Hitmen get a surprise . . . Paddock heading home


It wasn’t supposed to happen this way, but the Calgary Hitmen now have three import players and, of course, they only have two spots to fill. F Pavel Padakin, who was supposed to play in the KHL this season, is back with the Hitmen. HC Donbass Donetsk, the team with which Padakin had signed, has taken a leave from the KHL due to the political situation in Ukraine.

Padakin, 20, will also join the Calgary Flames team at a rookie tournament in Penticton next week. . . . Laurence Heinen of the Calgary Herald has more right here.

The Regina Pats have three veteran goaltenders battling for two spots on their roster as they head into the weekend. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.

It will be a homecoming of sorts tonight for John Paddock, the first-year head coach of the Regina Pats, who are scheduled to meet the Wheat Kings in Brandon.

Paddock is from Oak River, Man., which is a couple of wrist shots from Brandon. He also played for the Wheat Kings, albeit in the early 1970s.

“I definitely feel a connection,” Paddock told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “I know (Wheat Kings owner/GM/head coach) Kelly (McCrimmon) pretty well. I’ve definitely seen him every year for many years, if nothing else at (Clear Lake). We play the odd round of golf together, talk about different things in hockey. I obviously called him before things got going too far here (with the Pats).

“There’s a connection to him, there’s a connection to the area. Within a 40-minute drive I have two brothers and a sister and my mom and nieces and nephews. And it’s the same rink. It has been fixed up but . . . it’s where you played. The last time I had a meaningful game there was a long time ago. It’s not something I’m going to think about too much … but Brandon is significant to me.”

The Vancouver Giants have signed F David Brumm, 17, who is from Maple Grove, Minn. A list player, he spent last season with a midget team in the Omaha Lancers program, where he had 104 points, 50 of them goals, in 82 games.

The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Conner McDonald, a second-round pick in the 2014 WHL bantam draft. Last season with the North Shore Winter Club’s bantam AAA team, he had 49 points, 16 of them goals, in 70 games. This season, he is expected to play for the U-18 team at the Delta, B.C., Wild Hockey Academy.

The Regina Pats have signed F Erik Gardiner, who was a second-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. Last season, he was the captain of the bantam AA Humboldt Broncos, for whom he put up 61 points, including 24 goals. Gardiner, who is from Humboldt, has been assigned to the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.

In the 2013-14 school year, there were an estimated 2,974 sports-related concussions in Minnesota high schools., with football and boys and girls hockey leading the way. A new study from the Minnesota Department of Health has been released, and there is more .

Joan Rivers, one of the greatest comics of our time, died Thursday in Manhattan. She was 81. No one had a sharper wit or an edgier knife than Rivers, who loved to skewer the rich and famous, including herself. The New York Times’ obituary is right here.

UGH!!!! RT : “I think Bulaga may have gotten a little concussion-like symptom there.” — Cris Collingsworth, getting there.

— The Concussion Blog (@concussionblog)

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