Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blazers Win in OT

A real good game tonight at ISC as the Blazers and Seattle went to overtime... for Seattle it was a league-leading 7th trip into extra time.

Jordan DePape scored the winner on the PP for the 3-2 win.

Video highlights can be viewed here.


--------

The Blazers are off now until Wednesday night when they host the Kelowna Rockets.

Happy Halloween, take care and be safe....

Jon

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blazers Host Seattle

The Blazers will try to find their footing on home ice tonight against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The T-Birds are coming off a 2-0 loss on home ice last night to Prince George. It marked the first time in eight games they didn't pick up at least one point. They now sit 5-3-1-2 on the season.

Seattle games have been typically low scoring this season. In 11 games they've surrendered only 31 goals but have only scored 31.

They have an exciting draft eligible prospect in F Colin Jacobs and I think grabbed a couple of key 20 year-olds from the Saskatoon Blades to begin the year in F Travis Toomey and F Burke Gallimore.

In goal, it's Calvin Pickard. The 18 year-old is a good one. He's played every minute of every game so far.

We're on the air at 6:30pm, play-by-play at 7pm.

-------
Former Blazer goaltender Kurtis Mucha will join us for "Hockey Talk" in the intermission.
The former five year WHL'er who spent the majority of this time in Portland is now at the University of Alberta. They play host to the Calgary Dinos tonight.
Mucha just missed the boat in Portland as the Winterhawks have built themselves up from the doldrums of the Western Conference.
The 'tender talks about that, plus his goal of still playing pro eventually...possibly in Europe.
------

I was happy to record a greeting for Rebels voice Cam Moon. Mooner called his 1000th game last night in the booth.

I caught a bit of his broadcast via webcast. Good stuff Mooner...

------

Regan Bartel caught up with Nino Niederreiter in Portland last night. He posted his interview on his blog. The link is over on the right...


Jon

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pink Powerplay Stick Auction Ends Saturday

This Saturday night as the Blazers face the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, they will wrap up their Pink Power Play fundraising efforts to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The lovely ladies with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation will be continuing with their WestJet Raffle until the end of the 2nd period on Saturday. The winner will be announced during the 3rd period and will receive a Trip for 2 Anywhere that WestJet Flies.

Bid Sheets will be out for Saturday's game for the special edition breast cancer sticks and will end when the puck drops for the 2nd period.

If you can't be at the game to place a bid in person, please email your bid to aneuls@blazerhockey.com. For more information on the auction or to check current bids, visit the
Blazers' Website or the Blazers' Facebook Page.

Winning bidders who are in attendance will be presented with their sticks by the respective Blazers players at ice level following the game. Each player will sign their stick if the bidder chooses.

Current Bids
(as of Thursday, October 28th @ 5:00pm)

2 Tyler Hansen $150
3 Brandon Underwood $150
5 Linden Saip $150
6 Corey Fienhage "A" $150
9 Colin Smith $190
10 Chase Schaber "C" $165
11 Dylan Willick $285
12 Logan McVeigh $150
13 Ryan Hanes $150
16 Dalibor Bortnak $150
17 Jordan DePape "A" $150
18 Bernhard Keil $150
19 Brendan Ranford $300
22 JT Barnett $170
23 Austin Madaisky "A" $200
24 Josh Caron $220
25 Lyndon Martell $200
27 Bronson Maschmeyer "A" $150
28 Brady Gaudet $150
30 Jeff Bosch $150
31 Jon Groenheyde $150
34 JC Lipon $161
39 Chase Souto $300

----------

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blazers Bring in Bill Ranford


As talked about tonight during "Hockey Talk", the Blazers have brought in former NHL goaltender Bill Ranford to work with goaltenders John Groenheyde and Jeff Bosch.

Both Head Coach Guy Charron and GM Craig Bonner know Bill and talked to him, He's also the uncle of Blazers F Brendan Ranford.

I believe he's also played with assistant coaches Scott Ferguson and Geoff Smith. He was on the ice today for a couple of sessions.


He's the current goaltender coach for the L.A. Kings.

Blazers Re-Assign Sinatynski

News Release:


Kamloops, BC – Kamloops Blazers General Manager Craig Bonner announced that 18-year-old forward Jesse Sinatynski has been reassigned to a team in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).

Sinatynski played in 3 games with the Blazers and scored 1 goal after being acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings earlier this month.

The Blazers roster now sits at 24 players including 14 forwards, 8 defensemen and 2 goaltenders.

Hockey Talk Tonight

Join us in person, by phone or email at the Ramada Rooftop Lounge on Columbia St. for Blazers Hockey Talk tonight 5:30-7.

Head Coach Guy Charron and General Manager Craig Bonner will be our guests for the full 90 minutes. We will take questions from those in-person, you can call Radio NL studios or you can email your question to blazerhockeytalk@hotmail.com

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blazers Host Wheaties


The first of six east division teams to roll through Kamloops is the Brandon Wheat Kings.

-Last night Brandon ended a 9-game losing skid with a 3-1 win in Kelowna. The Wheaties are on a grueling seven game trip spanning 11 nights. You would have to look a long ways back to check the last time Brandon dropped nine in a row.



- A couple of storylines in this game - former Blazer Shayne Wiebe and former Wheat Kings Jordan DePape and Jesse Sinatynski meet their former teams.

Wiebe, named the Wheat Kings' captain this year, scored once and added an assist last night in Kelowna. Jordan DePape collected the game winner against Calgary in the Blazers last game.

- Brandon looks a whole lot different than they did last season. The turnover was immense after hosting the Memorial Cup. The Wheat Kings blue-line is a mere shadow of what it was a year ago. Out: Alexander Urbom, Colby Robak, Mark Schneider, and Travis Hamonic. They are missing three of their top four and four of their top six defensemen from last season.

The Wheat Kings dressed four rookie defenseman last night in Kelowna. Jordan Fransoo, Ryan Pulock, Spencer Galbraith and Rene Hunter


- Up front, A couple of pieces remain from last year's team. Namely Scott Glennie. He's scored only twice this season though. Mark Stone, Shayne Wiebe, and Brendan Walker make up the core of their offense.

