Friday, August 22, 2014

More unrest in Lethbridge . . . Oil Kings part ways with assistant coach

 Please allow me to remind you that my wife, Dorothy, will take part in the 2014 Kidney Walk in Kamloops on Sunday. She underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23 and now is healthy enough to walk the 2.5 kilometres and give something back to the Kidney Foundation.
Should you like to sponsor her and be part of Dorothy's Team, please click right here and then go to Sponsor a Participant.
If you are interested in seeing how much money she has raised, click on the link and you will find a list of fund-raisers on the right-hand side. Click on her name, and you will see a list of donors on a scroll.
 Thank you.

D David Nemecek (Saskatoon, 2013-14) has signed a tryout contract with TPS Turku U20 (Finland, U20 SM-Liiga). Last season, with Saskatoon, he had 15 points, five of them goals, in 56 games. . . .
D Logan Stephenson (Tri-City, 2001-06) has signed a one-year contract with Tohoku Free Blades Hachinohe (Japan, Asia Hockey League). Last season, with Sparta Sarpsborg (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had seven goals and 16 assists in 44 games.

If you are still confused about the options that are available to D Julius Honka and F Leon Draisaitl, I will try to clarify them by bringing D Tommy Vanelli into the picture.
Draisaitl was a first-round selection, third overall, by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL’s 2014 draft; Honka went to the Dallas Stars in the first round, 14th overall, of the same draft.
Vanelli, 19, was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the second round of the 2013 draft.
Draisaitl, who will turn 19 on Oct. 27, was drafted from the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders; Honka, whose 19th birthday is on Dec. 3, was taken from the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos.
The Blues drafted Vanelli, who played last season with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, from a high school team in Minnetonka, Minn.
And therein lies the rub. . . .
Because Draisaitl and Honka played last season with CHL teams and because they were the property of those teams when drafted, their immediate futures include two options for their 19-year-old seasons -- they either play in the NHL or they are returned to their WHL teams. That is the rule according to the CBA between the NHL and the NHLPA.
Because Vanelli was drafted from a team that is not under the CHL umbrella, his options include the NHL, the AHL and the WHL. Yes, he could be assigned to the Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.
When will the circus leave Lethbridge?
Two veteran players -- F Reid Duke and D Macoy Erkamps -- were no-shows on Wednesday when the Hurricanes opened camp.
Paul Kingsmith of Global Lethbridge tweeted that Duke, according to general manager Brad Robson, is expected today.
Erkamps, however, has asked to be traded.
Duke, 18, was the fifth overall selection in the 2011 bantam draft. A native of Calgary, he had 40 points, 15 of them goals, in 62 games as a sophomore last season. That followed a freshman season in which he put up 24 points, eight of them goals. The Minnesota Wild selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2014 draft.
Erkamps, 19, has played three seasons in Lethbridge, after being a second-round pick in the 2010 bantam draft. From Delta, B.C., he has had 20-, 35- and 31-point seasons. In 201 career games, he has 86 points, 14 of them goals.
But wait . . . there’s more!
F Giorgio Estephan, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 bantam draft, was injured at Hockey Canada’s U-18 camp and will sit for six weeks. He apparently was recovering from a fractured foot, aggravated it and has since had surgery.
The 17-year-old from Edmonton had 12 goals and 12 assists in 64 games last season as a freshman.
All of this comes after a 2013-14 season in which the Hurricanes missed the playoffs for a fifth straight season, thanks to a 12-55-5 mark, the poorest record in the 22-team league. During the season, the likes of Sam McKechnie, Jaimen Yakubowski and Ryan Pilon, all veterans, asked out and were traded.
On top of this, there is speculation in Lethbridge that G Justin Myles, 19, will retire.
Myles, from Calgary, was selected by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. Seattle dealt him to Kamloops on Jan. 10, but he showed up with an upper body injury, believed to be a brain injury, and never played a game with the Blazers. On May 12, they dealt him to Lethbridge for a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft.
Without Myles, the Hurricanes might be looking at going into the season with Jonny Hogue, 18, and Stuart Skinner, who won’t be 16 until Nov. 1, as their two goaltenders. They are two of the six goaltenders used by the Hurricanes last season. Hogue played in 18 games; Skinner got into four.
On Wednesday, the Hurricanes signed F Zane Franklin, a second-round pick from the 2014 bantam draft. He had 116 points in 38 regular-season and playoff games with the bantam AAA Lloydminster Heat last season.
F Mitch Lipon, 18, is in camp with the Spokane Chiefs. Lipon, from Regina, had seven points, two of them goals, in 31 games with the Kamloops Blazers last season, before he was dealt to the Saskatoon Blades. He had six points, including four goals, in 24 games with the Blades. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound Lipon was dropped by the Blades during the 2014 bantam draft. . . . He is the younger brother of former Blazers F JC Lipon, who played last season with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps.
F Chris Stockl, who has played with the Saskatoon Blades and Red Deer Rebels, is in camp with the Everett Silvertips. Stockl, 19, is from Winnipeg. He was a fourth-round selection by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2010 bantam draft. . . . He had one goal in five games with the Blades in 2012-13, before moving on to Red Deer, where he had nine points, including two goals, in 57 games. Last season, he had one goal in 16 games with the Rebels. He missed about two months of the season with a brain injury, and then joined the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. He was pointless in two games with them.
The Edmonton Oil Kings announced Thursday that they “have agreed to part ways” with Sean Brown, who had been an assistant coach through two seasons. . . . General manager Randy Hansch said, in a news release: “With the promotion of Steve Hamilton and the hiring of Ryan Marsh this off-season, as well as the increased roles of Dustin Schwartz and Jory Stuparyk, we're excited to have our coaching staff in place.” . . . Hamilton was promoted from assistant to head coach after Derek Laxdal left the reigning Memorial Cup champions to take over as head coach of the AHL’s Texas Stars.
By the time things finished shaking out this week, the Toronto Maple Leafs had a three-man analytics department. That’s about all we know and about all we will ever find out about that particular part of the Toronto organization. To paraphrase Gare Joyce, the sun will never shine on the Maple Leafs’ analytics department. Joyce, a longtime observer and writer of all things hockey, has more on the NHL’s seemingly sudden move to analytics right here.
G Jean-Sebastien Giguere announced his retirement on Thursday, ending a career that included 16 seasons in the NHL. He was with the Colorado Avalanche for most of the last three seasons. . . . Giguere was selected 13th overall by the Hartford Whalers in the NHL’s 1995 draft. He played eight games with the Whalers in 1996-97 and is the last active NHLer to have played for Hartford. . . . Giguere is a part-owner of the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. He plans to stay in hockey by learning the junior hockey ropes with the Armada.
Pour yourself a big cup of coffee before clicking on this story right here. It’s from GQ and was written by Michael Finkel. It’s about a guy who drove into the forest in northern Maine in 1986 and didn’t come out until 2013. This is an amazingly interesting read.

