Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hockey Talk Tonight

We're on the air tonight at 5:30pm from the Ramada's Rooftop Lounge (3rd Floor) for Blazer Hockey Talk. The show runs until 7pm.

Head Coach Guy Charron, Assistant Coach Scott Ferguson and Captain Chase Schaber will join myself and Bear.

Questions to blazerhockeytalk@hotmail.com or you can call 250-374-5345

Or we'd love to have you there in person...

Talk to you tonight...

Jon

Monday, November 29, 2010

Blazer Hockey Talk Tomorrow Night

Our 2nd edition of Blazer Hockey Talk is set for tomorrow evening at the Ramada's Rooftop Lounge.

The program airs from 5:30pm to 7pm tomorrow on Radio NL and guests will include Head Coach Guy Charron, Assistant Coach Scott Ferguson and Captain Chase Schaber.

You can show up in person to the Rooftop Lounge - 3rd floor of the Ramada Hotel up the hill on Columbia Street. You can email questions to blazerhockeytalk@hotmail.com , or you can call in your questions to 250 - 374 - 5345.

I'll host along with Rick "The Bear" Wile.

Jon

World Junior Selection Camp Announced

The Blazers will not be sending a representative to the World Junior Selection Camp in less than two weeks.

Of the 39 WHL players named, Austin Madaisky, Chase Schaber and Brendan Ranford were not among them. Going, the three weren't favoured to be among the 40 invitees.

A complete list is
available here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cougars 7 Blazers 5

It was another game dominated by special teams with 5-on-3 powerplays and 15 man-advantages. The Cougars did a better job in that deparment, scoring three PP goals and a shorthanded-marker in the 7-5 win.

It was one of those nights were neither team was pleased with the officiating.

The Blazers continue to give up too many goals and take too many penalties. They lead the league in PIMS and the Western Conference in goals-against. Their penalty kill is also at the bottom of the league. Through this, they are only three points out of the division lead. If they can corral these three issues, the rest of the season looks bright. Problem is, it's easier said than done.

More tomorrow......

Go Riders

Blazers Host PG Tonight

Here's a few points from the notebook as the Blazers prepare to host the Prince George Cougars tonight:

- The Blazers shoot for their 5th straight home ice win after last night's 4-3 shootout victory over the Spokane Chiefs. The Cougars come in after defeating the Regina Pats 5-3 last night. F Troy Bourke had a hat-trick for the Cougars.

- Will the Blazers get their letters back? Last night the team played without a single letter "A" or "C" on the jerseys. Captain Chase Schaber sat out his third and final game due to suspension while the other assistants had their letters taken away following the loss in Spokane Wednesday. It sounds like Schaber will wear the "C" tonight but the rest of the letters could be up for open audition again. The Blazer assistants included Corey Fienhage, Jordan DePape, Bronson Maschmeyer and Austin Madaisky. If there is a letter shuffle, could players like Dylan Willick, Brendan Ranford or Shayne Neigum factor in?

- Chase Schaber came up for a 1st intermission chat on "Hockey Talk". I was surprised to hear that Schaber ( a Red Deer native) will be cheering for the Riders in tomorrow's Grey Cup. Schaber says his younger brother is the football player in the family. He's the quarterback of his high school football team. He says the brothers have transformed to be a part Rider Nation over the years.

- Who's the Player of the Month for the Blazers in November? If you look at the numbers, it's perhaps F Brendan Ranford or F Chase Schaber. F Jordan DePape had a decent month on the stats sheet too. Maybe F Dylan Willick gets some consideration based on the style of game he plays and how valuable he's been to the team. Or, does G Jeff Bosch factor in?

- Last night's delay before the shootout was painful. In fact, both shootouts this season at ISC have come with lengthy delays following the end of overtime. On both occasions it was the ice crew having to come back onto the ice to fix something after the gate was shut. Personally, I don't mind the shootout. Especially when we see something new and unique come out from the shooters. But last night's delay really took the spirit out of it.

- You had to feel for F Brendan Ranford. His name was announced four times before he actually got to lead-off the shootout. On the third announcement he actually picked up the puck and began skating towards the net but had to put the brakes on as the ice crew was still making their way off the ice.

- The Blazers are loving their new game-winning celebration. I thought I saw glimpses of something different when they beat the Pats last week. Last night, the celebration was embraced by the entire team. Call it the "NHL 94" celebration. The guys are modelling it after a video game from the 90's in which players would celebrate around their goalie at the end of the game. The boys may have the year wrong...I'll have to confirm later today at the rink.

- The Blazers are 9-0 when giving up three or less goals. Head Coach Guy Charron made us aware of this stat during our pre-game show.

- The PG Cougars could be hit hard by the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships. They will likely lose their best forward and top defenseman. F Brett Connolly has to be considered a favorite to grab a spot on Team Canada. D Martin Marincin will no doubt play for Slovakia at the event.

- Game-time tonight at 7pm from ISC. Pre-game show at 6:30pm at www.radionl.com . The Blazers won't play after tonight until next Friday when they host the Saskatoon Blades.

Jon

Blazers 4 Spokane 3 - SO

The Blazers edge Spokane 4-3 in a shootout tonight after what was a lengthy delay following overtime. Net problems with the ice and the pegs forced the two teams to use the same net(Spokane's) for the shootout.

Jordan DePape scored a pair to give the Blazers a 2-0 lead in the 1st. The Chiefs played hard and battled back for a 3-2 third period lead. Dylan Willick was rewarded with the tying goal with 1:20 to go after playing a solid game.

The Chiefs had the overtime chances but couldn't end it. Brendan Ranford and Austin Madaisky scored in the shootout while Blake Gal and Tyler Johnson were denied by G Cam Lanigan.

More later, including the the Blazers "NHL 94" win celebration.....


Jon

Friday, November 26, 2010

Blazers Host Chiefs Tonight


Is revenge on the minds of the Kamloops Blazers?

