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  • Quebec's Mikhail Grigorenko has scored 16 goals in 18 games (Getty Images)No. 1 star: Mikhail Grigorenko, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)

    Cape Breton is one of the weaker teams in the Q this year, but the Screaming Eagles gave the favoured hosts in Quebec all they could handle tonight. Luckily, Grigorenko was there to bail out the Remparts enough that they could still get two points.

    The Buffalo Sabres prospect scored all four goals for the Remparts in regulation, then Quebec got a goal from fellow Russian Nikita Kucherov in the circus to earn a 5-4 victory.

    Grigorenko scored twice in the first period, and once in each of the last two. His third power-play goal of the game with 2:23 left in regulation looked like it would be the winner, but Alexandre Lavoie netted his second of the game 35 seconds later for Cape Breton to send it overtime.

    With 16 goals and 36 points in just 18 games this season, Grigorenko now sits third in the scoring race, two points behind the P.E.I. duo of Josh Currie and Ben Duffy.

    No. 2 star: Danick Martel, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)

    If it wasn't already clear that the torch was being passed in the Q, it became more evident Sunday when the Armada hammered the Saint John Sea Dogs 8-1 at Centre d'excellence Sports Rousseau.

    Martel doubled his season scoring output with a hat trick, and added an assist for good measure. In his first 21 games, the soon-to-be 18-year-old from Drummondville had found the back of the net just three times.

    With the win, the Armada movee into second place in the league with 32 points, while the Sea Dogs slipped under .500 and sit in 13th.

    No. 3 star: Oliver Bjorkstrand, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

    The Danish import and 2013 draft prospect became the first WHL rookie to hit double digits in the goal column this season, scoring twice in Portland's 3-1 win over the Kamloops Blazers in a showdown between the league's top two teams.

    Bjorkstrand has 11 goals now, as the Winterhawks continue to get solid contributions from throughout their roster. Portland scored 21 goals in three games over the weekend (including 9-5 and 9-1 wins over Vancouver and Spokane, respectively), and none came from sniper Ty Rattie.

    The Winterhawks are cruising, winning 12 in a row and outscoring opponents 70-20 over that span. At 16-3-1-0, Portland owns the best winning percentage in the league.

    Both teams were playing their third game in three days, and it showed throughout much of the game. But Portland's excellent defence and solid goaltending from Mac Carruth neutralized the Blazers' top scoring line, and Bjorkstrand beat Kamloops goalie Taran Kozun twice from the high slot on power-play chances to provide the margin of victory.

    Meanwhile, the Blazers are stumbling, having lost four in a row and five of six after starting the season 16-0-0-1. Kamloops has scored just eight goals in those six games, and the Blazers are struggling to get offence from anyone other than the four-man wrecking crew of Tim Bozon, JC Lipon, Brendan Ranford and Colin Smith.

    Kozun got the call instead of Cole Cheveldave Sunday, and looked very solid in net. The 18-year-old stopped 33 shots and stoned Rattie on three separate occasions with highlight-reel saves.

    Read More »from Grigorenko’s four-goal outburst bails out Remparts: Sunday’s 3 Stars
  • Belleville Bulls' Jordan Subban (Claus Andersen, Getty Images)Jordan Subban makes it difficult to avoid obvious comparisons with his eldest brother.

    Just shy of four years ago, Subban was seated behind the net during the 2009 world junior championship gold-medal game in Ottawa when P.K. Subban scored for Canada against Sweden. On Sunday, before playing his first OHL game in the same arena, he earned first-star honours in Belleville's 3-2 win over the Ottawa 67's.

    While P.K. Subban was a much more rugged rearguard, Jordan Subban is leading an offensively challenged Bulls team in scoring with 15 points in 19 games. That flows out of following the lead of P.K. and current teammate Malcolm Subban, the Boston Bruins first-rounder and hands-down favourite to be Team Canada's No. 1 goalie at the world junior.

    "Jordan outscored P.K. as a 16-year-old, a lot of people forget that," Bulls coach-GM George Burnett said on Sunday, noting that Jordan had 20 points last winter while P.K. had only 12 in 2005-06.