The Wheat Kings graduated or moved on forwards who accounted for nearly 200 goals last season. Brent Raedeke (23), Brayden Schenn (34), Matt Calvert (47), Aaron Lewadniuk (37), Toni Rajala (26), and Jay Fehr (26)

- We will be joined in the intermission from Vancouver Canucks TV/Radio broadcaster John Shorthouse.
The Canucks pulled off a 4-3 OT win over the Colorado Avalanche last night in Vancouver. As a carrier of Canucks games on Radio NL, it should be interesting to talk to John about the growing spotlight on the team in Vancouver and entire province.






Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday

Welcome to a new week....

- The Kamloops Blazers are back to practice this afternoon after sweeping a three game swing through Alberta. All three games were one-goal games. The common factor in all three wins was strong special teams and great performances from G Jeff Bosch.


- Portland G Mac Carruth picked up the WHL Goaltender of the Week award but I have to think Bosch got some lengthy consideration from the league office. Three wins, all on the road, a GAA of 1.00 and a save percentage of .970. Boy, I hope Mac Carruth had those numbers and did a juggling act in between periods as well to get the nod.

- Don't look now, but BC division teams have won 10 straight games combined.

- I'm enjoying all three Blazer coaches perspectives in our pre and post-game shows on Radio NL. Head Coach Guy Charron plus assistants Scott Ferguson and Geoff Smith all add something different to the equation. It's refreshing to get a few different takes. I hope the listeners enjoy it as much as I do

- I did an interview with Edmonton Oil Kings broadcaster Corey Graham Friday night. It was played on the Rexall Place jumbotron before face-off. The name bar underneath read "Kirk Fraser". Way to go Cap... you looked good up there!

- I'm interested to see the new look Brandon Wheat Kings Wednesday at ISC. I'm also hoping they break the current 9 game losing streak they are on tomorrow night in Kelowna. The role of "slump breakers" is never fun. I think it adds unwanted pressure.

Believe me, after seeing the Wheat Kings 12 times last season in the regular season and playoffs it's hard to imagine them struggling. It makes sense after graduating so many players but after seeing them roll for so long it's definitely a change.

- Wheat Kings Head Coach / General Manager Kelly McCrimmon is one of the smartest people in the game today. If I polled GM's across the league I think he would be at or near the top amongst the most respected by his colleagues.

- Blazer fans I want to see you Thursday evening at the Ramada Hotel's Rooftop Lounge for "Blazer Hockey Talk". It begins at 5:30pm. I'll be hosting along side Rick "The Bear Wile" for the hour and a half session. Guests will include Coach Guy Charron and GM Craig Bonner. We will be taking your questions in-person, by phone or by email: blazerhockeytalk@hotmail.com

- It was nice running into Keegan Goodrich on the weekend in Calgary. The former Swift Current Broncos Media/PR Director is settling into his new role with Hockey Canada. He's getting set to do some travelling. A trip to Halifax for the Women's Four Nations Cup and to Germany for the World U-18 Championships are all coming up in the next few months.

------

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blazers Rally in Calgary

As Assistant Coach Geoff Smith said in the post-game show, "two out of three wins is a good road trip, three out of three is a great road trip."

The Blazers could have easily mailed it in the rest of the way in Calgary trailing 2-0 in the third. After all, they already had won the first two games of the swing...good enough right?

Wrong.

Instead, the Blazers saved their best for last scoring three goals for a come-from-behind 3-2 win at the ScotiaBank Saddledome.

Trailing 2-0, Brendan Ranford finally broke the barrier in front of the Hitmen goal provided by Slovak import 'tender Juraj Holly.

A few minutes later Ryan Hanes tied it up as he snuck a shot through the Hitmen goaltender 6:21 into the final frame.

Finally, at the tail-end of a Blazer powerplay, a Hitmen clearing attempt hit Calgary's Riley Reinbolt and stayed in the attacking zone. Jordan DePape picked it up and wired it upstairs for the go-ahead goal.

The Hitmen would pull the 'tender late for the extra man but couldn't find the equalizer.

Blazers win 3-2. It's the first time in seven seasons they have won five straight on the road. The last time they did that it was October of the 2003-04 season.

Brendan Ranford extended his point streak to 10 games with his 3rd period goal.

"We said in the room after two periods that if we want to be a team that makes a playoff run we have to win games like these," commented Assistant Coach Geoff Smith post-game.

"Good teams find ways to win games, and that's what we're doing right now...finding ways to win."

By killing off five Hitmen PP advantages, the Blazers killed off all 18 powerplays on the three-game swing. There PK started a league worst 71.4% and ended a more respectable 77.0%

The Blazers improve to 7-6-0-1 and will now play their next three games at home starting Wednesday when they host the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bortnak Leads Blazers to Win

Dalibor Bortnak scored once and added two assists as the Kamloops Blazers skated to a 4th straight road win with a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings at Rexall Place.

The Oil Kings didn’t look like a team who had lost four in a row entering the contest. The Oil Kings played hard and played well but couldn’t find the tying goal with the goalie pulled for the final minutes of the 3rd.

Blazer F Dalibor Bortnak had his best game of the season. His PP goal in the 3rd proved to be the game winner. JT Barnett scored a PP goal in the 2nd on a nice three way passing play between Bortnak and Brendan Ranford. The assist extended Ranford’s point streak to nine games. He’s collected eight goals and seven assists in that span.

Jesse Sinatynski opened the scoring midway through the 1st. It was his first goal as a Blazer after being acquired from Brandon last week.

Jeff Bosch was good again in goal for the Blazers. He would finish the night with 34 saves. He was also named 1st star in the building.

The 4th road win in a row for the Blazers marks the first time that’s happened since January of the 08/09 season.

Griffin Reinhart will be a dominant defenseman in this league soon. The 16 year-old has a lot of tools including great size. Oil Kings Head Coach Derek Laxdal said in the pre-game show that Reinhart has a lot to learn. He said he has to continue to move his feet, and develop grit.

