Leader-Post article (Marantz debuts with Pats as they improve to 6-2)October 14 2011 at 8:00 AM
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|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
Marantz debuts with Pats as they improve to 6-2
By Greg Harder, Leader-Post
October 13, 2011
If the Regina Pats were going to fill their 20-year-old vacancy, it had to be with a player capable of making an impact.
They believe Matt Marantz has that ability.
"We feel he can contribute some offence to our hockey club," GM Chad Lang said Wednesday after acquiring Marantz from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a fourth-round pick in the 2013 WHL bantam draft.
"He scored 20 goals last year and none of those goals were on the power play. It proves he's a guy who's capable of scoring. We feel if given the opportunity to play some special teams that hopefully he can enhance those numbers. He's a real responsible player on both ends of the ice yet we think he has offensive upside. With the maturity and experience he brings, we're excited to get him."
Marantz made his Pats debut Wednesday night in a 4-3 shootout win over the host Calgary Hitmen. He joined Regina less than two weeks after Lethbridge had acquired him from the Spokane Chiefs for a fourthround pick. The Hurricanes were carrying an excess of 20-year-olds and faced a deadline of today to declare three overage players.
Marantz has five assists in seven games this season after recording 20 goals and 42 points with a plus-21 rating in 68 games last year. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Calgary product is a former Pats prospect who was listed by the team after he went undrafted. The Pats later dropped him and he was picked up by Spokane.
Lang had previously talked to the Chiefs about Marantz before he was sent to Lethbridge. In Regina, he was immediately slotted alongside Jordan Weal, filling a need for a veteran goal scorer to complement the Pats' No. 1 centre.
"For us that was a big part of it," said Lang. "We wanted another guy who we felt could play with Weal and hopefully create some additional offence for our hockey club."
Meanwhile, the Pats are continuing to keep tabs on former captain Garrett Mitchell, who's with the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays - a minor-league affiliate of the Washington Capitals. Mitchell is eligible to return to Regina as a 20-year-old.
"From what I've been told through his agent as well as talking with Garrett, they're trying to juggle things with Washington's roster and see how that affects (the AHL affiliate in) Hershey," said Lang. "There's probably going to be point where he rejoins Hershey. Like I said from Day 1, they're going to give Mitchy every opportunity to stay pro. With the NHL just getting going and the AHL just starting, I still think it's a little premature (to talk about him returning). Do I anticipate him back? Highly unlikely. Yet, if that opportunity does present itself we would have 14 days to make any decisions or adjustments with our 20-year-old situation."
Meanwhile, the Pats were down 3-1 late in the third period on Wednesday when Weal scored with 2: 50 left in regulation and Dyson Stevenson (with his team's net empty) forced overtime with 51 seconds remaining in the third period.
Calgary product Morgan Klimchuk opened the scoring and closed it out with the shootout winner for the Pats (6-2-0), who were outshot 36-24.
Brooks Macek, Cody Sylvester and Trevor Cheek replied for the Hitmen (1-3-0-1). Goalie Matt Hewitt picked up the victory while Chris Driedger took the loss.
EXTRAS: Wednesday's contest was the 1,000th WHL game for Pats trainer Greg Mayer ... Regina slipped from No. 4 to No. 8 in this week's CHL rankings ... The Pats continue their threegame Alberta road swing Friday against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post
|N. W. Bruin|
Vancouver Province article (Is Helm too fast for his own good?)No score for this post
|October 14 2011, 8:26 AM |
Is Helm too fast for his own good?
Bertuzzi figures the kid's speed spoils his goal-scoring ability and stats can support the theory
By Tony Gallagher, The Province
October 14, 2011 6:29 AM
Darren Helm #43 of the Detroit Red Wings is is introduced prior to playing the Ottawa Senators at Joe Louis Arena on October 7, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 5-3.
Photograph by: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images
When you watch the Detroit Red Wings you see all their big stars like Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Nick Lidstrom but often the man you notice first and most often is Darren Helm.
