Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jeff Bes’ Milestone Voted CHL Performance of the Week

The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Laredo Bucks forward Jeff Bes has been voted the winner of the CHL Performance of the Week for the period of January 12-18. The Tillsonburg, Ontario native wins the honor thanks to his four-point night (one goal, three assists) on January 16th in the Bucks 6-3 win over Corpus Christi. His four points also pushed the 6th year Buck veteran to a milestone reaching 900 career professional points.

Bes received 40% of the 924 total votes cast (371 votes for Bes) narrowly beating out Colorado’s Konrad Reeder who’s four goals and CHL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player effort received 35% of the vote (327 votes for Reeder).

In his career, Bes (the reigning CHL Most Valuable Player) has scored 315 goals with 591 assists for 906 points. This season, the 6-0, 190-pound forward ranks second in the CHL with 60 points (14-46=60).

The nominees for the CHL Performance of the Week for week 14 of the season (Jan. 19-25) are as follows:
-Bossier-Shreveport’s Travis Clayton scoring four points (2g, 2a) with a +4 in 4-1 win at Tulsa on January 22nd
-Corpus Christi’s Justin Quenneville scoring a pair of goals in 2-1 win at Rocky Mountain on January 23rd
-Texas’ three-goal third period in 4-3 win at Amarillo on January 24th
-Laredo scoring four unanswered goals in 5-4 SO win vs. Texas on January 21st
-Rocky Mountain’s three-goal third period in 5-4 comeback win vs. Rapid City on January 25th

Fans can vote for the winner through Monday, February 2nd with the winner being announced on Tuesday, February 3rd.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Corpus Christi's Tebbs Earns Player of the Week Award

The Central Hockey League announced today that the recipients for the Oakley CHL Player and Goaltender of the Week for the period ending January 25th, 2009 are forward Bobby Chaumont of the Mississippi RiverKings and Kris Tebbs of the Corpus Christi IceRays.

Chaumont broke out of his mini-slump (scoreless in four straight games) in a big way scoring three points in each of the RiverKings games last week, both victories. In Friday’s 4-3 win versus Rio Grande Valley, the Sudbury, Ontario native scored the first goal for the RiverKings and assisted on two others including the game winner. He had a game-high 10 shots on net. In Saturday’s 5-3 win versus Laredo, the 6-0, 200-pound forward scored a first period goal and had two assists. For the season, the CHL All-Star leads the RiverKings with 22 goals and nine power play goals. His 38 points are second on the team.

Tebbs won all three starts for the IceRays last week, all on the road. During his hot stretch, the Calgary, Alberta native allowed five goals on 107 shots (.953 save percentage) and finished the week with a 1.67 goals against average. The 5-10, 170-pound goaltender’s wins came against Rapid City, Rocky Mountain and New Mexico. Tebbs is 13-10-3 on the season winning each of his last four starts vaulting the IceRays into the fifth and final playoff spot in the Southern Conference.

In recognition of their achievement, both Chaumont and Tebbs will receive a special gift from Oakley.

Oakley CHL Player of the Week
Bobby Chaumont, Mississippi RiverKings
Position: F
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 2
Goals: 2
Assists: 4
Points: 6
Plus/Minus: +1

Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week

Kris Tebbs, Corpus Christi IceRays
Position: G
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 3
Record: 3-0-0
GAA: 1.67
Save %: 0.953
Saves: 102 of 107

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Some Thoughts About All-Star Weekend

It was fun watching all of the hockey world's elite come out to celebrate the game as well as the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens franchise at the All Star Game this weekend.

Every year, it seems like fewer and fewer people are actually interested in the All-Star Game itself, and more are interested in the Skills Competition the night before. I know that is what interests me. It's always nice to see new records set - Al Iafrate's cannon-like shot has been the mark to be for years, and this year Zdeno Chara broke the 16-year old record for hardest shot with a blazing 105.4 MPH blast. Quite the shot from the point there - something the Stars have been missing with Sergei Zubov out of the lineup, even if his hardest probably comes in 4-6 MPH slower...

As I said, normally the Skills Competition is what interests me most...and when they debuted the "Breakaway Challenge" last year, I was excited. It most readily equates to the "Slam Dunk Competition" the NBA has, and gives players a chance to go out and have some fun with their shots. And, even though he didn't make it, Alexander Ovechkin's shot last year was a jaw-dropper...just the creativity alone made it a winner. But after seeing AO's "winning" shot this year, I am ready to be done with it if fans are going to vote the winner. The pandering, goofy, half-hearted attempt Ovechkin submitted and fans endorsed was pathetic. Seriously? THAT is what qualifies as the best shot? Gimme a break...

