G Leland Irving (Everett, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa (Russia, KHL). He was invited to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s training camp on a tryout basis on Sept. 9. Last season, with Jokerit Helsinki (Finland, Liiga), he was 2.14 and .922 in 55 games. . . .
F Karel Hromas (Everett, 2004-06) has been released by Kadaň (Czech Republic, 1.
Liga). Last season, he had one assist in seven games with Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had 11 points, including six goals, in 29 games on loan to Kadaň.
Veteran F Chase Souto, 20, no longer is with the Kamloops Blazers. Souto, who is hoping to play in his fifth season with the Blazers, has returned to his California home as he tries to recover from at least the fourth concussion of his WHL career.
Souto suffered his latest concussion on Feb. 7 and still wasn’t feeling well when he reported to the Blazers training camp in late August.
“He took part in the first two days of training camp,” Blazers head coach Don Hay told Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV in Kamloops. “He came to us and said he wasn’t feeling quite right. Our doctors looked at him and shut him down.
“We’ve given him some time to go home, get well rested, then have the possibility of coming back and joining us at a future date.”
Souto finished last season with 31 points, including 20 goals, in 47 games. He suffered a broken hand during a fight in Moose Jaw on Dec. 15 and didn’t play again until Jan. 17.
His latest concussion came in a game against the visiting Victoria Royals on Feb. 7. He tried to play again, on Feb. 28 in Calgary, but it didn’t work and his season was over.
Now there isn’t any time frame for a return.
“The doctor feels he’s not at 100 per cent right now,” Hay said,
“and wants to give him a little more time to recover.”
Souto incurred two concussions as a 16-year-old freshman, the first coming four games into the season on an open-ice hit in Chilliwack, the second occurring when he was on the receiving end of a heavy check in Cranbrook.
Then, on Sept. 10, 2011, he took an elbow to the head during an exhibition game against Kelowna and that resulted in brain injury No. 3.
Three years ago, after Souto suffered that third brain injury, I talked with him and wrote this piece right here. The interesting part is how he kept playing after the hit and intentionally got into a fight. That way, he got tossed with the automatic game misconduct and was able to buy some time as he tried to determine whether he might be able to keep the brain injury from training Colin Robinson and the coaching staff.
With Souto gone, the Blazers are down to two 20-year-olds — G Bolton Pouliot and D Brady Gaudet.
Will Souto be back in time to fill that third spot.
“That is open right now,” Hay told Seitz, “but there’s always the possibility it might get filled.”
The Blazers also need Souto’s offence. With him on the roster, they return 106 goals from a team that had the second-poorest offence in the WHL last season.
Sometime during the next week, the WHL will issue a news release covering rule changes for the 2014-15 regular season. Don’t expect the trapezoid behind the nets to be expanded or for the area between the hash marks at faceoff circles to be widened, a la the NHL. No doubt the WHL would like to use both rules, but there isn’t time to change the paint schemes in all of the arenas before the season opens on Friday. . . . I experienced the dry scrape before overtime for the first time on Friday night. I would hope the WHL dumps that idea before the regular season begins. There are times when there is a real buzz in a building as everyone prepares for OT. But the time it takes to do a dry scrape sucks the atmosphere right out of the building. At least, that was the case last night in Kamloops, where the Blazers scored at 18:53 of the third period to forge a 3-3 tie and force OT with the Prince George Cougars.
