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  • Perlini took over the OHL scoring lead with his 5-point night (OHL Images)

    No. 1 star: Brendan Perlini, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

    Gee, thanks, Mr. Spoil Everyone's 2014 Draft Sleepers List. Perlini (3G-2A, +3) kept building on his torrid start to his draft season as he and Toronto Maple Leafs third-rounder Carter Verhaeghe (2G-3A, +3) factored into the first five IceDogs goals during their 7-2 evisceration of the visiting Owen Sound Attack.

    Perlini now leads the OHL in scoring with 17 points in eight games, with Verhaeghe right behind with 16. The IceDogs have scored 29 goals, so these guys are carrying the show. Perlini drew assists on two goals by Verhaeghe before the match was 4½ minutes old, then scored Niagara's third goal on just its sixth shot of the night at the 10-minute mark to chase starting goalie Jack Flinn.

    Stuff you can't make up: New York Islanders rookie Ryan Strome, who like Perlini came to Niagara in a trade with the Barrie Colts, also got his first OHL hat trick in the eighth game of his sophomore season. Strome only had one apple that night, but it did come in a road game.

    Read More »from Niagara IceDogs’ Brendan Perlini notches first OHL hat trick, now in scoring lead: Thursday’s 3 Stars
  • Brady Austin is a Buffalo Sabres pick (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    The London Knights could have waited another four months to staff their open overage slot, yet they cashed in their chit early by adding to their roster.

    Brady Austin, a Buffalo Sabres selection who helmed the Belleville Bulls' blue line to no small acclaim during their playoff run in the spring, has the winning raffle ticket among the legion of 20-year-old defencemen with hopes of capping their junior run by competing in the MasterCard Memorial Cup. The deal went down during the same news cycle in which Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Olli Määttä sent "signals ... that he can play at this level" by thriving in his third NHL game. London GM Mark Hunter also typically is able to avoid overpaying for an in-season addition, but in this case he had to part with Dallas Stars second-rounder Remi Elie, a promising power winger.

    Read More »from London Knights add Brady Austin, in possible tipoff about Olli Maatta’s status
  • Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenceman Kyle Jenkins (Mike Carroccetto for Yahoo! Canada Sports)Kyle Jenkins is grateful for some baptism by fire.

    The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds foresee the rookie defenceman becoming their prime puck-mover and power-play quarterback over the coming seasons. In the here and now, Jenkins, at a reedy 6-foot-1 and 166 pounds, has shown well as a newcomer for the 'Hounds, who are off to a maybe not that surprising start with 9-of-12 possible points from their first half-dozen games. Jenkins, listed as a C skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list, has earned top-four minutes on coach Sheldon Keefe's back line, while showing he can elude forecheckers and initiate the counter-attack.

    Jenkins also knows that while his youthfulness might make for some long nights against veteran OHL forwards; the 'Hound held him out of two games last weekend while giving more time to fellow youngsters Kevin Spinozzi and Colton White. The proof will be in how he moves on to each new challenge.

    "The forwards forecheck hard and they're a lot bigger," says the Brampton, Ont., native, who had 29 points in 46 games with the Junior A Oakville Blades as a 16-year-old. "So it's going to be a big adjustment to make plays with guys bearing down on you who are 20, 30 pounds heavier. But if you're quick enough, you can slide off their hits.

    "I know there's a lot of work to be done and it's going to be up and down during the season. But I'm feeling pretty strong and hopefully I can keep it going."

