Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday's CHL News

So now we know why Cory Clouston left the WHL Kootenay Ice yesterday. After 8 seasons behind the bench in the WHL, he now moves up to the next level. Today the Ottawa Senators named him the head coach of the AHL Binghamton Senators. Congrats and best of luck to a guy who really has earned this chance.

In another CHL to AHL coaching move, Mike Stothers, the Owen Sound Attack head coach has moved on to be the head guy behind the bench for the Grand Rapid Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. New Attack GM Dale Degray announced that the search is on for a replacement.

Several signings have occurred in the last 24 hours. First, the Dallas Stars signed Ivan Vishnevskiy, the team's first round selection in 2006, to an entry level contract. Vishnevskiy, a defenceman who just completed his second season as a member of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, is is expected to return to the Q for the 2007-08 season.

The Phoenix Coyotes signed free agent David Schlemko, the former WHL Medicine Hat Tigers' 20-year old defenceman. The offensive blueliner had an excellent final year of junior eligibility and is expected to begin the 2007-08 season in San Antonio.

Finally, this afternoon, the San Jose Sharks signed Logan Couture, the ninth overall selection in last month's draft. Despite the signing, the centre is expected to return to the Ottawa 67s this Fall.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wednesday's CHL News

In the OHL, the biggest announcement yesterday was the re-signing of Sudbury Head Coach Mike Foligno. After all sorts of speculation, it was announced that Foligno signed a "multi-year" agreement. With his youngest son one of the team's newest draftees, I am not at all surprised that this occurred. Foligno would like to coach in the NHL and was hoping that the offers that came his way after the Wolves playoff run last season would include something at that level, but they did not. And given the choice of a lower professional league and coming back to Sudbury to coach another son, he chose the Wolves. For now. We shall see how this plays out over the course of this season and next.

In less earth shattering news, it was announced yesterday that two OHLers will be playing for the University of Carleton next season. Andrew Gibbons, the overage winger who was a member of the Belleville Bulls for the last 2 seasons, and Andy Self, the 20-year old who split the 2006-07 season between Belleville and Sudbury, will both be joining the Carleton hockey team in its inaugural non-exhibition season this Fall.

Pat Maroon also finally inked an educational contract with the London Knights. After talking to Maroon last week, there was no doubt in my mind that this was going to happen. As I previously said, this was the right choice for him and will benefit London, although probably not as much as it will help develop the big winger.

Signings and non-signings have occupied all followers of the Greyhounds in the Soo the past few days. First the non-signing. Jordan Mayer, the Hounds' first round selection in June's Priority Draft has decided not to join the OHL team this season. According to all reports, the Mayer family decided that the Soo was too far from home for the young centre, and have decided that he will play tier 2 hockey for the time being. One has to believe that, despite the team's official announcement, the team is very disappointed that Mayer has changed his mind about becoming an OHLer. But frankly, it is not that surprising. It was expected pre-draft that the Kingston Fronts would select Mayer 9th overall. When the Fronts took Ethan Werek instead, and Guelph was already committed to choosing Peter Holland, that set up either Sarnia or Sault Ste. Marie as possible Mayer draftors. Neither was as good a possibility distance-wise for him. Belleville would have been optimal at that point, but by the time the Bulls got to their selection, Mayer was gone. So the question is, who in the Greyhounds organization failed to do his homework, to really understand what the situation was with the player? Losing a first round pick (even temporarily, although I think the Hounds will have to eventually trade his rights) for these reasons is inexcusable. Unless of course the family did not tell the truth when interviewed by the team. Expect the whole story to come out over time. I am sure the Hounds do not want to reveal it now in the hopes that Mayer will eventually show and all will be forgiven.

As for the Greyhounds signees, third round 2007 selections Michael Fine and Bryce O'Hagan both signed educational contracts over the past week or so. The announcements were timed so that they would mute the non-signing talked about above.

In the WHL, the big news is that long-time Kootenay Ice Head Coach Cory Clouston resigned his position yesterday. This was not requested by the team as Clouston was WHL Coach of the Year for the 2006-07 season and has done an excellent job over the last eight seasons with the WHL team. Expect further annoucements of where Clouston will wind up shortly.

As far as national and provincial teams go, this past week saw two teams and cut-down lists announced. First in the US, the U-18 team that will play in the Czech Republic in August includes four CHLers. Defenceman Tyler Myers of the Kelowna Rockets, Plymouth Whalers winger AJ Jenks, Portland Winter Hawks centre Tristan King, and London Knights centre Phil McRae will all participate.

The U-18 selection camp for the team that will represent Canada in the Czech Republic will be held in Calgary from August 4-9th.

Last week, the Hockey Development Centre of Ontario published its short list of 35 players that are still being considered for U-17 Team Ontario. While none of the players selected have appeared in OHL uniforms yet, first round 2007 OHL Priority draftees include: Andrew Agozzino, Casey Cizikas, Matt Duchene, Taylor Hall, Zach Kassian, Joey Hishon, Peter Holand, Colton Kennedy, Michael Latta, Daniel Maggio, Jordan Mayer, Ryan O'Reilly, Tyler Randall, Justin Shugg, Ethan Werek, and Michael Zador.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday at CHL News

No entries since Friday night, but articles have been written, so its back to the CHL.

First in signing news, yesterday, Kitchener Rangers overage centre Peter Tsimikalis signed an AHL contract with the Toronto Marlies. After being an invitee to the Colorado Avalanche training camp last fall, Tsimikalis recorded 56 points (19 G, 37 A) in 37 regular season games during 2006-07, with 14 PIM and a +20 rating.

Dylan Yeo signed an AHL contract today with the Manitoba Moose. The 21-year-old defenceman just completed his overage year with the Calgary Hitmen.

In NHL contract signing news, yesterday the Florida Panthers inked their second round 2007 entry draft prospect, Michal Repik, to an entry-level contract. The Vancouver Giants winger had an excellent sophomore WHL year in 2006-07, with just under a point a game in the regular season and 33 points in 27 games in the playoffs and Memorial Cup.

Another NHL entry-level contract was signed by a 2007 entry draft selection today. Thomas Hickey, who was selected 4th overall by the Los Angeles Kings, was inked this afternoon. The talented offensive defenceman had 50 points in 68 regular season games and will return to the Seattle Thunderbirds this fall.

In prospect camp news, the Minnesota Wild announced today that their prospect development camp will begin on July 24th and run for 7 days. CHL players that have been invited to attend include:

Colton Gillies, C, Saskatoon Blades (1st round, # 16 overall, 2007)
Justin Falk, D, Spokane Chiefs (4th round, #110 overall, 2007)
Cody Almond, C, Kelowna Rockets (5th round, #140 overall, 2007)
Carson McMillan, RW, Calgary Hitmen (7th round, #200 overall, 2007)
James Sheppard, C, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (1st round, # 9 overall, 2006)
Ondrej Fiala, LW, Everett Silvertips (2nd round, # 40 overall, 2006)
Cal Clutterbuck, RW, Oshawa Generals (3rd round, # 72 overall, 2006)
Matt Kassian, RW, Kamloops Blazers (2nd round, # 57 overall, 2005)
Morten Madsen, LW, Victoriaville Tigres (4th round, # 122 overall, 2005)
Ryan Graham, LW, St. John's Fog Devils (tryout)
Moises Gutierrez, RW, Everett Silvertips (tryout) (drafted by PIT in 2004, unsigned)
Jeff May, D, Prince Albert Raiders (tryout) (drafted by DET in 2005, unsigned)
Maxim Noreau, D, Victoriaville Tigres (tryout)