Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Won One

1 Win in a shoot-out
1 Loss in overtime
1 loss in regulation
3rd overall in a 4-Team Tournament
Not scintillating
But OK
Welcome to the wonderful world of coaching, Mark Messier.

* * * * *
Defenseman Mario Scalzo lead Canada in scoring - 1 Goal, 2 Assists.
Forward Derek Hahn also had 3 points - all assists
Canada scored 6 goals in the 3-game affair - by 6 different guys.
Brathwaite stopped 9 out of 10 shots, JS Aubin was 94.4% in the third game.

* * * * *
The entire Canadian side play in the DEL
All the Swiss play in the Swiss League, so does one German.
The rest of the Germans are DEL based.
The Slovaks play in 4 different leagues.
Slovak Olympians Marcel Hossa & Branko Radivojevic were disappointments for the Slovaks, one goal between them.
Glen Hanlon is coaching the Slovaks these days.
Sean Simpson has taken over the Swiss side.
The Swiss sent a U25 side - treating the event  as experience-getter.
* * * * *

Is experience-getter a word?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Missed it by That Much, Again

Day 1 of Mark Messier's coaching career didn't work out so well.

His DEL-Canada Selects spotted the Germans a 3-0 first period lead,
came back to tie the match at 3 in the Second,
then immediately allowed the Germans to pot the winning goal.

One time Oiler Fred Brathwaite, 38 years young, had so-so .888 [to infinity] Save Percentage for Canada.
That's 4.44 goals per 30 Shots.
His German counterpart, Minnesota Wild free-agent signing Dennis Endras, stopped 26 of 29.

Day 2 went no better for the fiery, bald leader.
His charges again lost a close one, 2 -1 to the Swiss in overtime.
Brathwaite had a better day, allowing 2 goals on 33 shots - after two games his Goals Against per 30 Shots dropped to 2.70.

DEL leading scorer Adam Mitchell of the Hanover Scorpions netted Canada's goal 45 seconds into the 2nd Period.
Damien Brunner [5.11, 177 lbs] scored both Swiss goals.

Both of today's game's went into overtime, as the Slovaks beat the the Germans 3 - 2.
The Swiss lead the tournament, undefeated after 2 games.
The Germans & the Slovaks are 1-1.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Merk Messier's coaching career begins in Munich today.

The four-nation Deutschland Cup runs until the 14th.

Canada, Switzerland, Slovakia and the hosts.
The Swiss beat the Slovaks in the opener 2- 0 on one PP goal and one ES goal.

Canada is playing Germany as I type.
Its a Deutsche Eishockey League house league match.

The entire Canadian side is made up of DEL-based players:
1 AUBIN Jean-Sebastian - DEG Metro Stars
2 MANNING Paul - Hannover Scorpions
5 BLANCHARD Sean -Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers
6 POLLOCK James - Adler Mannheim
7 SCALZO Mario - Adler Mannheim
8 JAMES Connor - DEG Metro Stars
9 ROBINSON Nathan - Eisbären Berlin
10 MACDONALD Craig - Adler Mannheim
12 HERPERGER Chris- Hannover Scorpions
14 MILLEY Norm - Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg
15 SCHNEIDER Eric - EHC München
16 BEECHEY Tyler - DEG Metro Stars
17 WALSER Derrick - Eisbären Berlin
18 BOUCK Tyler - ERC Ingolstadt
21 KEMP Thomas-James - Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers
22 JULIEN Stephane - EHC München
23 DZIEDUSZYCKI Matt - Hannover Scorpions
24 HAHN Derek - Straubing Tigers
25 MURPHY Colin - Hamburg Freezers
27 MITCHELL Adam -Hannover Scorpions
28 REGEHR Richie - Eisbären Berlin
31 BRATHWAITE Fred - Adler Mannheim

Adam Mitchell leads the DEL in scoring, Derek Hahn is 2nd.
Veteran Fred Brathwaite gets the start in Game 1.

Canada plays the Swiss tomorrow
Then wrap things up against the Slovaks on Sunday.
I've not followed this little event before,
You'd have to think the Slovaks would be the favourite.
We'll  see

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Gull Roar

Just a quick follow-up to my WHL post.

