Mon Jun 17 05:35pm EDT
Ten days ago, Nick Roy drew his line in the sand and he does not appear open to erasing it.
Prior to the Quebec Major League Hockey League draft on June 8, it was made crystal-clear that the desire was for first overall pick Nicolas Roy to play in his native Quebec instead of crossing over to the league's other solitude to join the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. It's almost like a repeat of how another player advised by Pat Brisson, Nathan MacKinnon, balked at moving from Nova Scotia to play for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in 2011.
Eagles coach-GM Marc-André Dumont called their bluff/set himself up for a trade windfall by drafting Roy anyway, as you know. The latest indication is that the Roy camp has dug in.
His parents, both teachers, said their son would not do well studying by correspondence and they worry about his academic performance.
“For us it's better to go to the U.S.A. because we are about two hours from U.S.A. The school is better, the program is better. They have six or ten students by teacher,” said his father Nick Roy.
Mon Jun 17 04:45pm EDT
Jimmy Lodge is not the first Pittsburgher to make an impact for the Saginaw Spirit — he's merely the first who took a detour through the centre of the universe.
When he was 13, the reedy right-shot centre's parents, Dory and James Sr., moved him up from Downington, Pa., to Toronto to attend the PEAC school for elite athletes and play minor hockey while billeting with his Toronto Titans coach Tony Comparelli ("his family's like a second family to me," Lodge says). The investment paid off this season with the 6-foot-2, 165-pound pivot becoming a point-a-game scorer in Saginaw with hints of being a potential top-six forward in thev NHL.
"Toronto's kind of similar to an American city, I feel," says Lodge, who was 21st in NHL Central Scouting's final North American skaters ranking. "It was hard coming up alone and being away from my parents and not really seeing them. I got used to it, though. It was a relatively easy change aside from that.
"Some people think I have an accent when I go back," Lodge adds. "But I don't think I've got one."
Mon Jun 17 11:01am EDT
Such is Canada's intractable fetish for hockey violence and poor sportsmanship that when a honest-to-goodness assault occurs on the ice, those who could do something about it put all the focus on the victim.
In January, during a game that had got out of hand, a Woodstock, Ont., midget hockey player named Nick Major had the effrontery to stop in front of the Brantford, Ont., team's goalie, sending ice shavings in his general direction. After Major was cross-checked to the ice — some retribution was inevitable — he was pulled to his feet and punched repeatedly by one of the Brantford players, who kept whaling on him even after he was down and in distress.
You can guess which breach of hockey etiquette stood out to the police when Major's parents, Julie and Wes, showed their video to law enforcement. It wasn't the continuing to hit a player who was already down. The Majors are now pressing their case with the CBC:
"The police, the parents say, essentially told them 'well, this is a chargeable offence; however, this is part of the game' and essentially that Nick had asked for this because he 'snowed the goalie.'
"Now the police tell us they are still investigating this five months later despite the video evidence and the league admits that several mistakes were made." (CBC.ca)
Sat Jun 15 03:06pm EDT
Just over a year ago, Edmonton Oilers' prospect Kristians Pelss was playing in the Memorial Cup with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He was coming off a strong 19-year-old season as a player who could grind, kill penalties, and also pop in a regular goal.
Pelss went missing on Monday, and there were then unconfirmed reports that his body was found in the Daugava, the river that runs through Riga, Latvia. Those have been confirmed:
Delfi News, Diena and Apollo - all Latvian news papers- say Pelss’s body was found in the Daugava River late Friday night.
Pelss disappeared Tuesday, and local media reported that the 20-year-old hockey player jumped off a bridge in his home town of Riga.
Fri Jun 14 11:07am EDT
Stability and Sting are not that far apart in the dictionary, but have often tended to be light-years apart where the Sarnia OHL franchise is concerned.
