One last league note before we drop the puck here at Pacific Coliseum: The Kamloops Blazers parted ways with assistant coaches Scott Ferguson and Geoff Smith. The Blazers lost their last eight games and missed the playoffs by three points.
The Ams lead 2-1 with goals by Big Mess and Carter Ashton. The Giants finally got to punch Jack the Giant's HO HO HO button at 9:00 as Brendan Gallagher scored Vancouver's first goal since Game 2.
Kruise Reddick went down early in the game after a hit by Greg Lamoureux (no penalty was called). He came back at the mid-way point of the period.
Brendan Gallagher has made three trips to the penalty box so far tonight, including a double minor for roughing in a scrap with Shinny at 5:07 of the second. He knocked Shinny's helmet off, punched him in the face and the two got into it. We all (writers that is) thought it should have been an instigator by Gallagher and a pair of fights. What do we know.
A few minutes later, Darren Bestland leveled Schmidt into the boards. Should have been elbowing, but no call. The refs have no control of this game and someone is going to get hurt. Where is Kevin Meunch tonight? I sent him a text message. Hopefully he's watching this substandard offering of officiating on his computer.
Still 2-1 TC. 20 minutes to go. Stay tuned.
Ams score three in the third — 2 by Wilgosh and one by Feser — to win 5-1.
The Americans' next opponent is unknown. Kelowna swept PG, Portland has a 3-0 lead on Everett, and Spokane lead Chilliwack 2-1. The Bruins scored 3 in the third to tie the game Wednesday night, then won it in overtime. After all of the years of working with Don Nachbaur, I can picture the look on his face.