Sunday, January 8, 2012

F Stanislav Balin (Portland, 2005-06) signed a contract for the rest of this season with SKP Poprad (Slovakia, Extraliga), five days after his release by Lev Poprad (Slovakia, KHL). He had one goal and one assist in 16 games with Lev. In an assignment to SKP earlier in the season, Balin had three goals and six assists in eight games.
WHL TRADE TRACKER (trades made since Dec. 27):
Trades made: 7
Players: 15
Draft picks: 6
Late Saturday afternoon, the Tri-City Americans acquired F Jesse Mychan, 19, from the Everett Silvertips for a 2013 fourth-round bantam draft pick.
The Americans were in Everett to play the Silvertips last night, which meant that Mychan simply had to switch dressing rooms, although he didn’t play in the game.
Mychan, 19, is from Saskatoon. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder had seven points and 106 penalty minutes in 26 games with the Silvertips. His season’s work features three suspensions totalling 14 games, including 10 games for a headshot in a Nov. 13 game against the Prince George Cougars.
He was a 10th-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2007 bantam draft.
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Emile Therien has written an opinion piece that has appeared in a number of major Canadian newspapers.
Firstly, who is Emile Therien and why should we care what he thinks?
Therien is a former president of the Canada Safety Council; he spent 18 years in that position. He also knows something about hockey, having watched his son, Chris, who played three years at Providence College and went on to play 764 NHL games — 753 with the Philadelphia Flyers and 11 with the Dallas Stars.
Emile Therien’s piece appeared in the Toronto Star under the headline: The future looks bleak for Canadian minor hockey.
Therien writes here about hockey being “plagued with serious injuries” and the impact of that on minor hockey’s registration numbers.
“Enrolment in Hockey Canada teams is currently 572,000 players, down more than 200,000 from its peak,” Therien writes. “And the prospects are grim. In the next decade, some say there could be 200,000 fewer kids playing the game. Yet Hockey Canada remains apathetic to the injury problem.
“The opposite trend is evident south of the border, where the number of players registered with USA Hockey rose from 195,000 in 1990-91, to 500,579 in 2010.”
He goes on to point out that “the American system and players are better today than they have ever been. Currently more than 58 universities and colleges play Division I hockey. In addition, 74 colleges play NCAA Division II and Division III hockey, and 447 colleges have club hockey teams (men’s and women’s).
“Canada has no comparable development programs. Our system is built on and caters exclusively to the Canadian Hockey League and its teams, which are, in effect, commercial entities.”
The cost of playing minor hockey is spiralling out of control and, he writes, “a major overhaul of minor hocke is needed in Canada — and soon. A detailed, systemic investigation of the issues confronting minor hockey is crucial.”
On the subject of minor hockey, right here is a piece written by Dan Bauer of Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it on his blog, so have provided a link to another spot where the piece appears.
“It is official, all youth athletics are nuts,” Bauer starts.
A couple of items from Bauer’s writing:
“Every rink has a water fountain. Save time and money on the Gatorade, because I'm not certain that 10 year-olds even have electrolytes. And if they do, I bet they have a lot of them. We only start losing things when we get older. Savings: 80+ games & practices @ $2.00 = $160.
“They can carry their own bag and if they can't it's too big. You don't carry your kid's backpack to school for them; you shouldn't have to carry their hockey bag either. Donate your wheelie bag to a stewardess and get one that has to be carried. Benefit: Increased leg strength.”
Take a couple of minutes and give this a read.
And now for today’s good read. . . . No one writes with eloquence about the state of today’s game the way Ken Dryden does. He has penned another piece and it is right here, from the pages of The Globe and Mail.
Dryden writes:
“Fight” is not “fighting” or high-speed cheap shots. Fight is never giving up. Gretzky, Orr, Richard, Lemieux, Lafleur – they were great fighters. They fought with their head, hands, legs, will, and need to be the best, and rarely with their fists. Crosby too. The toughest players aren’t those who hit but those who are willing to be hit, to fight their way to the net, to fight expectation and disappointment to score the game-changing goal.
How is it that Portland Winterhawks F Ty Rattie went from where he was last season to where he is this season? If you’ve been away, he is leading the WHL scoring race. Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune takes a look at Rattie right here.
In the BCHL on Saturday night, the Penticton Vees ran their victory skein to 21 games, with a 6-1 victory over the SilverBacks in Salmon Arm. . . . The Vees next play Friday against the visiting Langley Rivermen.
The Vancouver Giants made two roster moves on Saturday afternoon, adding F Riley Kieser, 18, to their roster and assigning F Levi Bews, 17, to the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . Kieser, from Sherwood Park, Alta., had 13 points and 20 penalty minutes in 31 games with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. The Giants put him on their list last month. He is to join them on Monday. . . . Bews was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades in the swap that brought G Adam Morrison to Vancouver. Bews had eight points and 22 penalty minutes in 34 games with the Giants. . . . In that Oct. 4 deal, the Giants got Morrison, 20, and Bews for F Michael Burns, 20, D Zach Hodder, 18, and a 2013 fourth-round bantam draft pick.
In Prince Albert, Brandon got two goals from each of F Darian Dziurzynski, Jens Meilleur and Michael Ferland and the Wheat Kings beat the Raiders, 11-3. . . . The Wheat Kings scored five times in a span of 7:18 in the first half of the third period to blow this one open. . . . Dziurzynski also had two assists. . . . D Eric Roy had a goal and two helpers for Brandon. . . . Brandon F Mark Stone had two assists. . . . According to Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun, the Wheat Kings hadn’t scored that many goals in a road game since Sept, 28, 1996, when they won 14-2 in Prince Albert. . . .