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Kyle Jenkins, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Vancouver Canucks first-rounder Hunter Shinkaruk did this on Wednesday while helped Medicine Hat beat Moose Jaw to improve to 6-1-1-0. Meantime, Tigers 'tender Daniel Wapple got the W in his hometown. (Moose Jaw Times-Herald)

    The Warriors girded for the potential loss of Morgan Rielly to the Toronto Maple Leafs by dealing for overage D-man Jesse Forsberg on Wednesday. (Moose Jaw Times-Herald)

    Montreal Canadiens pick Dalton Thrower scored a sweet goal for Vancouver in his return to Saskatoon, but couldn't stop his former mates from sniping six of their own. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    How are the Portland Winterhawks like the TV show Arrow? (The Oregonian)

    Pittsburgh Penguins-drafted goalie Tristan Jarry had an off-night during Edmonton's home loss to Everett, from the sounds of it. Of course, the Oil Kings will have more defence now that Griffin Reinhart has returned from the NHL's New York Islanders. (Edmonton Journal)

    Why Swift Current's Brycen Martin is a Guy You Should Know for the 2014 draft. (The Pipeline Show)

    OHL

    There's a million-dollar finish: Washington Capitals first-rounder Andre Burakovsky teed up Adam Pelech to score the decider for Erie with 2.4 seconds left on Wednesday vs. Owen Sound. (Erie Times-News)

    London Knights star Olli Määttä is getting solid reviews for his play through three games with the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

    Ottawa 67's captain Sean Monahan had his first two-point NHL game in the Calgary Flames' win over the Montreal Canadiens. Who's going to break the news to the 67's? (Calgary Sun, Calgary Herald)

    Read More »from Shinkaruk puts Tigers on top, Griffin Reinhart returns: the coast-to-coast
  • NHL draft prospect Sam Reinhart had a three-point night against the Hurricanes.No. 1 star: Sam Reinhart (Kootenay Ice, WHL)

    Reinhart is making a stronger case with every passing game to have his name called first at the 2014 NHL entry draft.

    With his team up 2-1 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the middle of the second frame, Reinhart took over the latter half of the game. Following scoring an even-strength goal in the second period, he set up a Zak Zborosky marker and potted his second of the night on the power play to lead the Ice to a 5-2 win.

    The 6-foot-1, 183-pound centre sits second in the WHL scoring race behind Spokane Chiefs forward Mitch Holmberg with seven goals and 19 points in eight games. It is inevitable that his current point production of 2.37 points a night will drop off, but he’s already shown he’s capable of scoring 100-plus points this year despite not having a great offensive supporting cast in Kootenay. Albeit it appears he’ll have to notch triple digits in less than 72 games because he seems to have a great shot at earning a spot on Team Canada’s world junior squad.

    Read More »from Top NHL draft prospect Sam Reinhart leads Ice over Hurricanes: Wednesday’s 3 stars
  • A team that is selling hockey in America's heartland surely has to do something to stand out; the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders have done so with their 'Everything Is Better With Hockey: Date Night' commercial.

    The ad produced by Metro Studios features a nervous young suitor — actually Riders 23-year-old assistant coach Doug Leaverton, who can still play youthful — dropping off a woman at her door. Not sure how to end the night — who hasn't been there — he calls timeout and returns to the bench, er, end of the sidewalk to get some tips from coach Mark Carlson.

    Fortunately, Carlson's there with encouragement — "We're looking for a kiss here! Don't try to be perfect, though! We gotta make a play!" — and a shot of breath spray.

    Read More »from USHL coaches star in ‘Date Night’ commercial (VIDEO)
  • Sean Day is the youngest of the exceptional status players in the OHL (Mike Carroccetto for Yahoo! Canada Sports)What Sean Day says matters as much as how he plays, this early in the game.

    A day later, it's not clear if anyone should have expected more out of Tuesday. The Mississauga Steelheads defenceman had his first encounter against an Ontario Hockey League team that opted not to take Day after he was given exceptional status to play major junior at age 15, giving pause to rehash the Ottawa 67's choice to take centre Travis Konecny with the No. 1 overall pick. The weeknight game drew just an announced 1,454 but was a magnet for NHL appraisers, including Toronto Maple Leafs director of amateur scouting Dave Morrison.

    Considering each young phenom's callowness, there was a high likelihood it would be a fizzle. Konecny had one assist but was minus-1 during Ottawa's 6-3 victory. A 6-2 disadvantage in power plays for disrupted the Steelheads' distribution of minutes. Day showed flashes of his high ceiling a couple times, particularly on one instance when he smoothly accelerated into a breakout rush with more grace than a 6-foot-2 kid who's not even old enough to drive in Ontario should have any right to. Despite his disappointment, Day came out of the dressing room at Canadian Tire Centre and walked over to the gaggle of adults with various recording devices.

