Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jason Hills of the Edmonton Sun has spoken with Dr. Michael Czarnota, the consulting neurophysiologist for the WHL and OHL.
Here is part of what Hills wrote:
Czarnota worries about what the future may hold for some players down the road.
"I haven't worked with these guys long enough to see the true impact yet, but I have to be honest, it's something I worry about," said Czarnota.
"I'm almost obsessed to do everything I can to make it least likely to occur as possible. But I would be deluding myself in feeling I can keep that from happening completely, but we're going to do everything we can to try and eliminate these terrible head injuries."
Hill’s complete story is right here.
The WHL released the second injury report of the new season on Tuesday and, as in the first, injuries are categorized as lower body or upper body.
“One of the reasons we’re doing that is just the competitiveness of the game, nobody wants other players targeting areas of injuries,” Spokane Chiefs GM Tim Speltz told Dave Trimmer of the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “Nobody is trying to hide anything, we’re just trying to protect the players. It’s not something the opposition needs to know.”
That being the case, it sounds as though a league that has outlawed headshots — and so far as issued seven- and 10-game suspensions for same — is concerned about players targeting other players’ heads.
Perhaps the headshot problem runs deeper than we thought.
Besides, with the manner in which hockey players at all levels use social media these days, you can bet there no longer are any secrets involving injuries.
Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s disciplinarian, dropped the sledge hammer on Tuesday, suspending F Charles Inglis of the Prince George Cougars for 10 games.
Inglis picked up a major and game misconduct for delivering a check to the head of Victoria Royals D Tyler Stahl, who left the Saturday game and is out indefinitely with a concussion.
“These are the types of hits all leagues are trying to get out of the game,” Prince George general manager Dallas Thompson said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we had an incident. Now the suspension has come down. We move on.”
Inglis, who had 32 goals last season and has three in as many games this season, will be eligible to return Oct. 26 when the Cougars meet the Rockets in Kelowna.
The Cougars, in their first game without Inglis, opened an East Division swing Tuesday night with a 6-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders.
Inglis now holds the dubious distinction of owning the longest suspension handed out by Doerksen this season. F Cody Beach of the Moose Jaw Warriors is serving a seven-game suspension for an opening night hit on F Bruno Mraz of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Meanwhile, Doerksen also doled out four other suspensions on Tuesday.
F Brendan Leipsic of the Portland Winterhawks got five games under supplemental discipline for an incident against the visiting Tri-City Americans on Sept. 30. (Already this season, the Americans have plucked a player off the Winterhawks’ roster via waivers and the Winterhawks asked for, and received, supplemental discipline against Tri-City’s Jordan Messier – he was suspended for two games – after an earlier game. Some rivalry!)
F Marcus Messier of the Tri-City Americans will sit out four games for a checking from behind incident in a game at Spokane on Saturday. Tri-City D Justin Hamonic was given a double minor at the time, but it turns out the culprit was Messier.
D Cason Machacek of the Seattle Thunderbirds got a two-game sentence for “one man fight and repeat offender” in a game at Portland on Saturday.
F Klarc Wilson of the Edmonton Oilers will miss one game for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a game at Medicine Hat on Saturday.
(The OHL handed out three suspensions Tuesday, each of them for a check to an opponent’s head. Those suspensions were for 15, 10 and eight games. For details, and video, check out the OHL’s website. The OHL already has dished out four suspensions of at least 10 games.)
It would seem the goaltending shuffle is in high gear in the WHL.
On Monday, the Moose Jaw Warriors acquired G Luke Siemens, who turns 19 in November, from the Everett Silvertips. That move prompted the Warriors to waive G Deven Dubyk, 20, and release G Brandon Stone, 19.
On Tuesday, two more veteran goaltenders were on the move, Jon Groenheyde  shifting from the Edmonton Oil Kings to the Swift Current Broncos and Adam Morrison going from the Saskatoon Blades to the Vancouver Giants.
Groenheyde and Morrison both are 20 years of age.
Groenheyde was acquired by Edmonton last season, with G Cam Lanigan going to the Kamloops Blazers in exchange. This season, Groenheyde has gotten into just one game with Edmonton, which is going with Laurent Brossoit, 18, as its starter. Tristan Jarry, 16, now backs up Brossoit.
