Hockey Headlines

Monday, 23 November 2015

Huge Loss

I won't lie to you, folks: I'm a Brendan Gallagher fan. I love his gritty play where he's in the face of whatever defender has called him as his check. I love his heart as he goes to high-traffic areas and gets his hands dirty in looking for goals while paying the price. I love his speed, his checking, his tenacity. If there was a player I'd want to play with but not against, Gallagher would be the mold of that player. Clearly, the Montreal Canadiens and head coach Michel Therrien value him as well as he seems to be on the ice every second shift bringing his tenacious game to his opponents, but it might be a long time before we see him on the ice again.

Gallagher and the Canadiens were playing the New York Islanders last night, and things were going somewhat to plan midway through the second period when the game was tied 1-1. I'll let the video set this one up.
Gallagher blocked Johnny Boychuk's shot with his hand and was in immediate discomfort. It's well-known that Boychuk has a cannon of a shot, so you can imagine how that would feel to get a chunk of frozen, vulcanized rubber fired at you at close to 100mph.
Sacre bleu, check out that ring finger! Not good. At all. According to the Canadiens, Gallagher fractured two fingers on his left hand and is out indefinitely following surgery Monday. That's going to leave a big hole in this lineup as it's expected that Gallagher may be out six to eight weeks.

We'll see how the Canadiens react to this setback because Gallagher was having himself a career year before the injury. He was an integral part of the Canadiens' early success. And while there's no replacing a player of Gallagher's skill and tenacity entirely, the Canadiens will need someone to step up in his absence in a big way.

The only question is who will be that player?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Rundown - Week 8

With all the conferences approaching the December break, there was a pile of movement in the conference standings once again. Honestly, the CIS Top Ten list must have three or four new teams every week since the standings today look entirely different than they did three weeks ago. For some teams, finding ways to win is proving difficult while others are piling up wins as their rosters get healthy. Let's run down this week's play in CIS Women's Hockey!

Canada West Results

CALGARY at MOUNT ROYAL: In a rare Thursday night game, the Dinos visited the Cougars needing wins while the Cougars looked to keep pace with the teams ahead of them. The all-Calgary battle started with Mount Royal applying some serious pressure on the Dinos. They would benefit when Carley Bertram found the puck in a scramble around the Calgary net at 7:31, and she found the back of the net behind Sarah Murray for the 1-0 lead. The two teams would battle all the way through to the third period before Calgary found the equalizer. Iya Gavrilova threaded a perfect pass to Sasha Vafina at 18:11 of the final frame, and she beat Emma Pincott to send this game to overtime!

The first overtime period would solve nothing, so it was off to a fifth period. Mount Royal's Megan Carver tried to make a move around a defender, but the two players got tangled up. Sarah Weninger found the loose puck and broke in alone on Murray where her deke to the forehand was enough to dent the twine at 2:56, and the Cougars took the 2-1 double-overtime victory! Emma Pincott made 22 stops in the victory while Sarah Murray took the loss in a 23-save effort.

MOUNT ROYAL at CALGARY: Would the second half of the home-and-home be beneficial for the home team once more? Iya Gavrilova would open the scoring for the home side as she took a Kelsie Lang pass for a breakaway at the blue line, and her shot beat Emma Pincott for the 1-0 lead at the 13:14 mark.

Mount Royal would tie the game early in the second period while on the power-play. Channia Alexander's shot from the point was tipped by Sarah Weninger past Sarah Murray at 2:36, and the game was knotted up at 1-1. 2:16 later, Calgary reclaimed the lead when Sasha Zvonkovic's point shot was saved by Pincott, but it popped loose and Sasha Vafina tapped it in for the 2-1 Dinos lead. 11 seconds after that goal, Mount Royal's Hali Reardon broke in Murray who made the initial save, but Maggie Shykula-Ross potted the rebound for the 2-2 tie.

