Buzzing The Net

  • Boston Bruins prospect Dougie Hamilton (OHL Images)

    For Marty Williamson, it must be like playing poker at Hogwarts — those three aces in his hand could suddenly disappear thanks to unseen forces. The lockout windfall that the Niagara IceDogs received from getting defenceman Dougie Hamilton, right wing Brett Ritchie and centre Ryan Strome from the very start of the season until they departed for Team Canada has been a big twist in the OHL season.

    Now the impasse is affecting how entire league approaches the Jan. 10 trade deadline. The IceDogs have three bona fide 19-year-old stars, which usually is a prompt to load up for a playoff run. But coach-GM Williamson, whose team struggled to score Thursday without its big guns, also has to restock with draft picks as the IceDogs look to be a contender when their new arena opens in St. Catharines, Ont., in a couple seasons. Ron Burgundy was never in such a pickle.

    Read More »from Niagara IceDogs’ Dougie Hamilton dilemma complicates OHL trade deadline
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    World junior

    Team Canada coach Steve Spott tells Sunaya Sapurji he was tempted to prank his Kitchener Rangers defenceman, Ryan Murphy, before telling the 19-year-old he had made the squad. (Yahoo! Canada Sports)

    Canada has a promising final-but-not-final roster. (Calgary Herald)

    Jonathan Huberdeau doesn't want to think about the prospect of the NHL lockout ending while he is with Team Canada. (La Presse)

    Can 18-year-old goalie Jake Paterson push to be one of the two on the final roster? (Postmedia News)

    Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon are also the first two Halifax Mooseheads to make Team Canada. Brad Marchand does not count! (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)

    Winnipeg Jets management is glad Mark Scheifele is playing "a larger role on a bigger stage" with Team Canada. (Winnipeg Free Press)

    Would Vancouver Canucks prospect Frank Corrado be on standby in case Canada had a defenceman recalled by the NHL? (The Canuck Way, Vancouver Province)

    Calgary Flames prospect Laurent Brossoit was betwixt and between about being the odd goalie out. (Postmedia News)

    Read More »from Huberdeau blocks out lockout talk: Friday’s coast-to-coast
  • Erie Otters' Connor Crisp (OHL Images)No. 1 star: Connor Crisp, Erie Otters (OHL)

    Crisp has a hand in a hat trick before in Niagara, but this time it was his own instead of Ryan Strome's. The 18-year-old who famously filled in as a netminder last season filled the IceDogs' net, getting his third of the night with 4:29 to play to cement a 4-2 Otters win.

    Getting his first major junior hat trick won't garner Crisp (3G, +1) nearly as much attention as his stint in net did. However, it was a delight for the Otters to see both he and Dane Fox (1G-1A, +1) in full flight after each has dealt with significant injuries. A shoulder injury cost Crisp nearly all of last season, but the Alliston, Ont., native has shown improvement with 12 goals and 18 points in 33 games. In the first period, Crisp pulled the Otters level just 78 seconds after Niagara's opening goal by popping in his own rebound on a 2-on-1 break. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder put Erie ahead for good with a tip-in 13 seconds into the second; in the third, he tipped in Fox's pass for the late-game clincher.

    It was the Otters' first win in St. Catharines in nearly four years. The last came on Dec. 31, 2009.

    Read More »from Erie Otters’ Connor Crisp nets hat trick in Niagara: Thursday’s 3 Stars
  • Team Canada has been selected and one can tell from the look on your face that you want to talk about it.

    So with that in mind, Buzzing The Net's weekly Chatravaganza about all things junior hockey (but mostly Team Canada, one suspects) will shift to a special time. The roster is expected to be announced around 8:45 p.m. ET tonight; immediately following at 9 p.m., there will be chat to discuss the choices. Sunaya Sapurji has been on-site all week at the selection camp in Calgary, while the rest of the BTN gang and a cast of many will chime in as well.

    Please remember the Chatravagazna is BYOP — bring your own peanuts.

