Thursday, December 2, 2010

D Garrett Leedahl, 19, is leaving the Spokane Chiefs due to what the team says is “medical reasons.”
Leedahl, a sixth-round pick in the 2006 bantam draft, hasn’t played since Nov. 2 when he suffered a head injury in his hometown of Saskatoon.
Plagued by concussions, he has played in only 31 games over the last two seasons.
"It was hard to come up with my decision," Leedahl said in a news release. "My family, the team and I came to this point after talking to the doctors and neurologists. We realized it will be best for my future to retire from hockey.
"It is a really tough decision. It was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. It’s going to be tough leaving all the guys behind and everything here, but it is something that it is going to be better for my future.”
Leedahl plans on return to Saskatoon and entering the U of Saskatchewan next year.
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Perhaps you can file this one under: If you can’t beat them, join them. . . . The NCAA doesn’t hold a draft, but that hasn’t stopped Paul Kelly, the head of College Hockey Inc., from criticizing the CHL because its three leagues do. Of course, the NCAA feels that drafting players as young as 14 years of age gives the major junior leagues a leg up on the competition when it comes to the recruiting wars. . . . So why not fight fire with fire? . . . According to Chris Heisenberg, the U of North Dakota has received a verbal commitment from D Charlie Pelnik, a 15-year-old from Cary, N.C., who plays for the midget AAA Carolina Junior Hurricanes. Despite his age, Pelnik apparently stands 6-foot-4. . . . Steve Sabo, a former U of Wisconsin defenceman, is Pelnik’s coach with the Hurricanes.
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So . . . the Los Angeles Kings open the season with F Brayden Schenn on their roster. Schenn, at 19, must play in the NHL or be returned to the Brandon Wheat Kings, where he spent the previous three seasons. . . . Schenn played in eight games with the Kings -- he had two assists -- and was a healthy scratch from a bunch of others. . . . The Kings then assigned him to the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs on one of those conditioning stints and he put up seven points in as many games. . . . Schenn is back with the Kings now, and is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight when L.A. plays the Florida Panthers. . . . So much for the conditioning stint being anything but a stalling tactic as the Kings buy time before deciding what to do with Schenn. . . . I would bet that he stays with the Kings for a few more days and then will be assigned to Canada’s national junior team, reporting to their camp in Toronto on Dec. 11. That allows the Kings to buy even more time because, assuming Schenn makes the Canadian team, they wouldn’t have to concern themselves with his immediate future until Jan. 5. In the meantime, you have to wonder what this is doing for Schenn’s state of mind.
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Meanwhile, there are a lot of people speculating that the Boston Bruins are going to assign F Tyler Seguin, the second pick in the NHL’s 2010 draft, to Canada’s national junior team. Why? Because if they do that, Seguin’s contract comes off the books while he’s playing for Canada. And the Bruins, with Marc Savard about to be cleared to play, are badly in need of cap space.
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With assistant coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk having returned to the bench, interim assistant coach Mike Vandenberghe has left the Brandon Wheat Kings and returned to his home at Regina Beach, Sask. Gylywoychuk suffered a broken neck when he slipped and fell in the Keystone Centre over the summer. Vandenberghe came on board on an interim basis with the understanding that his stint would end with Gylywoychuk’s return. . . . D Erik Gudbranson of the Kingston Frontenacs has been suspended for five games by the OHL after he incurred a major penalty for a check to the head in a game on Sunday. Gudbranson is on the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp roster and is to report to camp Dec. 11, a day before his suspension is to end. . . .
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Some highlights from Wednesday’s WHL games:
In Swift Current, F Justin Dowling scored a PP goal at 1:14 of OT to give the Broncos a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Dowling had two goals and an assist. He has 36 points, including 11 goals, on the season. . . . The Broncos were on the PP because Lethbridge F Neil Tarnasky was given a major penalty for checking from behind at 18:07 . . . Tarnasky had tied the game 2-2 at 15:50 of the third period. . . . F Adam Lowry also scored for the Broncos, running his goal-scoring streak to four games. . . . F Cody Eakin had two assists for the winners. . . . The Broncos have won four in a row; the Hurricanes have lost six of seven. . . . In a goofy bit of scheduling, this was the third straight game between the teams. The Broncos won all three, two in regulation and one in OT. . . . Attendance was 2,240. . . .