Or is their focus simply on finding the effort they need to bounce back and compete at the level they need to be at?

It's been two nights since the Blazers were pummelled in Spokane 10-1 in the first part of the tw0-game set in what was one of the Blazers worst losses in years.

The Blazers return home where they've won their last three games after some early home ice woes. They will be without captain Chase Schaber one more game as he serves his third of a three game suspension. JC Lipon will miss his third of a four gamer.

The Blazers continue in the middle of a tough four game in five night stretch that concludes tomorrow night when they host Prince George.

The Chiefs come in having picked up at least a point in seven of their last eight games. They are 6-2-1-1 in the month of November. They've only allowed 66 goals - the 2nd least in the Western Conference behind the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Pre-game show tonight at 6:30pm, play-by-play at 7pm at www.radionl.com

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blazers Routed 10-1 in Spokane

“We came out flat right from the opening face-off and we finished flat. We looked like the Keystone Kops out there – if anything could go wrong it did.”

That was from Assistant Coach Scott Ferguson on our post-game show following the Blazers most lopsided defeat of the season.

The Chiefs led 2-0 before the ice was even dry to open the game. Jared Cowen scored a PP marker just 59 seconds in with D Bronson Maschmeyer in the box. Anthony Bardaro scored eight seconds later off the ensuing face-off on a 2-on-1.


Even the Chiefs goal song couldn’t keep up. They might as well have left it on repeat up in the sound booth – maybe they did?

“Guys weren’t competing. It was a combination of everything and they just ran roughshod over us for 60 minutes. I’ve never seen anything like it. No spark, no emotion and that was the most frustrating part about it,” added Ferguson.

The Blazers Brendan Ranford scored at 3:25 to temporarily stop the bleeding. It was his WHL leading 22nd of the season.

On the Blazers next PP, a turnover at center-ice led to a 2-on-0, which was finished off by Tyler Johnson on the pass from Levko Koper. From there, the route was on.

"It was a tough night for the goaltenders. It wasn’t like they were getting much help from anyone though. But every time the puck was shot towards the goal it went in. I think two went off (defenseman) Fienhage and into the back of the net,” continued a rattled Ferguson.

“Cowen looked like Bobby Orr out there. He gets three goals and I think all three times he had all the time in world, he wasn’t even challenged.”

After a scoreless 2nd period, the Blazers trailed 4-1 through two periods. The wheels really fell off at the start of the third. The Chiefs scored four goals in a span of 5:02 to go up 8-1. The guy ringing the “goal gong” in the corner of the rink had to switch arms a couple of times due to pure exhaustion.

G Cam Lanigan was mercifully pulled at 8-1 in favour of 16 year-old Troy Trombley. Trombley has been called up from “AAA” midget with Jeff Bosch out of the line-up.

The first two-shots Trombley faced got through him. Cue the song…


It was 10-1 at that point. The final few minutes couldn’t come off the scoreboard fast enough for all involved.

“I blew a gasket after the 1st period and tried to get them going. I guess we saw how that turned out. Right now it’s a matter of guys getting together. We have to have them buy in. It was frustrating. We had guys pointing fingers at each other. We have to hold ourselves accountable first before we can hold our teammates accountable. As a coaching staff we will have to hold everyone accountable and make sure they get re-focused because we have two huge home ice games this weekend.”

Spokane is back to complete the home-and-home set tomorrow night.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blazers in Snowy Spokane

- The Blazers arrived in Spokane shortly before 6am and were greeted by a recent dumping of snow that has blanketed much of Eastern Washington. Snow...and cold. Temperatures were around -20 overnight and today have hovered around -13. Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving.

- The Blazers didn't skate today. Rather they took the time to rest for 2nd meeting of the season between the clubs. Spokane won the first in a shootout 4-3 back on October 5th. This is the first game of a home-and-home set. The Blazers host the Chiefs Friday night back at ISC.

- Brendan Ranford gets back in the line-up tonight after sitting out his one-game suspension for his role in Saturday's melee in Portland. Chase Schaber and JC Lipon remain suspended and did not make the trip.

- It's been exactly one year since Guy Charron took over the coaching duties for Barry Smith. Charron has been behind the bench for 67 games posting a record of 33-30-0-4.

- Spokane is coming off a 3-1 win in Portland Sunday night in Portland. The night before they were beaten 8-3 by rival Tri-City.

- An interesting note in last night's game. Matt Needham's first-ever WHL goal was assisted by JT Barnett - it reads #14 from #22 on the scoresheet at 14:22 of the first period.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blazers vs Pats Tonight


Game night for the Blazers as they host the Regina Pats tonight at ISC.


Of course the Blazers will be without F JC Lipon, F Brendan Ranford and F Chase Schaber for tonight's contest. Ranford and Schaber make up two-thirds of the Blazers top line. The old adage of someone "stepping up" is being thrown around a lot right now.


Cam Lanigan will get the call in goal as Jeff Bosch will sit this one out after being injured in the melee in Portland Saturday night.


The game is on Shaw TV. Tonight on the TV broadcast I'll attempt to break down the incident on the intermission which led to $6,000 in fines and 15 games in suspensions.


The Blazers will board the bus post-game and drive straight through to Spokane for tomorrow night's contest against the Chiefs.


Tonight's game kicks off four games in five nights. Pre-game show at 6:30pm on www.radionl.com. One of our guests include Vice-President of hockey for the WHL Richard Doerksen as he talks about the suspensions and fines handed out from Saturday's game.


