Sunday, January 22, 2012

If you don’t read anything else today, read this story by Scott Burnside of It’s the latest on Marc Savard, the former Boston Bruins centre, and how he is dealing with post-concussion syndrome. And after you have read it, stop and think about the number of concussions we are seeing in hockey today.
Of course, on the same that Marc Savard met with the media in Boston, D Andrew Ference of the Bruins tried to run D Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers through then end boards from behind. If you haven’t yet seen the play, Ference rushes the puck up the ice, dumps it into the Rangers zone and then follows it in. McDonagh turns, Ference follows him over the icing line and then shoves him from behind.
Joe Michelleti, who was on the telecast crew, summed it up: “One of these days someboyd’s not going to get up and then maybe some of these players will wake up. . . . it’s ridiculous . . . it’s ridiculous.”
Unfortunately, Michelleti is right. It is ridiculous.
While all of this was happening, the Winnipeg Jets revealed that their leading scorer, former Vancouver Giants star Evander Kane, is sidelined with a concussion.
The Philadelphia Flyers revealed that F Daniel Briere has joined the list of concussed NHLers. He left Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils.
And, in Pittsburgh, it was revealed that Penguins F Sidney Crosby had a session with a specialist in chiropractic neurology earlier in the week and that he now is in California for a few sessions with a neurological spine specialist.
What is especially interesting is that NHL teams now are publicly declaring which players have concussions, while continue to refer to other injuries as upper- or lower-body.
In the WHL, however, there are no concussions, only upper-body injuries. There were more than 100 concussions in the WHL last season. Prior to the start of this season, the WHL chose to go to the upper- and lower-body system of reporting injuries.
And here’s a good read, by Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen. It deals with Ottawa Senators F Brad Winchester who hasn’t played since Dec. 20. Yes. Concussion. Here, he details what his life has been like since he was injured.
As the WHL heads into the last two months of its regular season, there are going to be a couple of interesting individual races worth watching.
Regina F Jordan Weal moved into the lead for the point title on Friday night, his two points giving him 79 in 47 games, one more than F Ty Rattie of the Portland Winterhawks, who had played 43 games.
Weal and Rattie each picked up two more points last night, leaving the Regina veteran with an 81-80 lead.
Rattie went into last night with 40 goals, which had him tied for the lead with F Emerson Etem of the Medicine Hat Tigers, who got there with a deuce on Friday night.
Last night, it was Rattie scoring twice and Etem once, leaving the Portland sniper with a 42-41 edge.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes are the latest team to encounter weather-related travel problems.
The Hurricanes were excited to get on the bus and head for home after beating the Rockets 6-3 in Kelowna on Saturday night.
But what normally is about an eight-hour jaunt turned into much more than that as the Trans-Canada Highway was closed so they overnighted in Revelstoke.
G Liam Liston tweeted: “Never seen roads this bad. Stuck in Revelstoke for the night.”
Team captain Brody Sutter followed with: “Stuck in Revelstoke for the night... All I want to do is go home. #Rattled”
On Saturday, Sutter added: “Left Kelowna over 14 hours ago, the 8 hour bus trip has turned into a 18+ hour bus trip. Get me back to Lethy. #LightAtTheEndOfTheTunnel”
The Hurricanes reached Calgary at about 1 p.m. MT.
Meanwhile, the Portland Winterhawks had some problems of their own as they worked to get to Spokane late Friday.
The Winterhawks didn’t play Friday and were headed for Spokane for a Saturday night engagement with the Chiefs when their bus experienced a flat tire. A problem with the spare meant the Winterhawks had to wait for another bus to come to their rescue.
These problems pale compared to what the Kootenay Ice went through earlier in the week when it took the club 28 hours to get to Regina for a Wednesday night game with the Pats.
In Prince Albert, F Michael St. Croix scored three goals and added two assists as the Edmonton Oil Kings dropped the Raiders, 9-2. . . . St. Croix has 77 points, including 31 goals, in 48 games. He has three hat tricks this season. . . . F Tyler Maxwell had opened the scoring in each of Edmonton’s previous four games, but didn’t get it done this time. Instead, he scored the game’s fifth and sixth goals, giving him 29. . . . He also had two assists. He has 38 points, including 18 goals, in 24 games since moving from Everett to Edmonton in a trade. . . . F Dylan Wruck added a goal and two assists for the Oil Kings, who now are tied with the Tri-City Americans for second in the overall standings. . . .

In Regina, F Jordan Weal scored in OT to give the Pats a 3-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Weal scored his 30th goal of the season at 30 seconds of OT. . . . He also had an assist and now has a WHL-leading 81 points. He also leads the WHL in assists (51). . . . Regina F Lane Scheidl forced OT when he scored his 17th goal on a penalty shot at 11:29 of the third period. . . . Regina F Dryden Hunt got tossed at 2:16 of the first period with a checking to the head major. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Blades scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Victoria Royals, 9-6. . . . Victoria gave up the game’s first two goals, then held 4-2 and 5-3 leads. . . . The Blades tied it 5-5, only to have Victoria F Jamie Crooks scored his 25th goal at 2:01 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon D Dalton Thrower got his second goal of the game at 8:38, D Kyle Schmidt added his second of the season and second in two nights at 10:26 and Thrower completed his hat trick at 19:02. . . . Thrower has 12 goals this season. . . . Thrower’s last goal was shorthanded and into an empty net, as was Michael Burns’ 20th of the season at 19:32. . . . Burns also had two assists and finished plus-6. . . . Saskatoon F Lukas Sutter, who had one goal, also was plus-6. . . . Victoria went 2-4-0 in its swing through the East Division. . . .