It would take a fifth period in this game to find a winner once more. With Calgary's Iya Gavrilova whistled for slashing 39 seconds into double-overtime, Mairi Sorensen would end the game 2:19 into the fifth frame when she fired a shot from the high slot past a screened Murray for the 3-2 double-overtime victory! Pincott picked up the win while Murray was assessed the loss.

LETHBRIDGE at REGINA: Would this be the game that Regina broke out of their scoreless streak that had extended to 13.5 periods? In one word, your answer would be "no". Kylie Gavelin scored at 8:42 of the first period, Stephanie Sawchuk added a power-play goal at 4:38 of the second period, and Jaycee Magwood would round of the scoring at 5:27 of the second period as Toni Ross recorded the 3-0 shutout victory. Ross stopped all 22 shots sent her way in the win while Alicia Anderson got no help in the loss.

Just because I have to note it, Lethbridge has not scored a goal in 330:43 of play. How long will this go on? Let's move to Saturday.

LETHBRIDGE at REGINA: Mark it down, folks. Kirana Stocker's shot was stopped by Toni Ross, but Aislinn Kooistra was on the doorstep to knock home the rebound to put Lethbridge up 1-0 for their first goal in 338:25!

Regina would use the second period to take the lead as Kylie Gavelin ripped a wrist shot past Anderson on the power-play, but the puck hit the post and then Anderson before setting behind the goal line for the 1-1 equalizer. The Cougars would strike shorthanded after that as Kylie Gavelin poked the puck past a pinching defender at the blue line, and Jaycee Magwood would pick up the loose puck and race down the ice on a breakaway. Alicia Anderson would come a long way out of her net and fall prey to Magwood's deke, and she scored with less than a second to play in the second period.

Lethbridge would double their output in this game when Sarah Spence fed Kirsten Reeves who one-timed a shot past Ross for the 2-2 equalizer. That would lead to another overtime situation that required five periods to solve this game. Carleen Mezsaros fired a puck on Anderson that was stopped, but Emma Waldenberger fired home the rebound for Regina to give them the 3-2 double-overtime win! Ross picked up the win after stopping 23 of 25 shots while Anderson would suffer the loss despite stopping 43 of 46 shots.

UBC at ALBERTA: Depending on the results of this series, we could see major changes to the standings. Alberta did the minimum needed to win in this one as they scored a lone goal. Natasha Steblin's goal at 11:46 would be the only mark on the scoresheet, and Lindsey Post recorded the 17-save shutout in the 1-0 Alberta win. Danielle Dubé took the loss in this game for UBC despite making 29 of 30 saves.

UBC at ALBERTA: Alberta once again needed just the minimum number of goals, but they added some insurance just to be safe. Sasha Lutz scored at 8:49 into the middle frame and Alex Poznikoff added a power-play goal at 15:04 of the second period, and Lindsey post would shut the door on the Thunderbirds for the second straight night. Alberta skated to the 2-0 win over UBC. Post recorded her second straight shutout win in stopping just 14 shots while Samantha Langford took the loss in this one.

MANITOBA at SASKATCHEWAN: These two teams were looking to make a run at first-place with a couple of wins. It would take until the second period, but Manitoba opened the scoring 1:27 when Kaleigh Wiens found room past Cassidy Hendricks for the 1-0 lead. Saskatchewan would escape the period with the lead after they score the next two goals in the middle frame. Elizabeth Salyn put on past Rachel Dyck at 11:04 and Kaitlin Willoughby found twine behind Dyck at 14:00 for the 2-1 lead.

The Bisons would find the equalizer in the third period when Erica Rieder's blast got by Hendricks at 13:15, and this game would head to overtime tied at 2-2. It would take five periods to decide this game as well, but Saskatchewan's Marley Ervine stole the puck at the Manitoba blue line and broke in alone. She would fire a shot glove-side that Dyck couldn't corral at 3:01, and the Huskies would take this game 3-2 in double-overtime. Hendricks picked up the win while Dyck was on the losing end of this game.