Jon


Monday, November 22, 2010

Suspensions Heavy, Blazers Dinged $3,000

The league has sent a message to the Blazers and Winterhawks following a melee Saturday night in Portland:

Fines and suspensions as follows:

Kamloops $2,500.00 for post 2nd period altercation at Portland

Kamloops $250.00 for multiple fight at Portland
Kamloops $250.00 for goaltender’s fight at Portland
JC Lipon Kamloops Four games for actions at Portland
Chase Schaber Kamloops Three games for game misconduct
Brendan Ranford Kamloops One game for actions at Portland

Portland's have also been announced:

Portland $2,500.00 for post 2nd period altercation versus Kamloops
Portland $250.00 for multiple fight versus Kamloops
Portland $250.00 for goaltender’s fight versus Kamloops
Joe Morrow Portland Three games for actions versus Kamloops
Seth Swenson Portland Four games for actions versus Kamloops




Blazers Call-Up Three...

The Kamloops Blazers announced this afternoon that they have re-called 15-year-old forward Matthew Needham, 16-year-old forward Aspen Sterzer and 16-year-old goaltender Troy Trombley.

Needham, who was the Blazers 1st round pick in the 2010 WHL Bantam draft, made his debut with the hockey club on October 6th versus Spokane. He has been playing this season with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Prep Team and has scored 10 tallies, 13 assists and 23 points in 22 games.

Sterzer was listed by the Blazers in October 2009. The Canal Flats, BC native is playing with the EDGE Prep Team out of Calgary. He has put up 5 goals and 16 assists for 21 points in 19 games along with 30 penalty minutes this season.

Trombley was the Blazers 3rd round WHL Bantam pick in 2009. The 6’6” goaltender plays with the Midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan team. He was the back up for most of the exhibition season with the Blazers.

Blazers Awaiting Word

They know there are suspensions coming from Saturday's melee in Portland... the question is who and how long.

The league will make a ruling on Blazer suspensions soon. Candidates include Chase Schaber, Brendan Ranford and/or JC Lipon.

They will also likely be without G Jeff Bosch for tomorrow night or longer. Head Coach Guy Charron tells me he'll sit out tomorrow night due to injury.

I'll post the suspension info when it becomes official.....


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Suspensions

Portland Winterhawks Seth Swenson and Joe Morrow have been suspended as per the WHL website for their actions last night in the game vs the Blazers.

Length of suspensions to be determined....

The Portland Punch-Up


The Kamloops Blazers dropped a 6-4 decision in Portland Saturday night but the outcome was overshadowed by a near bench-clearing brawl at the end of the 2nd period.

After a fiery end to the 2nd period with a scrap between the Blazers Dylan Willick and the Winterhawks Brad Ross, the situation nearly erupted into chaos as the two teams left the ice in Blazers territory.

As the Winterhawks were leaving the ice, Blazer G Jeff Bosch and Winterhawks G Mac Carruth engaged in a fight. With Bosch surrounded by basically they entire Winterhawks team, his Blazer teammates came in to help him out. Brendan Ranford scrapped, as did JC Lipon. Shayne Neigum and Chase Schaber were also involved. Schaber drew a game misconduct for being too physical with the linesman as they attempted to break up the melee.

Both goalies were kicked out of the game for leaving the crease. Back-ups Cam Lanigan for the Blazers and Keith Hamilton for the Hawks played the third period.

The officials didn’t properly keep the teams separated as the period ended. They allowed the teams to have access to each other while the period ended as the benches cleared to go to off the ice. It was a defensive zone breakdown for the stripes. Could the incident have been avoided? Likely. It also could have been 20 on 20 pretty easily too.


It was an emotional game as the Winterhawks built a 3-0 2nd period lead before the Blazers stormed back with goals from Ranford, Schaber and Bronson Maschmeyer. For Ranford it was his league-leading 21st. The game was even 3-3 at the 15:09 mark of the 2nd period.

The Winterhawks restored a two-goal lead early in the third period. Dalibor Bortnak brought the Blazers back within a goal midway through the period but Nino Niederreiter scored his 2nd goal of the game moments later to put the Hawks up for good 6-4.

Post-game, Blazers Head Coach Guy Charron praised his team in their ability to stand-up and protect each other. The Blazers won the physical battle but ultimately not the game.

Charron says it was another character building contest for his team and perhaps a moral victory.

Guy didn’t want to put blame on the goaltenders but he feels they need to be better. Lanigan was guilty of a couple rebounds that ended up in the back of the net.

Bottom line, the Blazers battled hard tonight and the coaching staff has stressed they will take that because the results will usually be positive as opposed to negative.

In a way the game could almost sum up the season-to-date for the Blazers. A hard-working and feisty effort, too many goals against, a boatload of penalties/fights and no points as a result.

G Jeff Bosch was hurt in the melee to end the 2nd period. His status for Tuesday’s game against Regina is unknown.

There will be fines doled out by the league office for the game. The goalie scrap usually runs about $250. There may be more dished out if it’s deemed a “multiple fight” situation.

Extras:

- As confusing as it was to sort out the penalties, the lack of working Internet made it even more difficult. I joke about Memorial Coliseum being a time warp back in time. Tonight without Internet just added to it.


- Was anyone keeping track of how long the intermissions are in Portland? Time can even stand still…what an amazing place!


- Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson and staff were in the building. Taking a closer look at 1st round pick Ryan Johansen or getting a better look at several of the high draft eligible prospects in the Hawks’ line-up?


- It was good to catch-up with Mike Remmerde. After years of scouting with the Red Line Report for basically the love of the game, Mike has finally landed a part-time NHL scouting gig. I’m happy for him. We met in the summer of 2004 at the NHL Draft in North Carolina.


- Portland GM Mike Johnston is a pleasure to talk to. I can tell he’s a good hockey man. Portland has a good one behind the bench and in the front office no doubt.


- Anyone who thinks fighting is bad for hockey should take in a game in Everett or Portland. Fans go crazy when the gloves come off.


- American fans love “the take down” in a fight. For them, it’s basically the deciding factor of who wins and who loses.