In the "Big Game" itself, Modano and Robidas were pretty quiet. Modano did have the primary assist on the third-period opening goal by Shane Doan, but was held off the scoresheet otherwise. Robidas had a shot on goal, and not much else. Both players were near the bottom of the pile in minutes played. But, the game was fast-moving and quick-paced, and neither Star was lost in the motion.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Brahma's Jaeger Winner of Weekly CHL Award

The Central Hockey League announced today that the recipients for the Oakley CHL Player and Goaltender of the Week for the period ending January 18th, 2009 are forward David Morelli of the Rocky Mountain Rage and Brett Jaeger of the Texas Brahmas.

Morelli has been one of the hottest players in the league over the past two months scoring 22 points (10-12=22) over his past 23 games. Last week, the Burnaby, British Columbia native scored four goals with an assist and was a +5. In Friday’s 7-1 Rage win over Wichita, Morelli notched his first multi-goal game of the season scoring a hat trick (had game winning goal). In Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Thunder, he scored the game’s first goal and added an assist. The 5-10, 175-pound forward has already eclipsed last year’s season totals with his 15 goals and 29 points. He is just one goal shy of his career high set in the 2006-07 season.

Jaeger has been on quite a roll lately along with the Brahmas. The Peace River, Alberta native went 2-0 last week and has won nine of his last 10 games. Friday night, Jaeger stopped all 37 Arizona shots he faced earning his second shutout of the season. The 5-10, 190-pound goaltender followed that up with a 27 save performance in the Brahmas 6-2 win over Laredo on Saturday night. On the season, Jaeger is tied for second in the league with 18 wins, tied for first with a .924 save percentage and is third with a 2.36 goals against average.

In recognition of their achievement, both Morelli and Jaeger will receive a special gift from Oakley.

Oakley CHL Player of the Week

David Morelli, Rocky Mountain Rage
Position: F
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 3
Goals: 4
Assists: 1
Points: 5
Plus/Minus: +5

Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week

Brett Jaeger, Texas Brahmas
Position: G
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 2
Record: 2-0-0
GAA: 1.00
Save %: 0.970
Saves: 64 of 66

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do the Stars Need a Backup Plan?

There's been a lot of talk, especially over the last week or so, about the Stars' plan in net. A couple of weeks ago, Coach Dave Tippett revealed that he plans to ride Marty Turco, good or bad, to the end. And, barring any sort of injury, Turco would be his man in net for the rest of the season. Obviously, with Turco's sub-par performance so far this year (the worst of his career) that statement raised several eyebrows. Oh, really Tip? Why exactly does he get this sort of trust?

Well, I will play the role of devil's advocate briefly here before I go into some other options I think are a bit more sane. The past has shown that when Marty hits the skids, the only way he gets out of it is by playing through it. It has also shown that when he gets on a roll, he tends to stay on one for a good long time. Tippett might just be thinking if he stays with Marty long enough, he's bound to play through this horrible spell of bad performances, and get on a hot streak - a hot streak the Stars can ride up the standings.

The problem is, if this theory backfires, the Stars could well be out of the playoff picture by the time the trade deadline rolls around. And that isn't a picture fans are used to or want to contemplate for this season.

One popular refrain this week, from sports writers and "hockey insiders", was for the Stars to make a move for recently waived Vancouver Canucks netminder Curtis Sanford. His career numbers are very palatable for a #2 goalie - he is 37-37-16 with a 2.76 GAA and .901 save percentage. Sanford is reasonably priced, too, at $650,000/yr and an unrestricted free agent this summer (so no further commitment is necessary). I think he'd be a very nice signing by the Stars, if they can get the Canucks to part with him cheaply. Thoughts are that he can be had for next to nothing.

As a more expensive option (and there are a couple), the Stars could make a play for Manny Legace, making $2.15 million this season in St. Louis, but also a UFA at year's end. Legace struggled this season in St. Louis, posting some puffy-looking numbers (11-8-1, 3.23 GAA, .888 save percentage), but he's still a solid #2.

And recently, the Ottawa Senators have grown tired of their former #1 netminder, Martin Gerber. Gerber comes at a pretty price, though, as he signed a 3-year, 11.1 million dollar deal with the Sens in 2006. He's in the final year of that deal, which leaves him a UFA at the end of the season, but if the money was evenly-distributed over the three years of the contract, Gerber is due roughly 3.7 million dollars this year. That would be pro-rated, but the price tag would still be about 1.8 million dollars. The Stars don't have that kind of room, so they would need to move players instead of (or maybe in addition to) draft picks.

