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  • 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
  • Coyotes prospect Connor Murphy (OHL Images)

    Phoenix Coyotes first-rounder Connor Murphy has a world junior gold medal to cherish but it came at cost for him. And the Sarnia Sting.

    In practically one fell swoop, the Sting have provided Exhibit A for how a half-season's impressive progress in the CHL can get thwarted by both the NHL teams' plans and the beast that is the world junior championship. Coach-GM Jacques Beaulieu's team, which is holding the No. 2 playoff seed in the OHL's cutthroat Western Conference, faces not knowing whether it will get star centre Alex Galchenyuk back from the Montreal Canadiens. Now Murphy's already voluminous medical records have added another chapter.

    From Terry Doyle (@loosepucks) and Paul Owen (@observerowen)

    Read More »from Phoenix Coyotes prospect Connor Murphy needs another knee surgery, done for season with Sarnia Sting
  • Ottawa 67's wing John Urbanic (Valerie Wutti photo)John Urbanic gave new meaning to the term dine and dash after being traded.

    Sometimes in junior hockey, the focus on how trade deadline moves boost a contender or help a team who's playing for the next season overshadows the assets trading hands are teenagers. The 17-year-old Urbanic was not the only Ontario Hockey Leaguer to wake up a member of one team and turn in as a member of another. However, he had quite the impromptu itinerary. After being traded from the Oshawa Generals to the Ottawa 67's, Urbanic had to pack and make a nearly four-hour drive to play immediately — for the 67's against the Generals at Scotiabank Place. The Overland Park, Kansas, resident reported at 6:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. puckdrop.

    "I just came in right after warmups," related Urbanic, who nearly scored on his first shift. "I was getting dressed while the guys were on the ice. I was lucky to start the game on time.

    "It was kind of funny. I ate my lunch with the Generals and after lunch they'd told me I had been traded. So I came on over here."

    Urbanic said came on over here the same way a retiree would explain her/his decision to amble over to Tim Hortons for a mid-afternoon coffee. In his case, he was referring to loading up his car in Oshawa and hitting the highway. As softly as he said it, it spoke pretty loudly about how eager a player is to get a clean slate with a new team.

    Read More »from Ottawa 67′s John Urbanic shows how eager traded players are for a clean slate
  • Lightning first-rounder Slater Koekkoek (OHL Images)

    Every would-be contender the OHL's Western Conference seems to have stocked up on scoring, which makes Windsor Spitfires GM Warren Rychel's trade for defenceman Slater Koekkoek perhaps brilliantly counter-intuitive.

    The Spitfires' trade with the Peterborough Petes for the disgruntled defenceman (as previously noted) highlights a flurry of activity in the final hours before Thursday's 12 noon ET deadline. The London Knights fortified their blueline by adding San Jose Sharks prospect Justin Sefton from the retooling Sudbury Wolves, while star centre Vincent Trocheck is headed from the Saginaw Spirit to the Plymouth Whalers.

    [Related: Buzzing The Net CHL Chatravaganza, 12 noon ET, 9 a.m. PT]

    Meantime, the Eastern Conference-leading Barrie Colts seem content to place their chips on 2014 and a Memorial Cup bid. It's either that or the uncertainty over Mark Scheifele's situation with the Winnipeg Jets tied GM Jason Ford's hands.

    Read More »from Slater Koekkoek to Windsor, Vincent Trocheck to Plymouth as OHL trade deadline nears

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