MANITOBA at SASKATCHEWAN: The second half of this two-game set saw the Huskies score early. Julia Flinton beat Rachel Dyck just 2:23 into the game for the 1-0 Saskatchewan lead. However, penalty problems would plague the Huskies in the latter half of the period. Karissa Kirkup made the Huskies pay for their indiscretions twice on the power-play, first at 11:46 and again at 16:54, to put Manitoba out front with a 2-1 lead at period's end. The only other goal in this game came with 42 seconds to play when Alanna Sharman iced the game for the Bisons as they skate to the 3-1 win. Dyck picks up the win in stopping 30 of 31 shots while Cassidy Hendricks absorbed the loss.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
25 36 22
25 31 21
vs REG
British Columbia
23 29 24
vs CAL
23 33 32
22 41 36
Mount Royal
20 28 24
vs SAS
20 26 33
vs ALB
10 22 54

Ontario Results

WESTERN at UOIT: Western jumped out to a lead they would never surrender. Tia Kipfer put the Mustangs up 1-0 at 2:47, but the Ridgebacks would tie the game on Tailor Campbell's power-play marker at 10:17. Kendra Broad would restore the one-goal lead at 18:41 with her marker.

The second period saw Western jump out to a 5-1 lead off goals by Brittany Clapham at 1:10, Evra Levesque at 10:09, and Kendra Broad's second of the game at 16:36. Stacey Scott would add another at 5:11 of the third period, and UOIT would add one more at 18:12 on the power-play by Kassidy Nauboris to make it more respectable, but the Western Mustangs take this one by a 6-2 score. Kelly Campbell earns the win while Cassie Charette takes the loss.

WINDSOR at QUEEN'S: Queen's Clare McKellar opened the scoring at 5:11 of the second period as her shot beat Ingrid Sandven for the 1-0 lead. Queen's would double their lead at 4:29 of the third period while on the power-play when Taryn Pilon found the back of the net. Windsor would cut the lead in half when Larissa Borowiec beat Caitlyn Lahonen at 13:25, but Queen's restored the two-goal lead 1:30 later when Addi Halladay scored on the power-play. Nadia Larocca would add one more goal for Queen's at 16:39, and Queen's would take this game by a 4-1 score. Lahonen picked up the win while Sandven was on the losing end.

RYERSON at YORK: It was all York in this one. Rianna Langford scored at 7:54 and Erin Locke scored at 8:19 of the first period. Locke added her second of the game while shorthanded at 8:18 of the second period, and Langford would complete the book-end with her second of the game at 3:43 of the third period as York skated to the 4-0 win. Megan Lee stopped 25 shots in the shutout win while Alex Armstrong was the goaltender of record in the loss in playing just the first period. Ally Sarna made 17 stops on 19 shots in relief.

WATERLOO at BROCK: It would take four periods to see a goal scored, but that goal would determine the winner. Waterloo's Paula Lagamba would score 50 seconds into overtime to give the Lancers the 1-0 victory! Stephanie Sluys would record the 25-save shutout and win while Jensen Murphy stopped 23 of 24 shots in a losing effort.

GUELPH at NIPISSING: Guelph would grab a lead a 1:31 of the second period when Leigh Shilton beat Jacqueline Rochefort. Bronwyn Bolduc would tie the game at 8:57 when she got the puck past Valerie Lamenta. The Gryphons would jump ahead before the end of the period, though, as Christine Grant scored on the power-play at 15:49.

The Lakers would tie the game in the third period at 3:20 off a Brooklyn Irwin goal, and the final horn would send this game to an extra period to find a winner. It didn't take long as Guelph found the winning tally just 40 seconds in on the power-play as Jessica Pinkerton brought an end to this game. Guelph wins 3-2 in overtime. Lamenta picks up the win while Rochefort takes the loss.

