Victoria Times Colonist article (Rintoul raring to go against old team)November 19 2011 at 8:07 AM
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|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
Rintoul raring to go against old team
By Cleve Dheensaw, Times Colonist
November 19, 2011
GAME DAY: KOOTENAY VS. VICTORIA, 7 p.m. at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre
Players don't have long in junior hockey - four years tops for most. So you don't spend three seasons with a team without having a bit of it seep into your DNA.
It will be an emotional game for defenceman Hayden Rintoul, the 20-year-old captain of the Victoria Royals, when the defending Western Hockey League champion Kootenay Ice pay their only visit to Saveon-Foods Memorial Centre tonight at 7.
"There will be a few emotions but I'll leave them out and treat it like a normal hockey game," said Rintoul before the Royals departed to play the Giants in Vancouver on Friday.
"I'll treat it like any other game and stay focused."
Rintoul's three seasons with Kootenay were capped by last spring's WHL championship and appearance in the 2011 Memorial Cup tournament.
"I had an unbelievable time in Kootenay," he said.
"Definitely, last year was unbelievable. I will never forget that season and bond I have with those guys. I have a lot of friends on the team. We had comradarie and battled for each other and had the work ethic. Nobody wanted to win as much as we did."
That's exactly the background Royals GM and head coach Marc Habscheid was looking for in a captain and over-age 20year-old. You only name one of the former and are allowed just three of the latter. So you need to make your captain and 20-yearolds count. When Rintoul became available over the summer, Habscheid pounced.
"It was a little shocking at first," said the undrafted Rintoul, when he learned on July 7 he had been traded to Victoria in exchange for 20-year-old forward and seventh-round Minnesota Wild draft pick Dylen McKinlay.
"It caught me off guard. Once the emotion was out of the way, I got really excited about it."
If the three Kootenay seasons will be well remembered, how can Rintoul not also fondly remember his one season in Victoria when it's all done? There was a sense of fresh beginnings as he and the Royals - which had moved to the capital during the off-season after five seasons as the Chilliwack Bruins, were both new to the city.
"It's an honour to be the first captain of the Royals," he said.
And their reception hasn't been too bad, either.
The Royals are averaging 5,845 fans per game. The Ice have averaged just 2,738 this season despite a team that is 13-5-3.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
|N. W. Bruin|
Calgary Herald article (Young Raider Morrissey in fine form on, office)No score for this post
|November 19 2011, 8:12 AM |
Young Raider Morrissey in fine form on, office
Calgarian has his routine down pat
By Kristen Odland, Calgary Herald
November 19, 2011
Prince Albert at Calgary (5-16-1-1) (9-9-1-1) 7 p.m., Saddledome
At 16 years old, Josh Morrissey already has the routine of the Western Hockey League down to a science.
Wake up, study, hit the ice, sleep, hit the bus, repeat.
In fact, the hardest part for the defenceman in his first full year with the Prince Albert Raiders is the off-ice transition. The on-ice stuff has been the easy part.
"In all honesty, off the ice is one of the bigger differences," said the Calgarian, whose club plays the Calgary Hitmen tonight at 7 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. "Just mentally getting yourself ready mentally every night and a 72-game schedule, you've really got to be ready every day, get your rest and eat properly.
"They do a great job here with helping us with our schedules . . . school is really important to myself and my family, so you just have to make use of your time and in class.
"It's pretty black and white and there's always time to study . . . long nights on the bus, there isn't a whole lot to do. So far, it's been going well."
Fortunately for Morrissey, he's been receiving ample time to prove himself, too.
Drafted sixth overall in 2010, he suited up for five contests last winter before returning to the midget 'AAA' Calgary Royals.
This year, Morrissey is sticking around for the full campaign. The only 1995-born player on the Raiders roster has notched three goals, five assists and is a plus-seven while seeing quality minutes.
"I've been fortunate enough that my coaches have trust in me to play me a lot and play to my strengths," said the six-foot, 184-pound smoothskating defenceman. "So far, this year, I've been playing some time on the power play in some key situations. I have a really good relationship with the coaching staff. We meet every few games to talk about my progress.
"They've been really good with helping me feel comfortable enough to perform well. When you're speaking of the strength, speed and size, it's definitely a lot different from guys my own age."
After ripping it up with the Royals - netting 17 goals and 21 assists during the 2010-11 season - Morrissey spent the summer skating out of Crash Conditioning surrounded by Calgary-based pros like Mike Green, Jordan Eberle, Zach Boychuck, Dana Tyrell and Thomas Hickey. Training in that type of environment helped Morrissey's development and fuelled his fire.
