Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Of course, the Kitchener Rangers are upset by the report by Matt Slovin of the Michigan Daily that claims the OHL club offered up a $200,000 package in an attempt to land D Jacob Trouba.
Trouba, an 18-year-old from Rochester, Minn., was selected by the Winnipeg Jets with the ninth pick of the 2012 NHL draft.
On Monday, Slovin wrote that an OHL source had told him the Rangers had made a “huge offer” to the Trouba family and that the package was in place of the standard education package.
The Rangers, a community-owned team, have denied all of that, of course.
In fact, COO/president Steve Bienkowski has told Yahoo! Sports “that the team has retained legal counsel and will be pursuing legal action against the Michigan Daily.”
“We’re going to look at every legal remedy we have against the newspaper,” Bienkowski told Yahoo’s Sunaya Sapurji, “the reporter and these so-called unnamed sources in the OHL who need to be held accountable for basically saying lies against our organization.”
Sapurji also wrote: “Unlike most OHL teams, the Rangers are community-owned and not a privately held company. As such, an external accounting firm audits their financial statements and those accounts are presented to season-ticket holders each year.”
Of course, the Kamloops Blazers once were community-owned and, as such, issued annual financial statements. And, you may recall, almost $1 million walked out the door over a number of years without anyone noticing for the longest time.
That’s not to say other teams don’t have better safeguards in place than the Blazers had at that time.
But, look, rumours of major junior teams making under-the-table payments of one kind or another have been around since Noah first put two defencemen on the ark and set sail.
But the accusers and rumour mongers have yet to offer up even one scrap of proof.
So until there’s proof, well, let’s just forget about it.
By the way, the Trouba family issued a release on Tuesday, saying Trouba will attend the U of Michigan and play for the Wolverines.
In other words, all this was much ado about nothing.
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THE COACHING GAME:
Nolan Baumgartner (Kamloops, 1992-96) has retired as an active player to become an assistant coach with the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. Baumgartner, a two-time CHL defenceman of the year, was selected 10th overall by the Washington Capitals in the 1994 NHL draft. . . . He went on to play 143 NHL games, splitting that between Washington, the Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars. Last season, with the Wolves, he had 22 points in 60 games. . . .
Misha Donskov has left the OHL’s London Knights and joined the Ottawa 67’s. Donskov, who spent three seasons with London, had been assistant general manager and assistant coach with the Knights. He has joined Ottawa as its associate coach. . . .
Brent Demerais is the new general manager of hockey operations and head coach of the junior B Oceanside Generals, who play in the Vancouver Island junior league. . . . He has spent the last seven seasons coaching midget hockey in Alberni Valley. . . . He takes over from Dave Johnston, who now is an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals. After last season, the Generals actually renewed Johnston’s contract for one more season, but then had a change of heart late last month and released him. . . .
Veteran coach Craig Didmon has signed on as the assistant GM and associate coach with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. He will work alongside GM/head coach Bill Bestwick. . . . Didmon had been an assistant coach with the WHL’s Victoria Royals.
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Steve Hendrickson has a Super Bowl ring, but there are times when he doesn’t have yesterday. "I can remember material I had before the concussions," Hendrickson says. "Twenty years ago seems so clear to me, but yesterday seems just . . . far away, foggy." . . . If you are wondering what it’s like to be 45 years of age and have a history of concussions, read this story by Howard Yune of the North County Times. This is frightening stuff, especially when you consider the impact on loved ones.
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The story is dated Dec. 19, 1994.
Michael Farber starts a lengthy Sports Illustrated piece by visiting with former NFL receiver Al Toon.
“The bad days are less frequent now,” Farber writes, “although Toon still can't watch his three children on a merry-go-round without getting dizzy. More than two years after his final concussion — the fifth or ninth or maybe the 13th of his NFL career, according to the various ways that concussions are defined and reported in football — Toon, a former New York Jets wide receiver, is suffering from postconcussion syndrome.”
Later, there is this from Dr. James P. Kelly, directory of the brain-injury program at the Rehabilitation Institue of Chicago and an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Medical School: “People are missing the boat on brain injuries. “It isn't just cataclysmic injury or death from brain injuries that should concern people. The core of the person can change from repeated blows to the head.
"I get furious every time I watch a game and hear the announcers say, 'Wow, he really got his bell rung on that play.' It's almost like, 'Yuk, yuk, yuk,' as if they're joking. Concussions are no joke."
And yet here it is, 2012, and some people still don’t get it.
Farber’s complete story, from the vaults of Sports Illustrated, is right here.
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If you are a follower of the CFL, you should check out this column by Kirk Pention of the Winnipeg Sun. He points out how the CFL is showing signs that it thinks it’s the NFL. Fans banned from practices. Assistant coaches not permitted to talk to the media. Upper-body and lower-body injuries. Say it ain’t so.

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