On Monday, the busiest man in hockey won’t be NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr or NHL commish Gary Bettman. No, it will be Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s chief disciplinarian.
He will already have spent the weekend watching video. He’ll watch some more on Monday and then he’ll make the phone calls.
After Friday’s games, Doerksen hit four players with ‘tbd’ suspensions. All four are veteran players who play key roles with their teams:
D Joel Edmundson, Moose Jaw, major, fighting off faceoff
F Josh Nicholls, Saskatoon, major, charging
D Mathew Dumba, Red Deer, major, check to head
F Justin Kirsch, Moose Jaw, major, checking from behind
And then along came Saturday’s games and at least four more players can expect to hear from Doerksen:
F Andrew Johnson, Moose Jaw, major, charging
F Kale Kessy, Medicine Hat, major, check to head
D Spencer Galbraith, Lethbridge, major, check to head
F Ty Rattie, Portland, major, cross-checking
Two of those headshot majors — to Kessy and Galbraith — came in the same game.
The first two days of regular-season play also were marred by too many checking-from-behind penalties. Players simply have to stop hitting opposing players in the numbers. Please!
Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News covered Saturday’s game in which the Tigers beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-1. After the game he tweeted (@MHND_Steinke): “One day, someone will die due to a concussion from a head hit in hockey in #Canada. National media will jump it. Game changes forever.”
SOME SATURDAY NOTES:
F Colin Jacobs, an offseason acquisition from the Seattle Thunderbirds, had the season’s first five-point night as the visiting Prince George Cougars beat the Everett Silvertips, 6-0. Jacobs had two goals and finished plus-4. . . . Cougars G Brett Zarowny stopped 25 shots for the shutout. The 17-year-old from Edmonton was appearing in his first WHL regular-season game. . . . Everett was without F Ryan Harrison, who now has three games left on a WHL suspension, while F Manraj Hayer completed a three-game suspension. . . . This game signaled the start of Everett’s 10th anniversary season. . . .
The Kamloops Blazers, down 2-0 with 15 minutes to play in the third period, scored three times and beat the host Kelowna Rockets, 3-2. . . . F Matt Needham got the winner on the PP at 19:27 of the third period. The Blazers were 1-2 on the PP. . . . The announced attendance was 5,562, which is somewhat shocking as the Rockets have drawn more than 6,000 fans per game for the past number of seasons. In fact, the Rockets streak of 283 sellouts came to an end. . . . Kamloops D Tyler Hansen left the game on a stretcher after an innocent-looking collision that resulted him his falling awkwardly to the ice. Hansen, 19, was released from hospital before midnight and returned to Kamloops with goaltender coach Dan De Palma. . . . The Blazers already were without G Cole Cheveldave and D Tyler Bell, both of whom were injured in a 6-5 shootout victory over the Rockets in Kamloops on Friday. . . . Bell and Hansen had been the Blazers’ starting defensive pairing on Friday. . . . Last night, Kamloops G Taran Kozun stopped 27 shots in place of Cheveldave. Ty Hamer-Jackson of the junior B Kamloops Storm was the emergency backup. . . .
The Tri-City Americans had won their last 11 home-openers before falling 5-2 to the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Americans, who were beginning their 25th WHL season, had won five straight home-openers, including two in a row against the Chiefs. . . .
D Morgan Rielly of the Moose Jaw Warriors picked up the first fighting major of his career in a 7-1 loss to the Broncos in Swift Current. It came in his 85th regular-season game. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Rielly didn’t have an opponent as no other penalty was issued. . . . Broncos D Reece Scarlett, who was taken to hospital after absorbing a hit from behind from Moose Jaw F Justin Kirsch on Friday, didn’t play Saturday. According to Brad Brown of the Prairie Post, “Scarlett has some soft tissue damage in his neck and hand injuries.” Brown also reported there is no timeline for Scarlett’s return. . . .
F Zane Jones scored twice to help the host Calgary Hitmen to a 5-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. Jones, 18, was acquired from the Victoria Royals a week ago in a deal that had import F Alex Gogolev, 20, go the other way. . . . Jones also is a nephew of Hockey Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald, who starred for the Calgary Flames. . . . Jones told Scott Fisher of the Calgary Sun that he and McDonald have chatted frequently since the deal. “I've talked to him multiple times," Jones said. "He said, ‘Love the game and keep working hard every day you're at the rink.’ "
Calgary F Calder Brooks, 18, is listed as week-to-week with an upper body injury. It is believed to be a shoulder injury. He had surgery on Friday but was in the rink Saturday as the Hitmen won their home-opener, 5-1, over the Kootenay Ice. . . .
Former WHL player and coach Terry Virtue is the new head coach of the Wheeling Jesuit University Cardinals, who play out Wheeling, W.Va. . . .
The Vancouver Giants have released F Taylor Makin, 20, who is expected to join the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. That move leaves the Giants with two 20-year-olds – D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen and John Neibrandt. . . . Makin played in Vancouver’s 6-4 loss to the visiting Victoria Royals on Friday night, drawing one assist and a minor penalty.
Finnish referee Karl-Gustav Kaisla has died at the age of 68. He was the referee for the Miracle on Ice game on Feb. 22, 1980, in which the U.S. defeated Russia 4-3 in the Lake Placid Olympics.
The NHL has fined the Detroit Red Wings – the sum is believed to be US$250,000 – for comments made by Jim Devellano, their senior vice-president and alternate governor. If you are wondering about those comments, it’s all right here.
Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times has seen the documentary Head Games. His column is right here.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Former WHLer Kevin Kraus (@KevinMKraus), GM/head coach of the KIJHL’s Revelstoke Grizzlies: “Worst officiating I have ever seen in junior hockey, apparently you can score on a goalie with no helmet on in double OT #newrule?”
Kraus and his Grizzlies dropped a 6-5 double-overtime decision to the Eagles in Sicamous.
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