The 1st year head coach in the league had an interesting take on coaching young players in the WHL as opposed to pro players:

“Hockey is hockey. The kids are bit more immature and insecure but they have way more upside at 16-20 as they do 20-24. The learning curve is so much steeper.

It’s amazing how much sense of entitlement there is with these kids. If you’re 19 you expect to play every night, they can’t sit out. Well, we’ve sat out over-agers already and we’ve sat out 19 year-olds. The kids that are going to play hard are the kids that are going to stay in the line-up. We’re trying to change that culture here."


The Blazers wrap up the Central division swing in Calgary Saturday night against the Hitmen. The Hitmen are coming off an 8-1 loss in Spokane and will be looking for a bounce back effort.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rocky Stops By

Red Deer native Chase Schaber's dog "Rocky" stopped by the Enmax Center before practice this morning.

The huge German Rottweiler was a hit...






Schaber Talks Team WHL

I spoke with Chase Schaber shortly after he heard the news this morning...

"It's unbelievable...this is something I've always wanted to do. It's a huge opportunity for me. All this hard work is starting to pay off step by step."

"It's pretty funny..Austin and I our roommates. We both had goals to play hard and make these teams. We're just going to keep working and hopefully good things will keep coming"

On playing the game in the home rink....

"We're both hometown boys with the Blazers...it's going to be pretty crazy but a fun experience."

---------

Schaber and Madaisky Crack Team WHL

Kamloops Blazers captain Chase Schaber and defenseman Austin Madaisky will battle the Russians on home ice November 17th.

The two have made Team WHL for the Subway Super Series set for Kamloops and Prince George.

Complete rosters below:


Team WHL Roster – Kamloops, BC – November 17, 2010



Forwards (12): Year: Club: Hometown:

Schaber, Chase (91) Kamloops Blazers Red Deer, AB

Vey, Linden* (91) Medicine Hat Tigers Wakaw, SK

Howden, Quinton* (92) Moose Jaw Warriors Oak Bank, MB

Herrod, Brandon (91) Prince Albert Raiders Meadow Lake, SK

Froese, Byron (91) Red Deer Rebels Winkler, MB

Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan (93) Red Deer Rebels Burnaby, BC

Ashton, Carter (91) Regina Pats Saskatoon, SK

Weal, Jordan (92) Regina Pats North Vancouver, BC

Hamilton, Curtis (91) Saskatoon Blades Kelowna, BC

Dziurzynski, Darian (91) Saskatoon Blades Lloydminster, AB

Shinnimin, Brendan (91) Tri-City Americans Winnipeg, MB

Gallagher, Brendan* (92) Vancouver Giants Delta, BC


Defence (6): Club: Hometown:
MacKenzie, Matt* (91) Calgary Hitmen New Westminster, BC

Pysyk, Mark* (92) Edmonton Oil Kings Sherwood Park, AB

Murray, Ryan (93) Everett Silvertips White City, SK

Madaisky, Austin (92) Kamloops Blazers Saskatoon, SK

Elliott, Stefan (91) Saskatoon Blades North Vancouver, BC

Cowen, Jared (91) Spokane Chiefs Allen, SK


Goaltenders (2): Club: Hometown:
Simpson, Kent (92) Everett Silvertips Edmonton, AB

Pickard, Calvin (92) Seattle Thunderbirds Winnipeg, MB



Team WHL Roster – Prince George, BC – November 18, 2010



Forwards (11): Year: Club: Hometown:

Glennie, Scott (91) Brandon Wheat Kings Winnipeg, MB

Bubnick, Jimmy (91) Calgary Hitmen Saskatoon, SK

Howse, Ryan (91) Chilliwack Bruins Prince George, BC

Vey, Linden* (91) Medicine Hat Tigers Wakaw, SK

Howden, Quinton* (92) Moose Jaw Warriors Oak Bank, MB

Johansen, Ryan (92) Portland Winterhawks Port Moody, BC

Ross, Brad (92) Portland Winterhawks Lethbridge, AB

Rattie, Ty (93) Portland Winterhawks Airdrie, AB

Connolly, Brett (92) Prince George Cougars Prince George, BC

Eakin, Cody (91) Swift Current Broncos Winnipeg, MB

Gallagher, Brendan* (92) Vancouver Giants Delta, BC



Defence (6): Club: Hometown:
MacKenzie, Matt* (91) Calgary Hitmen New Westminster, BC

Pysyk, Mark* (92) Edmonton Oil Kings Sherwood Park, AB

Barrie, Tyson (91) Kelowna Rockets Victoria, BC

McNabb, Brayden (91) Kootenay Ice Davidson, SK

Ponich, Brett (91) Portland Winterhawks Beaumont, AB

Manning, Neil (91) Vancouver Giants Nanaimo, BC



Goaltenders (2): Club: Hometown:

Simpson, Kent (92) Everett Silvertips Edmonton, AB

Pickard, Calvin (92) Seattle Thunderbirds Winnipeg, MB



*Players competing in both games



Team WHL Staff:

Ryan Huska, Head Coach (Kelowna Rockets)

Mike Williamson, Assistant Coach (Calgary Hitmen)

Guy Charron, Assistant Coach (Kamloops Blazers) *Kamloops game only

Dean Clark, Assistant Coach (Prince George Cougars) *Prince George game only

Jeff Thorburn, Athletic Therapist (Kelowna Rockets)

Gutsy Win in Red Deer

Of all the questions surrounding the Kamloops Blazers, several of those were answered tonight in Red Deer with a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Central division leading Rebels.

First and foremost, goaltender Jeff Bosch made 39 saves for the shutout at a time when the goaltending has been questioned.

Plus, the penalty-kill - a sore spot all season long - was a perfect 9/9 including two 4-on-3's and a 5-on-3 kill..

Brendan Ranford's goal with 5:33 to play in the third period stood up as the winner. For Ranford it was his team leading 11th of the season. Plain and simple, he's a gifted goal scorer.

For Jeff Bosch it has to be a good feeling. He provides the first Blazer road shutout since March 8th, 2008. A 1-0, 35 save performance from James Priestner in PG two seasons ago. A span of 77 road games.