Talk about wheels. When you see this guy as a Canuck fan you immediately ask yourself where's Ryan Kesler? Where's Mason Raymond? Those two missing Canucks are the only guys that even remotely come close to this guy's jets and this year the 24-year-old Winnipeg-born Helm is determined to put up some better offensive numbers to make his rushing around mean something. So far his goal total has topped out at a Jannik Hansen-like 12, something both players would cheerfully upgrade.
"That's the one goal I have this year, to put up better numbers and I'm with a couple of pretty good offensive wingers now, probably the best I've played with, so we'll see if that can happen this year," said Helm, who played his junior in Medicine Hat and had some memorable battles with the Giants the year the Tigers won the west but Vancouver won the Memorial Cup.
Those wingers are the aging but still pretty mobile Todd Bertuzzi and Justin Abdelkader, a promising winger who like Helm has made the sometimes torturous trek through the Wings minor league development program that leaves players down until they are truly ready to assume NHL jobs at a high level.
And Bertuzzi's opinion is that Helm, who wore a black T-shirt at practice Tuesday with the former Canuck's picture on it, is that he's too fast for his own good at certain times.
"With the amount of opportunities he does get with his speed, the breakaways and stuff, I think over time he'll find what speed he needs in order to get by guys and what speed he needs when he's on top of a goaltender," Bertuzzi told the Detroit Free Press last week."When he does that, he's more than capable of getting 15 or 20 goals."
Adjusting his speed has perhaps been a problem ever since he first realized he was born with unusual rockets. He's always been fast, but it wasn't until he got to his first WHL training camp that he realized what he had.
"I noticed I was faster than a lot of good guys in that league when I got there and that's when I finally believed I had real speed," he said. "From that point on I've really prided myself in working on it and making it a big part of my game.
"But I think Bert is right in a lot of ways. Sometimes I'm going a little too quick and maybe not shooting enough which is something I'm going to look for a lot more this season. Todd and I have spoken a lot and he's really helped me and when he says something, I'm going to listen. He's had a lot of experience with good players in this league."
Helm is already in the NHL record book as the player who has scored the most playoff goals (six) without first having scored in the regular season, which actually gives you an idea of what coach Mike Babcock thinks of the kid's potential. Twice he's been brought up near the end of the regular season and played extensively in the playoffs.
"It's actually something to be proud of, I suppose, but it's better if you don't know how many regular season games I played without scoring," he joked. "The first year I played seven in the regular season and then got a couple in the playoffs the year we won it ('08) and then the following season I played 16 without getting one and I was getting a little frustrated at that point but ended up getting four in the playoffs. It's one of those records you don't know what to think of although I guess I'm proud of it."
With Detroit having such a great veteran power play he's so far not had a sniff with the extra man, something a lot of Detroit forwards can claim and perhaps even more defenders, so that always factors into anyone's numbers.
But as Bertuzzi, Tomas Holmstrom, Dan Cleary and the like begin to retire, Helm would like to have the coach think enough of him to give him some consideration when those spots clear.
He's had one season of 41 goals in junior and his ability to get to loose pucks and win battles for them could make him an ideal up front asset if he can learn to handle the puck well enough.
So far, that's been a challenge. But it's one to which he's determined to rise this season, that is when he's not giving it to his buddy Bertuzzi, saying of the scruffy T-shirt: "Usually I only wear it when I go out at night, you know, to look good."
© Copyright (c) The Province
|N. W. Bruin|
Calgary Herald article (Hitmen goalie keeps the faith despite shootout loss)No score for this post
|October 16 2011, 9:14 PM |
Hitmen goalie keeps the faith despite shootout loss
By Kristen Odland, Calgary Herald
October 13, 2011
Calgary’s Danny Gayle looks for a shot from the point while screening Regina Pats goalie Matt Hewitt during the first period of Wednesday’s WHL game at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald
Unlike a lot of doubters out there, Chris Driedger still sees the glass half full.
Starting fresh with the Calgary Hitmen this year as an off-season acquisition, the 17-year-old goaltender isn’t familiar with the team’s darkest days of last season.
