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Cowen sent down

The Ottawa Senators sent 2009 first-round draft pick Jared Cowen back to the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday afternoon. The Sens’ release is below but it doesn’t say much. Also, the full box from last night’s 6-3 loss at Kootenay.

Chiefs get after it

After a less than stellar effort in their Western Hockey League opener, the Spokane Chiefs, who named their captain on Wednesday, got after it in practice this week. Click here for the story.

Johnson named Chiefs’ captain

Tyler Johnson, a Spokane native, was named captain of the Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday. Fellow 20-year old Levko Koper is an alternate - he was the captain in the season opener when Johnson was sidelined with an injury.

The other two A’s are going to rotate on a game-by-game basis.

This might be the final signal that last year’s captain, defenseman Jared Cowen, won’t be returning. The 2009 No. 1 draft pick of Ottawa is in the Senators’ camp battling for a roster spot. The only option for Cowen,19, is Ottawa or Spokane, with the Senators having to make the decision before the 10th regular-season game.

Chiefs lose 6-3

It wasn’t pretty but then again, there are 71 games to go and after listening to Don Nachbaur after the Spokane Chiefs fell to the Tri-City Americans 6-3 in the Western Hockey League opener, it will get better. Can’t guarantee the results, but I think he just guranteed a better effort.

The story should be here shortly.

Chiefs pre-game

The Tri-City Americans are just about through with the pre-game ceremonies for the season-opening Western Hockey League game.

Needless to say this will be a huge test for the young Spokane Chiefs as the sell-out crowd is pretty amped up with a third-straight Western Division and first-ever Western Conference champion banners being lifted to the rafters.

Though logic says the Chiefs, especially with Tyler Johnson and Brenden Kichton watching from just below me as they sit out with injuries, are out-gunned, the key is going to see the “compete” in the team. We’ll let you know.

Look at WHL’s BC Division

Just in time for tonight’s Western Hockey League openers: The final installment of division capsules with the B.C. Division up today.

The first edition of the WHL radio show is up and includes an interview with the Portland coach.

Our advance to the Spokane Chiefs’ season-opener at Tri-City Saturday night is here

Quick roundup of WHL news.

The Western Hockey League season opens tonight and here are a few tidbits for you until we finish our advance and the B.C. Division capsules.

Another outlet to check up on the Tri-City Americans. Gregg Drinnan’s Western Conference predicitions. Dubnation, a site for serious fans. The WHL launches WHL Live.  The league also provided a Western and Eastern conference preview. Former Chief Mike Reddington has been named captain in Lethbridge.

I’ve seen plenty of stories from around the league. The best place to quickly get to each newspaper is through Alan Caldwell’s blog, Small Thoughts at Large.

New look for Americans

The Tri-City Americans debut their new third jersey on Saturday when the Spokane Chiefs visit to open the Western Hockey League season.Tri-City Americans third jersey         In other news, recently graduated Chiefs’ D-man Jared Spurgeon signed a three-year contract with Minnesota. He should end up in Houston of the AHL. Also, Tyler Johnson is on his way home from the Wild’s camp. That only leaves captain Jared Cowen at a NHL camp and he isn’t expected back for a couple weeks, if at all. Ottawa, a day after thumping Toronto in a preason game, got the tables turned but couldn’t find a story that mentioned Cowen.

Americans or Winterhawks?

The U.S. Division was the toughest in the Western Hockey League last season and there is no reason to think it won’t be difficult again this season.

Tri-City won its third straight title in a tie-breaker with Everett with Spokane in the chase until the final weekend - but it was Portland that led the way most of the season and is getting the most love in preseason polls. The Winterhawks had eight players drafted, two in the top five, and have 10 overall on their roster (to Spokane’s one).

That quartet all finished with more points than B.C. champion Vancouver, although the Giants earned the second seed for the Western Conference playoffs for winning its division.

How will it turn out this season, which gets underway Friday (with the Chiefs opening Saturday at Tri-City)? Check the predicted order of finish below. The story that goes with this is available here.

Chiefs have holes to fill

We ran a story on the Spokane Chiefs’ new look for the Western Hockey League season today (computer issues made it impossible to link yesterday). We’re currently working on a preview of the U.S. Division as well as on-line capsules for each team.

 

A look at WHL’s Central Division

Continuing the team-by-team look at the Western Hockey League, which begins play on Friday, we check out the Central Division, courtesy of the beat reporters (except Edmonton). The Central Division visits the U.S. Division this year, meaning Spokane Chiefs fans can see what remains of Calgary’s championship team (and early visit, Wednesday, Oct. 20).

Cowen, Senators win big

Spokane Chiefs captain Jared Cowen wasn’t mentioned individually but everyone got a pat on the back after Ottawa opened the NHL exhibition season with a 5-0 thrashing of Toronto. There is this Ottawa Citizen blog comment - and by the way, Cowen is wearing No. 2.

Hopefully today there will be some information on the other two Chiefs who have not returned from pro camps, Tyler Johnson (Minnesota) and Blake Gal (Philadelphia). Otherwise, check back for our Central Division capsules later today and our first story on the Chiefs building up to Saturday’s opener at Tri-City.

