Friday, October 12, 2012

F Simon Ferguson (Lethbridge, Kelowna, 1999-2004) was released by Olimpia Ljubljana (Slovenia, Austria Erste Bank Liga). He had three assists in 10 games with Olimpia this season. . . .
F Adam Courchaine (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, 2001-05) signed a one-year contract with Duisburg (Germany, Oberliga). He was pointless in three games while on a try-out contract Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga) earlier this season. Courchaine played for Duisburg in 2007-08, when the club was in the DEL, the top German league.
Independence is something all journalists crave.
Because without independence a journalist doesn’t have credibility. And without credibility, a journalist doesn’t have anything.
Which brings us to the case of Rich Hammond.
Hammond used to cover the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings for the Los Angeles Daily News. In time, the Daily News chose not to cover Kings’ road games.
So the Kings ended up hiring Hammond to write for their website.
The Kings provided him with total independence and Hammond, in his three years there, wrote with honesty and integrity. While he was a Kings’ employee, there was no cheerleading and no dirt swept under the carpet.
Hammond left that job the other day. He will be writing about USC basketball and football for the Orange County Register. No, he didn’t want to leave the Kings. But he felt he had no other choice.
You see, Hammond interviewed Kevin Westgarth, a Kings forward who also is the team’s NHLPA representative, and posted the story on the Kings’ website. Someone from the NHL office saw the posting and told the Kings to take it down.
That’s because Hammond, as an employee of the Kings, was an NHL employee and, as such, was not allowed to be in contact with any players during the lockout.
The NHL makes such rules at times like these. While the NHLPA allows its players to talk to anyone during the lockout, the NHL has muzzled all of its owners and employees, allowing only its leaders, Gary Bettman and Bill Daly, to speak.
The bottom line, though, is that Hammond is gone and the Kings and their fans are the poorer for it.
All because the NHL wants to control the message during a lockout that it has forced upon the hockey world.
For more on the Hammond saga, click right here.
The Red Deer Rebels trimmed two players from their roster on Thursday. F Scott Feser, 17, is off to the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks, while D Stephen Hak, 18, is going to the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons. . . .
F Dryden Hunt of the Regina Pats, who has been out with a concussion since Sept. 6, has been cleared and could return tonight against the visiting Swift Current Broncos. Hunt was injuried during an exhibition game with Brandon when he hit his head on the ice late in a scrap with F Rene Hunter of the Wheat Kings. . . .
The WHL returns to Sportsnet tonight with the Edmonton Oil Kings playing host to the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Hitmen (4-0-2) are one of three teams not to have lost in regulation time and they already own two victories over the defending-champion Oil Kings (5-2-1). . . . The Hitmen beat the Oil Kings 6-5 in overtime on Sunday in Calgary. But Edmonton F T.J. Foster almost stole the show with the first four-goal game in the modern history of the Oil Kings.
As expected, D Connor Cox wasn’t without a team for long. Placed on waivers by the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday, Cox, 20, was claimed by the Everett Silvertips in the WHL’s draft of available 20-year-olds. . . . The Silvertips then released F Cody Fowlie, who turns 20 on Nov. 5, in order to stay at three 20-year-olds. Fowlie, from Airdrie, Alta., had 40 points, including 14 goals, in 72 games last season. . . . Cox joins F Ryan Harrison and D Landon Oslanski as Everetts 20s. . . . The Silvertips open their East Division swing against the Wheat Kings in Brandon tonight. They will play in Saskatoon on Oct. 20, which will be the sixth and final game of the trip. . . .
The Vancouver Giants have released D John Neibrandt, 20. The Giants had acquired Neibrandt from the Kootenay Ice over the summer for a fifth-round bantam draft pick in 2013. . . . The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Neibrandt, who is from Yorkton, Sask., had one goal and was minus-6 in six games. . . . With Neibrandt gone, D Reid Zalitach, 16, is likely to get more playing time. He has played in just two of the club’s first seven games. Zalitach was a second-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft. . . .
It’s not that long ago that F J.D. Watt was the Vancouver Giants’ leading goal scorer in a Memorial Cup championship season. Today, Watt’s pro career is over — he’s back in school and playing for the SAIT Trojans in Calgary. Scott Mitchell of the Calgary Sun has that story right here, and it’s one every young hockey player should read.
D Josh Morrissey (@Morrissey_10) of the Prince Albert Raiders, who is from Calgary: “Hard to believe but for once there is more snow at home than in PA . . . Must be because the Raids are so HOT! #wehavefun.”
D Brandon Underwood (@BUND3RWOOD) of the Red Deer Rebels: “Finally settled into my new billets. Only took 50 days before I could unpack my bags. Hope the Nuge left some skill in his old room!??”

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