Saturday, February 4, 2012

D Angel Krstev (Lethbridge, 1999-2000) was assigned on loan by Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Pisek (Czech Republic, 1.Liga) for the rest of this season. He had five assists in 21 games for Sparta this season.
What’s next? Vanity Fair? GQ?
Lorne Molleken, the general manager and head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, is featured on the cover of Saskatoon Well Being Magazine, and also is the subject of a feature story.
After checking this out, you may agree that there just might be some truth to the rumour that ZZ Top had Molleken in mind with Sharp Dressed Man.
One thing is for certain, though. The late Maurice (Rocket) Richard would have taken one look at the photos and said: “Two minutes for lookin’ so good.”
Check it out right here.
Shock waves continue to reverberate throughout the WHL following the Everett Silvertips’ announcement Thursday that they had fired general manager Doug Soetaert.
A front-office official with one team said “shock” best described the feeling in his organization’s office when people reported to work Friday morning.
One other team official told me that “Doug is a respected general manager in our league. Good GMs don’t grow on trees.”
Soetaert, whose contract was due to expire after this season, has yet to comment.
Gary Gelinas, the Silvertips’ president and governor, has said ownership decided now was the time to go in a new direction and that it is hoped a replacement will be in place in time to deal with the offseason.
The commissioner has yet to respond to any of the questions that have been posted here, all but one of which have come from readers of this blog.
However, I did hear from a WHL team official on Friday, and this person was kind enough to offer some clarification on a few things pertaining to the education situation, all of which was enlightening to me.
It was pointed out that a player in his 21-year-old season, who comes out of the WHL, is able to play an entire season of pro hockey and remain eligible to use his WHL education package.
Such a player could, for example, spend an entire season in the ECHL and enroll in school the following autumn.
However, that player would have to sit out an entire season of hockey before becoming eligible to play in the CIS.
The reason?
CIS rules call for a player to be enrolled by the second semester in order to be eligible to play that season. This is why we see players leaving the pro ranks over the Christmas break and heading to school. That allows them to play that season. If they play a full season of pro and then go to school, they have to sit out one season.
As for the WHL education fund that was referred to in one question, there isn’t such a creature. A player’s education is paid for by the team for which he played. The WHL administers the process, but the liability belongs to the teams.
At least one team budgets an average cost of $6,500 per player in school. So if a team has a dozen ex-players in school, that is an expense of $78,000. Make it 16 players and a team is paying out more than $100,000.
As this person told me, “That is the cost of doing business.”
In Brandon, G Damien Ketlo turned aside 41 shots as the Lethbridge Hurricanes doubled the Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-2. . . . Ketlo stopped 25 shots through two periods as his teammates built a 2-0 lead on F Graham Hood’s 10th goal at 2:16 of the second, via the PP, and F Juraj Bezuch’s sixth at 16:24. . . . F Mark Stone got his 33rd for Brandon to get his side to within two, at 3-1, at 5:59 of the third. . . . Lethbridge F Max Moline, who had been out since Sept. 30 with a knee injury, got his first of the season at 7:39 of the third. It was his first career goal in 58 games, 54 of which were with the Tri-City Americans prior to this season. From Lethbridge, he was a fifth-round selection of the Americans in the 2008 bantam draft. . . . Lethbridge ended a three-game losing streak. . . . Brandon has lost six in a row at home. . . .

In Edmonton, F Michael St. Croix broke a 1-1 tie late in the first period and the Oil Kings skated to a 3-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . St. Croix got his 33rd goal of the season at 19:40. . . . F Mitch Moroz scored Edmonton’s other goals, opening the scoring at 2:58 of the first and upping his side’s lead to 3-1 at 10:14 of the second. He’s got 13 goals. . . . F Charles Inglis scored both Red Deer goals, giving him 15. . . . The Oil Kings lost F Kristians Pelss with a major for checking behind at 14:01 of the third. After the ensuing scrap, the Rebels ended up with a three-minute power play but weren’t able to score. . . . Red Deer D Aaron Borejko came out of that with stitches in his forehead. It’s not known if he will play tonight. . . .

In Cranbrook, F Sam Reinhart scored the winning goal in the last second of the third period to give the Kootenay Ice a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Reinhart, who has 22 goals, had opened the scoring at 4:05 of the first period. . . . Calgary F Jimmy Bubnick tied it, with his 22nd, at 15:33 of the third period. . . . Ice F Drew Czerwonka was back after missing seven games with an undisclosed injury. F Max Reinhart (foot) remains sidelined. . . . Kootenay F Dylen McKinlay had two assists. . . . The Hitmen had won six in a row. Still, they have won 14 of their last 16. . . .