"This was big for our team," commented G Jeff Bosch post-game.

"We've been giving up too many goals against especially on the penalty-kill. Out PK stepped up tonight and we were able to keep the puck out of our net."

I asked Bosch on what he thought of his game... a 1st star performance inside the Enmax Centrium...

"I haven't been happy with my start to the season. I was happy with my turnaround tonight and hopefully I can keep it going."

-------

Tomorrow morning the WHL will announce the rosters for the Subway Super Series between Team WHL and the Russians for the games set for Kamloops and Prince George November 17th and 18th.

I'm expecting one or two Blazers to get the call. Stay tuned for that tomorrow morning....

------------

The Blazers have the day off from game-action and will spend the day in Red Deer before heading up to Edmonton for Friday night's game.

More tomorrow....

Jon

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Game Day in Red Deer


The Blazers arrived in Red Deer in the early evening. The guys took part in a team activity just outside the rink to get the legs moving a little.

Trainer Colin Robinson "Toledo" helps the guys loosen up



Supper at Tony Romas... F Dylan Willick pays the price for turning 18. Tinfoil viking hat - courtesy the Tony Roma's staff.

----------------

- From what I gather the team has put behind the tough weekend on home ice and are looking forward to the next three games this week through Alberta.
The club has probably played their best hockey on the road with wins in Vancouver and Kelowna. Not to mention a 4-2 loss in Everett in what could have been their best effort of the season.
The Red Deer Rebels are 8-3 and lead the Central division. Offensively, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Andrej Kudrna and Byron Froese have been deadly. More impressive, the Rebels have only given up 21 goals in 11 games. That's the fewest in the WHL.
----
Goals against for the Blazers has been talked a lot about lately. At 53, it's the most in the league. It's an average of 4.82 a game.
----
F Chase Souto has been cleared to play after his concussion. F Jesse Sinatynski will likely make his Blazer debut tonight after being acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings.
----
We will have the broadcast on Radio NL with the pre-game show at 5:30, play-by-play at 6.
Jon

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blazers Deal F Trask

The Kamloops Blazers have traded 19 year-old forward Jake Trask to the Saskatoon Blades for a 6th round pick in 2012 bantam draft.

They get the 6th rounder back after giving it up to Brandon for F Jesse Sinatynski last week - although that pick was for 2011.


---------

Blazers Head Coach Guy Charron will assist Ryan Huska at the upcoming Subway Super Series set for Interior Savings Center.

More on that announcement here.

By the way... Radio NL will broadcast the Canada/Russia game set for ISC November 17th. I had a chance to call one of these games two seasons ago and it was a lot of fun.

More later.....


Jon

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ouch

A night to forget….

The Blazers gave up eight goals for the 2nd straight night adding to their league leading goals against totals in an 8-1 thumping at the hands of the Prince George Cougars.

Tell me when the last time this happened…the first five shots against the Blazers were all goals. Five shots, five goals as the Cougars raced to a 5-1 lead midway through the 1st period. This after Brendan Ranford opened the scoring for the Blazers 3:10 into the period.

It prompted one fellow WHL broadcaster to text me “are you playing goal tonight?”

Funny? Perhaps. But no one is laughing on the Blazers side.

Starting goaltender Jon Groenheyde gave up four goals on four shots before giving way to Jeff Bosch. The first shot he faced from Charles Inglis bounced and deflected into the net – the story of the night in this one.

If it could go in... it likely did. A lot of pucks changed directions on the Blazer 'tenders. They were visibly frustrated.



The first save of the game with about five minutes to play in the period drew a “Bronx cheer” from the ISC crowd.

There was no scoring in the 2nd period. The Cougars then made good for three goals on six shots in the 3rd period for the runaway 8-1 win.

The Cougars finished the night with 25 shots while the Blazers put forth 40 by the final buzzer. Scoring chances would have been about even.

The Blazers got into penalty problems in the first period. A too many men on the ice call, a double-minor for high sticking to Colin Smith (called by the linesman at the stoppage) and a subsequent bench minor to Head Coach Guy Charron gave the Cougars back-to-back five-on-three powerplays.

The Blazers head out to Alberta Tuesday for games in Red Deer Wednesday, Edmonton Friday and Calgary Saturday.

G’night,

Jon




Thursday, October 14, 2010

GM Bonner Comments on Neigum, Sinatynski

JK: It looks like you've added a couple guys that will fit into this team's identity... first give me your take on F Shayne Neigum.

Craig Bonner: He's a player that when we played against Chilliwack he was a hard guy to play against. Looking at our forward group I think we needed a guy that was a little bit more competitive up there and would cause some grief for the other team. To be able to do that in the waiver draft for free is a bonus. I really like competitive players and he's a competitive guy.


JK: You've already put a team together that can be tough to play against...just looking to expand that further?

Craig Bonner: Our back-end has been improved and is tough to play against but upfront we needed a guy or two. (Neigum) is not only going to be a leader on the ice but a leader in the dressing room. I'm sure Chilliwack isn't going to be happy that the Kamloops Blazers have Shayne Neigum...and we're fine with that.


JK: Tell me a little about what you like with F Jesse Sinatynski...

Craig Bonner: He's a guy that got into a bit of a numbers game in Brandon last year with them hosting the Memorial Cup. I saw him play a lot in bantam and midget and he's another guy who is also very competitive...borderline dirty-type player. I think you need those guys to win at the end of the day. He's a guy looking for an opportunity. For a 5th round pick we thought it was worth taking a chance. He's a kid I've known for a long time. He's another competitive, gritty, hard to play against guy.


JK: do you think teams are starting to take note of when they're playing the Blazers and know it's going to be a real tough game?

Craig Bonner: I certainly hope so. We want to be a hard team to play against. We have been at times this year but not consistently enough. It's something we're striving to get to. Both these players have an edge to them and we're excited for them to come in.


Blazers Acquire Jesse Sinatynski

The Blazers have added an 18 year-old forward from the Brandon Wheat Kings today..

