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  • Clint Windsor (OHL Images)

    No. 1 star: Clint Windsor, Ottawa 67's (OHL)

    Windsor led the young 67's to their biggest character win since fully committing to rebuilding, stopping 47 shots to beat the conference-leading Belleville Bulls 3-1 in their own barn. The 19-year-old goalie has had more shots taken at him than Lena Dunham, seemingly for little tangible reward while playing for a last-place team. The Bulls were counting on breaking their slide against a playing-for-pride Ottawa outfit, but Windsor gave the 67's a lift with 14 first-period saves while likely top-10 NHL pick Sean Monahan (2G-1A, +2) and linemates Joseph Blandisi and Ryan Van Stralen produced a goal.

    Belleville ramped up the pressure with 20 second-period shots, and fell farther behind as the 6-foot-4 Windsor kept making saves and recovering to handle rebounds. His best save actually came on former 67 Jake Cardwell just before Alan Quine popped in Belleville's only goal. Ultimately, the performance will make it easier for Ottawa to be competitive as it plays out the string.

    Windsor's performance helped out his old teammates in Barrie. The Bulls remain only three points ahead of the Colts for the Eastern Conference regular-season title with six games to play.

    Read More »from Ottawa 67′s Clint Windsor, Cape Breton’s Raphael Corriveau play spoiler: Wednesday’s 3 Stars
  • Cook helped London reach the Memorial Cup final last season (OHL Images)

    To no surprise, there is no undoing punching a game official. Ontario University Athletics has banned Brett Cook, a former OHL defenceman, for punching linesman Nicolas Piché during the Nipissing Lakers' season-ending loss to the Trois-Rivières Patriotes two weeks ago. The OUA ban is for the rest of the 21-year-old's university hockey career.

    It was an unforgivable act, but it shouldn't reach the point of Cook becoming a pariah for the rest of his life.

    From Amanda Smith:

    Cook acknowledged his actions during the game were unacceptable.

    “What I did was wrong, plain and simple,” said Cook. "My actions were unacceptable and I take full responsibility. My teammates, coaches and I are thankful that Mr. Piché was not hurt. I am deeply sorry for my actions, for embarrassing my university, the OUA, the CIS and the dignity of the game of hockey and I fully accept the sanctions determined by the OUA." (North Bay Nugget)

    Read More »from Brett Cook banned by OUA for punching linesman
  • The movie Pineapple Express had a scene where actor James Franco's character got his foot stuck after trying to kick the windshield out of the stolen police car he was driving. On Sunday, that was practically reenacted during a British Columbia Hockey League game.

    Credit where credit is due, eh? While Alberni Valley Bulldogs centre Teal Burns was the one whose foot went through the glass, it happened after he was sent skate-over-teakettle by a solid bodycheck from Nanaimo Clippers' defenceman Josh Bryan. It's in the same vein as the immortal Gordie Howe once said he never broke his nose playing hockey, but 11 guys did it for him.

    Read More »from Nanaimo Clippers’ Josh Bryan’s bodycheck puts player’s foot through the glass (VIDEO)
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Chris Peters looks at how more and more Minnesota players are starting to look at developing in the Western Hockey League. (United States of Hockey)

    So the Saskatoon Blades ran in formidable opposition in the form of Calgary and now their point streak is more over than the Harlem Shake. Quoth Blade coach-GM Lorne Molleken: "I hope the Calgary fans enjoyed it because that's about the only people who did." (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    Kamloops' Kale Kessy rubbed salt in the wound after getting "choked" in a tussle by Victoria tough guy Tim Traber during a 6-0 Blazers win over the Royals: "We need him on the ice. He's not a threat to us." (Kamloops Daily News)

    Four wins in their last five games would give the Portland Winterhawks a club record for points in a season, for what this is worth. (Portland Tribune)

    Saskatoon's Josh Nicholls has landed his NHL entry-level deal with the New York Rangers.

    Read More »from WHL mining Minnesota for players: Wednesday’s coast-to-coast
  • St. Catharines' Jack Gatecliff Arena (Roaming The Rinks photo)This might be the first known case of a Zamboni driver heel turn in junior hockey.

