Saturday, September 25, 2010

Back up and running

If you tried to visit the blog earlier today, you probably got a message saying it had been removed.

To my disbelief, I got that same message just after lunch when I came to the site. My first thought was maybe I had violated the Blogger terms of use in some way, but I couldn't remember anything like that. Finally I decided to log into my Blogger account and try to reach the blog from my dashboard.

I got a message saying there had been "suspicious activity" in my account and that I had to verify that it was actually me. The only option was to have Google make an automated phone call with a code that I had to enter on the site. A few minutes later and voila, blog was up again.

My guess is someone hacked my account and Blogger shut down my blog as a precaution. From looking at my logs, there were no visits between 1:03 a.m. and 1:46 p.m., when the site was re-activated.

I'd like to know what the suspicious activity was.


On a happier note, the local celebrities pulled off a comeback to defeat the Klippers 12-10 yesterday on Main St. We were down 10-9 late in the game but managed to tie things up. Then Brenden Ullrich scored the go-ahead goal (I think Justin Gerwing was in goal at that point) and we added a last-second empty netter to seal our second straight Goose Festival win. I managed two or three assists despite playing with a right-handed twig.

We couldn't have done it without a phenomenal performance from our young goaltender Tristin McBain, who made some unbelievable point-blank stops.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The end of the beginning

With the Klippers' 5-4 loss in Yorkton last night, they have officially ended the season-opening road trip forced by the fire at the West Central Events Centre.

Could they have done better in their first four games? Absolutely. They were in full control of the La Ronge game until Andrew Dommett got crunched, and they blew a pair of two-goal leads last night in Yorkton.

That said, there's nothing wrong with going .500 on the road, much less without your captain for 2 1/2 of those games.

Now the team gets a full week off to log some time in their brand new fitness room at the WCEC and get ready for the grand re-opening on Oct. 2, when they play the Battlefords North Stars in their home opener.

It sounds like Larry Wintoneak tried a number of players with Calkins and Adamyk last night and also juggled some other lines, so we'll have to wait and see what he comes up with a week from now.

Ryan Benn, Kiley Long and Tanner Kissick all saw their first action of the season on the Melville/Yorkton trip, so every player on the roster has now featured in at least one game. Dommett's injury means there will likely only be one cut up front for now, but I expect it to be made in the coming week.

Before their week off, though, the Klippers must face a team of local "celebrities" (so they tell us) in a street hockey game today on Main Street. The annual Goose Festival game kicks off at 5:30.

I had told Dommer in training camp that I was going to fight him this year, to follow up on my bout with Wintoneak last year. Since that won't happen, I'll have to pick on someone else.

Rumours are swirling that Taylor Duzan will get the start in goal. His team better hope he's a better tender than right fielder.

I can't wait to see how the Klippers try to cheat this year. Last year they made us wear the black jerseys in sweltering 32-degree heat, while playing uphill. Referee Rod Perkins finally found it in his heart to give us the downhill slope halfway through, but we had to keep the blacks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Klips win in Melville

You gotta give this team credit. With no Dommett, no Wasden, no Down and no Haaf they managed to come out flying tonight in Melville and hung on for a 4-2 win.

I didn't go on the trip (last weekend was the exception, not the rule) but judging from the game sheet, it was a solid night for the Calkins and Hoffman lines.

Beau Taylor was placed with Calkins and Adamyk, and he came through with the second goal of the game along with an assist on the insurance goal late in the third. Calkins had two assists.

Beau's a great kid and I'm happy for him to get this opportunity on the top line. He's still improving after moving to Western Canada from Australia at age 14, and this is a big chance for him to take his game to the next level. I know his mom Joni and the rest of his family in Australia must be pretty proud of him.

Taylor Duzan stepped up with two goals, the first and last ones of the game. Ryan Benn dressed for the first time this season and scored what turned out to be the game winner early in the second period.

Pearce Gourley and Justin Gerwing both dressed tonight. Kiley Long and Tanner Kissick were the scratches. I thought maybe Kissick would be dressed because only five D's were available and he's played back there before, but Larry just went with the five like he said yesterday.

Shots on goal were 40-28 for the Klippers, including 17-6 in the first. They sure came out flying. Scotty Hellyer made 26 saves.

The three stars were Taylor Duzan, Michael Desjarlais and Johnny Calkins in that order.

Braeden Adamyk sits atop the SJHL scoring race after three games with a goal and seven points. Ex-Klipper Travis Eggum is right behind with six points.