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Jordan Subban, Belleville Bulls
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a late cut from Team Canada in 2011 (Don Maxwell, Getty Images)

    It can be reasonably believed that Team Canada could add Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the world junior championship if the NHL lockout lasts until Christmas — which is as far from the greater good for the hockey industry as it can get.

    Knowing the Edmonton Oilers could make the Calder Trophy finalist who was cut from Team Canada as a wispy 17-year-old in 2010-11 available is one thing. It's another to hear that that Nugent-Hopkins, instead of falling back on the stock quote about being focused on the NHL (the standby of many of a 19-year-old whose availability for the WJC is tentative), says playing in the WJC would further his development. Nugent-Hopkins was speaking after he and the Oklahoma City Barons, with fellow young Oilers Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall, faced the Abbotsford Heat in an AHL game on Saturday.

    Read More »from Why Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is keen to join Team Canada if lockout lasts
  • Chicago Blackhawks pick Maxim Shalunov (left, Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    Maxim Shalunov scored a lot of goals in his junior career. Across the past two seasons, he scored 52 goals and had 96 points in 87 games for Belye Medvedi of the MHL — Russia's major junior hockey league.

    However, his biggest goal so far is probably the one he scored on Wednesday night in Guelph, Ont., in Game 3 of the Subway Super Series. It came with 6:55 to play and proved to be the game-winning goal. It was the first win for Russians against Team OHL in the history of the tournament.

    How did he get it in?

    "I went for a five-hole, like I was taught to," says Shalunov, a 19-year-old whom the Chicago Blackhawks drafted in the fourth round in 2011.

    Wait, they teach you how to aim for five-hole these days?

    "No," explains Salunov with a chuckle. "It's something I learned. When you coming down on the left wing it's better to shoot under goalie's support leg. It's your best bet. If you're going to try to go top-shelf you can miss the net, or you can hit the round part of the net and cause a counter-attack."

    Read More »from Chicago Blackhawks pick Maxim Shalunov savours historic goal for Team Russia juniors
  • Victoria Royals' Logan Nelson (Getty Images)No. 1 star: Logan Nelson, Victoria Royals (WHL)

    Nelson (3G, +2) used his speed to good effect while helping the Royals snap a six-game losing streak with a 5-3 road win over the Medicine Hat Tigers.

    The Royals, on top of being in a  losing skid, were missing three core 19-year-old players. But Nelson, a Buffalo Sabres fifth-round selection who ended up doubling his season goal total with his hat trick, opened the scoring late in the first period. The Minnesota native sniped two more third-period goals, each one re-opening a two-goal lead for the Royals. Two of Nelson's markers came on breakaways.

    Sixteen-year-old Royals rookie Brandon Fushimi also sniped his first Western League goal to help Victoria head home on a positive note.

    Read More »from Logan Nelson navigates Royals out of their nadir: Saturday’s 3 Stars
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Leading scorer Mitch Holmberg returned and the Spokane Chiefs spanked Kamloops in a matchup of Western Conference heavies. (Kamloops Daily News, Spokane Spokesman-Review)

    Should the Kelowna Rockets leave a light on for Buffalo Sabres first-rounder Zemgus Girgensons, who's currently in the AHL? Or get forward help via trade? (Kelowna Daily Courier)

    Does that make it rude to point out Kelowna used to have Shane McColgan and he had four points on Friday for Saskatoon? (Global Saskatoon, Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    The Portland Winterhawks' crack marketing staff did not time an '80s night promotion to sync up with a 9-5 win. Maybe next time. (Portland Tribune, Oregon LiveVancouver Sun)

    OHL

    Guelph Storm coach Scott Walker, on forward Brock McGinn's five-minute boarding major on Friday that will likely result in a suspension: "He's got to get a lot smarter out there ... you can't hit a guy like that, regardless of if it was a bad hit or a good hit." (Guelph Mercury)

    Today's must-read: Robert Cribb on Brock University defenceman Milan Doczy's quest to receive an OHL education package, even though it was not available to import players when he signed with the Owen Sound Attack in 2007. (Toronto Star)

    Read More »from Anthony Duclair has happy return, North Bayers snap up tickets: Weekend Coast-to-Coast
  • Team Russia

    One of the biggest assets to Russia at the last two world junior championships was their head coach, Valeri Bragin. For Russia team he was a magic man. As the head coach he guided Russia for  three years and made it to the finals every year — including 2011 in Buffalo — where they won gold.