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

    Read More »from Team Canada WJC2013 Chatravaganza: Thursday 9 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. MT!
  • Team Canada's likely offensive leaders Mark Scheifele and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (The Canadian Press)

    The captain and alternates are yet to be chosen and an end to the NHL lockout, but Team Canada has been chosen.

    Hockey Canada announced its 23-player roster on Thursday for the IIHF world U20 championship, with a strong emphasis on depth up front and along the blueline. The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-led squad that coach Steve Spott hopes he will have for the Dec. 26 opener at the world junior championship in Ufa, Russia includes five of the first nine players taken in the 2011 NHL draft, thanks in part to Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr. It also includes six returning players from last season's bronze-medal squad. For the first time since 2008, two 17-year-olds made the team, with the Halifax Mooseheads' two-man electric circus of Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon making the cut.

    By process of elimination, and thanks to Tweeting journalists at the camp in Calgary, here is a look at the roster Canada will depart with when it leaves Saturday for further preparation in Finland. The lineup does not have to be settled until Christmas Day, the eve of the tournament.

    Here is a rundown of the roster.

    Read More »from Team Canada WJC2013: the team is chosen
  • Brendan Lemieux, 16, joined Barrie in November (OHL Images)

    Like father, like son — unfortunately for Brendan Lemieux. And even more unfortunately for Roland McKeown, one of the most promising defencemen in all of junior hockey.

    Claude Lemieux, during his long NHL tenure and depending on your fan allegiances, either good at playing the villain or was just loathsome for dirty play. It is not always fair to a young hockey player that he has to carry his father's legacy or always face the inevitable comparisons, but a lot of people will probably think it didn't take too long for 16-year-old Brendan Lemieux to show the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The left wing for the OHL's Barrie Colts, who will likely be chosen in the 2014 NHL draft, only needed a dozen games in the league to get his first suspension for a vicious check from behind on McKeown last Saturday (video: Rogers Television).

    Read More »from Claude Lemieux’s son, Barrie Colts’ Brendan Lemieux, gets 8-game ban in OHL (VIDEO)
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    World junior

    No need for Hockey Canada to press the panic button over a three-year gold-medal drought, eh? (Toronto Sun)

    We are really comparing save percentages for Canada's four goalies through two glorified scrimmages? Malcolm Subban has been outplayed, though. (Calgary Sun, Calgary

    Team Canada goaltending hopeful Laurent Brossoit has francophone heritage but does not speak French. I think I read about this during the MasterCard Memorial Cup. (Calgary Sun)

    Four Quebecers on Team Canada? Sounds promising. (La Presse)

    Dave King, who coached Canada's first world junior gold medallist in 1982, reflects on how the event has grown within this country. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    New York Rangers first-rounder J.T. Miller talks about playing in his second world junior for Team USA. (Blueshirts United)

    Read More »from Dominik Volek bound for Red Deer: Thursday’s coast-to-coast
  • Charles Inglis with the San Jose Sharks in a 2011 prospects tournament (Getty)Charles Inglis can play, but it won't be in the Western Hockey League.

    The by-most-accounts outspoken 20-year-old forward had a last, best chance to make something of his remaining time in the WHL after the Kamloops Blazers acquired him for a song (a conditional draft choice last month). Whatever the reason — and keep in mind many overages can be jettisoned without regret if a team believes it has to make room for a better one, since teams are limited to three 20-year-olds — his chance with the division-leading Blazers did not last very long.

    From Gregg Drinnan:

    Shortly after the Blazers had been beaten 5-2 by the Oil Kings in Edmonton, Kamloops issued a news release. Here it is, in its entirety:

    "General Manager Craig Bonner announced tonight that the Blazers have parted ways with 20-year-old forward Charles Inglis.

