Buzzing The Net

  • Guillaume Gelinas celebrates after his tying goal Friday night (Aaron Bell:CHL Images)Buzzing The Net's Three Stars following Edmonton's 4-3 triple overtime win over Val-d'Or, which, at 10 minutes, capped in at 102:42, the longest game in MasterCard Memorial Cup history. Edmonton advances to play the Guelph Storm in the final.

    Yahoo! Canada will host a live chat during Sunday's final, scheduled for a 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT start live on Sportsnet.

    No. 1 star: Guillaume Gélinas, Val-d'Or Foreurs

    The Foreurs wound up losing the game, but Guillaume Gélinas deserves all the credit in the world for his big minutes performance coming off what could have been a season-ending injury against the Storm. Gélinas hobbled off the ice after being on the receiving end of a knee-on-knee collision and missed Val-d'Or's final round robin game.

    However, he came back and was effective in the semi-final, scoring the tying goal on a well-placed point shot with just 36 seconds to go in regulation, sending the Foreurs again to overtime. It wasn't the prettiest of efforts, but you can't question Gélinas' effectiveness, despite playing with a badly-injured left leg. First period, he also managed a heavy hip-check on Edmonton's Riley Kieser, which went down as the biggest hit of the game in an otherwise not-so-physical contest.

    No. 2 star: Edgars Kulda, Edmonton Oil Kings

    The Latvian nearly won the game late in the second overtime on a brilliant end-to-end rush, and, for about the seventh consecutive Edmonton Oil Kings game, was the team's most dangerous forward. Kulda scored the insurance goal, to make the score 3-1 in the second, finishing off a pretty dangle after receiving a feed from Reid Petryk. No word on whether any one of London's consignment sporting goods stores was able to recover goaltender Antoine Bibeau's jock strap that he lost on the play.

    Read More »from Edmonton outlasts Val-d’Or in longest game in MasterCard Memorial Cup history – Friday’s 3 Stars
  • Bertuzzi has a tournament-high 5 goals in 3 games (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — Tyler Bertuzzi is often on his own wavelength off the ice and on everyone's nerves while on it.

    It takes all kinds to win a Memorial Cup. The Guelph Storm with the strongest case for tourney MVP is Bertuzzi, who's scored five goals in three games and might have made several London dentists richer with all the jaw-grinding he caused in the Knights' season-ending loss. Bertuzzi has 19 potential answers to where he gets booed the most in the OHL — "Maybe North Bay in Game 4 (of the final), I got beer and popcorn spilled on me" — but hit the high note on Wednesday.

    Bertuzzi flailed on the ice after being kneed by London's Nikita Zadorov in the second period, turning the rink into Boooooooodweiser Gardens every time he touched the puck. Then he went top shelf for his second goal of the night to restore a two-goal margin. That summed up how far the Detroit Red Wings second-round pick has come across three years in the OHL. As a rookie, he left the impression of being an undersized fighter, getting in 16 fights (which would now incur a suspension). Now he's sniping.

    "My rookie year, I just needed to show what I could do whether it was fighting or being an agitator," said Bertuzzi, who will play in the final even though the run-in with the 6-foot-5, 228-pound Zadorov left him limping around. "It's fun, though. You get the guys going, you get the team going, you get the other team going. It makes the guys excited and it gets them energy."

    Read More »from Red Wings pick Tyler Bertuzzi makes Memorial Cup MVP case, while becoming a hockey heel
  • Kosmachuk and the Storm are 19-4 in the post-season (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — Too much downtime can be a drawback.

    The bye earner at the Memorial Cup, at minimum, has at least three days off before playing the last game of a 90-some-game season that began in August. There's no way to know for sure if it can affect how a team plays in the final, but inside the bubble of a big event, there potential for too much idle time to throw a team off. For the Guelph Storm, at least it's only three days and they're only one hour from their home base.

    "I think we have to almost take our mind off it for a day or two, just relax and have fun," goalie Justin Nichols said on Friday morning. "We'll really dial it in [Saturday] and focus on what we need to do. We have to make sure we're not too serious and burn ourselves out before Sunday.

    "Our families are around and we're familiar with London," the St. Catharines, Ont., native added. "Me and Finner [captain Matt Finn], we went downtown for sushi the other night. It's not as bad as if we were out in Saskatoon or something like that."

    Read More »from Guelph Storm fill pre-final layoff with bowling and baseball
  • Young London Knights fans partake in the Memorial Cup fanfest (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — The patches of empty seats that one might see for Edmonton and Val-d'Or in the Memorial Cup semifinal on Friday are all the proof the tournament format is not about to change.

