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  • Oshawa captain Boone Jenner (OHL Images)As Boone Jenner and Scott Laughton see it, having to wait to attend a NHL training camp, even a shortened one, isn't the worst thing that could happen to an ambitious teenage prospect.

    Teenagers age, after all. So that extra seasoning might come in handy for Jenner, the 19-year-old Oshawa Generals captain who's finally getting a crack at making the Columbus Blue Jackets now that the NHL lockout is over. His Oshawa teammate Laughton is at the Philadelphia Flyers camp on more of a look-see basis, but it applies to him, too.

    "I would have been ready for a camp in September," Jenner, who squeezed in two games with Oshawa in between returning from the world junior championship and joining the Jackets, said prior to leaving for Columbus. "Throughout the year, you always have it in the back of your mind that they [the NHL] might start up at any time. It's good to have it, finally ... Having 3-4 months of OHL hockey under your belt helps ... your game is a little farther along than it is

    Read More »from Boone Jenner, Scott Laughton hope extra time in OHL helps at shortened NHL camps
  • Jacob Middleton was the No. 8 pick in last spring's OHL draft (Mike Carroccetto photo)Junior hockey demands you grow up quickly. Take last week, when Jacob Middleton got dropped off by his parents to resume the second half of the season one day and was traded across the province the next.

    One wrinkle of trading in the Ontario Hockey League is that a team cannot trade a future first-round choice, but can trade its current first-rounder during the first 10 days of January. Four top picks changed teams before last week's trade deadline, including Middleton who went from contending Owen Sound to rebuilding Ottawa in a big trade for star defenceman Cody Ceci on Jan. 7. The strapping defenceman went from playing close to his family's Stratford, Ont., home to a city he had only visited once, for a midget tournament.

    "I got to Owen Sound on the Sunday night, my parents [Darlene and Steve Middleton] dropped me off, and on the Monday afternoon I was traded," the 6-foot-3, 194-pound Middleton related. "I just let them know that I could get a ride with [Joseph] Blandisi [the 18-year-old winger who was also traded to Ottawa]. I have a younger brother [Keaton] who's in hockey, so I just said, 'take care of him, I got a ride up to Ottawa and I'll be okay.'

    "They were fine with it," Jacob Middleton added. "They just want me to develop as a hockey player. Wherever the best fit is for me, they're happy."

    Read More »from Ottawa 67′s Jacob Middleton, on being a rookie who gets traded
  • Plymouth Whalers centre Ryan Hartman (Rena Laverty, Plymouth Whalers)No. 1 star: Ryan Hartman, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)

    The Whalers had just 15 skaters against Erie thanks to Stefan Noesen, Rickard Rakell and Tom Wilson being off at NHL camps, but Hartman made sure they would not have to write off two points. The 18-year-old completed a hat trick 20 seconds into overtime, snapping a shot from the half wall past Otters goalie Oscar Dansk to complete Plymouth's 4-3 comeback win.

    Hartman (3G-1A, +3), his Team USA teammate Vince Trocheck (3A) and their linemate Cody Payne accounted for all Whalers scoring. The improving Otters had a two-goal lead late in the second period thanks to a three-point night from Connor McDavid on the eve of his 16th birthday. However, Hartman popped in a power-play goal before setting up Payne's equalizer, leading to his overtime heroics.

    No. 2 star: Félix Girard, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)

    Girard (3G-2A, +3), the Drakkar's captain, led the way during a 7-0 rout of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, scoring a natural hat trick. The 18-year-old from Cap-Rouge, Que., assisted on the game's first goal by rookie Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau, then heated up with two power-play markers in the second period and another in the final frame. It was a command performance from Baie-Comeau's leader, to say the least.

    Read More »from Ryan Hartman saves the day for Whalers: Saturday’s 3 Stars
  • Patrik Bartosak (CP)No. 1 Star - Patrik Bartosak, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

    Tonight's feature game on Sportsnet pit the Red Deer Rebels against the Memorial Cup host Saskatoon Blades. The show was taken over by starting goalie for the Czech Republic at the IIHF U-20s, Patrik Bartosak, in his second game back from Ufa. Bartosak made 37 stops on 38 saves, several of the highlight-reel quality, including a late-game stop on Blades' forward Josh Nicholls moving from across his crease to stone the potential 3-2 goal at the doorstep. Bartosak was named the game's first star and Red Deer held on for a 3-1 win.

