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  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Sixteen-year-old sensation Mathew Barzal and his Seattle Thunderbirds face the Vancouver Giants tonight. It's bigger than a Whitecaps-Sounders game, almost. (Vancouver Sun)

    What's up with the Portland Winterhawks getting waxed 6-2 by Tri-City on Tuesday? A slew of NHL training camp absences plus three injured regulars. (Portland Tribune)

    It's on Cody Corbett and Ashton Sautner to hold down the Edmonton Oil Kings' blueline in the wake of heavy off-season turnover. (Edmonton Journal)

    No Dub team has won a Memorial Cup tournament since the Spokane Chiefs dropped the trophy in 2008. Darren Steinke has a little fun with the notion this might not be coincidental. (Medicine Hat News)

    Kelowna's Tyson Baillie was left off the Central Scouting preliminary list, which seems like a wee bit of an oversight. (Regan's Rant)

    Victoria Royals rookie defenceman Chaz Redekopp, sidelined during preseason, might not be up to game speed yet. (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    Red Deer Rebels standout Haydn Fleury is unique in that his playing weight is lower than it was in his 16-year-old season. (WHL From Above)

    St. Louis Blues second-rounder Tommy Vannelli appears headed to the Medicine Hat Tigers. (Tiger Turf)

    OHL

    Captain Darnell Nurse's return from the Edmonton Oilers to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds is well-timed, since the 'Hounds need some leadership. (Edmonton Journal, Sault Star)

    Top-ranked NHL draft goalie prospect Alex Nedeljkovic isn't sneaking up on anyone as a Plymouth Whalers sophomore: "There is a different mindset going in as the No. 1 guy ... you have to self-motivate." (The Pipeline Show)

    Sticking with goaltending, overage Chris Festarini is returning to the Niagara IceDogs after taking a stab at the AHL. (St. Catharines Standard)

    Ahead of the Saginaw Spirit's home opener, Cory Butzin ponders how the Spirit will make up for losing 97-point scorer Eric Locke to the AHL's Rochester Americans. (Saginaw News)

    Read More »from Nurse on duty with ‘Hounds, Barzal comes home, Whalers goalie out to be Steady Neddy: the coast-to-coast
  • Sieloff helped Team USA win the world junior gold medal during his only season with Windsor (OHL Images)

    Having the recruiting clout to land an American talent such as shutdown defenceman Pat Sieloff can have a double edge, which the Windsor Spitfires are feeling today.

    No doubt Windsor envisioned Sieloff would play more than 45 games in the Ontario Hockey League when he was convinced to hop the border in 2012 rather than play collegiately at Miami of Ohio. Since Sieloff was not in a Canadian junior league at the time the Calgary Flames took him in the second round of the 2012 NHL draft, they have the option to place him in the AHL. Calgary seems to be leaning that way in the wake of Sieloff's impressive, despite being injury-marred, preseason.

    Read More »from Windsor Spitfires lose Pat Sieloff to Calgary Flames, drastically altering their outlook in OHL
  • Aaron EkbladNHL Central Scouting Service took their first stab at the 2014 NHL draft class by releasing their preliminary ranking.

    Of the North American skaters, the OHL led the way with nine players ranked in the A-list category.

    Although the A-list players aren’t ranked from top to bottom, it’s safe to assume Barrie Colts defender Aaron Ekblad is the cream of the OHL crop based on a scouts’ consensus that BTN put together in the summer. The Belle River, Ont., native is regarded as a future cornerstone defenceman. He has the size, standing 6-foot-4, 217-pounds, is mobile with offensive upside, and is a horse in his own end.

    The Kingston Frontenacs are following in the footsteps of the Halifax Mooseheads this year to some degree. Like Halifax last year with Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Zachary Fucale, Kingston has trio of high-end players: winger Samuel Bennett, defenceman Roland McKeown and winger Spencer Watson. All three players cracked CCS’s A list and are in running to have their

    Read More »from News, notes and omissions in Central Scouting Service’s preliminary ranking
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    The NHL Central Scouting preliminary list has seven A skaters from the Dub, 10 from the OHL and one from the QMJHL. (NHL.com)

    Edmonton Oil Kings play-by-play announcer Corey Graham has a tribute to Kristians Pelss, the former Oil King who died this summer. (The Pipeline Show)

    Defenceman Joe Mahon has been shipped east to Calgary for two bantam draft picks. (Calgary Herald)

    The San Jose Sharks signed first-rounder Mirco Mueller and shipped him back up the coast to the Everett Silvertips, hastening a decision about their surplus import. (Everett Herald)

    A lower-body injury will keep Portland's Dominic Turgeon out of this week's All-American Prospects Game in Pittsburgh. (NHL.com)