In Portland, F Oliver Gabriel and F Brendan Leipsic scored two goals each to lead the Winterhawks to a 7-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . It was a special night as former coach/player Brent Peterson was inducted into the Winterhawks’ Hall of Fame. . . . Portland has won a franchise-record 19 straight home games. . . . The teams were tied 2-2 when Portland D Troy Rutkowski scored at 17:20 of the first period. . . . Gabriel scored 19 seconds into the second period and Portland was off to the races. . . . F Cam Reid added a goal and two assists for Portland. . . . Winterhawks F Ty Rattie had one assist, as did linemate Sven Baertschi. . . . Portland was 3-for-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-for-7. . . . D Ryan Murray scored his eighth goal of the season for Everett, while D Josh Caron had two assists. It was the first two-point game of Caron’s career. Caron, 20, has played in 151 regular-season games. . . . Portland D Layne Viveiros, whose father Emanuel played for the Prince Albert Raiders (1982-86), earned his first WHL point, an assist on Portland’s first goal. . . . Emanuel now coaches in Austria, where he also is the Austrian national team’s head coach. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Medicine Hat Tigers erased a 1-0 deficit with three straight goals and beat the Raiders, 3-2. . . . F Hunter Shinkaruk broke a 1-1 tie with his 37th goal 56 seconds into the third period. . . . F Emerson got his WHL-leading 48th goal at 3:28 to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. . . . Those two goals both came via the PP. . . . Medicine Hat G Tyler Bunz stopped 24 shots in winning his 106th career regular-season game, a franchise record. He had shared the record with Matt Keetley (2003-07). . . . Prince Albert F Mark McNeill got his 24th goal on a third-period PP. . . . Etem also had an assist. . . .

In Prince George, F Shane McColgan broke a 1-1 tie at 10:06 of the third period as the Kelowna Rockets got past the Cougars, 2-1. . . . Kelowna F Cody Chikie opened the scoring at 1:42 of the second period. . . . Cougars F Spencer Asuchak tied it at 3:28 of the third. . . . McColgan won it with his 14th goal of the season. . . . The Rockets were 0-for-1 on the PP; the Cougars were 0-for-5. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Blades opened up a 3-0 lead midway through the first period and went on to a 6-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . D Dalton Thrower scored twice for the Blades, giving him 14, while G Andrey Makarov stopped 35 shots. . . . Saskatoon has won three in a row. . . . The Warriors had won three in a row and had points in seven straight. . . . Saskatoon F Jake Trask had a goal, his 17th, and two helpers. . . . F Jesse Paradis, a 20-year-old who joined the Blades from the Warriors early in the season, opened the scoring with his 13th at 6:31 of the first, with F Brent Benson getting his eighth at 10:32 and Thrower his 13th at 11:25 via the PP. . . . Thrower and Trask scored early in the second period and the Blades were home free. . . .

In Spokane, F Blake Gal and F Mitch Holmberg scored in the shootout to give the Chiefs a 6-5 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Royals forced OT with two late third-period goals. F Brandon Magee got his 17th at 16:46 and F Robin Soudek added his 22nd at 19:25. . . . F Ben Walker assisted on both goals. . . . The Royals had trailed 6-3 until F Steven Hodges got his second goal of the game, and 17th of the season, at 16:09 of the second on a PP. . . . Spokane F Dominik Uher had a goal, his 22nd, and two assists. He scored shorthanded in the first period. . . .

In Swift Current, G Adam Beukeboom stopped 27 shots for his first WHL shutout as the Regina Pats blanked the Broncos, 4-0. . . . Beukeboom, 17, is from Calgary. A freshman, he was appearing in his 12th game. . . . The Pats lost three in a row. . . . Regina F Jordan Weal had a goal and an assist. The goal, his 31st, opened the scoring at 8:32 of the first period. . . . Weal had had a 13-game point streak snapped on Wednesday in Prince Albert, but later got an assist threw a scoring change. That means he now has a 15-game point streak going. . . . Ch-ch-ching! A third-period line brawl resulted in 94 penalty minutes being handed out. . . . All told, the Broncos took 74 of 126 penalty minutes. . . . The referees were Fraser Lawrence and Tyler (Red) Adair, who perhaps had some trouble putting out the fire in this one. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Brendan Shinnimin’s 30th goal stood up as the winner as the Tri-City Americans beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-1. . . . Shinnimin gave his side a 2-0 lead at 6:30 of the second, via the PP. . . . F Jesse Mychan opened the scoring with his seventh of the season and fourth in 11 games since being acquired from the Everett Silvertips. . . . F Connor Honey, with his third, got Seattle to within one at 17:33 of the second, on the PP. . . . F Justin Feser put it away with two empty-netters in the last minute of the third. He’s got 26 goals this season. . . . The second one was Feser’s 100th regular-season goal. . . . The Americans have won 20 home games for a sixth straight season. . . .