Click here for the
details

Quotes from GM Craig Bonner on both Neigum and Sinatynski coming....

Blazers Claim F Shayne Neigum

The Kamloops Blazers added 20 year-old Shayne Neigum today in the 20 year-old cut-down draft.

Neigum is a player I know well and will add grit to the Blazers up-front. He's a hard-nosed kid who has a little scoring touch. The Kindersly, SK native is first cousins with Columbus Blue Jackets F Derek Dorsett and the two play with a similar edge.

Neigum was released today by the Chilliwack Bruins to get down to the mandated three 20 year-olds.

More at http://www.blazerhockey.com/



Blazers Making a Move?

Today is 20 year-old cutdown day as teams need to get down to three on their roster by this afternoon.

The Blazers do have an open spot for one to come in. They could snag one today, or wait it out until later in the season. GM Craig Bonner definitely holds the cards today.

There's a few solid forwards out there. I would think the Blazers may look to add one today or at some point.

We'll keep you posted....

Jon

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blazers in Kelowna

The Kamloops Blazers jump from one divisional rivaly to another tonight as they play in Kelowna against the Rockets.

The Rockets lost their first four games but have won their last two including a thrilling come-from-behind 4-3 SO in Everett. It's a game the Rockets trailed 3-0 in the third period.

The Blazers had a long-weekend home and home split with Vancouver. F Jordan DePape and F Chase Souto aren't expected to play. Either is D Josh Caron who is probably still six weeks away from getting back to action with his collarbone injury.

--------

Brendan Ranford has eight points in his last four games to lead the team with 12 overall. The top line of Ranford along with Chase Schaber and JT Barnett have combined for 30 points.

-------

The Blazers have given up just over four goals a game. In their last outing, G Jeff Bosch was pulled in favour of Jon Groenheyde after giving up a 4th goal,

Goals against is no doubt on the mind of the Blazers as they begin another three game in four night stretch.

-------

On the Rockets side there's some interesting numbers. The first one is "Where's Wudrick?" The 20 year-old F has only one assist in his first six games and is a team worst -6. Seeing Wudrick play the last four seasons, he's no doubt a streaky player. He can go ice-cold, but can also be red-hot... it seems like there is no happy medium.

-------

The Blazers have been served a total of 24 fighting majors. That's three a game through the first eight on the schedule. Thas leads the league as well.

-------

The Blazers were 6-2 vs the Rockets last season.

We're on the air at 6:30pm with the pre-game show, play-by-play at 7pm from Prospera Place.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giants Take Matinee at ISC

It was a highly entertaining hockey game as the Vancouver Giants earned a split of the weekend home-and-home set with a 5-4 regulation win over the Blazers.

The teams combined for seven goals in a wild 2nd period. The Giants built a 4-1 lead, chasing Blazer goaltender Jeff Bosch from the net in favour of Jon Groenheyde.

The Blazers fought back with powerplay goals from Linden Saip and Austin Madaisky to cut it 4-3. The Giants built a 5-3 lead scoring a weak goal off the far boards from Dalton Sward to make it 5-3 after two.

The Blazers couldn't close the gap until a late goal from Colin Smith with the goalie pulled with only five seconds to play. That was it... 5-4 Giants win.

--------

Giants F Randy McNaught looked to suffer a knee/leg injury early in the game when he got into a scrum with F Ryan Hanes in front of the Giants goal. He left and did not return.

---------

A scare when Blazer captain Chase Schaber was hit from behind in the 2nd period resulting in a boarding major/game misconduct to the Giants Matt Bellerive.

It was another in a growing list of dangerous checks.

"I'm disappointed the players don't respect each other," said Head Coach Guy Charron post-game to Rick "The Bear" Wile on our broadcast.

"It happens too often. Are they waiting for someone to get badly injured? I know I played the game 12 years and rarely were those kind of checks given."

Chase Schaber was asked about it as well...

"Throughout the league there has to be more punishment (for these types of hits). It's probably the worst hit in hockey...guys can lose their careers that way. You don't respect players who do that at all."

Schaber missed a few shifts but was back later.

--------

Brendan Ranford spent some time on the bench after a couple of turnovers - one leading to the Giants goal to open the scoring.

"The first goal was scored by (Ranford's) turnover", lamented Charron post-game.

"I can't let our top players make those mistakes when I'm expecting everyone else to play the same."

--------

The Blazers head into Kelowna Wednesday to meet the Rockets for the first time this season. The Rockets are coming off a 4-3 SO win in Everett Sunday night. A game they trailed 3-0 to start the third period.


Jon

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blazers Take Opener


Linden Saip's overtime winner 3:23 into extra time gave the Kamloops Blazers a 5-4 OT win in Vancouver. Saip came off his blueline spot and found a loose puck in the bottom of the circle for the winner.


The Blazers didn't win in Vancouver last season in six attempts including playoffs. They also lost all six games in the season series/playoffs after being tied through regulation.


Chase Schaber played a great game centering the top unit. He scored once and added two assists and added plenty of grit.


Brendan Ranford and Dylan Willick scored goals while JT Barnett burned his former team for a controversial goal in third period to tie the game 3-3. The Giants felt Barnett interfered with goaltender Mark Segal before potting the rebound. The big screen replay crew played the clip over and over to incite the home fans and/or to show up the two officials on the night Nathan "18" Wieler and Derek Zalaski.


Jeff Bosch got his 2nd win in goal in as many nights making 34 saves. The Giants drove the net hard all night long making things difficult on the Blazers 'tender.
The teams meet again Monday afternoon at 2pm from ISC to conclude the home and home set.


----------


In my years I've seen plenty of Giants comebacks at Pacific Coliseum. They did it again tonight but with a twist. If they come back, they usually go ahead for good. Game-over. Not the case tonight as the Blazers fought back twice from being down a goal in the third.


---------


A Blazer win in Vancouver personally completes my list of calling a win in all 22 current WHL rinks. Let's hope it doesn't take another eight seasons for a win at PNE.



--------


I don't think anyone else noticed. We passed the the Kelowna Rockets bus on the Coquihalla just before 1am. They were headed to Everett, WA after posting their first win of the season with a 3-2 OT win against Prince Albert.