Personally, I think Sanford is the most attractive pick, as long as Tippett will play another goalie.

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia

Eagles Soar Above CHL All-Stars

Loveland, Colorado – The 2009 CHL All-Star Game took on a unique format on Wednesday night at the Budweiser Events Center in Northern Colorado with the host team, the Colorado Eagles, taking on a team of CHL All-Stars. The game featured an “Old Time Hockey” theme and the players on the ice brought that slogan into the world of reality with a highly-competitive, intense game in front of a sellout crowd of 5,219.

For complete All-Star Game Box Score visit

The Eagles lit up the crowd with a five-goal third period en route to an 8-4 victory.

The star of the night was Konrad Reeder as the first-year Eagle earned the game’s Most Valuable Player Award with four goals and an assist. Laredo’s Darryl Smith Earned the MVP Award for the CHL All-Stars scoring a goal with an assist.

In the game, it took 72 seconds for teamwork to show its value as the Eagles rushed the puck into the offensive zone making three passes that culminated with a Konrad Reeder one-timer from the left circle. Kevin Ulanski and Ed McGrane earned the assists with Ulanski’s cross-ice pass setting up the Reeder blast at 1:12 of the first period. It was the sixth point in all-star play for Reeder and the first of five points on the night (he notched a goal and four assists in last year’s contest for the Southern Conference).

Some intricacies of the game showed later in the period, ones that you don’t usually see in an all-star game as Eagles defenseman Tom Reimann went to a knee to block a Russ Moyer blast and the first hit of the game came from who else, Fraser Filipic, who knocked New Mexico defenseman Aaron MacInnis to the ice with a hard check to the left of the all-star’s net.

The Eagles extended their lead at the 8:41 mark with a history-making goal from Greg Pankewicz who turned and beat all-star goaltender Andy Franck for his ninth career all-star goal setting the all-time CHL record for goals in all-star play. Erik Adams and Reeder earned the assists. Pankewicz is also the all-star leader with 18 points.

The first penalty in an all-star game since 2006 was called at the 14:55 mark on Colorado’s Steve Haddon for hooking. The all-stars were unable to convert on the power play.

A majority of the remainder of the period belonged to Eagles goaltender Andrew Penner (19-1-1 on the season) who stopped 17 straight shots to begin the game before being beat by Rio Grande Valley rookie defenseman Nicolas Dumoulin who pinched in on the left wing and took a laser pass from Amarillo defenseman Sam Ftorek and pushed it past Penner at the 19:15 mark.

The score was 2-1 after one period with the CHL All-Stars outshooting the Eagles 18-9.

The CHL All-Stars needed just 23 seconds to tie the score in the second period with Laredo rookie Darryl Smith taking a pass that was banked off the wall by Odessa’s Dominic Leveille and quickly snapping it over the shoulder of Penner.

Laredo goaltender Sebastien Centomo began the period in net ending the night Franck who finished with seven saves on nine shots.

The all-stars had a chance to take the lead with a second power play chance but again failed to convert but instead shortly after the penalty expired fell behind again. The go-ahead goal was scored by Reeder (his third point of the night) assisted by Ed McGrane who made a great pass to the back door for Reeder to finish. McGrane and Reimann earned the assists giving the Eagles a 3-2 lead.

Penner’s night was done leading 3-2 when he was pulled at the 9:04 mark for Morgan Cey. Penner ended his outstanding night with 25 saves on 27 shots.

Cey was welcomed to the game rather quickly facing a flurry of scoring chances from the all-stars and was most noticeable with about six minutes remaining in the period stopping Bossier-Shreveport’s Travis Clayton after Leveille found him with a behind the back pass. Cey followed that up by robbing Ftorek in front of the net in what looked like a sure score.

The all-stars tied the game on a two-man rush up the ice led by Odessa defenseman Russ Moyer who played give-and-go with Mississippi’s Bobby Chaumont and eventually went to the backhand lifting a shot by Cey. Chaumont drew the only assist on the Moyer goal which tied the score at three goals apiece after two periods. The all-stars outshot the Eagles 19-11 in the period and led 37-20 in the game.

Reeder continued his magnificent night early in the final period when he took a pass from Pankewicz and scored his third goal of the night at the 1:12 mark of the period. The hat trick gave the Eagles a 4-3 lead in the game.

Colorado added to their lead by taking advantage of an all-star turnover. McGrane intercepted a pass, was slick with the puck, pulled it away from the opposition and snapped it by Centomo extending the lead to 5-3 at the 4:02 mark.

