Thursday, October 13, 2016

Now that was entertainment! . . . Blades get forward from Tigers . . . Another NHL deal on Broncos' roster

G Patrik Polívka (Victoria, 2012-14) has been assigned on loan by Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, 1. Liga) for the remainder of the season. This season, with Plzeň, he was 3.20 and .895 in two games. On loan to Klatovy (Czech Republic, 2. Liga), he had a 4.14 GAA in one game. . . . 
F Anthony Ast (Vancouver, Medicine Hat, 2010-15) has been released by Duisburg (Germany, Oberliga) at his request. He had a goal and an assist in six games. A Duisburg news release indicates that Ast requested his release in order to return to Canada "to take advantage of scholarship opportunities.”
The Portland Winterhawks played their sixth game in nine nights on Wednesday, finishing an East Division swing with a 5-4 OT victory over the Regina Pats.
The game featured 103 shots on goal, 52 by Regina.
Neither of the head coaches was selected as one of the stars, but they should have been.
Because both men — Mike Johnston of the Winterhawks and John Paddock of the Pats — understand
that while they are in the business of developing players, they also are in the entertainment business. As such, there is pressure on them to fill the seats.
“It was a highly entertaining game,” Paddock told columnist Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post. “The fans all got their money’s worth, because there was a lot of up and down the ice at a fast pace. There were nine goals and it was full entertainment, for sure.
“There won’t be many games probably played like that, I don’t think. But saying that, there’s a lot of games to be played and there’s a lot of good teams to play against.”
Vanstone writes: 
“Paddock and his coaching counterpart, Mike Johnston, should take a bow after Wednesday’s sublime skating spectacle. The Pats’ bench boss noted that the Winterhawks have done an effective job of enticing American-born players to play for them, and displays such as that of Wednesday are a fine recruiting tool.”
As Paddock told Vanstone: “I think it helps that if you have a game like that, players want to come and play for you. They want to be involved in an entertaining game. They don’t want to be skating backwards in the neutral zone all the time and defending. They want to go. They want to pressure. They want to go after it.”
As Vanstone points out, “That is entirely in tune with Paddock’s philosophy.”
More from Paddock:
“The style of hockey that’s in vogue in the game today can be and is entertaining. You have to have a lot of good players to do it. (Portland) really played an outstanding game. We want to play an up-tempo game. We want to have the puck a lot. We want to put pucks to the net a lot. If you do that, it lends to entertainment.”
Meanwhile, Greg Harder of The Leader-Post spoke with Johnston.
“We are a very fast team and we can move the puck and we can get in behind people,” Johnston told him. “We have to play a fast hungry game or we just can’t stay with those teams.”
Why does Johnston want his club playing that way?
“It’s really hard to defend against (a fast team) so you have to have guys who are quick on the backcheck and take away space from the skilled players. But it’s an enjoyable game, I’m sure, for people watching rather than trapping it up, slugging it out. You got your money’s worth tonight.”
Oh, for more games like that one . . . and more coaches who think like Johnston and Paddock.
Vanstone’s column is right here.
Harder’s game story is right here.

The Saskatoon Blades have acquired F Caleb Fantillo, 18, from the Medicine Hat Tigers for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 WHL bantam draft. . . . Fantillo, from Coquitlam, B.C., was a sixth-round selection by the Tigers in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had 12 points, including six goals, in 63 games. This season, he has two assists in five games. . . . The Blades arrived in Kelowna on Thursday and will open a B.C. Division tour against the Rockets tonight (Friday). . . . The Blades are hoping that the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Fantino can add some grit to their lineup. In 70 games (2013-15) with the Vancouver-Northeast Chiefs of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, he totalled 89 points, including 54 goals, and 200 penalty minutes.
Speaking of the Blades, here’s a tip of the cap to Russ Smart, one of their scouts who has been around the WHL since the early 1980s. . . . He started out as an area scout out of central Alberta for the Prince Albert Raiders and was part of their organization when they won the 1985 Memorial Cup. Later, he moved on to the Lethbridge Hurricanes where he worked under Wayne Simpson, Terry’s brother, and Bob Bartlett. . . . By 1992-93, he was the assistant GM and director of player personnel with the Victoria Cougars. He remained with the Cougars through 2008-09 by which time they had been in Prince George for 15 seasons. . . . He then spent six seasons scouting for the Vancouver Giants and now is into his second season with the Blades. . . . Smart lives in Red Deer these days, but winters in Arizona where, yes, he spends time scouting in the area that produced Auston Matthews. . . . D Jonathan Smart, who is in his second season with the Kelowna Rockets, is Russ’ grandson. Jonathan’s father is former Jason Smart, who played with the Raiders and Blades (1986-90) and now is an RCMP officer.

F Lane Pederson of the Swift Current Broncos has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. He was an undrafted free agent. He went to camp with the Anaheim Ducks prior to the 2015-16 season, then was with the Coyotes prior to this season. . . . Pederson, a 19-year-old from Saskatoon, has nine points, seven of them assists, in seven games this season. He had 34 points, 14 of them goals, in 37 games with the Broncos last season, after being acquired from Red Deer as part of a deal in which F Jake DeBrusk joined the Rebels. Pederson had put up 21 points, six of them goals, in 35 games with Red Deer. . . . In 144 regular-season games, including 65 with the Seattle Thunderbirds, who picked him in the fifth round of the 2012 bantam draft, he has 84 points, including 30 goals. . . . Pederson is the third player on the Broncos roster to have signed an NHL deal in the last few days. D Colby Sissons signed with the New Jersey Devils, while D Max Lajoie got a deal done with the Ottawa Senators.
The U of Saskatchewan Huskies hockey teams play in a facility that opened in 1929. It’s little wonder, then, that the university has begun fund-raising with plans of building a $41-million multi-purpose facility that will include an arena and a double gymnasium. The new facility is to be called Merlis Belsher Place after Belsher, a U of S graduate with degrees in commerce and law, donated $12.25 million to the fund-raising drive. . . . Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.
Hockey at the CIS level is one of Canada’s best-kept secrets in a lot of markets. But now there is a place on the Internet that you are able to visit if you want to keep up on what’s happening with any number of former WHL players. The Attacking Zone belongs to Victor Findlay and it’s look back at Week 1 is right here.


D Micheal Zipp has been named the 24th captain in the history of the Calgary Hitmen. Zipp, 20, is into his fourth season with the Hitmen. . . .
If you’re keeping track, F Mathew Barzal wasn’t in the lineup last night as the New York Islanders opened their NHL season with a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers. Barzal, 19, is eligible to return to the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . 
The Red Deer Rebels have dropped D Jacob Herauf, 16, from their roster. He is expected to join the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. A first-round pick by the Rebels in the 2015 bantam draft, he was pointless in our games.
Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to email me at



No Games Scheduled.

FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Prince Albert at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Victoria at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Regina vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Calgary at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Prince George vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.
Everett at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

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