    Free agent success story! Former Dub goalie Ty Rimmer is headed to the Edmonton Oilers' top farm club. (Copper & Blue)

    OHL

    The trickle-down from the NHL continues: the Kitchener Rangers are getting Radek Faksa back from the Dallas Stars. (570 News)

    The Plymouth Whalers losing offensive defenceman Connor Carrick to the AHL's Hershey Bears is a "possibility." (Washington Post)

    Read More »from Faksa returns to Kitchener, Caps sign Connor Carrick, Everett has extra import: the coast-to-coast
  • Desbiens is in his third QMJHL season (Ghyslain Bergeron, Sherbrooke Phoenix)Now, pardon the Monday morning quarterbacking, but the gut reaction to watching Sherbrooke Phoenix's Simon Desbiens' headshot on the Blainville-Boisbriand's Samuel Hodhod is to wonder whether it was necessary to go for a bodycheck in that situation.

    It comes back to the idea of respect in the game. There will always be injuries, of course. But Hodhod was off-balance while trying to protect the puck from Sherbrooke's Alexandre Sills, so he had dropped to one knee when Desbiens caught him in the 'trolley tracks' and delivered a blow to the head. It was a clear case of, to borrow a term from the National Football League, taking advantage of a defenceless player. Even if Hodhod was still upright, running around in the defensive zone hellbent for a huge hit instead of taking away passing options is a debatable tactic.

    Hodhod was knocked out of the game and didn't play in Blainville-Boisbriand's game on Saturday. The game officials only assessed Desbiens with a minor penalty, but the 18-year-old was has been suspended indefinitely.

    Read More »from Sherbrooke Phoenix’s Simon Desbiens suspended; is this headhunting? (VIDEO)
  • Travis Konecny had multi-point efforts in each of his first two OHL games last weekend (Mike Carroccetto photos)Travis Konecny won the OHL's opening weekend, suffice to say.

    (With all due respect to Sault Ste. Marie's Jared McCann.)

    As suggested half in jest, the bits of beyond-his-years brilliance from the centre whom Ottawa chose first overall in the Ontario Hockey League priority selection draft last spring already seem routine. Granted, we are in the early stages of the season when junior coaches give a lot of ice time to their 16- and 17-year-old rookies, to see how they can hang in with much older players.

    So with the disclaimers dispensed with, here's a peek at Konecny's Sunday, which included his first two OHL goals during Ottawa's 4-3 loss to the North Bay Battalion. The 16-year-old from Clachan, Ont., did not do a lot, really, other than showing pro-quality hands on the two goals, displaying an edge when he knocked down an overage, North Bay's 6-foot-2, 214-pound captain Barclay Goodrow, and also showing his smarts by picking off a pass to earn a short-handed breakaway.

    Read More »from Ottawa 67′s Travis Konecny gets first two OHL goals in big opening weekend for No. 1 overall pick (VIDEO)
  • Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons (28) moves in close to Canadiens netminder Zachary Fucale (70) in second period NHL pre-season action at the Bell Centre on Saturday, September 15, 2013. [CP - Graham Hughes]Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons (28) moves in close to Canadiens netminder Zachary Fucale (70) in second period NHL pre-season action at the Bell Centre on Saturday, September 15, 2013. [CP - Graham Hughes]Halifax Mooseheads goaltender Zachary Fucale plans on keeping the picture of his dad at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft around for a while.

    “That’s classic. It went around the world I think and it’ll stick forever,” Fucale said Friday after earning a 5-2 win over the Moncton Wildcats in his first game this season in the QMJHL.

    Jack Fucale, the elder Fucale, is a huge Canadiens fan and he and Zachary would go to Habs games frequently before hockey prevented father and son from enjoying the national winter sport.

    Zachary had to wait through one round before he was picked in the second, 36th overall, by his hometown Montreal Canadiens.

    Read More »from Montreal Canadiens prospect Zachary Fucale aims to build on storybook season in Halifax
  • Tampa Bay's Adam Erne (46) celebrates after scoring the winner in the shootout against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, September 15, 2013. Erne scored three goals in his return to the Quebec Remparts Sunday [AP - John Raoux]Tampa Bay's Adam Erne (46) celebrates after scoring the winner in the shootout against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, September 15, 2013. Erne scored three goals in his return to the Quebec Remparts Sunday [AP - John Raoux]No. 1 star: Adam Erne (Quebec Remparts, QMJHL)

    Erne was front and center on Sunday, scoring three goals in his return from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 6-2 win over the Rimouski Oceanic. Erne opened the scoring in the first, scored on the powerplay in the second and added a solo effort in the third to finish the scoring for the Remparts.

