Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday . . .

John MacNeil of the Prince Albert Herald reports that G Garrett Zemlak, who played out his eligibility with the Prince Albert Raiders last season, is attending the Los Angeles Kings’ development camp as an NHL free agent.
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F Matt Wray (Kamloops, 2007-08) will attend the U of British Columbia and play for the Thunderbirds in the fall. He spent last season with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. He was the team captain and helped it reach the league final. Wray had 41 points, including 19 goals, for the Kodiaks. He also is an accomplished lacrosse player. . . . A native of Qualicum Beach, B .C., Wray also played in the BCHL with the Salmon Arm SilverBacks and Powell River Kings.
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The Kootenay Ice chose not to take part in Tuesday’s CHL import draft, despite not having any imports on its roster.
"Although we have been fortunate in the past with the CHL import draft we feel that in this day and age it is becoming very hard to attract the top European players,” Jeff Chynoweth, the Ice’s president and GM, said in a press release. “Our team is eligible to return 19 players and there is no guarantee if we selected a player today that he would be able to play in our top six forwards or top four defencemen."
The Ice’s first pick was to have been No. 43, but that selection was dealt to the Brandon Wheat Kings for a 2011 sixth-round bantam draft pick. Brandon then took F Mark Mieritz of Denmark. Mieritz played junior in Sweden last season.
Czech F Dominic Pacovsky played the last two seasons with the Ice, totalling 48 points in 114 games, but now is 20 and won’t be back.
Not taking part in the import draft is an interesting move by Chynoweth and is certain to raise some eyebrows, especially among season-ticket holders.
Granted, a team may not land a top six forward or a top four defenceman every time, but . . . isn’t there always the chance a team might end up with the next Nino Niederreiter? Or the next Marek Svatos?
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The Wheat Kings traded up to get that 43rd pick from the Ice after the Medicine Hat Tigers excercised an option on Brandon’s first-round pick (No. 59). . . . The Tigers had the option to use that selection or take a sixth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . The Tigers used Brandon’s pick to select D Patrik Parkkonen of Finland.
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TIME OUT FOR A RANT: The selection that Medicine Hat used to take Finnish D Patrik Parkkonen actually was the draft’s 57th pick. Brandon held the 59th selection, but two teams chose to pass before it came time for that pick. . . . The CHL, however, continues to assign numbered slots to the teams that pass. As a result, the Calgary Hitmen, who held the draft’s last pick, will forever be shown as having taken Slovakian G Juraj Holly with the 120th pick. . . . Actually, Holly was the 71st player taken.
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The Red Deer Rebels dealt their first pick in the import draft (No. 34) to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . Seattle used the selection on D Dave Sutter, a 6-foot-4, 195-pounder from Switzerland. According to Small Thoughts At Large, over there on the left, "He is from the tiny Swiss village of Vikingen and is one of seven hockey-playing brothers."
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The Prince Albert Raiders traded their first-round pick in the import draft (No. 16) to the Tri-City Americans for a fourth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . The Americans then took D Nikita Nesterov, from Chelyabinsk, Russia. . . . With the 55th pick, the Americans took D Nikita Kardashev from Minsk, Belarus. . . . Americans GM Bob Tory is hoping these two can help fill the void left by the graduation of D Jarrett Toll and D Brett Plouffe.
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The Prince George Cougars held the first overall selection and took Slovakian D Martin Marincin, who goes 6-foot-4 and 187 pounds. Marincin, 18, was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the 2010 NHL draft.
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The Lethbridge Hurricanes dealt their first-round pick in the import draft (No. 46) to the Regina Pats for a 2012 sixth-round bantam draft pick. That selection originally belonged to the Portland Winterhawks, but changed hands in the deal that involved D Luca Sbisa in January. . . . Regina, which had dealt its first-round pick to the Vancouver Giants, used the 46th pick to take Swedish D Ricard Blidstrand. He was a seventh-round pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL’s 2010 draft. . . . The Pats now have two Swedes — F Hampus Gustafsson is their other import — on their roster for the first time in franchise history.
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The Portland Winterhawks, who had acquired the seventh overall pick from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the Luca Sbisa deal in January, used it to take F Sven Bartschi, who is from, yes, Switzerland. He played on the Swiss U-18 team in 2009 and 2010 and Portland star Nino Niederreiter was a teammate both times.
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The Spokane Chiefs, with the 49th selection, took F Marek Kalus from Czech Republic, who won’t turn 17 until July 22. He is the younger brother of F Petr Kalus, who had 58 points, including 36 goals, with the Regina Pats in 2005-06. After being selected 39th overall by the Boston Bruins in the 2005 NHL draft, Petr now is in the Minnesota Wild’s organization. . . . Marek Kalus joins sophomore F Dominik Uher, who also is from Czech Republic, on the Chiefs’ roster. Uher had 15 points in 53 games last season.
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The Kelowna Rockets used their second selection (No. 61) on F Gal Koren of Slovenia. He had 41 points in 32 games with Jungadler Mannheim, a junior team in Germany. He was teammates there with Bernhard Keil, whom the Kamloops Blazers took with the 22nd selection.
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The Calgary Hitmen took Czech F Dmitrij Jaskin with the 58th selection — the last pick in the first round. It will be interesting to see if Jaskin makes it to Calgary because he was the first overall pick in the Kontinental Hockey League’s 2010 draft that was held on June 4. Jaskin — his name appears as Dmitry Yashkin in the KHL draft information — was taken by Sibir. He had 23 points in 38 games with the Slava Praha juniors last season in his native Czech Republic.
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The CHL’s 60 teams combined to select 71 players in the import draft. It lasted 10 hours 50 minutes. . . . By country, it was: Russia, 17; Czech Republic, 12; Slovakia, 11; Sweden, 6; Germany and Switzerland, each 5; Finland and Latvia, each 3; Belarus and Denmark, each 2; and, Austria, England, Hungary, Norway and Slovenia, each 1. . . . There were six goaltenders taken.
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THE COACHING GAME:
The Southern Professional Hockey League’s Knoxville Ice Bears are looking for a head coach. Marc Rodgers no longer is with the team after one season as head coach. . . . Nick Gates of the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that “it’s not certain of the former Detroit Red Wings forward resigned or was fired by the . . . team Monday after meeting with the team’s owners and (president and GM Mike) Murray.” . . . Rodgers was an assistant coach before taking over from Scott Hillman, who moved on to become head coach of the Central league’s Missouri Mavericks. . . . The Ice Bears went 30-23-3 under Rodgers.
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Tim Kehler is the new GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm SilverBacks. Kehler, who spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos, signed a three-year contract. Before joining the Broncos, Kehler, 39, was the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters.

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