Wednesday, October 3, 2012

F Jamie Benn (Kelowna, 2007-09) signed a lockout contract with the Hamburg Freezers (Germany, DEL). He had 26 goals and 37 assists in 71 games with Dallas Stars last season. Benn will meet with the German media today in Hamburg. . . .
D Kris Russell (Medicine Hat, 2003-07) has returned to North America after suffering an undisclosed injury while playing for TPS Turku (Finland, SM-Liiga) in Sunday's game against the Espoo Blues. He was injured on the first shift of Sunday's game. Video highlights show that Russell blocked a shot with the inside of his right foot and did not return. Russell played his first game in Finland on Saturday, a 4-3 TPS victory in overtime against HIFK Helsinki. He had a goal and an assist, both on the power play, in just under 25 minutes of action.
If you haven’t seen the TSN feature on Brandon Wheat Kings D Ryan Pulock that ran Tuesday night, you will find it right here, and it’s well worth five minutes of your time. . . . The reporter is Leah Hextall, who works for CTV out of Winnipeg. Yes, she is part of hockey’s Hextall family. She is the daughter of Randy Hextall, who won the Centennial Cup with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers in 1973.
The WHL’s coffers sweeled for the first time this season as the Kootenay Ice and Lethbridge Hurricanes were dinged for a “multiple-fight situation” in Cranbrook on Saturday.
In the end, the tally was $1,750. (Yes, the Christmas shopping season is almost upon us.)
Each team was fined $500 for the fights, with the Hurricanes being hit up for an extra $500 and the Ice for $250 for “actions of player” during the situation.
There also were a couple of notable suspensions out of that game.
Lethbridge F Brady Ramsay, a 19-yer-old from Calgary, was hit with a five-game suspension, while Kootenay F Jon Martin, a 17-year-old from Winnipeg, got three games.
Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, noted on the WHL website that Ramsay “entered the ice during a stoppage and initiated an altercation with an opponent.”
During the game, which Lethbridge won 4-2, Martin picked up 11 minutes in penalties — two roughing minors, a charging minor and one of the six fighting majors that were handed out at 18:49 of the third period.
Ramsay wasn’t penalized at any point in the game.
The Swift Current Broncos have trimmed their roster by two as they have moved out D Eric Walker, 19, and G Steven Myland, 18. . . . Walker is expected to join the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Walker, from Castlegar, B.C., had been acquired from the Vancouver Giants in January for an eighth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. He was pointless, with five penalty minutes, in three games this season. . . . Myland is off to the junior B North Delta Devils of the Pacific International Junior League. The Broncos acquired Myland from the Kootenay Ice as part of the January 2011 deal in which F Cody Eakin went the other way. From Cloverdale, B.C., he got into three exhibition games with the Broncos. His departure leaves the Broncos with two freshman goaltenders — Eetu Laurikainen, 19, of Jyvaskyla, Finland, and Landon Bow, 17, from St. Albert, Alta. . . . The Broncos’ roster is at 23 players, including 14 forwards and seven defencemen.
The Prince Albert Raiders are down to 24 players after assigning F Spencer Meyer, 16, to the junior B Grandview Steelers of the Pacific International Junior League. . . . Meyer was a fourth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . He got into regular-season game with the Raiders this season. . . . The Raiders’ roster now includes nine defencemen and 13 forwards.
Things have been somewhat interesting in Saskatoon where D Duncan Siemens, last season’s captain, is neither the captain nor an alternate this season. Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix gives his thoughts on that situation right here.
F Ryan Graham, 16, of the Saskatoon Blades has received medical clearance and took part in a full practice Tuesday. He has been out with back problems and now is day-to-day. . . . The  Blades are at home tonight to the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Saskatoon is 2-2-0 but has yet to win in regulation time. Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix also points out that the Blades “have led for just 16 seconds so far this season.” . . . Regina Pats head coach Pat Conacher is expected back behind his club’s bench tonight for a game against the host Moose Jaw Warriors. Conacher has missed three games while tending to a family situation in Calgary. Conacher missed three road games, with the Pats going 1-2-0. . . .