- The Hawks have a great group of cheerleaders. In my opinion they are a great addition to the fan experience. In today’s day and age where the experience of going to the game matters just as much as the outcome, the Hawks have hit a home-run.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Blazers in Portland


The Blazers will try their luck against the hottest team in the WHL tonight. The Portland Winterhawks have won 13 of their last 14 and are 19-3-0-1 to start the season.

It's the Winterhawks first game back on home ice after a six game East division road swing in which they went 5-1 overall.

The Blazers will look for a bounce-back effort after a disappointing 4-2 loss in Everett last night. The Blazers didn't play their best and turned the puck over a lot over the course of the game.

I would expect a couple line-up changes tonight but as a team the Blazers will have to play better if they want a shot at knocking off the top team in the WHL.

- Tonight's game will be played out of Memorial Coliseum. When you talk to people around the - league they either love or hate the old building. Personally, I'm not a fan but I respect the history of Memorial and all the great battles and games before me. For me, it's a time-warp back to 1970 (or what I imagine 1970 to be like).

- For me, one of the nicest drives in the entire league is I-5 south at night from Everett through Seattle and on to Portland. You roll right past Seattle's skyline, plus Safeco Field, and Qwest Field.

- For some of the Blazers, this is as close to a "home" games as it comes. California born players Brandon Underwood and Chase Souto are as close to CA as they're going to get this season.

- G Jeff Bosch will debut his new goalie mask tonight. It was painted up by a local person that several of the teams use. Bosch said last night he talked about the design with Toledo (Blazers trainer) to go over what he should have on it:

"The only thing I made sure that was on there was a little Riders logo to support the hometown team," said Bosch prior to last night's game.

The Riders and the Calgary Stampeders will battle tomorrow afternoon in Calgary in the West final.

- Catch the game tonight on Radio NL or online at www.radionl.com or www.blazerhockey.com. Pre-game show at 6:30, play-by-play at 7pm.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blazers in Everett

After a snowy drive up and down the Coquihalla, the Blazers arrived in Everett shortly after 6pm yesterday in preparation for tonight's game from Comcast Arena.

It's the first game for both team's since Saturday's 3-1 Blazer win at ISC.

For the Blazers, it's the beginning of a busy six game in nine night stretch. It's the third meeting of the season of four. The teams meet one last time February 2nd.

- Other than the Portland Winterhawks, the Blazers have collected more points in their last 10 games (14) than any other Western Conference Team. They shoot for their 3rd win in a row.

- Everett Silvertip F Landon Ferraro missed the game Saturday in Kamloops. He's listed as being out 7-10 days with a concussion.

- Brendan Ranford takes his league-leading 20 goals into tonight's contest. He's scored seven in the last four games to go along with four assists.

- F Jordan DePape has also been hot. Since joining up with Chase Schaber and Ranford on the top line he's picked up three goals and seven assists in the last four games.

- Happy Birthday to Blazer Trainer Colin "Toledo" Robinson. He had his birthday dessert served up to him from the staff at the Outback Steak House last night.

- We're on the air with the pre-game show at 7pm, play-by-play at 7:35pm www.radionl.com




Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Game Day

It's been a busy day down at ISC so far between the two teams and media requests, team pictures, etc.




For the Blazers perspective, Chase Schaber will play alongside Brendan Ranford while Saskatoon Blades F Darian Dziurzynski will join them.





"It's going to be hard-working line, probably the hardest working of the team...the line also has over 40 goals so it has the potential to create offense," said Schaber after today's skate.





The game will be broadcast by Rogers Sportsnet (Rob Faulds, Sam Cosentino, Louis Jean) and we also have the action on NL beginning with our pre-game show at 6:30pm. Our pre-game guests include Guy Charron, Ryan Huska, Chase Schaber and a representative from the Russian team Alexander Shekin.





In the intermission, WHL Commissioner Ron Robison will pop by along with Team WHL Captain for the Prince George game tomorrow night Cody Eakin.





Should be a fun game. The Russians head into the game up 7-5 in points. The format is three points for a regulation win, two points for a shootout win and a single point for a shootout loss.





It means the Russians do have a nice advantage heading into the two game set. A shoot-out win by the Russians would at the very least clinch a tie in the six-game set.



Talk to you tonight.....

Jon

The Latest...

Team WHL practices at ISC led by Head Coach Ryan Huska




The Russians arrive and unload their gear. They didn't skate though as planned.

Everett Silvertips G Kent Simpson will get the call in goal for Team WHL while Calvin Pickard will get the start Thursday in Prince George.
All the players except those from Brandon and Portland were at ISC tonight. Even the players who will only play in the Prince George game were practicing led by Cody Eakin who will captain team WHL for the PG game
Ticket sales are approaching 5000. There are still some tickets available for game five of the series.









Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Team WHL Takes Over ISC


The Blazer dressing room has been taken over by Team WHL. Everything is set for their afternoon practice.

Logos are up all over the rink and on the ice

Gaudet and McVeigh Headed to U-17's

A couple of Blazers will compete in the World U-17 Championships set for Manitoba in December. D Brady Gaudet and F Logan McVeigh will play for Team West - the host team.

The full story can be found on the Blazers website here.

Series Tied Headed to Kamloops

We are getting closer to face-off between Team WHL and the Russian Selects tomorrow night at ISC.

Both teams will skate later today. Team WHL at 5:30pm and the Russians after at 7:30.

The series is all even after a Team OHL 2-1 shootout win in Sudbury.

As announced yesterday, the Blazers Chase Schaber will wear an "A" tomorrow night for Team WHL. Vancouver Giants F Brendan Gallagher will not play in the game. Instead, he's been moved to the Prince George game Thursday.

I'll try to post some pics, thoughts and some interviews prior to the 7pm face-off. We will carry the game on Radio NL. Pre-game show at 6:30, play by play at 7.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Roster Changes

The Western Hockey League announced today that defenceman Alex Petrovic of the Red Deer Rebels will play for Team WHL in the 2010 SUBWAY® Super Series game on Wednesday, November 17th, in Kamloops, BC.