So, even after his first start with the club on Wednesday night — and his first loss following a 4-3 shootout to the Regina Pats — Driedger has faith.
“I think our team has way more talent in that room than our record right now,” said the Winnipeg native after the Hitmen dropped to 1-3-0-1 on the young 2011-12 Western Hockey League season. “I really think it’s just a mental thing.
“As soon as we start winning some games, finding ways to get greasy goals, just burying, and cutting down on goals. Just little things. We have enough talent in the room, we just have to utilize it.”
And, for a large portion of Wednesday night’s game at the Scotiabank Saddledome, they did.
After a mediocre first period, the Hitmen bounced back in the second, connected twice on their power-play and dominated the shot-clock 20-1.
However, they were caught with a few bad breaks late in the third period as Regina bounced back to tie the game.
With less than three minutes left, Jordan Weal connected on a man advantage from the point thanks to a puck dug out by Calgarian Morgan Klimchuk, who had put the Pats on the board in the first period with a shot over Driedger’s blocker. Then, with 51 seconds left, Dyson Stevenson evened the score on a deflection. To make matters worse, Calgary’s Brooks Macek took a tripping penalty with 25.4 seconds to go.
After a period of overtime — which included man advantages for both teams when Jack Rodewald also took a tripping penalty — Klimchuk and Weal both scored in the shootout. Macek was able to tally for the Hitmen, but Victor Rask and Alex Gogolev both came up short.
“There’s not really much you can do sometimes,” said Driedger, who was sidelined until Wednesday with a high ankle sprain. “We’re not going to dwell too much on the past. There were just a couple plays and things happen.”
Playing a ton of minutes, Calgary’s top line of Rask, Danny Gayle, and Macek provided energy. Ditto for the line of Trevor Cheek, Gogolev, and Cody Sylvester, who moved up from defence to forward for the first time this season.
“It’s not fun,” Macek said. “We wanted to get both points, we probably should have got both points.
“We’ve gotta work on finding a way to close. We’re out-shooting teams, it felt like we outworked them tonight. But at the end of the day, you have to leave with two points from a game like that.”
Macek had scored off a skate on a second period power-play while Sylvester also connected with the man advantage in the second period. Cheek made it 3-1 for Calgary early in the third. In the end, the Hitmen out-shot Regina 31-23.
Next up, Calgary heads to Medicine Hat to face the Tigers on Saturday before returning to the Dome to host the Swift Current Broncos on Sunday (4 p.m.).
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
|N. W. Bruin|
Edmonton Journal article (Legault begins to fill out skates for Oil Kings)No score for this post
|October 16 2011, 9:22 PM |
Legault begins to fill out skates for Oil Kings
Three-goal performance has team excited to see more production
By Cam Tait, Edmonton Journal
October 13, 2011
Edmonton Oil Kings' Stephane Legault battles Tigers defenceman Patrik Parkkonen in front of Medicine Hat goalie Tyler Bunz at Rexall Place in September.
Photograph by: Shaughn Butts, The Journal, File, Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON - Edmonton Oil Kings forward Stephane Legault was expected to be a late bloomer.
And, now, is his time.
The Oil Kings hope his magic touch continues Friday night when the Regina Pats slide into Rexall Place.
Legault, an 18-year-old Edmonton native, was on fire on the Oil Kings' recent five game road-trip. Legault registered hat trick Sunday in a 4-1 win over the Broncos in Swift Current. He also had the Oil Kings' lone goal the night before in a 5-1 loss to the Saskatoon Blades.
He tallied again in Edmonton's 6-1 win over the Kootenay Ice on Wednesday.
"Believe it or not, I used to be a bit of a goal scorer in minor hockey, so it wasn't too out of the ordinary to put the puck in the net," Legault said earlier this week.
"But also still something to be proud of when it happened."
It was Legault's first Western Hockey League three-goal performance. He says he had one a few years ago in midget.
"You just try to keep doing what you've been doing all game because obviously something has been working," he said of the mindset he had after scoring the first two goals. "And the third one just happened to come."