The Eagles started to pull away later in the period with Riley Nelson banging a one-timer by Centomo on the power play at the 5:13 mark. Scott Polaski and Ryan Tobler earned the helpers pushing the score to 6-3.

Reeder’s storybook night continued with a shorthanded goal giving Colorado a 7-3 lead at the 8:26 mark of the final period. Kevin Ulanski was given the assist.

Jay Birnie got in on the scoring act scoring late in the third period adding to the Eagles lead and giving the club a five-goal third period. Aaron Schneekloth and Tobler assisted on the goal scored at the 15:12 mark of the frame.

The all-star got a late power play and responded with Joel Irving scoring a goal cutting the lead to 8-4 with just over a minute remaining. Smith and MacInnis earned the assists for the all-stars.

The final shots in the game favored the all-stars 47-30. Cey finished the night making 20 saves in just over half of the game and earned the win. Centomo stopped 16 shots taking the loss for the all-stars.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Stars Affiliate's Game to be Broadcast this Week

DALLAS - B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL,” announced that the program lineup for ECHL TV on B2CableTV.com for Jan. 13-20 will be Wheeling at Cincinnati from Jan. 6, Reading at Idaho from Jan. 9, Las Vegas at Utah from Jan. 9, Gwinnett at Charlotte from Jan. 9, South Carolina at Charlotte from Jan. 10, Alaska at Bakersfield from Jan. 10 and Johnstown at Elmira from Jan. 10.

To watch ECHL games free of charge 24 hours a day go to B2CableTV.com, click on the “Hockey” tab and select ECHL TV.

Viewers need a high-speed internet connection and a current version of Microsoft Windows Media Player to watch the Network.

B2 Networks has broadcast ECHL games around the globe the last six years including the Kelly Cup Finals and the ECHL All-Star Game. The first hockey game broadcast by B2 Networks was the Las Vegas Wranglers in February 2004 and the first hockey championship carried by B2 Networks was the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Friday, January 9, 2009

2009 CHL All-Star Team Captains Announced

The Central Hockey League announced today that the Captains for the 2009 CHL All-Star Team will be forward Travis Clayton of the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs and defenseman Tyler Fleck of the Oklahoma City Blazers. The pair will serve as Co-Captains for the CHL All-Star Team that will face-off against the host team Colorado Eagles at the game scheduled for Wednesday, January 14th in Loveland, Colorado at the Budweiser Events Center.

Clayton, playing in his seventh all-star game and 12th CHL season, broke the league’s games played record earlier this season dressing in his 709th career CHL game on November 21st, 2008 in Broomfield, Colorado when the Mudbugs played the Rocky Mountain Rage. Last night (January 8th, 2009) Clayton tied Hardy Sauter for second on the CHL’s all-time assist list with his 527th assist. This season with the Mudbugs, the Paradise Hill, Saskatchewan native has 30 points (11-19=30) in 33 games ranking second on the team.

Fleck, playing in his 10th season with the Blazers, has never dressed for another team during his professional career. The hard-nosed defenseman has played in more than 500 career CHL games and will be appearing in his second all-star game. The Carlyle, Saskatchewan native has served as the Blazers team captain for five straight seasons. This season, he has scored a goal with six assists in 33 games.

The game can be seen LIVE on Altitude Sports and Entertainment (Dish Network channel 410 and DirecTV channel 681) as well as on the CHL Network which will carry the game LIVE (blackout restrictions apply in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah) and also offer all the action on a tape delay in the days following the game.

Texas Brahmas Strong Play is Drawing Attention

In Friday's Shots From the Point, the CHL talked about DFW's very own Texas Brahmas a little:

The Texas Brahmas (22-9-3) have been on fire going 11-3-2 since early December and have firmly claimed their spot atop the Southeast Division with a six point lead over the second place Laredo Bucks. Texas has won six straight games overall and six straight road games (just one shy of the longest CHL road win streak this season). The Brahmas went 24-7-1 during the second half of the season a year ago and are already 2-0 during their second half this season. Jordan Cameron’s 19 points (7-12=19) is pacing the Brahmas over the last two games followed by Grant Jacobsen’s 14 points (7-7=14). Goaltender Brett Jaeger has won seven straight games allowing just 13 goals over that stretch. Texas should get only better when Friday night forward Travis Banga is in the line-up after being acquired from Rio Grande Valley. Banga, a two-time all-star, has scored 269 points (116-153=269) in 246 career CHL games.

