By Patrick King, Sportsnet.ca
Move over Josh Godfrey, there’s a new sharp-shooter in town.
Godfrey, who is well known for his heavy slapshot, was unseated in the Ontario Hockey League’s skills competition on Tuesday. Montreal Canadiens draft pick and Kitchener Rangers defenceman Yannick Weber unleashed the hardest shot, clocking in at 99.2 miles per hour.
Weber and Godfrey may have had the hardest shots but it was Oshawa Generals forward Brett MacLean whose shot counted most. MacLean scored the shootout winner to lead Team East over Team West 19-18 in the skills competition.
Earlier this week it was announced Niagara IceDogs captain Michael Swift and Ottawa 67′s defenceman Julien Demers will take over as injury replacements for Logan Couture and Tyler Cuma.
Dustin Jeffrey, forward and co-captain of the hometown Greyhounds, is the captain of Team West while Drew Doughty, Steven Stamkos and Justin Azevedo are the assistants.
A pair of Greyhounds alumni will be the honourary captains for the game. Current head coach Craig Hartsburg, who also guided Canada to their last two world junior gold medals, will be joined by Art Dorazio. Dorazio is the oldest active alumni of the team and will turn 100 on April 25.
Former Rocket Coach Resurfaces
Yanick Jean is back behind a bench in the Québec Major Junior Hockey League.
Jean, who was fired by the P.E.I. Rocket early this season, assumes the head coaching position with the Victoriaville Tigres after the team dismissed Martin Bernard on Saturday.
He fell out of place in P.E.I. when the team opted to go with more experience and hired Guy Chouinard as his successor. Jean is considered one of the top young, up-and-coming coach’s in the league.
Jean, who is also a former player, will serve as head coach of his new team in his first game Wednesday night against the Gatineau Olympiques.
Playoff Spots Scooped Up
Although two American based teams were the first to acquire playoff spots in the Western Hockey League this season in Spokane and Tri-City, two large-market Canadian teams equaled the feat last week.
The Vancouver Giants, who are in a dog-fight with Spokane and Tri-City for the top spot in the Western Conference standings, punched their post-season ticket this past week. The defending Memorial Cup champions trail the Spokane Chiefs by five points as of Tuesday night for first.
Meanwhile, the Calgary Hitmen became the first team to acquire a playoff spot in the tough Eastern Conference. The Hitmen, who have begun to separate from the rest of the pack for first in the conference, have not lost in regulation in their last eight games and have the third best record in the league.
Meanwhile, in the OHL, the Belleville Bulls are the second team to gain entry into the post-season, following the Kitchener Rangers. The Bulls are one of the hottest teams in the Canadian Hockey League since the Christmas break and received good news when Shawn Matthias was returned from the Florida Panthers recently.
Monthly Top Prospects Award
The National Hockey League draft is a focal point of every season in the CHL as many budding young stars turn in fantastic pro careers after their junior days.
As such, the CHL recently announced the winners of the NAPA Draft Prospects of the Month for January.
Chicoutimi Saguenéens forward Nicolas Deschamps is turning the monthly award into a habit. Deschamps took home the award from the QMJHL for the third time this season.
Meanwhile, Oshawa Generals defenceman Michael Del Zotto is the OHL’s nominee while Tri-City Americans forward Kruise Reddick takes home WHL honours.
Each was ranked by the NHL’s Central Scouting in their mid-term list of domestic skaters. Del Zotto was ranked 14th while Deschamps came in at No. 28 and Reddick at No. 39.
Noteworthy: Calgary Hitmen forward Ryan White is the WHL and CHL player of the week … Guelph Storm goaltender Thomas McCollum is the OHL’s player of the week and shares the CHL goaltender of the week award with the Riku Helenius of the Seattle Thunderbirds … Lewiston MAINEiacs forward Danick Paquette is the QMJHL’s offensive player of the week while Saint John Sea Dogs defenceman Alex Grant is the league’s defensive player of the week … Everett Silvertips forward Dan Gendur is the WHL’s player of the month … The OHL announced their performers of the month from January. Oshawa Generals forward Brett MacLean is the player of the month, Belleville’s Mike Murphy is the goaltender of the month, London’s Patrick Maroon is the rookie of the month and Zach Bogosian of the Peterborough Petes is the defenceman of the month … The QMJHL also announced its players of the month. Halifax Mooseheads forward Jakub Voracek is the offensive player of the month, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defenceman Marc-André Bourdon is the defensive player of the month and Chicoutimi’s Nicolas Deschamps is the rookie of the month … The WHL extended the contract of commissioner Ron Robison for three years through the 2010-2011 season … Acadie-Bathurst Titan forward and last year’s league most valuable player, Mathieu Perreault, set a franchise record for his consecutive game point streak. Perreault currently holds the streak with 23 games and counting … Rouyn-Noranda head coach André Tourigny won his 200th game behind the bench in a 4-2 win over Shawinigan on Sunday … The Chicoutimi Saguenéens retired Marc Fortier’s old No. 20 jersey on Saturday … The Drummondville Voltigeurs team bus was in an accident last Wednesday. No one was injured and the team proceeded to Lewiston for their game against the MAINEiacs, an hour behind schedule … Brandon Wheat Kings alumni Ray Ferraro will drop the ceremonial face-off before Wednesday’s game against the Medicine Hat Tigers. Ferraro is the colour commentator for Sportsnet’s Edmonton Oilers games. His son, Landon, plays for the Red Deer Rebels.