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Monday, Oct. 26, 2009

So much for being the head coach of the number five ranked team in Canadian Hockey League.

Monday the Kamloops Blazers fired head coach Barry Smith after they lost their fifth straight game Saturday. During that streak the Blazers had given up 43, 37, 40, 57 and 49 shots on goal. They had been giving up a ton of shots and winning heading into their East Division streak, but it seemed obvious that Justin Leclerc and Jon Groenheyde can’t consistently be asked to make 40-plus saves a night to win them games.

Leclerc was fantastic in Moose Jaw last week, but it’s a recipe for disaster.

The Blazers started the season 7-1-2-0 and were ranked fifth in the country. They were seventh in the latest CHL rankings, but have lost six of their last seven games.

Kamloops Vice President and General Manager Craig Bonner said in a release: “We want an aggressive type of play. We want an emotional and hard-working team. We want a team that is not standing on their heels.”

Smith was in his second season behind the bench for the Blazers after spending six seasons as an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks.

Assistant coach Scott Ferguson will become the interim head coach for the Blazers.

*  *  *  *

After the Warriors home win over Kamloops Tuesday, Antonin Honejsek was believed to have suffered a concussion. Clearly that wasn’t the case as he was re-evaluated after the game and played this past weekend.

We had been hoping to talk to Honejsek about the possibility of playing for the Czechs in the World Junior exhibition game announced earlier that day (on-line translation software is a wonderful thing), but after taking a hard hit to the back of the head that wasn’t possible.

Honejsek scored his first WHL goal Sunday.

*  *  *  *

Mosaic and the Heritage Inn donated $5,000 to purchase all of Warriors pink cancer t-shirts Tuesday and then donated them back so they could be put up for auction.

The Warriors players designed and made their own pink t-shirts which were unveiled at the Kamloops game. The shirts are up for auction at the Warriors web site until Oct. 30. All of the proceeds will go directly to the Canadian Cancer Society.

You can see the t-shirts and place a bid here: http://www.mjwarriors.ca/Community/PINK_Tees_Cancer_Fundraiser/

*  *  *  *

The Anaheim Ducks sent Swiss defenceman Luca Sbisa back to the Lethbridge Hurricanes Sunday.

Last season Sbisa played 39 games with Philadelphia after being chosen 19th overall in the 2008 NHL draft.

Had Sbisa played in a 40th game for the Flyers he would have become an unrestricted free agent a year sooner. Sending him back to the WHL last season also meant that Sbisa’s salary didn’t count against the NHL’s salary cap.

Sbisa was part of the Chris Pronger trade that saw the Flyers send Joffrey Lupul, Sbisa and a pair of first rounders to the Ducks in exchange for Pronger and Ryan Dingle during the NHL Entry Draft.

Sbisa had played eight games with Anaheim this season.

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