Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Import Draft + Goaltending Situation

Tigers Trade For A Goalie
The Tigers traded for overage Goaltender Jared Rathjen from vancouver, for a 5th round conditional Pick.

Rathjen has 74 Games played over his whl career. 

What This Means

What this move means. It means that the Tigers are now unsure if Marek Langhamer is coming back....They traded away 18yr old goaltender Daniel  Wapple last season with reasons stating they had strong indications marek would be playing here in his 20 yr old season.....This trade would make it seem that this is insurance in case he doesn't come back

Arizona Signings

The Arizona coyotes just signed Devan Dubnyk to a 1 yr deal. Dubnyk should backup Mike Smith in the NHL. They also Signed Mike McKenna to a 1 yr 2 way deal.

So they have 4 other goalies in their system under contract for 1 year left.
Mark Visentin (AHL)
Mike Lee (Injured most of last season, probably ECHL)
Louis Domingue (AHL )
Mike McKenna (AHL )

4 Goalies who will be competing for jobs in the AHL.  One that was injured all of last season but should be back.

As Tiger fans we will have to keep an eye on if Phoenix makes any moves regarding their goaltenders, but Based on their recent signings and Marek's Contract is eligible to slide, I feel quite a bit more safer that he will return.   It doesn't make sense to stuff him in the ECHL as a 3rd string goaltender. If Arizona wants Marek to play in the ECHL/AHL it didn't make sense for Arizona to sign Mike McKenna unless they plan to make a trade with one of their other tenders, but we don't know what their plan is.

CHL Import Draft
Goes today.

Eisenschmid is eligible to be back next season. Marek is a bit up in the air as of yet (but I think he will return).....We could see the Tigers possibly make one pick

Tigers Select Michael Spacek with the 45th overall pick. Spcek is projected to be one of the top prospects coming from the Czech Republic for next years NHL Draft. 5'10 181 lbs.

Tigers Making NHL Camps
Dylan Bredo - Edmonton
Curtis Valk - Vancouver
Jake Doty - St. Louis

Tyler Lewington - Washington
Tammy Vannelli - St. Louis
Marek Langhamer - Arizona
Miles Koules- Washington

Monday, June 23, 2014

Desjardins Announced as New Vancouver Head Coach

Looks like I just became a Canuck's Fan!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Langhamer Signs with Phoenix, Kruger Promoted

The Medicine Hat Tigers are pleased to announce that 19 year old goaltender Marek Langhamer has signed an entry level contract with the NHL Phoenix Coyotes. The Czech born Langhamer was drafted by the Coyotes in 2012, 184th overall.

Marek was in the Tigers office on Wednesday to put pen to paper on his new deal, tweeting a photo out while saying "I’m really excited to become a part of Phoenix Coyotes organization. Also wanna thank @tigershockey and my family." 

Langhamer put up impressive numbers during the second half of the season but his best work came representing his country at the IIHF World Junior Championships. Langhamer and his Czech Republic teammates defeated Team Canada in a shootout, with Marek stopping 25 saves plus 2 in the shootout. It was the Czech Republic's first win against Canada in 15 games. 

The confidence Langhamer gained from the World Juniors followed him to Medicine Hat and into the final months of his WHL season. He finished with a 2.58 goals against average and .913 save percentage, both among the top 10 in the league.

Langhamer said about his hard work "“It doesn’t happen every day. It was a great feeling. It’s hard to put into words; it’s a dream come true for me.”

Marek will head to Phoenix for their camp next fall and has the eligibility to return as a 20 year old to the Tigers. Fans are hoping to see the Czech in the pipes for next season!

Great Job Marek!!

He was instrumental in the Tigers success during the stretch run and playoffs. He has improved sooooo much over his tenure here. 
Very athletic and can move side to side very well. He had issues on medium to long range shots in the early to mid-season, but it seemed like he flicked a switch and it wasn't an issue.  signing a contract means Phoenix can put him in the pro's next season, however their has been strong indiciations that he will return to the Tigers as an overage 20yr old goaltender....the last of the Euro 'Tenders

Darren Kruger Promoted!

Medicine Hat Tigers announce this afternoon the promotion of Darren Kruger to the position of Senior Director, Player Development effective immediately.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

WHL Bantam Draft Day

It is Bantam Draft Day!!
- Will be updated every couple hours. The WHL Site is live.