    You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger and you don't wear a London Knights-style jersey while resurfacing the ice in front of 3,145 Niagara IceDogs fans with bitter memories of last season's OHL final. On the other hand, in the name of sheer chutzpah, free expression and waving a cape in front of bull, there's a lot to like about the story of a London Knights-loving Zamboni driver wore " the sweater of a local minor hockey team" with the same emblem as the Knights while doing the ice during the first intermission of a game on Feb. 17.

    It showed a lot of brass, give him that much.

    From Doug Herod:

    A St. Catharines resident expressed his displeasure in an e-mail to Mayor Brian McMullan and the rest of city council on Feb. 18, the day after the game

    “There needs to be consequences to the employees who act out in ways that not only embarrass our local teams, but disrespect our city and the job the rest of the hard-working staff do,” wrote the e-mailer.

    Deputy Mayor Peter Secord was quick to respond, informing the resident by e-mail that he was at the game and “confronted” the employee prior to the second intermission.

    Recreation and community services director Rick Lane was then contacted by phone, and the employee was instructed to ditch the jersey. (St. Catharines Standard)

    Read More »from London Knights-loving Zamboni driver upsets fans, politicians in St. Catharines
  • Duclair is Central Scouting's 35th-ranked North American skater (The Canadian Press)

    Anthony Duclair found help close by last summer when he needed to be ready for his draft season.

    The perception of a prospect's second junior season often turns on gauging how he would fit into a pro hockey environment. The Quebec Remparts left wing showed from early on in his rookie season that he had exceptional acceleration and speed and could process an unfolding play rapidly, although his size would be called into question. Duclair tapped into the knowledge of his uncle, former CFL fullback Farell Duclair, who runs a private school for athletes in Vaughan, Ont.

    "I knew I needed to dedicate myself so I went and moved in with him and trained in Toronto," says Anthony Duclair, who has 47 points in 50 games for the Remparts despite a January swoon. "He knows what it takes to be a pro, He really wants me to be in the NHL, he's giving me tips and tools. We would go work one-on-one in park, doing a lot of sprinting and explosiveness."

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Anthony Duclair, Quebec Remparts
  • Budweiser Gardens in London could host the 2014 CHL championshipThe Ontario Hockey League sent out a release today to announce that the Barrie Colts, Windsor Spitfires and London Knights were the finalists in the bidding for the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament. The tournament will be the 96th edition of the Canadian Hockey League's annual championship between the winners of the three leagues and the host franchise.

    Per the release:

    All three clubs will present before the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup Site Selection Committee on Wednesday April 17, 2013, in Toronto, ON.  The Site Selection Committee is comprised of five leaders in the sports industry including Toronto Blue Jays President and CEO Paul Beeston, former OHL and NHL Executive and Director of Central Scouting Frank Bonello, NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell, NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Jim Gregory, and President of Broadcast, Rogers Media (Sportsnet) Scott Moore.  Ex officio members of the Site Selection Committee include OHL Legal Counsel Gord Kirke, and OHL Commissioner David Branch.

    The successful host centre for the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup will be announced in early May to provide the delegates of the successful host committee the opportunity to travel to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in time for the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup which takes place May 17-26.

    The 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup will take place May 16-25 featuring the league champions from the Ontario Hockey League, the Western Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, along with a host team from the OHL. [OHL]

    The names on the list are none too surprising. Windsor and London had been rumoured to be making bids. Kitchener who debuted their new arena could have been a contender, but they hosted the tournament back in 2008. The 2011 tournament was played to a sparse, quiet crowd at Mississauga's Hershey Centre which is none too appealing for TV viewers, so bringing the cup to a hot-bed is in the OHL's interest.

    Read More »from 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup bidders announced
  • Nathan MacKinnon (right) and Jonathan Drouin (The Canadian Press)Last season it was the Shawinigan Cataractes and Saint John Sea Dogs who fought for the top spot in the Dynamic Dozen week-to-week. Neither of the two teams in contention for the top CHL club this season is constructed like either team. The Cataractes were built as a Memorial Cup host with lots of 19- and 20-year-old additions, while the Sea Dogs had a deep team centred around a top NHL prospect in Jonathan Huberdeau.