"Just being able to see those guys and their decision-making," he said. "Just seeing how the pro game is, I've really learned a lot. For myself, obviously inspiring to be like them when I'm older, it's cool to see them across the room."
Now, he's back home - the final stop of the Raiders fivegame road trip.
"I'm excited," Morrissey said, who played once at the Dome last year as a 15-year-old callup. "I had a taste, but I didn't play a whole lot. It's going to be fun. It's my first real time playing there. All my family will be there and it's been awhile since I've been home.
"I'm excited to get it underway. I'm sure I'll have a lot of family and friends."
Heading into Friday's clash against the Edmonton Oil Kings, the Raiders were only 1-9 in their past 10 games - and scraping the bottom of the WHL with a 5-16-1-1 record.
The Hitmen (9-9-1-1) are coming off last Sunday's 6-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Sunday's clash against the Saskatoon Blades (2 p.m.) ends a four-game homestead.
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© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
|N. W. Bruin|
Leader-Post article (Long road trip big test for Pats)No score for this post
|November 19 2011, 8:14 AM |
Long road trip big test for Pats
By Greg Harder, Leader-Post
November 19, 2011
Captain Brandon Davidson is expecting positive results from the road trip
Photograph by: Don Healy, Leader-Post Files, Leader-Post
The Regina Pats won't have much time for sightseeing on their longest road trip of the season.
This is strictly a business excursion.
"It's a huge road trip for us," offered captain Brandon Davidson, whose team opens a five-game U.S. Division swing tonight against the Spokane Chiefs. "We're in a spot right now where maybe we don't want to be in. We've dropped a couple spots in the standings. But we've done a great job on the road. I think if we don't come out of this road trip above .500 it won't be a success."
The surprising Pats (128-1-0) caught a few of their opponents flat-footed at the start of this season, jumping out to a 9-4-0 record in the first month of the WHL schedule. Since then, Regina has essentially been playing .500 hockey. That trend also applies to the Pats' performance away from the Brandt Centre, winning five of their first six road games before going 1-3-1 in the past five outings, capped by a 3-2 overtime loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors last Friday.
By virtue of a home-andhome sweep at the hands of the Warriors, the Pats are riding their second losing streak of the campaign (both two-game skids).
They face a tough test in the U.S. Division, playing five games in eight nights against the Chiefs, Portland Winterhawks (Tuesday), Seattle Thunderbirds (Wednesday), Everett Silvertips (Friday) and divisionleading Tri-City Americans (Saturday).
Spokane, Portland and Tri-City are among the top teams in the Western Conference while Seattle and Everett are near the bottom.
"We match up pretty good against everyone," noted veteran winger Andrew Rieder. "We have a good team. Losing two straight to Moose Jaw wasn't the greatest feeling. This trip is five games that we know we can win. We're going with the mindset that we're going to win all five games and come back feeling great."
Since the Pats only visit the U.S. Division once every two seasons, this trip provides some new scenery for several members of the club. It'll especially be an eye-opener for the team's eight rookies, none of whom have experienced this sort of travel schedule.
"I'm really looking forward to it," said rookie winger Morgan Klimchuk. "We have a lot of hockey in a short amount of time and it's going to take a little getting used to the bus rides and sleeping on the bus. But I've got all my homework so I have something to do and it's going to be a fun trip. I've heard a lot about the buildings in the States and the teams are pretty good so I'm excited to see how we stack up against them. You're going there to win games and play hockey, so you can't let any of the distractions get to you."
The trip will also be a homecoming of sorts for players like Matt Marantz (Spokane), Tanner Olstad and Nils Moser (both Tri-City). All three were acquired from teams in the U.S. Division.
"It's going to be a little weird playing against old teammates," said Olstad. "But on the ice you're enemies with everyone and you're trying to win. That's the most important thing. I can tell all the boys are very excited for this road trip. We're feeling confident going in. We seem to come together on the road and play well. We're hoping to keep that going."
The long hours on the bus tend to wear on a team, but the Pats believe they're well equipped to handle it.
"We're the closest team I've been on in three years," added Davidson.
"We have a really good time and when it comes down to business we get down to business. It's a good chance for us to jell and put some wins together and really establish ourselves as a winning team and put ourselves back up at the top of the standings."