Fortunately for the Sting, which promoted alumnus and former NHLer Trevor Letowski from assistant to head coach on Friday morning, it did not overthink the first step of the post-Jacques Beaulieu era. While their former coach and GM might have come across as a bit bull-in-a-china-shop by times, it's best to have some continuity for the Sting's younger cohort, which includes 11 players who are moving into their 17- and 18-year-old seasons. So promoting Letowski, while trying to retain Alex Galchenyuk Sr. as a de facto skills coach, probably makes the most sense for a franchise that found out two years after the fact that no, the ends did not justify the means with Beaulieu. Especially when the ends were successive first-round playoff exits and the embarrassment, by association, of a coach facing assault charges.
Thu Jun 13 03:30pm EDT
With the quietly effective game he plays, it figures that Mirco Mueller possesses a rare distinction among the NHL's incoming draft class.
Many North American-based players had to fight fatigue and jet lag after a trans-oceanic flight to Russia for either the world junior championship in Ufa or or world under-18s in Sochi. Mueller, the 6-foot-3½, 184-pound defenceman who was ninth among domestic skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking, did so twice. He was a key part of Switzerland's U18 and U20 teams.
"I was pretty honoured to do that, play for my country," Mueller says. "I have lots of great memories and it helped me get better. I got to play against so different players this year, in different competitions."
Thu Jun 13 12:58pm EDT
A little more than a year ago, Kristians Pelss experienced the zenith of any young hockey player's existence when he raised the Ed Chynoweth Cup with his Edmonton Oil Kings teammates. That was a happy time, but now an unconfirmed report from media outlets in his homeland of Lativa states that the 20-year-old Edmonton Oilers farmhand has "disappeared without a trace" after reportedly jumping into a river.
There has been no cellphone contact with Pelss, who played for the Oilers' AHL and ECHL affiliates this season, since Monday. His family has not given up hoping that he will be found and the only hard information seems to be that the missing man has a 1992 birthdate.
Thu Jun 13 11:15am EDT
Kelowna Rockets defenceman Madison Bowey had a spring that was proof a door never shuts without a window opening.
A veritable perfect storm of injuries dashed the Rockets' aspirations of making a long playoff run. Their second-round ouster, though, meant Bowey was able to join Canada for the IIHF U18 world championship. The Winnipegger, who has been hailed for his speed and his ability to read the ice, was a main cog for the Maple Leaf while helping the country capture its first gold medal at the event since 2008. In doing so, Bowey likely pushed his draft stock much higher than his final Central Scouting ranking — 32nd among North American skaters — indicates, meaning he could be a first-rounder on June 30.
"Going in, we weren't the team to win. It's usually the Americans' tournament to win. We came together quickly. We had great leadership and a great coach [Don Hay from the WHL's Vancouver Giants]. It was huge for all of us, definitely a great thrill."
Wed Jun 12 05:12pm EDT
When Morgan Klimchuk arrived in Regina last year as a rookie, he knew there was pressure on his shoulders to follow the footsteps of Pats legendary scorers Jordan Eberle and Jordan Weal, who was in his 19-year-old season at the time.
“I knew, being a high draft pick, the team and fans were hoping for me to become a key player for them,” said Klimchuk, who was selected fifth overall in the 2010 bantam draft. “Eberle did so much for the organization and has gone on to become a great player in the NHL (with the Edmonton Oilers). I got to play with Weal last year as a rookie and I know firsthand how talented he is and how much of an impact he makes. But I didn’t think of it as I have to be the next Eberle or Weal. I tried not to focus on it and just work hard and try to continue to grow as a player.”
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound winger isn’t trying to become “the next Jordan Eberle,” but he looks up to him and has tried to emulate parts of his game after the Oilers’ 2008 first-round pick.
“Eberle is a role model of mine,” said Klimchuk. “I really like his work ethic. I trained with him with Crash Conditioning in Calgary. I got to see how hard he works and what he does to push himself. I also think I play a bit like him. He creates space and is at the right place at the time right time a lot.”
Similar to Eberle when he was playing for the Queen City Kids, Klimchuk has stood out for his goal-scoring ability and work ethic.