    No amount of idealistic inveighing against the figurative 'going through the back door' host team berth to enter the Memorial Cup changes one obvious reality. Major junior hockey is a local game built on local following. Those who vote with their hearts, feet and disposable income do so out of love for their team. The Canadian Hockey League has the numbers that back it up; it knows, for instance, that traffic on league websites drops sharply during the playoffs as team by team is eliminated from the playoffs.

    Why that is the case is something for a greater mind than I to tackle. It's the entrenched reality, and one wishes it would be acknowledged before the next time someone panders to popular sentiment by saying, after the fact, the host team didn't belong.

    Read More »from London Knights ‘worst on-ice Memorial Cup host ever,’ but that is no reason to change the format
  • Titan prospect Jordan Boyd, 16, was pronounced dead last August after collapsing to the ice during the first day of drills at Titan camp.Titan prospect Jordan Boyd, 16, was pronounced dead last August after collapsing to the ice during the first day of drills at Titan camp.

    While hindsight is always 20/20 after the fact, more details have been unearthed in the surprise death of Jordan Boyd, 16, prospect of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan who collapsed and died on the first day of training camp this past season.

    It certainly doesn’t look good.

    Reports say that a defibrillator was not used until paramedics arrived at the scene at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre in Bathurst after Boyd collapsed. Had one been used in the crucial moments after his collapse, it could have made a difference.

    The details of Aug. 12 are available now. At 10:34 A.M., a call from the rink was made to 911 emergency services, who treated the case as an unresponsive/fainting incident, based on initial information. Three minutes into the call, the incident was changed to cardiac arrest, after it was learned that the team trainer had begun CPR. At that time, dispatch asked if there was an AED available, and heard someone ask a bystander to get it.

    When paramedics arrived at 10:40 A.M., they

    Read More »from More details released in Boyd death: defibrillator was not used in key moments after collapse
  • London salutes fans after being ousted on Wednesday (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — Even before the London Knights' ouster became official, fans were trying to get rid of their tickets.

    The bottom tends to fall out of the secondary ticket market at the Memorial Cup once the host team exits. At the start of the tournament, there was a buzz around the potential for the Knights to try to win the title after coming up short in the previous two tournaments. Once London bowed out with a 7-2 loss to the Guelph Storm, ads started popping up on the resale site Kijiji, with some pretty favourable prices.

    Read More »from London Knights’ exit creates buyers’ market for Memorial Cup tickets
  • Scott Kosmachuk scored thrice for Guelph (Aaron Bell:CHL Images)No. 1 Star - Scott Kosmachuk, Guelph Storm

    Not a huge surprise here. The Winnipeg Jets prospect Kosmachuk scored a hat-trick during the final game of the round robin, taking advantage of open space in the slot all night. Kosmachuk, who know leads the MasterCard Memorial Cup in points with six in three games, opened the scoring on a one-touch pass from linemate Brock McGinn, and scored the second goal as well, giving Guelph a 2-0 lead when a rebound karomed directly onto his stick in the high slot.

    Five more goals were scored between the time Kosmachuk brought the score to 2-0 and the time Kosmachuk completed his hat-trick, but he eventually got there, with a one-touch finish from a Kerby Rychel setup. That's maximum puck efficiency for Kosmachuk on the night—on each of his goals, he only had to touch the puck once before it went in. Read into that what you will, but I'd prefer to think of it as a sign at how dominant Guelph was against the London defence in a 7-2 win, moving the puck at will in the offensive zone.

    No. 2 Star - Justin Nichols, Guelph Storm

    And yet as good as the Storm were on offence, they were pretty lacklustre defensively. Some of that is to be expected: teams that take a bit lead for much of the game tend to get out-shot for the rest of the contest. London actually out-shot Guelph 47-38, and it wasn't until the third period the Storm began to pull away in the third. Had Justin Nichols not played as well as he did, this game isn't the laugher.

    Read More »from Kosmachuk, Nichols the perfect Storm as Guelph knock off Knights – Memorial Cup 3 Stars
  • Storm captain Matt Finn (right) clears the crease in front of Justin Nichols (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — They talked a big game in a way that almost un-hockey-like, and then backed it up by playing one.

