Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Catching up . . .

F Marek Kalus (Spokane, Brandon, 2010-13) signed a tryout deal with Cracovia Krakow (Poland, Ekstraliga) after being released from a tryout with Västerås (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He had two assists in eight games during the tryout. Earlier this season, he had four assists in 12 games with Dukla Trencin (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . .
F Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, 2002-06) signed for the rest of this season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia, KHL). This season, he had six goals and two assists in eight games with Portland (AHL). . . .
D Jim Vandermeer (Red Deer, 1997-2001) signed a one-year extension with Kloten (Switzerland, NL A). At the time of the signing, he had eight points, one of them a goal, in 24 games. . . .
F Brett McLean (Tacoma/Kelowna, Brandon, 1994-99) signed a one-year extension with Lugano (Switzerland, NL A). This season, he has 24 points, 12 of them goals, in 25 games. That left him third in the NL A scoring race. . . .
F Marcin Kolusz (Vancouver, 2003-04) signed for the rest of the season with Tychy (Poland, Ekstraliga) after being released by Krynica for financial reasons. This season with Krynica, he had 27 points, eight of them goals, in 19 games. He was fourth in league scoring at the time of his release. Krynica also released three other players, including its leading scorer. . . .
F Clarke Breitkreuz (Regina, Prince George, 2008-10) has been loaned to Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL) by Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, Oberliga). This season with Löwen, he had 34 points, including 26 assists, in 13 games. He was leading the team in assists and points. . . .
F Adam Rehak (Medicine Hat, 2011-12) signed for one year plus an option with Cracovia Krakow (Poland, Ekstraliga). Rehak started the season with Meran/Merano (Italy, Austria Nationalliga), putting up 12 points, including seven goals, in 12 games. He Rehak wanted to move closer to hometown of Ostrava. . . .
F Justin Maylan (Moose Jaw, Prince George, Prince Albert, 2007-12) signed for the rest of the season with Herning (Denmark, AL-Bank Liga). This season, Maylan had one assists in three games with South Carolina (ECHL) and was pointless in four games with Oklahoma City (AHL).
You may be aware that 10 former NHL players have filed a class-action lawsuit against the league, the claim being that not enough has been done to protect players from brain injuries.
Eddie Pells of The Associated Press examines that situation right here.
You can bet that the WHL and its owners/operators are paying attention.
Earlier this year, after the NFL had settled a similar lawsuit brought against it by former players, I asked a legal expert if, in his opinion, hockey leagues were open to such action.
His response:
“I think hockey is in a different position than football because there are no allegations that the sport was sitting on information and not sharing it with players. Hockey was first out of the starting blocks with its baseline neurological testing program in 1997-98. “Hockey has not, in my view, had the sort of radical re-writing of the rulebook that the NFL recently undertook and so has not done enough to remove the unnecessary risks from the game.
“I think there will be hockey lawsuits (yeah, there’s already Boogaard but this case is singularly unique) in the NHL.
“I think where the CHL/WHL is vulnerable is that legally minors can’t consent and courts are taking a harsher and narrower view to inherent risks to the game (i.e. Could the game survive without fighting? That is the ultimate test of whether or not a risk is inherent. ‘Are the penalties for headshots sufficient to disincentivize teams, coaches and players? Or does the league consider it part of the game?’) especially now that teams are being bought and sold for nearly $10 million.”
Was Tuesday’s deal between the NHL and Rogers Communications the death knell for TSN? And maybe for CBC-TV, too? . . . Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun opines right here.
Over at the National Post, Scott Stinson writes: “Rogers will collect all of the revenues from the advertisements and sponsorships that are sold on Hockey Night in Canada, even the versions of it that appear on CBC. . . . The executives could talk up the partnership all they want, but it is Rogers that is piloting the ship, and the CBC trailing behind in its dingy. Four years from now, the rope could be cut.”
Stinson’s complete column is right here.
F Henrik Nyberg, 19, has left the Kelowna Rockets and returned to his home in Danderyd, Sweden. Last season, Nyberg had 17 points, including eight goals, in 54 games. This season, he had three assists in 21 games. . . . "Henrik has come to the realization that playing in North America is not in his future and he wants to move on with his life," Rockets' head coach Ryan Huska said in a news release.
A few things that occurred while Taking Note was in darkness . . .
The Kamloops Blazers traded F Aaron Macklin, 18, to the Prince George Cougars for F Carson Bolduc, 17, on Tuesday. . . . Bolduc, who is from Salmon Arm, B.C., had left the Cougars and asked for a trade. He had seven points in 54 games last season, and had two goals in 17 games this season. . . . Bolduc played bantam in Kamloops before being selected by the Cougars in the Macklin, from High River, Alta., had seven points, three of them goals, in 20 games this season. Last season, he had four points, one of them a goal, in 62 games.
The Victoria Royals made two trades, the first one announced immediately following a 2-1 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops on Nov. 19.
In that deal, the Royals sent F Luke Harrison, 18, to the Blazers for a 2014 sixth-round bantam draft pick.
Harrison, from West Kelowna, was in his third season with the Royals. In 92 games, he had six points, including four goals. This season, he had three goals in 23 games with the Royals.
The next day, the Royals announced the acquisition of Swedish forward Axel Blomqvist, 18, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Royals also received an undisclosed conditional 2016 bantam draft pick, while surrendering fourth- and eighth-round selections in the 2014 draft.
The 6-foot-6, 212-pound Blomqvist had 13 points, eight of them goals, in 19 games with the Hurricanes this season. He becomes the Royals’ second import, alongside G Patrik Polivka. Last season, as a freshman, Blomqvist had 33 points, seven of them goals, in 59 games.
Undrafted, Blomqvist went to camp with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and later signed a three-year NHL contract.
Jim Swanson, who spent a number of years covering the WHL and the Prince George Cougars for the Prince George Citizen, has signed on as the general manager of baseball’s Victoria HarbourCats, who play in the West Coast League. . . . Swanson is a long-time baseball guy and was heavily involved in the Prairie League, a now-defunct independent league that had franchises in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Minnesota. . . . He also has been heavily involved in baseball in Prince George and was a major push behind the World Baseball Challenge, the 2009, 2011 and 2013 editions having featured tremendous international competition. . . . He was the manager of the Prince George Axemen, who won the 2012 Canadian senior championship. . . . The HarbourCats are preparing for their second season in the WCL.
The Vancouver Giants dealt F Scott Cooke, 19, to the Moose Jaw Warriors for a sixth-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. Cooke, who has yet to play this season after breaking his right leg in the exhibition season, is from White Rock, B.C. He was back practising this week so his return should be imminent. Cooke had one assist in 40 games last season, after putting up a goal and two helpers in 34 games in 2011-12.
The Brandon Wheat Kings acquired G Christopher Tai, 18, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. The Wheat Kings needed some depth behind Jordan Papirny, as Curtis Honey has been out with an undisclosed injury. At the time of the trade, Papirny had made nine straight starts, most of them with an emergency backup on the bench. Tai became expendable in Lethbridge after the Hurricanes acquired G Teagan Sacher, who turns 19 on Dec. 1, from the Regina Pats to work in support of starter Corbin Boes, 20, who was acquired from Brandon over the summer.
As all are aware, Nov. 22 marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. . . . Right here is the column written by the legendary Jimmy Breslin following the assassination. This is one of the most remarkable newspaper pieces I have ever read. You won’t be wasting your time by giving it a look.
And right here is a piece in which Breslin explains the circumstances involved in his decision to write that particular column.

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