In Brandon, G Mackenzie Skapski stopped 33 shots to help the Kootenay Ice to a 7-3 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . Brandon has lost five in a row at home. . . . Skapski was making his first start since Jan. 2. . . . The Ice broke open a scoreless game with goals 1:16 apart late in the first period, D Jagger Dirk sniping at 17:38 on the PP and F Joe Antilla following up at 18:54. . . . The visitors went on to a 5-0 lead. . . . Ice F Sam Reinhart picked up a first-period assist which tied him for the franchise single-season record for most points by a 16-year-old. It was his 40th point, tying D Steve McCarthy. . . . F Max Reinhart had three assists for the Ice. . . . F Levi Cable had two goals for the Ice, giving him three on the season, while F Jesse Ismond also scored twice. He’s got 13. . . . These same teams meet Tuesday in Cranbrook. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers erased an early 1-0 deficit and beat the Swift Current Broncos, 2-1. . . . F Christian Magnus scored for the Broncos at 12:05 of the first period. . . . The Tigers then got two first-period PP goals, from F Emerson Etem, at 13:10, and F Jayden Hart, at 14:34. . . . Etem has 41 goals, which is second in the WHL. . . . He also has scored at least one goal in each of his last 10 games, the longest such streak in all of the CHL since F Nigel Dawes of the Kootenay Ice in 2004-05. . . . F Hunter Shinkaruk had two assists for the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat G Tyler Bunz stopped 35 shots, one fewer than Swift Current’s Jon Groenheyde. . . .

In Red Deer, F Turner Elson had two goals and two assists to lead the Rebels to a 5-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . D Mathew Dumba added his 13th goal and two assists. The goal was shorthanded and opened the scoring at 18:24 of the first. . . . Red Deer G Deven Dubyk stopped 32 shots. . . . Red Deer, down to 11 healthy forwards, had F Connor Bleackley, a first-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft, in the lineup. . . . The Cougars were without F Greg Fraser, who was concussed by a hit to head from Calgary D Alex Roach on Friday night. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips got three goals from F Kohl Bauml and beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-4, in overtime. . . . Bauml, who has 12 goals, got the winner at 3:21 of OT to complete his first WHL hat trick. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald points out that Bauml has 18 points over his last 16 games after he had just seven points in 30 games. . . . Everett overcame deficits of 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3. . . . Everett F Josh Birkholz forced extra time with his 20th goal at 19:14 of the third. . . . Birkholz finished with two goals and two assists. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets came from behind a 3-0 second-period deficit and beat the Vancouver Giants 4-3 in a shootout. . . . Vancouver led this one 3-0 with a minute left in the second. . . . Kelowna F Cody Chikie scored at 19:23 of the second and the Rockets were on their way. . . . F Tanner Moar got his third of the season at 10:36 of the third, on the PP, to tie it at 3-3. . . . Kelowna D MacKenzie Johnston drew two assists. . . . Vancouver G Jackson Whistle, who is from Kelowna, stopped 38 shots, nine more than Kelowna’s Adam Brown. . . . In the shootout, Kelowna got goals from F Zach Franko and D Myles Bell, while Vancouver forwards Marek Tvrdon and Cain Franson were blanked. . . .

In Spokane, F Steven Kuhn’s two goals led the Chiefs to a 5-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kuhn has 10 goals. . . . F Dominik Uher and D Brenden Kichton each had a goal and two assists for the Chiefs. . . . Uher has 14 points in nine games since playing for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship. . . . F Ty Rattie scored both Portland goals and both came via the PP. He has a WHL-leading 42 goals. He also leads the WHL in PP goals, with 21. . . . Spokane G Eric Williams stopped 24 shots. . . . The teams meet again tonight in Spokane. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Kamloops Blazers maintained their position atop the WHL’s overall standings with a 4-3 shootout victory over the host Tri-City Americans. . . . The Blazers (34-10-3), who have won nine straight games, have 71 points, two more than the Americans (34-11-1) and the Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings (32-11-5). . . . The Americans, who play in Edmonton on Wednesday, now have lost two in a row at home after rattling of a 13-game home-ice win streak. . . . This also is the first time this season that Tri-City lost back-to-back games this season. . . . Kamloops F Chase Schaber scored twice for the second straight game. His second goal, and 19th of the season, gave his side a 3-1 lead at 5:28 of the second. . . . Tri-City tied it on goals by F Brendan Shinnimin, his 27th this season and the 100th of his career, at 15:30 of the second and F Adam Hughesman, his 29th, at 16:05. . . . The Blazers won the shootout 2-0 on goals by Schaber and D Bronson Maschmeyer. . . . The Americans had a great chance to win when Kamloops D Austin Madaisky was penalized for delay of game at 19:46 of the third period. . . . When the Blazers dropped the Seattle Thunderbirds 5-3 in Kent, Wash., on Friday, Schaber and Maschmeyer both reached career highs in goals. Schaber has 17 in 42 games; last season, he had 16 in 46. Maschmeyer has nine in 46 games. Two seasons ago, he had seven in 72 games. Last season, he had eight in 72 games. Maschmeyer, acquired from Vancouver prior to the start of the 2009-10 season, hasn’t missed a game with Kamloops. Last night, he played in his 191st straight. . . . The Blazers are 11-1-1 against the U.S. Division.
D Sawyer Lange, Prince Albert.
F Torrin White, Moose Jaw.
F Colton Sissons, Kelowna.
D Joe Morrow, Portland.
D Mitch Topping, Tri-City.


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