Thursday, September 27, 2012

D Kris Russell (Medicine Hat, 2003-07) signed a lockout contract with TPS Turku (Finland, SM-Liiga). He had six goals and six assists  in 55 games split between the Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues last season. Russell is scheduled to arrive in Finland today and will make his debut either in tonight's game at HPK Hämeenlinna or in TPS' game at home on Saturday against HIFK Helsinki. The TPS press release ends with the club thanking two of their major sponsors for helping them sign Russell. . . .
F Jakub Rumpel (Medicine Hat, 2006-07) has signed a contract until the end of November with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, Oberliga) after a  successful try-out. Rumpel, who started his try-out last weekend, had one assist in one game with Trnava (Slovakia, 1.Liga) to start the season. Last season, Rumpel had three assists in two games with Trnava before signing with Frederikshavn (Denmark, AL-Bank Liga), where he had seven goals and 12 assists in 30 games.
Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, brought down the hammer on Wednesday afternoon.
Now we’ll see if the players are paying attention.
Kale Kessy, a forward with the Medicine Hat Tigers who turns 20 on Dec. 4, provided Doerksen with the opportunity in a game against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Kessy drew a major and game misconduct for a headshot on Lethbridge D Ryan Pilon, who is listed as being out indefinitely.
With Kessy already having served 14 games in suspensions from six separate incidents, Doerksen had a repeat offender with whom to deal. And he did just that, as he suspended Kessy, a fourth-round selection by the Phoenix Coyotes in the NHL’s 2011 draft, for a dozen games.
Doerksen wrote in his reasons that “the checking to the head penalty was for an elbow to the head” and pointed out that “the opponent was injured on the play.”
Kessy met with Doerksen in the WHL’s Calgary office for 45 minutes before the decision was announced.
“I respect the league’s decision and what they have done,” Kessy told Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News. “At the end of the day, they are the ones making the decisions. You just have to be responsible for your actions.”
Kessy will be eligible to return on Oct. 26 for a game in Calgary against the Hitmen.
Here’s the rest of Kessy’s rap sheet:
One game for a game misconduct at Lethbridge, March 10, 2012.
Four games for a checking-from-behind major at Red Deer, Nov. 26, 2011.
Five games for a checking-from-behind double minor at Victoria, Oct. 6, 2011.
One game for a checking-from-behind double minor vs. Brandon, March 26, 2011.
Two games for a checking-from-behind double minor vs. Lethbridge, Dec. 18, 2010.
One game for a boarding major vs. Seattle, Oct. 31, 2009.
If you were wondering, this is the longest suspension handed out by the WHL office since it hit Tri-City Americans F Brendan Shinnimin with 12 games for an ugly hit on Saskatoon Blades F Josh Nicholls on Oct. 6, 2010.
In the same game as Kessy’s hit on Pilon, Lethbridge D Spencer Galbraith was given a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Medicine Hat F Hunter Shinkaruk.
The WHL has since changed that to a charging major for which there won’t be a suspension.
The Vancouver Giants have acquired F Trevor Cheek, 20, from the Calgary Hitmen for two bantam draft picks — a fourth-rounder in 2013 and a fifth-rounder in 2014. . . . Cheek, from Vancouver, Wash., is into his third WHL season. He had 49 points, including 23 goals, and 75 penalty minutes with Calgary last season. . . . Cheek is expected to play Friday when the Giants entertain the Everett Silvertips. . . . The move gets each team to the maximum three 20-year-olds. Cheek joins D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen and D John Neibrandt in Vancouver. . . . The Hitmen have F Brooks Macek, F Cody Sylvester and D Spencer Humphries on their roster.
The Prince Albert Raiders have picked up F Dakota Conroy, 18, from the Victoria Royals for a seventh-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. Conroy, an Edmonton native, was dealt to Victoria by the Brandon Wheat Kings last season in a swap that had F Kevin Sundher go the other way as the centrepiece. . . . Conroy had 10 points, including seven goals, in 30 games with the Royals after putting up eight points, four of them goals, in 37 games with Brandon.

