Thursday, May 30, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Mac Carruth-overager who will definitely start in the Chicago Blackhawks' farm system.
Brendan Burke-Eligible for the 2013 Draft, and is expected back as the starter. Started this season slowly, but gained confidence as the season went on, which bodes well for his development.
Jarrod Schamerhorn-Did not see the ice at all, as both Carruth and Burke logged much of the ice time in goal. Will be a backup next season.
Troy Rutkowski-overager who will start in the Ottawa Senators' farm system.
Seth Jones-Likely top three pick in this year's draft and probably played his last junior league game on Sunday.
Josh Hanson-Will return and could have a larger role next season.
Shaun MacPherson-Is likely to have a larger role next season with three of the top defensemen likely headed to the pros, played pretty well when given a chance.
Tyler Wotherspoon-Probably headed to the pros, since Calgary needs help on the blue line. Could also end up in the minors for further seasoning.
Kiril Vorobev-Another player who could see significant ice time next season.
Layne Viveiros-Will benefit from more playing time, as the Winterhawks will need someone to step into a top-four spot.
Keoni Texeira-first round pick in last year's Bantam Draft, is expected to challenge for a spot in the top two pairings. Reported to have a big shot from the blue line, which will be welcomed.
Derrick Pouliot-The radio personalities who cover the Winterhawks have him returning, and it makes sense on some level, since the Penguins (the team that holds his rights) have a glut of defensemen in the pipeline. I would not be surprised if he starts the season in Wilkes-Barre (the Penguins' AHL affiliate), as the Penguins should get a look at where he is in the development.
Paul Bittner-Will return, and is likely headed to a larger role on the team.
Ty Rattie-All-time leading scorer in the playoffs for the Winterhawks is heading to the pros, with the Blues being a possible destination.
Chase De Leo-Expected to be a bigger contributor on offense next year.
Adam De Champlain-Third line duty is in his future, and will be expected to provide the grit to compliment the offensive weapons.
Presten Kopeck-Headed to a bigger role next season if his hand heals from the Edmonton series.
Keegan Iverson-Bigger role awaits him.
Joey Baker-Could be one of three overagers on the team next season.
Nic Petan-Eligible for this year's NHL Draft, and is expected to return. Questionable if he duplicates this year's numbers.
Taylor Leier-Put up good numbers, but it's possible the Flyers could look to develop him in the team's minor league system next season.
Alex Schoenborn-Headed to a larger role after getting into limited action this year.
Dominic Turgeon-The son of Pierre will be expected to seize a larger role next year.
Joe Mahon-Expected to return and provide a physical presence for the team.
Taylor Peters-Headed to the Dallas Stars' minor league affiliate next season.
Oliver Bjorkstrand-Expected back even though he's eligible for the 2013 Draft. Comparisons to Sven Baertschi will be tested next season, as he steps into a top line role.
Brendan Leipsic-Could return, but the Predators signed him to an entry level contract recently, so he could be headed to Milwaukee of the AHL to start.