San Diego and Phoenix were successful in the WHL.
San Diego very.
The two moved to the WHA together.
Phoenix was an expansion team, San Diego got the New York franchise
Three years later they left together.
Folded their tents.

Here's the year by year breakdown of their attendance


66.67 San Diego Gulls 8,106 X
67.68 San Diego Gulls 8,663 Phoenix Roadrunners 4,739
68.69 San Diego Gulls 8,250 Phoenix Roadrunners 4,288
69.70 San Diego Gulls 8,416 Phoenix Roadrunners 5,345
70.73 San Diego Gulls 7,041 Phoenix Roadrunners 4,978
71.72 San Diego Gulls 7,439 Phoenix Roadrunners 5,952
72.73 San Diego Gulls 5,594 Phoenix Roadrunners 5,464
71.73 San Diego Gulls 7,134 Phoenix Roadrunners 6,305


74.75 San Diego Mariners 6,080 Phoenix Roadrunners 7,443
75.76 San Diego Mariners 6,237 Phoenix Roadrunners 6,484
76.77 San Diego Mariners 6,013 Phoenix Roadrunners 6,985
So, San Diego's attendance dropped steadily while the Roadrunners' rose by a third.
If you graphed these numbers, your trnd lines would make a big ol' X.
By this time in WHA history, New England had moved to Hartford and joined Quebec and Winnipeg in the 10,000 seat club.
The three would've been averaging about 90% capacity in this period.
6 to 7 thousand wasn't enough and both ex-WHL sides shut it down after three years

I got the WHA numbers here.

* * * * * *
The WHL figures came from Jon Stott's  book Ice Warriors.
Its a year-by-year survey  of the comings and goings of the WHL and its predecessor the Pacific Coast League.
Cities came and went.
Players came and went.
NHL affiliations came and went.
Major League dreams too.
Stott chronicles them all.

He throws in some bio pieces on the better known players.
And a stats and fact-filled appendix too

Its not a story filled effort - nothing about the time Andy Hebenton hit Gilles Villemure across the head with a salmon.
Of course he didn't
But if he had, you wouldn't hear about it in this book.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The League of the Setting Sun

A couple of weeks back I looked at the players the WHA raided from the Central Hockey League in the summer of 1972.
We turn now [finally] to the Western League.

* * * * * *
Pro hockey returned to the Pacific Coast in 1948, a 10-team league stretching from Vancouver and New Westminster in the north to Los Angeles and Fresno in the south. Over the next few years the California cities disappeared and were replaced by Canadian prairie metropoli.

By 54-55 every team in the league was Canadian.
That didn't last though, Regina & Saskatoon were too small, Winnipeg too far. And, new 10,000 to 13,000 seat arenas were looking for tenants all along the west coast. The prairie era ended after the 62-63 season when Edmonton and Calgary withdrew from the league.

* * * * * *
Vancouver had the largest single season WHL average attendance – 9,000+ in the Canuck’s final year in the league.
Folks were getting themselves to the head of the NHL season ticket line.
Here are the Top-10 seasons [Average Attendance]:
69.70 Vancouver Canucks 9,170
67.68 San Diego Gulls 8,662
69.70 San Diego Gulls 8,416
68.69 San Diego Gulls 8,249
66.67 San Diego Gulls 8,105
61.62 Portland Buckaroos 8,076
62.63 Portland Buckaroos 8,022
64.65 Portland Buckaroos 7,775
60.61 Portland Buckaroos 7,577
71.72 San Diego Gulls 7,438

I always thought that San Diego was a crappy place for a WHA franchise; I can now see why others disagreed.
And I still don't understand how the WHA didn't land in Portland.

* * * * *
In the 71-72 season the WHL had 6 teams, with 96 skaters dressing for at least 25 games:
- Prospects, 14%, 22 and Under
- Veterans, 50%, 23 to 31
- Old Timers, 36%, 32 and up

This age breakdown is exactly opposite to that of the CHL.

The WHA signed 17 WHL regulars.
Once again they skimmed the creme.
Of the Veteran forwards, the Top-5 scorers in order were Larry Lund, Fran Huck,Gary Veneruzzo, Ron Buchanan, Andre Hinse.
First, third and fourth signed with the new league [second and fifth followed a year later].

