Buzzing The Net

  • Carrick leads OHL defencemen with 13 goals (OHL Images)

    For defencemen, putting the puck in your net should be like a badge of honour — it's never intended and it's usually the result of trying to make the correct play. Take what happened to Carolina Hurricanes fourth-round pick Trevor Carrick while he was defending The Phenom, Connor McDavid, during the Mississauga Steelheads-Erie Otters OHL contest on Saturday night.

    Midway through the second period, on a day where one might have wondered how sadistic it was to have rebuilding Mississauga face league-leading Erie on consecutive nights, the Otters went on the power play. McDavid, who had already set up the Otters' Teddy Bear Toss goal, got a pass from André Burakovsky at the left of the Steelheads' net. The combination of McDavid pivoting and Carrick's seemingly perfectly timed pokecheck sent the puck directly into the net, for the weirdest goal McDavid will score all season.

    Carrick leads OHL defencemen with 13 goals, obviously not counting that one.

    Read More »from Connor McDavid gets pokechecked, puck still goes in (VIDEO)
  • The Maple Leafs aren't going to loan Morgan Rielly to the world juniors. (Getty Images)

    It seems Brent Sutter can cross off Morgan Rielly on Team Canada’s projected blueline for the world junior championship.

    A report from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun states the Toronto Maple Leafs have no intention of loaning Rielly to Team Canada for a second crack at gold in the U20 tournament which takes place in Malmo, Sweden this year.

    Instead, the Sun has learned that when the selection camp roster is announced on Monday, the 19-year-old defenceman, a first-round pick in 2012, will not be released by the Leafs to represent Canada for a second consecutive season.

    "I'd say he's a big part of this group right here, right now and we don't see that changing at this point," Leafs vice-president of hockey operations Dave Poulin said on Friday. "That's the way we're looking at it."

    Poulin wouldn't confirm that Rielly will not be made available to coach Brent Sutter and the Canadian team, but his comments are revealing.

    Even though Rielly has been a healthy scratch here and there in

    Read More »from Maple Leafs choose to hold onto Morgan Rielly over world junior loan
  • via Youtube

    This is grainy video of a fight between Portland's Adam De Champlain and Spokane's Carter Proft. It looks to be a pretty routine bout, between Proft, who is as close to a dedicated facepuncher as you can get (10 points, 61 PIMs, 7 fighting majors) and De Champlain, who was a much more active fighter last season with 17 scraps per hockeyfights.net, but he just has 3 a quarter of the way through the campaign this season.

    Nothing is out of the ordinary during the tussle, which is just your standard bout between players in similar weight classes and fighting experience. Afterwards though, De Champlain tries to take an extra shot at Proft, and in the penalty box, attempts to show the referee some evidence that Proft bit him during the scrap.

    The video isn't exactly clear, and details from the game are scarce, so it is difficult to tell. If you watch the video up to the 29 second mark, you'd probably agree that De Champlain is getting the better of Proft in the scrap. At that point, though, Proft connects with a surprise left handed jab and De Champlain is knocked down, and Proft gets control and "wins" the fight.

    Read More »from Did Spokane’s Carter Proft bite Portland’s Adam De Champlain?
  • Leon Draisaitl is considered a top-15 pick by TSN analyst Craig Button (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)

    May we get an interpreter to help out with a German translation for Captain Clutch? Kapitän Klaue? The Prince Albert Raiders climbed out of a five-goal hole to defeat the Regina Pats 7-6 on Friday, with their 18-year-old scorer Leon Draisaitl capping off the memorable night with a pair of sweet snipes in the third period and overtime.

    Nothing highlight-reely here, per se, just a potential top-15 NHL draft pick with a laser for a shot. Draisaitil did a great job protecting the puck and waiting out a shot blocker before fogging in the equalizer with 6:39 left in the third period to square the contest at 6-6. In overtime, the native of Cologne got a point shot through to seal Regina's fate.

    Read More »from Prince Albert Raiders’ Leon Draisaitl, top NHL draft prospect, gets last 2 goals of amazing comeback
  • Tanner Eberle is the cousin of the Oilers' Jordan Eberle (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)

    One could say Brandon's brother act of John and Peter Quenneville had widely varying fortunes on Friday, when the Wheat Kings took an 8-4 victory out of Moose Jaw.

    John, the younger of the two, had a career-high five points, including four in an 11½-minute span of the second period. Late in that frame, 19-year-old Peter Quenneville was coldcocked by an elbow from the Warriors' Tanner Eberle, who got a major and game misconduct for checking to the head.

    [Friday's Three Stars]

    Read More »from Moose Jaw’s Tanner Eberle drops Brandon’s Peter Quenneville with elbow to head (VIDEO)
  • Quenneville had 4 points in the 2nd period on Friday (Luber's Lounge photo)No. 1 star: John Quenneville, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

    The 17-year-old Edmonton native had his most productive night of his year-plus junior, getting four of his five points during the middle frame to lead the Wheaties to an 8-4 divisional road win over the Moose Jaw Warriors. Brandon came in on a three-game losing streak and went down 2-0 on a short-handed goal 84 seconds into the third period.