WINDSOR at UOIT: Shailyn Waites put Windsor up 1-0 with her goal 3:30 into the game. UOIT would tie the game on the power-play with 30 seconds to play in the period when Jenna Carter found the back of the net. Krystin Lawrence would put Windsor ahead on her goal 1:07 into the second period, and the Lancers would carry that score into the third period.

And then things changed. UOIT's Shanelle Doucette scored 15 seconds into the period to make it 2-2. Kassidy Nauboris scored at 4:22 to give the Ridgebacks the 3-2 lead. Windsor would tie it while shorthanded when Erinn Noseworthy scored at 5:15, but Natasha Tymcio would score on the same man-advantage at 6:07 to put UOIT up 4-3. 30 seconds later, Samantha Forchielli would give UOIT a 5-3 lead, and that lead would hold for the remainder of the game as UOIT took this game 5-3. Cassie Charette earned the win while Marissa Kozovski took the loss.

WESTERN at QUEEN'S: Western continued their assault on the rest of OUA. Kendra Broad would earn the game's first goal while on the power-play at 13:24, and Ali Beres would add a second power-play goal at 18:45 for the 2-0 Western lead. Kendra Broad would add her second of the game and fourth of the weekend at 7:08 of the second period to increase the lead to 3-0. Queen's Katrina Manoukarakis would get one back at 11:24 to cut the lead to 3-1, but Evra Levesque would hit the empty net with 1:30 remaining to send Western to the 4-1 victory. Kelly Campbell stopped 34 of 35 pucks sent her way for the win while Caitlyn Lahonen was on the losing end.

GUELPH at LAURENTIAN: Laurentian's Ellery Veerman would open the game with a power-play goal at 4:10 of the second period that found room behind Valerie Lamenta. Kelly Gribbons would tie the game at 1:15 of the third period when she beat Laura Deller. The Gryphons would take the lead at 4:29 when Leigh Shilton found the back of the net. However, the Voyageurs would tie the game at 11:57 when Julie Hiebert dented the twine, and we'd be off to overtime to find a winner.

It would take 2:24, but the Guelph Gryphons would skate to victory off a Brittany St. James shot that beat Deller for the 3-2 overtime victory. Lamenta earned the win while Deller was assessed the loss.

TORONTO at YORK: Five periods of play resulted in a total of zero goals as both goalies stood tall. It would take a skills competition to find a winner as this game went to a shootout at a 0-0 draw. York's Dana Somerville would open the shootout with a goal, and Kristen Barbara added a second goal on York's third shot. Megan Lee stopped both Toronto shooters, giving York the 1-0 shootout victory. Lee stopped all 43 shots she saw and two more shots in the shootout for the shutout and win while Valencia Yordanov stopped all 33 shots she faced for the shutout, but surrendered two shootout goals in the loss.

LAURIER at WATERLOO: Waterloo's Marissa Redmond got this party started when she beat Lauren Webber at 17:43 of the first period. Laurier, though, would come out in gangbusters in the second period. Dollee Meigs scored 31 seconds in, Madison MacCulloch added a second goal at 3:43, and Jessie Hurrell made it a 3-1 Laurier game at 4:16 as Rebecca Bouwhuis' night was over in net. Stephanie Sluys would take over for Waterloo at that point.

Waterloo seemed to take a spark from the change. Rachel Marriott scored at 14:15 to cut the lead to 3-2, and it was off to the third period. Amy Barnard would tie the game with her goal on the power-play at 4:56, and Marriott would add her second of the game with 3:54 to play as Waterloo comes from behind to take this game by a 4-3 score. Sluys is the goaltender of record in this game for the Lancers as she stopped all 17 shots she faced for the win while Webber takes the loss.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
25 35 11
vs WAT/@ WES
24 25 16
24 33 13
23 31 17
21 25 16
18 16 18
16 20 21
vs YOR
15 18 23
12 13 17
11 22 37
11 19 23
4 9 27
3 18 45