    The Rebels' other Czech import, Dominik Volek, opened the scoring in the first period. Winnipeg-select Lukas Sutter nearly tied it on a two-on-one later in the period, sneaking a shot through Bartosak's chicken wing but it bounced off the post. Russian goaltender Andrei Makarov had a rough stretch in the second period, allowing goals to Rhyse Dieno and Turner Elson in quick succession.

    The Rebels' road victory ends a small two-game losing streak, as they improve to 14-9 since Brent Sutter took over the club in November.

    No. 2 Star - Max Domi, London Knights (OHL)

    It was a 17-year old showcase for the London Knights in a night when goaltender Anthony Stolarz made his anticipated Knights debut. The Flyers pick surrendered 5 goals on 38 shots, but it hardly mattered. Max Domi scored two goals and added three assists. Bo Horvat and Remi Elie each had a goal and an assist, while Kyle Platzer had two assists on his own. Credit to Brandon Sudeyko for pointing it out, the '95s combined for four goals and seven assists as the Knights put up a 10-spot on the Ottawa 67s.

    The Knights continue to roll. They're the best team in the OHL by a long-shot, 19 points ahead of 2nd place Owen Sound (although the Attack have two games in hand) and they haven't lost in regulation since the beginning of November, a 28-game streak. They're finding offence in all avenues, which helps if your new goaltender gives up five.

    No. 3 Star - Matthew Boudreau, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

    Meanwhile, the feature game in the QMJHL saw Halifax face Blainville-Boisbriand, a battle between the No. 1 and No. 5 place teams in the Q, on a night that saw the return of the Mooseheads' stars to their lineup. However, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin were both held scoreless, Drouin, as well as Martin Frk, had a single assist.

    Read More »from Goaltenders shine on Friday, Red Deer’s Bartosak leads our BTN 3 Stars
  • Veteran Portland Winterhawks sniper Ty Rattie (Marissa Baecker, Getty Images)So run, that you may obtain. There is winning a league championship in the Canadian Hockey League and there is winning the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

    One of junior hockey's conundrums is the first and less publicly prestigious step is more difficult, requiring winning four best-of-7 series instead of a 10-day tournament. In another one of the CHL's cruel inventions that has essentially happened organically (it better have!), the ability to win a league title does not actually confer the ability to hoist the Memorial Cup. For starters, the CHL lets a host team which is often less playoff-weary into the tournament, plus some teams simply cannot reprise the energy, the edge that helped them mow through the league playoffs.

    A lot of dust flew around during the trade deadlines in all three leagues this week. It will still take time to settle as teams blend in their big acquisitions. At best, it's only a guess at how how the Kitchener Rangers will look by March with Frank Corrado on their blueline and Josh Leivo on the wing or whether adding crafty centre Vince Trocheck helps the Plymouth Whalers vault from sixth in their conference to contention in the OHL. There is a honest heartfelt belief that a team has to be doing something.

    As Owen Sound Attack general manager Dale DeGray put it to Sportsnet's Patrick King, "You have to send a message to your dressing room what we want to compete... We want to try to win this whole thing and if you don't, I think the feeling in the dressing room can sort of go awry." So, now that it's out of the way, who looks like it has a legitimate argument for raising the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon on May 26?

    Read More »from Memorial Cup favourites, now that the trade deadline is over
  • Ryan Strome is one of two juniors headed to the New York Islanders camp (OHL Images)

    Whether the Niagara IceDogs truly messed up by not moving their three on-the-NHL-bubble stars is all in how you ask the question.

    How an OHL team would carry on under normal circumstances should be struck from the discussion. Normal does not apply at a time when major junior players are spending 40 hours schlepping back from the world junior championship, putting in an appearance or two with their junior team and jetting (or Jetting, in Mark Scheifele's case) off to a condensed NHL training camp.

    The IceDogs under co-owners Bill Burke and Denise Burke have not typically been the selling kind. By many rationales, it's a missed opportunity to have not traded either defenceman Dougie Hamilton, wing Brett Ritchie or centre Ryan Strome, who are respectively bidding to make their NHL debuts with the Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars and New York Islanders. One argument — and it's a reach argument, admittedly — is, were they really Niagara's to trade in the first place?