The Brandon Wheat Kings have assigned F Ryley Lindgren, 16, to the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. Lindgren, from East St. Paul, Man., was a fifth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . Brandon now is carrying 25 players, including eight defencemen and 15 forwards. . . .
James Shewaga of the Brandon Sun reports that the Wheat Kings “have sold 2,540 season tickets, down from last season’s total of 2,973.” . . .
The Kootenay Ice had a familiar face on the ice with them at practice on Wednesday. Tom Renney, who is from Cranbrook, was helping head coach Ryan McGill keep things moving. Renney is the associate coach with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, so has nothing but time on his hands these days. . . .
D Austin Adam, 17, of the Everett Silvertips is out for up to six weeks with a broken hand. Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reports that Adam “suffered a freak injury during practice Tuesday when his hand got caught in the partition between two panels of glass.” . . .
The AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm has acquired the rights to F Mike Forsyth, 20, from the Camrose Kodiaks for future considerations. Forsyth, who is from Calgary, had 15 points in 72 games with the Victoria Royals last season. . . . 
The Spokane hockey community is in mourning following the death Wednesday of Bob LaRue, the father of former WHL referee Dennis LaRue. Bob was a retired U.S. Air Force non-commissioned officer. In fact, Dennis, the oldest of five children, was born in Savannah, Ga., in the Hunter AFB hospital. Bob was a long-time supporter of the Spokane hockey community. . . .
F Brenden Walker, 20, of the Saskatoon Blades played in his 200th career regular-season game last night in Brandon. The Blades dropped a 9-6 decision to the Wheat Kings in what was Walker’s first game against his old team. He was dealt to Saskatoon in May. . . . You just know that both coaches, Brandon’s Dwayne Gylywoychuk and Saskatoon’s Lorne Molleken, were saying the same thing after this one: “We have a lot of things to work on.” . . . The Blades actually tied the game 6-6 when F Josh Nicholls scored at 6:46 of the third period while his guys were two-men short. . . . Late in the second period, Nicholls came up empty on a penalty shot against G Corbin Boes. . . .
G Tristan Jarry stopped 20 shots for his first WHL shutout as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Hurricanes 3-0 in Lethbridge. . . . G Ty Rimmer stopped 57 shots for the Hurricanes, who trailed just 1-0 after two periods, despite being outshot 43-14. . . . Jarry, who backs up Laurent Brossoit, was making his first appearance this season. He got into 14 games last season, going 8-2-1, 2.93, .894. . . .
F Morgan Klimchuk’s second goal of the game, at 2:09 of OT, gave the visiting Regina Pats a 4-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Broncos have played three games this season and have led 3-0 in each of them. However, they have lost two of those games, both in OT.
From Brad Hornung (@Bradhornung): “Had a ‘brush with greatness’ today as I was cruising through Wascana Park. A chance meeting with NHL legend Mike Bossy.”
It seems that lightning has hit the outhouse in Invermere, B.C., where GM/head coach Marc Ward and assistant coach Jan Kascak have resigned from the junior B Columbia Valley Rockies of the Kootenay International Junior League. . . . The Rockies picked up seven points in 52 games last season under Ward, but are off to a 3-2-0-1 start (W-L-T-OTL) this season. . . . Ross Bidinger, the director of hockey operations, has taken over as GM/head coach, and there now are four assistant coaches – Kirk, Scott and Wade Dubielewicz and Dave Tomalty. . . . "We wish both (Ward) and (Kascak) well … but we have no reservations about what we've put into place over the last 24 hours,” Rockies vice-president Graeme Anderson told Steve Jessel of the Invermere Valley Echo. "I'm extremely confident that you're going to see the Rockies performing as well as they have done, and better."
You may be aware that the family of the late Derek Boogaard has filed a lawsuit against the NHLPA. Jeff Z. Klein of The New York Times writes that the lawsuit “could lead to some novel and tumultuous territory for the sport.” . . . Read this right here in its entirety and perhaps you will gain some understanding as to why some people like David Branch are moving to cut down on, if not completely eradicate, fighting in hockey.

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