Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I visited the WHL’s Facebook page to see what kind of response there has been to the league’s version of Ask the Commissioner. There are some, uhh, interesting comments over there, including this one from John McCarthy:
Why is that even until today, 1 year after the WHL and former Majority Bruins ownership set the wheels in motion to screw over the City of Chilliwack, and the Bruins fans, we the fans of the Chilliwack Bruins have never received an apology for being lied to, fed misleading comments not only from the Commisioners Office, but also from the BoG and even the snakes who sold this team? This underhanded deal, actually violated the WHL's own policy of "not giving up on a market until all avenues are exhausted". You lied and left us all hanging in the breeze when you knew full well that the deal was presented and completed, pending the conclusion of the playoff season. How do you expect the fans of this league to trust you, or any of the BoG's again, when it comes to important information that is released to the very people who keep all these teams afloat, including indirectly your salary Mr. Robison? Can you explain why any WHL fan should trust anything this league tells us again? At least the Weasel Gary Bettman admitted that the NHL screwed up and that Winnipeg and Quebec City deserved teams back in their city. Why are you trying to ignore us in hopes we just go away? Sorry, but unless December 21, 2012 is the end of the world...we are not going away Mr. Robison. I'm gonna stay and remain a pain in your butt until you finally come clean on the "Chilliwack Screw Job".
Condolences to Derek Laxdal, the head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings, on the death of his father, John, on Sunday morning.
The Oil Kings announced that John Laxdal, who was 75, passed away “peacefully in his sleep with his family at his side in his home in Stonewall, Man.”
A funeral is expected to be held sometime over the weekend in Stonewall.
Things are heating up on the NCAA/CHL front.
Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reports that “College Hockey Inc., is working to enact legislation — either with the oversight of the NHL or through the transfer agreement between USA Hockey and Hockey Canada — to bar Canadian major junior teams from stealing a player who has signed a letter of intent until after the player’s freshman year.”
As Schlossman reports, NCAA teams can’t recruit CHL players, because they no longer are eligible to play at a U.S. school.
“We need to have a deal in place with the NHL and with the CHL,” U of North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol said. “We are going into a back-alley brawl. They are bringing guns. We’re coming with no weapon and one hand tied behind our back.”
Paul Kelly, the executive director of College Hockey Inc., told Schlossman that “it is our position that once a kid signs a letter of intent, he’s made up his mind and demonstrated it in written form. He should be off limits and shouldn’t be continually recruited until at least after his freshman year. Continued recruiting of players after they’ve committed in writing to college, we find that conduct to be unacceptable. We’ve communicated that fact to the NHL. We’re hoping to bring some order to the process.”
Schlossman’s complete story is right here, including thoughts from Hakstol on the possibility that the NCAA could re-do its rules regarding the college eligibility of CHL players.
Folks, take cover. The shooting is soon to start.
Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press has taken the OHL to task for the decision to suspend Sarnia Sting F Nail Yakupov for not playing in the Top Prospects Game last week in Kelowna.
“The Ontario Hockey League embarrassed and damaged itself on the weekend,” Dalla Costa writes.
“It acted like the schoolyard bully that didn't get his way and in the process proved what many have known for a while — players are no more than meat passing through the processing plant.
“The suspension of Sarnia Sting forward Nail Yakupov for two games by OHL commissioner David Branch was a clear indication that selling tickets, appeasing sponsors and making money — no matter the cost to the player or his teams — is the No. 1 priority.
“This should be the first story handed to a player in the throes of making a decision about where to play the game at the next level.
“Go ahead, play in the OHL, but be aware that they own you.”
The complete column is right here.
There’s more on the Yakupov story here as the doctor who treated him as blasted the OHL.
On the subject of that Top Prospects Game, if you watched the game you will recall a fight between F Tom Wilson of the Plymouth Whalers and D Dalton Thrower of the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Well, it seems that Wilson broke a knuckle in one hand during the fight that occurred after he hit F Lukas Sutter with a rather solid body check. Thrower and Sutter are teammates with the Saskatoon Blades.
In Portland, F Sven Baertschi scored three second-period goals and the Winterhawks went on to a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Baertschi, who has 18 goals, broke a 1-1 tie with an even-strength goal at 7:15, made it 3-1 on a PP at 11:54 and then scored shorthanded, at 19:13, to give his guys a 4-2 edge. . . . He also had an assist. . . . Vancouver got two goals from Marek Tvrdon, who has 22. . . . Vancouver G Adam Morrison stopped 37 shots, two more than Portland’s Mac Carruth, who won his WHL-leading 32nd game. He is three shy of the franchise’s single-season record of 35, held by Brent Belecki (1997-98). . . . The WHL record of 48 victories belongs to Glen Hanlon, who did it with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1976-77. Hanlon now is an assistant coach with the Giants. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie, the WHL scoring leader, sat this one out after suffering an undisclosed injury in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to visiting Vancouver. . . . The Giants won three of four games from the Winterhawks this season. . . . The Winterhawks also were without D William Wrenn, their captain, for a third straight game. He, too, has an undisclosed injury. . . . Portland did have F Brad Ross back in the lineup after he was scratched twice for disciplinary reasons. . . . The Winterhawks lost F Brendan Leipsic with a fighting major and game misconduct at 16:31 of the first period. . . . I was listening to the Vancouver broadcast and there certainly seemed to be some confusion as to why Leipsic got the ol’ heave-ho. It might be time to give the referees microphones and let them make the announcements, as they do in the NHL. Of course, referees Brett Iverson and Jason Nissen would have received a lot of airtime had that been the case in this one. After all, they dished out 25 penalties. . . .

In Spokane, D Brendan Kichton broke a 2-2 tie at 19:37 of the first period and the Chiefs went on to a 7-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kichton’s goal, via the PP, was his 13th of the season and 41st of his career, making him the highest-scoring defenceman in franchise history. He broke out of the tie with Sean Gillam (1992-96). . . . F Mike Aviani had a goal and two assists for Spokane. . . . The Chiefs were playing their fifth game in seven nights. . . . The Thunderbirds will play in Spokane again on Friday. . . . The Spokane victory lifted the fourth-place Chiefs two points clear of the Vancouver Giants in the Western Conference. . . . Seattle, which has lost six in a row, is eighth, two points behind the Victoria Royals. . . . The Royals are home to the Everett Silvertips tonight and Wednesday. Everett is 10th, five points behind Seattle.
D Tyler Wotherspoon, Portland.
For today’s good read, we go to Esquire magazine and a story that has nothing to do with sport. You may recall the day not that long ago when all eyes were on Zanesville, Ohio, where the keeper of numerous exotic animals turned them loose and then shot himself. Chris Jones, who is a terrific writer, delves into that situation right here. . . . It’s a long, long piece, but well worth the time.
Parents of young hockey players and those players should take a look at this piece by Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail. It’s about John Tavares of the New York Islanders and how lacrosse has help make him a better hockey player. In other words, he didn’t need to play summer hockey.

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