Now those were some penalty totals! . . . Lang sparks Hitmen past Wheaties


F Zdeněk Blatný (Seattle, Kootenay, 1998-2001) has signed a one-year contract with Frederikshavn (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga), he had 29 points, including nine goals, in 40 games.


Late last month, the person behind the Twitter account TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits) noticed a discrepancy involving WHL penalty minutes.

In using game summaries to track players’ penalty minutes, Tbird came to the realization that the numbers didn’t match those in the individual stats pages of the WHL website.

If you aren’t aware, that is because the WHL chooses not to include penalties such as misconducts and game misconducts in a player’s penalty minute totals.

Why? Who knows. But it’s something that has been going on for years now. A few years ago, over dinner in a Kamloops restaurant, WHL commissioner Ron Robison told me that he would discontinue the practice, but that never happened.

But so it was that TBird did a little Internet research, and he found some interesting numbers that had been posted a while ago on a WHL chat group.

Some of that info follows and if you are new to the WHL, you may find the numbers absolutely crazy. They belong to Kerry Toporowski, a defenceman who spent two seasons (1989-91) with the Spokane Chiefs.

1989-90 regular season:

Games played: 65

PIM: 384

Fighting majors: 58

Minor penalties : 47

1990 playoffs:

Games played: 6

PIM: 37

Fighting majors: 5

Minor penalties: 6

1990-91 regular season:

Games played: 65

PIM: 505

Fighting majors: 65

Minor penalties: 90

1991 playoffs:

Games played: 15

PIM: 108

Fighting majors: 14

Minor penalties: 19

Tbird continues:

Now here’s what’s really interesting: The WHL doesn’t include or count misconducts, game misconducts, match penalties and gross misconducts in the PIM totals. . . . So here’s Topper’s TRUE PIM’s for his two infamous seasons with the Spokane Chiefs . . .

1989-90 regular season:

Misconducts: 16

Game misconducts: 5

TRUE PIM : 594, not 384

1990 playoffs:

Misconducts: 2

Game misconducts: 2

TRUE PIM: 77, not 37

1990-91 regular season:

Misconducts: 16

Game misconducts: 5

TRUE PIM: 715, not 505

1991 playoffs:

Misconducts: 4

Game misconducts: 2

TRUE PIM: 168, not 108

Some additional notes from the info that TBird uncovered . . .

John Badduke holds the WHL record for most PIM’s in a season with 515 in 1991-92 with the Portland WinterHawks. . . . 142 fights for “The Topper” in two years in the WHL. A record that will never be broken. . . . Guys who have come close to breaking Topper’s record: David Kaczowka got into 50 fights in 63 games for the Regina Pats in 2000-01 season. . . . Eric Godard had 48 fights in 60 games for the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 1999-2000. . . . John Badduke had 67 fights including the playoffs for Portland in 1991-92 season. . . . Kevin Sawyer had 45 fights in 54 games for the Spokane Chiefs in 1994-95.

I know of one instance in which a player, unaware that penalty totals didn’t include various penalties, piled up the minutes in the final game of the regular season.

All because, he told me, he wanted to get to 300 penalty minutes.

He was completely oblivious to the fact that when you included all of his penalties he was well over 300 minutes going into that final game. The end result was that his antics in that particular game drew a two-game suspension that he served when the playoffs opened.

The Portland Winterhawks head out on a six-game East Division swing this week, and they leave town wondering where their game has gone. At 1-7-2, the team that has been in four WHL championship finals in a row has the league’s second-poorest winning percentage (.200). As the Winterhawks prepare to meet the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Friday, Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune takes a look right here at the Winterhawks’ early struggles.

Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province has done up a nifty story on Mac Stewart, a former waterboy with the Vancouver Giants who is on his way up hockey’s ladder. At the age of 20, Stewart is the equipment manager with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

F Chase Lang scored twice to lead the host Calgary Hitmen to a 6-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in Sunday’s lone WHL game. Lang, an 18-year-old from Nanaimo, B.C., has seven goals in seven games; last season, he scored 10 times in 68 games. . . . Brandon (6-1-1) was the last Eastern Conference team without a regulation-time loss. In the Western Conference, the Kelowna Rockets (8-0-0) and Everett Silvertips (5-0-2) have yet to lose in regulation time. . . . The Wheat Kings meet the Oil Kings in Edmonton in today’s lone game.

The Prince George Cougars may be without recently acquired F Cal Babych when they play the Thunderbirds in Seattle on Friday and the Giants in Vancouver on Saturday. According to Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen, Babych was injured Friday when he “collided with Giants defenceman Tyler Morrison and hit his head against the side board.” Babych, who was acquired last week from Calgary, didn’t return to Friday’s game and was scratched on Saturday. . . . The Cougars swept the two-game series with visting Vancouver, winning 2-1 both nights. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades ended an 18-game losing streak when they beat the visiting Prince Albert Raiders 3-2 on Saturday night. The Blades had lost their first six games this season, setting a franchise futility record for the start of a season. . . . “The Blades had lost so many consecutive times that (goaltender Alex) Moodie suffered a season-ending hip injury, was traded to Spokane in the off-season and then returned to the team since their last victory,” wrote Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. . . . The Blades hadn‘t won since beating the Rebels ?? in Red Deer on Feb. 15. . . . Nugent-Bowman also reported that Saturday’s triumph was the 1,600th victory in franchise history, coming in the 3,507th game.

Hey curfews I didn’t miss you!!!

— Tim Bozon (@timbozon94)

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