After beating the Hamilton Bulldogs 5-1 at home on Friday night, the very same 'Dogs exacted their revenge upon the Abbotsford Heat the following evening. Hamilton shut out the Heat 3-0 at the AESC on Saturday, handing the home team their first regulation loss and first shutout loss at home this season. Former Flames prospect Patrick Holland, who was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in the Rene Bourque deal last winter, scored for the Bulldogs at 4:23 of the first period and the visitors never looked back. Holland has two goals and six points in 18 games with Hamilton so far this season.
The Heat were missing two of their top scorers in Saturday's contest, as Ben Walter and Sven Baertschi both missed the game after suffering undisclosed injuries on Friday. The loss of Baertschi and Walter certainly affected the Heat's offensive game in that it was almost completely non-existent. The team went 0-for-3 on the powerplay which up until now had been so good on home ice, and scoring chances at even strength were difficult to come by, as Abbotsford had only 14 shots after two periods and directed just 24 pucks at Cedrick Desjardins.
Yesterday the Heat announced that they had recalled Flames prospect Ryan Howse from the ECHL's Utah Grizzlies to fill the void left by injuries to their forward corps. As a pure scorer, Howse was once looked at as something of a bright spot in what was a fairly dismal picture as far as the Flames' future was concerned, but he has struggled since spending 39 games with the Heat last year in which he was criticized for his poor discipline and conditioning and was repeatedly benched by head coach Troy Ward. The former Flames 3rd round draft pick was then demoted to the ECHL, where he has scored one goal and seven points in 16 games for the Grizzlies so far this season.
In other prospect news, Hockey Canada announced its 37-member World Junior Selection Camp roster today; the prospective roster includes Flames prospects goalie Laurent Brossoit and defenceman Tyler Wotherspoon, who will compete for spots in the crease and on the blueline alongside the likes of Malcolm Subban, Ryan Murphy, Matthew Dumba, and Griffin Reinhart, just to name a few. The selection camp will take place from December 11th-15th at Winsport Arena in Calgary.
Today is day 79 of the NHL lockout, and a players and owners only meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow in New York City. Flames part-owner Murray Edwards will reportedly be in attendance along with owners from Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Winnipeg while needless to say Sidney Crosby's continued presence is said to be important on the player's side. This meeting comes a week after the bizarre Twitter debacle involving federal mediator Guy Serota blew up the Interwebz with "ass-mode" jokes.
Also today a new study was released that examined the brains of 85 deceased professional athletes, determining that 68 of the athletes were found to be suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease caused by repeated head injuries over the course of their careers. Five brains of former hockey players were examined in the study--Bob Probert, Derek Boogaard, Reggie Fleming, and Rick Martin--and four were found to have CTE. Of the 85 donors examined in the study, seven died as a result of suicide. While one of the doctors interviewed in the article stresses that people must not assume a link between concussions and CTE, there is hope that the results of the study will have an impact on how professional sports leagues deal with head injuries.
That's all for today. The Abbotsford Heat are back in action again tomorrow night when they take on the San Antonio Rampage at home. Happy Monday!