By DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media
The Edmonton Oil Kings have found their bench boss. Steve Pleau, an assistant with the Spokane Chiefs last season, is expected to be announced as the Oil Kings head coach this week.
Sources tell Sun Media Pleau has signed a three-year contract with the club. "I think he'll work well with younger players," said Oil Kings general manager Bob Green last week following the WHL expansion draft, careful not to reveal the identity of his new coach.
"I think he'll be able to motivate the kids and get them to go hard every night." Green could not be reached for comment last night.
Pleau, the son of St. Louis Blues senior vice president and general manager Larry Pleau, left his position with the Chiefs last month. Spokane finished the year with a 36-28-4-4 record, good for fourth place in the U.S. Division. The Chiefs then fell 4-2 to the Everett Silvertips in the first round of the WHL playoffs.
"We expected when we hired Steve it would be short term," Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. "Steve is a very qualified coach and we wish him the best in the future."
Pleau coached under Bill Peters in Spokane who was recently given an extension by the Chiefs. "Steve proved to be a great asset for our organization," Peters told the Spokesman-Review. "His experience from pro-hockey allowed us to look at things in a different light and allowed us to take a step forward as a team."
Prior to coaching with the Chiefs, Pleau was the associate head coach of the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League. In his one season in Peoria, Pleau helped the Rivermen to a 46-26-3-5 regular record before losing in the first round of the playoffs. Before that Pleau had been an assistant coach with the Worcester IceCats since 1998.
Worcester moved to Peoria prior to the 2005-2006 season. Born in Seabrook, New Hampshire, Pleau played four years for the University of New Hampshire before an injury ended his playing career. Pleau began his coaching career as an assistant with UNH. The Oil Kings, who are the WHL's latest expansion franchise, open their inaugural Western Hockey League season in September.
Travis Moen is having the time of his life. I finally caught up with him just hours after he stepped off a 90 foot yacht in Southern California after yet another team party with Lord Stanley.
He says he'll be back in Swift Current by the end of the week. He's also featured in the Mccleary / Marleau / Moen charity golf tournament set for the Elmwood on Monday.
He's been having a great time....as expected as a Stanley Cup champ.
Obviously, he heard about all the "farm boy from Saskatchewan" angle that every media outlet was going with. He doesn't mind, he says it's a true representation of who he is.
I asked him what it was like to be a part of the final seconds at the end of game five and what was going through his mind... "it was pretty crazy, there was some guys on the team that knew it was there's before the 3:00 minute mark but for me I didn't want to give in until then. We were up 6-2 and I knew we'd won it. When the buzzer went everyone just piled on the ice and it was one of those moments you'll never forget."
As for the cup coming to Stewart Valley and Swifty, he's not sure exactly. It all depends on when Scott Niedermeyer takes it and then it will make it's way east from there. He's thinking late July or early August. He doesn't know how long he'll have it depending on travel arrangements. Whenever it is, he plans to make the most of it.
What's up with the Indians? After a hot start to the season winning the first five games, the Tribe has now lost three of their last four... they host Medicine Hat Wednesday night.
------------------Maple Creek native Kirk Bacsu was the only Saskatchewan born player to be drafted in the MLB draft last week.
The catcher, who plays for the Division I Evansville Purple Aces, was taken in the 32nd round, 862nd overall.
Word is he was playing some slo-pitch out in Maple Creek over the weekend displaying his world class arm as he threw out base runners at home plate from the warning track....nice.
He's a defensive-minded catcher and is excited to be drafted saying "it's something he's waited for all his life." He told me his family was overcome with joy about the phonecall from the Phillies organization.
He's a former Medicine Hat Maverick in the WMBL and is now ready to be assigned within the Phillies organization to Williamsport, PA to play for the Cross Cutters. He signed with the Phillies yesterday.
Back to work,