Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Two WHL first-rounders opt for BCHL; Hunter up first for Giants

BCHL1. The WHL took a hit on Wednesday as the BCHL’s Penticton Vees announced that they have received commitments from F Tyson Jost and D Dante Fabbro, both of whom were first-round selections in the 2013 bantam draft.
Jost, from Leduc, Alta., was selected by the Everett Silvertips with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He played last season with the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets, who won the B.C. Major Midget League championship. He won the league scoring title with 88 points, including 44 goals, in 36 games.
Fabbro, from Whistler, B.C., was picked by the Seattle Thunderbirds with the eighth overall selection of that 2013 bantam draft. He played last season with the major midget Vancouver-Northwest Giants. He led the league’s defencemen in scoring, with 61 points, 22 of them goals, in 38 games. That was 22 points more than the second-highest scoring defenceman and placed him sixth in the scoring race. In 2012-13, after playing with the bantam AAA team at Burnaby Winter Club, Fabbro was named Hockey Now’s B.C. Minor Hockey Player of the Year.
News 1130 Sports of Vancouver reported via Twitter on Wednesday: “Agent J.P. Barry places 2 very high #WHL draft picks in Penticton of BCHL - Tyson Jost & Dante Fabbro.”
Of course, that should be 'advisor' J.P. Barry, because we all know -- Wink! Wink! -- that the hiring of an agent will cost a player his NCAA eligibility. Right?

2. "Dante told us that he needed more time to make a decision and so he was going to play this year in the BCHL," Seattle general manager Russ Farwell told Andrew Eide of in Seattle.

3. This week, the Vees also announced having received commitments from D Mike Lee of Hamden, Conn., who has committed to the U of Vermont; D Connor Russell of Guelph; F Josh Laframboise of Regina (Minnesota-Duluth); D Miles Gendron of Shrewsbury, Mass. (Connecticut), F Lewis Zerter of Montreal (Harvard); F Neil Robinson of Montreal; G Brendan Barry of Kelowna; and D Gabe Bast of Red Deer. . . . Barry is on the Kelowna Rockets' 50-player list.

4. Seattle actually had two first-round picks in the 2013 bantam draft. The Thunderbirds used the 22nd overall selection on F Kaden Elder, who is from Saskatoon. Elder signed with the Thunderbirds on Aug. 29. . . . Last season, he played for the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos, putting up 38 points, including 13 goals, in 38 games.

5. It looks like only three first-round selections from that 2013 bantam draft haven’t committed to a WHL team. Jost and Fabbro, of course, have shunned the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds, at least for now, in favour of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. . . . The other player who hasn’t committed to the WHL is F Jared Legien, who was selected ninth overall by the Kootenay Ice. From White City, Sask., he played last season with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals, earning 30 points, 13 of the goals, in 40 games. Legien has practised with the Ice, and is expected to sign before training camp starts in late August. "He will be close to making our team in the fall," Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth told me yesterday. Chynoweth also pointed out that the Ice "doesn't sign every drafted player . . . you earn your scholarship at camp."

6. The Tri-City Americans have added Nathan MacMaster to their scouting staff. From Calgary, MacMaster will be scouting southern Alberta, including Calgary, for the Americans. MacMaster, 21, played in the WHL with Moose Jaw, Calgary and the Americans. He finished up his career with the Americans in 2011-12. . . . MacMaster’s younger brother, Tanner, was a first-round selection, 19th overall, by the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft. MacMaster has played the last two seasons with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks, and has committed to play next season at Quinnipiac U.

7. According to a Wednesday afternoon tweet from Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, the Saskatoon Blades “are down to 3 candidates for GM/coaching vacancies, according to managing partner Colin Priestner. All 3 are outside of WHL.” . . . The Blades are holding their spring prospects camp this weekend, with former players Tim Cheveldae, Jerome Engele and Ryan Keller running things. Cheveldae and Engele also are former Blades assistant coaches.

USHL8. The Everett Silvertips are looking for an assistant coach, having lost Mark LeRose, who has signed with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers as their general manager. Jay Varady, a former Everett associate coach, is Sioux City’s head coach. . . . Varady and LeRose spent two seasons (2007-09) together with the Silvertips. . . .

9. Another Wednesday tweet from Vancouver radio station News1130 Sports (@News1130Sports): “Tim Hunter gets the 1st interview Friday for the #WHLGiants coaching vacancy.” . . . The Giants are looking for a replacement for Don Hay, who left for the Kamloops Blazers after 10 seasons in Vancouver. . . . Hunter is a former NHL player who has NHL assistant-coaching experience with the Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs.

NHL10. There was another headshot in the NHL on Tuesday night, with F John Moore of the New York Rangers drilling an unsuspecting F Dale Weise of the Montreal Canadiens. Moore later was hit with a two-game suspension. . . . The problem, as James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail writes, is that “historically, hitting in hockey has been about separating an opponent from the puck so that a player could get said puck. But somewhere along the way, it became more than that, and players who no longer had the puck were – briefly anyway – fair game.”
Later, Mirtle adds: “The problem, however, is in what hitting is. As long as players are allowed to hammer opponents who no longer have the puck, they’re going to make these split-second mistakes in a game that moves as fast as this one does.
“They’ve learned some important lessons, but this one won’t get through, not when the message from coaches to their role players is to use their 10 to 12 minutes a night to punish those with skill and not when the rulebook’s wishy-washy language protects rather than prohibits the late hit.”
He’s right. And it won’t stop until coaches quit talking about “finishing your check.”
Mirtle’s complete piece is right here.

11. If you caught Wednesday night's Stanley Cup game between the Los Angeles Kings and host Chicago Blackhawks . . . WOW! . . . Now that was a game, especially the first OT period that took 26 minutes of real time to play. . . . And what can you say about the legendary Bob Cole? As his lengthy play-by-play career winds down, he definitely warrants a spot on the pedestal alongside Danny Gallivan and Foster Hewitt.
ECHLThe ECHL’s Reading Royals have extended Larry Courville’s contract through 2016-17. Courville, 39, is the club’s director of hockey operations and head coach. He took over as head coach on Jan. 6, 2009, and is the winningest coach in franchise history.

From Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) of Sportsnet: “Per @murraylp, in 2013 #Riders generated $43.8 million in revenue, $10.4 mil profit. Info comes just in time for #CFL and CFLPA negotiations.”
From former CFL defensive lineman Doug Brown (@DougBrown97): “CFL must B thrilled that on a day of negotiation with the #CFLPA, the Riders announce revenues of $43.8 million & profit of $10.4. Oops.”
From Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) of Sports Illustrated/@SINow: “Was told today by someone in the know that roughly 50 ESPN employees (talent + execs) make more than $1 million annually.”
From sports columnist Cathal Kelly (@cathalkelly) of The Globe and Mail: “God love him, but Don Cherry is no longer speaking what I recognize as English.”

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