In Saskatoon, F Jake Trask had a goal and three assists as the Blades edged the Regina Pats, 4-3. . . . F Michael Burns had three assists for Saskatoon, which had lost 3-0 in Regina on Friday. . . . The Pats had been 5-0-1 in their previous six games. . . . The Blades led this one 3-0 by scoring three times in the first five minutes of the second period. . . . Regina F Jordan Weal, who had a goal and an assist, got the Pats to within one at 16:34 of the third on a PP. . . . G Andrey Makarov, so good for Russia in the final of the World Junior Championship, was back in goal for the Blades. . . . Of course, let’s not forget how good Makarov was when he came on in relief in the semifinal against Canada, too. . . . Makarov was gone after one period, though. He got run over at 4:17 of the first period and Regina F Morgan Klimchuk got tossed with a charging major. . . . Makarov finished the period but Alex Moodie took over to start the second. . . . Moodie, 16, will be returning to the midget AAA Winnipeg WIld now. . . . The Blades scratched three playes — F Ryan Olsen, F Lukas Sutter and F Locke Muller — for violation of team rules. . . . They also are without F Josh Nicholls (knee) and F Kyle Haas (undisclosed). . . . As a result, the Blades dressed 17 skaters, one under the maximum. . . .

In Edmonton, D Griffin Reinhart broke a 3-3 tie at 10:42 of the third period and the Oil Kings went on to beat the Swift Current Broncos, 5-3. . . . F Kristians Pelss, who captain the Latvian team at the WJC, had a goal and two assists in his first game back with Edmonton. . . . The Broncos scored the game’s first two goals, then gave up three in a row. . . . Swift Current D Dalton Reum tied it 3-3 at 9:53 of the third. . . . Reinhart got his ninth goal 49 seconds later. . . . Swift Current G Jon Groenheyde stopped 3y shots as his side was outshot, 42-17. . . .

In Cranbrook, F Tanner Eberle had two goals and an assist to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Eberle forged a 2-2 tie at 6:50 of the second and broke the tie at 2:32 of the third. . . . Eberle has six goals this season. . . . Moose Jaw G Luke Siemens stopped 35 shots. . . . The Warriors closed out a six-game road trip with a 2-3-1 record. . . . Moose Jaw will spend a few days at home but won’t play there for a while longer. They have two more road games left on this trek, in Calgary on Friday and Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . .

In Red Deer, F Emerson Etem forced OT and then won it as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Rebels, 3-2. . . . Etem forced OT with his 32nd goal at 16:15 of the third and won it at 2:16 of OT. . . . Red Deer’s two goals were shorthanded scores by F Adam Kambeitz and D Justin Weller. . . . Etem was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after scoring the winner. . . .