Quebec Results

MONTREAL at CARLETON: The Carabins kicked this game off with a Jessica Cormier goal at 4:15 to take the 1-0 lead. Montreal would double their lead at 10:37 of the second period when Marion Allemoz beat Hailey Perreault for the 2-0 lead. The Ravens would get one back at 14:06 when Audrey-Ann Boutour found space past Marie-Pier Chabot, but the Carabins would ice this game in the third period off a pair of goals from Ariane Baker at 6:01 and Alexandra Labelle at 12:12 for the 4-1 victory. Chabot would pick up the win while Perreault took the loss.

MCGILL at CONCORDIA: McGill was the only team to hit the scoresheet in this one. Melanie Daoust scored at 13:39 of the second period and Gabrielle Davidson added a shorthanded marker at 15:05 of the third period as McGill skated to the 2-0 victory. Taylor Hough picked up the 21-save shutout and win while Katherine Purchase was assessed the loss.

OTTAWA at CONCORDIA: The GeeGees brought the game to the Stingers in this game. Melodie Bouchard scored at 16:02 and Vickie Lemire scored at 19:27 to send Ottawa to the dressing rooms up 2-0. Ann-Julie Deschenes brought the Stingers to within one while on the power-play at 1:40, but Carol-Ann Upshall restored the two-goal lead at 8:47. Ottawa would add one more goal in the third period off the stick of Camille Pauck-Therrien while on the power-play at the 28-second mark, and that would round out the scoring in a 4-1 Ottawa victory. Maude Levesque-Ryan earned the victory while Katherine Purchase was on the losing side of ledger once more this weekend.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
12 23 23
vs CAR\@McG
11 26 15
vs CON
10 16 8
vs OTT
7 10 16
4 8 21
@ OTT/vs CON

Maritime Results

UPEI at MOUNT ALLISON: The Mounties opened the scoring late in the opening frame when Heather Richards found the back of the net on the power-play to put Mount Allison up 1-0. Gabrielle Vautour would make it a 2-0 game early in the second period when she beat Marie-Soliel Deschenes at 2:18, but the Panthers would chip away. Cornelia Geib fired a shot past Keri martin at 10:34 to make it 2-1, but that's as close as UPEI would get as Mount Allison wins by that 2-1 score. Martin picks up the win while Deschenes was on the hook for the loss.

MONCTON at SAINT MARY'S: All the scoring came in third period in this game. The Aigles Bleues would hit the board first when Marie-Pier Arsenault put the puck past Rebecca Clark on the power-play at 2:23. From there, it was all Saint Mary's. Breanna Lanceleve scored at 7:16 and Celine Van de Molen would notch a goal at 8:08 to put the Huskies up 2-1. Sarah Douglas would round out the scoring with 13 seconds to play when she hit the empty net while shorthanded to give Saint Mary's the 3-1 victory. Clark picked up her seventh win of the season while Gabrielle Forget took the loss in this one.

MOUNT ALLISON at ST. FRANCIS XAVIER: There's a pile of goals here, so let's roll through this. Mount Allison scored the lone goal of the first period when Samantha Bujold hit the scoresheet on the power-play at 10:42. StFX tied the score at 7:07 of the second period when Kara Power found the back of the net, but the Mounties would jump out to a 3-1 lead off a Mackenzie Lalonde goal at 10:16 and a Kara Anthony power-play goal at 13:42.

Heather Richards would add another for Mount Allison just 36 seconds into the third period for the 4-1 lead. Connor Garagan would make it 4-2 at 10:14 as she pulled the X-Women closer, and the lead would be just one for the Mounties after Kara Power notched her second of the game at 13:36. However, Shelby Colton would hit the empty net with a 1:30 remaining to give Mount Allison the 5-3 win. Keri Martin picked up her fourth win of the season in a 43-save performance while Pascale Daigle took the loss in stopping just 12 of 16 shots.

