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Buzzing The Net
  • Darnell Nurse knocks down Oliver Bjorkstrand (Andrew Vaughan, The Canadian Press)

    HALIFAX — Buzzing The Net's Three Stars from Wednesday's CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, won 3-0 by Team Orr over Team Cherry:

    No. 1 star: Laurent Dauphin, Team Orr / Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)

    The last player added for the game was a show-stealer, setting up the game's opening goal and burying the second to give Team Orr an edge it never relinquished. Dauphin (1G-1A, +2) was an illness replacement for the Medicine Hat Tigers' Hunter Shinkaruk and was even given the WHL star's No. 14 jersey. He bounced back from being body-checked heavily by Ryan Hartman heavily on the game's first shift to create the game's first goal. Off a nice zone entry, Dauphin pulled up and fed Seth Jones, whose hard, low shot created a rebound that fellow Quebec Leaguer Adam Erne (1G, +2) deposited behind goalie Zachary Fucale .

    "It was a great experience," Dauphin said. "I was not supposed to be here and I was able to take my chance and do my best."

    Early in the second, Dauphin, who is NHL Central Scouting's 41st-ranked North American skater, scored for a 2-0 lead. The centre came down 1-on-2 and caught defencemen Eric Roy and Jordan Subban in that no-man's land of either trying to play the puck or leave the shot to their goalie. Dauphin's shot, which might have been redirected, beat Fucale. Dauphin narrowly missed another goal in the second period, hitting the post. Either way, it was a breakout night for the rookie who helped his Collège Esther-Blondin midget team win the silver medal at the Canadian championship last season.

    Read More »from Laurent Dauphin leads CHL Top Prospects Game 3 Stars
  • Buzzing The Net is hosting a livechat on Wednesday during the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax, where top-ranked North American prospect Seth Jones leads Team Orr against Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Team Cherry.

    Please join Please join Cam Charron, Terry Doyle, Steve McAllister, Neate Sager and a cast of many for commentary on the game. Which prospect for the NHL draft will raise his stock? Who comes out ahead between Jones and Drouin/MacKinnon? Find out tonight. And bring your own peanuts!

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

    Read More »from CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Chatravaganza, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
  • Lazar is NHL Central Scouting's 26th-ranked North American skater (Marissa Baecker, Getty Images)HALIFAX — One thing about young hockey players, the better friends they are, they more apt they are to make a competition out of anything.

    The Edmonton Oil Kings' Curtis Lazar and Tristan Jarry seem like a classic case of opposing tintypes making for a tight pair of teammates. Lazar, now that he's in his second WHL season and wears an alternate captain's A in Edmonton, always seems to have a smile sprouting as he speaks, while Jarry fits the mold of being the buttoned-down goalie. But the two 17-year-olds, who played spring hockey together in British Columbia before joining Edmonton, have a close bond. So when they were placed on opposite teams for Wednesday's CHL Top Prospects Game, it was let the one-upsmanship begin.

    "I've been trash-talking with him for quite a while now," Lazar, the 6-foot, 198-pound right wing who's on Team Orr, said prior to Wednesdays game. "I'm working on trying to get that goal out of him. If he's not going to let me, I'm not afraid to go through the crease and put one over his shoulder."

    Read More »from Edmonton Oil Kings’ Curtis Lazar, Tristan Jarry best friends forced to battle in CHL Top Prospects Game
  • London's Max Domi is on Team Orr in Wednesday's CHL Top Prospects Game (OHL Images)

    HALIFAX — Scrutinizing 40 of the top NHL draft prospects all at once is like an exercise in avoiding confirmation bias.

    The CHL/NHL Top Prospects Games, make no mistake, is one-stop shopping made easy for scouts from the 30 NHL teams and the league's Central Scouting Service. As Chris Edwards, the senior North American scout for the latter, notes, it could take three weeks to get a proper viewing of every player representing the Western Hockey League teams who is part of Wednesday's game in Halifax (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, Sportsnet, BTN livechat). But what comes out of the annual showcase should be used very judiciously, rather than to cement a scout's opinion of a player.

    "It's a tool that you use along the way — I don't think you're every going to make up your mind off this game, one way or the other," Edwards says. "If a guy comes in here and plays well, you're going take that a little more than if a guy comes in here and doesn't play well. There's all the old arguments — different

    Read More »from CHL Top Prospects Game an important tool for scouts, when put in its proper place
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...