Happy Thanksgiving!


Jon

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Blazers 4 Raiders 3

The Blazers finally got their PP going scoring three times on eight attempts for a 4-3 win over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

PP goals from Chase Schaber, Brendan Ranford and JT Barnett led the way. D Tyler Hansen scored an even strength marker in the 1st period on a shot that deflected off a Raider in front. The goal was initially credited to F Logan McVeigh.

The Raiders trailed 4-1 but scored twice midway through the period to pull within 4-3. It's as close as they would come. The Blazers outshot the Raiders 45-32. Jeff Bosch got the win in goal making 29 saves.

---------

- I really liked the play of the 4th line tonight. McVeigh, along with JC Lipon and Ryan Hanes were great all night. Lipon was on his game. He played well. Hanes is quickly becoming one of the unsung heroes on this team.

He is a great teammate. He doesn't back down from anyone and he's always smiling and having a good time. I like what I'm seeing from the local hockey product.

---------

- It looked like JT Barnett was going to put the game away with an empty-netter in the final seconds...only to get tripped up by the blueline monster. He picked up the Raider giveaway and just fell on his way to put it away.

It wasn't exactly this . However, had the Raiders been able to tie it afterwards, the two incidents would at least be related.

--------

There were three more fights in this one. Ryan Hanes fought the Raiders Tyler Yaworski. JT Barnett battled with Justin Maylan and Linden Saip danced with Andrew Herle.

The Blazers are on pace for 200+ fights this season... which would easily lead the league. Is this 1985?

Last year, the Swift Current Broncos had a league low 46 scraps.... to put things in perspective.

-------

- I asked Bruno Campese about the Eberle goal vs Calgary that everyone is talking about in our pre-game show. The Raiders Head Coach / GM looked skyward and admitted he's seen it 16 times before. Eberle was a Raiders killer.

--------

- I think the Raiders found a good one in Denmark's Sebastian Svendson. The 19 year-old forward is fast and poised.

Good for Prince Albert in icing two quality imports in Svendson and Igor Revenko from Belarus. In this day and age when it's getting tougher for smaller markets to get the high-end European talent, the Raiders have two that easily play in their top six forwards.

--------

Seeing former Raider Mike Modano in a Detroit Red Wings jersey just doesn't look right.

-------

The Blazers hit the road in the early afternoon bound for Vancouver. We're on the air with the pre-game show at 6:30, play-by-play at 7pm on Radio NL


Jon

Friday, October 08, 2010

Raiders Tonight


Ahhhh game day.


The Prince Albert Raiders kick off their BC road swing tonight against the Blazers at ISC. The Raiders will play six games over the next nine nights. They will play back-to-back nights in Prince George and then Red Deer to conclude the swing...that is cruel and unusual punishment.


The Raiders arrived late Wednesday night. They skated yesterday at ISC in the early afternoon. I've always liked the Raiders staff. Had a chance to talk to Bruno Campese, Steve Young and Craig Bedard afterwards.
One thing I want to ask Bruno about in our Behind the Bench segment is the goal that Jordan Eberle scored last night. Eberle was a Raider killer in his days in the WHL (among other teams). I'm sure he's seen a few of those Eberle beauties from the bench perspective the last three seasons.

Broadcaster Drew Wilson stopped by the station in the afternoon for a visit. For Drew, it's a return back to his home province.
It's also the return of local minor hockey product Brock Balson. In his first full season in PA, he told me it was "pretty weird" to come back to Kamloops after being away for a long period.
He admitted there will be plenty of friends, family and former teammates in the stands tonight.
After losing their first three games of the season, the Raiders have won three in a row.

Here's hoping the Raiders cut a swath through the BC division.... after tonight's game.
--------
On the Blazers side, it'll be the return of defenseman Linden Saip and Brandon Underwood. Both are coming off league imposed suspensions.
F Jordan DePape is a question mark entering the contest. He was hurt Saturday in Chilliwack. F Chase Souto won't play.
I'd expect G Jeff Bosch to get the call in goal tonight as well.
The Blazers will play three games in the next four days. It's off to Vancouver tomorrow night. They host Vancouver Monday in a 2pm matinee game.
--------
Speaking of Vancouver, I was a guest on the Giants Hockey Hour radio show last night out of Van on AM 650 with host Dan Elliot. I've been told the rivalry between the Giants and Blazers is a heated one. A lot of connections between the two teams on the bench, on the ice and in the front-office.
I'd looking forward to my first look at D David Musil of the Giants - the highly touted NHL prospect.
--------
The latest edition of WHL This Week - Radio Edition is available on whl.ca.
This week's guests include Jared Cowen of the Spokane Chiefs, WHL Player of the Week Brad Ross and Swift Current Broncos F Cody Eakin.
All three of these players will likely get an invite to Canada's World Junior selection camp in December. Ross may be on the outside a little bit at 18, but the Leafs 2nd round pick might add a little sandpaper and scoring ability to the mix.
That's all for today.... enjoy the weekend,
jon

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Shootout Loss

The Kamloops Blazers fought back from 2-0 2nd period deficit to take an early third period 3-2 lead only to lose 4-3 in a shootout to the Spokane Chiefs.

It was another one of those games the Blazers felt they were the better team. The Blazers outshot the Chiefs 46-33 but G James Reid was on his game. He made several saves late in the third and then seven in overtime to get his team into the shootout.

Mitch Holmberg scored the only goal in the three-round shootout for a Spokane 4-3 win.

The Blazers got goals from Austin Madaisky, Chase Schaber and Brendan Ranford. The Blazers got a huge lift after a 5-on-3 penalty kill for a 1:23. Seconds Ranford got in behind the Spokane defense and was sprung on a nice feed from Chase Schaber to give the Blazers the temporary lead.

Newly acquired Chiefs tough-guy Darren Kramer tied the game midway through the period.

The Blazers get the single point but felt like it was a game for the taking.

Spokane played pretty solid for two periods I thought. They had some breakdowns in the third and the Blazers capitalized.

