Ex-WHL scoring champ retires … Winterhawks add to scouting staff … Silvertips sign imports

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F Erik Christensen (Kamloops, Brandon, 1999-2004) announced his retirement in an interview with Jesper Lehto of Jönköpings-Posten. Last season, he had 15 goals and six assists in 45 games with HV-71 Jönköping (Sweden, SHL), the SHL champions.

EXTRA: HV-hjälten lägger av – berättar om livet efter karriären: ”Det var den lyckligaste tiden" https://t.co/6PWm5REZRf #HV71 #twittpuck pic.twitter.com/7ue6KbUwwz

— JP-sporten (@JPsporten) August 17, 2017

F Erik Christensen, who won the WHL’s 2002-03 scoring title while with the Kamloops Blazers, has retired.

Christensen made it official in an interview with Jesper Lehto, a writer with Jönköpings-Posten.

Christensen, who is from Edmonton, played the past four seasons with HV-71 Jönköping of the SHL. He helped HV-71 to the league championship last season, but wasn’t offered another contract.

Christensen said he didn’t expect a new contract after the season, adding “that’s when I started thinking about retiring.”

“I did not want to start over again,” Christensen told Lehto. “It had meant a lot of stress and pressure, especially for my wife. I have played in five different NHL teams, in Prague and Sweden. Now I’m 33 years old and do not want to move around anymore.”

He also told Lehto that his agent told him there was interest “from Russia,” but “I have no interest in changing countries again, especially not to Russia.”

Christensen played four-plus seasons with the Blazers, before being traded to the Brandon Wheat Kings during the 2003-04 season. In 338 WHL regular-season games, he put up 133 goals and 153 assists.

He was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third round of the NHL’s 2002 draft. He went on to play 387 NHL games, scoring 68 goals and adding 95 assists. He developed quite a reputation as a shootout specialist while in the NHL with the Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers, Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild.

Christensen played the past five seasons in Europe, the last three-plus with HV-71. In 171 games in the SHL, he had 50 goals and 66 assists.

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The Portland Winterhawks have added two scouts — one a veteran and the other a newcomer — to their staff. . . . Ray Payne, from North Vancouver, B.C., is a long-time scout who most recently was with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. . . . Randy Heath, from Vancouver, B.C., is a former Portland player, who is second on the franchise’s all-time goals list and eighth in points. . . . Payne worked for the Hitmen for the past six seasons. Prior to that, he scouted in the NHL for the Minnesota North Stars, San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks. For nine seasons, (1996-2006), he was the Sharks’ director of amateur scouting. He also spent one season (1995-96) as Hockey Canada’s director of scouting. . . . Heath, who is from Vancouver, played three seasons (1981-84) with the Winterhawks, totalling 341 points, including 179 goals, in 199 games.

The Everett Silvertips have signed F Martin Fasko-Rudas and F Pavel Azhgirei, their two selections in the CHL’s 2017 import draft. . . . Fasko-Rudas, 17, is from Slovakia. Last season, with the Slovakian U-18 team, which plays in a U-20 league, he had eight goals and seven assists in 31 games. He also had a goal and three assists in two games with HK Dukla Trencin’s U-20 teams. Fasko-Rudas was pointless in four games with Slovakia at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup earlier this month. . . . Azhgirei, also 17, is from Belarus. Last season, he had five goals and five assists in 34 games with the country’s U-17 team and three assists in 13 games with the U-20 side. He helped the U-17 team win the midget AAA Mac’s tournament in Calgary, putting up four goals and six assists in seven games. He scored twice in a 6-1 victory over the Saskatoon Contacts in the championship final.

Three WHL players are on the roster of Finland’s U-20 national team that is scheduled to play in a Four Nations tournament in Lahti, Finland, next week. . . . Juuso Valimaki of the Tri-City Americans is one of seven defencemen on the team, while Sami Moilanen (Seattle Thunderbirds) and Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current Broncos) are among the 13 forwards listed on the roster. . . . Teams from Czech Republic, Russia and Sweden also will take part in the three-day (Aug. 24-26) event.

G Rylan Parenteau, who played out his junior eligibility last season with the Tri-City Americans, has decided to attend the U of New Brunswick and play for the Varsity Reds. Parenteau, who is from Saskatoon, also played with the Prince Albert Raiders, who selected him in the third round of the 2011 bantam draft. He played two full seasons (2014-16) with the Raiders, then was dealt to the Americans early last season. In 145 regular-season appearances, he was 69-52-10, 3.10, .904.

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).

If you’re looking for a wonderfully interesting book, you can’t go wrong with The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, and the Making of a Classic.

Author Richard Sandomir, who writes for The New York Times, chronicles the last days of Gehrig’s career with the Yankees and all that went into making the movie that followed his death.

Gehrig had played in 2,130 consecutive games when he took himself out of the Yankees’ lineup on May 2, 1939. Two months later, on July 4, he made his famous speech about being the “luckiest man on the face of the earth.” He died on June 2, 1941, a victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that came be known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The Pride of the Yankees had its big screen debut on March 5, 1943.

Sandomir details the search for actors to play Gehrig and his wife, Eleanor, as well as a whole lot of interesting anecdotes from goings-on behind the scene.

Interestingly, Samuel Goldwyn, who headed up the Samuel Goldwyn Company, wasn’t a baseballer; he wanted a love story. Gary Cooper, who plays Gehrig, wasn’t a baseballer, either; in fact, he hadn’t even played as a child. On top of that, Cooper was right-handed, while Gehrig was a southpaw.

In preparation for filming, Cooper took a lot of instruction from former major leaguer Lefty O’Doul in learning to hit left-handed. At the time, O’Doul was managing the Pacific Coast League’s San Francisco Seals.

If you have seen the movie, you will know that there aren’t many baseball-playing scenes in the movie. Now you know why.

It is interesting to read about the dramatic changes made by Goldwyn, director Sam Wood and the various writers who worked on the script.

For example, on July 4, 1939, the famous line — “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” — was the second sentence in Gehrig’s short speech as he addressed fans at Yankee Stadium. In the movie, though, that line is moved to the end of the speech, purely for dramatic effect.

The movie’s makers also took it upon themselves to shorten Gehrig’s career from 17 seasons to 16.

And while her name doesn’t appear in the book’s title, Gehrig’s widow, Eleanor, played an enormous role in getting the movie made. Played by Teresa Wright in the movie — Wright would garner an Academy Award nomination — Eleanor fought hard in order that her husband’s story be told in a fair and proper fashion. This book also is her story.

Today, more than 70 years after its release, the movie is considered a classic, and Sandomir does a fine job in telling the story of how it came to be.

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— Hockey Lebanon (@HockeyLebanon) August 17, 2017

The post Ex-WHL scoring champ retires … Winterhawks add to scouting staff … Silvertips sign imports appeared first on Taking Note.

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