Petrovic replaces Matt MacKenzie of the Calgary Hitmen, who is unable to participate Wednesday due to the flu. The Edmonton, AB, product is in his third full season with the Red Deer Rebels. Drafted by the Rebels in the 2nd round of the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft, the Florida Panthers made Petrovic their 2nd round – 36th overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He has appeared in 20 games this season collecting one goal and 15 assists for 16 points along with 42 PIM.

The WHL also announced today that Brendan Ranford will be replacing the Vancouver Giants forward Brendan Gallagher for the 2010 SUBWAY® Super Series game on Wednesday, November 17th, in Kamloops, BC. Gallagher will be playing in game six of the series Thursday, November 18th, in Prince George, BC.

Blazers Sweep Players of the Week

Both F Brendan Ranford and G Jeff Bosch have taken the WHL Boston Pizza Player and the Vaughn Goaltender of the Week.

You can see the release here.

Ranford led the Blazers to a pair of weekend wins on home ice recording three goals and three assists. He leads the league with 20 goals.

Bosch had a pair of strong performances. He shutout the Kelowna Rockets making 23 saves. Last night he made 38 stops in a 3-1 win over Everett.

Ken Hitchcock Interview

video

Blazers 3 Silvertips 1

For the first time this season the Kamloops Blazers have won back-to-back home games as they handed the Everett Silvertips a 3-1 loss.

The Silvertips were playing their third game in three nights and had won their previous two.

Jordan DePape scored a pair of PP goals in the first period and Brendan Ranford scored his league-leading 20th of the season in the final frame to go along with a pair of assists.

Jeff Bosch was great in goal. He made several huge saves in a 38 save performance and 1st star honours.

Game highlights can be seen here.

The win vaults the Blazers into a tie for 2nd in the tight BC division - four points back of the division leading Giants.

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


Above, Rick "The Bear" Wile poses with Ken Hitchcock in the broadcast booth. I was more than thrilled to have Hitch join us for a 2nd intermission chat. Being a Minnesota then Dallas Stars fan for a long time, it was great to talk and meet Ken in person.

He was very accommodation as well. Although he wouldn't elaborate too much about his new TV endeavor, it sounds like he's close to joining the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada as part of a cross-country coaching/teaching segment.

He's currently under contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets as an advisor. Stay tuned over the next couple weeks regarding Hitchcock and HNIC.

Regardless, it was a fun visit. We talked about his crime fighting skills that were on display this summer in Kelowna when he stopped a would-be robber. He downplayed the incident.

He says he enjoys being back in Kamloops and was thoroughly impressed with the Blazers over the two weekend games.
----------
Other news and notes.....

- Former PG Cougars goaltender Morgan Clark is now in the QMJHL. The former Swift Current Bronco and Red Deer Rebel is in Rimouski playing with the Oceanic. He's on a try-out basis until Christmas.

- Looking forward to our Team WHL/Russian Selects broadcast Wednesday on Radio NL. I'll be joined in the booth by friend and current Salmon Arm Silverbacks Head Coach/GM Tim Kehler for color commentary. It's only fitting, he provided color commentary a couple seasons ago for the last Canada/Russia broadcast in Swift Current.

Enjoy the week! Should be fun.......
Jon

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blazers 4 Kelowna 0

It was the best Blazers effort of the season from start to finish.

The result? A 4-0 shutout win over the red-hot Kelowna Rockets who saw their six game winning streak come to an end.

So often, a 5-on-3 powerplay can be the crystal ball for how the game will end. If you score, you likely win, if you don't you'll lose. The old adage was bang on again tonight.

The Rockets had back-to-back 5-on-3's early in the 2nd period when three consecutive penalties were called against the Blazers. A couple of goal posts was all the Rockets could muster.

The Blazers went to work later in the period. Three goals in 1:49 span had the ISC rocking as they cheered the Blazers off the ice to end the 2nd period.

Brendan Ranford, Chase Schaber and then Colin Smith all connected to change the whole complexion of the game.

Ranford would add his league leading 19th on a third period powerplay.

Game highlights can be seen here.

Wearing his newly arrived orange Blazer pads and gloves, Jeff Bosch made 23 saves for his 2nd shutout as a Blazer and first on home ice. He was good when he had to be, especially when the game was scoreless for over 36 minutes.

Bosch also debuted his new number - switching from #30 to #31 with the departure of Jon Groenheyde.

The Blazer fans had a fun night. The team gave them a reason to make some noise and they responded in kind.

The Blazer 4-0 victory was their largest margin of victory of the season. Their last eight wins have all been by a single goal.

----------

- Chase Schaber had the "Gordie Howe hat-trick". A goal, an assist and a scrap with the Rockets Spencer Main.

- Ranford's two goals give him 19 on the season - one more then Vancouver's Brendan Gallagher and two more than Chilliwack's Ryan Howse for the league lead.

- Rockets G Adam Brown was pulled for the start of the 3rd period in favour of Jordan Cooke. Brown appeared to hurt himself late in the 2nd period. He did stay in the game to finish off the frame but was a no-go for the third.

- Some interesting comments from Blazer Head Coach Guy Charron post-game. I don't have the exact quote handy but he had a message for the local media. It was to the effect of "we need our media to be more positive and support this team and not beat them down all the time." All too often I think the Blazers feel they don't get a fair shake - especially in the newspaper. The Blazers realize the influence the media has in this market. They wish they could be portrayed a bit more favorable.

