Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have decided on their three 20-year-olds. They’ll go with D Thomas Carr, D Jace Coyle and F Wacey Hamilton, meaning they are trying to trade F Joey Frazer. . . . Alan Caldwell, over there at Small Thoughts At Large, did a count and found 76 20-year-olds on 22 WHL rosters. Of course, teams have until Oct. 14 to declare a maximum of three such players. As of Caldwell’s count, the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers and Regina Pats were the teams with openings. Every other team had three or more.
And I will mention it one more time . . . Yes, it’s time for the WHL to increase the maximum to four, or even five, 20-year-olds. Frazer, from Brainerd, Minn., played two full seasons with the Tigers and would be playing a third if it wasn’t for the 20-year-old rule. So the Tigers invest two years in him and then they are forced simply to cast him aside.
Why? Especially when the board of governors could implement a rule change and keep some of those good, mature players in the league.
How about the Brandon Wheat Kings having to dump G Andrew Hayes? He played three seasons there and put up some of the best numbers in franchise history. So what. Too bad. You’re 20. See ya!
Frazer put up 30 points, including 18 goals, in 70 games last season.
“(Frazer) is a kid that can play in the league and is a good player,” Tigers GM Brad McEwen told Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News. “We hope that he gets an opportunity somewhere.
“It felt like this was the way we had to do it. We just felt that we needed to do it now and make that decision.”
McEwen said the Tigers’ brass chose to make a decision now so that everyone knew where they stood, and that the defensive depth provided by keeping Carr and Coyle was a major reason for the decision being made this way.
“Once we looked at the depth of our team when everybody was back, and we went through a lot of scenarios,” said McEwen, “we (decided we) needed both defencemen for depth. (Carr and Coyle) bring qualities that we need.”
The Swift Current Broncos are breathing easier after finding out that the Washington Capitals have decided to return F Cody Eakin. A third-round pick in the 2009 NHL draft, Eakin had two goals in three exhibition games with Washington.
"He's very close," Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau told The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera. "If this was a different team and different circumstances he wouldn't be gone, but he's of junior age and with the world juniors and everything that he should be a part of we didn't think it was fair to him or to us.”
Eakin scored 47 goals last season with the Broncos and then joined the AHL’s Hershey Bears for a playoff run that ended with a Calder Cup title.
"He played in the final last year,” Boudreau said. “If you can play in the final of the Calder Cup you should be able to play in the regular season in the American Hockey League.
"We probably in a selfish way wish he could be in Hershey, but at the same time, from my experience, when you have a chance to play your last year junior -- and this is totally from me -- and I had a chance to turn pro and they said, 'Play your last year junior,' and you're a captain and you win the Memorial Cup, it's a memory that will last forever."
Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald takes a look at two of the Hitmen 20-year-olds -- D Kyle Aschim and F Misha Fisenko. One of them wants to play right now, but can’t; the other would rather be in Texas, by the sound of things. That story is right here.

The Saskatoon Blades continue to work towards clearing up their 20-year-old logjam. They placed F Jeremy Boyer on waivers earlier in the week and he has cleared. That means he is a free agent. . . . Boyer had 32 points in 65 games last season after coming over from the Seattle Thunderbirds. He had spent three seasons in Seattle. . . . Saskatoon still has four 20-year-olds on its roster -- F Sena Acolatse, F Marek Viedensky, D Teigan Zahn and G Steven Stanford. As well, F Gaelan Patterson is with the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat, . . . The Blades also re-assigned D Jesse Williamson, 18, to the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs. . . . Interestingly, Boyer and Williamson both are from Saskatoon.
The Spokane Chiefs will hold their home-opener on Saturday, with the Tri-City Americans providing the opposition. According to a Chiefs’ news release: “It will be the 19th time in the last 21 years Spokane has opened at home versus the Americans.” . . . The Chiefs won eight of 12 meetings last season, including six of the last seven. . . . With former Americans head coach Don Nachbaur now with the Chiefs, the rivalry is heating up. . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings revealed Wednesday that they have sold 3,020 season tickets, the second-highest total in franchise history. They sold more than 3,600 a year ago, when they were preparing to pay host to the Memorial Cup. Before last season, the franchise high was 2,780, from 2008-09. . . . Brandon is 3-0-0-0 and holds its home-opener Friday against the Saskatoon Blades, who are 2-0-0-0. . . . The Blades will start G Adam Morrison, 19, who returned from the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers this week. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders (0-3-0-0) are expected to give freshman G Eric Williams his first start Friday night against the host Swift Current Broncos (1-2-0-0). He made a relief appearance in a loss to the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday. . . . The Raiders will be without D Jordan Rowley, 20, this weekend. He is at home in Edmonton with a wrist injury. . . . The Kootenay Ice will be without F Steele Boomer (wrist) this weekend. As well, G Nathan Lieuwen is nursing a bruised knee, so Todd Mathews will be the go-to guy in goal Friday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs.
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