Thursday, December 8, 2011

Graham James pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual abuse on Tuesday. One of the players whose charges weren’t part of that plea bargain has come forward and spoken with The Canadian Press. This is another devastating read in a week that has been full of them. And good on Greg Gilhooly . . . first of all for speaking out and secondly for saying this: “Let's not lose sight of the fact that the real hero here is Sheldon Kennedy, who came forward 15 years ago when none of us were coming forward. He had to take all of this on his own.”
Sheldon Kennedy . . . a true Canadian hero! That doesn’t mean he’s perfect; it just means he’s someone today’s children can look up to and admire because he is looking out for them.
Well, that clears up that. . . .
Doug Soetaert, the general manager of the Everett Silvertips, told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that D Ryan Murray isn’t going to be traded.
"Ryan Murray will be drafted as an Everett Silvertip," Soetaert said. "Ryan Murray could have probably played in the National Hockey League this (season). He's that kind of player and has those types of qualities. We were fortunate to have him back a third year.
"If he's back next year, it's a bonus for our hockey club."
Murray has sat out 19 games with a high ankle sprain. He will report to the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp in Calgary on Saturday.
The USHL’s Tri-City Storm fired Drew Schoneck, its general manager and head coach, on Wednesday. Schoneck, a former WHL player and coach, was in his third season with the Storm. He was 29-25-0 in his first season and 19-30-11 last season when his roster was decimated by injuries. This season, the Storm has endured an eight-game losing streak and is 6-15-0, which is the poorest record in the USHL. . . . Schoneck, 38, is the second USHL coach to lose his job in recent days. The Omaha Lancers dumped Bliss Littler last week. Littler also announced his firing via Twitter. . . . Josh Hauge, Schoneck’s assistant coach, has been named the Storm’s interim GM/head coach. Hauge, 32, is in his first season with the Storm after six seasons with the NAHL’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs. . . .
Schoneck tweeted twice on Wednesday:
“Thanks to all the guys.. We battled and never quit.. Good Luck to you all!!”
Later came this one:
“Thanks to all the billet families, volunteers, office people, players and my staff. It was a blast.. Good luck”
JUST NOTES: F Kristians Pelss of the Edmonton Oil Kings is on Latvia’s 31-player preliminary roster for the World Junior Championship that opens Dec. 26 in Calgary and Edmonton. The players will gather in Brooks, Alta., for camp that is scheduled to being Dec. 18. The 22-man roster is to be declared Dec. 23. . . .
The Saskatoon Blades have recalled F Drake Bodie from the midget AAA Norman Northstars and F Ryan Graham from the midget AAA Calgary Royals Gold. Bodie has 23 points in 21 games with the Thompson, Man.-based Northstars, while Graham had 25 points in 14 games with the Royals. The Blades are trying to cope with some injuries and a two-game suspension to F Jake Trask. . . .
The Regina Pats have assigned F Nils Moser, 18, to the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles. Moser was acquired last season from the Tri-City Americans. He had six points in 41 games last season. He has two assists in 12 games this season as he fights to come back from offseason knee surgery. . . .
D Jace Coyle, who played out his eligibility last season with the Medicine Hat Tigers, has been assigned by the AHL’s Texas Stars to the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads. Coyle was pointless in 11 games with Texas. Coyle played 52 games with Spokane in 2007-08 when Hardy Sauter was an assistant coach with the Chiefs. Sauter now is Idaho’s director of hockey operations and head coach. . . .
F Robin Soudek of the Victoria Cougars drew a ‘tbd’ suspension under supplemental discipline out of Tuesday’s game against the visiting Tri-City Americans. He didn’t play in Wednesday’s rematch. . . .
Head coach Don Hay leaves the Vancouver Giants on Friday to join the Canadian national junior team. He will serve as Canada’s head coach in the World Junior Championship and the selection camp opens Saturday in Calgary. . . . In his absence, Glen Hanlon will run the Giants. He gets his initiation Friday against the visiting Portland Winterhawks. It should be an interesting night — it’s the Teddy Bear game and it’s on Sportsnet. . . . The Giants are 10-2-1 of late. . . .
In Swift Current, F Brad Hoban broke a 1-1 tie 13 seconds into the third period as the Broncos beat the Red Deer Rebels, 2-1. . . . The Rebels have lost 11 in a row. . . . The Broncos won their second straight. . . . Red Deer F Turner Elson returned from a six-game suspension to score the game’s first goal at 8:05 of the first. . . . Swift Current D Graeme Craig, who is from Red Deer, tied it at 11:05 of the first. . . . The Rebels lost G Patrik Bartosak at 17:14 of the second period with an apparent rib or chest injury. He is to be examined today. . . . He had stopped 24 of 26 shots. Bolton Pouliot came on to stop all six shots he faced. . . . Swift Current G Jon Groenheyde made 27 saves in a superb outing. . . .