Link :

1st Round (17th overall)
James Hamblin Centre- Edmonton, AB - 5'8 135 lbs  SSAC 1999-04-27

2nd Round (39th Overall)
Rilan Rommelaere -  Goaltender -  Boissevain, MB -  5'11 154 lbs -  1999-05-14

3rd Round (56th Overall)
Nicholas Doyle -  Defence -  Winnipeg MB -  5'11.5 157 lbs -  POE AAA-1 - 1999-05-24

3rd Round (61st Overall)
Tyler Preziuso - Right Wing - Burnaby, BC - 5'10 150 lbs -  BWC A1-T1 -  1999-01-19

4th Round (72nd overall)
Cameron Lockard - Right Wing - Whitecourt, Alberta - 5'11 170lbs PAC Saints - 1999-12-02

5th Round
No Picks

6th Round (118th overall)
Dylan Cassie - Defence Winnipeg MB, 5'10 168 lbs - Monarchs 1999-04-17

7th Round (149th overall)
Sammy Walker - Centre - Edina MN, 5'5 123 lbs, 1999-06-07

8th Round (158th overall)
Jack Harris - Defence, Prior Lake MN, 6' 165 lbs 1999-06-13

8th Round (171st overall)
Kyle Kaufmann Centre, West Vancouver, 5'10 140lb, Hollyburn A1-T1 1999-04-23

9th Round
NO Picks

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tigers Season Comes to an End

The Tigers season officially came to an end Saturday night in Edmonton as they lost a 4-3 decision to the Oil Kings. The Oil Kings Take the Series 3-1.

Graduating Overagers
Congratulations to Dylan Bredo who on Saturday night played in his 400th career WHL Game. (including playoffs, all with the Tigers)

Congratulations to Curtis Valk who played in his 319th Career WHL game, again all with the Tigers. Watching the transition this kid made from getting stapled in the corner every game, to someone who could turn  signed WHL defenseman inside out and  put up massive points. It's probably the biggest improvement I have seen from a player in the whl with the Tigers.

Congratulations to Jake Doty who scored his first career playoff goal in his last playoff game, and put up big improvements in his last two years here as a Tiger.

Player Highlights
Cole Sanford - Went from 11 points to 73. He also led the Tigers in scoring during the playoffs.
Tommy Vannelli - The Tigers unexpectedly received a star 2nd round defenseman after he decided to not go the NCAA route.
Marek Langhamer - had a bit of an up and down season early, but turned into a star goalie and was a HUGE factor on why the Tigers made it to the 3rd round of the WHL playoffs.

Hunter Shinkaruk - Despite a season ending injury mid-season from Shinkaruk, the team was able to come together and play better overall.

Year in Review
This might not be a popular opinion but I thought that with the tools the Tigers had to work with this season it is a little bitter sweet. With how the season played off the Tigers had a good year with the roster they had making it to the 3rd round.

I thought they had the pieces to be a WHL contender. With the injury to shinkaruk, and the decision to keep Doty instead of Leier, those two players in the lineup could have given the Tigers a potent top two scoring lines instead of just one, and they probably didn't add players based on what they had.
It's just a little bittersweet knowing that the Tigers could have been more of a threat had the season played out differently.

Players To Watch For Next Season
Chad Butcher - Has last years Cole Sanford written on him. 3 Game Winners in the swift series, the 5'9 forward has been able to to win quite a few battles in the corners and could be a key cog in next years top 6.

Blake Penner - Every-time this kid gets on a roll he seemed to get injured. If he can stay healthy he is one of the Tigers better 2 way forwards. Like Butcher he wins a lot of the small battles. He should be able to play in a bigger role next season

Connor Hobbs - He looked like a veteran when he was called up at the end of the season. He threw a big hit every game, and his smarts looked like he had played a full season up here.

Trevor Cox - He doubled his point totals last season and scored 8 playoff goals. He will be looked on to provide a lot of offense next season

Cole Sanford - 11 points to 73 points. I thought Sanford missed about 4 chances for every chance he scored on. He is sneaky and smart. His 11 goals in the playoff tells us that he can put up big numbers again next season.

Next Season

100% Gone
Dylan Bredo - Graduated
Jake Doty - Graduated
Curtis Valk - Graduated
Hunter Shinkaruk - Pro's - Even though I don't think he is 100% ready for the next level, it is likely the Canucks will have him in their system for next season.

Tommy Vannelli - He quickly showed why he was a 2nd round draft pick, but over the course of the season showed a little wear and tear and became apparent that physically he is not ready for the next level. The Blues have signed him to an ELC contract. Since he was drafted out of high school he will be eligible to play in the AHL at 19. Its up to the blues on where they want to put him. They have a lot of Dman in their system, so I'd put the odds at a 50-50 chance he is back next season.