In exchange for Groenheyde, the Broncos gave up F Jordan Peddle, 20, who has spent three seasons in Swift Current. Peddle has 64 points in 198 regular-season games.
Groenheyde is expected to play Saturday when the Lethbridge Hurricanes visit Swift Current.
The Giants, meanwhile, acquired G Adam Morrison, 20, and F Levi Bews, 17, from the Saskatoon Blades in exchange for F Michael Burns, 20, D Zach Hodder, 18, and a fourth-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft.
The Giants are trying to plug what has been a leaky defence – they have given up 22 goals over their last four games – and are hoping Morrison, who is from White Rock, B.C., will be at least part of the answer.
Morrison, a third-round pick by the Blades in the 2006 bantam draft, was in his fourth season in Saskatoon and has a career record of 44-22-6. His acquisition leaves the Giants with three goaltenders, the others being Brendan Jensen, 18, who has been starting, and freshman Jackson Whistle, 16. The Giants now are expected to move Jensen and keep Whistle to back up Morrison.
Bews, 17, had seven points in 52 games with the Blades last season.
The Giants are at home to the Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday night and expect to have Morrison and Bews available. Morrison, in fact, is expected to get the start.
The Giants remain with three 20-year-olds on their roster, the others being F James Henry and D Neil Manning.
The Blades, meanwhile, also are carrying three 20-year-olds, with Burns joining F Jesse Paradis and F Jake Trask. Saskatoon also shows F Darian Dziurzynski on its roster but he is with the AHL’s Portland Pirates, at least for now.
The Giants had acquired Burns from the Edmonton Oil Kings last season, while Hodder, the 20th overall selection in the 2008 bantam draft, had been at home in Delta., B.C., awaiting a trade.
The departure of Morrison left the Blades with Russian freshman Andrey Makarov, 18, as the only goaltender on their roster. However, they later recalled G Adam Todd from the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Todd was a fourth-round pick in the 2009 bantam draft.
Burns, Hodder and Todd all are expected to be in uniform Wednesday night against the visiting Prince George Cougars.
D Matt MacKenzie, 20, has signed a three-year contract with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. MacKenzie, who was acquired by the Tri-City Americans from the Calgary Hitmen, remains with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, at least for now. He was a third-round selection by Buffalo in the 2010 NHL draft. He has 98 points and 180 penalty minutes in 225 regular-season WHL games.
The Brandon Wheat Kings, already without veteran D Brodie Melnychuk (broken wrist), have lost F Dominick Favreau and D Rene Hunter to injuries.
Favreau has a lower-body injury and the team says he could miss three weeks.
Here’s Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun on Hunter’s situation:
Meanwhile, the club’s injury report lists Hunter, 18, as out one week after he took a hit to the head from Saskatoon Blades forward Nick Zajac on Saturday.
When asked whether Hunter sustained a concussion, Wheat Kings head coach Cory Clouston would only tell the Sun that it was an “upper body” injury.
JUST NOTES: The WHL website now includes the transaction involving D Braeden (Bunny) Laroque, 19. It turns out he was dealt by the Edmonton Oil Kings to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . The Portland Winterhawks have assigned D Matthew Franczyk, 18, to the MJHL’s Winnipeg South Blues. He was pointless in one game with Portland this season. Last season, he played one game with the Swift Current Broncos and 12 with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .
F Brett Connolly, 19, has made the season-opening roster of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. Connolly played the last three seasons with his hometown Prince George Cougars, although injuries limited him to 16 games in 2009-10. In order to keep Connolly, the sixth overall pick in the NHL’s 2010 draft, on its roster, the Lightning sent F Dana Tyrell to the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals. Tyrell and Connolly once were linemates with the Cougars. . . . F Mark Stone of the Brandon Wheat Kings is the CHL’s player of the week. He had nine points, including four goals, in three games last week. . . .
The Red Deer Rebels have lost freshman F Brooks Maxwell, 17, for up to six weeks with a broken wrist. He was injured Saturday in a 7-2 loss to the Raiders in Prince Albert.
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