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43 WHL players highlight NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings

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Marc Smith/Larry Brunt/Dave Brunner

Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today 43 WHL players have been listed by NHL Central Scouting in its midterm rankings in advance of the 2018 NHL Draft, scheduled for June 22-23 in Dallas, Texas.

Heading the list is defenceman Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta. / Spokane Chiefs), who is ranked 14th among North American skaters. Joining Smith in the top 31 are defencemen Jett Woo (20th – Winnipeg, Man. / Moose Jaw Warriors) and Alexander Alexeyev (26th – St. Petersburg, Russia / Red Deer Rebels).

Including Smith, Woo and Alexeyev, a total of 18 WHL defencemen land in the midterm rankings. Defencemen Calen Addison (34th – Brandon, Man. / Lethbridge Hurricanes) and Filip Kral (52nd – Bransko, Czech Rep. / Spokane Chiefs) also landed in the top 60.

Centers Milos Roman (40th – Kysucke Nove Mesto, Slovakia / Vancouver Giants) and Kyle Topping (64th – Salt Spring Island, B.C. / Kelowna Rockets) rank highest among the 22 WHL forwards listed, while Joel Hofer (sixth ­– Winnipeg, Man. / Swift Current Broncos), David Tendeck (eighth – North Vancouver, B.C. / Vancouver Giants) and Duncan McGovern (22nd – Winnipeg, Man. / Kootenay ICE) land among ranked goaltenders from North America.

The Vancouver Giants lead all WHL clubs with five players ranked. In addition to Roman and Tendeck, forwards James Malm (176th – Langley, B.C.) and Alex Kannok-Leippart (190th – Regina, Sask.) along with defenceman Dylan Plouffe (208th – Sherwood Park, Alta.) find a place on the NHL radar.

The Calgary Hitmen and Red Deer Rebels sit just behind the Giants, each with four players named in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings. The Brandon Wheat Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors each boast three players.

Of the 43 WHL players listed in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings, eight will participate in the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects game, scheduled for Thursday, January 25 (5 p.m. MT), in Guelph, Ont. Included among those eight is Smith of the Chiefs, who will captain Team Orr. The Giants’ Roman had previously been named to the annual outing, but will miss due to injury.

At the 2017 NHL Draft, a total of 33 WHL players were selected, including seven in the first round.

2018 NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING MIDTERM RANKINGS (NORTH AMERICA) – WHL SKATERS

Midterm RankPlayerHeightWeightPositionAmateur Club
14SMITH, TY5′ 10″176DEFENSEMANSPOKANE
20WOO, JETT6′ 0″205DEFENSEMANMOOSE JAW
26ALEXEYEV, ALEXANDER6′ 3″200DEFENSEMANRED DEER
34ADDISON, CALEN5′ 10″179DEFENSEMANLETHBRIDGE
40ROMAN, MILOS6′ 0″188CENTERVANCOUVER
52KRAL, FILIP6′ 1″171DEFENSEMANSPOKANE
64TOPPING, KYLE5′ 11″185CENTERKELOWNA
72SUTTER, RILEY6′ 3″205RIGHT WINGEVERETT
78FONSTAD, COLE5′ 10″157CENTERPRINCE ALBERT
79YERYOMENKO, VLADISLAV6′ 0″185DEFENSEMANCALGARY
80REICHEL, KRISTIAN6′ 1″167CENTERRED DEER
88STOTTS, RILEY6′ 0″168CENTERCALGARY
89BURZAN, LUKA6′ 0″185CENTERBRANDON
93FLORCHUK, ERIC6′ 1″174CENTERSASKATOON
95LEPPARD, JACKSON6′ 1″200LEFT WINGPRINCE GEORGE
97PECKFORD, RYAN6′ 0″191LEFT WINGMOOSE JAW
100ZAMULA, EGOR6′ 2″160DEFENSEMANCALGARY
103WOUTERS, CHASE6′ 0″177CENTERSASKATOON
107LUDVIG, JOHN6′ 0″186DEFENSEMANPORTLAND
110ZABRANSKY, LIBOR6′ 1″190DEFENSEMANKELOWNA
125ALMEIDA, JUSTIN5′ 9″158CENTERMOOSE JAW
142MINULIN, ARTYOM6′ 2″201DEFENSEMANSWIFT CURRENT
144STUART, BRODI5′ 10″167LEFT WINGKAMLOOPS
156BARTEAUX, DAWSON6′ 0″180DEFENSEMANRED DEER
160CHYZOWSKI, RYAN6′ 0″183LEFT WINGMEDICINE HAT
164REINHARDT, COLE6′ 0″203LEFT WINGBRANDON
166KEMP, BRETT6′ 0″162CENTEREDMONTON
169GINNELL, BRAD6′ 0″172CENTERKOOTENAY
170JOHNSON, ISAAC6′ 2″186LEFT WINGTRI-CITY
176MALM, JAMES5′ 8″164CENTERVANCOUVER
179WYLIE, WYATTE6′ 0″190DEFENSEMANEVERETT
181HARTJE, CHASE6′ 0″190DEFENSEMANBRANDON
184MCLEOD, WYATT6′ 2″182DEFENSEMANEDMONTON
188HARSCH, REECE6′ 3″196DEFENSEMANSEATTLE
190KANNOK-LEIPERT, ALEX5′ 11″193LEFT WINGVANCOUVER
193OKSANEN, EMIL6′ 0″185LEFT WINGREGINA
200FOCHT, CARSON6′ 0″178CENTERCALGARY
203HERAUF, JACOB6′ 0″181DEFENSEMANRED DEER
208PLOUFFE, DYLAN6′ 0″194DEFENSEMANVANCOUVER
216ONYEBUCHI, MONTANA6′ 3″205DEFENSEMANKAMLOOPS