    "It's one of the teams that passed me up, so obviously it was a game that I wanted to win," Day said. "We didn't get that done so I'm kind of disappointed. We've all got to play better; we're on a two-game losing streak now.

    "I usually don't put pressure on myself but it's one of the teams that passed me up. Obviously you're a little rattled when playing them. I was pumped coming into the game because I wanted to play them. I don't know, I'm just disappointed.

    "I've been playing to what my coaches expected me to," the Rochester, Mich., resident added. "This game was a little bit rough, but every other game so far I've done what coaches have said to. I'm just trying to impress them and not care about what anyone else thinks."

    Read More »from Mississauga Steelheads’ Sean Day takes first matchup vs. Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67′s to heart
  • Come next season, Wolves prospects such as Sabres pick Nick Baptiste will be playing in the OHL's oldest arena (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    It's like there is a municipal election next year. When the Ontario Hockey League wrote to the city of Sudbury after the Sudbury Wolves' home opener was postponed after just 81 seconds due to humidity and fog inside their arena, the knee-jerk riff was "it took this long for the league to be concerned?"

    On principle, there are more important concerns for most small cities than spending bajillions — sorry, that's a word now — on a sports and entertainment facility. Yet those venues eventually get built. In the case of Sudbury and the Wolves, the 62-year-old Sudbury Community Arena will soon become the oldest arena in the OHL and that age is starting to show. Nevertheless, with just more than one year before provincewide municipal elections, the city council on Wednesday shot down a motion to even consider making an arena project a priority before their end of its term.

    [City councillor Ron] Dupuis was in the crowd last month when the team's first home game was cancelled because of fog, and felt badly for people who had come from as far away as Dryden to see the game.

    “I can imagine how frustrated they were,” he said. “My apologies to them.”

    But getting funding in place so quickly at a time when the federal and provincial governments are broke is unrealistic and will increase the cost to taxpayers, he said. And hopes of making money once it's built are remote.

    Read More »from Sudbury Wolves get apology for fogged-out home opener, but no promise of new arena yet
  • Word is that William Nylander, the top European prospect for the NHL entry draft, has not had the most scintillating start over in Scandinavia.

    In the creative centre's defence, the 17-year-old is adjusting to a new team in Sweden's Allsvenskan circuit, since he and his former-NHLer/father Michael Nylander moved to Rögle BK after spending last season in Södertälje SK. The younger Nylander didn't score in his first seven games with his new club, but scored this beauty off the rush vs. Timrå last Saturday, beating his man off the rush and turning the defenceman into a screen prior to picking the far corner. This might help with putting a face to the name.

    Read More »from Top NHL draft prospect William Nylander scores highlight goal in Sweden (VIDEO)
  • Brendan Leipsic (left) and Nicolas Petan with their CHL scoring leader trophy (CHL.ca)Portland Winterhawks forwards Brendan Leipsic and Nicolas Petan weren’t expected to lead the Canadian Hockey League, let alone the Western Hockey League, in scoring last year.

    Leipsic, mainly known for his grit and work ethic, was coming off a 58-point season. It seemed he was capable of improving his point total by 25 or so points, but doubling it appeared out of his grasp.

    Petan, meanwhile, only scored 35 points the season before. Not to mention, he failed to register a single point in 22 playoff games. It appeared he would quite likely score at least 20 more points with a season under his belt and more responsibility in the Winterhawks’ offense. But it seemed absurd to even suggest he would triple and then some his previous 35 points.

    Yet when the CHL regular-season was all said and done, Leipsic and Petan sat at the top of the scoring totem pole with 120 points apiece. They didn’t care that there was an overwhelming consensus that they wouldn’t stand a chance against Halifax

    Read More »from Winterhawks’ Brendan Leipsic, Nicolas Petan aim for back-to-back 100-plus point seasons

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