Monday, May 27, 2013
|photo by Steve Hiscock|
Saturday, May 25, 2013
|photo by Steve Hiscock|
Jack Link's Top Prospect of the Year: Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie), Seth Jones (Portland), Jonathan Drouin, (Halifax)
FRAM Sportsman of the Year: Tyler Graovac (Belleville), Dylan Wruck (Edmonton), Zach O'Brien (Acadie-Bathurst)
Chrysler Dodge Top Scorer of the Year: Vince Trocheck (Plymouth), Nic Petan (Portland) and Brendan Leipsic (Portland), Ben Duffy (PEI)
Home Hardware Humanitarian of the Year: Ben Fanelli (Kitchener), Cody Sylvester (Calgary), Konrad Abeltshauser (Halifax)
Subway Scholastic Player of the Year: Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie), Josh Morrisey (Prince Albert), Charles-David Beaudoin (Drummondville)
Old Dutch Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year: Mike Vellucci (Plymouth), Ryan McGill (Kootenay), Dominique Ducharme (Halifax)
BMO Rookie of the Year: Connor McDavid (Erie), Seth Jones (Portland), Valentin Zykov (Baie-Comeau)
Vaughn Goaltender of the Year: Jordan Binnington (Owen Sound), Patrik Bartosak (Red Deer), Etienne Marcoux (Blainville-Boisbriand)
Post Defenseman of the Year: Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie), Brenden Kichton (Spokane), Kevin Gagne (Rimouski)
CCM Player of the Year: Vince Trocheck (Plymouth), Adam Lowry (Swift Current), Jonathan Drouin (Halifax)
|photo by Derek Mortensen|
Friday, May 24, 2013
|photo by Derek Elvin|
Seth Griffith, Bo Horvat, Ryan Rupert, Nikita Zadorov, Chris Tierney, and Kyle Platzer all scored for the Knights and Jake Patterson rebounded from a horrific effort against Halifax on Tuesday to stop the Blades on all but one shot. The Blades didn't have that same sense of urgency that was present in the three previous games they played, and it led to Andrey Makarov's worst game this tournament, as he was pulled after the Zadorov goal made it 6-0.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Derrick Pouliot opened the scoring for the Winterhawks in the second period, but Shane McColgan tied it for the Blades in the period. The third period proved kind to the Winterhawks, as Chase De Leo, Brendan Leipsic, and Ty Rattie all scored. The Blades made it 4-2 with a Josh Nicholls goal, but that was all they could muster.
As for tonight's game, the Blades will need to keep up the physicality, as they don't have nearly enough offense to keep up with the Knights. Andrey Makarov played fairly well for the first two periods, but he will need to rediscover that consistency he had for the first two games if the Blades are to advance. The Knights have all the talent, but goaltending has been an issue. Anthony Stolarz has struggled in net, dating back to the OHL finals against Barrie, and Jake Patterson, while good in relief, was exposed in the game against Halifax.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
|photo by Derek Mortensen|
Halifax will get the bye into the finals if Portland wins their game tonight against Saskatoon, but are at least guaranteed to play into Friday should Saskatoon win. London will play tomorrow in the tie-breaker against the loser of the Saskatoon-Portland game tonight.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
|Photo by Derek Elvin|
Taylor Leier, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Ty Rattie helped propel the Winterhawks to a 3-0 lead, but the Knights would tie it up on goals by Scott Harrington, Bo Horvat, and Alex Broadhurst. The Winterhawks took the lead for good on goals by Derrick Pouliot and Chase De Leo. Rattie would add an empty net goal, giving him three points for the game.
The Knights play tonight against Halifax while the Winterhawks play tomorrow against Saskatoon.
Monday, May 20, 2013
|Photo courtesy of CHL/WHL/Derek Mortensen|
The Blades don't have the offensive talent the other three teams possess, but there was a reason they had an 18-game winning streak towards the end of the regular season, and that was defense. The Blades rely on a physical game to win their games, and playing to that strength has helped in their quest for the Memorial Cup, particularly when the Blades saw the likes of Edmonton, Swift Current, Calgary, and Red Deer (all defensively strong teams) on a regular basis. The Mooseheads close out round robin play against London tomorrow while the Blades will take on Portland on Wednesday.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
With the Memorial Cup Tournament set to kick off tomorrow, today is a preview of the tournament that has been running under its current format since 1983, when the Portland Winterhawks took home the trophy. This year's tournament is in Saskatoon, SK, and features the Saskatoon Blades, London Knights, Halifax Mooseheads, and the Portland Winterhawks. Now, let's look at each team, how they got here, and the why they have a chance to take home the trophy.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The Knights begin this year's quest for the Memorial Cup on Friday against the host team Saskatoon Blades.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (7) Detroit Red Wings
The Blackhawks had little trouble with the Wild on their way to a rather easy five game series win while the Red Wings clawed their way to a 4-3 series win at Anaheim. The Blackhawks remain the best team in the league, and having a confident Corey Crawford is a dangerous thing, especially with the third and fourth liners producing when the likes of Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa had not (prior to game 5). Detroit is hot at the right time, and Jimmy Howard is on the verge of being an elite goaltender. Offense will need to step up, as their defense still isn't with a true number one guy.
