Tuesday, January 24, 2012

G Brett Jaeger (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, Saskatoon, 2001-04) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (Germany, 2.Bundesliga). He had a 3.12 GAA and a .908 save percentage in 27 games with CPH Hockey/Hvidovre Copenhagen (Denmark, AL-Bank Liga) this season. CPH Hockey/Hvidovre has had some financial difficulties and has now moved to an all-Danish lineup. . . .
F Juraj Gracik (Try-City, 2004-06) was released by the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, Premier). He had 14 goals and 24 assists in 32 games for the Lightning this season.
G Calvin Pickard of the Seattle Thunderbirds has made a new fan after Sunday’s game in which he set the WHL career record for saves while opposing Payton Lee, the Vancouver Giants’ 15-year-old goaltender.
That fan sent me an email that reads, in part . . .
“Calvin Pickard, who is truly a great goaltender, stopped another Sunday night to become the all-time puck-stopper in the WHL. But he truly must be acknowledged for his sportsmanship.
“During the second period of Sunday’s game as is custom there was a timeout called around the 10-minute mark. During this timeout, as the players were skating towards their respective benches, the two goaltenders, Pickard and Payton Lee from the Giants, had to cross one another’s path to get to their benches. Pickard passed Lee quite close by and, in something I haven't seen in many a day, Pickard tapped Lee on the pads with his stick and skated to his bench.
“When the timeout was over, Pickard and Lee came together again and both tapped each other on the pads as they headed back to their respective goals.
It was quite a showing and it renews your faith in the true sportsmanship of the game.
“Also during the second period, after play had resumed, Lee made quite a spectacular glove save and I noticed that Pickard was slapping his stick on the ice as a kind of ‘Nice save, kid’ gesture.
“In this day and age, you just don't see that happening and I thought it should be acknowledged.
“In the third period, when Pickard had made the save that got him the record, the fans gave him quite an ovation when it was announced by the in-house public address announcer.
“Pickard also was given quite an ovation when he was selected one of the three stars and deservedly so.
“I have seen a lot of hockey in my day but Sunday’s game really brought me back to a place that I hadn't been to in a long, long time. It was most refreshing to see.”
Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s hanging judge, has been busy over the last few days.
D Alex Roach of the Calgary Hitmen got three games for a Friday night check to the head that has left Prince George Cougars F Greg Fraser with a concussion.
Prince George F Campbell Elynuik came out of that game with five games in suspensions — an automatic one game for receiving his third game misconduct and four more for being involved in what the WHL calls a “one man fight.” In other words, Elynuik jumped a Calgary player.
F Austin Bourhis of the Prince Albert Raiders got hit was a three-game sentence for a charging major in a Friday game against the visiting Victoria Royals.
As well, F Dryden Hunt of the Regina Pats is out ‘tbd’ for a checking to the head of Moose Jaw Warriors F Andrew Johnson. The Warriors say Johnson isn’t concussed, but he isn’t expected to play tonight in Swift Current against the Broncos.
Luke Siemens will be back in goal for the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight when they go up against the host Swift Current Broncos. Siemens, who is 22-9-4, 2.59, .909, wasn’t dressed for two games and spent the Warriors’ last game on the bench as Spencer Tremblay went the distance three times. When Siemens sat out the first game, head coach Mike Stothers told Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald that Siemens needed to re-focus. On Monday, Stothers told Gourlie: “The re-focusing seems to have worked.” . . . Gourlie also reports that Moose Jaw F Andrew Johnson is out after taking a check to the head from Regina Pats F Dryden Hunt on Saturday. . . . Warriors D Dylan McIlrath, with six games left in an eight-game suspension, is in New York with the Rangers for a few days. They took him 10th overall in the NHL’s 2010 draft.
The Saskatoon Blades have returned G Alex Moodie, 16, to the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild. With G Andrey Makarov (concussion) due to return this week, the Blades were able to complete the move they started early in January. But Makarov suffered a concussion on Jan. 7, so Moodie was kept on the roster. During his stay with the Blades, Moodie, who joined them on Dec. 27, won nine of 12 starts, going 9-3-0, 3.42, .895. . . . The Blades are expected to have Makarov in goal on Friday when they meet the Warriors in Moose Jaw.
The WHL career of Prince Albert Raiders F Kellan Tochkin, 20, would appear to be over. The Raiders revealed Monday that Tochkin has a broken wrist that will keep him sidelined for up to five months. He is scheduled to see a specialist in Vancouver and is likely to have surgery next week. . . . The Raiders acquired Tochkin, who is from Abbotsford, B.C., from the Medicine Hat Tigers earlier this season. He had 29 points in 29 games with the Raiders, and also was a plus-7. He is under contract to the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . Tochkin began his WHL career with the Everett Silvertips. . . . In 256 regular-season games, he put up 243 points, including 91 goals.
JUST NOTES: The Portland Winterhawks are at home to the Everett Silvertipts tonight. Portland will be looking to extend its franchise-record home-ice winning streak to 18 games. The WHL record belongs to the 1993-94 Kamloops Blazers (29). . . . The Winterhawks haven’t had a skater finish in the top five in the scoring race since F Josef Balej, who was fifth with 92 points in 2001-02. They haven’t had a play win the scoring race since F Todd Robinson did it with 134 points in 1996-97. F Ty Rattie leads the WHL in goals (42) and is tied with Regina Pats F Jordan Weal in points (81) at the moment. . . .
F Brett Boehm, a Calgary Hitmen list player, has made an oral commitment to the U of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Boehm has 70 points in 33 games with the Saskatchewan midget AAA league’s Beardy’s Blackhawks. Boehm expects to play next season with the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers. . . . Boehm’s father, Brad, played in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders and Moose Jaw Warriors (1988-90). . . .
The AHL’s Connecticut Whale has signed F Randy McNaught. McNaught, 21, is from Nanaimo, B.C. He joins the Whale after starting the season with the U of Calgary Dinos. He had 24 penalty minutes but no points in 12 games. Last season, an ankle injury limited him to eight games with the Vancouver Giants, who had acquired him from the Saskatoon Blades. He also played for the Chilliwack Bruins. In 154 regular-season WHL games, he had 27 points and 321 penalty minutes. . . . McNaught was a seventh-round selection by the New York Rangers in the NHL’s 2010 draft.
David La Vaque of the Minneapolis Star Tribune takes a look at the options facing high school players in Minnesota as they decide between the major junior and NCAA routes. That story is right here.

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