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In Edmonton, F Mark McNeill was the only shootout scorer and that goal gave the Prince Albert Raiders a 5-4 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert G Jamie Tucker stopped 42 shots. . . . The Oil Kings led this one 2-0 in the first period but found themselves trailing 4-2 in the third. . . . Edmonton forced OT on goals by F Josh Lazowski, his ninth, at 10:02 on the PP and F Stephane Legault, his third, at 14:55. . . . Edmonton D Mark Pysyk and F Michael St. Croix each had two assists. . . . Raiders D Ryan Button picked up two helpers. . . . Attendance was 2,794. . . .
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In Kennewick, Wash., F Connor Rankin broked a 1-1 tie at 15:20 of the second period and the Tri-City Americans went on to a 4-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Tigers had an eight-game winning streak snapped. They had won in Everett, Portland and Seattle. . . . The Americans have won four in a row. . . . Rankin has seven goals. . . . F Marcus Messier scored his first goal for the Americans. The 16-year-old from Canmore, Alta., scored in his 14th game. . . . Attendance was 3,922. . . .
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In Prince George, F Charles Inglis broke a 3-3 tie at 9:53 of the third period to give the Cougars a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Inglis had opened the scoring at 6:45 of the first period. He has 12 goals this season. . . . After F Brett Connolly gave the home team a 3-0 lead with his 21st goal just 52 seconds into the second period, F Jimmy Bubnick scored three straight goals for the Hitmen, evening the score at 3 at 4:11 of the third. . . . F Misha Fisenko drew three assists for Calgary. . . . Attendance was 1,755. . . . The Cougars now are alone atop the B.C. Division, two points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets and Vancouver Giants. . . . The Hitmen, the WHL’s defending champions, became the first team this season to hit 20 losses. . . .
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In Kelowna, F Zach Franko had a goal and an assist to lead the Rockets to a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Rockets, who began the season 4-10, now are 15-11-0. In other words, they have won 11 of their last 12 outings. . . . D Brenden Dillon, 20, a free agent who is drawing NHL interest, had a goal and an assist for Seattle. . . . Attendance was 6,021. . . .
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In Chilliwack, F Josh Nicholls scored twice to help the Saskatoon Blades to a 7-3 victory over the Bruins. . . . The Blades now are 2-0 on their B.C. Division swing. They are to play the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday. . . . Saskatoon F Lukas Sutter scored his third goal in a week. He has three goals on the season. . . . Saskatoon G Steven Stanford stopped 36 shots. . . . The Bruins were 1-for-7 on the PP, while the Blades were 0-for-1. . . . F Chris Collins, who was acquired from Chilliwack, had a goal and an assist. . . . F Curt Gogol, who went the other way in that deal, had a goal for the Bruins. . . . Chilliwack G Lucas Gore played 28:12 minutes — he was lifted after giving up four goals, three in the second period — and moved into first place on the franchise’s list for minutes played, at 5,339. Mark Friesen had held the record, at 5,328 minutes. . . . Attendance was 2,637. . . .
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In Portland, F Kevin King scored twice, the last one into an empty net, as the Kootenay Ice dropped the Winterhawks, 5-3. . . . King has 14 goals. . . . Ice D Brayden McNabb and F Matt Fraser each had two assists. . . . Attenance was 1,698. . . . Ice G Nathan Lieuwen stopped 24 shots, including a second-period penalty shot by F Oliver Gabriel. . . . The Winterhawks have lost four in a row. . . . The Ice has won three in a row and is one point behind the Eastern Conference-leading Saskatoon Blades.
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WEDNESDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
One major:
Lethbridge F Neil Tarnasky

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