Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I have been told by two people that a player who is selected as the WHL player of the week doesn’t receive anything. Mr. Commissioner, is that true? According to Bruce Hamilton, the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, you have teams operating on annual budgets of $3 million. That being the case, can you not find something — gas coupons, fast food coupons, a free movie — for your players of the week?
The Red Deer Rebels, with eight players injured, have added a couple of younger players as they head into the B.C. Division for four games. . . . D Kevin Pochuk, 16, has joined the Rebels from the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild. Pochuk, the highest-scoring defenceman in the Manitoba midget AAA league, actually got to Red Deer late last week, played in two weekend games and now will stay for at least four more games. . . . Pochuk’s presence gives the Rebels five defencemen. He was a fifth-round selection in the 2010 bantam draft. . . . F Dexter Bricker of the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires also is expected to join the Rebels for at least part of this swing. Bricker has some experience with the Rebels and already has served a three-game suspension for a charging major in an exhibition game on Sept. 6. Later, he went pointless in three regular-season games.
In Regina, G Matt Hewitt stopped 27 shots to lead the Pats to a 1-0 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Hewitt has four shutouts this season, two of them against Saskatoon. . . . The Blades have been blanked three times this season. . . . Regina F Jordan Weal scored the game’s only goal, getting his fifth shorthanded tally of the season at 18:54 of the second period. . . . That gave Weal 90 points, moving him into a tie for the WHL scoring lead with F Mark Stone of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon G Andrey Makarov stopped 28 shots. . . . The Blades and Pats completed their season series with Saskatoon holding a 5-3 edge. . . . Regina, seventh in the Eastern Conference, is three points behind the Calgary Hitmen and five ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Here’s how Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post described Weal’s goal: “Weal started off the highlight-reel effort by blocking a shot at the point, grabbing the puck and quickly pulling away from the first defender. Gaining speed into Saskatoon’s zone, Weal danced around defenceman Darren Dietz and sliced his way to the net before going top shelf on goaltender Andrey Makarov, bringing the crowd — along with the players on the bench — to their feet in jaw-dropping fashion.”
And a tip of the hat to Lorne Molleken, the Blades’ GM/head coach, who was quick to credit the Pats after the game.
“Regina played a real solid game,” Molleken told Harder. “In the last couple games we played them we found the back of the net and tonight we had a real hard time. We didn’t get all five guys involved in the offence. Regina did a good job eliminating that. Their defence was real strong from the top of the circles down. Our one-on-one situations, we didn’t do a real good job in that area. Give them credit, they played extremely well.”
More coaches should be that effusive in their praise of a worthy opponent.
Check out the latest effort by F Taylor Vause of the Swift Current Broncos. . . . It’s a poster for New York Power Rangers, and it is right here.
By now if you haven’t seen the 50/50 system that is in some arenas, you have at least heard about it. You know, the one that was in use at the World Junior Championship in Saskatoon and the Memorial Cup in Brandon and the WJC in Edmonton and Calgary, and on and on. Ever wonder how it all got started? Stephen Brun of the Summerside Journal-Pioneer has that story right here.
If you have been following the saga of Boston Bruins G Tim Thomas since he stiffed President Barack Obama and the White House, Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe has a good look at it and the impact it has had and may have with the team. That is right here.

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