Tyler Lewington - I thought Lewington's game took off in the playoffs. He was consistently one of the top blue-liners every night. The intense physical nature of the playoffs seemed to spark his game up a notch. Prior to the playoffs I thought he was a candidate to back next season. We will have to see what Washington wants to do with him for next year they will still have to sign him.

Competing for Next Year's Overager's
Miles Koules - Likely to come back for his overage season.
Tyler Lewington - Questionable - He is not signed yet, but if he does sign he could play pro next season.
Kyle Becker -  Probable to be back
Marek Langhamer - Phoenix has already said it is likely he plays in the WHL as an overager. Based on his performance in the playoffs he is a lock.

Barring trades I think the top 3 are: Koules,Lewington,Langhamer, if Lewington doesnt return Becker is in there. (there is also an outside chance Koules could get picked up in the off-season)

Depth Charts (not estimated line combos)
Cox(19)  Sanford(19) Koules(20)
Ast(19) Owre(18) Butcher(18)
Penner(18) Eisenschmid(19) Broadhead(19)
Labelle(19) Mowbray(18) Bradley(17)


Vanelli(19)* Lewington(20)*
Stanton(19) Staples(19)
Hobbs(17) Queneville(16)
Schultz(17) Allan(18)

Marek Langhamer(20)
Nick Schneider(17)

Looking at the roster for next year a big factor will be the return of their experienced blue-liners.  Missing your #1, and #2 guy could be a big blow to the back-end if both move on to play pro's. If both (lewington/vannelli come back the Tigers defense with their goal-tending will be a strongpoint. It is looking like their will be a logjam back there.

Next year it will be Cox and Sanford who will be the guys who are targeted on offensively. It seems at first glance that they will have a similar Calibre team next year to this year if their blue-liners return, although they will miss a game-breaker like Curtis Valk, hopefully sanford, and cox can prove to be game-breakers next season.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

7th Heaven See ya in Edmonton!

Kootenay With Strong Start
Well the game didn't start out very well. Kootenay managed to score 51 seconds into the game from an unassisted slapshot that squeaked through Marek Langhamer's Pad's. 1-0 Kootenay

Kootenay came out very strong at the start and had the Tigers on their heels a little...That goal however was the only one Langhamer would let in, as he was a solid wall for the rest of the game.

Tiger Pushback
The Tigers responded with some pushback when Steve Owre squeaked a tip past Mackenzie Skapski. Miles Koules with some work along the boards fed the puck to Markus Eisenschmid who took an off-balance shot in the slot. Owre managed to tip the puck and it gave Skapski some trouble.

 The puck bounced off his pads and started trickling towards the net. Owre was right there and it almost looked like he was going to glove the puck in, however a kootenay defender tied him right up and it was just enough time for the puck to cross the goal-line and the crowd erupted!!!  1-1 TIE

Towards the end of the first period the Ice were pushing very hard and were locking the Tigers in their own end.

Second Period
The period flew by. I thought the Tigers won the second period they had a couple really good scoring chances, but they couldn't quite convert on. Koules had a partial open net but Skapski somehow got a pad on it.  The Ice are already down some Dman with 2 of their core guys out. Blake Penner put on a nice hit on Tyler King, and I'm not sure if he returned to the game.

Third Period
The third period is where the magic happened. 41 Seconds into the period the Ice had 3 forwards deep and Cole Sanford chipped a puck past a pinching Rinat Valiev. Cox had a partial break but fumbled the puck. It was one of those grip it and rip shots and it beat Skapski low to the far side, 2-1 Tigers

Kootenay later would miss a wide open net chance....and that came back to bite them as the Tigers sanford would again get a hold of a puck and chip it past a pinching Dman....They went up on a 2 on 0 break...he fed the Puck to Cox who buried his second of the game. 3-1 Tigers

Cole Sanford would seal the Deal with a Mid-ice empty Net goal. 4-1 Tigers Final
Tigers Take the Series 4-3!!!!!

The Tigers get One Day of Rest before they face the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday.

3rd Round Schedule
Medicine Hat
Friday, April 18
7:00 pm
Medicine Hat
Sunday, April 20
4:00 pm
Medicine Hat
Tuesday, April 22
7:00 pm
Medicine Hat
Wednesday, April 23
7:00 pm
Medicine Hat
Saturday, April 26
7:00 * pm
Medicine Hat
Monday, April 28
7:00 * pm
Medicine Hat
Tuesday, April 29
7:00 * pm

The Series will be Broadcasted Live on Shaw TV

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tigers Face Elimination Series Tied 3-3

Well Games one and Two were pretty similar, but exactly opposites with how they played out. In game One it was Kootenay tieing the game  and winning the third period. In Game two it was the Tigers tieing it up, and winning the third period.

