Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Blazers lose game, two defencemen

G Rastislav Stana (Moose Jaw, Calgary, 1998-2000) has signed for the rest of this season with Kosice (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had been practising with the team for the past week. Stana was released by CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) two weeks ago. In 25 games, he had a 2.31 GAA and .912 save percentage. . . . .
D Patrik Vrana (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2006-07) has signed for the rest of this season with Cracovia Krakow after being released by Polonia Bytom (both Poland, Ekstraliga) last week. With Bytom, he had 11 points, including four goals, in 32 games. . . .
F Kirill Starkov (Red Deer, 2006-07) has been barred, at least temporarily, from playing with his new club, Red Ice Martigny (Switzerland, NL B), because the Danish Ice Hockey Union (DIF) cannot release his transfer card. DIU Director Enver Hansen: "If there is a risk that a player can get a suspension, we must according to IIHF rules not release his transfer card, and we must of course follow this until there is further clarification on the matter and a measurement of a possible suspension."

Will they, or won’t they?
I refer, of course, to the Prince George Cougars. Will they, or won’t they, be operating in the northern B.C. city when the 2014-15 WHL season gets here?
Owner Rick Brodsky isn’t about to provide a definitive answer, at least not at this point in time.
But he did tell me that he hasn’t spoken with anyone from True North Sports and Entertaintment, the owners of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. There has been ample speculation that TNSE would love to purchase a WHL franchise and operate it out of the MTS Centre, following the business models that are used by the Calgary Flames with the Hitmen and the Edmonton Oilers with the Oil Kings.
At this point in time, the Cougars don’t seem to be part of that conversation.
“I have never talked to anyone from True North. We have never had any discussion. Period,” Brodsky told me last week, and it’s impossible to be more definitive than that.
Through 25 home games, the Cougars’ average attendance is 1,685. That’s down from last season’s final average of 1,840.
One of the highlights of the 1972 Summit Series was the writing of John Robertson, a legendary Canadian sports writer who then was with the Montreal Star. . . . Robertson died Saturday in Gimli, Man., at the age of 79. . . . Lordy, but the man could write. Before the series began, he wrote a column predicting that the Soviets would win twice in Canada and then take all four games back home. Oh, the outrage! A nation erupted. . . . Oh yes, Robertson also said he would eat his column with Russian dressing if Canada won the series. . . . And he later did exactly that. I still remember the photo! . . . There’s more right here. . . .
And if you click right here you’ll find Robertson’s column after the famous 1975 New Year’s Eve game between the host Montreal Canadiens and the Red Army side.
Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post remembers Robbie, who also was known as Coconut Willie, right here.
Greg McAuley has stepped down as head coach of the SPHL’s Fayetteville FireAntz in order to spend more time with his ailing mother. McAuley was in his first season as Fayetteville’s head coach; the team was 14-15-3. Assistant coach Sean Edwards has moved up and will run the bench.
The Brandon Wheat Kings scored the game’s first and last goals, but host Edmonton got four in between and the Oil Kings skated to a 4-2 victory before 11,339 fans. . . . It was Hockey Hooky in Edmonton, so the game, which started at 11:30 a.m., was attended by a whole lot of students. . . . F Brett Pollock scored twice for Edmonton, giving him 19. . . . Edmonton F Henrik Samuelsson had two assits. He’s got 65 points, including 42 helpers, in 43 games. . . . Brandon F Jayce Hawryluk got his 14th goal; he hadn’t scored in his previous 12 games. . . . The Oil Kings (35-13-1) have won six straight. They lead the Central Division by three points over the Calgary Hitmen (31-12-6). . . . Brandon (26-18-5) is fifth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and two ahead of the Regina Pats. . . . Alicja Siekierska of the Edmonton Journal reports that Pollock and teammates Dysin Mayo and Aaron Irving “woke up at 6 a.m. to write exams.” Her game story is right here. . . .
In Kamloops, F Mitch Holmberg scored his WHL-leading 44th and 45th goals to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 6-3 victory over the Blazers. . . . Holmberg scored on a first-period 5-on-3 PP at 15:55. . . . F Dominic Zwerger got the Chiefs’ second goal just 1:31 later, the goal coming just as the second PP expired. . . . Spokane F Mike Aviani was ejected in the second period for a headshot on Kamloops D Connor Clouston, who didn’t return. . . . The Chiefs scored two shorthanded goals on the Aviani penalty, the first coming via a penalty shot by F Liam Stewart. . . . The Chiefs lead the WHL with 14 shorthanded goals. . . . F Cole Ully and F Chase Souto each scored his 20th goal of the season for Kamloops. . . . D Sam Grist, who likely leads the Blazers in minutes played, left in the first period and didn’t return after absorbing a hit from Aviani. . . . The Blazers already were without F Matt Needham, F Luke Harrison and F Tyson Ness, all veterans who are injured. . . . With the injuries to Grist and Clouston, the Blazers, who were down to five defenceman, announced after the game that they had added D Cameron Reagan, 16, to their roster. Reagan, a fourth-round bantam draft pick in 2012, plays for the midget AAA Sherwood Park J. Ennis Kings, for whom he has 20 points, including three goals, in 31 games. He will make his WHL debut tonight in Vancouver against the Giants. . . . The Blazers wrapped up a seven-game homestand at 1-5-1. . . . The Blazers meet the Giants in Vancouver tonight, then go home-and-home with the Kelowna Rockets on Friday and Saturday, before opening a six-game homestand. Kamloops then will play 10 in a row on the road as the Tim Hortons Brier -- the Canadian men’s curling championship -- takes over the Interior Savings Centre. . . . The Chiefs (30-15-4) have won three in a row. They are fifth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Blazers, with three straight losses, are 11-34-5 and last in the Western Conference.

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