On good thing that happens when the Spokane Chiefs venture to Kamloops for a Western Hockey League game is that in addition to a good game story from WHL guru Gregg Drinnan, there is also bonus coverage. Read about that and much more below.
In this case, to go with the story about the Chiefs' 4-3 shootout win, Drinnan writes that Spokane coach Don Nachbaur considered coaching the Blazers a few years back. The Chiefs also add a player and get a critical goal from him in his first game.
As long as you're at it, check out Drinnan's post about access to WHL players, especially the response it received. There are multiple ways to look at this and would be happy to start a conversation here if anyone is interested.
The Chiefs made it official between road games, Jared Cowen, back from the Ottawa Senators, returns to his role as captain, with Tyler Johnson giving up the C just a week after a much ballyhooed announcement the local boy was living the dream as captain of the hometown team. The Chiefs were pretty much convinced Cowen wouldn't be back but it sure seems that waiting a little bit to make sure would have made more sense than to make a big deal out of Johnson's new role only to have it change after just one home game. Feel free to make your feelings known.
Alan Caldwell's blog has a statistical breakdown of all WHL rosters ... with the Chiefs boasting the heaviest player but despite their claims, are not the youngest. ... Was going to link to a Lethbridge story on D-man Landon Oslanski, traded by the Chiefs a year ago, but you have to subscribe to the Herald so Dale Woodard's story is pasted below.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs play Portland at home twice this weekend. Friday is the first Family Night, plus a new jersey will be revealed. More interesting, however, is how the games play out. Portland knocked the Chiefs out of the first round of the playoffs last year, winning all four games in Spokane, including Game 7 in shocking overtime. Afterwards, Portland had 8 players drafted - and all but one are back - while no Chiefs got picked. Should be a fascinating weekend.
Swedish forward Casper Carning, 19, decided to return home after just six games (and two assists) with the Vancouver Giants. Their other import, 17-year-old Slovak Marek Tvrdon, had four goals in six games. … After starting 4-0, Tri-City lost to
The early-season scoop on the Lethbridge Hurricanes blue-line is the returnees from last year have a little more confidence in their step.
As part of the youth movement on the ’Canes blue-line, Landon Oslanski is doing his part to add to that swagger.
“It’s all about confidence and with confidence it really (shows) in your game,” said Oslanski Wednesday afternoon as the Hurricanes wrapped up practice at the Enmax in anticipation of their home-opener against the Prince George Cougars Friday night.
Joining a group of second-year defencemen that also includes Daniel Johnston and Reid Jackson, Hurricanes head coach Rich Preston made it clear he expected more from the trio this season.
Those expectations were amplified Tuesday when the ’Canes dealt 19-year-old defenceman Brennan Yadlowski to the Everett Silvertips for a pair of draft picks.
With the departure of Yadlowski comes more responsibility for Oslanski, said Preston.
“In every situation. He’s an 18-year-old and (had) his first year as a 17-year-old. He was a rookie last year just like Reid Jackson. So they’ve got a year under their belt and you expect them to get better every game.”
And the six-foot, 190-pound defenceman who hails from Camrose accepts the challenge.
“It’s going to give me a really good opportunity,” said Oslanski. “It’s going to open up a lot of power-play time for me and for other guys also, like Reid (Jackson) and Johnny (Daniel Johnston). I’m going to have to step up my game a bit.”
Judging by Oslanski’s off-season regiment, he already has, said Preston.
“It started in the summer, you could tell. His conditioning, foot speed and leg strength, he improved in all of those. You can see he’s a quicker hockey player out there. If you can get quicker on the ice you’re so much better. He’s quicker to pucks and shoots the puck as well as any of our defencemen. He’s got good offensive instincts.”
That’s been reflected on the scoresheet with Oslanski almost a third of the way to matching last season’s 13-point outing.
In five game this season, Oslanski has four assists.
“I was an offensive guy before,” said Oslanski. “But confidence comes with the time you play in the league.”