In Saskatoon, the home of the Blades is gets a new name today. The Credit Union Centre for the past 10 years now is SaskTel Centre, with signing expected to go up on Friday. City council approved a deal on Thursday that gives SaskTel naming rights for 10 years for $3.5 million. The previous deal was worth $1.6 million over 10 years. “The Blades retain the right to rink board advertising, except the centre-ice logo, during WHL games,” writes Phil Tank of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix in a story that is right here. “SaskTel has the right to renegotiate the agreement should a WHL team no longer be a permanent fixture at the arena, while the city has the right to seek more money should a professional hockey or basketball team move to Saskatoon and start playing in the facility.” . . . D Ben (Boo) Grist of North Saanich, B.C., suffered a suspected concussion during a scrimmage in the Red Deer Rebels’ camp on Thursday. He was a sixth-round pick of the Rebels in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reports that Silvertips G Austin Lotz reported to camp having lost a few pounds. “Lotz played at 203 pounds last season,” Patterson writes, “but he reported to camp at a trim 180 pounds, looking nearly unrecognizable. The main factor in Lotz's weight loss was getting serious about nutrition during the offseason.” . . . The Portland Winterhawks released their venue schedule on Thursday. They will play 17 games in the Moda Center and 16 in Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The venue for three other games will be decided later, depending on building availability. The Moda Center also is home to the NBA’s Trail Blazers.

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