Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday . . .

F Jonas Johansson (Kamloops, 2002-04) signed a one-year contract extension with Cortina (Italy, Serie A). He had 23 goals and 24 assists in 39 games with Cortina last season. . . .
F Jared Aulin (Kamloops, 1997-2002) signed a one-year contract with Örebro (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He had 10 goals and 20 assists in 36 games for Leksand (Swweden, Allsvenskan) last season. . . .
F Stanislav Balan (Portland, 2005-06) signed a one-year contract with Lev Poprad (Slovakia, KHL). He had eight goals and eight assists in 50 games with Zlin (Czech Republic, Extraliga) last season. . . .
F Konstantin Panov (Kamloops, 1998-2001) signed a two-year contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk (Russia, KHL). He had two goals and seven assists in 29 games with SKA St. Petersburg (Russia, KHL) last season.
Paul Kariya announced his retirement as a professional hockey player on Tuesday. And everyone — every single person who is associated with hockey at any level today, from parents to fans to team and league officials — must read Eric Duhatschek’s piece in The Globe and Mail.
Kariya told Duhatschek that the risk of incurring another concussion simply is too great. So, Kariya, at 36 years of age, is walking away.
He took 2010-11 off in an attempt to recover from multiple concussions. And even though he now feels fine, well, that just isn’t good enough.
After the last concussion-causing hit, Kariya told Duhatschek, he “hoped his symptoms would go away over time, as they had before.
“Instead, they just kept getting worse and worse. My doctor said, ‘there’s no one in my profession that could clear you to play in this condition.’ Even last summer, he said, ‘even if you recover 100 per cent, I would advise you to retire.’
“I knew I was bad, but I didn’t know I was that bad. But they had concussion data on me all the way back to 1996, and then from the (Gary) Suter hit (just before the 1998 Winter Olympics), so they could track my results from one concussion to another.
“The drop in my brain function, the doctor said, was down by 50 per cent. At that point, I wasn’t thinking, ‘Am I going to play again?’ I just wanted to get healthy.”
Scary stuff.
And there’s a whole lot more in Duhatschek’s story, including what Kariya feels needs to be done to get most concussions out of hockey.
If you read only one thing today, make this the one.
Matt Coxford of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has the story of Brad Shaw, a former trainer with the Kootenay Ice, who has been hired by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. That story is right here.
Saskatoon definitely isn’t a city where the streets have no names.
One of them soon may be named after Shannon Tweed.
Yes, that Shannon Tweed. Hey, she did attend a Saskatoon Blades game last season.
Saskatoon city council has OK’d the adding of Tweed’s name to a master list that is used for street names.
According to CBC, “A report to council said Tourism Saskatoon wants a street named ’Tweed Lane’ in the Rosewood neighbourhood.”
The 54-year-old Tweed attended high school in Saskatoon — she was born in Newfoundland — and is married to Gene Simmons, the lead singer of KISS.
The two of them attended a Blades game last season while they were in the Bridge City taping a segment of their reality show — Gene Simmons Family Jewels.
The Kootenay Ice took a pass on the CHL import draft for a second straight year.
A year ago, Ice president/GM Jeff Chynoweth felt he had such a solid nucleus of players returning that it would have been tough to find a slot for an import on his roster.
This time around, he admitted that he had a line on a particular player. But the Ice held the 51st selection, which was too deep into the draft to land what he wanted so Chynoweth dealt the pick.
The Ice traded that selection to the Everett Silvertips for an eighth-round pick in the 2012 WHL bantam draft.
Everett used the import pick on German D Dominik Bittner.
The Ice last used import players in 2009-10 when Czech F Dominik Pacovsky and Czech D Petr Senkerik were on the roster. . . .
Meanwhile, the Brandon Wheat Kings used the 33rd selection to take F Alessio Bertaggia of Switzerland. The 5-foot-8, 156-pounder had 37 points and 75 penalty minutes with a junior team in Lugano last season.
However, if you are a WHL observer you will recall Bertaggia as the at-the-time nameless player who lit it up during a practice session with the Portland Winterhawks last season. . . .
The Winterhawks dealt the 58th pick — it became No. 57 when the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs passed at No. 53 — to Kelowna for the Rockets’ first selection in the 2012 import draft.