    There's no way a scout can watch all 40 players in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at once. At least not well. (The Canadian Press)

    Regina Pats forward Morgan Klimchuk is eager for tonight's Top Prospects Game. Meantime, will his WHL team make the playoffs? (Regina Leader-Post)

    Overage forward Collin Valcourt has had new linemates every game thus far since coming to Saskatoon in a deadline deal. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    Kevin Forbes explains why Everett Silvertips defenceman Mirco Mueller is a Guy You Should Know. (Hockey's Future)

    Romance, Canadian-style: a funny guy at a Moose Jaw Warriors got a playful slap from his girlfriend for needing to imbibe some liquid courage after appearing on the Kiss Cam.


    Gary Lawless argues the Winnipeg Jets should give Mark Scheifele some more NHL exposure, then return him to the Barrie Colts. (Winnipeg Free Press)

    Read More »from Mark Scheifele back to Barrie? Wednesday’s coast-to-coast
  • Montreal Canadiens president Geoff Molson is reportedly an investor in the Trois-Rivieres group (The Canadian Press)The mayor of Trois-Rivières, Que., isn't really threatening the Shawinigan Cataractes to accept a QMJHL competitor within their protected territory, but he kind of did earlier this week.

    Perhaps Google Translate lost something, but did you see what Trois-Rivières mayor Yves Lévesque, who is pushing a plan to build a $50-million arena, did there? Earlier this week, reports surfaced about an effort to move a team from the Maritimes to Trois-Rivières. The bid has enough heavy hitters behind it, such as former Cataractes president Réal Breton and Montreal Canadiens CEO Geoff Molson, to demand that it be taken seriously. The Cataractes would have to sign off on it by waiving their veto, which would put an estimated one-third of their corporate support that comes from the larger city of Trois-Rivières at risk. Lévesque's rationale for why the Cataractes, who have had the Mauricie region to themselves for 20 years, should be on board with this?

    — Either Trois-Rivières gets a major junior team or "it will look for the American League," which would require an even larger seating capacity and operating budget than a Q team. In other words, accept a huge threat to your bottom line or the gigantic one.

    — Trois-Rivières would not stand in the way of Shawinigan getting back in the league if the roles were reversed. Easy for him to say.

    Read More »from Trois-Rivieres could be a good QMJHL market, but is it worth the cost to the Shawinigan Cataractes?
  • Phillip Danault was a Blackhawks first-rounder in 2011 (Richard Wolowicz, Getty Images)Newly acquired Phillip Danault admitted to being a little tired and a lot excited prior to his first game with the Moncton Wildcats last Saturday.

    “It was great; Moncton was my first choice, honestly,” Danault said. “I was so happy when they told me that.

    “I had a little trouble sleeping [the night before].”

    It never showed, as Danault looked every bit his confident self in a 5-3 win over the Gatineau Olympiques. He chipped in with one assist, playing on a line with wingers Dmitrij Jaskin and Ivan Barbashev.

    “I was maybe a bit nervous, but the guys made me more comfortable,” the Chicago Blackhawks prospect said. “They’ve supported me since I’ve arrived. I had two great linemates who were all over the ice all game.”

    As the clock struck noon on Jan. 8, the Moncton Wildcats got the last laugh of the QMJHL trading period. Wildcats coach and director of hockey operations Danny Flynn was able to acquire Danault, a first round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks and the consolation big prize on the QMJHL trading market, from the Victoriaville Tigres, paying a hefty sum for his services.

    In exchange, the Tigres acquired defensive prospect Gabriel Gagne, the Wildcats’ top prospect from the 2012 QMJHL Entry Draft, and four draft picks: their first round picks in 2014 and 2015, their first Euro draft pick in 2014, and a second round pick in 2015.

    Danault related that being traded to Moncton was what he was hoping for.

    Read More »from Moncton Wildcats’ Phillip Danault anxious to make deadline deal pay off
  • Jones has made strides as his season has unfolded with the Winterhawks (Getty Images)

    HALIFAX — All we know is Seth Jones is No. 1, for today at least.

