Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Flint Flonbombers? . . . Warriors make a Point . . . Blazers whip Winterhawks

It’s official. The OHL’s Plymouth Whalers are being sold and will relocate to Flint, Mich., in time for the 2015-16 season. There now is speculation about what the team’s nickname might be once it is in its new home. . . . A tip of the hat to the WHL executive who emailed me and suggested the Flint Flonbombers would be most suitable. . . . It is impossible to disagree with that.
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has more on the Flint situation right here.
ICYMI, former Kamloops Blazers G Devan Dubnyk was acquired by the NHL’s Minnesota Wild from the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday. The Wild is Dubnyk’s fifth NHL organization  in a year -- he went from the Edmonton Oilers to the Nashville Predators to the Montreal Canadiens to Arizona and now to Minnesota.
Which brings me to G Don Blishen.
You may recall that I mentioned Blishen here on Wednesday in a piece on players who had been with six or seven WHL teams during their careers.
Blishen was on the list of those who had played for six teams. The Calgary native, who now is 43, played for the Calgary Wranglers, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos, Portland Winterhawks, Tri-City Americans and Brandon Wheat Kings (1986-90).
It seems that he came awfully close to playing for the Spokane Chiefs, too.
Craig West, a former radio voice of the Chiefs who now calls the play for the Tri-City Americans, recalls Spokane GM Tim Speltz having dealt G Shawn Dietrich to Tri-City for Blishen.
As West recalls, Blishen might have been Chiefs' property “for an hour or so” before he was dealt to Brandon, along with F Bobby House and F Marty Murray, for G Trevor Kidd on Jan. 21, 1991. With Kidd backstopping them, the Chiefs ended up winning the Memorial Cup.
Whenever I watch a Vancouver Canucks game on Sportsnet, I chuckle in the early going when a Safeway promotion appears and the voiceover provides the name of someone who will win $1 million if a Vancouver player scores five goals during the game.
Yeah, when is the last time one of the Canucks scored five goals in a game?
Well, the same promotion runs in Manitoba. And, on Tuesday night, Gail McDonald of Brandon would have won $1 million had one of the Winnipeg Jets scored five goals against the visiting Florida Panthers.
It was close, too, as Matthieu Perreault of the Jets scored four times over the first two periods.
There’s more right here.


In Moose Jaw, F Brayden Point scored three times to lead the Warriors to a 4-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The victory moved the Warriors to within three points of the Ice, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second of two wild-card playoff spots. . . . Two goals from Point, who has 20 goals, and one from F Torrin White, his ninth, gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. . . . Point has two hat tricks this season. . . . The Ice got to within 3-2 before the period ended, as F Austin Vetterl got his fourth and D Rinat Valiev scored his sixth. . . . Valiev returned after a seven-game absence. He played for Russia at the WJC and then was ill. . . . Point gave his side a 4-2 lead with his 20th goal at 11:08 of the third, on a PP. . . . Ice F Sam Reinhart made it 4-3 at 12:09, with his ninth goal. . . . Reinhart has 15 goals in 13 career games against Moose Jaw. . . . Warriors D Dallas Valentine and F Axel Blomqvist each had two assists. . . . Moose Jaw lost F Jaimen Yakubowski to a headshot major and game misconduct at 4:08 of the third period. The hit was on Reinhart. . . . Kootenay lost D Troy Murray in the first period when he didn’t return after taking a hit from Yakubowski. . . . The Ice held a 33-18 edge in shots, including 12-3 in the third. . . . The Warriors (18-23-4) who play in Swift Current on Friday, have won two in a row. . . . The Ice (21-21-1), which is in Prince Albert on Friday, has lost four straight. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has more on the game right here. . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Pavel Padakin scored Regina’s first two goals and the Pats went on to a 6-1 victory over the Tigers. . . . Regina G Daniel Wapple, in his first start since returning from a groin injury, stopped 37 shots. . . . WHL Facts (@WHLFacts) tweeted that Wapple is 16-0-2 since Nov. 7. . . . F Dryden Hunt, whom the Tigers acquired from the Pats prior to the trade deadline, got the game’s first goal, his 16th, at 6:54 of the first period. He is on a 14-game point streak, the longest in the WHL today. . . . Padakin, who has 13 goals, tied the score at 8:41 and then gave the Pats the lead at 1:11 of the second. . . . The Pats added three third-period goals, including a shorthanded score by F Austin Wagner at 4:57 for a 3-1 lead. He’s got 11 goals. . . . F Braden Christoffer and F Sam Steel each had two assists for Regina. . . . Regina F Colton Kroeker scored his second goal of the season on a third-period penalty shot. . . . D Chase Harrison (concussion) was back in Regina’s lineup. . . . Regina (26-14-3), which is in Edmonton on Friday, had lost its previous two games. . . . The Tigers are 29-11-2. They are in Saskatoon on Friday. . . .