Prediction: Chicago in 5
(5) Los Angeles Kings vs. (6) San Jose Sharks
The Kings had a bit of a struggle getting warmed up for the playoffs against the Blues, but reeled off four straight wins en route to a 4-2 series win. The Sharks had little trouble with the Canucks, sweeping them out of the playoffs. The Kings will need their offense to step up, and certainly, Jeff Carter will be the one to lead the way there, as goaltender Jonathan Quick has found his game after early struggles. The Sharks still lack the necessary offense, but Antti Niemi has played lights out, and in the process, earned his first (and well deserved) nomination for the Vezina Trophy.
Prediction: Los Angeles in 7
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (7) Ottawa Senators
Pittsburgh had some issues in putting away the Islanders, needing six games and a goaltender switch to do so while Ottawa handled Montreal in five games. Sidney Crosby is playing his best hockey yet, and if all of the offensive pieces are on, it may very well overcome a shaky goaltender situation, as Marc-Andre Fleury has not been well and has needed Tomas Vokoun to bail him out. The Senators need offense more consistently, as they won't be able to hang a six spot on the Pens like they did the Canadiens twice. It's unrealistic to expect Jason Spezza back this series, but if this series goes seven like I think it will, it's possible. Craig Anderson is the team's backbone and will be needed again to keep the team in every game.
Prediction: Penguins in 7
(4) Boston Bruins vs. (6) New York Rangers
Boston was on the verge of blowing a 3-1 series lead against Toronto before a furious comeback in game 7 was capped off by a Patrice Bergeron overtime goal. The Rangers took every game at home against the Capitals before winning on the road for the first time in the playoffs, good enough to make it to the next round. The Bruins need to find more consistency, as they largely struggled to put away the Maple Leafs in potential elimination games, and that begins with Tuukka Rask, who almost ended up on the wrong end of a comeback again (he was the goaltender of record in that 2010 series against Philadelphia). Offense has been an issue with the Rangers, and Rick Nash needs to find some luck. Goaltending is no issue, as Henrik Lundqvist has been his usual sterling self, gaining yet another Vezina Trophy nomination in the process.
Prediction: Bruins in 6
Monday, May 13, 2013
Yes, the Oil Kings had the suffocating defense, thanks to the goaltending of Laurent Brossoit and the blue line that featured the likes of Griffin Reinhart and Keegan Lowe, but they also had some offense, thanks to players such as Michael St. Croix, Travis Ewanyk, and Trevor Cheek. A mid-season trade for David Musil bolstered an already potent defense in their hopes for a repeat. Along the way however, the Oil Kings lost Cheek and Reinhart to injury, and with a Winterhawks team that remained largely healthy (they lost Preston Kopeck in game 4 of the Oil Kings' series), the Oil Kings just didn't have enough to overcome the waves of talent the Winterhawks had.
As for who the Oil Kings will be able to count on for next season, Tristan Jarry will be the goaltender, and in limited action, he played very well. Curtis Lazar is eligible for the NHL Draft this year, and barring an NHL team's desperation, is almost certain to return. Odds are also in favor of Mitchell Moroz, Dysin Mayo, Ashton Sautner, and Stephane Legault returning. No word on who the overagers will be next season, but they will have fairly big skates to fill, as Cheek, TJ Foster, and Dylan Wruck were pretty good players as the oldest players on the squad.
As the Oil Kings' season came to an end last night, one has to be reminded just how well the Oil Kings have done in recent seasons, both on and off the ice. It wasn't long ago that the Oil Kings were an expansion franchise, but thanks to the play of the likes of Lazar, Henrik Samuelsson, Reinhart, Brossoit, and Mark Pysyk, the Oil Kings have not only turned into a team to watch in the Central Division, but they also started a new chapter with a rivalry against the Calgary Hitmen and have also done quite well in the NHL Draft, with Pysyk, Samuelsson, and Reinhart all being first round picks, and there's a possibility that Lazar could join them this year.