    Now that Bragin's gone to work with a pro team, the KHL's CSKA (aka Red Army), the question is — who's the new guy? Who is that grey-haired gentleman in the high-school jacket with Russian lettering on it? Who is the man who led Russia to their first ever win against Team OHL at the Subway Super Series?

    Well, his name is Mikhail Varnakov and he is a legend.

    But a legend most North American hockey fans would not know.

    Read More »from Junior coach Varnakov’s a hockey legend back home in Russia
  • Russians celebrate ‘Super’ victory

    Team Russia won their first game in the Subway Super Series in Ontario with a 2-1 victory. What else is new? Well, here's a shortlist.

    • Igor Ustinski finally got a start for Russia after Andrei Vasilevski Alex Khokhlachev after the game/Russian Federation photo

      went 1-1 in the first two games allowing seven goals.

    • Alex Khokhlachev blocked Cody Ceci's shot late in the third with his head and stayed down for quite a while. He went straight to the dressing room with  help from the Russian trainer. He dropped his mouth-guard on his way off the ice. He was diagnosed with a facial bruise.
    • If there's one thing to remember about Team Canada when you're Team Russia it's that the Canadians always start strong. That was the case in Game 3 as well. Proof? Russia was called for icing twice in the first 2:55 minutes of the game.
    • Brett Ritchie was quite helpful to Russia in this one. He ruined the OHL's momentum early in the first getting two minutes for a trip and then he cancelled his team's hopes of coming back by getting a checking from behind
    Read More »from Russians celebrate ‘Super’ victory
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Many hockey players have enjoyed the American Pie movie franchise, but top NHL draft prospect Seth Jones has had some mentoring from a man who was in one of the movies. Steve Ewen explains (Vancouver Province)

    Edmonton Oilers second-round pick Mitch Moroz is day-to-day with an upper-body injury sustained on Wednesday in the Edmonton-Kelowna game. (Edmonton Journal)

    Winnipeg Jets second-rounder Lukas Sutter is having a great deal of difficulty putting up points in Saskatoon, eh? (Winnipeg Free Press)

    Can the Spokane Chiefs seize on top-ranked Kamloops being without star left wing Tim Bozon due to his one-game (ewwwww) spitting suspension? (Spokane Spokesman-Review, Kamloops Daily News)

    OHL

    The Windsor Spitfires aren't too far ahead of their pace from the first quarter of last season, when they were retooling, notes Jim Parker. (Windsor Star)

    Ottawa Senators first-rounder Matt Puempel is one of the members of Team OHL who gets a chance at redemption in Game 4 of the Subway Super Series. (Sportsnet)

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

    Read More »from Nathan MacKinnon centre of attention, Seth Jones improves at improv: Friday’s coast-to-coast
  • Khokhlachev after being released from hospital (Russian Hockey Federation photo)The good news for Alexander Khokhlachev is that he is apparently doing fine after a scary moment in Thursday's Subway Super Series game.

    With Team Russia clinging to a 2-1 lead in the final two minutes, Team OHL got the puck back to Ottawa Senators first-rounder Cody Ceci, who has a very hard shot. Ceci walked the line, moving toward the centre of the ice to take a slapshot and create either a rebound or tip-in opportunity. Khokhlachev, the Boston Bruins draft choice who plays for Moscow Spartak of the KHL, dove full length to block it.

    Ideally, that self-sacrifice means taking the puck in a more protected area — not that it still won't hurt. But Ceci paused in his backswing, which is actually a smart play to keep from telegraphing his intention. Instead instead of the puck striking Khokhlachev in the thigh or the ribs as he slid through Ceci's shooting lane, it got him in the face. Fortunately for Khokhlachev, he only sustained a bruise and the Russian Hockey Federation posted the above photo of him looking none the worse for wear.

    Here's the video, in Russian:

    Read More »from Boston Bruins prospect Alexander Khokhlachev blocks slapshot with his face (VIDEO)

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