The Winterhawks’ roster includes two Swiss forwards — Sven Bartschi and Nino Niederreiter. Bartschi was a first-round selection by the Calgary Flames in the 2011 NHL draft, while Niederreiter went to the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2010 draft.
According to a news release from the Winterhawks, Portland will keep both plays “on the roster in the event they are returned to Portland by their National Hockey League teams.”
Niederreiter played nine games with the Islanders to start the 2010-11 season before being returned to the Winterhawks. . . .
The Vancouver Giants selected Finnish G Jonathan Iilahti, a 19-year-old, with the 39th pick in the import draft. he was taken by the Vancouver Canucks in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2010 draft.
Iilhati is expected to be the Giants’ starting goaltender. Mark Segal, last season’s starter, is 20 and has opted to attend McGill University in Montreal and play for the Redmen.
The Giants believe that Jackson Whistler, a 16-year-old from Kelowna, and Payton Lee, a 15-year-old from Cranbrook, are their goaltenders of the future.
They need Iilahti to be the bridge to those two.
Whistle was a fourth-round selection in the 2010 bantam draft and should battle Brandon Jensen, 18, who was 8-13-1, 3.76, .875 while backing up Segal last season.
Lee was taken by the Giants with the 28th pick in the 2011 draft. . . .
The Prince George Cougars used the 59th selection in the draft to take F Marko Dano, 16, out of Trencin, Slovakia. He is a late-1994 so isn’t eligible for the NHL draft until 2013. According to a news release from the Cougars: “Dano’s father, Jozef, scored five goals and nine points in 12 games for Slovakia at three IIHF World Championships (1996, ’97 & ’99).”
Earlier, the Cougars swapped import picks with the Saskatoon Blades, who got the 30th pick in the exchange. Prince George also got a 2012 third-round bantam draft pick from Saskatoon. The Blades took Russian G Andre Makarov with the 30th selection. He had been with the QMJHL’s Lewiston Maineiacs but came available with the unfortunate demise of that franchise. . . .
The Lethbridge Hurricanes used the 12th overall pick on Swedish D Albin Blomqvist, whose brother, Anton, was taken 167th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in last weekend’s NHL draft. . . .
The Edmonton Oil Kings dealt D Marek Hrbas, the fourth overall pick in the 2010 import draft, to the Kamloops Blazers earlier in the week. That deal involved a swap of import picks, with the Oil Kings moving up to 18th, where they took Slovakian D Martin Gernat, who is 6-foot-5 and 187 pounds. The Edmonton Oilers selected Gernat in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL draft. . . .
The Blazers used the 27th selection on Swiss F Tim Bolzon, whose father, Philippe, played 144 NHL games with the St. Louis Bllues (1991-95). Tim actually was born in St. Louis and has played internationally for French teams. . . .
The Calgary Hitmen used the third overall selection to take Swedish F Victor Rask, 18, who was a second-round pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in last weekend’s NHL draft. His agent apparently told the Hitmen that Rask doesn’t want to play in the WHL. But the Hitmen are prepared to wait and see how things develop after Rask attends the Hurricanes’ training camp.
Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports takes a look at the run on goaltenders in the import draft. Check that out right here.
There were 59 players selected in the first round, with just three players taken in the second round when only the Calgary Hitmen, Tri-City Americans and Brandon Wheat Kings made selections. . . .  The CHL’s 60 teams selected 15 players from Czech Republic and 11 from Russia. Others came from Sweden (9), Slovakia (7), Germany and Switzerland (each 5), Norway (4), Latvia (3), Finland (2) and Belarus (1). . . . It’s interesting that NHL teams took only eight Russians in last weekend’s draft.
JUST NOTES: D Wes Vanieuwenhuizen of the Vancouver Giants, who wasn’t selected in the NHL draft, will attend the Edmonton Oilers’ prospects camp that is scheduled to run July 4-9. . . . If you were wondering, former Medicine Hat Tigers GM/head coach Willie Desjardins will stay on staff with the Dallas Stars, working under new head coach Glen Gulutzan. Also staying will be former WHLer Stu Barnes, who owns a chunk of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Former NHL D Charlie Huddy is the odd-man out in Dallas. He may get a shot at an assistant’s role with the Winnipeg Jets. . . . Seattle Thunderbirds F Luke Lockhart, who wasn’t selected in last weekend’s NHL draft, has accepted an invitation to the Washington Capitals’ development camp that begins July 10.
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