    Read More »from Is Niagara IceDogs retaining Ryan Strome, Brett Ritchie actually a defensible decision?
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    So Alex Forsberg, the first overall pick in the 2010 bantam draft, is really going to play out the season with the Junior A Humboldt Broncos rather than play for the Prince George Cougars. The Regina Pats really wanted Forsberg, apparently. (Taking Note)

    Will the ghost of Luke Schenn really haunt Morgan Rielly's chances of jumping from Moose Jaw to the Toronto Maple Leafs? Neither the coach or GM from Schenn's Leafs days are still around. (Editor In Leaf)

    The Red Deer Rebels are keeping a place warm for overage forward Jordan DePape, who might be recovered from his shoulder surgery in time for the playoffs. (Kamloops Daily News)

    New Edmonton Oil Kings forward Trevor Cheek, on possibly seeing his old friends in Calgary in the playoffs: "Ever since I got traded from Calgary I kind of wanted to get back at them, I guess you could say." (Edmonton Journal)

    Something suggests people don't need it pointed out that the Michael Ferland and Collin Valcourt trades means the MasterCard Memorial Cup-host Saskatoon Blades don't have a first-round bantam pick until 2016. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    One feels for overage Adam Kambeitz, traded twice during his final season. On the plus side, Seattle's a cool city with a hard-workin' team. Meantime, the Thunderbirds also added 18-year-old forward Andrew Johnson. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    Adding Swiss world junior forward Alessio Bertaggia might gave the Spokane Chiefs some more flair. Do the folks in Portland know about him? (Spokane Spokesman-Review)

    Did the Portland Winterhawks really have to do anything at the deadline? (Oregon Live)

    Tri-City Americans GM Bob Tory decided not to "disrupt" the progress of a young lineup by making trades. (Tri-City Herald)

    St. Louis Blues-drafted defenceman Nick Walters, who's on his way to Brandon, will be miss in Everett. He has people skills. And puck skills. (Everett Herald)

    Ousted Everett coach Mark Ferner is mulling his options. (Vernon Morning Star)

    Read More »from Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin return for Mooseheads: Friday’s coast-to-coast
  • Windsor goalie Jaroslav Pavelka (OHL Images)

    No. 1 star: Jaroslav Pavelka, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

    Pavelka stayed on his toes, making 38 saves to help the overhauled Spitfires beat Brampton 3-0 to end their seven-game losing streak. The 19-year-old goalie gave Windsor an early confidence boost with a pad save in the opening minute and made numerous saves where he had to shift his weight after a Battalion deflection. He also withstood a late Battalion push for a goal to earn his first shutout of the season.

    Read More »from Windsor Spitfires’ Jaroslav Pavelka has 38-save shutout, snapping 7-game skid: Thursday’s 3 Stars
  • Michael FerlandThe Western Hockey League’s trade deadline wasn’t near as exciting as past years, but it still entailed a handful of big-name players changing cities.

    The Saskatoon Blades, the host team for the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup, landed the biggest fish by acquiring Calgary Flames prospect Michael Ferland from the Brandon Wheat Kings for their 2013 first-round bantam pick.

    The deadline’s lack of activity can be blamed on the swirl of deals taking place prior to Jan. 10. Several teams made multiplayer deals, including the Swift Current Broncos sending Josh Derko and a third-round pick in 2013 to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for Jay Merkley and the Moose Jaw Warriors trading St. Louis Blues prospect Joel Edmundson to the Kamloops Blazers for Tyler Bell, Jayden Halbewachs, and a first-round pick in 2015.

    Here is a look at the deadline’s winners, tweener, and loser.

    Winners

    Edmonton Oil Kings – Although the Oil Kings didn’t make a trade today, they made a great move the day before by acquiring

    Read More »from The WHL’s trade deadline winners, tweener and loser
  • Malcolm Subban is 2nd in the OHL statistically (The Canadian Press)

    There might be some popular notion about a goalie being gutted psychologically by being part of a Team Canada letdown at the world junior championship. It doesn't jibe with the reality, though. At least that is part of why the Belleville Bulls, now that Malcolm Subban has returned, made one of the bigger splashes before the OHL trade deadline.

    The way the final minutes ticked down toward Thursday's deadline vis-à-vis the division leaders in the junior varsity league Eastern Conference was rather curious. The Barrie Colts, who have led the pack but are losing ace centre Mark Scheifele to the Winnipeg Jets training camp, probably did not do enough to sate a fanbase that wants a championship. The Bulls, already reaping an early harvest by adding Minnesota Wild pick Tyler Graovac, also added another dangerous 19-year-old forward. Much should be made of how coach-GM George Burnett sent three second-round choices within his division to the Peterborough Petes in order to bring Detroit Red Wings-drafted centre Alan Quine (who was born in Belleville) to the Bulls.

    Read More »from Belleville Bulls bet on Malcolm Subban spurring OHL final run, based on their deadline moves

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