Wednesday, October 23, 2013

F Dominik Pacovsky (Kootenay, 2008-10) signed for the rest of the season with Lev Prague (Czech Republic, KHL). It's a two-way deal with him scheduled to join Lev today. This season with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had five points, including three goals, in 13 games. Last season with Sparta, he had 26 points, 13 of them goals, in 37 games. . . .
F Alex Leavitt (Swift Current, Everett, 2003-05) signed a tryout contract with Aalborg (Denmark, AL-Bank Liga). The tryout runs until Nov. 1. He was released earlier by Oskarshamn (Sweden, Allsvenskan) after picking up three points, one of them a goal, in 10 games. . . .
F Erik Christensen (Kamloops, Brandon, 1999-2004) signed for the rest of this season with HV71 Jönköping (Sweden, SHL) after being released by Lev Prague on Thursday. He is to arrive in Jönköping on Thursday. With Lev this season, he had a goal and an assist in 12 games.
F Kris Beech (Calgary, 1996-2001) has signed a tryout deal with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). He played last season with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), getting eight points, including two goals, in 21 games, and AIK Stockholm (Sweden, Elitserien), putting up five points, three of them goals, in 23 games. . . .
D Tomas Fojtik (Portland, 2003-04) has been released by the Slough Jets (England, Premier). He had three assists in 10 games. . . .
F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has been released by the Tohoku Free Blades Hachinohe (Japan, Asian HL). He had seven points, including two goals, in 10 games. . . . Lukacevic has since signed with the ECHL's Bakersfield Condors.
1. The Kootenay Ice was looking for a defenceman who could play in its top four; the Kamloops Blazers were looking for draft picks.
So general managers Jeff Chynoweth (Ice) and Craig Bonner (Blazers) got together and swapped four players and three bantam draft picks on Tuesday.
The Ice got F Tim Bozon and D Landon Cross, both 19, with the Blazers landing D Matt Thomas, 18, F Collin Shirley, 17, and the three picks -- first- and fifth-round selections in 2015 and a third-rounder in 2014.
While Bozon, a third-round pick by the Montreal Canadians in the 2012 NHL draft who has signed with the Habs, is the biggest name in the deal, the swap's genesis came on the weekend when Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth inquired about the availability of Cross.
Chynoweth told me via text yesterday afternoon that he made the first call, inquiring "about Cross."
"It just grew from there," Chynoweth said. "We thought why not ask about Bozon, thinking he would look very good playing with (Sam) Reinhart and (Jaedon) Descheneau."
As well, Chynoweth said, "Cross gives us much needed depth on our back end."
Bozon is coming off 71- and 91-point seasons and has seven points in 13 games this season. He is an interesting study because he was born in St. Louis, while his father, Philippe, was playing with the Blues, calls Switzerland home and plays internationally for France.
Bozon had great chemistry for most of the last two seasons with forwards Colin Smith and JC Lipon, both of whom have signed NHL deals and are in the AHL. The Blazers don't have anyone who has been able to fit that well with Bozon, who has played like it. With the Ice, Bozon will get a chance to revive his role as a triggerman, this time alongside Reinhart and Descheneau.
Cross, from Brandon, was a third-round pick by Kamloops in the 2009 bantam draft. In his third full WHL season, he has 24 points in 134 regular-season games. He has turned into a solid stay-at-home defender who should enjoy playing for Ice head coach Ryan McGill.
Shirley, from Saskatoon, had 23 points, including nine goals, in 60 games last season. This season, he has three points, two of them goals, in 11 games. He was the 17th overall selection in the 2011 bantam draft.
Thomas, who was listed by the Ice prior to last season, is from Calgary. He had two assists in 66 games last season and has one in 11 outings this season.
Here's a paragraph from the Blazers' news release, which sums up their reason for making this trade: "In acquiring a first-round pick in 2015 and a third-round pick in 2014, the Blazers recoup draft picks that were traded to acquire defenceman Joel Edmundson last season and (forward) Tyson Ness this season."
The Ice is off to a 6-5-2 start, and has scored 37 goals. Reinhart and Descheneau have accounted for 16 of those, and have combined for 42 points. Yes, Chynoweth and McGill will be eager to get a look at Bozon alongside those two.
The Blazers are 4-9-0 and in a definite rebuilding/reloading mode, although they will continue to pursue a Western Conference playoff spot.
The Ice next plays Friday against the visiting Portland Winterhawks, while the Blazers are at home to the Everett Silvertips on Saturday.
The Ice is scheduled to visit Kamloops on Dec. 6.
Meanwhile, the Ice has dropped D Clint Filbrandt, 18, from its roster. He is expected to end up with a junior A team. Filbrandt was acquired from the Tri-City Americans on May 14 for a fifth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft.
Some Twittering on the Kamloops-Kootenay swap:
From Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge): "I'm surprised Blazers are declaring themselves as sellers so early though. I didn't think they'd drop as much from last year as they have."
From Trevor Crawley (@tcrawls) of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman: "#FunFact: Tim Bozon is the 4th @WHLKootenayICE player whose father played in the NHL (Elynuik, Reinhart & Dirk).)
From Dan Russell (@DanRussellST): "Taking page out of brother Scott's book? Last yr D Musil signified rebuild mode in Oct for Van -Craig's T Bozon deal today says same in Kam?"
From Regan Bartel (@Reganrant), the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets: "I won't bet against Chynoweth. I mean really, have the @WHLKootenayICE ever sucked? No! Plus the little engine that could has 3 WHL titles."
From Daniel Nugent-Bowman (@DNBsports) of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix: "Spoke with Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth about the trade. Said talks started with Landon Cross and expanded from there."

2. How did Hamilton Burger keep his job for so long?

3. When the Kamloops Blazers played the Silvertips in Everett on Saturday night, it marked a return for Mark Ferner. Fired as the Silvertips' head coach last season, he now is the Blazers' associate coach. Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald checks in with Ferner right here.

4. As I stroll the streets of downtown Vancouver, I notice that most pedestrians have only one free hand, the other carrying either a phone or a cup of coffee. (Of course, some of the more highly skilled pedastrians fill both hands.) Hilary Stout of The New York Times has more right here on our love affair with coffee. This is interesting stuff.

5. Over at the Monday Morning Quarterback website, they are spending a lot of this week with the focus on concussions in football. You should check it out right here because it's important stuff.

6. Steve Miller, an assistant coach with the Denver University Pioneers for more than 19 seasons, is flying like an eagle (sorry!) to a USHL expansion franchise that will begin play in Madison, Wis., next season. He will be the general manager and head coach in Madison. Miller starts his new job on Jan. 1.

7. If you enjoy good hockey photos, check out this spot right here. You may even be interested in purchasing a photo or two. Yes, Chris Mast is involved.

8. F Zach Jones scored with 1:05 left in the third period Tuesday night, giving the visiting Calgary Hitmen a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. Calgary G Chris Driedger stopped 38 shots. Attendance was 4,674. . . . In Lethbridge, the Portland Winterhawks scored three first-period goals and went on to a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes. Portland, the WHL's defending champion, has won five straight games. . . . In Kennewick, Wash., F Phil Tot scored 34 seconds into the game and added an empty-netter as the Tri-City Americans dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 4-1. The Broncos went 0-5 on their U.S. Division swing and were outscored 24-10 in the process.

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