The Blazers can help themselves now too. It would be to follow up this effort tomorrow night against the Everett Silvertips. The teams face-off at ISC at 6pm.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blazers Name Honourary Captains




The Western Hockey League, in association with the Canadian Hockey League, SUBWAY® and the Kamloops Blazers, today announced that former Kamloops Blazers Captain and Kamloops native Ajay Baines along with Chief of the Tk’emlups Indian Band Shane Gottfriedson will act as the honorary co-captains of Team WHL during the SUBWAY® Super Series game between Team WHL and the Russian National Junior Team being held in Kamloops this Wednesday


Baines, who was born and raised in Kamloops, played for the Kamloops Blazers from 1995-1999 and was the Captain of the team for three full seasons, which is the longest tenure this team has had. In 282 WHL games, Baines had 113 goals, 129 assists and 242 points in four seasons with the hockey club. His WHL career culminated after leading the Blazers to the WHL Championship Series in 1999 where they bowed out to the Calgary Hitmen. He has since been inducted as a Blazers Legend and named to the All-Time Team as one of the franchise’s top 25 players.

“I was proud of playing for my hometown Blazers and in the WHL,” commented Baines. “Playing in the Western Hockey League and living in Kamloops helped me mature and grow into the person I am. I am very grateful to be part of the SUBWAY® Super Series game in Kamloops.”

Baines was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a teenager, but it didn’t prevent him from having an impressive professional career. The undersized and undrafted Baines went on to play 10 professional seasons, including nine in the AHL. The popular local product was the team Captain in Norfolk, Hamilton and Iowa and was awarded the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award as the AHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey in 2008-09. The highlight of his career was scoring the game winning goal for the Hamilton Bulldogs to win the Calder Cup in 2007.

Chief Shane Gottfriedson is the 12th Chief of the Tk’emlups Indian Band in Kamloops. He is a well respected community leader and has created many sustainable opportunities for First Nations people. He currently serves on several regional, provincial and federal committees including the BC Chiefs Health Committee as an advocate for the Aboriginal child welfare reform.

“This is a great honour that has been bestowed to me. I feel very fortunate to be part of such a prestigious event in a great city like Kamloops. I am excited to meet some of the same players we will all be cheering for at the upcoming World Junior Championships in Buffalo,” Gottfriedson said.

Shane strives to promote positive youth development through sports. He has served on the 1993 Canada Summer Games Board of Directors, the 2006 BC Summer Games Board of Directors, the 2011 Western Canadian Games Board and coached the Tk’emlups Coyotes, a local youth hockey team, to the Western Canada Native Hockey Championships.

Kamloops Blazers’ Vice-President and General Manager Craig Bonner commented on the selection of Baines and Gottfriedson.


“I had the pleasure of coaching Ajay, he was a great leader and a character kid that I am proud to now call a friend. Ajay was one of the most popular Blazers of all-time and was one of my favorite players that I coached.”

“Shane is a long time Kamloops resident, a hockey fan, and supporter of our team. He has always been willing to step up and promote and support our program. He has done a great job with the Kamloops Indian Band and his involvement in the community is endless.”



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ranford Added to Team WHL

After a few days of speculation, the Western Hockey League has added Blazer F Brendan Ranford to the team WHL roster.

Ranford's 17 goals in 19 games speaks for itself. He will play in the Wednesday, November 17th game set for Kamloops.


I have to commend the WHL on this. So often one can make a decision and dig their heels in. The WHL realized the situation and made the right move.


Ranford will join linemate Chase Schaber and Blazer defenseman Austin Madaisky on the roster. They will battle the Russian selects in game five of the Subway Super Series.


The Russians have opened with a pair of wins over the QMJHL 5-4 and 4-3.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ranford First in Line


After a hot start to the season, Blazer F Brendan Ranford was not on the initial Team WHL roster for next week's Canada/Russia Super Series for the games in Kamloops and Prince George.

However, his play has certainly caught the attention of the league and now steps are being taken to try and make the 18 year-old part of the Team WHL roster for the Kamloops game.

His 17 goals ties him for the league lead with Vancouver's Brendan Gallagher. The WHL office says he's "first in line" if a roster spot opens up over the weekend. They are doing their best to accommodate in the wake of Ranford's strong season.

It especially would make sense considering linemate Chase Schaber is on the sqaud - the two have fed off each other all season long.

"Chase is a great hockey player, he deserves to be on the team," commented Ranford.

"It would be a great honour for me to join him but if I don't.... good luck to him," he continued.

Blazer Head Coach Guy Charron says Ranford's numbers alone should make him a part of the team but he understands the process and the tough job of picking a team.

"He deserves it, but it's an unfortunate thing," says Charron.

"If he continues to play the way he is, he may give him self an opportunity to play for Canada's World Junior team next year."

It may... or may not take an injury in the final weekend to get Ranford into the Kamloops game Wednesday. Frankly, it just makes sense. His numbers alone proves he belongs. It would also help sell some tickets to have the local player on the squad to join Schaber and D Austin Madaisky.

We will wait and see.....

-------

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tour De ISC


Off ice workout today after practice for the guys... here they hit the bikes outside the room...
Not much else for today. I'll have some Team WHL thoughts coming up later. The Subway Super Series game set for Interior Savings Center is a week away tomorrow.
Jon

Monday, November 08, 2010

Martell Re-Assigned to BCHL

BLAZERS RE-ASSIGN 17-YEAR-OLD LYNDON MARTELL

Kamloops, BC – The Kamloops Blazers announced this morning that they have re-assigned 17-year-old forward Lyndon Martell to the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL.

“Lyndon needs more playing time to continue to develop,” Director of Player Personnel, Matt Recchi commented. “He struggled to get in the line-up here and we believe he needs to play in a more enhanced role to continue to advance his skill set,” Recchi concluded.

Martell played in 8 games with the Blazers this season collecting 1 assist. He has played only 1 out of the last 8 games.


The Kamloops Blazers current roster now sits at 22 players including 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Lethbridge 5 Kamloops 4

The Blazers watched as a 4-2 third period lead quickly evaporated into a 5-4 deficit in a matter of 4:13 as the Lethbridge Hurricanes rallied back and then held on for the win.

The Blazers couldn’t bring this one home as their winning streak on the road was halted at six games.