    Halifax and Portland have built their teams from within, and while the Mooseheads have two top prospects, there's a debate as to which one is the feature. The Portland Winterhawks seem to keep replacing the talent that leaves for the pros with even more. Two seasons ago the team won the WHL Western Conference with Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johansen. This season they've made do with Oliver Bjorkstränd and Ty Rattie filling those spots. The team is built to protect even more prospects like Seth Jones and Nic Petan, who can both expect to go in the first round this June. While "Jones vs. MacKinnon" was the marquee headline for the CHL coming into this season, it's proved that both the Mooseheads and the Winterhawks are both composed of a little more than that. Halifax holds onto the top spot this week.

    There's some competition out West however. The Saskatoon Blades are eking their way into contender status after an 18-game win streak (although one that was snapped on the weekend) and a familiar foe for the Winterhawks could once again greet them in the WHL championship series should they make it that far.

    1. Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL (.579 RPI, 1.9 SRS, —) — The Mooseheads went 3-for-3 this week to maintain their standing on top of the Dynamic Dozen, leading the nation in both RPI and SRS. Having won ten straight and with Jonathan Drouin showing no sign of slowing down, the only thing that could hurt the Mooseheads come the playoffs is health. Nathan MacKinnon could be back before the playoffs now that he's skating with the team, a scary thought for Sherbrooke or Saint John who are the two likely teams to match up against Halifax in Round One of the 'Q' playoffs later this month.

    2. Portland Winterhawks, WHL (.564 RPI, 1.7 SRS, —) — The Winterhawks in contrast to the Mooseheads lost some ground this week after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Vet in Portland last week. On Saturday, Portland lost again in Everett. That said, there aren't any pressing concerns for the Winterhawks as they prepare for the playoffs. They'll face either Seattle or Everett, and the team has lost just four times in 23 tries against those two teams this season.

    Read More »from Halifax holds onto top Dynamic Dozen spot as regular season nears close
  • blazers PP

    JC Lipon had two first-period goals in Kamloops' win over Kelowna Sunday night. His third was a little unconventional. With Rockets centre Colton Sissons already in the box for interference, Damon Severson took a two-minute elbowing minor giving the Blazers a 1:15-long two-man advantage and a chance to ice the contest.

    What followed was a power-play formation that flew in the face of hockey wisdom. A standard setup for a team with a two-man advantage will be to have two point men, two players near the goal mouth and a big body in front of the net. The purpose is to get the puck into the slot and create rebounds and screens.

    [Highlights of the game (including the goal at 1:55) can be found at the Blazers' website. The above image is a screenshot from the highlight package]

    "I saw an NHL game, a power play in Florida with Pittsburgh, and they nearly killed off a five-on-three. The extra guy was clogging the slot," said Guy Charron post-game about what led him to his new formation. Watching the Penguins kill off over a minute of the 5-on-3 without leaving their zone or giving up any scoring chances led Charron to think about ways he could improve his own power-play formations.

    Read More »from Kamloops scores a goal with an unconventional power-play formation
  • Sutter coached Canada to the world junior gold medal in 2006 (The Canadian Press)When a member of Canada's most famous hockey family says parents have their children playing too much hockey, perhaps people should listen.

    Red Deer Rebels coach and owner Brent Sutter is probably as establishment as it gets in the sport, but he's lent his voice to the criticism that playing the sport year-round from an early age doesn't churn out better hockey players, it just causes burnout. (The general term is developmental compression.) One should have doubts over whether this makes any parents change their minds about registering children for the Wild West that is spring hockey, but it ties back to a recent post here about the perils of playing too much at an early age. It just isn't efficient, plus you get into the whole robbing someone of an adolescene thing.

    From Jason Gregor (@Jason Gregor):

    “You just don’t have as many players today that are as good athletes as they used to be,” Sutter said recently. “Too much today, especially in young players, is focused on hockey 12 months a year. They don’t play soccer, they don’t play baseball or tennis or the other things that people used to do.”

    ... “It is so noticeable on a hockey team that the kids who have played other sports and experienced different things are always the smarter players on your team, and they are able to handle adversity better,” Sutter said. “They deal with adversity better because they are thrown into different environments and they trust their skills that they may have learned elsewhere to get them through certain things.”

    And that’s leading Sutter to change the way his WHL team evaluates and scouts young players.

    Read More »from Red Deer Rebels’ Brent Sutter joins the ‘too much hockey’ chorus

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