Swift Current’s Graham Black is an awesome story. He’s lucky to be playing hockey at all. At age 14, he became sick and lost 30 pounds. He was bed ridden and couldn’t even consider playing hockey. It took doctors a while to diagnose a thyroid issue. Drafted by the Edmonton Oil Kings, and later traded to Swift, Black stopped taking his thyroid medication to see if his body learned to regulate itself. It didn’t work and he was hospitalized, losing significant weight again. He’s currently back on the meds and playing at about 80 per cent while still down a few pounds. He’ll have surgery to help better manage the thyroid issue at season’s end.
In speaking with Regina Pats head coach Pat Conacher, he brought up an interesting idea: how about each CHL team gets the option of having five players on their roster that can be filled with a combination of Europeans and 20-year-olds. Think about it, for those teams that can’t traditionally attract/recruit top-end European players; they would get the option to keep an extra two over-age players. It also makes sense in that such a rule would give more Canadian kids an extra year of CHL play.
Is there anyway Andrey Makarov can wear the Russian jersey for Blades games the rest of the season?
And just when you thought the Subway Super Series was dead…
Although it has been juggled around, be sure to check out the first episode of the “On The Edge.” It documents the Saskatoon Blades’ season. Be sure to check your local listings to see when it airs on your regional Sportsnet channel.
Another great event put on by the Victoria. This time around it was the Royals doing the honours. When the Subway Super Series was in Victoria three years ago, the event was well received and foreshadowed the eventual return to the WHL. There’s no doubt Victoria would be a perfect host for the MasterCard Memorial Cup in the future.
Hearing whispers that the Vancouver Giants are interested in hosting the MasterCard Memorial Cup once again when it returns to the WHL in 2016.
Lack of attendance in Kootenay is becoming an issue. What more can you ask for in a franchise? They’ve had solid ownership, great coaches, and are regular playoff contenders. Mastercard Memorial Cup champs in ’02, returned to the Big Dance 10 years later, and the list goes on and on….
By the way, the Ice won all three of its games this week, including two shutouts by Mackenzie Skapski.
When Brent Sutter didn’t pick up a job with an NHL team, it was only a matter of time before Sutter took over behind the bench in Red Deer.
Jesse Wallin is too good a coach and works way too hard to be out of work for an extended period.
In fact, if I was Lorne Molleken, I’d consider hiring Wallin to coach the Blades while I focussed on player procurement. That’s not to say Molleken is a bad coach, or that Dave Struch can’t do the job, but a completely different voice might help turn things around.
The Rebels are 2-0 under Brent Sutter.
JC Lipon is a world class wakeboarder, and the WHL’s leading scorer.
Great piece right here on Jordan DePape by one of my favourite writers.
The Portland Winterhawks’ 12-game win streak came to an end in Kamloops Friday.
Brendan Leipsic has multi-point efforts in 9 of the Winterhawks’ last 10 games.
Speaking of the Winterhawks, they will be in the news at some point this week, and it won’t be good news.
Eric Comrie is going to be a stud in goal. He should’ve started the Vancouver game of the Subway Super Series. Along with ’95 born keepers Zachary Fucale in Halifax and Spencer Martin in Mississauga, the future of Canadian goaltending is looking up, way up.
Ryan Murray may miss an extended period of time after leaving Everett’s game Friday thanks to a check from Victoria forward Logan Nelson.
Nice to run into Oilers GM Steve Tambellini in Victoria. He was mum on the topic of RNH being released to represent Canada at the World Juniors. If I was a betting man, I’d say he’ll be there if the NHL is still not back to work.
The Kitchener Rangers lost for the first time in the new and improved Memorial Auditorium Sunday. Leave it to the London Knights to get that done.
In that game, Matt Rupert suffered a nasty facial cut. He was unintentionally hit in the face by Kitchener’s Ryan Murphy’s skate.
There is no other player in the CHL like Jonathan Drouin. While he may not be the best player in the CHL, he brings things to the table that others simply can’t.
Worst-case scenario for Hockey Canada: the NHL settles and camp starts anywhere from Dec. 3 to Jan. 5.
Check back in this space next week for my predictions for who will be invited to the World Junior Selection camp which begins in Calgary on Dec. 10.
A breakdown of the top 1995 born goalies in the CHL:
*Denotes born in 1995 but not eligible for the NHL draft until 2014
Don’t know if the Blue Jays considered Dave Martinez or Juan Samuel for the recently-filled manager position, but both should’ve been if they weren’t. Martinez has been mentored by the best manager in baseball, while Samuel has had some managerial experience with the Baltimore Orioles. And both were former Blue Jays.