The same penalty-kill that did the job the night before in Calgary when it mattered couldn’t get it done with the game on the line in Lethbridge. The ‘Canes mouldy 8.3 % powerplay scored back-to-back goals to tie the game. Mark Reners scored the go-ahead goal just 19 seconds later at 10:19.

The Blazers were outshot 15-4 in the final period and 40-29 in the game. Brendan Ranford’s hat-trick goes for naught as the diminutive 18 year-old forward is up to 17 goals now on the season.

Jordan DePape was credited with three assists but that number likely will be four after they missed one of his helpers on the Blazers first goal. D Tyler Hansen scored that goal. Hansen had plenty of friends and family in the building. His hometown of McGrath, AB is about 20 minutes from Lethbridge.

Cam Lanigan took the loss in goal. He made 35 saves but couldn’t seem to find the puck in his crease on a couple of occasions. All of the Hurricane goals were scored in a goalmouth scramble situation.

-----


- The Blazers are now off until next Saturday night when they host the Kelowna Rockets. The Rockets have turned things around with four straight wins after a 9-3 win over Chilliwack.

- The "Brendan Ranford for Team WHL" campaign looks to be fully underway. With the hat trick in Lethbridge, his 17 goals have him tied for the league lead with Vancouver’s Brendan Gallagher. You can’t question Ranford’s style of play either. He plays hard every night. He’s one of the most creative players in the WHL today. I’m expecting the WHL to make good on this and get him into the Kamloops Team WHL/Russia game November 17th. It’s the right thing to do.

- The Blazers will be at Harley Davidson Motors Monday from 3-4pm for a photo shoot. All fans are invited out for this one. The team will be giving away tickets to the upcoming game vs the Regina Pats. Harley Davidson is located on Iron Mask road behind Costco.

- I met Ron Ferguson tonight – a scout for the Carolina Hurricanes. He joined me for our 2nd intermission “Hockey Talk”. His brother Sheldon worked as the Swift Current Broncos Assistant General Manager for two seasons when Dean Chynoweth brought him in. For those wondering, Sheldon is again scouting for the Hurricanes and is basing out of Lansing, Michigan. Ron was a great guest. He provided color commentary for a year on the Red Deer Rebels broadcasts alongside Kirk Fraser back in the mid 90’s.

- I’m starting to get this whole mountain travel thing out in the Western Conference except for one thing…I have no idea what time it is right now. Daylight Savings time takes affect overnight and we are somewhere near Revelstoke where it switches from Mountain to Pacific Time. So… it’s somewhere between 1-4am by my broad calculations. There’s something to be said for Saskatchewan and the fact we don’t touch our clocks year round!

- It’s good to see familiar faces in Lethbridge; The PA announcer Mike LeBlanc was one of our college instructors in the Broadcast Journalism program at LCC. Then there’s Bob Adams who coordinates video for the video goal judge booth. He was the Shaw Cable Director for all of our mobile sports broadcasts. He was very “old school” in his approach with the college kids but it seemed to work. Having the opportunity to call nearly 100 sports broadcasts from University hockey to high school basketball and football was great training ground.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Blazers 5 Hitmen 4

Forget the traditional “two honks” for a road win… tonight in Calgary it was six blasts from the Blazers Prevost bus as it pulled out of the Saddledome grounds and bound for Lethbridge.

Six honks, for six straight road wins. It’s the first time in 12 Blazer seasons that’s happened.

It didn’t come easy. The Blazers were forced to kill a 1:14 long 5-on-3 powerplay late in the third to preserve the 5-4 win.

“That’s why they call it the wild,wild west,” commented Blazer Assistant Coach Scott Ferguson post-game on our “After the Buzzer” segment on Radio NL

The Hitmen loss was another bitter one as their streak in the red grew from seven to eight straight games – seven of which on home ice.

It was another game where special teams reigned supreme. The Blazers and Hitmen combined for six powerplay goals. In the end, it was the Blazer penalty-kill that was the difference maker, only this time for the positive.

Early in the third, the Blazers went up 5-4 on a 5-on-3 PP goal from Jordan DePape. It was the Hitmen who tied the game on a 5-on-3 goal in the 2nd. It was a two-man advantage for two-man advantage right? Eye for an eye?

Wrong.

The Blazers had to reach back into the character bank and pull out 1:14 worth to seal the win.

It didn’t take long for newly acquired goaltender Cam Lanigan to see action. He replaced starter Jeff Bosch after the 1st period after Bosch tweaked a knee. Lanigan, who was acquired in a trade with Edmonton just yesterday morning, would get the win. He would make18 saves including a few big ones.

Bosch was hurt when he was hit backwards into his goal by Hitmen F Cody Beach. There was no penalty for the contact in the crease.



The Blazers got goals from DePape, Chase Schaber, Dalibor Bortnak, Brendan Ranford and Logan McVeigh’s first ever in the WHL.

The Blazers take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes Saturday night in Lethbridge. They are coming off a 4-3 shootout win in Cranbrook against the Kootenay Ice.

The Blazers improve to 9-8-0-1 on the season. They are 6-2 on the road, 3-6-0-1 on home ice through the first quarter of the season.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Gameday in Calgary

G Cam Lanigan skates with this new team for the first time in the morning skate. He'll back-up Jeff Bosch tonight.

Former teammates Kris Foucault (right) chats with Austin Madaisky and Chase Schaber in the morning

Assistant Coach Scott Ferguson works with Bernard Keil and Lyndon Martell for some extra time after practice.



Thursday, November 04, 2010

Lanigan Talks Trade

The Blazers spent most of the day on the bus... but for one of the players the ride didn't last long.

Goaltender John Groenheyde was informed he had been traded to the Edmonton Oil Kings just before the bus pulled out for Calgary this morning from Interior Savings Center.