The Pats don't return home until Dec. 2 against the Vancouver Giants.
© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post
|N. W. Bruin|
StarPhoenix article (Road games await well-rested Blades squad)No score for this post
|November 19 2011, 8:20 AM |
Road games await well-rested Blades squad
By Daniel Nugent-bowman, The StarPhoenix
November 19, 2011
The Saskatoon Blades (15-6-0-1) are hoping to pick up right where they left off as they resume their WHL schedule with a pair a road games against the Red Deer Rebels and Calgary Hitmen, starting tonight.
Thanks to the Subway Super Series - which concluded with a 7-5 Russia win in Moose Jaw on Thursday night - the Blades have been off for five full days prior to Saturday's matchup at Enmax Centrium.
They haven't played since consecutive road wins over the Medicine Hat Tigers and Kootenay Ice last Saturday and Sunday.
"We're coming off two real big wins last weekend," said Blades head coach and general manager Lorne Molleken. "We're pleased to be back as a group again and we're looking forward to the challenges ahead."
Friday's trip to Red Deer represented the first time the team has been together since the Kootenay game.
While the majority of the team returned to Saskatoon, defenceman Darren Dietz and forwards Jake Trask, Brent Benson and Lukas Sutter travelled to Vancouver following the 2-1 victory over the Ice.
The quartet took part in Project Faceoff - a community program established by the Blades in 2004 where players witness the effects of drugs and alcohol first-hand from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and recovering addicts.
They will be making presentations to students at Saskatoon schools over the next month about their experiences.
In addition to the Project Faceoff participants, Duncan Siemens, Josh Nicholls and Andrey Makarov played in both WHL Super Series games.
Molleken felt the different experiences and time apart will benefit his team going forward.
"This week was good for us," he said.
"It allows us to get refocused, re-energized and ready to go."
While the Blades reached their mini-break on a high note - climbing to sixth in the most recent CHL rankings as a result - they know they have to keep their foot on the gas pedal in the tough Eastern Conference.
Since a 3-2 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors on Nov. 2, the Blades have won five in a row.
"We've got to keep playing the way we are," said Siemens.
"Our conference and our division are extremely tight. There's nights when you go to bed in first place and wake up in fourth place.
"You've got to take every game and go out there and try to get two points."
Heading into Friday night's games, Saskatoon sits atop the conference with 31 points, but three teams are just one behind with 30.
One of those teams are the Rebels, who the Blades needed three third-period goals to defeat 4-2 at Credit Union Centre on Sept. 30.
"Red Deer's obviously a team that's got tremendous team speed," said Molleken. "They've got a real good power play and their goaltender (Patrik Bartosak) has been real good for them also.
"We have to go in there well prepared and be willing to compete for 60 minutes."
BLADE BITS: Four Blades were included on the NHL Central Scouting preliminary list for the 2012 draft, which was released on Thursday. Makarov was the top rated eligible goaltender from the WHL, while defenceman Dalton Thrower (14th) and centres Sutter (18th) and Ryan Olsen (21st) also cracked the WHL rankings among skaters.
The two games last weekend also featured the return of winger Chris Collins, who was out since Oct. 14 with a thumb injury. Collins recorded an assist in his first game back last Saturday.
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
|N. W. Bruin|
Vancouver Sun article (Eric Walker joins Vancouver Giants)No score for this post
|November 20 2011, 2:44 PM |
Eric Walker joins Vancouver Giants
November 19, 2011
Vancouver Giants Executive Vice-President and General Manager Scott Bonner is pleased to announce the addition of defenseman Eric Walker to the Vancouver Giants roster. The 18 year-old is a native of Castlegar, BC and stands 6’2, 200.
The Vancouver Giants originally listed Walker when he went undrafted in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft. He spent the past two seasons playing with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL and accepted a full scholarship to play at the University of Northern Michigan. He joined the program this fall, however did not see any game action in the team’s first 12 games of the season, so he decided to return to British Columbia and join the Giants.
“It was a tough decision to leave Northern Michigan, but I realized at this point in my career the best place to be with regards to my development is the Western Hockey League,” said Walker. “I’m thrilled to be returning to my home province and I can’t wait to get started.”
“Eric is an extremely strong, physical blueliner, whom I believe will add more grit to our club, which in turn gains respect for your team,” said Bonner. “We are very excited he chose to return to BC and join our club.”
Walker will join the team immediately and be available to play Sunday night vs. the Kootenay Ice.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
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