Buzzing The Net
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net4 days ago
The OHL final doesn’t start until next Thursday, but already shots have been fired.
The London Knights sent a tweet egging on their championship opponents, the Niagara IceDogs, on Thursday – less than 24 hours after both teams won their conference final series.
The tweet in question?
The “this” here is the astounding goal Knights star Mitch Marner scored against the IceDogs on Feb. 12 – a play that has earned the Toronto Maple Leaf in waiting a seemingly permanently spot on national highlight shows.
Surely, the IceDogs didn’t need – or want – to be reminded that Marner, after taking a pass from linemate and co-captain Christian Dvorak, went on to embarrass them with his dazzling skill.
Mitch Marner's torrid playoff scoring pace on par with Connor McDavid's output last season, not far off all-time junior recordsDaniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net4 days ago
The London Knights have advanced to yet another OHL final after completing a sweep of the Erie Otters on Wednesday. Mitch Marner chipped in with an assist and an empty-net goal in the 5-1 victory.
The two-point effort was a rather pedestrian performance based on what we’ve come accustomed to seeing from Marner so far.
Yes, Marner, the prized prospect of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is having a playoff run for the ages.
Through three rounds, the 18-year-old forward has 37 points – a total that could be much higher if the Knights hadn’t been so dominant. Marner and his teammates have played just 14 games in knocking off three opponents and haven’t dropped a contest since the first round against Owen Sound.
As a result, Marner is averaging 2.6 points each game, an impressive mark in an era of elite coaching, defensive emphasis and usually impressive goaltending. Marner has been held pointless only once and has recorded two five-point games and three of the four-point variety. It’s also worth noting that Marner’s linemate Matthew Tkachuk, a likely top-five pick in the 2016 NHL draft, is right behind him with 33 points (2.4 per game).
- Dhiren Mahiban at Buzzing The Net5 days ago
Following his January trade from Oshawa to Kingston, Michael Dal Colle was preparing for a lengthy playoff run and the possibility of a second consecutive Memorial Cup. However, his Ontario Hockey League season was abruptly ended when the Niagara IceDogs shockingly upset the Frontenacs in the second round of the playoffs.
The early exit has given the 19-year-old an opportunity to get a jump-start on his pro career. Following his fourth OHL season where he scored 35 goals and 45 assists in 60 games, Dal Colle joined the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the conclusion of the American Hockey League regular season.
The chance to get an early taste of the next level is something Sound Tigers coach Brent Thompson believes will pay dividends for Dal Colle moving forward.
- Dhiren Mahiban at Buzzing The Net10 days ago
Hockey players will tell you there are no friends on the ice.
Such was the case on Friday night in Game 1 of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semi-final between Saint John and Shawinigan.
Ottawa Senators draft pick, and Sea Dogs’ defenceman, Thomas Chabot was tossed with 6:04 remaining in the first period for a check to the head of fellow Sens’ prospect Gabriel Gagne.
Gagne was receiving a pass from a teammate and cutting through the middle of the ice when Chabot stepped into him.
Here is the Thomas Chabot hit. pic.twitter.com/rYJgQXxGmN
Chabot received a major penalty for checking to the head, and a game misconduct for the hit. Adding to their problems, the Sea Dogs didn’t have a man in the box serving Chabot’s penalty, but were fortunate for a quick whistle soon after the penalty expired.
The 19-year-old, who was selected in the first round of the 2015 NHL draft (18th overall), was named the Canadian Hockey League’s player of the week on Tuesday after registering 10 assists in four games against Cape Breton last week.
- Mike Sanderson at Buzzing The Net11 days ago
Welcome to Buzzing The Net’s preview of the third round of the QMJHL playoffs.
The second round is over, and from the smoke emerges four teams – the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, the Shawinigan Cataractes, the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Moncton Wildcats. The three division winners are still around, along with the Wildcats, who led the Maritimes division for a good stretch at the start of the season. The league finally had its first series that went the distance, when the Sea Dogs dispatched the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in Game 7 6-2.
In the second round, Mike went 2-for-4, and whiffed completely on Moncton and Shawinigan. That puts his playoffs predictions record at 8-for-12. He got the correct team and games in the Saint John series in the second round, meaning five of his twelve series predictions have been correct. You may read his second round preview here, and his first round previews and .
