The move to ban fighting from hockey, at least from the major junior level and below, made another advancement Monday with the publication of a story by John Branch in The New York Times.
The story on The Times’ website carried this headline: Junior Hockey on Cusp of a Revolution: Trying to Stop Fighting.
In the story, David Branch, the president of the Canadian Hockey League and the commissioner of the OHL, is quoted as saying: “The appetite is there. The time is certainly right to move forward.”
And here’s Bob Nicholson, the president of Hockey Canada: “The official stance from Hockey Canada is that we want to get rid of fighting as quickly as we can. Our ultimate goal is to remove fighting.”
John Branch writes:
“For decades, debates centered on whether hockey could survive without fighting. It is viewed by some as a necessary thermostat regulating the heat of a physical game, and by others as a way to draw bigger audiences.
“Now the talk is about how long the sport can live with fighting.
“That change has perched hockey at one of the most significant crossroads of its long history, as leaders see an opening to extinguish the game’s tradition of intermittent anarchy, particularly among teenage combatants.”
The fact that The New York Times feels this issue is important enough to cover tells you all you need to know about in which direction the fighting story is headed.
And you have to understand that this has nothing to do with the entertainment value of fighting, or its aesthetics or its impact, positive or negative, on ticket sales.
This is strictly a safety issue. And, in the case of major junior hockey, you could make a case for it being an issue involving safety in the work place.
The complete story is right here.
From @WHLFacts, via Twitter: “Brendan Shinnimin's LAST 50 goals have been scored in 46 games, which is a faster pace than Etem's 51 in 50. Shinnanigans.”
From Adam Hughesman (@Hughdog17), via Twitter: “Did you know . . . Sidney Crosby has been playing games in the WHL for his rehab, wearing jersey number 24 TC Americans.”
Scoring adjustments were made on Monday morning, following the Tri-City Americans’ 7-3 victory over the host Spokane Chiefs on Saturday night.
And at the end of the day F Adam Hughesman of the Americans was up to 101 points, making him the team’s second 100-point man. F Brendan Shinnimin, with 115 points, is the other.
The Americans’ roster last contained two 100-point men in 1998-99 when F Dylan Gyori finished with 118 and Scott Gomez had 108.
F Patrick Holland is at 95 points, meaning the Americans are likely to finish with three 100-point men.
The Americans last had three of those in 1991-92 -- Terry Degner, 139; Brian Sakic, 128; and, Vladimir Vujtek, 102. . . .
F Ty Rattie of the Portland Winterhawks has 52 goals, with a WHL-leading 26 of those having come via the power play. That is the most PP goals in a season by one player since F Eric Fehr of the Brandon Wheat Kings scored 31 in 2004-05. The WHL record (47) belongs to F Jason Krywulak of the 1992-93 Swift Current Broncos. He finished with a league-leading 81 goals that season. . . .
The Prince Albert Raiders are taking a look at D Zach Hodder, 18, who was selected with the 20th overall pick by the Vancouver Giants in the 2008 bantam draft. Hodder has 24 points in 37 games with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. In the WHL, he started the season with the Giants and was dealt to the Saskatoon Blades, where he played 11 games and picked up three points. . . . Hodder joined the Raiders on Sunday. He will play Wednesday against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes and then will return to the Express. . . .
In the end, the gamble cost the Tri-City Americans a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. That’s what GM Bob Tory gave the Prince George Cougars for the WHL rights to F Brett Connolly, 19, who is with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. Tory was gambling that the NHL team would return Connolly to the WHL before the NHL’s trade deadline. That didn’t happen Monday as the Lightning revealed that Connolly will stay in the NHL where he has 13 points, including four goals, in 48 games. . . .
The Seattle Thunderbirds will be without F Branden Troock and D Cason Machacek when they visit the Tri-City Americans tonight. Troock will be serving a one-game suspension after taking a cross-checking major in a 5-1 loss to the visiting Americans on Sunday. . . . Machacek received a game misconduct at 15:40 of the third period. Three people have told me Machacek’s stick came in contact with linesman Zack Brooks in the neutral zone and that it appeared to be intentional. Machacek has been suspended pending an investigation of the incident. . . . The Thunderbirds took 75 of 95 penalty minutes. The Americans were 4-for-8 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were, uhh, 0-for-0. Seattle apparently wasn’t happy with the officiating. Ironically, Brooks is from the Seattle area. . . .
G Tyler Bunz is expected to start tonight for the Medicine Hat Tigers as they meet the Cougars in Prince George. Bunz, 19, hasn’t played since Feb. 12 as he has battled post-concussion syndrome. . . . He is 34-14-4, 2.58, .922, so obviously is a big part of the Medicine Hat club.
THE COACHING GAME:
The Central league’s Arizona Sundogs have fired head coach Marco Pietroniro and assistant coach Chris Bartolone, with David Lohrei taking over as the new head coach. . . . Pietroniro, the only head coach in franchise history, was in his sixth season behind the Sundogs’ bench. . . . Bartolone completed his pro playing career with the Sundogs and his number has been retired by the team. He was an assistant coach for two seasons. . . . Lohrei has coaching experience in the Central league, the ECHL and the USHL. Most recently, he has been working as owner/operator of Maximum Sports Performance in Madison, Wisc. . . . At 16-28-9, the SunDogs have the league’s worst record. . . . The Sundogs are owned by Bill Yuill, who also owns the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.
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