The Brahmas have been strong all year, and have really ramped it up over the last month. It looks like they're starting another 2nd-half rampage a little early this year.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Corpus Christi IceRays vs. Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs - 12/26/08 Fight

Just because of the craziness of it all - the sheer WTF factor - I needed to post this clip when I saw it was available today. The CHL has it's share of fights...but in 5 years of covering games, this is the craziest I've ever seen in this league. Enjoy!

Stars Prospect Matt Climie Honored as ECHL Rookie of the Month for December

Idaho Steelheads goaltender Matt Climie is the CCM Vector ECHL Rookie of the Month for December.

The 25 year old was 5-1-0 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 2.31 and a save percentage of .920 in six games as the Steelheads went 8-4-0. He played for the Dallas Stars in the NHL Prospects Tournament going 2-0-0 to help the Stars win the event.

He began the month stopping 29 shots and turning aside two of three shooters in the shootout for a 4-3 win against Utah. Climie won his final four games of the month beginning on Dec. 14 when he made 31 saves for his first professional shutout in a 1-0 win at Alaska. He posted back-to-back wins, stopping 27 shots in each game, against Bakersfield on Dec. 17 and 20 and ended the month turning aside 29 shots in a 5-1 win against Utah.

The Leduc, Alberta native is 11-6-0 with a shutout and a save percentage of .913. He is tied for third in the league with two shootout wins and is ninth with a goals-against average of 2.42.

Climie played four seasons at Bemidji State University where he was 45-30-11 with 12 shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.40 and a save percentage of .910 in 95 games from 2004-08. He holds the BSU career record with 12 shutouts while his goals-against average and save percentage rank second.

Photo courtesy of the ECHL web site.

2009 CHL All-Star Team Adds Two Forwards

The 2009 Central Hockey League All-Star Game is less than a week away scheduled for Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 in Loveland , Colorado at the Budweiser Events Center. The game features a team of CHL All-Stars facing the host team, the Colorado Eagles.

Today, the CHL announced two additions to the team with Mississippi’s Bobby Chaumont and Wichita’s Chris Greene being named as replacements for two players that will be unable to attend. Chaumont, 24, replaces teammate Louis Dumont on the roster and Greene, 23, replaces teammate Jason Duda. Both Dumont and Duda are unable to attend next week’s game.

Chaumont is playing in his second CHL season and his first with the RiverKings. The Sudbury, Ontario native was an all-star previously during the 2006-07 season while a member of the Laredo Bucks. This season in Mississippi, the 6-0, 200-pound forward leads his team with 19 goals and ranks second to Dumont with 31 points. Chaumont has eight power play goals and is tied for second in the CHL with four game winning goals.

Greene is playing in his third CHL season and is in his second season with the Thunder after being acquired in a trade with Arizona last season. The Massena, New York native has four goals and 13 assists in 30 games played with the Thunder this season. His energy and hard-work on the ice has led the charge for the young Wichita team that has won four of their last six games.

The game can be seen LIVE on Altitude Sports and Entertainment (Dish Network channel 410 and DirecTV channel 681) as well as on the CHL Network which will carry the game LIVE (blackout restrictions apply in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah) and also offer all the action on a tape delay in the days following the game.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hockey Volunteer

Hockey is an wonderful sport, I think we'd all agree. Being fans of the game, it's not a point I figure would bring up much debate with the group who reads hockey blogs. Despite being a very physical and at times violent sport, the men who play the game (for the most part) are some of the most well-mannered gentlemen you'll meet. The duality has always intrigued me. I find that many of it's fans tend to be well-mannered, giving folks as well.

This brings me to an e-mail I received a couple of weeks ago (I've been meaning to mention it, but with the holidays here in the U.S. and being on vacation, things were slid to the back burner). I'll share with you the majority of it:

A few days ago, the NHL donated 6 autographed items (including an NHL hat signed by members of the 08-09 Dallas Stars team) in support of my new initiative: "The Hockey Volunteer" , which has been founded to bring hockey to kids in underprivileged parts of the world and share happiness and the virtues of hockey with them, one puck at a time.

This dream venture officially began less than a month ago, but for me, it unofficially began 2 years ago when I was hired by the New York Islanders to work on their Project Hope initiative that focuses on Northestern China. Through Project Hope I got to see first-hand how hockey can vastly improve the lives of children, and I want to share that joy with children all around the world.

The first destination I will be traveling to will be in Ladakh, a region in the Indian (disputed) state of Jammu and Kashmir (yes, Kashmir) in the Himalayas. Over the past few weeks, support has been pouring in from all around the real and digital world, as coverage and donations have been increasing.

