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  • It was just a matter of when a major junior hockey team would get in on the Harlem Shake fad.

    Within hours of each other on Thursday, two Canadian Hockey League teams, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and Kitchener Rangers, released what might be considered duelling versions of the viral dance video that has all but broken the Internet.

    The QMJHL's Huskies begins with one player clad in a Speedo swimsuit and an upside-down wastebasket on his head starting the dance in the middle of a team study sessions. The OHL's Rangers is initiated by one of the mascots in the team dressing room. Let's let the Internet decide who is going better. Apparently, "The key to a 'good' Harlem Shake video is for one person, and one person only, to dance to the music, and then when the beat drops, to quick cut to everyone else in the dorm, locker room, or office going absolutely nuts." It looks like both teams captured the spirit of the thing.

    Kitchener's version, highlighted by one of their goaltenders wearing his goalie pads on his arms and another player getting piggybacked around the room. One too-cool-for-the-room player reads a newspaper,

    Rouyn-Noranda's version, complete with wild, shirtless gyrations. Plus one player in the foreground doing what is either The Worm or really intense crossfit training. The Huskies might have a little more energy here, as hockey commentators would say.

    Read More »from Kitchener Rangers, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies do duelling ‘Harlem Shake’ videos
  • Tesink has only played 6 games for Blainville-Boisbriand since his trade from Saint John (Getty Images)

    Ryan Tesink, who plays a gritty game while being built like a whippet, has probably accumulated more than his fair share of bumps and bruises over three seasons in the QMJHL.

    There probably isn't a player in major junior who gets through a season that frankly is longer than is actually healthful for teenagers without needing physio and regular visits to the training room. That doesn't necessarily mean someone is injured, though, especially when he only missed two games in the first half of the season. The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada are contending the Saint John Sea Dogs concealed that Tesink's knee injury before their Jan. 2 trade. He had one, but it didn't impair him from playing. To get Tesink, the Armada traded Saint John back its 2013 first-round pick to get the 19-year-old forward, which could end up being a top five selection.

    Tesink played in 35 of Saint John's 37 games before the deal, missing a pair of October contests due to suspension. The St. Louis Blues draft pick skated in the Armada's first six afterward before his knee became too injured for him to play; along the way he was named first star in each of his first two games. After he was injured, a cone of silence descended over his status. The QMJHL has not dismissed it out of hand, scheduling a hearing for Feb. 18.

    Read More »from QMJHL calls hearing over Ryan Tesink trade; Blainville-Boisbriand Armada traded top-5 pick for forward who is now injured
  • Scheifele appeared in 4 games for the Jets before rejoining Barrie (OHL Images)

    The contrast between where Mark Scheifele just was and where he hopes to be next year could not have been more stark, set off as it was by scores of empty seats.

    The 19-year-old might have played at a sold-out Scotiabank Place last Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada if he had stretched out his stay with the Winnipeg Jets for a few more days. Now that his need to improve his balance and strength in order to augment his playmaking has dictated a return to the Barrie Colts, he was playing in front of an announced crowd of 2,021 diehards willing to make the suburban commute to support the last-place Ottawa 67's during a rebuilding season. The Colts won 10-1, with Scheifele counting a hat trick plus three assists.

    It was a night to wonder what Scheifele could be getting out of major junior. With the CHL-NHL agreement being what it is, there seemed little way to sneak in a "Well, what if you could go play for the St. John's IceCaps?" question. Does a 19-year-old weigh himself down with such a hypothetical? The big takeaway, though, came after the fourth and fifth Colts goals in the second period. On the 4-1 marker, where Scheifele flicked a fat rebound out of midair, the Colts celebrated like kids. But when Zach Hall got the-rout's-on power-play marker that was set up by Scheifele four minutes later, Barrie was casual — no raised sticks, no receiving line of high-fives past the bench.

    Scheifele was part of making the call not to rub it in while the young 67's confidence crumbled (as Colts coach Dale Hawerchuk, whose team finished last two seasons ago, put it, "When you're on the poor end of it, it's hard to get your body to move"). That spoke to the biggest gain he hopes to make out of the rest of the season, being a leader.

    Read More »from Mark Scheifele takes lead with Barrie Colts, even in a basic no-win situation like a blowout
  • Andrew Fritsch had not had a hat trick in 4 OHL seasons (OHL Images)

    No. 1 star: Andrew Fritsch, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

    The Phoenix Coyotes selection missed a month of this season with a high ankle sprain, but is doing much better now. Fritsch (4G-1A, +3), who has fought through injuries throughout his career, had the best night of his nearly four seasons in the Ontario league by accounting for half of the Soo onslaught during an 8-0 victory over the Sarnia Sting. The win vaulted the 'Hounds over Sarnia and kept them three points adrift of Plymouth in the West Division race. Linemate Nick Cousins, with four assists, retook the league scoring lead with 88 points ahead of Sarnia captain Charlie Sarault.

    Fritsch got two power-play goals in the first period by finding a good parking spot in front of the Sting goal, where he redirected point shots by OHL defenceman-of-the-year candidate Ryan Sproul. In the second, as the game began to get out of hand, Fritsch scored a beauty goal off the rush, whooshing past defenceman Craig Duininck and slipping

    Read More »from Phoenix Coyotes pick Andrew Fritsch scores 4 goals in Greyhounds’ thrashing: Wednesday’s 3 Stars
  • Alex ForsbergWhen lacing up the skates for the Prince George Cougars became a chore, Alex Forsberg knew he needed a change of scenery to rekindle his love for the game.

    “I knew I needed to ask for a trade when I stopped having fun in Prince George,” says Forsberg, the Cougars’ first overall pick of the 2011 Western Hockey League bantam draft. “I felt I needed a change. And I had to ask for a trade to get that.”