    All too often, the truth in sports is surrounded by a forcefield of 'they have a great team too' clichés. The Guelph Storm didn't bother with the latter, running with the storyline about consigning the London Knights to their fate as the most feeble Memorial Cup host team in a decade. (Coach Scott Walker apparently drew the "rivalry is for your media guys" straw.) It might have seemed shocking to someone who had bought the dream of the Guelph gang being humble heroes. Instead, they put themselves out there, knowing how it might look if they let London off the deck.

    "Being confident, you have to follow through with it, you can't blow smoke," said right wing Scott Kosmachuk, who had a hat trick, including a first-period pair during the 7-2 Storm rout at Budweiser Gardens. "We're not going to let up on anyone. We're going to keep playing Guelph Storm hockey throughout the tournament.

    "We have a great coaching staff, they're always lifting us up and giving us the tools to compete," the Winnipeg Jets signing added. "We had a great compete level throughout the room tonight."

    Read More »from Guelph Storm bounce London Knights, again: ‘I think we had a lot of teams pulling for us tonight’
  • Reinhart and the Oil Kings lost control of their playoff destiny with Tuesday's loss (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — The Tall Poppy Syndrome is strong with this one.

    Prior to Tuesday night, Edmonton Oil Kings star defenceman Griffin Reinhart had not tweeted since posting a photo of himself with the WHL championship trophy after the Game 7 win in Portland. As a likely future NHL defenceman with a strong sense of responsibility, though, Reinhart had to see what was out there after he was on the ice for tying and overtime goals during the Oil Kings' loss to Val-d'Or on Tuesday. Sure enough, a lot of people on the Oil Kings bandwagon were picking nits with the big man's game. Reinhart lost the puck to Anthony Mantha on the equalizer and was on the ice for the breakaway winner, two little data points on a night where he logged 40 minutes.

    "A lot of fans do know the game, but they say spur-of-the-moment things," Reinhart said. "I don't read too much into it. It's kind of entertaining to me. They can do what they want. It's their lives. It's their Twitter.

    "You can see a lot of it at world juniors, it even magnifies that much more. Athletes are used to it. Even the best player in the world will get criticized."

    Reinhart deemed it necessary to comment on the venting, but knew it was just that, emotions being released by people who can't affect the outcome. Mitch Moroz, his teammate for four seasons, also did a tongue-in-check pile-on.

    Read More »from Edmonton Oil Kings’ Griffin Reinhart responds to social media criticism after loss to Foreurs
  • Aube-Kubel is NHL Central Scouting's 40th-ranked domestic skater (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — Two seasons ago, Nicolas Aubé-Kubel watched a Memorial Cup in his home province of Quebec and rooted for a team from the rest of Canada.

    It turns out that for all the hockey bloodlines in this tournament, with all of its Reinharts and Rychels, one family tie went under the radar. Aubé-Kubel, a potential NHL second-round pick, is a first cousin of former Oil Kings forward T.J. Foster, who played several of the present-day Edmontons on a 2012 WHL title-winning team. That meant the 18-year-old, who was born in Slake Lake, Alta., but moved to Sorel, Que., at age two with his mother Annie, a school teacher. So he cheered for Edmonton in '12 instead of Shawinigan.

    "All my family from Quebec was there and they were cheering for the Oil Kings," the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Aubé-Kubel says. "I was cheering for the Oil Kings and now I’m here against them.

    "It was special seeing my parents cheer for me [Tuesday]," the right wing added. "My dad, Douglas, he was Oil King proud, now he's a Foreur proud."

    Read More »from Foreurs’ Nicolas Aube-Kubel goes from cheering for Edmonton, to beating them at Memorial Cup
  • Moroz and the Oil Kings lost in double OT on Tuesday (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — Pro tip: hold off running with that The Curse of Chris Bruton column until the Edmonton Oil Kings have their date with destiny.

    Rationality would agree with Billy Ray Cyrus character in Friday Night Lights — "ain't no curses" — but one has to wonder at how the Oil Kings ended up in their current fix. There was Mads Eller's clearing attempt last Saturday that ricocheted into the net off the leg of Guelph's Kerby Rychel; Edmonton never scored again. On Tuesday, there was a triptych of terrible puck luck. The pass that hit a broken stick and put Val-d'Or's Pierre-Maxime Poudrier off to the races for a second-period shorty. An apparent missed icing that could have halted the play for the tying Foreurs goal. Lastly, Brett Pollock hit the crossbar in the second minute of the first overtime, and a puck skipped by Griffin Reinhart in the second OT to put Anthony Richard on a breakaway for the winner.

