As per usual, NHL Central Scouting released its mid-term rankings ahead of the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game. The North American skater rankings can be found here. Goaltenders here.
A couple of injury replacements have Belleville’s Jordan Subban in for Brandon’s Ryan Pulock, Oshawa’s Cole Cassels in for Cape Breton’s William Carrier, Rimouski goaltender Phillippe Desrosiers in for Tri City’s Erik Comrie and the latest has Chicoutimi’s Laurent Dauphin in for Medicine Hat’s Hunter Shinkaruk.
You can find the rosters and more info about the game right here.
I forgot how competitive Don Cherry gets at this event – he’s pining for a practice Tuesday evening when the original schedule does not have one.
Triple by-pass, triple shmy-pass according to the ever-entertaining Brian Kilrea. He looks like a million bucks and he’s always got a smile on his face when he’s at the rink; even more-so when he’s with best pals Bert O’Brien and Grapes.
There was a solid turnout just for the practices of Team Cherry and Team Orr on Monday Night at the Metro Centre.
Seth Jones feels as if he made the adjustment to the WHL about five games in. The physical play and the schedule have both been eye-openers for the highest rated draft-eligible player in North America.
Madison Bowey’s defensive game has come a long way thanks to Kelowna assistant coach Dan Lambert.
The two guys I’m most interested to see Wednesday night are Anthony Mantha (Val d’Or) and Frederik Gauthier (Rimouski).
Friday night marked our first live look at the host of the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup and the reviews were mixed. The Blades welcomed Michael Ferland, Erik Benoit and Collin Valcourt to their lineup. Saskatoon was not particularly good through 40 minutes, but showed dominance in the third despite not being able to beat Red Deer keeper Patrik Bartosak on 17 shots.
It’s fascinating to see how, "On The Edge," is shot. According to GM and head coach Lorne Molleken, it was awkward at first, but the team has now accepted the crew as part of their team. And the show has been a hit. The next episode can be seen on Jan. 20 on Sportsnet.
No doubt the Blades have their work cut out for them. As I see it, Edmonton, Calgary, and Prince Albert are the three best teams in the Eastern Conference, while both Lethbridge and Swift Current can be dangerous on any given night and that leaves the Blades in a battle for the conference’s middle tier.
It was a smart move by Rebels GM Brent Sutter to pick up Jordan DePape off waivers. Even with shoulder surgery, DePape should be able to give the Rebs a couple of weeks in the regular season and who knows how much in the playoffs. Best part of the move is that for most of the rest of the regular season, he doesn’t have to interrupt the development of his young group.
Don’t sleep on defending MasterCard Memorial Cup champion head coach Eric Veilleux. He’s got his Baie-Comeau Drakkar playing well and you don’t want to get into a road playoff series in that building.
What’s going on with the Quebec Remparts? They’ve lost four straight and seven of their last 10 games. The Remparts have averaged less than three goals-per-game over their last 16.
Great comment from Remparts forward Adam Erne on Mikhail Grigorenko, "he slows the game down so well."
Marty Williamson was torn between retaining or trading World Junior teammates Brett Ritchie and Ryan Strome but in the end, both were retained. While Ritchie will likely be returned, it may not be that cut-and-dry for Strome. With both of them, the Dogs will be right in the mix come playoff time.
The Edmonton Oil Kings have won seven of their last eight games, and four of those by way of the shutout. In fact, Edmonton has allowed just 19 goals over its last 14 games.
Of the 40 players that will participate in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game, 17 of them won gold with Canada’s Under-18 team at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Tournament. Of those that will not play in Wednesday’s game, Sam Reinhart and Nick Ritchie are not eligible. Yan Pavel-Laplante sustained an injury during the tournament and is still out. Kayle Doetzel and Jeremy Gregoire were not invited.
Nice to see small market teams such as Rouyn-Noranda, PEI, Owen Sound, Kingston, Swift Current, and Prince Albert having some success. But, it’s time for the likes of Cape Breton, Acadie Bathurst, Peterborough, Erie, and Prince George to get going.
For those wondering about the timing of the Brian Burke firing in Toronto, here’s my take: It would’ve been hard to do during the layoff considering several MLSE employees were asked to take pay-cuts. Justifying the jettisoning of a big salary would not have reflected well on the organization. Secondly, if management didn’t like Burke and the Maple Leafs made the playoffs under his watch during this shortened season, it would’ve been much tougher to get rid of him then.
This week the crew is in Niagara for an OHL match-up featuring the new-look Belleville Bulls and the IceDogs.
For more on the CHL, be sure to check out the latest from Patrick King right here