Thursday, March 1, 2012

Defenceman Brady Gaudet of the Kamloops Blazers takes a back-door pass
from centre Colin Smith and hammers it past goaltender Kent Simpson
of the host Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night. The goal, Gaudet's first
of the season, gave the Blazers a 3-0 lead and they went on to a
3-2 victory.

(Photo by Christopher Mast / mastimages.com)

Fighting in hockey gets onto the front page of The New York Times and a debate breaks out:
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Bob Boughner, the president and head coach of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, doesn’t want to see fighting taken out of the game, at least not at the major junior level. “We’re on a very, very dangerous slope,” Boughner told Jim Parker of the Windsor Star. “We’re preparing guys for the next level and if you toughen the rules and get rid of it (fighting) in the game, it would have to coincide with the NHL and AHL. If they’re not doing it, then you’re putting kids (looking to go pro) in a tough situation.”
That story is right here.
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Meanwhile, Mark Hunter, the head coach of the OHL’s London Knights, tells Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press that he realizes fighting in the game is on its last legs. "If you're asking me if I think fighting will be taken out of the game, I think it will,” Hunter said. "I think the rule will be something like, you fight, you are thrown out of the game and suspended for another game." Hunter went so far as to acknowledge the dangers of fighting. "People get hurt," Hunter said. "They get in fights and get concussions and get hit in the head and that's something we can't have."
You are able to read that piece right here.
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And then there is Dan Bernstein, a senior columnist at CBSChicago. com, who says sooner or later a light will shine into the caves and fighting will be gone. You are able to read his opinion right here.
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Don Hay, the head coach of the Vancouver Giants, doesn’t want to see fighting prohibited in the WHL. But, he told Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun, he would be all for it were the NHL to do away with it. That story is right here.
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Kris Dielman, a veteran offensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers, is expected to announce his retirement today. Dielman has played nine seasons in the NFL, all with San Diego, and is a four-time Pro Bowler. He is retiring because of a series of concussions, the latest of which resulted in his having a seizure on a flight back to San Diego after a game against the New York Jets.
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And now we get to the serious part. . . .
A friend in Spokane pointed me in the direction of a lengthy piece titled The Way We Play The Game that is in the Feb. 27 issue of Sports Illustrated. It was written by Karen S. Schneider, who is a hockey mom. Her son, Cade, is 14 and plays in Minnesota. In fact, as Schneider writes, Cade “grew up sakting with (Jack Jablonski) on the lakes around our homes.”
This is a devastating read about a hockey mom’s view of the game and all that is around it.
Whatever you do, don’t miss this read.
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:
(With a tip of the hat to @WHLFacts for some of the info that follows. If you are on Twitter and aren’t following, you should be.)
In Regina, F Chad Robinson’s seventh goal of the season stood up as the winner as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Pats, 3-2. . . . Robinson’s goal at 4:27 of the third period gave the visitors a 3-1 lead. . . . Regina F Jordan Weal got his 39th, via the PP, at 6:20 of the third. He also had an assist. . . . F Tyson Ness had a goal, his 17th, and an assist for Red Deer. His goal came 56 seconds into the second period. . . . Red Deer G Deven Dubyk stopped 20 shots. . . . Due to injuries, the Rebels dressed just 16 skaters, including two forwards — Connor Bleakley and Dexter Bricker — who spent the season playing midget AAA. . . . Regina had D Brandon Davidson back after a three-game absence due to a sore neck. But the Pats lost F Matt Marantz to a leg injury in the first period. . . . The Pats missed a chance to move past the idle Saskatoon Blades and into sixth in the Eastern Conference. Instead, they remain a point behind Saskatoon and one up on the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Rebels, with nine games left, are eight points behind Brandon which holds down the conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Juraj Bezuch and F Phil Tot scored in the circus to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 4-3 shootout victory over the Raiders. . . . The Raiders forced OT on goals by F Anthony Bardaro, his 30th at 7:37 of the second, and F Justin Maylan, his 23rd, at 18:08 of the third. . . . Lethbridge G Liam Liston stopped 30 shots, seven fewer than Cole Holowenko of the Raiders. . . . Bardaro scored twice for the Raiders and also had an assist. . . . F Graham Hood scored the game’s first two goals for Lethbridge. He has 14 this season. . . . Neither team will make the playoffs, but the Hurricanes now are seven points ahead of the last-place Raiders. (By the way, it’s apples and oranges, but, with 46 points, the Raiders would be tied for seventh in the Western Conference.) . . .

In Calgary, F Victor Rask scored twice on the PP to help the Hitmen to a 5-4 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Calgary was 4-6 on the PP. . . . Rask, who has 29 goals, also had an assist as he ran his point streak to seven games. . . . Calgary got a goal and two assists from F Spencer Humphries. . . . The Hitmen have won in two in a row and six of seven. . . . Humphries, who has seven goals, gave the Hitmen a 5-2 lead with a PP score at 7:28 of the the third period. . . . .D Richard Nedomlel, with his ninth, and F Christian Magnus, with his seventh, got the Broncos to within. . . . Magnus had two goals in his first game since Feb. 10. . . . The Hitmen are fourth in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and three ahead of the Kootenay Ice. . . .