    "Inglis came to the Blazers in a trade in late November. Inglis played 11 games with the Blazers and recorded five assists in his short time." (Taking Note)

    Read More »from Kamloops Blazers’ Charles Inglis experiment ends
  • Phoenix Coyotes first-rounder Henrik Samuelsson (The Canadian Press)

    No. 1 star: Henrik Samuelsson, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

    Samuelsson (2G, +3) delivered against the league leaders, scoring both his goals in the third period to lead Edmonton to a 5-2 win over the Kamloops Blazers. Edmonton had a 2-1 lead thanks in large part 17-year-old Tristan Jarry, who's the starting goalie until Laurent Brossoit returns from IIHF U20 duty, stopping 24-of-25 Blazers shots in the second period. With the lead hanging in the balance, Samuelsson, a Phoenix Coyotes late first-rounder, got his stick out to tip in a David Musil shot to open a multi-goal spread. About six minutes later, Dylan Wruck gave Samuelsson a drop pass with the puck slightly on edge, but the U.S. national junior team canadidate one-timed it home to give Edmonton its final three-goal margin.

    Musil (2A, +3) and Keegan Lowe (2A, +2) also had multi-point nights for Edmonton. Jarry stopped 37-of-39 Blazers shots.

    Read More »from Edmonton Oil Kings’ Henrik Samuelsson shreds Blazers: Wednesday’s 3 Stars
  • Portland's Penguins prospect Derrick Pouliot (Getty Images)The top 12 for 12/12/12 could be called the Don't Cry For Me, Argentina edition.

    At this time of year, top teams losing star players to the IIHF world U20 championship commands a lot of focus. Almost every team ranked this week will be missing a big piece of its arsenal until January, but really you should not be sympathetic. It's a good trade-off for having amassed top-end talent in the first place. And verage teams that don't have great depth and rely heavily on their stars are probably affected even more by the U20 commitments. Or the under-17 in some cases.

    1. Portland Winterhawks, WHL (.597 RPI, 2.2 SRS, —) — The gift for a team which seems to have everything: Derrick Pouliot is back from Team Canada to freewheel on the blueline. Since the Winterhawks do not even play again until Friday, conceivably the top-10 NHL pick will be back in the lineup before he misses a game.

    Another good Portland nugget: they have allowed only 13 power-play goals, which is another reason why Tyler Wotherspoon is a sabermatrician's dream. Now watch that jinx his Team Canada chances or something.

    2. London Knights, OHL (.585 RPI, 1.6 SRS, +1) — Eighteen wins in a row kind of speaks for itself. The upshot for London is that it probably will have a lot more D-zone time while Messrs. Harrington, Maatta and Zadorov are not around to take care of the housekeeping around the net. That will affect how many chances the Knights get, but they are a counter-attacking team. They might hold up well after all.

    Read More »from Team Canada candidate-heavy teams top BTN Dynamic Dozen
  • Team Canada's Ryan Strome

    CALGARY — Team Canada announced some lineup changes for Wednesday afternoon's game against a Canadian university team.

    Sitting out from the action at camp are forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Strome, Jonathan Huberdeau, Boone Jenner, Mark Scheifele, Phillip Danault, Charles Hudon and Brett Ritchie. There are four defencemen who will be spectators at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary: Morgan Rielly, Dougie Hamilton, Scott Harringon and Xavier Ouellet.

    Ouellet, a second round pick of the Detroit Red Wings,  is the lone player in the group who has yet to play a game, after suffering a high ankle sprain the first week of December while in the QMJHL. He was on the ice with the rest of his shelved teammates during the Wednesday morning practice.

    The players kept out of Wednesday's games are practically a lock to make Team Canada, which will open the tournament against Germany. It'll be a battle for the remaining players to make their case for a roster spot in a

    Read More »from Team Canada WJC2013: Steve Spott sits out stars as cuts approach
  • Mark Scheifele is pencilled in as Canada's No. 1 right wing (Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press)

    The threat of Team Canada's lineup being denuded by a NHL labour settlement seems to have been reduced.

    The lockout itself is the big variable, although expecting anything earlier than a January start to a compressed season seems too optimistic by a factor of 10. But the first day passed with word that Mark Scheifele, whose seven-game stint in 2011 with the Winnipeg Jets gives him the second-longest pro tenure on Team Canada, isn't going to be airlifted out of Ufa, Russia in the middle of the IIHF World U20 championship. Hockey Canada's Scott Salmond, according to Eric Francis, has "received similar assurances from NHL GMs representing more than half of the 11 players eligible for recall."

