Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Spokane Chiefs and Prince Albert Raiders got the annual post-Christmas feeding frenzy started on Wednesday morning. Yes, the Jan. 10 trade deadline is fast approaching.
Obviously unhappy with their goaltending, the Chiefs dealt F Anthony Bardaro, 19, who was their leading scorer, G Luke Lee-Knight, 18, and a 2012 fifth-round bantam draft pick to the Raiders for G Eric Williams, 18, and F Todd Fiddler, 18.
(The fifth-round pick had been acquired from the Raiders in September when the Chiefs sent D Tyler Vanscourt to Prince Albert for Lee-Knight.)
“Quite simply we needed to strengthen our goaltending,” Spokane GM Tim Speltz told Dave Trimmer of the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “And we needed to change the team. There wasn’t any question about that.”
Williams, a fourth-round round pick in the 2008 bantam draft from Langley, B.C., was the key to this deal going through. He is 8-15-3, 3.86, .884 this season, his second with the Raiders. Last season, he went 17-17-2, 3.71, .898.
Fiddler, a third-round pick of the Medicine Hat Tigers in 2008, had 38 points, including 23 goals, as a freshman last season. This season, Fiddler, who is from Meadow Lake, Sask., has 10 points, including four goals, in 35 games. However, he has only three points in his last 17 games.
Bardaro, from Delta, B.C., led the Chiefs in goals (18) and points (37), having played in 29 games. He is in his third full WHL season. Bardaro was scratched just prior to the Chiefs’ 4-1 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna on Tuesday night, indicating that the deal may have been done at that point.
“We’re trading a proven scorer in Anthony, but not a guy we were having success with as a proven scorer,” Speltz told Rimmer. “We felt needed to change things. (Fiddler) hasn’t gotten off the mark. We’re hoping the change will help him.”
Lee-Knight, a Calgarian, is 2-0-2, 2.91, .868 in nine games. He was dealt to the Chiefs on Sept. 15 for Vanscourt.
The Chiefs are trying to get back in the chase in the Western Conference. They have games in hand on the four teams ahead of them but are eight points behind the fourth-place Portland Winterhawks. Spokane, a team that has to work hard to score, needs better goaltending than it has been getting. Mac Engel has been the starter and two of his numbers – 2.83, 14-11-3 – aren’t bad. But his save percentage (.884) isn’t what it needs to be.
The Chiefs are a better defensive team than the Raiders, so Spokane’s management must feel that Williams will have better numbers there.
The Raiders, who have been getting some solid work from G Cole Holowenko, obviously felt they could give up some goaltending in order to add even more offence.
Still, Prince Albert, which has won four straight, is tied for 11th in the 12-team Eastern Conference, eight points out of the last playoff spot.
The Raiders, who have won four in a row, are at home to the Saskatoon Blades tonight; the Chiefs meet the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook on Friday.
After the deal was announced, Williams tweeted:
“Would like to thank
@PARaidersHockey for a great experience and all the fans for their support! Going to miss #hockeytownnorth
You may have noticed that D Tanner Mort was back in the Spokane lineup on Tuesday night in Kelowna. Having requested a trade, he hadn’t played since Dec. 2. However, the two parties ironed out their differences over the Christmas break and the 18-year-old from Post Falls, Idaho, has rejoined the team.
Unfortunately, he suffered a shoulder injury in the third period on Tuesday and is out indefinitey.
The Prince Albert Raiders have added D Matt Waseylenko, 18, to their roster. In fact, he played his first game Tuesday as the Raiders scored a 3-2 shootout victory over the Broncos in Swift Current.
Waseylenko had been with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks, putting up five assists and 23 penalty minutes in 27 games. A native of St. Albert, Alta., he was a fifth-round selection by the Raiders in he 2008 bantam draft.
At the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, Team Pacific scored a 4-1 tuneup victory over Sweden on Wednesday. Assistant manager David Michaud reports that TP goals came from Jaedon Descheneau (Kootenay), Curtis Lazar (Edmonton), Torrin White (Moose Jaw) and Josh Morrissey (Prince Albert). White also had an assist. . . . G Eric Comrie (Tri-City) stopped 16 of 17 shots in the first half, with Tristan Jarry (Edmonton) coming on to stop all 24 shots he faced. . . . Each team was 1-5 on the PP.
In Brandon, D Ryley Miller scored at 1:23 of OT to give the Wheat Kings a 3-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . It was the third goal of Miller’s career. . . . He has three goals in 33 games this season, after not scoring in the first 136 games of his career. . . . Regina F Lane Scheidl had forced OT when he scored with 4:09 left in the third. . . . F Brendan Walker had given Brandon a 2-0 lead with his 14th and 15th goals, both in the first period and both on the PP. . . . Scheidl scored both Regina goals, giving him 13. . . . Walker also assist on Miller’s winner. . . . F Michael Ferland had three assists for Brandon. . . . F Tyrel Seaman (concussion) was back in Brandon’s lineup for the first time since Nov. 25. . . .