In Prince George, F Brendan Ranford scored twice in the game’s first 11 minutes and later added two assists as the Kamloops Blazers beat the Cougars, 6-1. . . . Ranford, who has 21 goals, and Swiss freshman F Tim Bozon both reached the 20-goal plateau. . . . Kamloops has three 20-goal men, with F Colin Smith having gotten there Friday. . . . The Cougars have lost four in a row, three of them to the Blazers. . . . F Brandon Herrod, acquired a week earlier from the Prince Albert Raiders, had three assists, while D Bronson Maschmeyer scored twice.. . . . Prince George D Martin Marincin got his side on the board 32 seconds into the second period. That snapped Kamloops G Cole Cheveldave’s shutout streak against the Cougars at 145 minutes 12 seconds. That included back-to-back shutouts on Sunday and Friday. . . . Canada won the IIHF U-18 women’s world championship Saturday in Zlin, Czech Republic, with a 3-0 victory over the U.S. G Emerance Maschmeyer, the sister of Kamloops D Bronson Maschmeyer, stopped 28 shots for Canada. Tim O’Donovan, the Blazers’ video and media co-ordinator, handled Canada’s video work. . . .

In Vancouver, F Brendan Gallagher, in his first game after playing for Canada at the WJC, had three goals and four assists as the Giants beat the Portland Winterhawks, 8-4. . . . Gallagher has 53 points, including 27 goals, in 29 games. . . . Portland had won its previous six games. . . . F James Henry added four assists for Vancouver, which got 40 saves from G Adam Morrison. . . . Portland took 53 of 104 penalty minutes. . . . The Giants were 3-for-5 on the PP; the Winterhawks were 3-for-9. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie had two assists. He leads the WHL with 73 points, four more than Regina F Jordan Weal. . . .

In Everett, G Ty Rimmer stopped 22 shots as the Tri-City Americans beat the Silvertips, 4-0. . . . Rimmer, who has five shutouts this season and nine in his career, has back-to-back shutouts, while the Americans have won 13 in a row. . . . The Americans have posted a total of seven shutouts, two shy of the franchise record (2009-10). . . . F Malte Strömwall had a goal, his ninth, and an assist for the Americans. He opened the scoring at 16:32 of the first. . . . Tri-City F Patrick Holland, who was coming off three consecutive four-point games, was held pointless. . . . Tri-City F Adam Hughesman scored his 26th goal at 17:16 of the second. That was the 300th regular-season point of his career and came in his 305th game. He is the fifth Tri-City player to get to 300, after Brian Sakic, Daymond Langkow, Brent Ascroft and Terry Degner. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Todd Fiddler had a goal and two assists to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-2 victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Fiddler had 10 points in 35 games with the Prince Albert Raiders, when he was dealt to the Chiefs. He has five points in five games with Spokane. . . . Seattle G Calvin Pickard stopped 36 shots. . . . F Mitch Holmberg had two goals for the Chiefs. . . . Spokane head coach Don Nachbaur now has 498 WHL victories. . . .  Spokane’s next three games all are against Everett. . . .

In Victoria, F Zach Franko’s shootout goal gave the Kelowna Rockets a 4-3 victory over the Royals. . . . Franko was Kelowna’s first shooter. . . . The Royals have lost nine in a row ((0-6-3). . . . Victoria F Mike Forsyth forced OT with his first goal of the season at 10:41 of the third period. A 19-year-old sophomore from Calgary, Forsyth has eight points in 42 games. Last season, he had 16 points, eight of them goals, in 68 games with the Chilliwack Bruins. . . . Victoria F Zane Jones left at 16:26 of the second period after being given a major penalty for boarding. . . .
F Darian Dziurzynski, Brandon.
D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen, Vancouver.
It was early in the third period of last night’s NHL game between the Minnesota Wild and the Flames in Calgary.
Calgary F Jarome Iginla, looking for his 500th goal, found himself alone on the left wing in the Minnesota zone. He loaded up and ripped a shot that hit the crossbar.
“Oh,” screamed Hockey Night in Canada voice Mark Lee, “he had the howitzer and 500 in his sights and he rings it off the iron.”
We now take you to Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary, which tells us that a howitzer is “a short cannon used to fire projectiles at medium muzzle velocities and with relatively high trajectories.”
In other words, when Kobe Bryant launches a shot from three-point range it is closer to being a shot from a howitzer than is an Iginla shot.
In other words, a howitzer basically fires lob shots. Iginla's shot was anything but a lob.
OK, Mr. Lee?


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