Tuesday, November 11, 2014

McDavid's right hand in spotlight . . . Benson returns with injury . . . That's 20 for Chartier








F Zdeněk Blatný (Seattle, Kootenay, 1998-2001) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Dornbirn (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Frederikshavn (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had three goals and five assists in five games.
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THE FIGHT:

About the time when Connor McDavid swung and missed on Tuesday night, Sportsnet was running a Friday Night Hockey promo during its telecast of the Subway Super Series game from Brandon.
"What separates Connor from his class?" intoned the voice. "Brilliant hands . . ."
Meanwhile, on Twitter, it was as though the stable was on fire.
McDavid, of course, is The Next One. He plays for the OHL's Erie Otters and is likely to win the league's scoring OHLtitle . . . well, he was until last night, that is. He had 42 points through 14 games, was blanked in No. 15 and then put up seven points over his next two games.
The Otters were at home to the Mississauga Steelheads last night. They had a 4-0 lead in the second period, and McDavid already had a goal, his 16th, and an assist. Then, at 13:50, McDavid took exception to a whack from Steelheads F Bryson Cianfrone and dropped his gloves.
(Victor Fernandes, who covers the Otters for the Erie Times-News, tweeted: "For those keeping score, that was #McDavid's 2nd #OHL fight - 1st where he actually threw punches.")
About halfway through the bout, McDavid's right fist made contact with the boards, dasher or glass. He skated off the ice, his left hand clutching the top of his right hand in obvious discomfort, and headed to the dressing room. He later went to an area hospital for X-rays, the results of which weren't available last night.
McDavid, according to the Otters, is to see a hand specialist today. However, reports late last night indicated that there is a fracture in there somewhere, although it isn't believed to be major.
The Sportsnet gang may not get any sleep as it awaits word on McDavid's immediate future. Game 3 in the Subway Series, this one featuring the OHL and the Russians, is scheduled for Thursday in Peterborough. McDavid is on the OHL's roster.
On Friday, as part of its 12-year CHL contract, Sportsnet is scheduled to show us a game that has the Otters visiting St. Catharines to play the Niagara IceDogs.
We won't even get into how the personality of Canada's national junior team changes if McDavid isn't able to play in the 2015 World Junior Championship that is to be played in Montreal and Toronto. Of course TSN has the TV rights to the WJC, which is why Bob McKenzie was all over this story from the moment McDavid's hand hit the wall.
And if you were tired of hearing about McDavid prior to Tuesday's bout, well, you ain't seen nothin' yet. You can bet that it's going to be all McDavid all the time between now and the Canadian team’s December selection camp. Will he be able to, or won’t he?
Meanwhile, on Twitter, the pro-fighting crowd was braying before the X-ray tech took the first picture of McDavid's hand. Presumably that bunch all will be watching Sportsnet on Thursday and Friday nights if McDavid isn't available.
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Cathal Kelly, The Globe and Mail's sports columnist, was at last night's game in Erie, Pa. His column on what transpired is right here.
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If you haven't yet seen video of the scrap, it is right here.
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Adam Proteau of The Hockey News wrote a piece about the Connor McDavid situation last night. It could be that he was doing a little trolling, too. If so, he caught some big ones. Just check the comments that follow this piece right here.
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The Vancouver Giants aren’t expected to have F Tyler Benson in the lineup tonight when they meet the visiting Tri-City Americans. Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province reported Tuesday morning that Benson returned from the U-17 World Hockey Challenge with an undisclosed injury. . . . Benson, who has three goals and eight assists in 11 games, skated by himself prior to the Giants’ practice, so isn’t believed to be seriously injured. . . . Ewen also reported that F Jakub Stukel (hand), who has played only two games this season, will see a doctor on Nov. 18. He has at least been shooting pucks. . . . F Johnny Wesley, a 17-year-old from White Rock, B.C., skated with the Giants on Tuesday and may be an option for tonight. Wesley, who played one game with the Giants last season, plays with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.
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The Kamloops Blazers have released F Spencer Bast, 17, from their roster and he is expected to join the SJHL’s Battefords North Stars. Bast, from Macklin, Sask., was pointless in six games with Kamloops. . . . The Blazers are carrying 24 players, including eight defencemen and 14 forwards.
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Russia won Game 2 of the Subway Super Series, beating the WHL 3-2 in Brandon on Tuesday night. That sends the Russians east with a 5-1 lead in the series -- it’s three points for a regulation victory, zero for a regulation loss, two points for a shootout victory, one point for a shootout loss). . . . Attendance was announced at 4,788. The capacity of Westman Place is 4,999. . . . Russian F Maxim Mamin took an awkward tumble into the end boards after behind hit by WHL D Joe Hicketts on Monday in Saskatoon. Mamin was taken from the ice on a stretcher and apparently was taken to hospital. I didn’t hear an update on his condition during Game 2. . . . D Shea Theodore, who played for the WHL in Monday's 3-2 shootout loss in Saskatoon, didn't get into the lineup last night. Earlier in the day, he rejoined the Seattle Thunderbirds. He practised with them and should be in their lineup tonight when they meet the Warriors in Moose Jaw.
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D Jarret Tyszka and D Alec Capstick, a pair of WHL bantam draft picks, apparently visited the U of Wisconsin on Sunday. . . . Tyszka, from Langley, B.C., was selected by the Seattle Thunderbirds with the 16th overall pick of the 2014 bantam draft. He is playing for the Yale Hockey Academy U18 team. . . . Capstick, also from Langley, was taken by the Saskatoon Blades in the fourth round of the 2014 bantam draft. He also attends the Yale Hockey Academy. . . . Tip of the hat to Andy Johnson (@AndyJohnsonB5Q) for the tweet.
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Dwight Jaynes, a veteran sports journalist on the Portland scene, was carrying a suitcase down some stairs in his home recently. He fell before he got to the bottom, banging his head against a wall in the process. . . . His first-person account of what followed is well worth reading. It’s right here. . . . As he writes, he’d rather have broken a leg.
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THE COACHING GAME:

The AHL’s Iowa Wild made a coaching change on Tuesday, with John Torchetti replacing Kurt Kleinendorst. . . . Torchetti, who had previously coached the Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate when it was in Houston, spent last season as head coach of the KHL’s CSKA Moscow. . . . Iowa was 2-10-0 at the time of the change.
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TUESDAY'S GAME:

In Spokane, F Rourke Chartier scored twice to help the Kelowna Rockets beat the Chiefs, 4-3. . . . Rourke leads the WHL with 20 goals. His 20th goal, at 9:18 of the third period, gave the Rockets a 4-2 lead. . . . F Adam Helewka, with his 11th, got the Chiefs to within one at 18:14. . . . Kelowna F Nick Merkley, who leads the WHL scoring race, had two assists. He is No. 1 in assists (29) and points (36). . . . Chartier has 34 points. . . . Rockets D Jesse Lees had two assists. . . . The Chiefs got two goals from F Riley Whittingham, who now has four. . . . Chiefs F Liam Stewart had two assists. . . . The Rockets (18-1-1) are 8-0-1 in their last nine. . . . The Chiefs are 8-6-3. . . . The Rockets were without D Madison Bowey and F Tyson Baillie, both of whom played for the WHL in the Super Series game in Brandon. . . . The Chiefs announced prior to the game that their players will wear CH decals on their helmets for the remainder of this season. Cole Hamblin, a defenceman, played for the Chiefs in 2010-12. Hamblin died of cancer a week ago. He was 21. . . . During last night's pregame warmup, Chiefs captain Jason Fram and Stewart wore No. 6 jerseys with Hamblin on the nameplate in honour of their former teammate.
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