Nothing positive to report from the NHL/NHLPA meetings in New Jersey but hockey life goes on, especially in the North American minor leagues.
Aaron Palushaj will miss four to six weeks with a shoulder injury he suffered in Tuesday’s game against Lake Erie Tuesday. Palushaj is the Bulldogs leading goalscorer and is second, behind Brendan Gallagher in total points. He suffered the injury when he took a check midway through the game against the Monsters. Although he finished the game, he was clearly favouring the shoulder. The Bulldogs called up centre Olivier Fortier from Orlando of the ECHL to replace him. The Bulldogs start a four game midwest road trip in Chicago Thursday night.
Palushaj is the fourth member of the Bulldogs to miss significant time this season. He joins defenceman Greg Pateryn and Blake Geoffrion on the current injury list; Pateryn with a broken elbow and Geoffrion with a skull fracture. Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins missed the first month of the season after a training camp groin injury and Louis Leblanc missed eleven games with a high ankle sprain. Pateryn is expected to rejoin the team in two or three weeks. Geoffrion isn’t likely to return this season.
In the East Coast Hockey League, the Alaska Aces were shut out 4-0 by the Idaho Steelheads in Boise Wednesday night. Scott Gomez was out of the Aces lineup again with what seems to be a nagging off-and-on lower body injury. Between that and a bout of food poisoning, Gomez has missed five of Alaska’s last ten games. Alaska has three hometown NHLer’s on their roster, all out with injury. Along with Gomez, Columbus forward Brandon Dubinsky is out with a broken hand and Tampa Bay’s Nate Thompson suffered an undisclosed injury in the first period of Wednesday’s game against Idaho.
The Aces move on to play the Utah Grizzlies in Salt Lake City on Friday night. Canadiens newcomer Colby Armstrong will be in the Utah lineup.
In Junior hockey Wednesday, the Kamloops Blazers are on an Alberta swing. On Tuesday 2012 3rd round pick Tim Bozon assisted on two goals as Kamloops beat the Calgary Hitmen 3-2. Wednesday night in Edmonton Bozon added a goal but the Blazers suffered a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Oil Kings. After a month-long scoring slump, Bozon has two goals and four assists his last five games. The Blazers play at Lethbridge Friday night.
The Saskatoon Blades won back to back road games Tuesday and Wednesday. In the 7-5 win over Brandon Canadiens 2011 fifth round draft pick Darren Dietz scored his 8th goal of the season in a 7-5 win Tuesday. Dalton Thrower (2nd round-2012) registered two assists. Wednesday the two Canadiens defense prospects didn’t find the scoresheet but Saskatoon won 5-2 at Moose Jaw. Saskatoon, who will host this year’s Memorial Cup tourament, have won four in a row, bouncing back from a miserable start to their season.
In the QMJHL, the Sagueneens beat Shawinigan 3-1 in Chicoutimi without Charles Hudon in their lineup. Hudon is in the Team Canada camp preparing for the World Junior tournament which starts on Boxing Day.
Overseas – The Kladno Knights held a charity auction Wednesday for gold jerseys worn two weeks ago in a game against Liberec. As expected Jaromir Jagr’s jersey drew the most interest with a final bid of 150,101 Czech Korunas. ($7,650) Tomas Plekanec was second in popularity at 41,390 korunas ($2100). The 21 game jerseys totaled 446,571 crowns for the local Chance 4 Children charity which translates to 22,700 Canadian dollars.