The 19 year-old was dealt straight-up for 18 year-old Cam Lanigan. Lanigan joined his new teammates tonight as he flew in from Prince George where the Oil Kings were getting set for a two-game set against the Cougars,

"The phone rang in my hotel room.... I thought it was just a wake-up call so I let it ring," commented the newly acquired Lanigan in the lobby of the Calgary Sandman hotel about an hour ago.

"Turns out it was the coach. I knew something was up at 8:20 in the morning when he wanted to meet with me."

Lanigan, a Calgary native attended Calgary Flames camp this fall and admits he was off to a slow start this year.

"I'm trying to get that consistency back in my game again, get back to the way I've played in the past."

Lanigan will dress tomorrow night when the Blazers play in Calgary. It isn't known if he'll see action this weekend or simply back-up Jeff Bosch.

------

On a personal note, I've seen Cam Lanigan play some real good games in goal for the Oil Kings the last two seasons. He's played well in the games I've seen. He was also stellar two weeks ago when the Blazers picked up a 3-2 win in Edmonton.

More with Cam Lanigan on tomorrow night's broadcast.

Jon

Blazers deal Groenheyde

Powerplay Fuels Rocket Comeback

Three powerplay goals in the third period erased the Blazers 2-1 lead as the Kelowna Rockets came into ISC and left with a 5-2 victory.

PP goals from Damon Severson, Shane McColgan and Mitchell Callahan led the way back for the Rockets. Brett Bulmer added an empty-netter for good measure.

The Blazers and Rockets both had five powerplays on the night... the Rockets going 3/5 and the Blazers 0/5. That in itself was the game story. The Blazers outshot the Rockets 39-31 on the night.

The Rockets got first ever WHL goals from Severson and F Colton Heffley. Heffley tied the game in the 2nd period.

For the Blazers, it was a special night for F Chase Souto despite the loss. He scored his first ever goal to open the scoring on a nice cross-crease pass from Dalibor Bortnak in the 2nd period. D Austin Madaisky scored the other Blazer goal with one minute to play in the 2nd period to give the Blazers a 2-1 lead after two periods.

The Rockets fore-check was relentless on the night. Each team took over the game at certain points. Adam Brown was good in the Rockets goal. He made several big stops including a save on a Brendan Ranford breakaway in the third. The 19 year-old is one of the quickest lateral goaltenders in the league.

The Blazers get on the bus early Thursday bound for Calgary. They play the Eastern Conference's basement dwellers Friday night at the 'Dome. The Hitmen have struggled lately. They have dropped seven in a row - six of those seven have been on home ice.

The Blazers will try for six straight road wins. It would be the first time they've done that since the 1998-99 season.

Jon

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Blazers Host Rockets


- The Blazers kick-off November by hosting the Kelowna Rockets tonight at ISC. It's the 2nd meeting of the season, the Blazers won in Kelowna 5-4 three weeks ago. They have won four of their last five games heading into tonight.

The Blazers will have a relatively light month of November. They will play 11 games compared to the 14 they played in October. This is the last home game for 10 days. The Blazers hit the road for Calgary and Lethbridge Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Rockets snapped a three-game skid with a 6-2 win over Prince George last night in Kelowna. The six goals is the most the Rockets have scored in a game this season.

- Brendan Ranford is the Radio NL Player of the Month for Sept/Oct. His 11 goals and eight assists to go along with an 11 game point streak clinched the award.

- Rockets F Brett Bulmer sat out last night's game against Prince George because of illness. Meanwhile F Geordie Wudrick scored his 2nd goal of the season last night in the win. Wudrick has two goals and two assists through the first 14 games of the season. Wudrick has 97 career goals. He scored 35 in the 08/09 season.

- Linden Saip's departure from the Blazers this week gives them six healthy defensemen. D Josh Caron remains out with a broken collarbone. His projected return is set for two weeks when the Blazers play road games in Everett and Portland.

- Game-time at 7pm, we are on the air with the pre-game show at 6:30pm

Jon

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Halloween Fun

A few stories emerging at Blazer practice today regarding the team's annual Halloween get-together....

In what is really a tradition amongst WHL teams, the Blazer players gathered Sunday for some fun.

"(Lyndon) Martell's costume was probably my favorite," said a laughing Brandon Underood before practice.

"He was the Energizer Bunny... it was great. I also liked (Josh) Caron's. He just put a bed sheet over his head and called himself a ghost. It was a good time, there's were some cops and cowboys, it was a lot of fun," he added.

F Shayne Neigum had his favorites too.

"Yeah there was a couple good ones... Bernard (Keil)'s nickname is the Big German Baby and he had a blue bonnet on and a little baby suit complete with a diaper...there was some good costumes."

The Blazers practiced this afternoon in preparation for the Kelowna Rockets who they host tomorrow night at ISC. Face-off at 7pm.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Bonner on Saip's Departure

In an interview this morning with Rick "The Bear" Wile, Blazers General Manager Craig Bonner talked about D Linden Saip's decision to leave the team...

"While watching his play this year...I would describe as up and down and I could tell there was probably some stuff going through his mind..some doubts or some questions. Linden came into my office this morning and talked. He's not sure what he wants to do with his hockey future. He's decided to leave the team."

Bear followed up with a question regarding his potential return if things are cleared up?

"To be honest I'd have a real tough time bringing Linden back to our line-up when he's quit our team. He'd have to come up with a pretty darn good story to return to our team."

Saip Pulls Plug

News Release:

Kamloops, BC – Defenseman Linden Saip has decided to leave the Kamloops Blazers and contemplate his hockey future.

The 19-year-old from Delta, BC has played in 142 games with the Blazers and has 18 goals, 35 assists for 53 points over the past two and a half seasons.

The Blazers roster now sits at 23 players including 14 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goaltenders.


-----

I don't know the details of this. I do know he was scratched once on the Alberta road swing. That obviously didn't sit well.

We will have GM Craig Bonner comment on this later today...

Jon