    There really is no playbook for this scenario. It was known going in Team Canada's roster could be moving target right up until the IIHF deadline on Christmas Day (and defencemen and forwards cannot be replaced after the tournament begins). That had a prominent junior hockey expert speculating about how Canada could lose players after the event starts. It's not out of the realm, but Team Canada supporters ought to take Scheifele and Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounder Morgan Rielly's guaranteed participation as encouraging signs.

    Read More »from Team Canada WJC2013: Winnipeg Jets give Mark Scheifele the all-clear
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    World junior

    Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon are making their age (17) only look like a number, writes Sunaya Sapurji. (Yahoo! Sports, The Q Files)

    Mark Scheifele got some advice on playing the wing from his Barrie Colts coach Dale Hawerchuk, who famously moved from centre to help Team Canada in the 1987 Canada Cup. (CBC, Calgary Herald)

    Team Sweden will have Anaheim Ducks No. 6 overall pick Hampus Lindholm, who has been playing in the AHL. (AHL)

    True, draft-year left wing Hunter Shinkaruk scored in Canada's Red-White game, but he was "used sparingly," as Kristen Odland notes. (Calgary Herald)

    Evidently, "the odds that even one of one of the 18-year-olds will make the team are remote" according to a column that omits Sean Monahan and is centred around MacKinnon, who is 17. Same difference. (Toronto Star)

    Finally, a counterpoint to these Chicken Little scenarios about NHL teams yanking players off Team Canada if the lockout was resolved in the middle of the tournament. There was never really a threat. (Oil Drop)

    Forward Phillip Danault and defenceman Xavier Ouellet bear the cross of having been cut by Team Canada last season. (TVA Sports)

    Not that teenagers read a newspaper, but you can imagine the 99 per cent of CHL players not in consideration for Team Canada learning what they do isn't considered "meaningful hockey?" (Ottawa Citizen)

    Dean Millard has more hot audio from Canada's camp than you could ever listen to. (The Pipeline Show)

    Read More »from Drouin, MacKinnon make statement, so does Colin Smith: Wednesday’s coast-to-coast
  • Belleville Bulls rookie Niki Petti (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    After a whistle during a hockey game, you might see a player flip the puck up on his stick and bounce it a couple times before returning it to the linesman who skates it to the faceoff date. That's just a tease for what players can do in practice.

    You have heard of players who can make the puck dance, but Belleville Bulls teammates Austen Brassard and Niki Petti made it defy gravity during a practice a couple weeks ago. By unofficial count, Petti (left shot, facing camera) and Brassard (right shot) kept the puck from hitting the ice for a full 30 seconds. The unofficial count was 42 touches, with each Bulls forward using his feet during this hockey twist on hacky sack.

    Read More »from Sick mitts: Belleville Bulls’ Austen Brassard, Niki Petti keep puck airborne for 30 seconds during practice (VIDEO)
  • Detroit Red Wings prospect Xavier Ouellet

    CALGARY - Blainville-Boisbriand defenceman Xavier Ouellet tested out his injured ankle at the Markin MacPhail Centre on Tuesday morning and the prognosis was good.

    "It's feeling pretty good," said the Team Canada hopeful after his skate. "I had a good practice. I didn't feel (pain) that much, I could push 100 per cent. That's a good sign for me."

    It is still undecided, however, whether he will play in Tuesday night's Red-White scrimmage.

    "We are going to reevaluate that… and talk now with our therapists," said Team Canada head coach Steve Spott. "I thought he looked ok and he said he felt pretty good after, so we'll meet with our therapists and make our decision before the game."

    UPDATE: Ouellet was not in the lineup for Tuesday night's Red-White game.

    Spott also clarified that cuts could be coming earlier than he had initially stated. On Monday he said that the roster would not be trimmed until Thursday afternoon.

    Read More »from Team Canada WJC2013: Ouellet’s ‘feeling pretty good’
  • Team Canada coach Steve Spott (OHL Images)CALGARY — It will be a kinder, gentler Team Canada this week when head coach Steve Spott and his staff make cuts for the 2013 world junior championship.