Upon my return, I plan to rapidly work towards expanding this program, and applying for grants from foundations, NGOs, governmental bodies, and increasing support from the NHL and IIHF.

My website (http://hockeyvolunteer.blogspot.com) describes in detail why I am doing this (my motivations, passions, and why Kashmir), the links to the ebay auctions, and links to the websites that have already shown support.

The gentleman doing this, Adam Sherlip, is trying to raise funds through auctions on his site, and through donations. The more money he raises translates into more equipment for these kids (they're in need of sticks & skates). He accepts donations straight through his website, and he's listed all of the items donated by the NHL on eBay, along with an autographed, Olympic game-used stick of Team USA star Angela Ruggiero.

I hope you'll all take a few minutes to visit his site and lend support to this worthwhile initiative. Visit him at his site and if you're on Twitter, follow him. Think about how much hockey has changed YOUR life, and imagine bringing that joy to an underprivileged child. Good luck with your work, Adam, and keep us posted here at Big D Hockey!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 CHL All-Star Game On-Ice Officials Announced

The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today the men that will keep order during the 2009 CHL All-Star Game scheduled for Wednesday, January 14th at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado. The referee for the game will be Mark Lemelin and he will be joined by linesmen Jordan Crowell and Pat Smith.

“These officials have worked very hard over recent years and have earned the chance to work in the All-Star Game,” said Wayne Bonney, CHL Officiating Supervisor. “I remember very fondly the 14 NHL All-Star Games I was fortunate enough to participate in and I am confident that participating in this game for these three gentlemen will create similar great memories.”

Lemelin, 27, is in his third season in the CHL and also works in the American Hockey League (AHL) occasionally. Last season, the Albuquerque, New Mexico native worked the President’s Cup Finals. Before joining the CHL, Lemelin worked full time in the United States Hockey League (USHL) and was rewarded with the appointment of the 2006 USHL Finals and 2006 USHL All-Star Game.

Crowell, 26, is in his second season in the CHL after going through the Junior Officiating Development Program from 2005-07. The Overland Park, Kansas native worked game’s three and four of the President’s Cup Finals last season.

Smith, 26, is in his second season in the CHL after working four seasons in the Ottawa District Hockey Association. Last season, the Bainsville, Ontario native worked the President’s Cup Finals and also worked the lines during Game Seven of the Northern Conference Finals and Game Seven of the Southern Conference Finals.

Typical all-star games seem to lack the need for officials with very few stoppages and almost no penalties. This year’s contest could be different as the format of the game has changed to feature the host Colorado Eagles battling a team of CHL All-Stars.

The 2009 CHL All-Star Game will be available on Altitude Sports and Entertainment and on-line via the CHL Network (some broadcast restrictions apply).

Wichita’s Tessier Voted CHL Performance of the Week

The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that for the second straight week, a Wichita Thunder player has been voted the winner of the CHL Performance of the Week. For week 10, the winner is Thunder defenseman Jason Tessier who notched a hat trick in Wichita’s 6-3 win versus Tulsa on December 26th. Last week’s winner was an outstanding effort by Wichita goaltender Tim Boron in a win versus Mississippi on December 19th.

Tessier’s three goals received 43% of the vote earning 861 of the 2013 votes cast. Finishing second in the weekly poll was the Texas Brahmas’ three-goal third period comeback versus Oklahoma City on December 27th. The Brahmas comeback received 643 votes for 32%.

Tessier has six goals with 11 assists in 31 games this season for Wichita who is 11-18-2 and sitting in fourth place in the Northwest Division. The veteran defenseman has played in 442 career CHL/WPHL games seeing action with El Paso, Austin, Rio Grande Valley, Memphis and the Thunder.

The nominees for the CHL Performance of the Week for week 11 of the season (Dec. 22-28) are as follows:
-Colorado’s 4-3 OT win in OKC after trailing 3-1 in the third period on December 30th
-Wichita’s Troy Ofukany scoring five points (3-2=5) in 7-2 win over Colorado on January 3rd
-Texas’ Justin Kinnunen scoring a hat trick in 4-1 win at Laredo on January 3rd
-Mississippi’s special teams going 4 for 8 on PP and killing 11 of 12 opponent chances in 6-2 win over OKC on January 2nd
-Corpus Christi’s Kris Tebbs making 44 saves in 2-1 win over Odessa on January 3rd

Fans can vote for the winner through Monday, January 12th with the winner being announced on Tuesday, January 13th

Stars Winning Despite Further Injuries

Well, finally I get a chance to sit down and get a few thoughts in about the Stars and other hockey matters. So sorry for the delay in this post - I expected to have it up yesterday.