    The 6-foot-3½, 205-pound defenceman from the Portland Winterhawks reflected as much on Monday, just hours prior to to NHL Central Scouting placing him first in its North American midterm rankings ahead of Halifax Mooseheads centre Nathan MacKinnon and left wing Jonathan Drouin. Jones, already 18, had a more successful world junior championship than the two 17-year-old Canadians, anchoring the blueline for victorious Team USA. But the Plano, Texas native, is carrying on like he doesn't have a laurel to rest upon.

    "Just because my team won the gold medal, that doesn't mean I separated myself from the pack," he said on Monday. "I thought I played some pretty good hockey over there. I'm not going to quit working."

    Jones added the world junior championship drilled home just how deep the 2013 draft, as reflected by how many of the top European skaters and top North American-based players played in the WJC. It reminded him he cannot cosat.

    "There's so much talent throughout the world," he said. "That's what I took it out of it."

    Read More »from Seth Jones becomes NHL’s top-ranked North American prospect
  • MacKinnon will captain Team Cherry at Wednesday's CHL Top Prospects Game (Ghyslain Bergeron, The Canadian Press)

    Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones are trying to betray no effect from burning the candle at both ends of the world, and a continent.

    The question of how much is too much hockey for a teenage talent whose body is still developing seldom creeps in on the sport's native logic. So if the Canadian Hockey League schedules its mid-season showcase, the CHL/NHL Top Prospects, just 11 days after the end of a world junior championship in far-flung Ufa, Russia, the marquee players will declare themselves good to go. After all, they are trying to show they can stand up to an 82-game NHL schedule, possibly as soon next season.

    "My legs are maybe not still where they're supposed to be — that's part of going to Russia," says Drouin, who will be on a line with Team Cherry captain MacKinnon of the host Halifax Mooseheads on Wednesday, with Jones looming on the opposing blueline as captain of Team Orr. "You got to deal with that. That's what I'm trying to do, same with Nate. We're still a little tired, but that's part of that. That's what the NHL guys do. It was a great opportunity to go to Russia."

    "They do that in the NHL every day and they get used to it and that's what I'm trying to do here."

    Five players lacing up on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, Rogers Sportsnet, BTN livechat) also participated in the world junior. Along with Drouin and MacKinnon, Team Cherry defenceman Mirco Mueller helped Switzerland reach the medal round. Jones and the Plymouth Whalers' Ryan Hartman helped Team USA win the gold.

    At least Drouin and MacKinnon are playing in their home arena. Jones has crossed North America twice since getting back to Russia. The rangy defenceman fit in two games with the Portland Winterhawks before going from one coast to the other.

    Read More »from Drouin, MacKinnon and Jones fight through fatigue ahead of CHL Top Prospects Game
  • Darnell Nurse has helped the Greyhounds improve their playoff position (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    Darnell Nurse knows what he has to fine-tune.

    No one expects perfection from a defenceman who's still a few weeks shy of turning 18 years old, but a chat with Nurse reveals he's counting on more than his potential to be a 6-foot-5 defenceman with a two-way game to boost his NHL draft stock. The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds standout, who is a projected top-15 pick also wants to project NHL-worthy physicality without raising red flags about on-ice discipline. It's a telling a bit of self-awareness from the sophomore, who has 82 penalty minutes in 44 games with the 'Hounds.

    "My physical game, it comes and goes," says Nurse, a Hamilton, Ont., native whose family is accomplished in hockey, basketball and football. "That's something I want to continue to work on. Plus playing on the edge but not going over it. I have a few too many penalties this year. I have to keep that in check a little bit. It's something fixable, discipline. You can go over the video and look to see if there's something in your game that you can change to avoid getting the stick penalties or the roughings. When you watch the films, you see things and know you can improve."

    Nurse, listed at 6-foot-5 and 192 pounds, has helped the Greyhounds win 10-of-15 games since heard coach Sheldon Keefe's hiring six weeks ago. This past weekend might have been their best so far. The 'Hounds dispatched league-leading London on Sunday. The previous evening, his work during a 90-second two-man advantage helped key a win over Mississauga; Nurse managed to stay with the play and help prevent the Steelheads from scoring even after being hobbled by a painful-looking shot block.

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Darnell Nurse, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds


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