Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brock Otten from — there’s a link over there on the right — is beating the drum for an interesting suggestion.
“I can already hear you saying it. In fact, I'm prepared to read your comments that tell me just that,” he begins. “I'm going to try and convince you that the OHL (and CHL) should increase the number of Import players allowed on each team's roster.”
If you are interested in the rest of his argument, check out his blog.
But I, for one, would be all for that.
And I would go two steps further . . .
I would do away with the provision that a 20-year-old import player takes up two spots — one as an import and one as a 20-year-old. (Teams are allowed to list two imports and three 20-year-olds on their rosters; a 20-year-old import thus takes up two of those five spots.)
I also would allow teams to keep four or five 20-year-old players. I would push for five, but would settle for four.
“The question is,” Otten writes, “would the league not benefit from increasing the quality of its talent base?”
Oh, boy, would it ever.
I have never been able to understand how it is that teams in the CHL will spend money to develop players and then cut one of them loose when he turns 20, not because he isn’t good enough to play, but because they are only permitted to keep three players in his age group.
The same holds true for imports. With the money spent on recruiting imports, getting all the paperwork done, flying them back and forth . . . why cut one loose because he’s 20 years of age when he still has another season in him?
Of course, it is doubtful that the CHL ever will go to three import players or more than three 20-year-olds.
Why not?
Because the CHL and its teams will argue that they are in the business of developing players.
While I would certainly agree with that, I would argue that they also are in the entertainment business. And given a little more maturity the product that now is being presented to the paying customers could be a whole lot better than it is today.
JUST NOTES: F Ryan Johansen, who still is eligible to play for the Portland Winterhawks, scored twice as the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Saturday night. Johansen has five goals, including all three of CBJ’s game-winners. That is one off the league lead, held by Vinny Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning. . . .
The Everett Silvertips have picked up F Teal Burns, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a sixth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. Burns, who is from Victoria, opened this season with the Vancouver Giants, before being dealt to the Raiders. He has eight assists and eight penalty minutes in 16 games. He also has played for the Portland Winterhawks, who selected him in the eighth round of the 2007 bantam draft. . . . With F Tyler Maxwell, 20, having asked for a trade and subsequently been sent home, Everett had an opening for a player with WHL experience. . . .
In Kamloops, the Blazers outshot the Edmonton Oil Kings 22-1 in the second period as they posted a 5-2 victory. . . . The Oil Kings were without D Griffin Reinhart and F Klarc Wilson, both of whom were injured in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday. Edmonton D Mark Pysyk didn’t return after the first period in Kamloops. . . . According to Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal, Reinhart and Pysyk have upper body injuries — there is a real epidemic of those in the WHL this season — and Wilson has, uhh, a lower body owwie. . . . 

In Portland, F Sven Bartschi’s goal just 30 seconds into OT gave the Winterhawks a 4-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Winterhawks had beaten the visiting Chiefs 6-5 in a shootout on Friday. . . . Portland has won five straight. . . . Bartschi had a goal and two assists; he has 30 points, including 23 helpers, in 13 games. . . . Portland’s Ty Rattie, who plays on a line with Bartschi, had two goals and two assists. . . . Rattie has 14 points in five November games, picking up at least two points in each game. . . . Interestingly, the team’s 20-year-old captains — Portland D William Wrenn and Spokane F Darren Kramer — duked it out at 12:23 of the first period. It was Wrenn’s second fight in 51 games; Kramer has had 54 in 83 games. . . .

In Brandon, the Wheat Kings won their third straight game, beating the Prince Albert Raiders, 7-4. . . . The Wheat Kings had won 4-1 in Prince Albert on Wednesday night. . . . The victory lifted Brandon (14-6-2) into first place in the Eastern Conference. . . . Brandon F Mark Stone had two goals and two assists, moving back into the lead in the WHL points race, with 46. He is two ahead of Medicine Hat F Emerson Etem. . . . D Ryan Pulock, who is having an all-star season, had two goals and an assist. He has 28 points, tops among defencemen. . . . Brandon was 4-for-6 on the PP. . . .