Game One

It was a pretty tight affair. Kootenay started the game very quickly scoring 1:50 into the game. The Tigers were able to take the lead with 2 goals by the top line with Cox and Sanford scoring on the powerplay. After that the Tigers offensive chances really dried up, and it was a big battle to get out of their end. By the time they had the puck they were often gassed. Kootenay's Rinat Valiev would score the game winner with just under 7 minutes to play.

Jake Doty was suspended one game for his instigator and fight at the end of the game. It started when Tyler Lewington ran over a kootenay player at the end of the game fairly soon after a faceoff. Their were 3 Tigers right overtop of him and Ice player Austin Vetterl came to his rescue pushing into the scrum. Vetterl kinda took on the wrong guy though as it was Doty and Labelle pushing back.....  Doty dropped the gloves threw a couple punches and Vetterl dropped his gloves as well, but quickly turtled after Doty was feeding him shots.    

Even in the Swift series the Refs were watching Doty closely. Doty is one to step in and defend his teammates, or get on someones case after they become a nuisance and the refs are really pinpointing and cracking down on him for the 3rd man in.

Game Two
Was pretty similar to game one, except the Tigers started adjusting to some of the stuff Kootenay was doing to lock them in their own end. I thought it was a game changer and opened up the Tigers offensive chances..   

Kootenay sends that first forward in their as fast as possible, and his sole job is to lay a hit, and get the Dman to make a rushed pass. IF the kootenay attacker is successful the Tigers start their breakout from near or behind the net and Kootenay's "offensive trap" locks them in their own zone with guys in passing lanes, and the second attacker coming in puts strong pressure on the winger to turn the puck over. It resulted in a lot of grind them out board battles, and some Kootenay Chances in the slot area.  Marek Langhamer has been playing phenomenal hockey to keep the Tigers in it.   In Game Two in the third period we saw the Tigers able to breakout from this offensive trap.

I think the winner of the series will be whoever is able to outmaneuver the other team in this chess match. Kootenay gets quite a few offensive chances off of this, and if the Tigers can minimize that kind of damage it wouldn't hurt their chances. You can bet both teams will be working on these areas during the 2 days they have off.

A positive note is that the Tigers were able to hold Reinhart, and Descheneau to 0 points in the first two games. 

Up Next: The Tigers visit Cranbrook Wednesday and Thursday for Games 3 and 4. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kootenay Thoughts

In general the regular season doesn't mean much in terms of playoff success, however you usually can take the last 15-20 or so  games played as an indication of how the matchups will stack up. The Tigers played twice in Kootenay losing 5-2 both times, however over the course of the season neither team won in the other teams building this year.

Kootenay's Top scorers Sam Reinhart,  Jaedon Descheneau and Phillip/Franko did the Majority of scoring for the could compare that to the Tigers Valk/Sanford/Cox line who did the majority of scoring for the Tigers.

Kootenay's goaltender Mackenzie Skapski struggled a little in the Hitmen Series. He was pulled in games 3 and 4, and their backup Wyatt Hoffin finished the series with back to back wins. It will be interesting to see if they go back to Skapski or if they ride the hotter goalie in Wyatt Hoffin.. The Tigers faced Hoffin once back on January 29th with  a 6-2 win at the arena.

Injuries Edit: March 3rd
Gavin Broadhead, Anthony Ast, Hunter Shinkaruk weren't able to play a game in the first round. Steven Owre returned for the last couple games and saw lowered Ice Time.

Anthony Ast
The Newspaper had an article today which mentioned that Ast will likely be ready to go for Game 1.

Broadhead remains a bit of a mystery he may be out for a bit yet.

For Kootenay Tim Bozon has just been discharged from the hospital 4 days ago following a bout of meningitis. He will be flying back to France and entering a  sports rehabilitation clinic in the southwestern town of Capbreton.

Defenseman Tanner Faith is out with an upper Body injury who was listed as out for 3-5 months on the last WHL Injury Report, so it looks unlikely that he will be available.

Left Winger Ryan Chynoweth also appears out. The last WHL report says he was out indefinitely and did not play in the Calgary Series.

Kootenay Received Landon Cross back from injury In Game 3, and Landon peel back from injury in game 2.

Special teams
In round one Kootenay racked up 36 powerplay opportunities and scored 11 times on the powerplay, for a staggering 30%. The Tigers were 12.5% scoring twice in 16 opportunities. Going on past history the Ice always seem to score very timely special teams goals.

