Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When the WHL’s weekly injury list is released today or tomorrow, the Portland Winterhawks likely will show F Oliver Gabriel as being out with an upper body injury. His left shoulder apparently popped out twice in Friday’s 7-6 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . An observer tells me: “The first time was in a fight early in the game; he basically had to give up the fight and he skated straight to the locker-room. He came back for a couple of shifts at the end of the period, then on the first shift of the second period, he just collapsed in a heap on the ice in obvious pain. He eventually got up and his left arm was just dangling as he skated off. From what I can tell, there was no contact at all the second time.” . . . Gabriel had his 2010-11 season come to a premature end when he needed surgery on his right shoulder. . . . He has signed with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets – he was a free-agent signing – and began this season with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons. If he is gone for any length of time, it could be a devastating loss for a Portland team that needs his grit up front.
D Tyler Bortsmayer, 18, is back with the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings after a brief stint with the Regina Pats. . . . He joined the Pats in mid-December and was pointless in four games. . . .
In Lethbridge, the Hurricanes broke a 2-2 tie with five goals and beat the Kootenay Ice, 5-2. . . . F Reid Duke, the fifth overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal for Lethbridge. . . . F Max Reinhart scored twice for the Ice. He’s got 18 this season. . . . Lethbridge D Daniel Johnston had three assists. . . . Lethbridge G Damien Ketlo stopped 31 shots. . . . Lethbridge F Russell Maxwell’s ninth goal broke a 2-2 tie at 12:53 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes were 3-for-9 on the PP; the Ice was 1-for-5.
F Albin Blomqvist, Lethbridge.
Team Pacific went into Monday’s play at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge riding high atop the B Group with a 3-0 record. But then it lost 4-2 to the United States and now finds itself playing for fifth place against Quebec. . . . The U.S., Russia and Team Pacific all finished 3-1. According to the tiebreaking procedure, a sub-group is created “of the three teams that have the same record. The tie-break between the three teams is the goal differential in the games played amongst each other. The seeded teams then are: USA in first (+1), Russia in second (even), Pacific in third (-1).” . . . F Torrin White (Moose Jaw) and F Morgan Klimchuk (Regina) scored for Team Pacific. . . . Team West, meanwhile, lost 6-3 to Russia and now is 0-4, the first Canadian team to go winless since Quebec went 0-4 in Lethbridge in 2005. . . . F Denis Bosc (MJHL-Steinbach Pistons), F Cory Millette (Red Deer) and F Jordan Tkatch (Prince George) scored for Team West, which will play Germany in the ninth-place game. . . . Today’s semifinals feature Sweden against the U.S., and Russia versus defending-champion Ontario.
WHL TRADE TRACKER (trades made since Dec. 27):
Trades made: 4
Players: 11
Draft picks: 4
The Chicago Blackhawks announced the signing of F Mark McNeill of the Prince Albert Raiders on Monday. McNeill, the 18th overall pick in the 2011 NHL draft, has 39 points in 37 games with the Raiders this season. Capgeek.com actually reported this deal on Sunday, noting that the three-year deal calls for AHL salaries of US$70,000, annual NHL salaries of $1.175 million and a signing bonus of $277,500 payable over the three years. . . .
Grant Thomas, a former QMJHL defenceman (Montreal Rocket, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Halifax Mooseheads, 2001-04), is the proud father of Langley, B.C.’s New Years baby. His wife, Katie, gave birth to Blake Colton Thomas at 8:10 a.m. He weighed nine pounds six ounces and already is 22 inches tall. “He’s thick,” Grant told Troy Landreville of the Langley Advance. “He’ll definitely be finishing his bodychecks.”
Andrew Podnieks takes a look right here at linesman Kiel Murchison, who works WHL games while also serving as a Vancouver police officer. Murchison has been working the lines at the World Junior Championship.
Jack Jablonski, a 16-year-old high school hockey player from the Minneapolis area, was left paralyzed after taking a hit from two opposing players on Friday night. According to his coach, Jablonski has no movement in his legs and minimal movement in his hands and figures. Dan Browning of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has more right here.
Dave Paul of the Sarnia Observer talks with Alex Galchenyuk Sr., an assistant coach with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, and Sherry Bassin, the Erie Otters’ general manager, about the Punchup in Piestany that took place 25 years ago. That story is right here and, boy, have we come a long ways since that day.

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