In Vancouver, the Giants wasted a 3-0 first-period lead then came back to score a 7-5 decision over the Kamloops Blazers on Gordie Howe Night in the Pacific Coliseum. . . . The Giants led 3-0 when F Nathan Burns scored at 10:02 of the first period. . . . The Blazers tied it with three goals before F Brendan Gallagher scored his 30th at 8:30 of the second to give Vancouver a 4-3 lead. . . . F Jordan Martinook got his 28th at 11:41 to up that to 5-3 and Kamloops chased the rest of the way. . . . Martinook finished with two goals and an assist, while F Taylor Makin had three assists. . . . Martinook has 29 goals, after scoring 11 last season. . . . Burns also scored twice for Vancouver and has 10 on the season. . . . The Blazers got three assists from D Bronson Maschmeyer, 20, who began his career with the Giants in 2008-09. . . . F Dylan Willick scored the Blazers’ WHL-leading 16th shorthanded goal of the season. That is 12 more than they scored all of last season.
D Dalton Thrower, Saskatoon Blades.
F Kristians Pelss, Edmonton Oil Kings (major).
D Brad Deagle, Seattle.
F Tim Bozon, Kamloops.
D Austin Madaisky, Kamloops.
F Curtis Valk, Medicine Hat.
D Antoine Corbin, Prince Albert.
D Joey Leach, Kootenay Ice.
In the BCHL on Friday night, the host Penticton Vees ran their winning streak to 29 games with a 5-1 victory over the Chilliwack Chiefs. The Vees have tied the BCHL record for most consecutive victories on one season. They share it with the 1989-90 New Westminster Royals. . . . The Vees play in Chilliwack on Tuesday. . . . Attendance in Penticton was 3,886.
The MJHL has lost two members of its extended family.
What follows is off the MJHL website:
“I was saddened to see Doug Smith an old competitor and MJHL alumnus pass away,” former Selkirk Steelers goaltender Willy Cole said in an email to the MJHL website.
“Doug, or Smitty, as we all knew him, was a feisty competitor when I played against him when he played with the Winnipeg Monarchs (1966-67). And then we hooked up again at Winnipeg Junior Jets training camp. Smitty ended up getting drafted by the Oakland Seals in ’68. Doug was only 63. Too soon!”
Kruk was a former St. Boniface Canadians player and was picked up to play with the Winnipeg Braves, who went on to win the 1959 Memorial Cup, the last year Manitoba won the Cup.
F Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting had a note from a doctor and everything, but he still got a two-game suspension from the OHL for skipping the Top Prospects Game in Kelowna on Wednesday.
Ryan Pyette of the London Free Press has more right here.
With this decision, one can only assume that someone — the CHL? — will suspend Bobby Orr and Don Cherry, too. After all, the teams were named after them and neither one of them showed up.
Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports offers up his take on the Yakupov suspension right here.
When I first heard about this suspension, I burst out laughing. I actually did. A two-game suspension to a player coming off a serious knee injury because he didn’t show up for an exhibition game? Sorry, but I still don’t get it.
I’m thinking that it’s time to cut some of these players some slack. That a player gets suspended for two games for not playing in a game that is nothing but a money grab is silly. Especially when none of that cash would have made its way into his pockets.
Junior hockey operators, Hockey Canada and all the other nations already push these teenagers almost 12 months of the year. If a player is coming off a knee inury, if his own team (never mind that there was a doctor’s slip involved here) believes he would be best-served by rest, well, let him rest.
It is things like this that really make one wonder if a Major Junior Hockey Players Association isn’t somewhere in the not-too-distant future.
I mean, you get two games for missing the Top Prospects Game. You get eight games for flunking a drug test after what all involved agree was inadvertent doping. You get two games for a headshot here and you get eight games for a headshot there.
Someone’s rights might be getting trampled on here. No?
Angelo Dundee died this week at the age of 90. A boxing trainer, he came from an era when the media and the sporting figures weren’t constantly at odds. Dave Kindred of Grantland writes about The Last Sweet Man in Boxing. That piece is right here.

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