    Since the Memorial Cup is all about opportunism, this is the point where one mentions no Western Hockey League team has won since this happened.

    Read More »from Oil Kings hope ‘gross’ goals are behind them, as WHL champs need more puck luck
  • Bauman will be replaced in Guelph's lineup by Marc Stevens (OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — It wasn't reckless or dangerous, but Chadd Bauman's knee-on-knee contact with Val-d'Or defenceman Guillaume Gélinas was caused by carelessness.

    While Gélinas is trying to heal in time to play in Friday's semifinal, Bauman has been suspended for Sunday's final. It's a pretty easy call for the Canadian Hockey League. The onus is on the forechecking player to adapt to the puck carrier's sudden movement, and as Guelph Mercury beat writer Tony Saxon pointed out: "The quick defenceman made an evasive move, Bauman couldn't adjust quickly enough."

    Read More »from Guelph’s Chadd Bauman suspended for Memorial Cup final
  • Anthony Richard celebrates his double-OT winner (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — When you the name Richard and wear No. 9 in Quebec, clearly you're meant to decide a game that affirmed what's great about the Memorial Cup.

    Truth be known, for nearly two periods Edmonton and Val-d'Or engaged in a protracted feeling-out process that only added to the vibe this tournament has been rather dry and bland, too corporate, too much gap between Guelph and everyone else. Then it picked up, with a disputed overtime-forcing goal, a pinged crossbar in the first breaths of bonus hockey, and finally, 5-foot-8, 168-pound Richard ending it 1:15 into double overtime. Lukewarm start, sizzling finish, one team getting the final bounce: that's major junior hockey.

    Read More »from Anthony Richard’s OT winner caps a classic this Memorial Cup needed
  • Val-d'Or celebrates its first goal of the night (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — Val-d'Or started the night with star defenceman Guillaume Gélinas in a suit. Then it gave up two quick goals to a foe with a reputation for shutdown hockey.

    Yet it beat the Edmonton Oil Kings 4-3 in double overtime, earning a spot in the Memorial Cup semifinal in front of 8,745 fans at Budweiser Gardens. More pertinently, it grants Val-d'Or an extra day for Gélinas to make it back from the contusion above his left knee that he sustained Monday.

    "It was a hard time for me because I wanted to play and I tried very hard to play," Gélinas, now off crutches, said after the game. "It was too hard on one leg.

    "I'm going to be fine for Friday; it's only pain," added Gélinas, who was kneed by Guelph's Chadd Bauman on Monday.

    Read More »from Val-d’Or Foreurs’ win grants Guillaume Gelinas time to heal: ‘I’m going to be fine for Friday; it’s only pain’
  • Bibeau (in mask) and his Val-d'Or teammates celebrate (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — Buzzing The Net's Three Stars following the Val-d'Or Foreurs' 4-3 double overtime win over the Edmonton Oil Kings on Day 5 of the Memorial Cup.

    Anthony Richard scored 1:15 into the second OT for the Foreurs (2-1), who advance to Friday's semifinal. Edmonton (1-2) will either get a rematch that night or play in a tiebreaker on Thursday, depending on whether London (0-2) beats Guelph (2-0).

    Read More »from Antoine Bibeau stops 47, buys time for Foreurs to strike gold in OT: Memorial Cup 3 Stars
  • Jason Dickinson (front right) and the Storm are in the Memorial Cup final (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    LONDON, Ont. — As if the Guelph Storm will lay up when they have a chance to put the London Knights on the golf course.

    The Storm is in the Memorial Cup final regardless of how it fares vs. the host London Knights in Wednesday's round-robin finale. Teams that have started 2-0 have been known to ease off the throttle a bit, giving the 0-2 club a lifeline and a chance to stay extant in the tournament. The convenience sample, of course, is 2009, when the Windsor Spitfires beat bye earner Kelowna to get into the tiebreaker. The Spitfires went on to beat Rockets again for the title.

    Kelowna and Windsor, of course, were not in the same league, let alone the same division. Bill this as The Bout To Knock London Out. Some OHL franchises would love one shot at eliminating the flagship franchise from the Forest City some day. The Storm could do it for the second time in six weeks.

    "That's what's going to get us up for this game is that it's another chance to knock off London," Storm centre Jason Dickinson said. "They're always the top team. We want to be the top team and to have the chance to knock them off again is a great feeling.

    "In my first year, we always took a beating against London," adds the Dallas Stars pick, who was an OHL rookie in 2011-12. "It was always the worst coming into this building. To finally say 'we can knock these guys off in their own barn' is unbelievable when you think of where we were in my first year. It was almost impossible to picture back then."