The Stars finished December strongly, and have looked great as of late. They went 8-4-1 in December and are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. While that might not turn heads around the league yet, it certainly is an improvement over October and November. The top performers continue to be the top performers - great, reliable play from Mike Modano, Mike Ribeiro and Brad Richards has helped on a regular basis, and strong contributions from young players James Neal & Loui Erikkson has helped. The Stars will play Detroit twice in the next week, so they are hoping their strong play of late can carry on into those matches, at least.

Speaking of Neal, the youngster has pulled into a tie for the league lead in goals by rookies this season. We'll almost certainly see Neal at the end of this month in Montreal for the "Young Stars Game" on January 24th, the night before the All Star Game. I knew Neal had a bright future with the club, just from seeing him skate at the last couple of camps, but it was great to see him seize the opportunity he got this season and run with it.

The Stars have been successful recently, even though they continue to be a banged-up bunch. Landon Wilson is the latest addition to the scratch list. Wilson sustained a rib injury in the game against Edmonton on Saturday, and is currently listed as day-to-day. The Stars hope to get more information about his injury tomorrow. Fabian Brunnstrom has a high-ankle sprain, and will be out for at least the next couple of games. The team hopes he'll be ready in about 7-10 days, but because that kind of injury can be hard to diagnose and even harder to mend, it could be longer. There is good news in that Joel Lundqvist is skating again, and may be back as early as Thursday against the Red Wings. This should limit any call-ups the Stars may need to make this week.

As banged up as they've been this season, and as much as they've struggled, do you think there will be pressure for the Stars to make a deal before the trade deadline this season? Or will the problems assimilating Sean Avery into the group this year still be too strong in everyone's mind for management to make a trade?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Texas’ Kinnunen and Arizona’s Emond Earn Weekly Award

The Central Hockey League announced today that the recipients for the Oakley CHL Player and Goaltender of the Week for the period ending January 4th, 2009 are defenseman Justin Kinnunen of the Texas Brahmas and for the second consecutive week, goaltender Marco Emond of the Arizona Sundogs.

Kinnunen returned to the Brahmas line-up on New Year’s Eve after missing five games with an injury. The recently named starter for the 2009 CHL All-Star Game finished the week with three goals and two assists in three games, all Texas wins. On Saturday, the Negaunee, Michigan native recorded just the second hat trick by a defenseman in Brahmas history in the team’s 4-1 victory over Laredo. The win moved Texas past the Bucks into first place in the Southeast Division. On the season, Kinnunen has eight goals (two shorthanded) and 11 assists ranking just outside the top 10 among defensemen in scoring. His +12 plus/minus rating is fourth among defensemen and sixth among all CHL players.

Emond wins the goaltending award for the consecutive week marking the first time the same goaltender has won in consecutive weeks since Shawn Degagne (Amarillo) during the 2003-04 season. Last week, the Valleyfield, Quebec native went 3-0 stopping 110 of 113 shots (.973 save percentage) allowing just one goal in each game he played. His victories came at home versus New Mexico and on the road versus Bossier-Shreveport and Oklahoma City. The 5-10, 195-pound goaltender has won five straight games allowing just four goals over that stretch and is 12-9-1 on the season with a 3.30 goals against average.

In recognition of their achievement, both Kinnunen and Emond will receive a special gift from Oakley.

Oakley CHL Player of the Week
Justin Kinnunen, Texas Brahmas
Position: D
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 3
Goals: 3
Assists: 2
Points: 5
Plus/Minus: +2

Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week
Marco Emond, Arizona Sundogs
Position: G
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 3
Record: 3-0-0
GAA: 1.00
Save %: 0.973
Saves: 110 of 113

Arizona’s Emond Wins December’s CHL Oakley Three-Star Award

The Central Hockey League announced today that Marco Emond of the Arizona Sundogs has won the Oakley Three Stars Award for the month of December/2008. Emond will receive a pair of Oakley THUMP sunglasses which feature blue tooth technology and a built in MP3 player. Learn more about the wide range of Oakley products at www.oakley.com.

Emond finished the month with a bang being named first star in each of the last three games of December. The Valleyfield, Quebec native allowed just two goals in his final three starts going 3-0 for the defending Ray Miron President’s Cup Champions. For the season, Emond is 12-9-1 with a 3.30 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.

In the season Oakley Three Star standings, Laredo’s Darryl Smith leads with 38 points followed by Colorado’s Andrew Penner with 37 points. Emond has 32 points on the season.

