Monday, September 15, 2014

Secret out on Royals . . . No. 1 draft pick heads for Wild

F James Wright (Vancouver, 2005-10) signed a one-year contract with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, KHL). He is scheduled to join the team today. Last season, with the Winnipeg Jets (NHL), he had two assists in 59 games. . . .
F David Rutherford (Vancouver, Spokane, 2004-08) has been granted his release by Visby/Roma (Sweden, Division 1) for personal reasons. Last season, he had six goals and three assists in 21 games with the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) and 14 goals and 20 assists in 27 games with the Arizona Sundogs (CHL). . . .
F Jakub Šindel (Brandon, 2004-05) signed a one-year contract with Kaltern/Caldaro (Italy, Serie A). Last season, with Fassa (Italy, Serie A), he had 43 points, including 16 goals, in 40 games. He led Fassa in assists (27) and points.

A year ago, the Victoria Royals were coming off a pedestrian 35-30-7 regular-season, followed by a first-round playoff loss.
My, how things have changed!
Last season, the Royals, under Dave Lowry, the WHL’s coach of the year, went 48-20-4 as they put their first 100-point regular season. They got into the second round of the playoffs, before losing in five games to the Portland Winterhawks.
Today, then, the secret is out.
“The way we are perceived by other teams has changed. We’re not an underdog anymore,” Royals GM Cam Hope, the WHL’s executive of the year, told Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist. “Now, other teams look at us as a challenge. We’re not sneaking up on anybody anymore. And that’s a change for this franchise.”
A lot of the prognosticators expect the Royals to be in the Western Conference’s top four, if not the top two.
They went 2-3-2 in the exhibition schedule; a year ago, they went 3-1-1.
Dheensaw’s complete story is right here.
The exhibition season wrapped up on Sunday, with the Prince George Cougars the only team without a regulation-time loss. They finished 3-0-2.
The Kamloops Blazers (4-1-0), Portland Winterhawks (4-1-0) and Brandon Wheat Kings (3-1-0) were next, each with only one setback.
On the other side of the coin, the Kootenay Ice (1-4), Kelowna Rockets (2-4), Lethbridge Hurricanes (2-4) and Seattle Thunderbirds (3-4) each lost four times.
And there are the Moose Jaw Warriors and Victoria, both of whom lost three times in regulation and twice in OT. Moose Jaw wound up 1-3-2, while Victoria was 2-3-2.
Of course, it’s the exhibition season, so don’t be putting any weight on those numbers.
The Everett Silvertips trimmed their roster to 26 on Monday by releasing G Mario Petit, 17, who is from Ile-Des-Chenes, Man. . . . Everett still has three goaltenders on its roster -- veteran Austin Lotz, 19, who was with the Vancouver Canucks’ team at the Young Guns tournament in Penticton, B.C.; Nik Amundrud, who turns 17 on Oct. 20, and Carter Hart, 16. . . . Lotz showed enough that he has been invited to the Canucks' main camp. . . . Everett’s roster now includes 15 forwards and eight defencemen.
F Stelio Mattheos, the first pick in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft, will play this season for the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild. Mattheos, who is from Winnipeg, was released from training camp by the Brandon Wheat Kings on Monday. At 15, he is too young to play regularly in the WHL. He had two assists in three exhibition games with the Wheat Kings, who have 29 players, including 10 defencemen and 17 forwards, on their roster.
Elliotte Friedman has taken 30 Thoughts with him from Hockey Night in Canada to Sportsnet. The first edition from the new home is right here.
What was the intent of Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson when he allegedly took a switch to his four-year-old son? And should it matter? . . . Amy Davidson of The New Yorker has a terrific read right here.