Tomorrow night the Klippers are at Farrell Agencies Arena in Yorkton to face the Terriers (1-1). I believe they're staying in Yorkton tonight. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Final note: Andrew Dommett is now at home in Major recovering from his injury. It's nice to see him out of the hospital. The Klippers are hoping to have him back by early December at this point.

Klippers lose Dommett indefinitely in loss to La Ronge

of The Clarion

The season-opening road trip started so well for the Kindersley Klippers. It only took a split-second for it to turn into a nightmare.

With the Klippers leading the La Ronge Ice Wolves 2-0 late in the first period Sunday night, captain Andrew Dommett took a sickening hit to the head in front of the La Ronge net that will have major repercussions for himself and his team.

Dommett broke his jaw on both sides and lost several teeth from the attack by Ice Wolves forward Justin Ducharme, who received five and a game and will surely face a suspension. -written before the suspensions were announced

Linemate Johnny Calkins responded by going after Ducharme and a donnybrook ensued in the corner. When the dust settled, the blindside hit gave La Ronge a seven-minute power play, most of it on a 5-on-3.

The home side scored four goals over that span and never looked back en route to a 9-6 victory.

Literally adding insult to injury was the fact that former Klipper Travis Eggum scored a hat trick.

Dommett had scored twice, including the game-winner, in a 7-6 victory over the Battlefords North Stars the previous night. He also had a goal Sunday before getting clocked.

“From what I saw, it was a late, blindside, chicken (expletive) hit,” Calkins said on Monday. “It was one of those hits you don’t want to see happen to anyone, let alone a guy on your team. You don’t want to see that in hockey whatsoever. It was ugly.

“He’s not the type of kid to lay there when he’s not hurt, so I knew something major was wrong,” Calkins added. “He’s more than a teammate to me, he’s my best friend and I’d do anything for him. I lost my cool, and it became personal.

“When a 19-year-old kid who has not very much experience in our league does something like that to the leading goal scorer in the league, something’s not right there and something needs to be done.”

Calkins was escorted to the penalty box after the fracas, but said he lost his mind when he saw the La Ronge bench laughing at his fallen linemate. At that point, he was kicked out of the game and headed straight to the hospital.

“That’s no class, no respect. That whole organization should be embarrassed,” he fumed.

Klippers head coach Larry Wintoneak was more reserved in his comments in order to avoid league fines, but he, too, was livid about the incident.

“It bothers me the way it happened. I could see if it was a real good hit, but it was a dirty hit. To me, it was a blatant blow to the head. To me that’s a match penalty, but that’s where I, as a GM, have to make some calls and get him on tape and let the league take care of it.

“The bottom line is the league has to address hits to the head.”

Calkins said Dommett was in good spirits at the hospital, which was more than Calkins himself could muster.

“I had a tough enough time with it,” said the centre. “I just don’t understand how he’s so positive about it.
“I hope (Ducharme) woke up this morning and felt terrible for what he did.”

As of Monday, Dommett’s jaw had not yet been wired and he was slated to see several specialists to determine whether plates need to be inserted. Until that is decided, it’s not known how much time he will miss.

By the time the lengthy La Ronge power play ended, they were leading 4-2. The Klippers did make a game of it, but losing two-thirds of their top line took its toll.

“You lose a few guys in a hurry like that, it had an effect on us mentally more than anything,” said Wintoneak. “I think the wheels fell off and we allowed them to get themselves back in the game.”

Ducharme may be public enemy number one, but referee Kyle Paulsen isn’t far behind for the Klippers. He also worked Saturday’s game in North Battleford and the penalties were lopsided in the opponents’ favour on both nights.

The general sentiment around the team Sunday was that La Ronge had been rewarded for the illegal hit and won the game by spending nearly six minutes with a two-man advantage.

“That was the difference in the hockey game because 5-on-5 we can play with this team and there’s no doubt in my mind,” said Wintoneak.

“I don’t think it was fair, but that’s as far as I can comment.”

Aside from Dommett, the Klippers’ other goals Sunday came from Jesse Mysiorek, Braeden Adamyk, Taylor Duzan, Beau Taylor and Tanner Exner.

Along with Eggum’s hat trick - all on the seven-minute power play - La Ronge got markers from Justin Remillard, Marc-Andre Carre, Doug Lindensmith, Richard Cameron, Nolan Souchotte, and Aaron Enns with an empty-netter.

Wintoneak said his focus early this week would be making a case to the league for disciplinary action, then looking at what changes to make with Dommett out of the line-up.

