Monday, November 22, 2010


Moments after I had tweeted news of the WHL having disciplined the Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks for Saturday’s melee, my BlackBerry vibrated.
A follower had sent a tweet my way, and here is what it read:
Yes, it was a ch-ch-ching kind of night.
And to think a case could be made for all of this starting because Portland F Nino Niederreiter fired a helmet belong to Kamloops F Dylan Willick along the ice towards the exit the visitors would use to get to their dressing room!
Methinks that helmet should be in a hall of fame somewhere.
The WHL dinged the Blazers and Winterhawks $3,000 apiece — I’m thinking that must be Cdn$3,000 for the Blazers and US$3,000 for the Winterhawks — and also handed out 15 games in suspensions.
The Blazers will be without F JC Lipon (four games), F Chase Schaber (three games) and F Brendan Ranford (one game) tonight when they play the visiting Regina Pats. (Shaw TV also will be without those players as this is to be one of the televised games.)
The Winterhawks lost F Seth Swenson (four games) and D Joe Morrow (three games). Both sat out Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the visiting Spokane Chiefs.
Ranford will be eligible to return Wednesday when the Blazers play in Spokane.
Schaber will miss that one and a Friday rematch with the Chiefs in Kamloops. He will be eligible to return Saturday when the Prince George Cougars are in Kamloops.
Lipon will miss that stretch of four games in five nights and will be eligible to return Dec. 3 against the visiting Saskatoon Blades.
Morrow will miss games Wednesday, against the visiting Everett Silvertips, and Friday, in Chilliwack against the Bruins. Swenson will sit out those two, as well as a Saturday trip to Kennewick, Wash., to play the Tri-City Americans. He will be eligible to return Sunday against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.
As mentioned, Kamloops and Portland each were touched up for $3,000. Ch-ch-ching! And just in time for Christmas, too.
Each team was fined $2,500 for being involved in the altercation, $250 because the goaltenders fought, and $250 because the WHL, in the end, ruled that, yes, this was a multi-fight situation.
In the short term, what this means is that the Blazers (11-11-1), who slid into the basement of the 10-team Western Conference on the weekend, albeit just three points out of third, will be missing their top two scorers tonight when they play host to the Regina Pats.
With Ranford, who leads the WHL in goals (21) and is fourth in points (37) , and Schaber, who has 31 points, out of the lineup, centre Dalibor Bortnak, with 19 points, becomes the Blazers’ leading scorer.
Ranford (21) and Schaber (10) have combined to score 31 of the Blazers’ 76 goals.
To help fill out their roster, the Blazers have brought in three young players — F Matthew Needham, 15, F Aspen Sterzer, 16, and G Troy Trombley, 16.
Needham was the Blazers’ first-round pick in the 2010 bantam draft. He has 23 pints in 22 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy prep team in Penticton.
Sterzer, who was listed in October 2009, has 21 points in 19 games with the EDGE Academy prep team in Calgary.
Trombley plays for the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. He is expected to back up Cam Lanigan tonight against Regina as G Jeff Bosch sits out with an undisclosed injury. Bosch was left with a shiner from his bout with Portland G Mac Carruth, but also has had knee and ankle problems this season. The 6-foot-6 Trombley was a third-round pick in the 2009 bantam draft and was with the Blazers through the exhibition season.
But, wait, there was more ch-ch-ching!
Rich Preston, the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ GM and head coach, was hit up for $500. That’s the price of the game misconduct he incurred during a 5-3 loss to the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Saturday.
Not sure what Preston said or did to get the old heave-ho. But I’m thinking there was a hint in the Lethbridge Herald.
“I don’t want to say anything to get fined,” Lethbridge assistant coach Chris Chisamore told Dylan Purcell of the Herald after that game. “There are a lot of really good things about the Western Hockey League, but there are some things that need to get better.
“I’ll let you read between the lines there.”
The Tri-City Americans are expected to have F Neal Prokop, 20, in their lineup for the first time this season when they meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Wednesday. Prokop suffered a badly broken leg in Game 3 of a first-round playoff series with the Chilliwack Bruins last spring. He underwent surgery in Chilliwack, before being able to return home and going through an extensive rehabilitation there. He rejoined the Americans a couple of weeks ago. . . . Once Prokop returns to the lineup, the Americans will have 14 days to settle their 20-year-old situation. Their other 20s are F Kruise Reddick, D Tyler Schmidt and D Zak Stebner. . . . A tip of the Taking Note cap to Rene Ferran at for the Prokop news. . . . The Americans go into Wednesday having lost six of their last seven games. . . . The Red Deer Rebels have been without D Colin Archer, their captain, for a couple of games. He has a hairline fracture to a wrist but has been fitted with a playing cast and should return tonight against the visiting Kootenay Ice. That game also promises to be the game of the night, what with the Ice (16-5-2) leading the Eastern Conference with 34 points and the Rebels (15-7-2) just two points behind. . . . The Ice will play nine of its next 10 on the road, including a four-game trip into the U.S. Division. The Ice will visit the Portland Winterhawks on Dec. 1. . . .
Don Hay, the Vancouver Giants’ head coach, goes for victory No. 500 on Friday in Edmonton against the Oil Kings. The only WHL coaches to reached that milestone are Ken Hodge (742), Ernie McLean (548) and the late Pat Ginnell (518). . . . Brandon Wheat Kings F Mike Ferland, who has missed five games with an ankle injury, is expected back sometime this week. The Wheat Kings open a three-game road trip tonight in Medicine Hat against the Tigers. . . . F Kellan Tochkin of the Everett Silvertips is the WHL’s player of the week. He had seven points, including four goals, in helping his squad to three victories in as many nights. . . . Laurent Brossoit of the Edmonton Oil Kings is the WHL’s nominee as the CHL’s goaltender of the week. He made 32 saves to earn his first WHL shutout on Saturday as Edmonton blanked Red Deer, 3-0. Brossoit, 17, was a second-round pick in the 2008 bantam draft. . . .   The Portland Winterhawks (20-4-1) have the WHL’s best record, and perhaps it’s because they are terrific finishers. Portland is 17-0-1 when leading or tied after two periods and has outscored its opposition 36-16 in third periods. . . . By the way, the Winterhawks next play Wednesday against the visiting Everett Silverips. Portland will unveil its third jerseys for that game. . . .
It turns out that the Spokane Chiefs tied a franchise record Sunday when they scored twice within seven seconds to start what became a 3-1 victory in Portland. F Blake Gal started it at 4:41 of the first period and F Anthony Bardaro completed it at 4:48. That tied the franchise record set Nov. 4, 1987, when F Travis Green and F Darcy Loewen did it. Interestingly, Green now is Portland’s assistant GM/assistant coach. . . . The WHL record for fastest two goals is two seconds. Yes, two seconds. F Pavel Brendl and F Brad Moran did that for the Calgary Hitmen against the Rebels in Red Deer on Oct. 3, 1998. . . . Cory Wolfe of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that Blades D Stefan Elliott has a chance to become the franchise’s highest-scoring defenceman. With 180 career points, Elliott trails Kevin Tendler (186), Dean Holoien (188), Lawrence Sacharuk (195), Collin Bauer (196) and Pat Price (239). . . . The Blades are at home to the Swift Current Broncos tonight.
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