Two recent studies claim that many more athletes suffer concussions than what the numbers are showing.
Dr. J. Scott Delaney, who works with major teams in Montreal, co-authored two reports that appear in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.
According to a news release based on the reports, “They suggest that concussions continue to be a ‘hidden injury’ in sports, even in the face of significantly increased public awareness.”
More from the news release: “According to Dr. Delaney's research, which involved the surveying of 469 university athletes over a 12-month period, 20 per cent of university athletes believed they had suffered a concussion during this time and almost 80 per cent of these concussed athletes decided not to seek medical attention and chose to continue playing despite believing they had suffered a concussion.”
Dr. Delaney works with the Montreal Alouettes, Montreal Impact and McGill U football and soccer teams. He also is a sports medicine specialist and research director in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the McGill University Health Centre and an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University.
“The athletes' most common explanation was that they did not feel their concussion was serious,” said Dr. Delaney. “They believed it would not be dangerous to continue to play or practise. Most athletes know what should happen when they get a concussion – they will be taken out of the game. However, they are not always aware that a concussion, if not recognized and treated, can be extremely dangerous.
“Coaches should be aware that their attitudes and behaviour towards concussed athletes may encourage players to conceal symptoms. Our study found that some athletes did not reveal symptoms because they were afraid it would affect their standing with the team. The response of coaches and medical staff to concussion can have a significant impact on their players' immediate and long-term health."
Dr. Delaney and his colleagues also studied what they call the mechanisms of concussions in football, hockey and soccer.
“Impacts to the side of the head or helmet were the most common location of impact resulting in concussion in all three sports,” according to the news release. “While contact with another player's head or helmet was the most frequent mechanism in football and soccer, contact with another body part or object was the most likely cause of concussion in ice hockey. About half the concussions in soccer were related to attempts to 'head' the ball.”
The complete news release is right here.
Late last week, there was interesting news out of the NFL concerning brain injuries.
Here’s how Ken Belson of The New York Times started his story:
“The National Football League, which for years disputed evidence that its players had a high rate of severe brain damage, has stated in federal court documents that it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at “notably younger ages” than in the general population.
“The findings are a result of data prepared by actuaries hired by the league and provided to the United States District Court judge presiding over the settlement between the N.F.L. and 5,000 former players who sued the league, alleging that it had hidden the dangers of concussions from them.”
You will find Belson’s complete story right here, and it is full of interesting and scary numbers.

The Red Deer Rebels have run into a couple of injuries to their import defencemen. Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate has reported that Mario Grman injured a foot while blocking shot during a game on Friday, while Hugo Jansons “has an upper body injury that could keep him out of the lineup for eight to 10 weeks.“ . . . Brandon Wheat Kings F Richard Nejezchleb, 20, suffered an undisclosed injury while with the New York Rangers’ rookie team in Traverse City, Mich. He missed two games but still was hoping to get invited to main camp, which opens Friday. . . . Brandon D Eric Roy (shoulder) was hurt while playing for the Calgary Flames’ rookie team in Penticton, B.C., and sat out his club’s last two games. . . . The Wheat Kings also announced that they have sold 2,312 season tickets, just down from last season’s total of 2,357 when they averaged 3,529 fans per game. . . .
Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, reports on his blog that the WHL has lost two veteran referees. Brett Montsion has moved to Ontario and will work in the OHL, while Pat Smith has retired after 12 seasons in the WHL. Smith, who is from Vancouver, was one of the WHL’s top referees for most of those 12 seasons. . . . Former WHL D Jordan Rowley (Kamloops, Prince Albert, 2006-11) will attend the Edmonton Oilers’ main camp. Rowley’s final WHL season was impacted by a hand injury. From Edmonton, he has spent the last three seasons at the U of Alberta with the Golden Bears. Last season, he had 30 points, including eight goals, in 28 games. . . . The Saskatoon Blades’ roster is at 27, including nine defencemen and 16 forwards, after they released D MacKenzie Dwyer and F Dexter Kuczek on Monday. Dwyer, an 11th-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft, is to join the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers. Kuczek, who was taken one pick after Dwyer, will play for the MJHL’s Portage Terriers.


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