Adamyk and Sanfred King were put together after the hit and showed some chemistry.

Left winger Justin Gerwing and defenceman David Haaf each played their first SJHL game Sunday. Haaf fought Lindensmith during the first period donnybrook and was ejected.

Saturday in North Battleford

Dommett wasn’t the first casualty of the weekend. Defenceman Riley Down injured his shoulder after falling awkwardly in the first period of Saturday’s 7-6 win over Battlefords. He returned to Kindersley for X-rays.

After a sluggish start, the Klippers spotted the Stars a one-goal lead before Kurt Leedahl found the back of the net twice in the final two minutes of the first period.

Dommett scored a power play goal midway through the second, but the North Stars potted three in the period to take a 4-3 lead.

Six goals were scored in a wild third period, four of them for Kindersley. King and Adamyk traded goals with the home side and Brett Penner scored his first SJHL goal in front of his family, from nearby Medstead, on a wrister just under the bar.

With the game tied 6-6 in the final minute, a lucky bounce saw the puck on Dommett’s stick with half the net to shoot at, securing the two points with 27.4 seconds left.

“The defenceman had it in the corner and me and (Adamyk) knew he was going to try to shoot it out, so we kind of started backing out,” said Dommett in what would be his last interview for quite some time.

“He shot it and Adsy baseball swung it and the puck hit his stick and went right to me. I gloved it and set it down. I knew the rookie goalie wouldn’t be too ready, so I tried to go top shelf on him and fortunately I did.”

The Battlefords goal scorers were Colin Phaneuf, Cade Kimery, Shayne Morrissey, Brett Miller, Shay Neufeld and Tim Rollins.

“You look ahead to February and we’re not going to remember how ugly this one was. It’s a win,” said Wintoneak.

King was outstanding on Saturday, scoring a crucial goal in the third period and adding two assists. His broken femur has fully healed and it showed.

“It’s a pretty traumatic thing to happen to you and it’s nice to be playing hockey again,” he said. “I have more confidence now and knowing my leg’s 100 per cent gives me that extra little boost.

Forwards Penner and Pearce Gourley, along with defender Jeff Bartel, were the rookies in the line-up.

With 16 forwards on the trip, Ryan Benn, Kiley Long and Tanner Kissick did not dress for either game.

The Klippers are back on the road this week for games tonight in Melville and Thursday in Yorkton.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sean Flanagan invited to Team West training camp

The Klipper news keeps coming down the pipe this afternoon.

Hockey Canada has just announced the 41-man roster for the Team West training camp next Monday and Tuesday in Penticton, B.C. The final roster for the World Junior A Challenge in November will be picked from this group.

Klippers defenceman Sean Flanagan is one of 12 defencemen going to camp. He's on the Team White roster.

The invite should come as no surprise. Hockey Canada scouts watched Flanagan play in two pre-season games and have been in touch with the 18-year-old from Kindersley.

Flanagan is the second Klipper in as many years to be invited to Team West camp. Last year, Braeden Adamyk got the call but, with spots limited for 19-year-olds, didn't make the team.

Larry Wintoneak is the head coach for Team West, of course, but he doesn't have any input into which players are invited to camp. That's up to the scouts, including head scout Leonard Strandberg, and general manager Rylan Ferster.

Wintoneak's reaction to suspensions/fine

The Klippers are busy moving their fitness equipment into their new room today, but Larry Wintoneak took a couple of minutes to talk about the disciplinary action his team received today as a result of Sunday's incident.

The suspension to David Haaf and the $500 team fine for his fight with Doug Lindensmith (the second on the same stoppage) are automatic punishments laid out by the new Junior A Supplement:

7.1 Two Fights on the Same Stoppage ‐ When two fights occur during the same stoppage of play, players involved in the second fight shall be subjected to an automatic suspension.

• If there is no instigator in the second fight – each player is suspended 1 game.
If there is an instigator in the second fight – the instigating player is suspended a minimum of 2 games and the team is fined $500.00. The non‐instigating player shall not be suspended.

The two-game suspension to Taylor Wasden for his hit late in the second period was apparently based on the amount of force applied to the head of the La Ronge player when he hit the boards.

"What I was told is it was the force of the hit and that’s why they suspended him," said Wintoneak. "Sometimes when you get hit to the head, it’s not always a suspension. We had questioned (Dayton) Fossum’s hit on (Jesse) Mysiorek and were told there wasn’t enough force. On Wasden’s, there was enough (for a suspension)."