At the Arena I remember at times the Tiger controlled large parts of the play, but Kootenay somehow stuck around and timely goals made it close.  When the Tigers are playing well their game is spread out, with the defenseman jumping up if needed on the breakout, often able to carry the puck out themselves.....When they don't play well they bunch up and limit themselves to only 1 or 2 passing options in their own zone.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Tigers Move On To Round Two

Tonight it was more of the same. A tight-checking, battle for every inch, type game. I thought the Tigers were doing a very good job at getting the puck out on the first try preventing Swift Current from sustaining momentum.

A knuckle puck shot from the blue-line, which may have been deflected in was the only goal to beat Marek Langhamer.

Curtis Valk rifled a howitzer in off of Etu Laurikainen's glove and it trickled into the net giving the Tigers some extra juice in the third period.

The air was let out of the building when Chad Labelle potted his first of the series with only a couple minutes left in play. Their was a big scramble in front and Labelle was loose in the slot and looked to slide the puck in along the ice.

Series Thoughts
Give credit to swift for battling back into the series. Laurikainen played phenomenal giving the broncos every opportunity to win.  I thought this was a great series both teams played well defensively and the Tigers proved to generate a little more offense than what Swift Current could muster.

Up Next
Kootenay upset the Calgary Hitmen so the Tigers will get Home Ice for Round 2. The series will likely start this weekend at the Arena.

Kootenay has a big 1-2 punch in Sam Reinhart and Jaedon Descheneau, who managed to light up the Hitmen with 17 points each in 6 games.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tigers Take 2-0 Series Lead

Game 1: 2-1 Tigers Victory
Game 2: 4-2 Tigers Victory

With the Injuries to Steven Owre and Gavin Broadhead, the Tigers were virtually playing with 3 lines for the first two games. The Young kids Allan, Mowbray, and Mathew Bradley drew in for the rare shift every once in a while. Sometimes getting thrown out with a veteran or two.

Both teams Top Two Lines received a ton of ice-time.

Game One
I really liked the Tiger's overall game. I thought their defensive play, and the ability of their defenseman to skate the puck out of their own zone was outstanding.

I thought the Tigers controlled big portions of the game. Swift Current's was unable to get any sustained pressure, as it was often one and done and the Tigers did an excellent job at getting the puck out of their zone on the first try.   I thought they forced the Broncos into numerous unforced errors, and made them hesitate on their decision making. I thought the Tigers had a lot more zone-time and the 2-1 score was semi-flattering to the broncos.

Game Two
Started out the same way game one did, except this time the Tigers didn't take a couple early penalties and it earned them a big shot advantage early in the game. They pressured early but the Tigers didn't have as many good quality scoring chances.

Unlike last Game Swift Current starting pressure in the mid-way point in the game. They started sustaining a little bit of pressure and had a little more zone time that the Tigers did. t

Late in the second period Swift Current took 2 penalties within 13 seconds of each other and it gave the Tigers a 5 on 3 powerplay for 1:45. Miles Koules would scored a HUGE goal to give the Tigers a 2 goal cushion at that point.  Swift Current had just started turning on the jets and this goal helped stave off their building momentum and switched it back into the Tigers Favor.

The Third period I'd say was the first period Swift Current won in the series. It was a nail biter as they scored 2 goals within 3 minutes to TIE the game.

Chad Butcher would score his 2nd consecutive game winner putting in a tight angle shot off a rebound to put the Tigers up 3-2, With 7 minutes left, and Trevor Cox potted an empty netter to seal the game 4-2.

Swift Current generated some momentum off of game 2, as they had the Tigers on their heels towards the end of the game.

I listened to a post game interview from the Bronco's Assistant Coach and he seemed a bit frustrated about how the Broncos' were unable to make plays once they crossed into Tiger's territory and wanted more out of some of this veteran players.

The Broncos liked to enter the zone from the outside and crashed the net and I think the Tigers were very prepared for this.  The Tigers gave a lot of Ice-Time to their top 6 and it made Defensive Line matching difficult for the Broncos because the Tigers had so much sustained pressure in the first few games. They were also able to lay a few good Hits on Julius Honka and got him to cough up the puck before he could skate it out.

It is possible that the Tigers will see Steven Owre back for Game 3. He is still Day to Day, but the coaches said he might be ready to go for Tuesday's game.

Swift Current is a different team in their own barn, as they had a .708 record during the regular season. The Tigers beat them their once 7-3 late in the season, as well as a 4-3 loss.

Game 3 Goes Tuesday 7:05 in Swift Current.