2018 NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING MIDTERM RANKINGS (NORTH AMERICA) – WHL GOALTENDERS

For the complete list, CLICK HERE.

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Alex Ovechkin’s hit should get a review from the NHL

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Friday night’s game between the Canadiens and Capitals was a very fast-paced and entertaining affair. The Habs had one of their best performances of the year, but unfortunately there was one negative moment that I feel needs to be singled out.

Alex Ovechkin came off his feet to hammer Jonathan Drouin, and it was quite disgusting.

Claude Julien said after the game that he didn’t feel there was contact with the head. I’d argue that there is, but it wasn’t the primary point of contact, so you can’t really judge it as targeting the head.

What it is, however, is a blatant charge.

He very clearly comes off his feet to hit a defenseless player. He isn’t egregiously late, but the puck isn’t on Drouin’s stick by the time he makes contact either, so he’s gaining no advantage possession-wise. At any rate, it’s a textbook charge, and inexplicably went uncalled by the officials at the time.

The official in the half-piston spot inside the Capitals zone should be embarrassed that he didn’t make the call. He’s literally staring at it. I’m stunned that he could watch that happen and think it was okay. I’d love to hear him explain how it isn’t a penalty, because he shouldn’t be allowed to officiate another hockey game at any level if he even tries to defend that no-call.

Let’s hear from the man himself, who thought it necessary to defend the hit by reminding us all that hockey is not the same as dancing.

Gee, Alexander, thanks for reminding me I didn’t accidentally put Black Swan on my television. You’re definitely not a ballerina, but you broke the rules of hockey with that hit, plain and simple.

A good example of a hockey play would be the goal you scored in the third. When it comes to your hit on Drouin, you come off your feet to obliterate a defenseless player. Hits are supposed to be an effort to take possession of the puck from the recipient, which you obviously can’t do when you fly through the air for said hit and end up landing on top of the recipient.

It’s a hockey play only in the sense that it happened in a hockey game. That is you putting a hurt on another player, which I’d argue is tantamount to intent to injure.

And if it is a ‘hockey play’ as you say, Mr. Ovechkin, how deliciously ironic is it that your hit woke the Habs up and preceded a four-goal period for your opposition?

Plays like this don’t belong in hockey. As a Habs fan I almost wished they had a Ryan Reaves to send out there and do some reciprocal damage. Shea Weber probably could have taken that role and rearranged Ovechkin’s face, but luckily the team instead rallied together and decided to punish the Capitals on the scoreboard, where it really hurts.

If the Habs had a pure goon on their roster to go take revenge, they’d have a roster spot occupied by someone incapable of providing the speed with which they dismantled the best team in the league. In retrospect, I’m glad that they don’t, because they put on a hell of a performance in the wake of the hit.

But the NHL should take a second look at this, and since they probably won’t go the route of a suspension, at least levy a fine to say that you’re not okay with this behaviour. Send some sort of message that even if you’re a superstar, you can’t just go around taking runs at people.

Because doing nothing sends a message that teams should soldier up to punish those hits themselves, and you set the game of hockey back in time.

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Charge dropped against Toronto Raptors fan who made vulgar comment about Ayesha Curry

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Tristan Warkentin made a lewd remark that was directed at Ayesha Curry, seen here on Oct. 8, 2015, while staring directly into the camera. Rich Fury/The Associated Press

A Toronto Raptors fan who made a vulgar comment on live television about Ayesha Curry, wife of NBA star Stephen Curry, has been ordered to stay away from both her and the reporter to whom he made the comment.