Three of the Top-4 scoring Veteran defensemen also moved - two to Houston, one to Chicago.

Orest Kindrachuk was among the Top-5 in Prospect scoring in 71-72, he went on to play for the NHL's Flyers.
The other 4 all jumped.

Here's the complete list:


Player Name Age Pos. WHL WHA G A Pts PPG
Ron Buchanan 26 C 1.16 Cleveland Crusaders 37 44 81 1.08
Gary Veneruzzo 28 L 1.19 Los Angeles Sharks 43 30 73 0.94
Reg Fleming 35 D 0.86 Chicago Cougars 23 45 68 0.91
Larry Lund 30 C 1.45 Houston Aeros 21 45 66 0.86
Larry Mavety 29 D 0.85 Chicago Cougars 9 40 49 0.73
Phil "Skip" Krake 27 C 0.96 Cleveland Crusaders 9 10 19 0.73
Bob Whitlock 22 L 1.22 Chicago Cougars 23 28 51 0.68
Frank Hughes 21 R 1.17 Houston Aeros 22 19 41 0.53
Dunc McCallum 31 D 0.66 Houston Aeros 9 20 29 0.42
Bob Liddington 22 L 0.57 Chicago Cougars 20 11 31 0.40
John Hanna 36 D 0.42 Cleveland Crusaders 6 20 26 0.39
Ted McCaskill 34 C 0.77 Los Angeles Sharks 11 11 22 0.30
Mel Pearson 33 C 0.82 Minn Fighting Saints 8 12 20 0.29
Gord Kannegiesser 25 D 0.47 Houston Aeros 0 10 10 0.22
Brian Glenwright 21 L 0.63 Chicago Cougars 2 7 9 0.18
Ray LaRose 29 D 0.54 Houston Aeros 1 10 11 0.16
Larry Cahan 37 D 0.32 Chicago Cougars 1 10 11 0.15
That's a WHA-E of 64%

The big players in raiding the WHL were the Chicago Cougars with 6 signings, the Houston Aeros signed 5.

The Western League had been hit hard by major league expansion.
It lost several of its larger markets - Vancouver, Los Angelas and the Bay Area.
Plus quality players were now scarcer and dearer.
The advent of the WHA just made things worse, and the League folded two years later.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It is Election Day in Edmonton

No referendum this year, but in 3 years its very likely Edmontonians will be voting to fund, or not, a new Sports Palace for the Drug Lord and his minions.

October 16, 1970. The good citizens said no to the Omniplex;   30,000 football seats, 10,000 hockey seats.

The original downtown arena.
A frickin' beautiful building.
Innovative too, with the hockey arena underneath the football field

There was an earlier version, more the ugly, giant bunker style.   But it envisioned the now de rigueur Club Seating.  So, unlike 60s Edmonites, the building was ahead of its time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sovietsky Sports Says

I came across an interesting item published just after the 72 Summit Series.
Its a newspaper rewrite from a Reuters piece, taken from a translation of an interview published in Sovietsky Sport.

In other words, what I'm about to type isn't first hand info.

Sovietsky Sport had sat down with CCCP coaches Bobrov and Kulagin after the Summit Series.

One paragraph in particular may give us some insight to how the Comrades down at Hockey Centralsky looked at the game:
"The paper [Sovietsky Sport] quoted figures showing the technical superiority of the Soviet team.  The Russians carried out 341 attacks, 172 on the move during the Moscow matches to Canada's 230, 134 on the move, and the Soviet players had 249 shots on goal to Canada's 192."

The official Shots on Goal were Canada 267, Soviets 217.

What does "on the move" mean in this context?   Its it just a translation thing, or does it point to a different way of looking at the game? Of measuring good things?

If it is a good thing, only half the Soviet attacks were on the move, while over 58% of Team Canada's were - so I'm encouraged by that.

The two Soviet coaches also accused the Canadians of "trying several methods to intimidate the Soviet players"
And the intimidation "did not bring them success."
Also true.
"Coach John Ferguson was singled out for his 'pugnacity' during play"
Three for three.

The bit about Eagleson being a complete dink must have been blue-penciled.