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Tue., Oct. 19, 2010, 9:45 a.m.

Central teams visit Chiefs this week

The Spokane Chiefs face some new blood this week with a pair of Central Division teams coming in, starting with defending Western Hockey League champion Calgary Wednesday. For other WHL news and a little more on the Chiefs, click the tab below.

The Spokane Chiefs took advantage of a week off to notch a 3-1 victory over Everett last Saturday. 

However, even though the Chiefs ended an 0-24 skid on the power play with two goals in eight man-power advantages, coach Don Nachbaur said there is room for improvement.

“Our team structure is decent,” he said. “We still have to improve our skill level, making passes, accepting passes, quick looks, quick releases, shooting. It’s just maturing as hockey players. Right now we have some raw guys and they get better every time we step out on the ice for practice and games.”


The Hitmen are on their U.S. Division swing with a 4-4 record going into a Tuesday game at Tri-City. The Chiefs (3-5-0-0, 6 points) won 3-2 in Calgary last year and before that won two of the three annual games, with all three decided in overtime. Red Deer (8-3-0-0) is here on Saturday.

The Calgary-Tri City game is a rematch of last year's WHL Champship, which the Hitmen won easily to advance to the Memorial Cup, as Annie Fowler points out in the Tri-City Herald.

Nick Patterson has a story on Everett coach Craig Hartsburg facing heart surgery and the Silvertips' reaction.

The East Coast Hockey League season is underway and the Idaho Steelheads, coached by Hardy Sauter, are 1-1. Sauter was let go by the Chiefs last year. If you haven't done so yet, go to the ECHL website and drag your cursor across the teams at the top of the page to check out some of the roadtrips ... makes you think Sauter will miss Everett, Seattle and Portland, maybe even Tri-City, as well as bus rides to Vancouver and Calgary, among others.

Among the notes picked up from Gregg Drinnan's blog that caught my eye:

Vancouver F Marek Tvrdon will be gone for up to six weeks with a dislocated right shoulder. . . . The Saskatoon Blades’ 8-1-0 start is the best in franchise history. According to a release posted on the team’s website, the Blades opened 1985-86 with a 7-1-1 run, while starting 1982-83 at 7-2-0. The latter team set franchise records with 52 victories and 105 points. The Blades are an original, having been in the WHL since 1966-67. . . . D Sena Acolatse of the Prince George Cougars is the WHL’s player of the week. He had 11 points, including three goals, and was plus-8 in three games. . . .  The Portland Winter hawks (8-2-0-1) have 17 points, good for first place in the overall standings. They are 6-1-0 on the road as they begin a six-game homestand against the Everett Silvertips on Wednesday. . . . Portland LW Sven Bartschi leads all freshmen in points (18), goals (8), assists (10), power-play goals (4), game-winning goals (2) and plus/minus (+7). He had four of those goals in two wins in Spokane 10 days ago. ... The Prince George Cougars (here a week from Wednesday), with points in five of their last six games, aren’t content to sit still. They have acquired G Ty Rimmer, 18, from the Brandon Wheat Kings for a sixth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. Rimmer, from Edmonton, was a 14th-round pick in the 2007 draft. He was 2-2-0, 2.77, .902 in four games with Brandon this season. This leaves Prince George with three goaltenders -- James Priestner, 19, as the starter, with Rimmer and Chase Martin, 18, who joined the team last week. Martin, a native of Medicine Hat, was a fifth-round pick by the Spokane Chiefs in 2007. He played last season with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks (9-8-2, 3.33, .896).

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