Scattershooting, while waiting for Milos Raonic to play Down Under . . .
I wish there was a way to find out how many junior A and major junior hockey players changed teams over the three or four weeks leading up to Jan. 10. I am guessing it was somewhere around 400 — and that may be low. Regardless, isn’t it time for Hockey Canada, if it really governs the sport in this country, to deliver ask operators if this really is necessary?
One of the amazing things about junior hockey is the way junior A teams trade from one league to another. On Jan. 10, for example, the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzles acquired F Shawn O’Malley from the NAHL’s Shreveport Mudbugs. Yes, that Shreveport. O’Malley, 19, is from Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Winnipeg Jets have had goaltending issues through a lot of this season, but brings one to wonder: Whatever happened to Eric Comrie, who was a second-round selection in the 2013 NHL draft?
Is it just me or is Samuel L. Jackson in every movie trailer that shows up on TV?
Today we gave 20 new Canadians their citizenship and welcomed hundreds of others to the land we call home! Video: https://t.co/sXSF3ehrgt pic.twitter.com/uK8Joe9tcv— Saskatoon Blades (@BladesHockey) January 23, 2017
There isn’t a better promotion in all of junior hockey than the Welcome the World event that is staged by the Saskatoon Blades. They held the second annual on Sunday and it really is something else. If you haven’t seen the highlights — new citizens of our country, young and old, getting introduced to hockey and some of them getting their Canadian citizenship — check them out. And a tip of the fedora to all of those involved in this wonderful event.
The Blades, if you haven’t noticed, have won five in a row and have seven of their next eight games on home ice. With them showing signs of turning things around, you are free to wonder if the fans will come back.
There are 10 teams in the WHL’s Western Conference and only one of them, the Vancouver Giants, has a point percentage below .500. Thank you, loser point.
There are a lot of people in and around the NHL who are grumbling about the shootout. Guy Boucher, the head coach of the Ottawa Senator, so despises it that he refuses to watch when his team is involved in one. “I never watch shootouts,” Boucher told James Mirtle of The Athletic (theathletic.com). “I never have. Two reasons: One, I hate it. I think it’s a team game, and it should be decided by team play. But I understand that the game has got to end. The other thing, two, is I got into a habit of not looking. It makes no difference if I look or not so I let the guys do their thing. I used to get involved and talk to the guys, ‘Eh you could do this and that.’ Now I stay out of it.” . . . Mirtle spoke with Boucher after Ottawa had beaten the host Toronto Maple Leafs in a shootout on Saturday night.
The best part of writing sports for newspapers for more than 40 years was the late nights, if only because a guy could easily make it through the late night/early morning Australian Open matches. No more. On Saturday morning, I stuck with Roger Federer until 2 a.m., then went to sleep assuming he was going to lose.
Can you remember a season in which the NFL playoffs served up so much boredom? Of this season’s 10 playoff games, eight have been lop-sided and all but unwatchable. Will the Super Bowl be worth watching for anything other than NFL commish Roger Goodell presenting the championship trophy to Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft?
F Axel Blomqvist (Lethbridge, Victoria, Moose Jaw, 2012-15) has been released at his request by Södertälje (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He was pointless in seven games.