In Everett, F Luke Lockhart scored the only shootout goal as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Silvertips, 4-3. . . . Everett is 1-7 in shootouts, including a 2-1 loss to Seattle in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. . . . Everett trailed 3-1 in the second period before F Ryan Harrison scored twice, getting his ninth at 12:58 of the second and tying it with a shorthanded score at 15:00 of the third. . . . Seattle G Calvin Pickard, who stopped 32 shots, moved into eighth place on the WHL’s career list for minutes played. He passed Ed Staniowski (Regina, 1971-75). Pickard has played 12,095 minutes, with Evan Lindsay (Tri-City, Prince Albert, 1995-2000) next at 12,131, followed by Steve Passmore (Tri-City, Victoria, Kamloops, 1988-94) at 12,149. . . . D Cason Machacek of Seattle scored his first goal in 24 games this season. It was the fifth of his 219-game career. . . . The Thunderbirds are without F Brandon Troock (wrist), who was injured in the second period of Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout victory over the visiting Silvertips. . . . Seattle also is without D Kyle Verdino, who didn’t play in the third period of a 5-1 loss to the host Tri-City Americans on Dec. 17 and apparently may have a concussion. . . . With Troock out, F Connor Sanvido got back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch in four of the previous five games. He had one assist. . . .
In Moose Jaw, F Sam Fioretti’s shootout goal gave the Warriors a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . F Brett Lyon’s 11th goal of the season gave the Warriors a 3-2 lead at 17:00 of the third period. . . . Edmonton F Tyler Maxwell got his 20th at 17:40 to force extra time. . . . F Michael St. Croix also got his 20th for the Oil Kings, his coming on a second-period PP. . . . F Justin Kirsch (wrist) was back in Moose Jaw’s lineup for the first time since Nov. 25. He had one assist and a shootout goal after missing 10 games. . . . Maxwell also scored in the shootout. . . . The Warriors left after the game for a trip into the U.S. Division. . . . Moose Jaw F Carter Hansen was named Team West’s captain at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. . . . The teams were missing a combined nine players between the World Junior Championship and the WHC. . . .
In Kamloops, D Bronson Maschmeyer broke a 1-1 tie at 18:48 of the second period and the Blazers went on to a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Maschmeyer, 20, began his WHL career with the Giants before being dealt to the Blazers. It was his fourth goal of the season. . . . The Giants had won three in a row, including a 4-3 shootout victory over visiting Kamloops on Tuesday. . . . The Blazers have points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . The Blazers now hold a five-point lead over the Giants atop the B.C. Division. Kamloops is one point behind Western Conference-leading Tri-City, with the Americans holding three games in hand. . . .
In Prince George, F John Odgers, playing his first WHL game, scored the winner as the Cougars got past the Calgary Hitmen, 3-1. . . . Odgers, who plays for the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, broke a 1-1 tie at 17:52 of the second period. He is the son of former WHL/NHL player Jeff Odgers, who now scouts for the Cougars. . . . Prince George F Austin Daae also scored his first WHL goal. It came in his 23rd game of this season. . . . Cougars G Drew Owsley stopped 37 shots. . . . The Cougars dressed 15 skaters, three under the maximum. They are without F Brock Hirsche (undisclosed, finished for this season), D Shane Pilling (injured), D Reid Jackson (injured), F Chase Witala, F Jordan Tkatch, F Alex Forsberg, D Martin Marincin and F Jarrett Fontaine. . . . Marincin is with Slovakia at the World Junior Championship; Witala, Tkatch, Forsberg and Fontaine are at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. . . .
In Portland, the Winterhawks unloaded 54 shots as they beat the Victoria Royals, 6-3. . . . Victoria G Keith Hamilton, who was acquired from Portland in the offseason, stopped 48 shots. . . . The Winterhawks have won 10 in a row at home. . . . Portland D Joe Morrow had a goal and two helpers. . . . Portland F Brad Ross scored twice, giving him a six-game goal streak. He has 24 goals this season. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie was unsuccessful on a second-period penalty shot. . . . Portland F Sven Bartschi, who is at the World Junior Championship, suffered an apparent upper body injury on Tuesday as his Swiss side dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to Sweden. . . . Victoria D Tyler Stahl, out with a concussion since Oct. 1, had hoped to return after Christmas. But he apparently has suffered a setback and remains out indefinitely.
Stu Hackel at takes a look at the month that was with the NHL and concussions. Warning: It isn’t pretty.
“Last week on TSN,” Hackel writes, “veteran commentator Dave Hodge called the NHL’s ongoing concussion problem the most critical issue facing the league in its history. He’s not overstating things. The challenge is curbing this problem without excessively tampering with two of the sport’s essential characteristics that make it so appealing — speed and physicality.”
Hackel’s complete report is right here.
Early in his piece, Hackel refers to Dustin Fink, who runs The Concussion Blog. With concussions having become THE story in hockey, I have added a link to this blog over there on the right.
This blog is sure to provide some important reading.
The 50-50 payout at the Canada-Czech Republic game in Edmonton last night was $84,642. It was won by Mike Futa, a scout with the Los Angeles Kings.

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