Monday, September 29, 2014

Portland finally lands Koules, also trims goaltender . . . Blazers add two coaches

Don't be looking for anything here for the next two or three days. We are heading for the hinterland where Internet coverage has been known to be awfully spotty -- in other words, keeping the laptop in the bag lowers the frustration level!

The Seattle Thunderbirds added a key component to their roster on Sunday when the Montreal Canadiens returned D Evan Wardley, 20, to the WHL team. . . . Wardley's arrival left Seattle with four 20-year-olds, the others being F Justin Hickman, D Adam Henry and G Taran Kozun. . . . That was one over the limit, but the Thunderbirds dealt with that situation on Monday, as we shall see.
With his Saskatoon Blades at 0-4, freshman general manager/head coach Bob Woods said on Sunday that no one in the organization is hitting the panic button. But he told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that the team isn't through making changes, explaining that he wanted to add a 20-year-old defenceman before Oct. 15.
On Monday, the Blades acquired that 20-year-old defenceman, getting Adam Henry from the Seattle Thunderbirds. By day's end, the Blades had traded away two defencemen, acquired one (Henry) and released two other players.
The Blades dealt D Turner Ottenbreit, 17, to Seattle for Henry.
Henry, from Winnipeg, turns 20 on Nov. 24. He was a third-round selection by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2009 bantam draft. Since then, he has played 176 regular-season games and has put up 76 points, 16 of them goals. The Hurricanes traded him to Seattle early last season; he recorded 38 points, seven of them goals, in 64 games with the Thunderbirds.
Ottenbreit, from Yorkton, Sask., was a 12th-round selection by the Blades in the 2012 bantam draft. The 6-foot-4, 180-pounder was pointless in 10 games with the Blades last season. This season, he has one goal in two games. He looked wobbly on Friday night after taking two shots to the chin from Brandon Wheat Kings F Jesse Gabrielle during a scrap and then was scratched from Saturday's game in Moose Jaw against the Warriors.
Henry's arrival leaves the Blades with three 20-year-olds, the others being F Sam McKechnie, another former Hurricanes player whom Saskatoon acquired from Seattle last week, and F Brett Stovin.
F Chase Clayton, 20, who had been on the Blades' roster, was one of the players released yesterday. From Abbotsford, Clayton also has played with the Calgary Hitmen. In 245 regular-season games, he has 84 points, including 32 goals. He was pointless in four games this season, after putting up 11 goals and 11 assists in 58 games with Saskatoon last season.
Also being released by Saskatoon was D Tyler Dea, a 19-year-old from St. Albert, Alta. He has three assists in 37 career games; he was pointless in two games this season.
Meanwhile, the Blades dealt D Ayrton Nikkel, 19, to the Swift Current Broncos for D Cole Bevan, 18, and a seventh-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft.
Bevan, a 6-foot-1, 208-pounder from Cloverdale, B.C., has two assists in 18 regular-season games with the Broncos. He was a 10th-round pick in the 2011 draft.
Nikkel, from Kelowna, also has played with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Everett Silvertips. He was pointless in three games with the Blades this season. In 173 career regular-season games, he has 34 points, including eight goals. A native of Kelowna, he was a second-round pick of the Blades in the 2010 bantam draft.
On Sunday, the Montreal Canadiens released F Nikita Scherbak from their training camp roster and he joined the Everett Silvertips. That completes the deal in which Scherbak moved to Everett from the Blades. Everett gave up G Nik Amundrud, 17, a first-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft and a second-rounder in 2016. The draft picks had been conditional on Scherbak being assigned to Everett.
The Spokane Chiefs have acquired F Calder Brooks, 20, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a fifth-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . From Emerald Park, Sask., Brooks was an eighth-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2009 bantam draft. The Raiders acquired him from Calgary midway through last season. In 144 regular-season games, he has 68 points, including 26 goals. This season, he has a goal and an assist in two games. . . . The move leaves the Raiders with three 20s -- D Sawyer Lange, F Dakota Conroy and F Jayden Hart, who turns 20 on Dec. 14. . . . The Chiefs' roster now features four 20s, with Brooks joining F Connor Chartier, F Marcus Messier and F Liam Stewart.
The Medicine Hat Tigers have traded F Miles Koules, 20, to the Portland Winterhawks for a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Koules, from Los Angeles, had played 141 regular-season games with the Tigers, putting up 92 points, including 45 goals. Last season, he had 51 points, 25 of them goals, in 70 games. He has one goal in two games this season. He is the son of former WHLer Oren Koules (Portland, Great Falls Americans, Medicine Hat, Spokane Flyers, Calgary, Brandon, 1979-82). . . . If you are wondering who has Koules family bragging rights, Dad had 154 points, including 60 goals, in 179 regular-season games. . . . “It’s hard," Miles told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News. "When you’re an older guy, you’re a leader and you just have to be up front and show the young guys that things are good. . . . But it’s alright, it’s good news to be going to a great team like that, but the Tigers are a great team as well.” . . . Originally, Koules's WHL rights were held by the Everett Silvertips. They dealt him to Medicine Hat for F Reid Petryk at the trade deadline during the 2011-12 season. Before that deal was made, there had been speculation that Koules would end up with Portland. . . . It is believed that Portland tried hard to acquire Koules, but that Doug Soetaert, then Everett's GM, wouldn't move him within the U.S. Division. . . . The Winterhawks now are carrying four 20s -- Koules, D Josh Hanson, F Travis McEvoy and D Joshua Smith, who turns 20 on Oct. 10. . . . It also is interesting that the Winterhawks' 27-man roster now includes 14 American-born players, although both those numbers will change on Tuesday (see next item). . . . The Tigers' roster now includes three 20s -- D Tyler Lewington, who will be 20 on Dec. 5, D Kyle Becker and G Marek Langhamer.
The Portland Winterhawks got down to two goaltenders on Monday as they assigned Michael Bullion to the NAHL's Wenatchee, Wash., Wild. . . . Bullion, 17, is from Anchorage, Alaska. He played one regular-season game with Portland, giving up five goals on 33 shots. . . . Bullion, who split last season between the junior A Toronto Jr. Canadiens and the midget AAA Toronto Marlboros, was a ninth-round selection by the Winterhawks in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . The move leaves Portland with veteran Brendan Burke and newcomer Adan Hill, 18, as its goaltenders. Hill, from Calgary, was 4-0-0/1.65/.934 in four games last season with the Winterhawks; this season, he is 0-2-0/3.98/.905.
The Kootenay Ice has released F Shane Allan, who turns 17 on Dec. 19, and D Mark O'Shaughnessy, 17. Allan will play for the midget AAA Calgary Royals, while O'Shaugnessy joins the BCHL's Vernon Vipers. . . . The Ice also released Russian F Alexander Chirva, 18. Chirva had six points, two of them goals, in 58 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors last season. This season, he had one goal in three games with the Ice. . . .After Chirva was released by the Warriors, the Ice selected him in the 2014 CHL import draft. . . . Kootenay is left with one import player, but Rssian D Rinat Valiev, who turns 19 on Oct. 5, is out for up to four weeks with an undisclosed injury. . . . Kootenay is carrying 23 players, including eight defencemen and 13 forwards. Included are two 20-year-olds -- F Levi Cable and F Austin Vetterl. . . . Asked about Chirva by Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman, Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth responded: "First of all, we expected more. Secondly, with some of our younger players, they might be behind him at this point, but by Christmas time they would be ahead of him and he’s taking ice time away from some of those younger players.” . . . As for having an import opening and a 20-year-old opening, Chynoweth told Rocca: “We’re just going to play it out. . . . We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks. As teams start to play more games and their numbers get set there’s going to be more players available. Whether they’re 20-year-olds or import players, there’s going to be some options to look at.” . . . The Ice also holds the rights to F Tim Bozon, 20, who is with the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs and G Mackenzie Skapski (AHL-Hartford Wolf Pack). . . . Rocca's story is right here.
Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald reports that Warriors D Austin Adam, who suffered a shoulder injury in a Saturday game, doesn't need surgery, but still might miss eight weeks. . . . Gourlie's story is right here.
Bob McKenzie of TSN takes an early look right here at some players who remain in NHL camps but still are being watched closely by Canada's national junior team. That includes F Curtis Lazar of the Edmonton Oil Kings, who is having a solid camp with the NHL's Ottawa Senators.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post has been watching with interest as NHL teams have been hiring numbers people who specialize in analytics. But, he wonders "why there isn’t more information available to an inquiring, inquisitive and educated public than exists in any forum that hasn’t been bought and paid for by NHL teams?" . . . Could it be that hockey has its head in the sand when it comes to marketing statistics to fans? . . . Brooks' piece is right here.
The 42nd anniversary of Paul Henderson's winning goal in Game 8 of the Summit Series came and went on Sunday. Right here is a piece that Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun wrote two years ago, providing some inside info on the series.

