A couple of Robservations from Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post:
“If you are a member of a junior hockey team, how much fun can it possibly be to play a robotic, chip-and-chase, dump-it-in style of game? Too many coaches, at all levels of junior hockey, are seemingly determined to extract the fun and creativity from what should be a free-flowing game.
“Something is wrong with the WHL when a premier player like Everett Silvertips defenceman Ryan Murray — the pride of White City — visits his home province once every two years. The league's partial interlocking schedule is ridiculous. Every team should play in every building every season. Period.”
D Bruin McDonald made his QMJHL debut on Friday night as his Gatineau Olympiques dropped a 4-3 decision to the visiting Victoriaville Tigres. McDonald, who started his season with the Spokane Chiefs, was pointless and plus-1. The teams were 3-3 after one period, with the Tigres getting the winner on a third-period PP. . . . The Olympiques are home to the Rimouski Oceanic today.
The Saskatoon Blades have traded D Tyler Kizuik, 18, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a sixth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . The Hurricanes held two sixth-round picks, their own and Seattle’s. Even after this trade, Lethbridge still holds four selections in the first four two rounds of the 2011 draft. . . . The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Kizuik, who is from Indian Head, Sask., was a third-round pick of the Prince George Cougars in the 2009 bantam draft. He had nine points in 48 games last season. . . . Kizuik should be in the Hurricanes’ lineup tonight when they play host to the Medicine Hat Tigers.
A note from Kevin Paul Dupont in today’s Boston Globe:
A league source with direct knowledge of the negotiations reports that the sale of the Dallas Stars would have been concluded a month ago to Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi, but for commissioner Gary Bettman insisting the selling price ($175 million?) was too low. Gaglardi, majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, subsequently bowed out of the process. Another serious Canadian bidder, Bill Gallacher, also walked. Gaglardi, with partner Ryan Beedie, once tried to buy the Canucks. He’s serious about hockey and a serious businessman, traits that often have been lacking among the Lords of the Boards. As of Feb. 4, the Stars will have been up for sale for one year.
Some highlights from Saturday’s WHL games . . .
In Prince Albert, the Raiders scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Everett Silvertips, 5-1. . . . F Brandon Herrod scored twice for the Raiders. He has 14 on the season. . . . F Mark McNeill had a goal, his 15th, and an assist for Prince Albert, which spent the night celebrating its 40th anniversary season. . . . The game was tied 1-1 until Herrod scored at 15:35 of the second period and McNeill got his goal at 19:23. . . . Everett G Luke Siemens was credited with 47 saves. . . . F Jonathan Parker got his 17th goal for the Raiders. He had 15 last season -- 13 with the Seattle Thunderbirds and two with P.A. -- and 17 as a freshman with Seattle in 2008-09. . . . G Eric Williams stopped 28 shots for the Raiders. . . . Attendance was 2,418. . . . Raiders D Jordan Rowley was plus-4, while D Ryan Button had one assist and also was plus-4. . . . Everett finished its East Division tour at 3-3-0 after a 3-1-0 start. . . .
In Brandon, the Kootenay Ice scored twice in the shootout and beat the Wheat Kings, 3-2. . . . That was Brandon’s 11th straight loss. . . . The Ice led 2-0 on first-period goals by F Elgin Pearce, his sixth on the season and fourth in two games, and F Max Reinhart, his 16th. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it on second-period PP goals from F Shayne Wiebe, his 16th, and F Mark Stone, his 18th. . . . F Matt Fraser and Reinhart scored in the shootout for the Ice, while Brandon F Scott Glennie and F Michael Ferland were foiled. . . . D Joey Leach had two assists for the Ice. . . . Attendance was 4,343. . . . Ice G Nathan Lieuwen stopped 34 shots, two more than Brandon’s Corbin Boes. . . . Kootenay was without D Brayden McNabb, who is in camp with the Canadian national junior team, and F Kevin King (infected elbow), who is its leading scorer. . . . Brandon was without F Brayden Schenn, who also is in camp with the Canadian team. . . .
In Edmonton, F T.J. Foster broke a 1-1 tie at 5:27 of the third period as the Oil Kings beat the Kelowna Rockets, 2-1. . . . The Oil Kings are 7-1-1 in their last nine games. . . . F Mitchell (Dirty Harry) Callahan scored for Kelowna, his 15th, on a PP, at 1:01 of the second. . . . F Mike Piluso, with his sixth, pulled Edmonton even at 15:25 of the second. . . . Edmonton F Michael St. Croix had one assist. . . . Attendance was 4,502. . . . Foster, who has 10 goals, also had an assist. . . . Edmonton G Jon Groenheyde stopped 28 shots, five fewer than Kelowna’s Adam Brown. . . .
In Medicine Hat, F Kevin Sundher scored twice to lead the Chilliwack Bruins to a 4-1 victory over the Tigers. . . . F Jamie Crooks added two assists for the Bruins. . . . Sundher has 11 goals this season. . . . The Bruins took control by breaking a scoreless draw with three second-period goals, started by Sundher’s shorthanded score at 8:08. . . . F Emerson Etem got his 19th of the season for the Tigers. That was their Teddy Bear goal. . . . Bruins G Braden Gamble stopped 31 shots, 11 more than Medicine Hat’s Tyler Bunz. . . .