---------

It was good to see Kirk Fraser honoured by Radio NL before the game. The Voice of the Blazers for the past 11 seasons was presented with a gift and a thank-you from Radio NL's Jim Reynolds before the opening face-off.

Kirk will be getting some play-by-play time in with Shaw TV in the coming weeks when he heads out to do the Eastern division match-ups.

---------

The Prince Albert Raiders pay a visit Friday night. They were due to arrive sometime late tonight as they begin their BC division swing.


Jon

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tuesday

Due to the Johnny Reid concert tonight at ISC the Blazers took practice over to Memorial Arena today. That's quite the place I must say. A lot of history in that building.... it was awesome to finally check it out.



Guy Charron teaching some wall play


The Blazers will be forced to go down to five defenseman for tomorrow night's match-up with the Spokane Chiefs. Brandon Underwood will serve his one-game suspension while Linden Saip will sit out his 2nd of two games. Josh Caron is out with a broken collarbone.

At times in the pre-season F Jordan DePape played on the back-end, but a shoulder injury will likey keep him out of the line-up tomorrow night.
Playing with five defensman has it's positives and negatives according to Head Coach Guy Charron....

"If you asked the defenseman about playing with five they'd be happy. It gets them in the game, they don't miss a rotation and they're asked to do more. In saying that, that's the time when you don't want to get into penalty trouble. That's probably the biggest issue."

Had a chance to talk to F Chase Souto. He's eager to get back at it but is nursing a sore neck from the check from behind he took in the 'Whack. When I asked him about the hit... he says he doesn't remember it.

If you read above, Bruins F Blair Wentworth was served a two-game suspension for the hit.

------

I had a great time last night at the Blazer Booster Club meeting. Nearly 200 people were there for supper and to hear a few words from myself.

As someone in the newsroom put it.. it's like preaching to the converted. They are a passionate group. Several have been around since day one.

They've all seemed to enjoy the broadcasts so far and it's encouraging to hear some positive feedback. I didn't stick around for bingo though. Apparently an Easter ham or two were on the line.

---------

One of the folks I met last night is responsible for a really innovative part of the game. Fred Marsh - the inventor of the Marsh pegs. The net pegs are used around the world now.

He's a member of the Booster Club. We will talk to him in an upcoming broadcast as well....

--------

Another thing I learned last night....

Kamloops is the original home of Teddy Bear toss night.

--------

There's a Finnish hockey delegation in town as part of a Hockey Canada exchange program. They are talking to minor hockey teams and coaches and spending a few days around the local minor hockey program.

I hope to speak to one or both tomorrow night during the broadcast.

--------

That's all for now...

Jon


Weekend Fall-Out / Needham Recalled

Kamloops Blazers D Linden Saip has been suspended two games for his hit on Everett Silvertip F Clayton Cumiskey Friday night. He's served one game and will sit out tomorrow night against Spokane.

D Brandon Underwood has been suspended one game for his fighting major and game misconduct against the Chilliwack Saturday night.

Chilliwack Bruins F Blair Wentworth has been suspended two games for his hit from behind on the Blazers Chase Souto.

The Blazers have recalled 15 year-old F Matt Needham for tomorrow night's game at home vs Spokane.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Weise/Zack Smith

A couple of guys I like to keep track of battled in NHL pre-season action last night.

Zack Smith and Dale Weise met as the Ottawa Senators took on the New York Rangers.

Zack scored an empty-netter to complete the hat-trick to go along with an assist for an 8-5 Sens win.



He's wearing the very familiar #15 now with the Sens... and that's a good sign he may be staying with the big club to start the season,

Great pic of Zack by the way....

Weise added an assist and played a physical style game and scrapped with Nick Foligno. You can see that here:

Good to see these guys battling it out to the end.


Jon

Wild Night in the 'Whack

The Kamloops Blazers fell 6-1 in Chilliwack in what turned out to be a wild night at Prospera Center for the Bruins home opener. The Bruins went 5 for 14 on the powerplay on the night

Emotions boiled over in the third period as the Blazers had redemption on their minds for two teammates who were hit from behind earlier in the game. Chase Souto was run into the side boards by the team benches and was later taken to hospital for precautionary reasons. Jordan Depape was also checked awkwardly and left the game with an upper body injury.

With the score out of reach, and a 4th Chilliwack PP goal, the Blazers felt payback was in order. They initiated a partial line brawl which saw Brandon Underwood, Tyler Hansen, Ryan Hanes and JT Barnett all get involved on the Blazer side.

The end result was a nine minute Chilliwack powerplay in the 3rd – most of it a 5 on 3 advantage.

The Blazers were miffed with the officiating and felt the stripes weren’t doing enough to protect their players from the dangerous hits. A minor penalty was issued on the hit from behind on Depape, while a double minor was issued for the hit on Souto.

Blazer captain Chase Schaber spoke passionately about it post-game

“ Obviously things got of hand… emotions were at the highest point they could possibly be.”

"Literally, there were family members from our team hurt tonight and we took that to heart. We’re not going to forget about that. We are going to focus on getting back in the win column now and deal with (Chilliwack) when the time comes.”

I asked if Schaber felt it was the right response.

“Absolutely. Fighting for each other, sticking up for ourselves and fighting for the logo on our chest…It’s our pride that we carry and we are going to continue to do that.”

Assistant Coach Geoff Smith joined our post-game show. He feels the issue goes deeper than what happened on the ice.


video

I’m not sure what will be made of this night. There could be fines or possible supplemental discipline. The league office is set to have a busy Monday morning.



On another note….

The game was delayed over an hour when an apparent pipe under the ice broke causing a delay with warm-ups. It was First Nations night and the Bruins home opener night. All three combined for an 8:12pm face-off.

We hit the airwaves with our pre-game show at 6:30pm… and later scrambled to fill over an hour and half worth of airtime. That length was definitely a first for me. Thanks to Assistant Coach Scott Ferguson, General Manager Craig Bonner and Media Relations/Video Coordinator Tim O’Donovan for stepping in. The delay just extended and we stayed on the air through it rather than break away.