Prosecutors on Friday dropped a mischief charge against Tristan Warkentin, who has instead agreed to a common-law bond that orders him not to associate with Curry or CP24 reporter Kelly Linehan.

Warkentin also received counselling related to sexual harassment, court heard.

His lawyer, Richard Addelman, said outside court that his client “said some things and now he’s apologized for those things.”

Warkentin, standing beside his lawyer, declined to comment.

Linehan was interviewing Raptors fans after the team lost Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on June 2. She asked Warkentin about the vibe in Jurassic Park, where thousands of fans gathered to watch Raptors playoff games on big screens outside Scotiabank Arena.

That’s when Warkentin made the lewd remark that was directed at Ayesha Curry, whose husband plays for Golden State, while staring directly into the camera. The camera operator pulled away quickly and the audio went silent, but not before Warkentin used profane language on live television.

Stephen Curry – whose wife is an actress, celebrity cook, author and television personality who grew up in Markham, Ont. – later called insults against his family “stupid.”

Toronto police launched an investigation asking for the public’s help to identify the man. A few days later, police charged Warkentin with mischief by interfering with the lawful operation of property.

There have been a string of incidents involving the same profane taunt across the country, usually directed at female reporters and often at sporting events.

A similar incident outside a TFC soccer game in Toronto on CityNews in 2015 led to the firing of a Hydro One employee, although he was later rehired by the utility.

In one bad week in November 2017 for CHCH reporter Britt Dixon, she was harassed three separate times by men yelling the obscenity. In one case, Dixon was interviewing a Hamilton police officer who then arrested the man and charged him with causing a disturbance.

In Halifax in December 2017, CTV reporter Heather Butts was broadcasting live from a pub during a hockey game when Nash John Gracie made a crude gesture and uttered the same sexually explicit comment. He was charged with one count of public mischief and one count of causing a disturbance. Gracie later pleaded down to community service as part of a restorative justice process.

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Canadiens win 5-2 against Washington

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With the win over the team with the best record in the NHL, the Canadiens have earned at least one point in eight of their last nine games (7-1-1).

WASHINGTON — The Canadiens backed up a strong performance by Carey Price with a four-goal explosion in the second period and defeated the Washington Capitals 5-2 Friday at Capital One Arena.

With the win over the team with the best record in the NHL, the Canadiens have earned at least one point in eight of their last nine games (7-1-1).

Price has had his problems with Washington, but he made 25 saves to boost his career record against the Capitals to 8-14-5.

Canadiens’ Cale Fleury and Capitals’ Richard Panik battle for the puck at Capital One Arena on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Patrick Smith / Getty Images

The floodgates opened for the Canadiens after a strong forecheck led to the first Montreal goal at 6:33 of the second period. Pressure from Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot forced T.J. Oshie into a turnover as he tried to exit the Washington zone. Brendan Gallagher picked up the loose puck and Tomas Tatar, who was filling in for a banged-up Jonathan Drouin, found Phillip Danault alone in front, and he showed patience as he faked a shot and then lifted a backhander over rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov’s glove.

Weber beat the 22-year-old goaltender with a shot from the left faceoff circle at 9:16 and Samsonov looked weak when Jordan Weal beat him on a backhander to the far post at 11:42. Weal was returning to the lineup after four games as a healthy scratch.

The Canadiens enjoyed the first power play of the game and, while they didn’t score, they gained momentum and made it 4-0 seconds after Garnet Hathaway retuned to the ice. Rookie Nick Suzuki was credited with the goal when his attempt to set up Gallagher in front caromed off a defender.

It appears the Canadiens see an inordinate number of backup goaltenders, but Samsonov is already pencilled in as the No. 1 next season because cap-challenged Washington can’t afford to re-sign Braden Holtby, who will be an unrestricted free agent in July.

Samsonov, who had a 5-0-1 record coming into the game, was tough to beat in the first period. The Canadiens had the better of the play, outshooting the Capitals 15-8 on the strength of a flurry when they fired five shots on Samsonov in the final minute. Washington’s best scoring chance came midway through the period when Evgeny Kuznetsov hit a post.

The Canadiens did a good job of containing Alex Ovechkin, but he scored a power-play goal in the third period to end Price’s shutout bid. Ovechkin has made life difficult for Price and the Canadiens throughout his career. He has 32 goals and 53 points in 49 games against Montreal. He has scored 21 of those goals in 26 games against Price.

Kuznetsov scored on a breakaway with less than five minutes to play and the Capitals pulled their goalie. Price made made a save on Richard Panik to preserve the two-goal lead and Tatar scored an empty-netter to cap a four-point night.

Drouin was blindsided by Ovechkin early in the second period. He left the ice on his own power, but immediately went to the dressing room. He missed the rest of the period, but returned for the third.

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