In Calgary, F Brooks Maxwell’s shootout goal stood up as the winner as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Hitmen, 5-4. . . . The Hitmen had taken a 4-2 lead into the back half of the third period. . . . Maxwell scored his 13th goal, on a PP, at 10:34 and F Conner Bleackley forced OT with his second goal of the game, and 22nd of the season, at 18:51. . . . Red Deer outscored the home team 3-2 in the skills competition. . . . F Connor Rankin scored twice for Calgary, giving him 23. . . . Calgary D Travis Sanheim had three assists. . . . F Jake Virtanen was among Calgary’s scratches. . . . The Rebels (25-14-5) have won five straight and stretch their lead over the third-place Hitmen to four points in the Central Division. . . . Calgary (23-16-5) has lost two in a row. . . . The Rebels are at home to Victoria on Friday. . . . Calgary next plays on Saturday against visiting Victoria. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers struck four times in the first period and went on to beat the Portland Winterhawks, 6-2. . . . The Blazers line of Matt Needham between Cole Ully and Deven Sideroff combined for 10 points. Needham had two goals, giving him 14, and two assists; Ully notched his 20th goal and had two assists; and Sideroff scored his 15th goal and added two assists. . . . The Winterhawks scored twice in the second period to briefly make a game of it. . . . Portland F Alex Schoenborn scored his 13th goal and also had an assist. . . . D Michael Fora had two assists for the Blazers. A freshman from Switzerland, he has 23 points in 38 games. After putting up eight points in his first 19 games, he has 15 in his last 19. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram stopped 24 shots, none bigger than a left pad save off F Miles Koules with eight seconds left in the second period that kept the Kamloops lead at 4-2. . . . Portland G Evan Johnson stopped 17 of 19 shots over the last two periods as he made his first appearance since being acquired from the Calgary Hitmen. He relieved Adin Hill, who surrendered four goals on 16 shots in the first period. . . . Portland F Chase De Leo had a 17-game point streak come to an end. . . . F Nic Petan returned to the Portland lineup after an 11-game absence. He was with Team Canada at the WJC, where he tied for the tournament scoring lead, and then was said to be ill. If you were thinking mumps, forget it. A Portland insider told Taking Note that Petan was quite run down when he got back from the WJC. . . . F Mitch Walter wasn’t on the Portland bench in the third period. He was playing his first game since being acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings at the trade deadline. He was involved in an early second-period fight with Kamloops F Nick Chyzowski and took an overhand right square in the face. Walter looked wobbly going to the penalty box. . . . The Blazers (15-24-6) now have won one more game than they did all of last season when they finished 14-53-5. They next play Saturday when they entertain the Vancouver Giants. . . . Portland (23-19-3) had won its last two games. . . . The Winterhawks will meet the Cougars in Prince George on Friday and Saturday. . . .

In Kelowna, F Rourke Chartier and F Dillon Dube each scored twice to help the Rockets to a 7-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Chartier leads the WHL with 38 goals. . . . Dube has 10 goals even though injuries have limited him to 19 games. . . . Chartier also had an assist. . . . F Leon Draisaitl and D Madison Bowey each had two assists for Kelowna. . . . Rockets G Jackson Whistle, in his 100th regular-season WHL appearance, stopped 19 shots. . . . Tri-City G Evan Sarthou turned aside 28 shots. . . .The Americans list G Eric Comrie as being out two to three weeks with an undisclosed injury. He hasn’t played since returning from the WJC. . . . The Rockets are 34-7-3; the Americans are 20-21-2. . . . Kelowna is atop the Western Conference and the Americans hold down the conference’s second wild-card spot, so this may well be a first-round playoff matchup. . . . The Rockets are at home to Seattle on Friday, while the Americans visit Vancouver.

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