The Fossum hit, by the way, occurred when Mysiorek did not have the puck and led to the fight between Fossum and Lance Tabin. Both got 10-minute misconducts.

As for the indefinite suspension to Justin Ducharme, Wintoneak said he's satisfied with what has been done so far. He said the length of time Dommett misses will have an impact on how long Ducharme's suspension is.

"I spent pretty much the whole day yesterday emailing and discussing it with the disciplinary management committee. We’re going to lose Andrew probably for 30 games ... I think that’s part of it, absolutely. The severity of the injury and length of time for his recovery."

With only five defencemen on the roster for the next two games (Riley Down will be out for some time), the Klippers will stick with those five - Leedahl, Flanagan, Sonntag, Tabin, Bartel - in Melville and Yorkton.

Wintoneak also wanted to shoot down any notion that Ice Wolves coach Bob Beatty may have had something to do with the incident Sunday.

"I’ve known Bob Beatty for many years and he’s in the same mold as me. I’m sure he’s not happy with what happened with the hit. I sure don’t think he’s sending anybody out there to hurt anybody. That’s not him.

"Bob’s been in this game a long time and I know the way he coaches. There’s no way he’d do something like that.

"Our problem was the fans and players laughing at Andrew. That part will stick in a lot of people’s minds, including myself. That won’t go away."

All that said, Wintoneak says the team won't dwell on the loss of their captain and has to move forward.

"Andrew Dommett’s situation is done. We’re not discussing it any more. It’s just like the fire. It’s over and we’re going to move on."

SJHL comes down hard on Ducharme and Klippers

The SJHL has ruled on the incidents that took place Sunday in La Ronge.

Justin Ducharme has been suspended indefinitely for his hit on Andrew Dommett pending "further documentation and investigation by the league," according to the transactions page on the SJHL website.

David Haaf and Taylor Wasden have both been suspended for two games, meaning they will miss games in Melville and Yorkton Wednesday and Thursday.

Haaf's suspension was for instigating a multiple fight and Wasden's was for a blow to the head.

Furthermore, the Klippers were fined $500 for instigating multiple fights.

I'm sure the organization isn't pleased, given the incident that preceded the fights, but I'll try to contact Larry Wintoneak today and get his thoughts on the matter.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Calkins lets off some steam

I talked to Johnny Calkins about last night's incident not long ago. He's still pretty upset over the whole thing, and you can't blame him.

Here's what he had to say.

On the hit:

"I had the puck on the wall, their D came to me, Dommett was open in the slot and I passed to him. He shot it and then he was watching his shot. From what I saw, it was a late, blindside chicken s*** hit. It was one of those hits you don’t want to see happen to anyone, let alone a guy on your team. You don’t want to see that in hockey whatsoever. It was ugly.

"I just looked back and saw him lying on the ice. He’s not the type of kid to lie there when he’s not hurt, so I knew something major was wrong. He’s more than a teammate to me, he’s my best friend and I’d do anything for him. I lost my cool, and it became personal."

On going after Ducharme:

"I knew what I was getting into when I did it. I knew I‘d get an instigator. That didn’t cross my mind, I didn’t think twice. Anybody else on my team would have done the same thing. There wasn’t any question on what I was doing. There’s a point in hockey when it becomes personal.

"When a 19-year-old kid who has not very much experience in our league does something like that to the leading goal scorer in the league, something’s not right there and something needs to be done."

"Their team was laughing at Dommer when he was skating off the ice. That’s what really got me going in the penalty box. That’s no class, no respect. That whole organization should be embarrassed. It’s just a lack of respect."

On seeing Dommett in the La Ronge hospital:

"It was a rough night for me. I went to the hospital and saw him. He was so positive when I walked in. He put his hand up for me to shake his hand, and I couldn’t even do it. It was tough to see him like that.

"I had a tough enough time with it. I just don’t understand how he’s so positive about it.

"It just depends (recovery time). He’s seeing so many different specialists today (Monday). He hasn’t even got his jaw wired shut yet. It just depends whether they have to put plates in it. It broke on both sides."

On how this affects the Klippers:

"It’s going to be tough. You can’t replace a kid like that. We’ve battled lots of adversity, though. Last year we lost our barn. We’ve got a lot of older guys who can step in and hopefully play a bigger role. We have enough leaders that hopefully can pick up the slack. Personally, with me and Adamyk, it’s going to be hard because we played together for over a year. I’m sure whatever line combinations Larry has will be the right ones.