ST. THOMAS at SAINT MARY'S: Only one team would represented on the scoresheet on this night. The Huskies got goals from Laura Polak at 9:50 of the first period and 8:08 of the third period as Polak powered Saint Mary's to the 2-0 victory. Clark earned the win and shutout by stopping all 18 shots she faced while Taylor Cook was on the losing end in this one.

MONCTON at DALHOUSIE: The Tigers would open the scoring at 4:40 on the power-play when Lisa MacLean beat Emilie Bouchard for the 1-0 Dalhousie lead. Katryne Villeneuve would pull the Aigles Bleues even at 10:59 when her shot beat Mati Barrett. Dalhousie would retake the lead at 17:34 when Courtney Sheedy found the back of the net, but Moncton would even the score 1:50 later while on the power-play when Marie-Pier Corriveau's shot dented twine for the 2-2 deadlock.

The second period would see Moncton jump ahead when Kaitlyn Gallaway found room on Barrett at 8:50, but Tara Morning would pull Dalhousie even once again with her goal at 13:29. Tis game would be decided by the lone goal of the third period, and it went to Moncton's Amelie Dion on the power-play at 13:00. Moncton would take this one by a 4-3 score. Bouchard earned the win while Barrett took the loss.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
Saint Mary's
18 32 17
vs MAU
St. Thomas
13 23 19
vs MON
12 34 26
Mount Allison
10 24 30
9 21 25
8 22 25
@ DAL/vs StFX
5 14 28

Next week are the final games before the annual December break in the CIS outside of one game in the AUS. Students write exams in December, so the CIS takes the full month off to allow its student-athletes to live up to the first-half of the phrase "student-athlete". Games resume in the first week of January, so I'll have a couple of features on CIS women's players to occupy some of the time off.

Looking at the standings, Canada West is anyone's conference right now, the OUA is turning into a five-team race, the RSEQ has four of five teams competing for the top spot, and the AUS has the Huskies on a serious role in winning their last nine games. There's one more week for teams to send a message before the sprint in the final two months of the season starting in 2016, and these conferences are proving that nothing is given and everything must be earned week-in and week-out!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Retro Gaming Night

You may not be aware of this, but I consider myself something of a retro gamer. I still have several old gaming consoles hooked up in my basement including an old Nintendo Entertainment System that features cartridges of Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man among the few I have. I love the old 8-bit systems because they're still challenging today, some 30 years after they were originally released. I have an old Sega Genesis that gets played often thanks to NHL '94, but there's something about the old 8-bit system that just keeps me coming back for more.

Tonight, the ECHL's Toledo Walleye will celebrate 8-bit night as they host the Fort Wayne Komets, and they will outfit both teams in what I believe might be the greatest jerseys to honour the 8-bit video game era that I've ever seen.
Having the Walleye dress as Mario and the Komets dress as Bowser is one of the greatest designs conceived and produced on a hockey jersey ever. The fact that it's "blocky" to look more 8-bit is even better. There is nothing about these jerseys I hate. Being that they are a minor-league promotional jersey, they are some of the best ever seen. That's not just an opinion from this writer. I happen to believe that it's a fact.

Now you might be saying, "Teebz, these are just images. The real thing could look like garbage". Yes, that's a possibility, so it's part of the reason why I've posted this picture from the Walleye's Twitter account.
They still look pretty darn good. I used to believe that the Bakersfield Condors ruled the roost when it came to producing incredible minor-league promotional jerseys, but the Walleye have really stepped up their game over the last few seasons. These 8-bit jerseys are just the latest in a long line of incredible Walleye jerseys you can see on their Instagram feed.

The 8-bit jerseys will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to a few different places: the Adopt America Network, the Alzheimer's Association NW Ohio Chapter, and the Walleye Wishing Well. The Walleye Wishing Well is the charitable fund of the Toledo Walleye, providing financial support to local organizations with an emphasis on youth recreation and wellness. Those are some pretty worthy causes, so good on the Walleye for helping these three great organizations.