    Erne was also the story for the Lightning in his lone exhibition game for the team. He scored two goals, and the winner in the shootout, to give Tampa a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Sept. 15. He was also suspended for three games for a check to the head of Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko.

    Erne was helped by fellow forward Anthony Duclair, who scored two goals and added an assist. Duclair dented the twine on a penalty shot in the second period. Defenceman Ryan Culkin added a goal and an assist in the win.

    Remparts netminder François Brassard stopped 30-of-32 shots in the victory, while Philippe Desrosiers was tagged with the loss in just under

    Read More »from Quebec’s Erne scores hat-trick in return from the NHL; Bourke paces the Cougars to a bounce-back win: Sunday’s 3 stars
  • Carl-Antoine Delisle scored a hat-trick and added an assist in Victoriaville's 4-3 win over the Val-d'Or Foreurs on Saturday. [CP - Remi Senechal]Carl-Antoine Delisle scored a hat-trick and added an assist in Victoriaville's 4-3 win over the Val-d'Or Foreurs on Saturday. [CP - Remi Senechal]No. 1 star: Carl-Antoine Delisle (Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL)

    Delisle paced the Tigres to a squeaker 4-3 win over the Val-d’Or Foreurs. He factored in on every goal for Victoriaville, scoring three and assisting the other. Delisle scored the last three goals in the win in Val-d’Or.

    Brandon Whitney stopped 44-of-47 shots in the win, including 36 saves in the final two periods. François Tremblay took the loss, stopping 17-of-21, but only facing six Tigres shots in the last two periods.

    Delisle assisted on Mark Tremaine’s goal to open the scoring early in the first period, then chipped in one of his own with a solo effort shorthanded midway through the period. He also scored in the second and third periods. The goals were Delisle’s first three of the season.

    Alex Filiatrault had two assists for the Tigres, who improved to 3-1-0-0. Anthony Mantha and Nicolas Aube-Kubel each had a goal and an assist for the Foreurs, who dropped to 1-3-0-0 on the year. Guillaume Gélinas added two helpers,

    Read More »from Delisle nets hat trick for Victoriaville; McCann and the Sault go nuts: Saturday’s 3 stars
  • Baie-Comeau's Alexis Vanier is one point away from equaling his entire 2012-2013 point total (CP)

    No. 1 Star - Alexis Vanier, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)

    Talk about a sweet debut to the draft season. Alexis Vanier, a late-95 birthdate is a first-time eligible defenceman from the QMJHL who scored eight points in his rookie season for the Drakkar last year in 53 games. Not too bad for a rookie defensive defenceman, but unlikely to catch the eye of scouts.

    Already this season in two games, Vanier has nearly eclipsed that total. After a two-point debut last week against Rimouski, Vanier led the Drakkar offence against the Quebec Remparts with a two-goal effort that resulted in five points. He now has seven points through his first three games. The Drakkar, incidentally, absolutely routed the Patrick Roy-less Remparts by a 7-4 score and out-shot them 40-18.

    Also a pretty chippy game as well. Six powerplay goals were scored in the contest—four by the Drakkar, started off by Denis Gorbunov in the first. Baie-Comeau's powerplay came alive in the third, with Jérémy Gregoire potting a couple along with Nicholas Meloche's first ever Q goal. After two assists in his first two games, Baie-Comeau's first rounder this past draft finally tallied.

    No. 2 Star - Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67s (OHL)

    All eyes were on the 2013 Priority Selection's No. 1 pick Friday night, and Konecny delivered, drawing rave reviews on Twitter for his play from fans and press. He factored in on a couple of 67s goals—both assists—in Ottawa's come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Belleville Bulls.

    Down 2-0 in the first, Konecny set up Stan Studnicka on a cross-crease pass, and he had the primary assist on a powerplay goal by Taylor Fielding in the third period that brought the 67s to within one. From there, it was Mike Vlajkov and Joseph Blandasi that scored the tying and winning goals as Ottawa kicked off their season with an important win, desperate to forget last season's mess.

    More on Konecny's debut here.

    No. 3 Star - Oliver Bjorkstrand, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

    The Portland Winterhawks players are once again going to have to draw straws to determine which of their players get featured on the Three Stars. The Columbus Blue Jackets second rounder paced the Portland offence tonight that turned in a routine Portlandesque performance in their opener with a 9-2 win over Prince George. Bjorkstrand had a goal and four assists, leading the charge in a five-goal Winterhawks second period that ended any doubt.

    This one also got chippy in the end, with the teams combining for 49 penalty minutes in the third period. Also of note in the third was Vancouver Canuck prospect Anton Cederholm's first WHL goal, from Adam Rossignol and Nic Petan.

    Read More »from Big D-Man’s five-point night steers Drakkar, big 67′s debut for Konecny: Friday’s Three Stars

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