    Forsberg’s decision to ask Cougars GM Dallas Thompson for a trade wasn’t viewed as “the right thing to do." The majority frown upon players that ask for a one-way ticket to a different city.

    But at the end of the day, if Forsberg isn’t having fun playing hockey, shouldn’t he have the right to do what he thinks will bring back the enjoyment? After all, if he doesn’t look out for his best interest, who will?

    The 18-year-old wouldn’t delve into his problem with the Cougars organization. He did, however, mention his frustration with playing on a losing team.

    “I’m not going to badmouth the team,”

    Read More »from Alex Forsberg talks about his decision to leave Prince George
  • Blades' two-way forward Matej Stransky throws a check (CP)When is it going to be time to start talking about how good of a hockey team this spring's MasterCard Memorial Cup hosts are?

    This current nine-game winning streak they're on can't last, although the group put together by head coach and general manager Lorne Molleken is now beginning to get results as advertised. They beat the Swift Current Broncos on a late goal from Josh Nicholls last night to improve their record to 32-29-3. It seems like a long time ago the team began 2-7 and there were already questions about Duncan Siemens' leadership, the chemistry in the locker room, and the Sportsnet cameras following around the team all the time.

    As it happens, when you're scoring on just 6.4% of your shots and your opponents are scoring on 14.6% of the same, you're probably not going to win too many hockey games. But shooting and save percentages are fairly unsustainable, especially over a very small sample of games. Even while the team had a poor start, they were consistently out-shooting the opposition and holding an advantage in puck possession. They just weren't winning.

    Read More »from Blades win ninth straight: what spurred the turnaround in Saskatoon?
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...
    WHL

    And just like that, Josh Nicholls and Michael Ferland, et al., have led the MasterCard Memorial Cup-host Saskatoon Blades to the top of the East Division. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Southwest Booster)

    A playoff berth is likely not happening for the Regina Pats. (Regina Leader-Post)

    The Spokane Chiefs' rough road of late will not get any easier tonight against surging Calgary, but they are catching the Hitmen at the end of a long road trip. (KREM, Spokane Spokesman-Review)

    Are the Victoria Royals for real? Ask again after they play Kootenay. (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    Get to know Kelowna Rockets defenceman Mitch Wheaton. (The Pipeline Show)

    OHL

    The Plymouth Whalers, now leading the West Division, will finally get three-time Swedish world junior forward Rickard Rakell back from the NHL's Anaheim Ducks. (TSN)

    Read More »from Saskatoon shoots into first, Rickard Rakell returns to Plymouth: Wednesday’s 3 Stars
  • Griffith has 82 points in 54 games for the Knights (Getty Images)

    While no player in the history of hockey has ever publicly acknowledged having his sights on a scoring title — they're just there to help the team win in any way they can — the OHL's point race was shaping up as a good side plot. It looks like the four-man race brewing between the Sarnia Sting's Charlie Sarault, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds' Nick Cousins, Plymouth Whalers' Vincent Trocheck and London Knights' Seth Griffith will now be a three-man fight.

    Following a scoop on Tuesday night that Griffith, a Boston Bruins selection, broke a bone in his hand, the Knights provided a little more detail. It looks as though Griffith, frequently the finisher-offer of many a feed from NHL draft prospect Max Domi, is going to miss at least three weeks. The pair are one of just two tandems in OHL who each have at least 30 goals.

    Read More »from Boston Bruins pick Seth Griffith breaks hand, falls out of OHL scoring race
  • Drouin has 75 points in only 36 games (Getty Images)

    In other news possibly pertaining to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jonathan Drouin did just fine without Nathan MacKinnon to get him the puck.

    As if just to fan the flames in the debate of the merits of the two 17-year-old phenoms, Drouin lit up the P.E.I. Rocket for hat trick on Tuesday in the Halifax Mooseheads' first game since MacKinnon was sidelined by a leg injury. The first two were as sweet as restaurant quality lemonade, showing off Drouin's acceleration, hands and generally all-around awesome spatial sense.

    So is #DroppingForDrouin for #LosingForDrouin the appropriate hashtag?

    One should not blow too much smoke since Drouin still has much to learn before he can do this in the NHL on a semi-halfway regular basis. It hardly tells the same story to point out Drouin has nearly identical numbers as a 17-year-old who only joined the Mooseheads midway through last season that Saint John Sea Dogs graduate Jonathan Huberdeau produced last season as an 18-year-old in his third full

    Read More »from Halifax Mooseheads’ Jonathan Drouin gets highlight-reel hat trick in first game of MacKinnon’s absence (VIDEO)
  • Edmonton scoring leader Dylan Wruck (Getty Images)

    The past week was a higher the climb, the more that is exposed week among major junior hockey's best teams. A heavy slate of big-time matchups meant next to no one got through the week unscathed. Even the Portland Winterhawks. It's like the sport turned into college basketball, where whoever has climbed to the top of the AP Top 25 this season seems to immediately lose.

    That led to some shakeup in the rankings, with only Seth Jones' team and Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin's teams holding on to the same rung. The Edmonton Oil Kings, thanks to their own strong past few weeks and a surge from their frenemies down Hwy. 2 in Calgary, snuck into second spot. Cue the images of an Edmonton-Portland rematch in May for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. I would say we should not think too far ahead, but everyone's been thinking it since the start of the season.

    1. Portland Winterhawks, WHL (.575 RPI, 2.0 SRS, —) — Make no mistake, the multi-point individual scoring efforts notwithstanding, Portland's

    Read More »from Portland Winterhawks, Edmonton Oil Kings 1-2 in BTN Dynamic Dozen

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