In 57 games last year, Legault scored seven goals and 18 assists with Edmonton.
Oil Kings coach Derek Laxdal is obviously pleased with Legault's recent play.
"It was great to see Steph get rewarded for his hard work," said Laxdal. "Steph has a reputation as being a late bloomer at all levels and we hope he continues to play quality minutes for the Oil Kings. He is a great kid."
Legault was certainly a spark plug for the Oil Kings' success on their road-trip and knows the importance of scoring on the road.
"It's huge because it kind of takes the road crowd out of the game," Legault said.
"Last year most of my goals came at home, but this year all of my goals have been on the road so far.
"Either way it always feels good to be able to put the puck in the net no matter where you're playing."
Still, Legault knows there's work he needs to do to make him a regular go-to guy.
"I want to work on my puck skills and shooting skills," Legault said.
"I feel like I've always had a playmaking touch, but would like to gain more of a killer mentality when around the net. I can do this by just working in practice and trying to get on the ice early to work on these things."
Legault is also working on becoming a two-way player, not only scoring goals, but taking care of things in his own end.
"I feel comfortable playing in any situation and want to be a guy that the coaching staff and other players lean on when there is a key situation," he said.
Legault graduated from Grade 12 earlier this year, allowing him to focus exclusively on hockey.
"Next year I plan on looking in to taking a class or two. I don't really know what I'm interested in yet, so I think it's good for me to just take a year off and see what's out there and what I like."
CASTLE CHATTER: Rookie goaltender Tristan Jarry got his first WHL action Saturday in Saskatoon . Defenceman Griffin Reinhart is currently serving a five-game suspension for a kneeing penalty last week . After Friday's game the Oil Kings don't play until next Wednesday when the Moose Jaw Warriors visit.
For Cam's live blog on Oil Kings games visit edmontonjournal.com/blogs
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal
|N. W. Bruin|
Victoria Times Colonist article (Royals cut loose netminder Gamble)No score for this post
|November 6 2011, 7:38 AM |
Royals cut loose net minder Gamble
By Cleve Dheensaw, Times Colonist
October 13, 2011
The Victoria Royals will place goaltender Braden Gamble in the Western Hockey League over-age dispersal draft for 20-year olds today, essentially cutting the veteran who has been with franchise for two seasons when the team played as the Bruins in Chilliwack.
The move means the Royals have decided on 17-year-old Jared Rathjen as the back-up to 19-year old starter Keith Hamilton.
Gamble appeared in four games this season for Victoria, playing 154 minutes with a goals-against average of 6.22 and save percentage of .816. He appeared in 20 games for the Bruins in 2009-10 with a 3.54 GAA and 19 games last season with a 3.86 GAA.
"Braden [Gamble] has a great attitude, but he was not where he wanted to be this season [in terms of performance] and we hope somebody picks him up [in the dispersal draft]," said Royals GM and head coach Marc Habscheid.
"We feel good about Keith [Hamilton]. And Rathjen is a young guy who's getting better and we feel we need to get him in some games."
If Gamble isn't snapped up by any other WHL team today, the native of North Star, Alta., is free to play in a Junior A league such as the BCHL or Alberta Junior Hockey League.
WHL teams are allowed a maximum of three 20-year olds. The move leaves the Royals with two currently - captain and blue-liner Hayden Rintoul and Czech import forward Robin Soudek. WHL teams don't need to carry three over-age players if they don't wish to.
The Royals coach and GM said he couldn't say whether he would pick up another 20-year-old in today's waiver draft.
"You have to wait and see what comes on the wavier wire and if anybody fills a need," he said.
It is appearing less likely that San Jose Sharks signed 20-year-old forward Curt Gogol will be returned to the Royals from the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League.
Habscheid said he talked to the Sharks and the rugged Gogol appears to be faring well in Worcester.
The Royals are 4-5 and host the Kelowna Rockets for a pair of games Friday and Saturday at SaveonFoods Memorial Centre.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
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