In Cranbrook, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first three goals and beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-1. . . . F T.J. Foster opened the scoring at 9:09 of the second period. . . . F Tyler Maxwell got his 37th at 1:40 of the third and F Jordan Peddle added his 10th at 8:54. . . . Edmonton G Laurent Brossoit, who stopped 32 shots, lost his shutout at 17:45 when F Max Reinhart got his 27th on a PP. . . . Edmonton F Michael St. Croix had one assist in his 200th game. . . . G Mackenzie Skapski stopped 24 shots for the Ice. . . . The Ice has added F Luke Philp to its roster for the remainder of the season. He played this season with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles, putting up 46 points, including 30 assists, in 48 games. He was a third-round selection in the 2010 bantam draft. . . . The Oil Kings lead the Western Conference by six points over the Moose Jaw Warriors. Edmonton is two points behind the Tri-City Americans, who lead the overall standings. . . .

In Prince George, F Brendan Hurley broke a 1-1 tie at 9:29 of the second period and the Medicine Hat Tigers went on to beat the Cougars, 4-1. . . . The Tigers clinched a playoff spot with the victory. . . . Hurley has five goals this season. . . . F Hunter Shinkaruk scored three times, giving him 45 this season. He scored five times in the Tigers’ two-game sweep of the Cougars. . . . Medicine Hat F Dylan Bredo had an assist and was plus-4. . . . Medicine Hat G Tyler Bunz stopped 32 shots, seven fewer than Drew Owsley of the Cougars. . . . Among the Tigers’ scratches was F Rhyse Dieno. Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News reports that Dieno has a separated shoulder and will be out for more than a month. . . . The Tigers are third in the Eastern Conference and are second in the Central Division, eight points behind Edmonton. . . . The Cougars have lost six in a row and remain 10th in the Western Conference. Still, they are only four points out of a playoff spot. . . .

In Everett, D Brady Gaudet’s first goal of the season stood up as the winner as the Kamloops Blazers beat the Silvertips, 3-2. . . . The Blazers built up a 3-0 lead on goals by F Matt Needham, his 12th, and F Brendan Ranford, his 37th, in the first period. . . . Gaudet got his goal on a PP at 7:55 of the second. . . . Everett got close on goals by F Reid Petryk, his 14th, and F Josh Winquist, his 14th, but couldn’t equalize. Winquist scored shorthanded at 19:23 of the third. . . . Kamloops G Cole Cheveldave stopped 28 shots in earning his 31st victory. . . . The Blazers lost F Ryan Hanes with a leg injury in the third period. . . . Kamloops went 4-0-0 against Everett this season and now is 14-2-1 against U.S. Division teams. . . . Kamloops moved back into a tie with Portland for second in the Western Conference, one point behind Tri-City. . . . The Blazers lead the B.C. Division by 16 points over the Vancouver Giants, who have nine games left. . . . Everett is one point behind the eighth-place Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

In Victoria, F Liam Stewart scored two shorthanded goals to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 6-1 victory over the Royals. . . . The Chiefs had beaten the Royals 4-2 on Tuesday. . . .. Stewart scored his third shorthanded goal of the season to give his side a 2-0 lead at 15:15 of the second. He added his team-high fourth at 9:46 of the third. . . . Only five players in the WHL have more than four SH goals. . . . Stewart has 14 goals overall. . . . Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist points out that Stewart’s father — rock star Rod Stewart — opened Victoria’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in 2005. . . . A tip of the cap to Tom Grainger, the man who plays the music in Victoria. Dheensaw reports that the music of choice after each of Liam’s goals was, yes, Maggie May. . . . The Chiefs broke open a scoreless game with three second-period goals. . . . F Steven Kuhn had three assists for Spokane. . . . Chiefs G Mac Engel stopped 24 shots, losing his shutout when F Steven Hodges got his 20th goal at 12:52 of the third. . . . Victoria G Jared Rathjen stopped 30 shots in making his fifth straight start. . . . Spokane D Brendan Kitchton had a goal and an assist and was plus-4. He was plus-7 in the two games. . . . The Chiefs are fifth in the Western Conference, one point behind Vancouver. . . . The Royals remain seventh, two points ahead of Seattle.
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WEDNESDAY’S CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
None.
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WEDNESDAY’S CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
None.
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JUST NOTES:
The Syracuse Crunch’s stint as the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks will end after this season. The Crunch has declined an option on the agreement with the Ducks after just two seasons. . . . Former Kootenay Ice head coach Mark Hollick is on the Crunch’s coaching staff. He was the head coach last season and to start this season, but now is an associate coach under associate head coach Trent Yawney. . . . Seems like there might be more associates there than in the local Walmart outlet. . . .
The Portland Winterhawks have signed Sue Johnson, their education adviser, to a three-year contract extension. . . . She has been with the Winterhawks for more than 20 years but has taken on an expanded role since retiring from Milwaukie High School prior to 2010-11. . . .
How many WHL head coaches would be willing to start a 16-year-old goaltender and ride him and ride him and ride him? That’s what I thought. Well, in the QMJHL, Zachary Fucale of the Halifax Mooseheads has played in 49 consecutive games, including five at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. And he has put up 28 victories for the Mooseheads, to break the QMJHL record for a freshman goaltender. Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports has his story right here.
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Patrick King, who keeps an eye on major junior hockey for sportsnet.ca, takes a look right here at the Tri-City Americans and their connection to Winnipeg. It all started when general manager Bob Tory was scouting Jonathan Toews.

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