“I think he’s a franchise player because of his talent and hard work,” said Pats GM Chad Lang in an interview with BTN in March. “He’s earned everything he’s gotten. He works hard and is really dedicated to the game. He’s always looking for ways to improve.”
The biggest knock on Klimchuk in his rookie season with the Pats was that he lacked physicality and didn't play with enough grit. The Calgary, Alta., native was fully aware of this and tried to improve on his weakness as a sophomore.
“I wanted to play with more of an edge in my second year with the Pats,” said Klimchuk, who is ranked 25th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting Service. “I tried to be more physical and play with more willingness to get into the dirty areas to score goals and create scoring opportunities this year. That’s still something I’m working on."
Klimchuk's improvement in the dirty areas and boosted confidence translated to his stats sheet. He scored 40 more points than his rookie season in Regina, racking up 36 goals and 76 points in 72 games this year.
"I was more comfortable this year, knowing what to expect from last year," he said. "I felt I had more patience with the puck. I think I was better in puck battles, too. This helped me around the net and along the wall."
The 18-year-old carried over his scoring success to Team Canada in the U18 tournament in Russia. He finished tied for sixth in points with three goals and eight points in seven games.
“I was happy with how I played," said Klimchuk. "I was put in a position where I could succeed and was surrounded with great talent. When you play with very talented players like (Erie Otters star) Connor McDavid and (Kootenay Ice centre) Sam Reinhart, you want to elevate your game and that’s what I think I did.”
1. How would you describe yourself as a player?
“I’m definitely an offensive forward. I’m a player who produces points and creates offensive opportunities. I also think I’m a player that can be put in almost any situation. I can play on the penalty kill and as a defensive forward to hold a lead.”
2. When you were playing for Canada at the U18 tournament, did you feel you needed an impressive showing to receive a strong look next year for Canada’s world junior team?
“I didn’t go in thinking that, but it was in the back of my mind. I tried to focus just on helping the team win and making an impact. It definitely is a goal of mine to make Team Canada next year, though. I knew it was a great opportunity to get on the map for that with Hockey Canada watching.”
3. Who is your favourite NHL team?
“I’m a Calgary Flames fan because I grew up watching them in Calgary. My parents had season-tickets and I’d try to catch as many games as I could.”
4. While growing up in Calgary, were you close with the other 2013 draft superstars such as Medicine Hat Tigers forward Hunter Shinkaruk, Prince Albert Raiders blueliner Josh Morrissey and Swift Current Broncos defenceman Dillon Heatherington?
“I have played spring hockey with Morrissey and Heatherington. We’ve become pretty good friends. I also trained with Morrissey at Crash Conditioning. I don’t know Shinkaruk that well, but I’ve played against him in Calgary in minor hockey.”
5. What’s your favourite movie?
“I have to go with Law Abiding Citizen. I think it’s a great movie because it keeps you guessing. I like movies that keep you interested right until the end.”
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen
Wed Jun 12 01:07pm EDT
Teemu Kivihalme has a hockey story that could only happen in America, by way of Finland.
One who did not know better would presume from the name that the puck-moving defenceman hails from someplace such as Hämeenlinna or Helsinki. Kivihalme, who is ranked 64th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, is actually dual Finnish-American citizen. His father and coach at Burnsville (Minn.) High School, Janne Kivihalme, immigrated to the U.S. midwest as an exchange student and ended up settling there. A generation later, Teemu Kivihalme, while being a Karlssonish slight 5-foot-11¼ and 161 pounds, has impressed scouts with his speed, skill and son-of-a-coach smarts.
"I try to treat it as no different," Kivihalme, who also played for the USHL's Fargo Force last season, says of playing for his dad in the Minnesota high school ranks. "He's really on me. He tries to tell the team that he treats me no differently than any other player. He's on me constantly, on and off the ice. It's good for me. He definitely helped me as a player growing up.
"It's great having my American side and my Finnish side," adds the Colorado College recruit, whom in case you're wondering, is named after future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne. "The family on the Finnish side is really proud of me. I try to visit every summer. It's unique, not every kid has that."