In Red Deer, the Regina Pats outscored the Rebels 3-2 in the shootout and posted a 3-2 victory. . . . F Jordan Weal, F Colin Reddin and F Thomas Frazee all scored for Regina in the circus, with F Daulton Siwak and F Brett Ferguson counting for the Rebels. . . . The teams exchanged goals in regulation, with F Josh Cowen getting Red Deer on the board with his second goal, on the PP, at 13:07 of the second period. . . . Regina F Andrew Rieder, with his fifth, equalized at 12:27 of the third. . . . F Byron Froese got his 12th to give Red Deer the lead at 17:49 of the third. . . . F Garrett Mitchell pulled Regina into a tie at 19:41 with his 10th. . . . Attendance was 4,074. . . . Regina G Matt Hewitt stopped 35 shots. Red Deer’s Dawson Guhle, who was acquired earlier in the season from the Pats, turned aside 26. . . .
In Spokane, F Tyler Johnson had a career-high six points, including four assists, to lead the Chiefs to a 10-5 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . In the Blazers’ last visit to Spokane, on Nov. 24, they were beaten 10-1. . . . The Chiefs, who fired 64 shots on two Blazers goaltenders, have won five straight games. . . . F Dominik Uher had three goals for the Chiefs. . . . Last season, Uher had four goals in 53 games. He went into last night with one goal in 24 games this season. . . . Spokane was 4-for-7 on the PP. . . . Uher also had an assist, while F Levko Koper had a goal and three assists. . . . Spokane D Tyler Vanscourt, D Brendon Kichton and F Brady Brassart each had two assists. . . . D Brady Gaudet scored three times for Kamloops. It was his first WHL hat trick and came in his 22nd game of the season. He now has four goals this season. . . . Kamloops LW Brendan Ranford had one assist and moved into the WHL scoring lead with 50 points, one more than Medicine Hat Tigers F Linden Vey, who is in camp with the Canadian national junior team. . . . Ranford also leads the WHL in goals, with 26. . . . Kamloops F Shayne Neigum got his first goal of the season and also had two assists. . . . Kamloops ended up without both of Ranford’s linemates. RW Jordan DePape has been suspended after a Friday night hit on F Killian Hutt of the Swift Current Broncos. C Chase Schaber was given a game misconduct following a first-period fight with D Brenden Kitchton. Schaber was given the game misconduct for making an inappropriate gesture and is likely looking at a suspension. It was his sixth game back after serving a three-game suspension for making physical contact with an official. . . . The Chiefs have scored 10 goals on three occasions this season. . . . Attendance was 5,460. . . .
In Vancouver, the Swift Current Broncos scored the game’s first four goals and went onto a 4-1 victory over the Giants. . . . The Broncos, who lost 3-2 in Kamloops on Friday night, were without three of their top forwards, with Cody Eakin having left for the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp and Killian Hutt and Stepan Novotny both injured. . . . The Broncos scored three times in the last half of the first period, with F Brad Hoban getting his 13th, D Kyle Verdino his second and F Dillon Wagner his third in nine games since returning from offseason knee surgery. . . . Vancouver G Mark Segal, the first star in each the last three games, was lifted after that first period. . . . F Adam Lowry had two assists for the Broncos. . . . Swift Current G Mark Friesen stopped 26 shots, losing his shutout bid to F James Henry at 13:24 of the third period. . . . Attendance was 6,391. . . .
In Portland, the Winterhawks broke a 3-3 tie with four third-period goals and beat the Prince George Cougars, 7-4. . . . Attendance on Teddy Bear Night in the Rose Garden was 10,558. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie got the Teddy Bear goal at 12:44 of the first period, and fans tossed 12,178 stuffed toys onto the ice. . . . Rattie has 16 goals. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth stopped 44 shots as the Cougars held a 48-26 edge in shots. . . . Rattie and D Joe Morrow each had a goal and two assists. . . . Portland F Riley Boychuk broke a 3-3 tie with his ninth goal at 2:36 of third on a PP. . . . F Taylor Peters added insurance with his third of the season at 7:30. . . . Portland F Sven Bartschi had two assists, as did countryman Nino Niederreiter. . . . F Jaroslav Vlach, in his third game since returning from a broken thumb suffered in October, got his first goal of the season for the Cougars. . . . The Winterhawks had beaten the visiting Cougars 4-1 on Friday. . . .
In Kent, Wash., the visiting Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first five goals and beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1. . . . Tri-City has won seven of its last nine games. . . . F Jordan Messier led the Americans with two goals, giving him 18. . . . F Brooks Macek, F Brendan Shinnimin and F Neal Prokop each had two assists for the Americans. . . . With G Calvin Pickard in camp with Canada’s national junior team, Seattle gave Michael Salmon his second start of the season. He made 28 saves. . . . Attendance was 3,577. . . . The Americans had beaten the visiting Thunderbirds 4-1 on Friday and now are 5-0 against Seattle this season. . . . The Americans were late arriving in Kent because of tough travel conditions in the mountain passes.
SATURDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (yes, there were 11 -- count 'em, 11 -- checking-from-behind calls made last night; do you think there might be a problem here, or was there a full moon?):
Red Deer F John Persson
Edmonton D Adrian Van de Mosselaer
Medicine Hat F Dylan Bredo
Regina F Colin Reddin
Red Deer F Daulton Siwak
Red Deer F Adam Kambeitz
Vancouver F Brett Lyon
Vancouver D Tyler Hart
Seattle D Dave Sutter
Portland D Brett Ponich
Kamloops D Brandon Underwood
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