Monday, October 28, 2013

1. F Todd Fiddler, a 42-goal man with the Spokane Chiefs last season, no longer is with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Fiddler, 20, had 10 points, two of them goals, in 14 games, but was minus-8 and had been a healthy scratch on three occasions. . . . Interestingly, writers with the Moose Jaw Times-Herald at least twice referred to Fiddler's being scratched as a "coach's decision," which somehow sounds more sinister than healthy scratch. . . . No matter. It would seem that Fiddler, who is from Meadow Lake, Sask., was deemed a poor fit for a team that saw him as a top six forward when he was acquired. . . . The Warriors are 6-8-3 and tied for seventh in a 12-team Eastern Conference in which there isn't much breathing room. . . . The Warriors acquired Fiddler from the Chiefs on May 2 for a third-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . With Fiddler gone, the Warriors are left with two 20-year-olds -- F Sam Fioretti and D Jesse Forsberg.

2. The Moose Jaw Warriors have acquired D Reid Zalitach, 17, from the Vancouver Giants for a fourth-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft and a third-round pick in 2016. . . . This season, he was pointless in eight games. With the Giants carrying nine defenceman, something had to give. . . . Zalitach, who played minor hockey in Winnipeg, had seven assists in 54  career games with the Giants. . . . He was a second-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft.

3. These are interesting times in Vancouver where many members of the media refer to the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks as Torts, as though he is a long-lost brother, recently returned after spending the last NHLwhile on a desert island with only a hockey puck for company.
There are members of that same media corps who seemingly are waiting for the Canucks to implode, the victim of a head coach, John Tortorella, who has been playing the heck out of a select few forwards.
Following weekend games, no NHL forwards were seeing more playing time per game than Ryan Kesler (22 minutes 32 seconds), Henrik Sedin (22:24) and Daniel Sedin (22:09). In a league in which the top 13 players in terms of ice time were defencemen, the three Vancouver forwards were 14th, 15th and 16th overall.
Furthermore, the Canucks wrapped up a seven-game road trip on Friday in St. Louis, where they beat the Blues 3-2 in overtime to go 5-1-1 on the swing and improve their overall record to 8-4-1. In that game, Henrik Sedin played 25:04, while his twin brother played 24:06. Kesler was at 24:24.
Granted, Tortorella's hand has been forced, at least a bit, by injuries, especially to Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen. But, while I haven't yet watched a Canucks game from start to finish -- these darned baseball games keep getting in the way -- I have to wonder if Torotorella is proving, intentionally or otherwise, that NHL coaches really don't need 20-man rosters.
With the number of timeouts in one NHL game, of the TV variety (three each period) and otherwise, and with highly conditioned professional athletes at his disposal, is there a reason why an NHL coach needs 12 forwards, rather than nine, at his disposal? Sheesh, in one game on that road trip, Andrew Alberts, who was the seventh defenceman dressed and was expected to be used up front, played only 37 seconds. So taking those timeouts into account and with judicious use of a third line, you have to think an NHL coaching staff could easily get by with nine forwards.
Of course, the winner in all of this would seem to be the fans. When you are paying what they are for tickets, they should be thrilled to see a team's best players getting lots and lots of playing time.
(In last night's 3-2 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals, Kesler played 23:53, with Henrik Sedin at 23:15 and Daniel at 23:13.)

4. Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province reports that the race to play host to the 2016 Memorial Cup may WHL team logofeature the Vancouver Giants and Red Deer Rebels. While Brent Sutter, the Rebels' owner, general manager and head coach, wouldn't confirm that, Vancouver majority owner Ron Toigo seemed to do just that. And if you read between the lines, it would seem that Sutter wasn't at all enamoured with the process that led to the Saskatoon Blades being the host team for the 2014 tournament. That piece is right here.

5. The great Roger Angell weighs in right here with a piece on, uhh, the beards of the Boston Red Sox. Yes, it's good! The essay, not the beards.

6. Is it just me or is Tiger Woods on the verge of becoming a cartoon figure? He and his agent, Mark Steinberg, know they don't have a case against Brandel Chamblee, otherwise they would have visited court already. Instead, they will try to get Chamblee fired from his position with the Golf Channel. Never mind that Chamblee upset them with something he wrote at . . . Yes, it's all rather strange. . . . Greg Doyel of sums it all up right here.

7. No one in the sporting world is more fun to listen to than Charles Barkley. Richard Deitsch of chatted with Sir Charles and the results are right here.

8. Nick Deschenes is the new general manager and head coach of the BCHL's Trail Smoke Eaters. Deschenes replaces Bill Birks, who was fired on Oct. 17. . . . Deschenes, from Morinville, Alta., moves over from the junior B Grand Forks Border Bruins of the Kootenay International Junior League, where he was 6-7-0-1. . . . Deschenes played with the AJHL's Fort Saskatchewan Traders before going on to spend four years at Yale. He played in the AHL and ECHL, and spent five years in Europe. . . . He was in his second full season with the Border Bruins. . . . Assistant coaches Barry Zanier and Craig Clare had been running the Smokies, but now will resume their original jobs. . . . The Smoke Eaters are 4-14-1-1 (yes, there are ties in the BCHL) and are sixth in a six-team division, 11 points out of fifth.

From Janice Hough (@leftcoastbabe): "#Cards lost 3-1 to #RedSox, #Rams had sure comeback fall short at the 2 yard line. Tonight's headline 'Dispirited of St. Louis.' "

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