HAPPY NEW YEAR
I took a break from writing Keeping Score, my mostly weekly column of odds and ends, last weekend and may do so again this weekend. . . . In its place, check out The Spectator’s farewell to 2014, written by Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post, who is one of Canadian sports journalism’s best-kept secrets. . . . It’s right here and it’s good.
THE LATEST ON LEON . . .
No, F Leon Draisaitl wasn’t traded by the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday. But it’s only a matter of time. . . . Draisaitl, who played the last two seasons with the Raiders, has been with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers all season and is widely believed to be headed to the Kelowna Rockets. . . . “We’re in the process of moving Leon’s rights,” Raiders general manager Bruno Campese told the Prince Albert Daily Herald. “We’re looking at some different options.” . . . That story is right here.
Meanwhile, Draisaitl played an excellent game Wednesday, drawing two assists as the Oilers dropped a 4-3 OT decision to the Flames in Calgary.
F Rourke Chartier of the Kelowna Rockets, the WHL’s leading goal scorer, has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the San Jose Sharks. Chartier, 18, was a fifth-round pick by the Sharks in the NHL’s 2014 draft. He has 35 goals in 32 games this season. Chartier, from Saskatoon, went into this season with 37 goals in 130 regular-season games. He has 54 points this season, four shy of his 72-game total last season.
For something completely different, you may want to check out The Sports Curmudgeon’s website to see who was selected as his Meathead of the Year for 2014. It’s right here, and some of this stuff will have you slapping your forehead.
In Edmonton, the defending Memorial Cup-champion Oil Kings unleashed a 58-shot barrage as they defeated the Swift Current Broncos, 4-1. . . . Broncos G Landon Bow stopped 55 shots, 38 more than Edmonton’s Tristan Jarry. . . . Oil Kings F Brandon Baddock broke a 1-1 tie at 1:07 of the second period. He’s got 11 goals. . . . Edmonton D Austin Sautner added insurance with his 10th goal at 6:00 of the third, and F Brett Pollock got his 15th into an empty net at 17:38. . . . D Dysin Mayo had two assists for Edmonton. . . . F Glenn Gawdin scored for Swift Current, giving him 10. . . . Edmonton’s first goal came from F Tyson Gruninger, an AP from Drayton Valley, Alta. His first goal came in his sixth game. . . . “It’s a great end to the calendar year. It’s been a wonderful calendar year for the Edmonton Oil Kings, and it’s certainly a fitting end to that,” Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton said on the team’s website. “That was as complete an effort as we’ve had in a long, long time. “I thought every guy understood the game plan tonight and every guy was really committed to executing it.” . . . The Oil Kings (17-16-5) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Broncos slipped to 19-16-4. . . .
In Moose Jaw, F Morgan Klimchuk scored at 1:06 of OT to give the Regina Pats a 2-1 victory over the Warriors. . . . Klimchuk, who spent part of December in the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp, has 14 goals. He redirected a shot by Regina F Dryden Hunt. . . . D Dallas Valentine gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead with his first goal at 3:48 of the first period. . . . Regina F Adam Brooks pulled his side even with his 16th goal at 9:21 of the second. . . . Regina G Daniel Wapple stopped 26 shots, three more than Moose Jaw’s Zach Sawchenko. . . . Each team was a 0-for-5 on the PP. . . . They’ll play again Friday, this time in Regina. . . . The Pats (23-12-2) have won three straight. . . . The Warriors (15-19-4) have lost six in a row. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., the host Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs exchanged New Year’s greetings and shared 162 penalty minutes. Oh, the Chiefs won the game, 10-2. . . . F Jackson Playfair, who did a tour of duty with the Americans, broke a 2-2 tie at 9:54 of the second period with his eighth goal and the Chiefs were rolling. . . . Spokane F Adam Helewka finished with a goal, his 18th, and four assists, while F Kailer Yamamoto scored twice, giving him 15, and added an assist, and D Jason Fram picked up his seventh goal and two assists. . . . Chiefs F Calder Brooks also scored twice, giving him 16, and added an assist. . . . D Nick Charif, in his first game with the Chiefs since coming over from Red Deer, had two assists. . . . F Brian Williams scored twice for the Americans. He’s got 11 goals. . . . The Chiefs were 5-for-7 on the PP; the Americans were 2-for-6. . . . The Americans took 92 of the 162 penalty minutes. . . . Ch-ch-ching! There was a line brawl at 12:09 of the third period. . . . This was the 25th time these teams have met on New Year’s Eve, with the Americans now holding a 15-8-1 and edge (with one tie). . . . The Americans are without F Vladislav Lukin (shoulder). He was injured in Saturday’s 5-1 loss in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs (21-12-3) now have won seven in a row and are within one point of the U.S. Division-leading Everett Silvertips, who are headed into the East Division for a six-game swing. . . . The Americans are 18-17-1. . . .
In Portland, the Seattle Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead into the third period and skated to a 2-1 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . The Thunderbirds scored the game’s first goal, the fifth straight game in which they have done that. They are 5-0 in those games. . . . Seattle D Evan Wardley scored his fourth goal at 3:46 of the first period. He went into this season with three goals in 151 regular-season games; this season, he has four in 22 games. . . . Seattle F Florian Baltram got his first goal, on a PP, at 10:25 of the second. . . . Portland F Dominic Turgeon made it interesting with his 13th, on a PP, at 16:45 of the third. . . . Seattle G Taran Kozun stopped 23 shots, three fewer than Portland’s Adan Hill. . . . Among Seattle’s scratches were F Mathew Barzal (knee) and F Ryan Gropp (undisclosed), the latter apparently injured in Tuesday’s 4-2 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips. . . . The Thunderbirds (18-15-4) have won five in a row. . . . Portland (19-17-3) has lost three straight.
At start of game, large swaths of seats in lower bowl are empty. Any way Hockey Canada spins it, this leg of the WJC has been a disaster.
— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell)
Being unable to sell out WJC on NY Eve against USA akin to failing to peddle cold bottle of water to a dehydrated wanderer in Gobi Desert.
— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell)
talked to scalpers on the way in, single seat in section 117 was $245
— Kelly Greig (@KellyGreig)
Think Canadians like hockey?! Lineup in Maui for The Moose pub to watch the CAN-USA game. pic.twitter.com/DoaxohXKV8
— Kevin MacIsaac (@BigKevyM)