Bad news for three former Smoke Eaters today from the NCAA ranks. David Arduin, Stefan Decosse and one time Trail Captain Ryan Bulach play for SUNY Geneseo. It's the second season for Decosse with the club and the first for Arduin and Bulach. It's been kind of a fun story so far as the three have been playing together on a Smokies line.
Unfortunately, the NCAA came down on their school for "aid violations." What does that mean? As best as I can tell the school had the right to give out grants in order to recruit students from Canada. However, the NCAA is saying they used too many of those grants for student athletes to the point that it could constitute an unfair recruiting advantage.
Geneseo is now on two year probation for the violation and will not be able to participate in this season's playoffs. Obviously that is a blow to all the players on the team who have worked very hard to earn their place in the big dance. It's unfortunate for the young men that are being punished for something they are not responsible for.
Bulach, Decosse and Arduin are all class acts. I'm sure they'll take this bad news in stride and just keep working hard for their team. The bottom line here is that the three former Smoke Eaters are building a future for themselves with their education while playing the game they love. Losing out of the playoffs hurts, but the big picture is still a positive.
Of note, Decosse and Arduin are tied for third in team scoring with 18 points in 19 games. Bulach has started to pick up his production of late as well. It's great seeing them do well and I'm sure that will continue despite this set back.
On a light note, Decosse was interviewed by the "Rebecca Brings You The Sports" vlog. I'm still convinced he's going to end up stealing my job one day. Here's the video:
...Eddie Gregory has word that the Burnaby Express are officially headed back to Coquitlam next season. They're hitting the reset button basically. Things started with such promise in Burnaby. It's hard to imagine a team that won a Royal Bank Cup and had Kyle Turris for two seasons moving only a couple of years later. They're not moving very far though. I'm sure a lot of the same fans followed both incarnations of the club. I wish them well after the move.
...Merritt hammered Salmon Arm 10-3 on Sunday. It's hard to know what to make of a game like that. Tony Ierfino's save percentage has taken a dramatic tumble for the Silverbacks while his back up Kurt Williams is taking some grief from fans for not being BCHL ready. There is of course extra pressure because he's on a team owned by his father. This makes for a shaky situation between the pipes right now for the Silverbacks. They've allowed at least 4 goals a game in 6 of their last 7 games even though 4 of those opponents have a losing record. This is a very talented club that needs to get their defensive house in order. It should be interesting to see how the Silverbacks look this Friday night when they visit the Smoke Eaters in key game for both teams. It looks like Salmon Arm's spot in the standings is basically decided so Trail should be the more desperate team. That being said, the Silverbacks have a lot of pride and are going to want to correct what has been a bit shaky of late.
...Things in the bottom 5 of the Interior are getting quite interesting. Merritt is ahead of the pack for 5th but they and Trail have far tougher schedules than Quesnel and Prince George. The Centennials and Smoke Eaters will have to pull off a couple of upsets down the stretch to have a shot at 5th. It could get very interesting. I know a lot of fans are watching the race for top spot in the Interior as well. The big question will be whether or not it truly is advantage to have to sit out and not play while everyone else takes up to a full week and a half to do a best of seven first round.
...Congrats to Mitch MacMillan who Hammer has discovered is now the single season points leader for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. We'll see Mitch and company for the only time this season on Saturday night at the Cominco Arena. I'm looking forward to seeing the Bulldogs under better circumstances.
...While I'm handing out links why not go check out Boson Pizza Vees this Week on Ryan Pinder's blog? Check out Brian's Making Cents Blog for regular updates on the Interior playoff picture. Ron Gallo has the latest on Prince George's quest to catch Trail for the final playoff spot over at his blog.
...If Darryl Sutter was a BCHL GM this week he'd be getting roasted over on Network 54! What on earth is going on in Calgary? Is there a prize for collecting the most mediocre forwards? All the good things Flames fans said about the Phaneuff trade in regards to their salary cap position were completely negated by the deal with the Rangers. Now instead of Phaneuff on the books next year the Flames will have Hagman and Kotalik for the same money. Is that really a better use of their dollars? To me that's really the trade. The short term rental of the Maple Leafs murderers row... Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers and Ian White (though he is an RFA)... is supposed to be enough to right the sinking ship and get Calgary scoring again. This reeks of plugging some small leaks on the Titanic. I also don't know how Glen Sather keeps escaping the bad contracts he gives out. What's next? Some GM is going to take Redden now I can just feel it.
...Sidney Crosby scored a hat trick today and is up to 37 goals so far this season to only 34 assists. His NHL career totals have him scoring basically half as much as he puts up assists. What changed? It's almost like Crosby just decided he's going to score to prove that he can. He's already 2 goals away from matching his career high. Save some of that magic for Vancouver!
...Pretty cool to turn on Sportsnet today and see two different features on the old Smoke Eaters. A program on Canada's hockey legacy did stories on the 1939 and 1961 senior clubs that won World Championships. It's always nice to see the recognition for those great teams and this community.
Turnbull Calling Games At Western Canada Cup:
48 minutes ago