There's also a pile of 8-bit fun surrounding the game! "Suit Up (T-Town Hockey)", the theme of the Toledo Walleye, is normally performed by In Theory, but Tim Martuch, an Academy of Art grad student in film composition, decided to apply a little 8-bit magic to the song. You can hear that new remix here! For those who can't be at the live auction - me, for example - the Walleye have created some 8-bit t-shirts! Personally, I like the 8-bit jersey tee or the 8-bit skater tee, but you can see all of them over on their online store!

And because the Walleye are going to wearing the overalls of Mario on this night, they are also celebrating Movember night tonight! If you're one of the first 2000 people through the doors tonight, you'll be given a mustache! Those with self-grown mustaches can have them trimmed and groomed by Great Clips representatives who will be offering their services to take care of your hirsute upper lip as well!

The Toledo Walleye jump back to 1985 in their Super Mario Bros. jerseys tonight, and they look spectacular in doing so!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Russia Celebrates January 23

I hope you've booked the weekend of January 23 clear. You might want to take the Friday and Monday off at work as well because it's going to be a busy weekend. If you had tuned into The Hockey Show yesterday, you'd have heard that the NWHL All-Star Game is that very weekend. They, however, are not the only league to be sending their league's best players to one location. The KHL will and CWHL reportedly will hold their respective All-Star Games that very weekend as three prominent leagues try to compete with one another for interest from fans. The NWHL All-Star Game will take place in Buffalo, the KHL All-Star Game will happen in Moscow, while the CWHL's game reportedly will be in either Toronto or Montreal.

We discussed the gimmick-filled NWHL All-Star Game on the show last night, so I'm not going to go through the details here again. Needless to say, I'm not impressed in that they took the gimmicks that killed the NHL All-Star Game and decided to use them for their own game. I'm not sure who decided this, but if it didn't work for the NHL where fans are tuning out the game in droves, why would you adopt the same things that caused the NHL fans to stop watching?

In any case, there will be one more confirmed game that weekend as the KHL has announced that the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow will be the site for the 2016 KHL All-Star Game. The VTB Ice Palace plays host to Dynamo Moscow during the regular season, but it sounds like the KHL is also doing a little work for the Russian Hockey Federation with this announcement. KHL Hockey Operations Vice-President Georgy Kobylyansky stated, “The VTB Ice Palace is a state-of-the-art arena with room for 12,000 spectators, and is the perfect venue for the capital to stage a brilliant and unforgettable show for hockey fans everywhere. The arena has also been chosen to host some of the games in the 2016 IIHF World Championship, which will take place in Russia in May of next year. The KHL All-Star Game, as well as Dynamo Moscow’s home games throughout the 2015-16 season, will provide the perfect test for the VTB Ice Palace in the months leading up to the World Championship.”

This will be the second time that Moscow has played host to the KHL All-Star Game. The last time we saw the game there, it was played outdoors at Red Square with some iconic imagery in the background.
While this imagery won't be seen from inside the VTB ICe Palace, you will see the stars of the KHL light up the ice as they run through the skills competition and the game on the weekend. So who will be going? While it's still early to make definitive choices who will appear for the two squads, there are some players who have stood out thus far.

Over in the Eastern Conference, Sergei Mozyakin of Metallurg Magnitogorsk will likely head to the game as he leads the KHL in goals with 22. Linus Omark will likely go for the Eastern Conference as well as Omark is tied for the lead in assists with 22. He's tied with another man who should go in Jan Kovar who is Mozyakin's linemate in Magnitogorsk. They should be joined by Nigel Dawes who has 18 goals and 28 points for Barys Astana, and his linemate Brandon Bochenski should also get a nod as he also has 22 assists on the season. Anatoly Golyshev of Avtomobilist should get an invite on the strength of his 18 goals thus far.