Oakley CHL Three Star Player of the Month
Marco Emond, Arizona Sundogs
Position: Goaltender
(December Totals)
Games – 10
Record – 5-5-0
Shutouts – 1
GAA – 3.68
Save % – .899
First Star – 3 times (15 points)
Second Star – 1 time (3 points)
Third Star – 0 times (0 points)
Total Points – 18

Oakley CHL Three Star Player of the Month Winners
October – Travis Clayton, Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs
November – Bobby Chaumont, Mississippi RiverKings
December – Marco Emond, Arizona Sundogs

Friday, January 2, 2009

Colorado’s Penner Named Goaltender of the Month

The Central Hockey League announced today that Andrew Penner of the Colorado Eagles has been named the Sher-Wood/Central Hockey League Goaltender of the Month for the month of December/2008. Penner will receive a Sher-Wood/CHL logoed portable DVD player, courtesy of Sher-Wood, to recognize his accomplishment.

Penner went without a regulation loss in December posting a 7-0-1 record allowing 22 goals. He finished the month with a 2.57 goals against average and a .919 save percentage. The first-year Eagle helped push the Northwest Division leaders past Laredo and Oklahoma City in big games during the final month of 2008. The lone blemish on his record was a shootout loss to the Northeast Division leading Blazers. For the season, the Simcoe, Ontario native leads the CHL with 15 wins and ranks eighth in the league with a 2.55 goals against average and third with a .922 save percentage. The 6-2, 223-pound goaltender’s only regulation loss came all the way back on November 1st at Mississippi.

The Eagles have the highest winning percentage in the CHL at .810 reflecting a 23-5-1 record. They are currently 19 points clear of Rocky Mountain in the Northwest Division and are leading the Northern Conference by five points over the Blazers.

Other players receiving consideration for the Sher-Wood/CHL Goaltender of the Month for December include Arizona’s Marco Emond, Bossier-Shreveport’s Jon Horrell, Corpus Christi’s Kris Tebbs, Laredo’s Ryan Gibbs, Mississippi’s Tyler Sims, Odessa’s Alexandre Vincent, Oklahoma City’s Doug Groenestege, Rapid City’s Miguel Beaudry, Rio Grande Valley’s Christian Boucher, Rocky Mountain’s Scott Reid, Texas’ David Cacciola and Wichita’s Tim Boron.

Sher-Wood CHL Player of the Month
Andrew Penner, Colorado Eagles
Position: Goaltender
(December Totals)
Games – 9
Record – 7-0-1
GAA – 2.57
Save % – .919

Sher-Wood CHL Player of the Month Winners

October – Wylie Rogers, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees
November – Doug Groenestege, Oklahoma City Blazers
December – Andrew Penner, Colorado Eagles

Texas’ Cameron Named Player of the Month

The Central Hockey League announced today that Jordan Cameron of the Texas Brahmas has been named the Sher-Wood/Central Hockey League Player of the Month for the month of December/2008. Cameron will receive a Sher-Wood/CHL logoed portable DVD player, courtesy of Sher-Wood, to recognize his accomplishment.

Cameron had points in 10 of the 13 games he played in the month and was a plus or even in every contest. He finished with nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points, while also registering a game winning goal and two shorthanded goals. The Drayton Valley, Alberta native was very strong in the second half of the month recording six multiple-point games in his last eight played. For the season, the 6-1, 227-pound forward has 28 points (12-16=28) in 21 games and is tied for the team lead with a +10 plus/minus rating.

The Brahmas are in second place in the Southeast Division trailing Laredo by two points and boasting an 18-9-3 record.

Other players receiving consideration for the Sher-Wood/CHL Player of the Month for December include Amarillo’s Joe Guenther, Arizona’s Joel Irving, Colorado’s Greg Pankewicz, Corpus Christi’s Chris Richards and Ryan Bennett, Laredo’s Jeff Bes and Darryl Smith, Mississippi’s Garrett Larson, Odessa’s Sebastien Thinel, Russ Moyer and Dominic Leveille, Oklahoma City’s Brian Passmore, Rio Grande Valley’s Jesse Bennefield and Tulsa’s Jeff Christian.

Sher-Wood CHL Player of the Month
Jordan Cameron, Texas Brahmas
Position: Forward
(December Totals)
Games – 13
Points – 19
Goals – 9
Assists – 10
Plus/Minus – +8

Sher-Wood CHL Player of the Month Winners
October – Rich Hansen, Rapid City Rush
November – Michel Beausoleil, Tulsa Oilers
December – Jordan Cameron, Texas Brahmas