Congratulations @CoachStanButler on 1400 games. Incredible.— Mark Holick (@coachholly68) January 22, 2017
Congrats to my Fraternity brother @CoachStanButler on hitting the 1400 game plateau coaching CHL hockey! Great mentor, leader & friend. #fox— Don Nachbaur (@HCChiefs42) January 22, 2017
At Calgary, D Brayden Pachal scoed at 1:52 of OT to give the Prince Albert Raiders a 3-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Raiders scored the game’s first two goals. . . . F Jordy Stallard, who had been acquired
from the Hitmen earlier in the month, ran his goal-scoring streak to four games with his 14th goal, at 17:13 of the first period. . . . F Kolten Olynek’s 10th goal, on a PP, made it 2-0 at 5:15 of the second period. . . . The Hitmen tied it as F Jakob Stukel (14) scored on a PP, at 14:50 of the second, and F Matteo Gennaro (29) counted at 19:14 of the third period. . . . Stukel assisted on that goal. . . . Gennaro has at least one goal in six straight games. He has 11 goals in that stretch. . . . Pachal, who asked out of Victoria because wanted more playing time, has two goals in eight games since the Royals dealt him to the Raiders. His first goal gave the Raiders a 3-2 victory over the host Red Deer Rebels on Friday. Pachal had one goal in 75 games with Victoria. . . . G Nic Sanders stopped 30 shots to earn the victory over Trevor Martin, who made 23 saves. . . . Prince Albert was 1-2 on the PP; Calgary was 1-6. . . . D Jake Bean was among Calgary’s scratches. Bean played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship and the Hitmen have given him a few days off. . . . Prince Albert got back F Tim Vanstone but F Simon Stransky and F Drew Warkentine remain out. . . . The Raiders (11-34-5) have won three in a row for the first time this season. They were playing their fourth game in five days, and their third in less than 48 hours. They still are last in the overall standings, but now are just three points behind the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Hitmen (17-21-8) have lost three straight (0-1-2) and are four points out of a playoff spot. They were playing their third home game in four nights. . . . Announced attendance: 7,722.
At Edmonton, the Moose Jaw Warriors put the cap on a six-game road trip with a 2-0 victory over the Oil
Kings. . . . The Warriors went 4-2-0 on the trip that included five games in the B.C. Division. . . . G Zach Sawchenko earned the shutout with 32 saves. That was his first shutout of the season and seventh of his career. . . . F Brayden Burke (15) scored the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 8:09 of the first period. . . . F Yan Khomenko (11) added insurance, at 11:08 of the third period. . . . Edmonton G Josh Dechaine stopped 27 shots in his second career start. . . . Moose Jaw was 1-3 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky was among Edmonton’s scratches. He served a one-game suspension after taking a game misconduct late in a 5-2 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday. . . . The Warriors, who continue to be without F Noah Gregor, scratched F Brett Howden, their captain, due to illness. . . . Moose Jaw (29-12-7) has won three in a row and is second in the East Division, four points behind the Regina Pats, who hold four games in hand. . . . Edmonton (18-25-4) has lost eight straight and is six points away from a playoff spot. It hasn’t won since beating the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 4-3 in OT, on Jan. 1. . . . Announced attendance: 7,559.
At Everett, F Riley Woods scored the only goal of a three-round shootout to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-
3 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Everett took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matt Fonteyne (15), at 0:51, and F Patrick Bajkov (20), at 6:57. . . . Bajkov had an assist on Fonteyne’s goal. . . . F Hudson Elynuik (17) halved the deficit for Spokane at 4:00 of the second and Woods tied it with his night goal, at 16:30. . . . D Lucas Skrumeda, who had been out since Jan. 6, gave Everett the lead at 16:42. He has three goals in 27 games after going into the season with two scores in 128 games. . . . Spokane F Kailer Yamamoto forced OT with his 30th goal just 31 seconds into the third period. . . . Yamamoto also had an assist. . . . Spokane got 24 saves from G Jayden Sittler, five of them in OT. . . . Everett G Carter Hart turned aside 17 shots. . . . The Chiefs were 0-2 on the PP; the Silvertips were 0-3. . . . The Chiefs’ bus didn’t get to the arena until 45 minutes before game time and they were down 1-0 just 51 seconds into the first period. . . . The Silvertips were without D Noah Juulsen, but had Skrumeda and F Devon Skoleski back. . . . The Chiefs (20-20-7) have won two in a row and are tied with the Portland Winterhawks for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Silvertips (30-6-9) are 2-0-1 in their past three games, which they played in fewer than 48 hours. They are tied with the Regina Pats and Prince George Cougars atop the overall standings. . . . Announced attendance: 4,408.