Some impressions from that game:
Kamloops F Matt Needham needs to have a lot of games just like that one for the Blazers to have success this season. The Blazers’ captain had the winning goal, on the PP, and two assists. He set up the tying goal by winning a faceoff in the Cougars’ zone. . . . Kamloops D Patrik Maier, a Slovakian freshman, had a goal and an assist and showed some flair. He slammed his gun into its holster after rifling a shot through a screen for a third-period goal. He also showed a sharp stick and some feistiness in front of his net. . . . Blazers F Jake Kryski, 16, was the best player on the ice. The kid has a lot of game for someone that young. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles the grind of a WHL schedule. . . . The Cougars had a few veterans who played like it was the last exhibition game, which it was. At this level, coaches shouldn’t have to be yelling at players to skate hard on the way back into their zone. . . . Prince George D Dominic Thom looks like one of those players you hate to play against but love to have on your team. . . . Cougars F Jari Erricson, 20, has some rust after playing only four games last season thanks to a brain injury. . . . The Cougars scratched F Jansen Harkins, meaning he finishes the exhibition season with nine points, including four goals, in three games.
The Medicine Hat Tigers are waiting to find out exactly what is wrong with G Jared Rathjen. Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ GM and head coach, has told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News that Rathjen, 20, has yet to get medical clearance to play. . . . “In his medical, (Rathjen) had some abnormalities appear on some testing, and so basically until those are investigated and looked into, our doctor has said he can’t participate,” Clouston told McCracken. “So he’s been just kind of waiting. He’s going to see a specialist next week and hopefully he’ll be back to normal.” . . . For now, then, Nick Schneider will be the Tigers’ starting goaltender, with Cole Schafer from the junior B Medicine Hat Cubs backing up. That means Schneider starts tonight against the Red Deer Rebels in Stettler, with Schafter on the bench. . . . McCracken also reports that F Anthony Ast (wrist) and F Chad Labelle (knee) are hobbled.
It’s hard to believe, but F Tim Bozon is in camp with the Montreal Canadiens. It was only in March when Bozon, then with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, was in the intensive care unit of a Saskatoon hospital, deathly ill with Neisseria meningitis. He has come a long way since then, though, and Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette has the story right here.
The OHL has handed out its first major suspension of the season, hitting F Noah Bushnell of the Sarnia Sting with a 10-game sentence for a headshot — an elbow to the an opponent’s chin — during a preseason game. . . . There’s more, including video, right here.
It sounds like Tim Hunter, the first-year head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, got welcomed to the WHL on Friday night. His club was outshot 42-20 en route to a 6-2 loss to the host Brandon Wheat Kings. Afterwards, Hunter told Katie Brickman of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald: “I never trust the shot clock on the road. I don’t think it was quite as bad as it was but, still, they did outshoot us and outwork us.” . . . Ah, yes, the shot clock on the road in the WHL. There isn‘t a coach in the league who hasn‘t walked the same ground as Hunter. . . .
An interesting note from Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, after the Blades’ 3-2 shootout victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos last night: “The 1,134 fans who attended Friday’s game got a taste of what the setup will look like at the rink this season. The upper bowl will be curtained off for almost all games in an effort to create a better atmosphere and stronger demand for tickets. The lower bowl holds approximately 6,000 people.” . . . During that game, Nugent-Bowman tweeted: “Broncos D Jordan Harris dumped to the side of the SC net. He skates off the ice with his left shoulder dangling down.” . . .
F Justin Hickman of the Seattle Thunderbirds was to have joined the Winnipeg Jets team at the Young Guns tournament in Penticton, B.C., but those plans were ruined by an undisclosed injury suffered in practice this week. . . . The Toronto Maple Leafs revealed Friday that D Rinat Valiev of the Kootenay Ice won’t participate in their camp because of an undisclosed injury. . . .
F Kristian Ferletak of the Victoria Royals drew a one-game suspension for the goaltender interference major and game misconduct he incurred Thursday against the visiting Vancouver Giants. He won’t play tonight in Kelowna against the Rockets. . . . Victoria D Joe Hicketts wasn’t selected in the NHL’s 2014 draft, but is with the Detroit Red Wings’ rookie team in a tournament at Traverse City, Mich. Last night, he scored in OT and also drew an assist as the Red Wings beat the St. Louis Blues, 6-5.
Please , no dry scrapes before overtime.
— Daniel Nugent-Bowman (@DNBsports)