On the blue line, Sami Lepisto of Salavat is fourth in scoring by a defenceman with 21 points while Lada's Tobias Viklund is second in goals by a defenceman. In net, I'd like to see Neftekhimik's Alexander Sudnitsin go to the game as one of the goaltenders as he's been a standout with Neftekhimik despite their inability to score. Sudnitsin has a 1.60 GAA and a .945 save percentage on a 10-9 record in 28 games. Amur's Juha Metsola is another strong candidate despite his team being offensively-anemic. Metsola has a 1.88 GAA and a .931 save percentage with five shutouts despite his record being 10-15 in 31 appearances this season.

The Western Conference will see some familiar names show up. CSKA's Alexander Radulov will likely be included after he's off to a 34-point start to the season. CSKA teammate Geoff Platt may join him as he's already tallied 15 times this season. Jokerit should see former Leaf Brandon Kozun head to the game as he has 32 points already this season. Matt Eliison of Dinamo Minsk will probably go as he has 15 goals as the fourth-best sniper this season, and Lokomotiv's Petri Kontiola will be invited as he's another player who has 22 assists on the season already.

The hometown Dynamo Moscow will likely be represented by defenceman Mat Robinson as he leads all defencemen in scoring with 27 points thus far. Slovan's Cam Barker will likely join him as he's second in scoring from the blue line with 25 points while Dinamo Minsk will add the third-leading scorer from the blue liners in Nick Bailen with 23 points. Lokomotiv's Alexei Murygin should be a strong candidate for the netminders as he's sporting a 1.04 GAA, a .957 save percentage, seven shutouts, and a 12-4 record in 17 appearances. CSKA's Ilya Sorokin will probably be one of the other netminders as he has a ridiculous 0.97 GAA, a .957 save percentage, five shutouts, and an 8-3 record in 12 appearances this season.

The one name I didn't put in writing? SKA St. Petersburg's Ilya Kovalchuk. There's more than a good chance he'll be invited, but Kovalchuk is having himself an awful season by his standards. He's fourth in team scoring with five goals and 12 assists in 23 games. He was injured for eight games with a knee injury, but he's a team-worst -13 this season so he hasn't had anything close to the season that one would expect out of him. He might get the call, but he should do the right thing this season and let someone else attend in his place. He is not, statistically, one of the KHL's best by any means.

So there's a quick primer for your January 23 weekend. There will be lots of hockey, lots of skills competitions, and a few gimmicks to deal with, but there should be some good hockey at various points. There have been no announcements if anyone will carry the KHL All-Star Game, but I assume will have coverage if you want to be up very early that morning!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Hockey Show - Episode 166

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is back tonight with a fun-filled show as Beans and I sit down and talk hockey. Lots of hockey. We have a ton to cover after having some great interviews on the last few weeks! We'll talk a little about each of those guests, and we'll chat everything hockey that's happened since, well, mid-October. It will be busy, so get yourself strapped into your chair and hold on at 5:30pm because we're gonna move fast tonight!

We've got Moose news as Nic Petan joins the team, Kelly Zajac signs with the club, and Bakersfield's leading scorer in Matthew Ford will sit out both games against the Moose due to suspension. We've got Jets news as they downed Vancouver last night, ended a six-game losing skid, and all sorts of rumours about Travis Hamonic and the Jets. We have Manitoba Bisons updates as they near the December break. We have KHL updates. We'll chat about the NHL All-Star Game, the NWHL All-Star Game, and we'll even toss in a Connor McDavid update (hint: he's still injured)! As stated, we have a ton of stuff to discuss tonight, so tune in!

The phones are wide-open tonight, so call in and give us your favorite jersey misspelling or possible Hamonic fantasy trade! Make sure you tune your radio dial in the Winnipeg region to 101.5 on your FM dial or listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage as well! Tweet me anytime with questions you may by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show. We get caught up on all the news from the hockey world tonight on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: November 19, 2015: Episode 166

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!