In Prince George, F Greg Fraser scored at 2:55 of OT to give the Cougars a 4-3 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie scored his WHL-leading 32nd goal, shorthanded, at 19:48 of the second to get his side to within one, at 3-2. . . . F Nic Petan’s seventh goal, at 4:13 of the third, tied it at 3-3. . . . Fraser finished with two goals and an assist, and he was plus-4. . . . Prince George D Jesse Forsberg took the warmup but left early and didn’t play. He had blocked a shot Tuesday night in a 5-3 loss to Portland. . . . Cougars F Chase Witala had a goal and two assists. . . . Prince George G Drew Owsley stopped 39 shots. . . .

In Kamloops, D Austin Madaisky had a goal and three assists, all on the PP, as the Blazers bounced the Everett Silvertips, 6-1. . . . The Blazers were 5-for-8 on the PP, scoring twice after Everett F Josh Birkholz was given a checking-to-the-head major and game misconduct at 2:30 of the first. . . . Kamloops F Dylan Willick had two goals and, with 17 goals and five assists, is a Cy Young candidate. . . . F Brendan Ranford also scored twice for the Blazers, who have won seven in a row. . . . Everett has lost seven straight. . . . The Blazers start an East Division swing Saturday against the Swift Current Broncos. . . .

In Kelowna, F Brett Bulmer had a goal and two assists as the Rockets dumped the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-2. . . . F Nick Buonassisi had a goal and an assist for Lethbridge. He has 12 points over his last 11 games. . . . Lethbridge D Landon Oslanski will be hearing from the WHL office after taking a checking-from-behind major at 17:32 of the third period. . . . The Rockets left after the game on their East Division swing. They open Friday against the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Kelowna head coach Ryan Huska won’t be there as he heads for Calgary and the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp. He is an assistant coach with the Canadian team. Assistant coaches Ryan Cuthbert and Dan Lambert will run the Rockets in Huska’s absence. . . .

In Victoria, F Connor Rankin scored twice as the Tri-City Americans got past the Royals, 6-2. . . . The Americans, with the WHL’s best record (23-7-0), won 6-2 in Victoria on Tuesday. . . . F Mason Wilgosh added three assists for the Americans. . . . Tri-City G Eric Comrie, 16, stopped 15 shots in improving to 10-3. . . . The Americans have won four in a row, three of those on the road. . . . Victoria has lost three straight and is winless in five in a row at home. . . . Tri-City F Adam Hughesman had a goal and an assist, giving him 286 career regular-season points. That move him past F Stu Barnes, one of the team’s owners, and into fifth place on the franchise’s all-time list. Hughesman has played 296 games.
F Jaimen Yakubowski, Lethbridge.
D Landon Oslanski, Lethbridge (major)
To fight, or not to fight? That is the question in Finland and Sweden, where it seems the debate is raging. Risto Pakarinen has the story right here.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune offers up an editorial on the NHL and fighting, and it is right here.
Today’s good read comes from Grantland, although it actually is a piece that appeared in the late, great National on Feb. 18, 1990. Written by Johnette Howard, it is a look at Joey Kocur, then the toughest fighter in the NHL.
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