Thanks @ssteel23, @chobbs15 and @Davidson_98 you made @MasseyTwins day when he stopped skating long enough for the photo! pic.twitter.com/wxPOu1ySFE— Terry Massey (@TerryMassey) January 23, 2017
At Regina, F Dawson Leedahl scored twice to help the Pats to a 5-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Tyler Coulter’s 21st goal gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 19:20 of the first period. . . . The Pats
took over with four second-period goals. . . . D Josh Mahura (11) scored on a PP at 2:02. . . . Leedahl scored his first goal at 11:38. . . . F Austin Wagner scored No. 20 at 12:14. . . . Wagner is the seventh player on the Pats roster with at least 20 goals. . . . Leedahl got his second of the game and 24th of the season, on a PP, at 15:49. . . . F Filip Ahl got Regina’s last goal, his 21st, at 19:01 of the third period. . . . Brandon got its final goal from D Schael Higson (3) at 19:16. . . . F Nick Henry had two assists for Regina. . . . Both teams were playing for a third time in less than 48 hours. The Pats had lost 8-5 to the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday, then beat the Broncos 6-5 in Swift Current on Saturday. The Wheaties lost 3-2 in a shootout to the host Saskatoon Blades on Friday, returned home to beat Medicine Hat, 5-2, on Saturday, then hit the road for Regina. . . . Regina G Max Paddock, who plays for the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings, made 29 saves, with Kurtis Chapman of the MJHL’s Portage Terriers backing him up. . . . G Jordan Hollett was among Regina’s scratches. He made 23 saves in a 6-5 victory over the host Swift Current Broncos on Saturday, his first appearance since Nov. 20 when he suffered a high ankle sprain. Hollett is expected to start Friday against the host Calgary Hitmen. . . . Regina also is without starter Tyler Brown, who has an undisclosed injury. . . . The Wheat Kings got 42 saves from G Logan Thompson. . . . Regina was 2-2 on the PP; Brandon was 0-4. . . . The Wheat Kings were without D Dmitry Osipov, who drew a one-game suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct during Saturday’s 5-2 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. That was for a hit on Tigers F Chad Butcher. . . . The Pats (31-6-7) have won two in a row. Their .784 point percentage has them atop the overall standings. They have 69 points, as do the Everett Silvertips and Prince George Cougars. . . . The Wheat Kings (23-18-5) had been 3-0-1 in their previous four games. They are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Announced attendance: 5,419.
Kids trying out shooting for the first time here at Welcome the World! #Hockey101 pic.twitter.com/5BXQeA0aEQ— Saskatoon Blades (@BladesHockey) January 22, 2017
At Saskatoon, F Jesse Shynkaruk and F Josh Paterson each scored twice as the Blades ran their winning streak to five games with a 6-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Shynkaruk scored two
first-period PP goals, at 4:36 and 14:42, for a 2-0 lead. . . . Shynkaruk, who was a walk-on when the Blades opened training camp, has 21 goals in 35 games; he went into this season with 23 goals in 196 games. . . . The Broncos cut the deficit in half when D Dom Schmiemann scored his first goal, at 2:44 of the second period. . . . The Blades came back with two goals, from D Evan Fiala (3), at 5:31, and F Chase Wouters (5), on a PP, at 9:02. . . . Swift Current got back to within a goal when F Tyler Steenbergen scored No. 35, at 11:34, and F Aleksi Heponiemi got his 19th, at 19:31. . . . Paterson, who has 11 goals, put it away with third-period goals at 13:04 and 18:36. The latter was an empty-netter. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Braylon Shmyr and two assists from each of D Bryton Sayers and D Mark Rubinchik. Wouters and Paterson each had one. . . . Heponiemi had two assists for the Broncos, while Steenbergen had one. . . . The Blades got 28 saves from G Brock Hamm, while the Broncos’ Taz Burman blocked 20. . . . Saskatoon was 3-5 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-5. . . . The Broncos lost former Blades F Ryan Graham, who left in the first period with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Blades (20-22-6) went 5-1-0 on a six-game homestand that ended with this game, and they will play seven of their next eight at home, too. They hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot by four points over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Broncos (25-16-8) have lost three in a row and remain third in the East Division. . . . Announced attendance: 4,224.
I didn't know what to expect but kudos @BladesHockey for a very moving pre game ceremony with the brand new Canadian citizens. Inspiring!— Shawn Mullin (@shawnmullin) January 22, 2017
MONDAY’S GAME (all times local):
Prince George vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.
TUESDAY’S GAMES (all times local):
Kamloops at Portland, 7 p.m. (ppd. from Jan. 8)
Medicine Hat vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, 7 p.m.
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