The Memorial Cup will also see Saskatoon (the host team) and the winner of tonight's Barrie-London matchup, as that series is going a full seven games.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
A rematch of last year's Ed Chynoweth Trophy Finals, this final features the two best teams in the league. The Winterhawks have considerably more talent than last year's team that took Edmonton to seven games, and there is talent up and down both squads. The highest scoring offense in the league, the Winterhawks are led by Brendan Leipsic, Nic Petan, and Ty Rattie, who were also the three leading scorers in the league. Seth Jones has been everything as advertised, and he has help in Troy Rutkowski and Derrick Pouliot, while Mac Carruth has solidified things in net.
The Oil Kings return much of last year's championship team and are led by Michael St. Croix. The top ranked defense features Griffin Reinhart, Keegan Lowe, and mid-season acquisition David Musil, and don't forget about Laurent Brossoit in goal.
The key to victory will depend on how fast Edmonton can get out of the gate after a grueling seven game series against Calgary in the Conference finals and whether or not Portland will be rusty after a week off.
Prediction: Winterhawks in 7
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Four Broncos Memorial Trophy (Player of the Year): Adam Lowry, Swift Current
Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year): Seth Jones, Portland
Del Wilson Trophy (Goaltender of the Year): Patrik Bartosak, Red Deer
Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy (Defenseman of the Year): Brenden Kichton, Spokane
Brad Hornung Trophy (Sportsmanlike Player of the Year): Dylan Wruck, Edmonton
Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Memorial Trophy (Scholastic Player of the Year): Josh Morrissey, Prince Albert
Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy (Humanitarian of the Year): Cody Sylvester, Calgary
Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy (Coach of the Year): Ryan McGill, Kootenay
Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy (Executive of the Year): Bob Green, Emdonton
WHL Marketing/Business Award: Kamloops Blazers
WHL Scholastic Team of the Year: Portland Winterhawks
Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy (Top Official): Nathan Wieler
Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy (Regular Season Champions): Portland Winterhawks
Bob Clarke Trophy (Leading Scorer): Brendan Leipsic and Nic Petan, Portland
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
OHL Championship (J. Ross Robertson Trophy)
(1) London Knights vs. (2) Barrie Colts
The Knights had little trouble getting to this point, sweeping Saginaw in the opening round, disposing of Kitchener in the following round, and beating Plymouth on the way to defending their championship. The best team on offense and the third-ranked team on defense (only Owen Sound and Belleville posted better numbers), the Knights have some players, as Max Domi, Seth Griffin, and Chris Tierney lead the way up front while Olli Maatta and Scott Harrington lead a stout blue line. Anthony Stolarz has shined in his first season with the Knights. The Knights are coached by Dale Hunter, who briefly led the Washington Capitals to a playoff berth last year.
The Colts led the Eastern Conference in goals scored while being tied for fourth in the league in goals against. Sweeps against Kingston and Oshawa were followed by a hard fought seven game series win against Belleville, and the Colts are lead by Mark Schiefele, Zach Hall, and Mathias Niederberger. Dale Hawerchuk is the head coach of the Colts.
QMJHL Championship (President Cup)
(1) Halifax Mooseheads vs. (2) Baie-Comeau Drakkar
The Mooseheads are the only team in all three leagues to not have lost a playoff game so far. Sweeps against Saint John, Gatineau, and Rouyn-Noranda have led the Mooseheads to an almost certain spot in the Memorial Cup. It's no secret that the Mooseheads are led by potential first overall picks in Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon, as a whopping 347 goals in the regular season (13 more than the Winterhawks) will attest. But don't sleep on the defense, as they led the league in that category, too, and Zachary Fucale, another 2013 NHL Draft prospect, is a major reason for that. Dominique Ducharme is the head coach of the Mooseheads.
The Drakkar were tied for second in offense and were second in defense, and had a slightly harder time getting to this point. Sherbrooke and Victoriaville were victims of sweeps before the Drakkar were taken to six games by Blainville-Boisbriand in the semifinals. Zach O'Brien led the team in points while Philipe Cadorette helped backstop the team to victory. Eric Veilleux is the head coach.