The Portland Winterhawks slipped to 0-5 as they were swept in a weekend doubleheader by the visiting Everett Silvertips. The Winterhawks are 0-5 for the first time since 1999-2000. . . .The Kamloops Blazers have added Terry Bangen and Chris Murray as part-time assistant coaches. Bangen, who also is an assistant coach with the UBC Thunderbirds, spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Blazers under head coaches Tom Renney and Don Hay. Murray played three seasons (1991-94) with the Blazers and was on two Memorial Cup-winning teams. He works full-time as a member of the Kamloops Fire Department. . . .
The Victoria Royals have signed G Griffen Outhouse, 16, who was added to their list in 2013. Outhouse, from Williams Lake, B.C., is playing for the major midget Cariboo Cougars, who play out of Prince George. He played last season with the POE U-16 team, going 2.88/.882 in 12 appearances. . . . Kamloops Blazers D Patrik Maier has been suspended for three games for a Friday night headshot on Victoria F Axel Blomqvist. Maier sat out Saturday's rematch in Victoria, which the Royals won 4-3 in OT. Blomqvist missed that game and Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Giants in Vancouver. . . .
Victoria D Ryan Gagnon was given a two-game suspension for a charging major he incurred in Friday's game against visiting Kamloops. He served his suspension by missing Saturday and Sunday games. . . . D Riley Hillis of the Tri-City Americans will sit for two games after being hit with a clipping major and game misconduct at Spokane on Saturday, while Chiefs D Tamas Laday got a one-game suspension for a charging major and game misconduct in the same game. . . . The major midget Okanagan Rockets' Twitter account revealed Monday that D Nolan Kneen will make his WHL debut with the host Kamloops Blazers against the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday. Kneen, from North Vancouver, was the third-overall selection in the 2014 bantam draft.

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