In Swift Current, the Broncos built up a 3-0 lead and hung on to beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 3-2. . . . The Warriors had won seven in a row. . . . F Shea Howorko, a 17-year-old from Regina, scored his second goal of the season and it stood up as the winner. He has two goals in 22 games, both of them coming in his last two outings; last season, he had one in 61. . . .

In Cranbrook, D Joey Leach had two goals as the host Kootenay ice bounced the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1. . . . Leach has four goals this season. . . . Ice G Mackenzie Skapski stopped 13 shots. . . . Seattle finished 2-4-0 on its swing through the Central Division. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Jordan Messier had two goals and an assist to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 7-3 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie stopped 13 shots for his fourth straight victory. . . . The Americans held an 18-0 edge in shots in the third period. . . . He was beaten by F Nick Buonassisi on a second-period penalty shot. . . . The Americans went 3-0 on their brief trip into the Central Division and six in a row overall on the road. . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Matej Stransky had two goals — he’s got 12 — as the Saskatoon Blades beat the Tigers, 5-1. . . . Medicine Hat F Emerson Etem was held pointless for the second time this season. . . . Saskatoon F Jake Trask broke a 1-1 tie at 14:09 of the first period as the Blades scored the game’s last four goals. . . . F Chris Collins was back in Saskatoon’s lineup after missing three weeks with a broken thumb. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips scored two PP goals early in the second period and went on to beat the Prince George Cougars, 3-2. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz earned his first WHL victory as Everett ended a six-game losing streak. Lotz stopped 21 shots in his third start. . . . Prince George F Charles Inglis, the enigmatic one, took a charging major at 19:56 of the first period. Everett F Ryan Harrison scored PP goals at 3:28 and 4:48 of the second period. . . . Inglis is certain to hear from Richard Doerksen, who handles discipline for the WHL. Inglis served a 10-game suspension for a check to the head earlier this season. . . . Everett F Josh Birkholz left the game after the Inglis hit. . . . Everett F Jesse Mychan also can expect a phone call after taking a major for a check to the head at 14:08 of the second period. . . . Mychan also is a repeat offender, having served a two-game sentence for a check to the head in the exhibition season and another two-gamer late in October. . . . The Cougars lost F Brock Hirsche and D Jesse Forsberg to injuries during the game. . . .

In Vancouver, F Marek Tvrdon scored 56 seconds into OT to give the Giants a 3-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Vancouver D Neil Manning forced OT with a PP goal at 5:00 of the third period. . . . It was Manning’s first goal this season. . . . Tvrdon has 10. . . . The Giants are 9-1-1 at home. . . .

In Victoria, the Rebels got a goal and three assists from D Alex Petrovic as they won their third game in four nights, beating the Royals, 7-4. . . . The Rebels beat the Rockets 6-4 in Kelowna on Wednesday, then dumped the Blazers 5-3 in Kamloops on Friday. . . . Overall, Red Deer has won six straight. . . . Victoria was again without F Kevin Sundher (undisclosed). . . .
Could it be that while the WHL has been working on educating its players on the harm that can be caused by checks to the head, it has forgotten about the nastiness of hits from behind?
Well, there were a gawd-awful 10 checking-from-behind minors handed out on Saturday night, which means it’s time to bring back the nightly count.
Kenton Miller, Moose Jaw
Richard Nedomlel, Swift Current
Carter Proft, Spokane
Alessio Bertaggia, Brandon
Mitchell Moroz, Edmonton
Tyler Alos, Seattle
Mitch Topping, Tri-City (double minor)
Mason Burr, Red Deer
Austin Carroll, Victoria
Bryant Perrier, who no longer is the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives, says he is being “hung out to dry” over a hazing incident that has enveloped that team.
Perrier has spoken with Dan Lett of the Winnipeg Free Press, and that story is right here.
Are you wondering how something like the Penn State sexual abuse scandal could happen? Ron Bracken, a former sports editor of the Centre Daily Times, writes about just that right here. And it has everything to do with transparency, or lack of same.
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