Friday, September 21, 2012

WHL Western Conference Preview: Flaming

We are officially one game into the 2012-13 WHL schedule after last night's Oil Kings 5-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice game. Tonight, 16 more teams get underway including 6 of the 10 teams that make up the league's Western conference. That's the conference we preview today.

After the jump, my regular season prediction for standings and several individual awards as well. 

WHL Western Conference Preview: Millard

Yesterday we released our Eastern Conference preview and predictions and the Oil Kings and Kootenay kicked off the 2012-2013 WHL season. Now it's time for the Western Conference and who we think ultimately beats who for the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

WHL lid lifter fit for a Hall of Famer

The Oil Kings opened up the season in fine style, and that was even before they skated past a pesky Kootenay Ice club 5-3.  They celebrated just enough the season of success that was last year.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

WHL Eastern Conference Preview: Flaming

You will have seen Dean Millard's predictions this morning and that means it's my turn now. I'm sure there will be some similarities but I think one thing he and I will both agree on is that the playoff race in the Eastern conference could be one of the longest, closest and involving the most teams that we've seen for a long time. 

My predictions for the regular season standings and for conference award winners after the jump. 

WHL Eastern Conference Preview: Millard

The WHL kicks off another season tonight with a match up of the past 2 Ed Chynoweth Cup Champions.  Edmonton entertains Kootenay (which used to be Edmonton) at Rexall Place before a full slate of games hit the ice from Brandon to Portland on Friday.  Here is how I see the WHL shaking down in 2012-2013.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Season = New Rules

All 3 leagues hit the ice Thursday and there are changes from coast to coast; Stiffer penalties, suspension and freedom for goalies stand out to me.

Pre-Season CHL Top 10

The first BMO CHL Mastercard Top 10 of the season was just released:

1. Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
2. Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
3. London Knights (OHL)
4. Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
5. Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
6. Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
7. Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
8. B.B. Armada (QMJHL)
9. Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
10. Oshawa Generals (OHL)

With Honourable Mentions going to Moncton, Kamloops and Belleville. 

The WHL begins play tomorrow night as the #2 ranked Edmonton Oil Kings host the Kootenay Ice at Rexall Place. 

The OHL also starts on Thursday with 8 teams in action includng the #10 ranked Oshawa Generals in Peterborough to taken on the Petes. 

The QMJHL regular season opens on Thursday with the defending QMJHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs at home to Acadie-Bathurst.

What do YOU think of the rankings?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Modus Operandi

"It takes two. Just because you have your hand out, you're not shaking hands if the other guy is sitting on his."

It's been close to a month since the term "CHLPA" first starting circulating around junior hockey. It's also been close to a month since we began extending our open invitation to Georges Laraque or someone else - anyone else - from the CHLPA to come on the show.

As responsible broadcasters, Dean and I want to present both sides of a story. Unfortunately, while there has been no shortage of guests willing to come on The Pipeline Show to discuss the CHLPA from the perspective of player, agent, coach, general manager or media... it's been almost zero communication from the CHLPA itself.

I say 'almost zero' because there have been a few emails back and forth although I think you'll agree, actual communication hasn't been the goal from their end.

We've come to a crossroad on TPS. Do we continue to talk about and offer a platform to the CHLPA or do we follow the example of David Branch and the CHL - ignore them until there is something to actually talk about?

It's been a small debate for us but the email we received from them last week followed by the text we got from an agent about them has pretty much made the decision for us.

Monday, September 17, 2012

2013 Draft Blog: Curtis Lazar Pt.1

Since 2007-08 we have had a tradition of working with a few select players who are entering their NHL draft year. We thought it would be an interesting exercise that would allow fans a glimpse into what life is like for the players during a key point in their career.

The list of players we have had the good fortune is extensive an includes several guys who would go on to be drafted in the 1st round that June. Jordan Eberle (EDM), John Moore (CLB), Michael Matheson (FLA), Mark Pysyk (BUF) and Joe Colborne (TOR) are five examples of guys we can proudly refer to as "former TPS guest bloggers".

This year will be no different and today we're thrilled to present the first chapter from a key member of the Class of 2013 - Curtis Lazar of the Edmonton Oil Kings.   

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Another Opinion on the CHLPA

As we continue to wait for details on the structure and plans of the CHLPA...

One of the strongest columns on the CHLPA thus far was penned by Toronto Star writer Cathal Kelly on August 25th. I pulled some quotes from it for the story I wrote a while ago but there was so much more in the original that I wanted to revisit it. 

I thought the best way to go about that was to get the columnist himself on the show. Kelly's write up was no holds barred and cut through all the B.S. so effectively that I couldn't wait to see if, three weeks later, he still felt the same way about the CHLPA.

His appearance on TPS Saturday morning was nothing short of audio gold. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Penn State Unveils New Look

It's a huge year for Penn State and I'm not referring to the black eye last year thanks to the football program. The men's hockey team makes its Division I debut next month ushering in a new era for college hockey. This will be the final year for the CCHA conference and the last before the Big Ten and NCHC conferences begin next year. 

For the Nittany Lions of Penn State, the new chapter begins with a new look as well. As is usually the case with new uniforms, the response has been mixed. 

We want you to take a look and then tell us what you think, after the jump.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

10 Questions we have for the CHLPA

On Tuesday night we once again left a segment available for anyone from the CHLPA to join us.  Unfortunately we did not hear back from them.

It's been the same with every show from the past few weeks; we reach out to them, they don't respond.  So Tuesday Guy and I decided we would conduct one side of the interview and see if at some point we get the answers.

By the way CHLPA: you are invited to join us this Saturday at 10:05 am or Tuesday at 7:05 pm (Mountain Time).

Monday, September 10, 2012

WHL Points to Ponder

The 2012-13 regular season begins in 10 days when the Edmonton Oil Kings host the Kootenay Ice at Rexall Place. It's a fitting start to the new season as the banner raising ceremony will be a prelude to the clash between the 2012 champs and the 2011 champs.

While I will have predictions post before the new campaign begins, this is it. Today I'm throwing out some other thoughts as things cross my mind waiting for September 20th. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lamb Elevated to President of CJHL

The Canadian Junior Hockey League has hired Kirk Lamb to be its first ever President. Lamb is no stranger to the 10-league CJHL as he's been the Volunteer Chairman for the past 20 months.

The CJHL's official release can be found here.

Lamb, a former member of the AJHL's Bonnyville Pontiacs, is a Calgary-based lawyer who played NCAA hockey for the Princeton Tigers before a short pro career in the ECHL. 

He was a guest on The Pipeline Show just a couple of days ago and talked about some of the challenges facing the CJHL as he tries to bring more symmetry across the multiple leagues in Canada. We also spoke about the need for CJHL clubs to share in the lucrative development money that Major Junior teams enjoy for producing NHL drafted talent.

You can hear that interview HERE.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

CHLPA Still A Big Mystery

“Within 10 days everything will come to light,” - Sandra Slater, CHLPA on August 20th.

The Canadian Hockey League Players Association has made a lot of noise over the last few weeks but very little is still known about who they are, what they want and how they hope to achieve their goals. 

It's also still unclear whether a CHLPA is actually needed or even supported by the players in the CHL.

Despite the declaration quoted above, 16 days later we're still left with more questions than we have answers.