The week’s hot ticket may be Friday night’s game in Brandon between the Wheat Kings and Portland Winterhawks. For sure, Westman Place will contain a whole lot of NHL scouts, there to see two defencemen — Ryan Pulock of the Wheat Kings and Seth Jones of the Winterhawks. “I’ve talked to a number of people (from NHLteams) that are coming to the game Friday and it’s a great opportunity to see two of the top defencemen in this year’s draft play on the same sheet of ice,” Brandon /owner/GM Kelly McCrimmon told Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun. “So from a comparative standpoint, I think that’s valuable for scouts and as well it’s Portland’s only trip to the Prairies this season, so it’s a good opportunity for the scouts that are based in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to get in and watch their team play as well.” . . .
Brenden Kichton, the new captain in Spokane, has broken the Chiefs’ career scoring record for defencemen. He now has 185 points, including 140 assists, in 265 regular-season games. That is one more point than Bryan McCabe put up in 152 games during the live-puck era. McCabe played with the Chiefs from early in 1992-93 to late in 1994-95. He started with the Medicine Hat Tigers and finished with the Brandon Wheat Kings. In 254 regular-season games, he finished with 243 points. . . .
F Ryan Harrison of the Everett Silvertips has served a four-game suspension left over from last season and is eligible to play tonight against the visiting Tri-City Americans. Harrison, 20, took a charging major in Everett’s last playoff game in the spring and was later hit with a four-game suspension. A bout of mononucleosis kept him out of the club’s exhibition games.
During my time covering the WHL and its teams, I don’t know that I have come across any one player who was as mature as Chris Phillips. A defenceman with the Prince Albert Raiders who finished up his WHL days with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (1995-97), he really was mature beyond his years . . . well beyond. . . . Don Brennan of the Ottawa Citizen has more right here on Phillips and his father, Garth, who died on the weekend.
There was one game, with the host Prince Albert Raiders beating the Red Deer Rebels, 5-4, in a shootout. . . . F Mark McNeill, the Raiders’ captain, scored the only goal of the shootout, after scoring his first two goals of the season in regulation time. . . . McNeill is 2-for-2 in the circus this season, having also scored against the Saskatoon Blades. . . . McNeill had a Gordie Howe hat trick in the second period. He had a goal, an assist and a scrap, the latter with D Mathew Dumba. Both were first-round NHL draft picks — McNeill by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011, Dumba by the Minnesota Wild in 2012. . . . Red Deer F Charles Inglis scored the game’s first goal on a PP with 7.7 seconds left in the first period. . . . That was Inglis’s fifth goal this season, all of them coming in the last  three games. . . . Inglis later added a second goal, giving him three straight two-goal outings. . . . He also has five PP goals on Red Deer’s last eight opportunities. . . . The Raiders scratched F Mike Winther with the dreaded lower-body injury. . . . Prince Albert F Anthony Bardaro, 20, scored a goal in his 200th regular-season game. . . . Prince Albert D Evan Morden drew an assist on Bardaro’s goal, his fourth assist in three games. Last season, Morden had three assists in 58 games with the Everett Silvertips. . . . Former Raiders player and coach Bob Lowes was in the Art Hauser Centre for the game. He now scouts for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. . . . Must have been some stories told at this one, what with Lowes joined there by Lorne Molleken and Daryl Lubiniecki of the Saskatoon Blades, Peter Anholt, who now scouts for the Seattle Thunderbirds, and longtime NHL scout Darwin Bennett.
A tweet from WHL Facts (@WHLFacts): 6 — In his last 6 games vs. Red Deer, @PARaidersHockey Marc McNeill (@McNeill9) has scored 4 Goals, 9 Assists, & is a +6.
F Adam Kambeitz, Red Deer.
From George Bowditch (@55golfman): “Sask. Hockey Hall of Fame now open 1-5 p.m. Tues-Sat. Broncos game days 1-4 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. Check out heroes of yesterday.”
The Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame is located in the iPlex in Swift Current.

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