Third round action opens in Shawinigan and Rouyn-Noranda Friday night.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net11 days ago
Every hockey playoff year needs an unheralded player to emerge as an unstoppable goal-scoring threat. In the 2016 OHL playoffs, that player is Justin Scott.
In 11 games, the Barrie Colts overage winger has 14 goals – already half as many as he tallied during the regular season. That prowess earned the undrafted Scott an NHL entry-level with the Columbus Blue Jackets last week.
He’s been a key contributor on a team hosting Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday night against the Niagara IceDogs.
“I didn’t really know coming into these playoffs that I’d have an outburst like I did,” Scott said. “I didn’t change anything up from what I did during the season. It’s just a combination of my teammates and my linemates giving me the puck.
“This playoff run has been really good, but it helps when the team wins.”
What Scott has accomplished over the last month seems like a classic case of an out-of-left-field outburst. But delve a little deeper and it becomes more apparent Scott has been building slowly towards such a coming-out party.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net12 days ago
Basil McRae is in the perfect position to judge what his London Knights are going through.
The Knights start their OHL Western Conference final Wednesday night as part of a must-watch series against the Erie Otters.
However, even though the Knights are among the last four teams standing, they’ve only reached the halfway point.
“Life itself is a marathon,” said McRae, the team’s co-owner and general manager. “The playoffs are long and gruelling.”
McRae knows a thing or two about long, gruelling marathons.
The 55-year-old completed his second Boston Marathon on Monday. It was his 10th career 42.2-kilometre race.
McRae, a former journeyman NHL defenceman, entered his first half-marathon when he was looking for a new form of exercise upon retirement. He developed a passion for running and has completed marathons in New York, Florida, Ottawa, St. Louis, Vienna, Austria and Zurich, Switzerland. He also entered a 30-kilometre trail run in Dresden, Germany.
Monday’s race wasn’t one of McRae’s best.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net12 days ago
At least none of the teams competing in the OHL’s conference finals should complain about fatigue.
Only one of the second-round matchups went longer than the requisite four games. The only series that did included the CHL’s top team, the Erie Otters, who needed just five to dispatch Sault Ste. Marie after sweeping Saginaw out of the gate.
Yes, the Otters, London Knights, Barrie Colts and Niagara IceDogs have all had a chance to rest up heading into the last series before the last series. That should make things even more compelling.
On the Western Conference side, the Otters and Knights are the league’s two powers. While the Otters have had their name etched atop the major junior power rankings all season, the Knights were the ones that led the OHL in goals for and against. This series, which starts Wednesday, has the intrigue of an OHL final.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman at Buzzing The Net14 days ago
One of the QMJHL’s top coaches has left the only major-junior team he’s ever led, casting immediate uncertainty on his budding career.
Dominique Ducharme resigned from the Halifax Mooseheads on Monday, citing a desire to be closer to his family in his hometown of Joliette, Que.
“It’s heartbreaking for me today because Halifax is a place I love and a hockey market I love,” Ducharme said in a news release.
“(Mooseheads majority owner) Bobby (Smith) has been great to me. He gave me my first chance to be a head coach in the league and the way he treated me and my family was just unbelievable. But this is just about being closer to my kids, my girlfriend and my family who I’ve been apart from for a few years now.”
Halifax scribe Willy Palov wrote for the Local Xpress that Ducharme would make visits to see his family whenever possible, but the rigours of the QMJHL season made doing so increasing challenging. According to Palov, Ducharme’s son, Xavier, and daughter, Alexanne, live with his ex-wife in Joliette. His mother lives in the city 74 kilometres north of Montreal, too.
- Dhiren Mahiban at Buzzing The Net17 days ago
Flint Firebirds owner Rolf Nilsen will not appeal the punishment handed to him by Ontario Hockey League commissioner David Branch.
Last week Branch announced Nilsen had been suspended for five years, fined $250,000 and the Firebirds were stripped of their third overall pick at last weekend’s OHL Priority Selection.
“I accept the commissioner’s decision in this matter,” Nilsen said in a statement released Friday morning. “Accordingly I will take no steps to appeal the decision. I will devote all of my energy to complying with the order, focusing solely on the business operations and placing myself in the best position to apply for reinstatement to hockey operations at the appropriate time.”
As part of Branch’s sanctions, Nilsen is able to apply for reinstatement after three years.
Yahoo Canada Sports spoke last week with several players that were in favour of Branch’s stiff punishment levied against Nilsen.