Monday, December 26, 2016

Some Scattershooting . . . Chiefs' forward doesn't return . . . Silvertips add defenceman


Scattershooting on a Monday night, with the snow having been shovelled and the turkey devoured . . . 

The WHL was kind enough to shut down for eight days for the Christmas break. The teams will start paying the price for that tonight, though. Each of the 22 teams will play three games over the next four nights. Yes, there are 11 games scheduled for each of Tuesday, Wednedsay and Friday nights.
There are eight teams who return from the break to play four games in five nights. The Brandon Wheat Kings, Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors, Portland Winterhawks, Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs, Tri-City Americans and Victoria Royals are scheduled to play tonight, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Gee, do you think such scheduling has ever prompted anyone to think about starting a union or a players’ association on behalf of major junior players?
The best part of Day 1 of the World Junior Championship? The work of Dennis Beyak and Craig Button who handled two games — Sweden’s 6-1 victory over Denmark and Czech Republic’s 2-1 triumph over defending-champion Finland — out of Montreal. They know the players and their stories; they stayed on point and out of each others way through both games.
Canada opens with a 5-3 victory over Russia at the World Junior Championship and the all-seeing and all-knowing experts dump all over the winning goaltender. Has it been like this through all 40 years of this event?
Just when you think you’ve seen some bad TV commercials, along comes Nike with a real mess. And, of course, they will beat us over the head with it. That one had to have snuck on the air without high-ranking approval. No?
Geoffrey Brandow, who tweets at @GeoffreyBrandow, notes that the last five WHL championship teams “were within top three of goal-differential at Christmas.” The three previous champions were fifth. . . . The top five WHL teams in goal-differential are the Regina Pats, Medicine Hat Tigers, Everett Silvertips, Prince George Cougars and Kamloops Blazers.
Brandow points out that the top five are a combined plus-238, while the remaining 17 teams are a combined minus-238.
The WHL’s Christmas trade embargo has ended. The trade deadline arrives on Jan. 10.
The Kamloops Blazers’ braintrust has an interesting situation on its hands. F Matt Revel, 20, could miss up to two months with an undisclosed injury suffered on the pre-Christmas Central Division tour. Do the Blazers go out and find another 20-year-old before Jan. 10, or do they wait, and hope, for Revel’s return?
The Blazers (21-13-2) are third in the B.C. Division, two points behind the Kelowna Rockets (22-12-2). These two meet tonight in Kelowna and Wednesday in Kamloops. Might this be a first-round playoff preview? The Rockets are eight points behind the division-leading Prince George Cougars; the Blazers are six points head of the Victoria Royals
D Kirill Vorobyov (Portland, 2012-13) was traded by Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod to CSKA Moscow for monetary compensation and was then traded by CSKA Moscow to Sibir Novosibirsk (all Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. In 35 games, he had three goals and four assists with Nizhny Novgorod. . . .
F Brendan Shinnimin (Tri-City, 2007-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL). Shinnimin was released by mutual agreement by Langnau (Switzerland, NL A) on Dec. 21. He had two goals and seven assists in 12 games there. . . .
It appears that F Wyatt Sloboshan has decided not to return to the Spokane Chiefs following the WHL’s
eight-day Christmas break.
“He has chosen to not come to Spokane after Christmas and we are looking at options,” Scott Carter, the Chiefs’ general manager, told Taking Note on Monday night.
The Chiefs are expected to wait until there is no doubt that Sloboshan won’t be returning, meaning that he didn’t make his post-Christmas flight or catch a later one, before issuing a news release.
Sloboshan, a 19-year-old from Vanscoy, Sask., was acquired by the Chiefs from the Saskatoon Blades on Dec. 14. In that deal, the Chiefs landed Sloboshan, D Nolan Reid, 18, and a third-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft for F Markson Bechtold, 20, D Evan Fiala, 19, and a conditional sixth-round pick in an undisclosed draft.
Sloboshan, who had been the Blades’ captain, played one game with the Chiefs — he was pointless — before the Christmas break. In 30 games with the Blades, he had four goals and 12 assists.
In 146 career regular-season games, Sloboshan has 33 goals and 58 assists. He was a third-round selection of the Swift Current Broncos in the 2012 bantam draft.

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL players who are playing at the World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto:
Brandon (1): D Kale Clague (Canada).
Calgary (1): D Jake Bean (Canada).
Everett (2): G Carter Hart (Canada), D Noah Juulsen (Canada).
Kamloops (3): F Rudolfs Balcers (Latvia), F G Connor Ingram (Canada), D Ondrej Vala (Czech Republic).
Kelowna (3): F Dillon Dube (Canada), F Calvin Thurkauf (Switzerland), F Tomas Soustal (Czech Republic).
Medicine Hat (1): D Kristians Rubins (Latvia).
Portland (2): F Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark), D Caleb Jones (U.S.).
Prince Albert (1): F Simon Stransky (Czech Republic).
Red Deer (3): F Adam Musil (Czech Republic), G Lasse Petersen (Denmark), F Michael Spacek (Czech Republic).
Regina (2): F Filip Ahl (Sweden), D Sergey Zborovskiy (Russia).
Seattle (2): F Mathew Barzal (Canada), F Alexander True (Denmark).
Tri-City (1): D Juuso Valimaki (Finland).
Vancouver (1): F Radovan Bondra (Slovakia).
The Saskatoon Blades should have D Libor Hajek back in their lineup as they return to action by going home-and-home with the Prince Albert Raiders. Hakej, a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL’s 2016 draft, was released by Czech Republic’s national junior team before the World Junior Championship got started. . . . Hajek has a goal and 11 assists in 31 games with Saskatoon this season. . . . The Blades and Raiders are in Prince Albert tonight and Saskatoon on Wednesday night.
The Everett Silvertips have added D Gianni Fairbrother, 16, to their roster, bringing him in from the Vancouver Northwest Giants of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Fairbrother, a fourth-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft, was pointless in one game earlier this season. He also played three playoff games last spring. He has seven assists in 18 games with the Giants. . . . The Silvertips are without D Noah Juulsen, who is with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. Adding Fairbrother leaves Everett with seven defencemen.


Dec. 19 through Monday:

No Games Scheduled.

TUESDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Kamloops at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Lethbridge vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Calgary at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Spokane vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Everett vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.
Prince George at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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