Former Blazer voice Kelly Moore called the station for a chat but there was problems connecting the both of us on-air. The veteran Moore has been in my spot several times and realized the situation. Thanks Kelly.

-------




Saturday, October 02, 2010

Saip Suspended

Blazers D Lyndon Saip will miss tonight's game against the Chilliwack Bruins after being suspended by the WHL for his hit on Clayton Cumiskey of the Everett Silvertips last night.

The length of the suspension will be determined Monday. It'll likely be just a game if I was to venture a guess.

Jon

A few pics...


Three WHL radio guys out for a Mexican food lunch Friday... l to r Jon Rosen (Everett), me, Pat Siedlecki (Lethbridge). No midday beers on game-day
All the staff at El Parasio were in Silvertips gear for game-day. Good to see some WHL flavour downtown,



The Blazer bus outside Comcast Arena. Driver C.C. was busy putting in some carpet while the team practiced.



------------
Here's what Silvertips Coach Craig Hartsburgh had to say to Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald:
"Our goalie won the game for us, Everett coach Craig Hartsburg said. He was the best player on the ice, thats the reason why we won."

I thought there was not one other player on our team who was good, Hartsburg said. There was no effort, there was no work, there was no structure, there was selfishness. It was not a good night, but our goalie stole a win for us. Most nights like that you should get your (butts) kicked. We got lucky."
It's gameday in Chilliwack. The team went down to the rink in the morning but didn't skate. It's the Bruins home opener is tonight. There's plenty of pre-game ceremony which will push the face-off back to about 7:15pm. They are honouring First Nations people tonight as they begin a new season in Chilliwack.

The Everett Silvertips submitted the tape of Lyndon Saip's hit on Clayton Cumiskey last night. Cumiskey needed some help to get off the ice in the 2nd period and never returned.

The Blazers are expected to hear back from the league this afternoon.

We're on the air at 6:30pm with the pre-game show.... www.radionl.com


Tips 4 Blazers 2

As Head Coach Guy Charron said it post-game… “ it was our best road effort…certainly in my time here.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t end in two points, instead a tough loss to swallow for the visitors in Everett.

The Blazers, outshot, out chanced, outworked and outplayed the Silvertips in their barn but fell 4-2 to an opportunistic home team.

Credit the ‘Tips. They found a way to win, making the most of their opportunities and a mid 3rd penalty shot chance to break a 2-2 tie.

Josh Birkholz found a loose puck in neutral ice on a Blazer powerplay and raced towards the Blazer goal. A chasing Bernhard Keil slashed Birkholz en-route to the goal but let go of his stick on impact. Referee Pat Smith ruled Keil threw his stick – awarding the speedy Everett forward a penalty shot.

Birkholz scored on the ensuing opportunity to the Silvertips up 3-2. They would add an empty-netter for the 4-2 win.

The Blazers carried the bulk load of the play all night and ran into a hot Kent Simpson between the pipes as he made 42 saves for the win. Shots on the night favoured the Blazers 44-20.

Only Dylan Willick and Brendan Ranford found the back of the ‘Tips net on the night.

The Silvertips scored three of their goals on breakaways after Blazer mis-cues. The Blazers played a solid game, but with any mistake, they paid for it.

Jon Groenheyde took the loss in goal. I thought he played well but just couldn’t bail out his team in front of him when called upon.

Blazer Head Coach Guy Charron tried to get an explanation from referee Pat Smith on the penalty shot call in the third. Smith said that Keil threw his stick which means an automatic penalty shot. Apparently there is no discretion involved in that instance.

Sure it was a loss. But if the Blazers can put forth that effort on the road consistently they will be in good shape.

There was a trio of scraps on the night. Brandon Underwood scrapped with Campbell Elyniuk. JC Lipon squared off with defenseman Nick Walters. Jordan Depape scrapped with Tyler Maxwell. At the end of the game, Lipon was involved in an altercation with Silvertips D Alex Theriau.

Video game highlights are available at www.blazerhockey.com.

The team bussed to Chilliwack after the game. They will face the Bruins Saturday night to conclude the weekend. The Bruins haven’t played since last Saturday in Kamloops when they posted a 5-2 win.



Jon

Friday, October 01, 2010

Game Day in Everett


The Kamloops Blazers are having their game-day skate as I blog from the press box at Comcast Arena here in Everett.


The Blazers will play their first road game of the season tonight and the mood around the team is a good one. Tonight's broadcast on Radio NL begins at 7:00pm with the pre-game show. Face-off at 7:35pm.


--------


The Blazers had some fun with their rookies on the way down yesterday. It was the annual "Rookie Song and Joke" on the bus microphone.


There were no judges but by my estimation young Lyndon Martell and German import Bernhard Keil stole the show. They had fun with it anyways....


-------


It's rare but not uncommon to have two visiting WHL teams in the same city. The Blazers are in the same hotel as the Lethbridge Hurricanes as they make their way to Seattle to play the T-Birds.


The 'Canes are starting with five in a row on the road to start the season because of renos at Enmax Center. They play the Silvertips tomorrow night and then wrap up their three-game swing in Portland.


Had a chance to catch up with Hurricanes broadcaster Pat Siedlecki last night in the hotel. The two of us will hit up Everett Silvertips broadcaster Jon Rosen's favortie Mexican place "El Paraiso" for lunch today.


-------------


One of our guests on the intermission will be five-year Blazer CJ Stretch. Stretch is trying to land a spot with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. He'll join us on the phone at some point.


------------


Gorgeous day in Everett today. Media/Video Coordinator Tim O'Donovan, Head Coach Guy Charron and myself walked over to the rink this AM.


With my old team, coming to the States was a treat. Plus, it only happened once every two years. The Blazers meanwhile will be here once a month all season long for the most part as they play games within the Conference. It sure is a change.


-----------


I hope to put some pics up later today at some point. Hopefully some time before game-time. If not, Tim is posting pics over at blazerhockey.com


Also, former Blazer Darcy Tucker has retired from the NHL. More on that here.


Off to grab some El Parasio with the boys.... have a good day....



Jon