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Hang Time
By Steve Stockmar
Daily Courier sports editor Steve Stockmar gives you the cheat sheet for today’s top sports stories.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are there signs of NHL lockout progress in our own CHL?

By Steve Stockmar

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Phoenix Coyote and one-time Arizona Sundog teammates David Schlemko and Kyle Chipchura skated during practice Oct. 16 at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.

Hard to tell what to make of the Coyote exodus from the Sundogs, the double-A affiliate of the parent club that reached the NHL's Western Conference Finals a year ago - back when the NHL actually played games. That was so 2011.

The team is certainly mum publicly on why Coyotes ringers Kyle Chipchura and David Schlemko and the franchise both parted ways within 10 days of each other through Schlemy's move on Tuesday. And the Coyotes can't say much. Literally. League rules prohibit team officials from talking with players during the lockout. (Which is in its 73rd day, if your advent calendar counts down NHL lockout days.)

Chippy's void looms large on the stat sheet. When he left, he was leading the Sundogs in scoring, led the entire CHL in plus/minus with an insane +11, and was the reigning CHL Oakley Player of the Week. Without him, the 'Dogs - who had scored 16 goals in three games with Chippy on the home ice just prior to the Chip-less road trip - managed just three goals in three games.

Schlemy hurts when it comes to mojo. A fan favorite around Tim's Toyota Center for years, he was an All-Star when he hoisted the CHL Cup in a Sundog sweater back in the day.

So, what's the story here?

The NHL has already lost more than 400 games, including its Jan. 27 All-Star Game, so nothing's happening on the NHL ice for a while.

Or, is there?

Chippy and Schlemy were two of only three NHL players in the CHL since the lockout began. They're both gone, within days of each other, one quieter than the next. The third NHL'er is defenseman Kyle Quincey, the Detroit Red Winger, who signed with the CHL's Denver Cutthroats before the season started (and with the NHL well on its way to a protracted impasse).

Word today from Denver is that Quincey, on the Cutthroats' inactive list, was suspended from the CHL roster on Nov. 15. As though CHL teams with NHL players suddenly entered the same witness protection program, there are no specifics on the exit there either. A team spokesperson did say it was an internal issue, and that it was "doubtful" that Quincey would be returning to the Cutthroats.

Meanwhile, a Sundogs source Wednesday afternoon said that 40-some NHL players are down in the Valley skating, and that is where Schlemy, for one, was heading.

I'd like to think that NHL players are uniting and getting ready for a possible hush-hush dealmaker, so they're hitting the ice running.

Or, maybe the Sundogs cut them because they stunk?

Uh, no.

Meanwhile, federal mediators are now involved in the labor talks in New York. The last bargaining session ended after about two hours, and included a new proposal by the union.

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 08, 2012
Article comment by: Toadie Tooyou

Schlemko, a fan favorite for years? Pardon?
He played 58 games for the Dogs as a 20 year- old in '07-'08 while taking lessons from Bartolone,
Laperriere and Landry.

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