And an FYI - Spokane is the only team that will not appear on one of the WHL-Shaw TV broadcasts, as broken down on Alan Caldwell’s blog, which, by the way, points out the league’s website, and therefore the teams’ websites, a new look rolled out recently, is woefully lacking at the moment.

WHL E. Division preview

The Spokane Chiefs make the long trek through the Eastern Division of the Western Hockey League early this season - starting the last weekend of November. It could be a difficult journey with stops in Brandon and Moose Jaw - which is in the final season of its old “Crushed Can” arena, but Regina and Saskatoon aren’t expected to be very strong.

Below is the team-by-team report, as shared by WHL beat writers.

Cowen focused at Senators’ camp

It appears Jared Cowen will start the season - well, at least the Western Hockey League season - in the National Hockey League.

The Spokane Chiefs captain, Ottawa’s No. 1 draft pick in 2009, has moved up the ladder in the Senator’s training camp because of an early injury. That information comes from Greg Drinnan’s blog and is posted below. Cowen can play nine regular-season games with the Senators, who play their first preseason game tonight, before he has to stay up as a 19-year old. Cowen is expected to at least be with Ottawa for all eight of the Sens’ preseason games, which go through Oct. 2, which is the date of the Chiefs’ home-opener.

And just like that, the Chiefs are down two defensemen since Brenden Kichton was injured while in Detroit’s camp.

I am currently in the process of putting together the short scouting reports the WHL beat writers have put together. They’ll appear here this week, starting with the Eastern Division today, finishing up with the U.S. Division on Friday when the WHL opens. Check back later today.

Chiefs off to Tri-City next

Not sure how to spell exactly what Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur said about his first trip back to Tri-City.

True, it’s only an exhibition game - or games, Thursday vs. Lethbridge, Saturday vs. the Americans - but his response was, “Arg.” Sounded a lot like a Pirate.

For the rest of his response, check out the notebook that also takes a look back at the first three exhibition games of the Nachbaur era.

I would also like to direct you to Gregg Drinnan’s blog to find out how an OHL team ended up at the Everett tournament last weekend.

Chiefs reassign four players

After four days of training camp, capped by the intrasquad game on Sunday, the Spokane Chiefs sent half of the 70 players home.

After two more days of practice they reassigned four more players, which means 31 players are headed for three games in three days at Everett beginning Friday afternoon.

 

Chiefs win, lose in shoot-out

Returning players make a good showing as the Spokane Chiefs wrapped up training camp with their Red-White scrimmage. All six goals were scored by veterans before the Western Hockey League team decided the game, played before more than 2,600 fans, at the Arena Sunday afternoon. Click here for the story.

Chief veterans ready to step up

A couple of Spokane Chiefs veterans know there are opportunities to play a big role in the upcoming Western Hockey League season but they also know they have to earn the opportunity. The story is here.

 

Nachbaur ready for first Chiefs’ camp

Don Nachbaur has many years of service in the Western Hockey League as a player and coach but heading into his first training camp as coach of the Spokane Chiefs he’s wiping the slate clean for all players. Here is the story.

Chiefs open camp Thursday

The Spokane Chiefs veterans are in town and going through fitness testing as we write. Rookies report Wednesday and the Western Hockey League team’s training camp begins Thursday. The Red-White game is Sunday afternoon at 1. (As soon as I get the rosters I’ll post or link them.)

To celebrate the return of hockey, a couple of notes on former Chiefs are below.

Spokane Chiefs outdoor game official

The Spokane Chiefs unviel the Rockstar Outdoor Hockey Classic, a Western Hockey League game against Kootenay at Avista Stadium on Jan. 15, 2011. Click here for the story.

 

Spokane Chiefs to play outdoor game

The Spokane Chiefs will become the second Western Hockey League team to announce an outdoor game for the 2010-11 season but it will be the first outdoor game for the league. They also made a trade on Tuesday. Read more here.

Rivalry gets boost

The not-so-surprising hire of Don Nachbaur adds spice to the Western Hockey League rivalry between the Spokane Chiefs and his former employer, the Tri-City Americans, as John Blanchette’s column points out.

No surprise, Chiefs introduce Don Nachbaur

Don Nachbaur is the new face of the Spokane Chiefs, no surprise, but the Western Hockey League team made it official Wednesday afternoon. Click here for the story.

Nachbaur will coach Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs will have a press conference at the Arena this afternoon to introduce veteran Western Hockey League coach Don Nachbaur as their new coach, according sources. Read story here.

One source said the Chiefs would give the former Tri-City and Seattle coach an unprecedented five-year contract.

Nachbaur to Chiefs premature

Spokane Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz denied reports that former Tri-City Americans coach Don Nachbaur has been hired to coach the Western Hockey League team.

According to veteran reporter Gregg Drinnan in Kamloops, citing two sources, Nachbaur is all but signed to replace Hardy Sauter.

“It could be right but it’s not now,”  Speltz said Wednesday morning.  ”We do not have a deal done with Don Nachbaur.

“I talked to Don yesterday. By all means, he’s a candidate for sure. He’s in Vegas, we talked, we’re going to talk. He’s a valid candidate, a very accomplished coach.”