Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday . . .

The big news in the WHL on Wednesday had to do with the return of C Craig Cunningham to the Vancouver Giants. Cunningham, 20, was a fourth-round pick by the Boston Bruins in the NHL’s 2010 draft. But the Bruins have contract and cap issues, and haven’t signed Cunningham. Had they signed him, he could have been assigned to the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Instead, the Western Conference’s player of the year from last season is back in Vancouver. A 97-point man last season, he has been named the Giants captain and will play with 41-goal man Brendan Gallagher on one wing. . . . Vancouver also made a trade Wednesday, acquiring F Michael Burns, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for F Landon Robin, 16, who was a seventh-round pick in the 2009 bantam draft. . . . Burns is the older brother of Vancouver F Nathan Burns, 17, who is injured at the moment. . . . Michael Burns had 26 points and 110 penalty minutes in 120 games with the Oil Kings. . . . The Burns boys are from Edmonton; Robin is from Saskatoon.
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The Seattle Thunderbirds have acquired D Travis Bobbee, 20, and a conditional bantam draft pick from the Swift Current Broncos for F Brenden Silvester, 19, and D Tanner Muth, 17. . . . Bobbee, who is going into his fifth WHL season, moved from the Portland Winterhawks to Swift Current last season. He finished with 32 points in 74 games. . . . Earlier, the Thunderbirds had acquired F Travis Toomey, 20, from the Saskatoon Blades, and they now have three 20-year-olds on their roster. Veteran D Brenden Dillon is the third. Each WHL team is allowed to dress a maximum of three 20-year-olds per game; on Oct. 14, each team will have to declare a maximum of three on its roster. . . . Silvester had 31 points in 159 games over three seasons with Seattle, while Muth had five assists in 49 games last season.
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We finally have an explanation from Mike Johnston, the GM/head coach of the Portland Winterhawks, as to what transpired to cause the sage of Red No. 23. You will recall that the unidentified player who dazzled during one scrimmage at training camp turned out to be Swiss F Alessio Bertaggia, a 17-year-old who wasn’t selected in the CHL import draft. The WHL office looked into the situation and, ultimately, the Winterhawks were disciplined. (The shape and form of the discipline hasn’t been revealed.)
Now Johnston has told Scott Sepich, a freelancer who writes on the Winterhawks for the Oregonian, that the whole thing was blown out of proportion.
You can check out that story right here.
After reading the story, I think I can buy Johnston’s explanation. But I can’t help but wonder why no one with the Winterhawks bothered explaining right off the bat what had happened. That would have solved the mystery and the whole mess would have gone away. If the incident did get blown out of proportion, it was only because no one was willing to offer an explanation in the early going.
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The Medicine Hat Tigers have settled on their goaltenders; they’ll go with Tyler Bunz, 18, and Deven Dubyk, 19, both of whom were there last season. That means that Dawson MacAuley, 16, has been returned to the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. . . . In Prince Albert, the Mintos will go with the 6-foot-5 MacAuley and Tara Kozun, who had a strong camp with the Kamloops Blazers, as their goaltenders. . . . Kozun will get to play with his brother, Tad, who is a freshman forward with the Mintos.
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Doug Allan, a former WHL goaltender, will be one of the inductees into the Northern Arizona University Athletics Hall of Fame in November. The induction banquet is set for Nov. 12, with inductees to be saluted during a Nov. 13 football game between the Lumberjacks and visiting Weber State. . . . Allan played 43 games with the New Westminster Bruins in 1973-74, going 22-12-7 — yes, the last number represents ties — with a 3.45 GAA and a .890 save percentage. He was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the 12th round of the NHL’s 1974 draft and by the Cleveland Crusaders in the 12th round of the WHA’s 1974 draft. . . . According to a press release from NAU:
“Allan is a former hockey player and coach at NAU. He played on the hockey team from 1977-80 and served as club coach in 1980-81 and as an assistant coach on NAU’s Division I program. He has served the Flagstaff hockey community in numerous roles, earning the title ‘Mr. Hockey.’  For more than two decades Allan influenced hundreds of aspiring local hockey players and brought national recognition to the NAU hockey program. He coached the highly successful Ice Jacks for several years, as well as teams for the Flagstaff Youth Hockey Association.”
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F Cass Mappin, 20, who was released by the Regina Pats, now is with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. Former WHL player and coach Drew Schoneck is the GM and head coach of the Storm.
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The Regina Pats are down to 26 players after making two moves on Wednesday. . . . F Bryton Mills, 18, and F Logan Sceviour, 18, were dropped and are expected to play junior A. . . . The Pats are carrying three goaltenders, nine defencemen and 14 forwards. And that includes F Jordan Weal, who is with the Los Angeles Kings, and F Carter Ashton, who scored a goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.
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The Red Deer Rebels have lost F Locke Muller, 17, for up to six weeks. He suffered a broken hand during a fight in practice on Tuesday. He was scrapping with D Brad Deagle, 17.
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D Teigan Zahn, 20, has been named captain of the Saskatoon Blades. He is the 51st captain in team history. F Marek Viedensky, 20, F Curtis Hamilton, 19, and D Duncan Siemens, 17, are the alternates. . . . Zahn was the unanimous choice of his teammates in a team vote.
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The Kamloops Blazers handed out their letters on Wednesday, with C Chase Schaber, 19, being named the captain. . . . D Bronson Maschmeyer, 19, and D Corey Fienhage, 20, were named alternate captains. D Austin Madaisky, 18, and RW Jordan DePaper, 18, will share an ‘A’ — Madaisky gets it at home, while DePape wears it on the road. . . . It is perhaps interesting that not one of the five players is an original Kamloops player. Schaber and Madaisky were acquired from the Calgary Hitmen; Maschmeyer came over from the Vancouver Giants; Fienhage, who has yet to play a WHL game and is in camp with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, spent the last two seasons at the U of North Dakota; and, DePape was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings.
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Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News has the latest on the Dallas Stars’ ownership situation right here. There were reports Wednesday that Bill Gallacher, who owns the Portland Winterhawks, had withdrawn interest, while Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers was still in the hunt.
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Among the players rejoining their WHL teams from NHL camps: G Darcy Kuemper, to Red Deer from Minnesota; F Brendan Ranford, to Kamloops from Philadelphia; D Austin Madaisky, from Columbus to Kamloops; D Josh Caron, to Kamloops from Minnesota; F Blake Gal, to Spokane from Philadelphia; D Troy Rutkowski, to Portland from Colorado; G Calvin Pickard, to Seattle from Colorado; F Justin Dowling, to Swift Current from Philadelphia.
gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca
gdrinnan.blogspot.com
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