    Read More »from Guelph Storm ‘cherish’ chance at ousting London: ‘They’ve always had the upper hand on us’
  • London, Ont. — The Val-d’Or Foreurs say they’re still uncertain whether star defenceman Guillaume Gelinas will be in the lineup on Tuesday night.

    According to Foreurs assistant coach Marco Pietroniro, Gelinas suffered a contusion in the knee area and is questionable to play in tonight's game against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

    “He’s day-by-day or maybe hour-by-hour for us,” he told reporters after their morning skate on Tuesday morning. “We want him in the lineup but we’re not going to jeopardize his health for a hockey game. It’s not do or die for us right now. We’re certainly going to be putting his health first.”

    Head coach Mario Durochers was not made available by the team.

    Gelinas was injured on Monday night during Val-d’Or’s 6-3 loss to the Guelph Storm. He was on the receiving end of a knee-on-knee hit from Guelph’s Chadd Bauman in the third period. After the collision, Gelinas hit the ice and eventually started crawling to the Foreurs bench in obvious pain as play continued in the

    Read More »from Memorial Cup: Gelinas suffers contusion, questionable for Game 5
  • McFarland was Oshawa's assistant coach for 2 seasons (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    The Kingston Frontenacs believed they underachieved this season. Their rivals down Highway 401 in Oshawa overachieved, so there's a clear rationale for taking from the competition.

    Say whatever you want about what has to go on behind the scenes before an OHL team turns to someone still on the good side of 30 years old to fill a key job. Entrusting Kyle Dubas, who was only 25 on his start date, as its general manager has worked out wonderfully for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, who recently won their division for the first time in six seasons. Now it appears Frontenacs GM Doug Gilmour, coming off a stomach-punch playoff loss where a 3-0 series lead evaporated, is turning to 28-year-old Paul McFarland as the club's head coach.

    Kingston is introducing its bench boss at 12 noon ET Tuesday.

    Read More »from Kingston Frontenacs tap Paul McFarland to be OHL’s youngest head coach
  • Mantha has 2 points in 2 Memorial Cup games (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)LONDON, Ont. — The wall has been looming for the Val-d'Or Foreurs, and the Guelph Storm ran them right into it.

    Tuesday night is another day at the Memorial Cup, but from star Anthony Mantha on down through the lineup, Val-d'Or came down to earth in a 6-3 loss to the Guelph Storm on Monday at the Memorial Cup. One can only guesstimate that the Foreurs, who had No. 1 defenceman Guillaume Gélinas leave for the night when he was kneed in the third period by Guelph fourth-liner Chadd Bauman, might be fighting fatigue. It ran the gauntlet of successive seven-game series in Halifax and Baie-Comeau, then won a tournament opener over London that coach Mario Durocher considered an extension of the Q playoffs.

    Now that's fading. It might be harsh reality time unless the Foreurs channel a way to come back on Tuesday vs. Edmonton, which is also 1-1.

    "For sure I need to bounce back tomorrow, I played a horrible game tonight," said Mantha, who had just one secondary assist on a power-play goal. "I know it myself and my team knows it. I need to be there tomorrow."

    Read More »from Anthony Mantha: ‘I had a horrible game tonight’; can Val-d’Or Foreurs bounce back vs. Oil Kings?
  • Matt Finn and Nick Ebert join a Guelph goal celebration (Aaron Bell, CHL Images)

    Co No. 1 Stars - Matt Finn and Nick Ebert, Guelph Storm

    The Quebec league's top scorer Anthony Mantha hasn't had much difficulty invading enemy territory this season. After being very visible against London in the opener and scoring a gorgeous goal that turned out to be the winner, Mantha was uncharacteristically quiet against the Storm in Val-d'Or's 6-3 loss, registering a single powerplay assist.

    The reason? Well, all of Val-d'Or's top offensive threats were completely shut down by the two-headed monster that is the Guelph Storm's top defensive pairing. The Maple Leafs prospect Finn and the LA Kings prospect Ebert played big minutes and slowed down every Foreurs offensive weapon. It wasn't until early in the second period that Guelph goaltender Justin Nichols had to stop a shot from any dangerous scoring area.

    Finn picked up two assists during the game, while Ebert managed one, and the group were +4 against the Foreurs top players.

    Read More »from Foreurs forwards held in check by Guelph’s top pairing – Monday’s 3 Stars