Friday, December 17, 2010

D Robert Schnabel (Red Deer, 1997-99) was released by Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia Extraliga). He had one goal and four assists in 26 games for Slovan this season. Schnabel had signed a one-month contract with Slovan as an injury replacement and had it extended for a second month. . . .
F Dan LaPointe (Seattle, Portland, Prince George, Spokane, 2001-05) was released by Smoke Eaters Geleen (Netherlands Eredivisie). He had 16 goals and 13 assists in 24 games for the Smoke Eaters this season. Geleen replaced its head coach four games ago. . . .
F Yannic Seidenberg (Medicine Hat, 2003-04) signed a two-year contract extension with Adler Mannheim (Germany DEL). He has seven goals and three assists in 26 games for Adler this season. The contract keeps Seidenberg with Adler through the 2012-2013 season.
 That’s a Radko Gudas bobblehead over there on the right.
I’m a sucker for bobbleheads. No, I don’t own a bunch of them; I just find them neat, perhaps because I had a few when I was a whole lot younger.
Right now, I’ve got a Steve Yzerman bobblehead (Team Canada) sitting on my computer at work. I used to have a Mario Lemieux Team Canada bobblehead, too, but it hit the floor. We now use its head as the topper for the Christmas tree here in the sports departments. (The tree, you should know, is made out of cut up broken hockey sticks. Thanks to Kamloops Blazers trainer Colin Robinson for the wreckage.)
Anyway . . . Radko Gudas is a hard-nosed Czech defenceman who played last season with the Everett Silvertips, putting up 37 points and 151 penalty minutes in 65 games.
A third-round selection by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL’s 2010 draft, Gudas is playing for the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals. He has seven points and 43 penalty minutes in 25 games.
The Silvertips will salute Gudas by releasing his bobblehead on Jan. 16 with the Spokane Chiefs in town.
During the course of a WHL season, you often hear a coach say: “Every team goes through injuries. We just have to find a way to get through it.”
Well, that may hold true for a lot of coaches. But what of Mark Lamb, the GM and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos?
Lamb has to be wondering where it all is going to end.
The Broncos dropped a 3-1 decision to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Wednesday night. But there was more to this game than just a score because the Broncos played a lot of it with just seven forwards. That’s right . . . seven forwards. All told, they finished with 14 skaters.
When the Broncos began what is an 11-game road swing that will be interrupted by Christmas, they were missing D Tanner Muth () and F Stepan Novotny (). And they knew that they would lose F Cody Eakin as he was scheduled to attend the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp.
But they didn’t expect to have four more players go down with injuries.
Since the trip began, they have lost Josh Derko (broken hand), Brad Hoban (undisclosed), Killian Hutt (concussion) and Dillon Wagner (broken ankle).
Wagner, who returned Nov. 26 after offseason knee injury, was hurt Tuesday in Prince George. (Interestingly, the schedule had the Broncos playing one night in Prince George and the next in Edmonton. The Broncos arrived in Edmonton at 8:30 a.m., after losing 6-0 in Swift Current the previous night.)
Hutt went down Friday in Kamloops. Hoban was injured in Edmonton when he was hit by D Adrian van de Mosselaer, who was given a major penalty for boarding at 9:52 of the first period.
The Broncos finish out the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule in Saskatoon against the Blades tonight. The holiday break can’t come soon enough and no team needs it more than the Broncos.
No one has been on top of the situation involving the financial side of the NHL’s Dallas Stars like Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.
His latest, following a weekend report in the Boston Globe:
“The Globe . . . reported that (Kamloops Blazers majority owner Tom) Gaglardi, whose family owns the Sandman Hotel Group among other hospitality interests in Canada, is out on bidding for the Stars. A source within the Gaglardi group said that's not true. The source said Gaglardi would certainly be interested in bidding on the team if an auction was started.
“Calgary oilman Bill Gallacher pulled out on the bidding earlier in the year, but that was for personal reasons. Gaglardi still is interested, but only at the right price.”
Gallacher, of course, owns the Portland Winterhawks.
Heika’s complete report is right here.
Nick Patterson, who covers the Everett Silvertips for the Everett Herald, had this note on his blog after the ’Tips dropped a 3-0 decision to the Vancouver Giants on Wednesday night:
“There's one last thing that baffled me. Late in the second period Vancouver's Luke Fenske put an absolutely brutal check from behind on Manraj Hayer (Hayer was fortunate to walk away from it and finish the game). Watching it real-time (admittedly from a ways away in the press area) it looked like the definition of a checking-from-behind major. Somehow it ended up being called a cross-checking minor by referee Pat Smith. In fact, there were a couple checks from behind tonight that were called cross checks (Everett's Brennan Yadlowski had the other one). I know Gregg Drinnan is highlighting each checking-from-behind penalty on his blog as they've become a real hazard to players' health. Here's two tonight that won't make Drinnan's list, but probably should. It makes me wonder how many other checks from behind are being labelled something else.”
This is something I often wonder about as I watch WHL games. There are hits that I would swear were the definition of checking from behind but are called charging or boarding or cross-checking, anything but cfb.
And I wonder how bad this checking-from-behind problem really is?
Because it’s a problem, it really is, and I just hope the WHL and all levels of hockey get a grip on it before it’s too late for someone.
The Kelowna Rockets will have D Jesse Lees, 15, in their lineup tonight when they meet the Hitmen in Calgary. Lees was the ninth overall pick in the 2010 bantam draft and will be making his WHL debut. He plays for the midget AAA Calgary Northstars. . . . Olaf Kolzig, who owns a chunk of the Tri-City Americans, will be an honourary captain at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic which is scheduled for Jan. 30-31 in Hershey, Pa. Kolzig, a retired goaltender, played parts of six seasons in the AHL after being drafted by the Washington Capitals in 1989.
A year has come and gone since the bus carrying the Fraser Valley Bruins of the B.C. major midget league was involved in an accident while en route to Prince George. G Mackenzie Skapski, whose WHL rights belong to the Kootenay Ice, was the most seriously injured person on that bus. Grant Granger of the Maple Ridge, B.C., News has an update on Skapski right here.
A while back, there was link here to a story out of Ontario involving a minor hockey coach who took his team off the ice after one of his players was the object of a racial slur. Guess the length of the coach’s suspension? That story is right here.
Bob Feller died on Wednesday. He was one of a kind, a true American icon. In the summer of 2005, Frank Deford, another one of a kind, profiled Feller in Sports Illustrated. This right here is a lengthy story but it is a great read.
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