"There’s some upset people ... You can’t do that. It is personal now. You don’t do that."

"I hope that kid woke up this morning and felt terrible for what he did. It’s tough for (Dommett) in his 20-year-old year. You don’t want to see that."

La Ronge visits Kindersley on Oct. 9. If you have plans for that night, you might want to break them.

A small bit of good news.

After the game last night there was some question as to whether Johnny Calkins had broken his hand when he fought Ducharme after the hit on Dommett. I just spoke with him and he said the hand is good to go.

It's going to be enough of a challenge for the Klips playing without Dommett - they sure didn't need Calkins hurt for a few weeks at the same time.

Dommett is currently in hospital in Saskatoon. I've heard he also sustained a concussion. Let's hope it's not a severe one since that could ultimately be more serious than the broken jaw.

Johnny is going to call me back in an hour to talk about what happened last night. I'll have his comments up later today.

Klippers lose Dommett in a gong show up north

I just got back to Kindersley and I have to go to bed, but the Klippers lost Andrew Dommett indefinitely in tonight's 9-6 loss in La Ronge. He took a brutal hit to the head from Justin Ducharme in front of the Ice Wolves net late in the first period. He has a broken jaw and maybe more, I'm not sure, but he'll be out for a while.

After the hit, Johnny Calkins jumped Ducharme sticking up for his friend and linemate and things became pretty much an all-out brawl. At the same time, David Haaf started a fight with Doug Lindensmith in front of the La Ronge bench. As they moved closer to the bench, at least half a dozen players started punching Haaf. That's real class right there.

Out of all this, La Ronge gets a seven-minute major power play, most of it a 5-on-3. They scored four goals over the next five minutes (Klips had been leading 2-0).

Want to guess who reffed this game?

Kyle Paulsen.

Makes you wonder if Larry ever stole his lunch money.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Post-Game Stuff

Here we are at the Prince Albert Inn. First things first: Riley Down has gone back to Kindersley to have x-rays done on his shoulder, which he injured when he fell awkwardly in his own zone during the first period. It doesn't sound good. David Haaf will take his spot in the line-up against La Ronge.

I spoke with Larry Wintoneak as well as Sanfred King and Andrew Dommett after the game. Probably won't be able to get the audio up until we get back on Monday, but I can give you some tidbits.

Larry said we shouldn't expect to see much change in the forward line-up against the Ice Wolves. He basically said the players who dressed tonight have earned their opportunity until further notice. I'd expect to see the last two cuts made early this week.

Kinger had a goal and two assists tonight and said he felt great, that he had his game back. His line soaked up a ton of ice tonight and if he continues to play like this, he'll become a major go-to guy up front.

I asked Dommett about why he always seems to bring his best game against the Stars. He said there were a couple tricks he didn't want to share, although for him it's mainly the motivation of playing a huge rival. On the winning goal (paraphrasing): "Adamyk tried to hit it with a baseball swing and it bounced to me and I figured the goalie wouldn't be able to get over in time."

Other thoughts from the Klippers' 7-6 win in the season opener:

  • It took some time for the big line to get their timing down, but once they did they were a force. By the time the second period rolled around, it was like they picked up from last year's playoffs, moving the puck effortlessly because they knew exactly where each guy was. Although Colin Phaneuf stood out for the Stars, I felt the Calkins line outplayed Battleford's top line as a unit.
  • It was a pretty good night for the fourth line too. Brett Penner scored his first SJHL goal in front of his family (from nearby Medstead) and it was a hell of a shot. I had to double-check to make sure it wasn't Dommett. Penner flew down the right side and unleashed a pinpoint short side wrister that beat Sirard over the shoulder and just under the bar. The Stars also held Penner's rights for quite some time, so it had to be satisfying for him. Beau Taylor and Taylor Wasden also looked great and the unit seemed to gel pretty quickly, especially since Beau was playing the left side and Penner is still getting used to playing at centre.
  • Kurt Leedahl was a horse, especially after Down got hurt in the first. The SJ doesn't track ice time, but I'm positive he was over 30 minutes. He was with Flanagan most of the time, but also spent some time with Tabin and the odd shift with Sonntag. Flanagan probably played more minutes than he did in any game last season and it didn't seem to affect him as the night went on. Jeff Bartel was impressive, making some sound decisions with the puck and showing a willingness to join the rush. He sure didn't look out of place in his first SJ game.
  • Scott Hellyer may have allowed six goals, but he also made some huge saves and shut the door when he had to. Sirard allowed seven and the two points is the stat that matters.