    Gone are the dreaded early morning phone calls which would keep many players awake at night. Instead, Spott said he will make his final cuts on Thursday afternoon after a game against a team of Canadian university players.

    In the past, Canada had made rounds of cuts, but Spott said he wants things to be different now that he's behind the bench.

    "Number one, our games in Ufa (Russia) are going to be in the afternoon, so getting the players up and prepared for afternoon games without pre-game skates, that's first and foremost," said Spott, whose team will travel across 11 time zones (in stages) to reach the world junior, which begins Dec. 26. "Secondly, it's just doing things differently. I think when I got involved in the process I wanted to do things differently. I'm not a big fan of the Red-White games, but ultimately with the climate of the National Hockey League [lockout], we had no choice but to bring in extra bodies."

    Read More »from Team Canada cuts won’t get dreaded wake-up call, thanks to time zone adjustments
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a late Team Canada cut two seasons ago (Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press)

    Here's why various sports media outlets have been hyping Team Canada for the upcoming IIHF World U20 Championship as benefitting from the influx of National Hockey League players to the junior ranks: Simply speaking, Canada has lost out on so many good players to the NHL over the last few years.

    We're not talking slouches, either. In 2009, for instance, Team Canada sent a defensive group that featured future NHL stars such as P.K. Subban, Alex Pietrangelo and Tyler Myers. Absent from that group was Drew Doughty, who played 81 games for the Los Angeles Kings and just under 24 minutes a contest.

    That year, Canada had several other junior-eligible players who spent the year with their respective national league clubs, not in junior helping Canada to their fifth consecutive gold. 1989 born players who played the majority of the NHL season included Josh Bailey, Kyle Turris, Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn. The rest of the world? Czech Jakub Voracek and the Danish-born Mikkel Boedkker.

    Read More »from How Team Canada has been affected by the NHL in the past years
  • Mississauga Steelheads speedster Joshua Burnside (OHL Images)

    Joshua Burnside is a quick study on top of being fleet afoot.

    In 12 months, the speedy left wing has gone from playing midget AAA hockey to being on the first line with the OHL's Mississauga Steelheads. Burnside's work as a strong two-way player with a high motor has made him a strong candidate to be a middle-rounds pick in the next NHL draft (he is modestly sized at 5-foot-11 and 176 pounds), but he's aware this has come on suddenly.

    "I just have to keep it out my head, just for now," the Brampton, Ont., native says of being NHL Central Scouting's 20th-ranked OHL skater for the 2013 draft. "It's still early in the season and I still have a long way to go."

    Burnside, who has 18 points in 30 games while playing mostly with 20-year-old centre Riley Brace and 19-year-old right wing Dylan Smoskowitz. His breakout really started last season, when the former 122nd overall choice in the OHL priority selection draft got into games with Mississauga as a late-season call-up. Burnside was only 145 pounds at the time he was drafted in April 2011, but has since had a growth spurt.

    "The 13 games I played last year gave me a boost to work harder in the summer and know I can make the team this year," he says. "I really worked hard. I was eating a lot, the same things, but just more."

    It's fair to say Mississauga did not anticipate how quickly Burnside would become a top-six player. On top of being a later bloomer physically, he also played defence for the Toronto Red Wings midgets during his OHL draft season.

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Joshua Burnside, Mississauga Steelheads
  • Erie Otters 15-year-old centre Connor McDavid (OHL Images)

    You try to tell people to be patient with Connor McDavid, remind them he will not even reach driving age for another month.

    But stuff keeps happening. Like being called another Crosby by the current Sidney Crosby. Or be selected for the Subway Super Series at age 15. Or having someone bid $1,625 US for his game-worn Erie Otters jersey. Then there the fact Reebok is apparently committing to an endorsement deal with him three years before he enters the NHL draft. It's enough to make one's head spin, although this is just business. McDavid would be the youngest hockey player Reebok has ever signed.

    Read More »from Erie Otters’ Connor McDavid is getting an endorsement deal at age 15