    Quenneville (2G-3A, +3) stepped up by scoring on a one-timer during the remainder of the power play. Two minutes later, Quenneville swooped in like an avenging angel to steal the puck and fed fellow 17-year-old Jayce Hawryluk (2G-2A, +2) for the go-ahead goal. Moose Jaw took a penalty and Quenneville won a draw back to the point, leading to a goal by Calgary Flames-drafted D-man Eric Roy. Quenneville then scored again, giving him a career-high four points, all in a span of 10 minutes of 29 seconds. In the third period, Quenneville got the secondary helper when Tyler Coulter volleyed a puck out of the air for his first WHL goal to give Brandon a two-goal cushion.

    Read More »from Brandon Wheat Kings’ John Quenneville has career night, in about 11 minutes: Friday’s 3 Stars
  • Matt Dumba has played in 13 of the Wild's 26 games (The Associated Press)

    Former Red Deer Rebels star Matt Dumba has taken the sixth defenceman/press box shuttle through the NHL season's first two months with the Minnesota Wild, which has fomented speculation about whether he could be loaned to Team Canada.

    During Sportsnet's Subway Super Series telecast on Wednesday, the network's John Shannon said there was a strong possibility of the 19-year-old defenceman being released for the world junior championship, provided the Wild have a proper complement of healthy blueliners by Dec. 10. Dumba's appeared in only 13 of 26 Wild games at this writing and has yet to play more than 15 minutes 30 seconds in a game. The Wild's standing in the new Central Division might be too tenuous for it to risk playing an inexperienced defenceman.

    It's also worth noting that Dumba has been in the lineup far less than either the Tampa Bay Lightning's Brett Connolly or Anaheim Ducks' Devante Smith-Pelly had at the same point two seasons ago, when the two 19-year-old wings were ultimately lent to the national junior team. As of Nov. 29 of that season, Connolly had appeared in 23 games and Smith-Pelly had played 21.

    Read More »from Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba has played less than teens loaned to Team Canada recently
  • Broncos centre Graham Black has thrived as an overager despite health problems. (Canadian Press images)

    Graham Black went through the toughest season of his hockey career last year as a 19-year-old centre for the Swift Current Broncos. He struggled to maintain his health, but not because of hockey related injuries. His ongoing battle with Graves’ disease got the best of him, which led to him struggling to keep up a healthy weight with the lowest point coming at the end of October when he lost roughly 30 pounds in just two weeks.

    “It was a very tough thing to go through,” says Black. “I think it was my hardest season for hockey. It held me back in a year where I wanted to have a big season. I had trouble maintaining my weight and even lost 30 pounds in just two weeks early in the year. And with that I had problems sleeping and keeping my energy up.”

    Taking into account the hand Black was dealt last year, he had an excellent second season in Swift Current. The New Jersey Devils prospect not only managed to suit up for 68 of the Broncos' 72 games, but he also mustered 24 goals and 50

    Read More »from Swift Current Broncos star Graham Black fights through health problems
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Rensselaer-committed goalie Alec Dillon's WHL rights are now with Edmonton following the Stephen Shmoorkoff trade with Swift Current. Says Dillon: "This is another door that opens up. But I’m a [Victoria] Grizzly, obviously, and I’m focusing on this year." (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    Is Edmonton Oilers pick Greg Chase in the Team Canada camp discussion after his two goals for Team WHL on Thursday? Nice hands by Hunter Shinkaruk on the Vancouver Canucks first-rounder's third-period tally. (Calgary Herald)

    How was Seattle's 16-year-old sensation Mathew Barzal influenced by playing in the same minor hockey association as current Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    Can Spokane continue its mastery of the four teams it is looking up at in the standings on Friday vs. road-tripping Portland? (The Columbian, Portland Tribune, Spokane Spokeman-Review)

    San Jose Sharks first-rounder Mirco Mueller, who's helped Everett reach first overall, has "unlimited" upside. (Blades of Teal)

    Is Swift Current's Landon Bow the best goalie who's not his team's No. 1? (Southwest Booster)

    The Regina Pats are fresh off an eight-game road trip with a full lineup. That's not like them. (Regina Leader-Post)

    Starting goalie Curtis Honey has resumed full practice with the Brandon Wheat Kings, but doesn't have clearance to play. (Luber's Lounge)

    OHL

    What was up with London losing to rebuilding Niagara? The Knights already have more non-conference losses (3) than they did all of last season. Draft prospect Brendan Perlini, along the way, bagged a nice goal for the IceDogs, who now have Toronto Maple Leafs-drafted centre Carter Verhaeghe working the point on some power plays. (London Free Press, St. Catharines Standard)

    Read More »from Remparts’ Turcotte out for season, IceDogs stun Knights: the coast-to-coast
  • Kelowna's Madison Bowey anchored a very strong WHL defence Thursday (CP)Buzzing The Net's 3 Stars, and thoughts from Thursday night's 4-2 win for Team WHL over Team Russia. With the victory, the Canadians clinch the series with three regulation wins to two, with one Russian victory coming in the shutout.

    No. 1 Star - Dillion Heatherington-Madison Bowey, Team WHL (Swift Current, Kelowna)

    It's tough to name a single first star when what really gave the Western Hockey League team the victory was its defence. The home team again peppered the Russian net with shots, as they have been all series, but the defence was outrageous, holding Russia to just 17 shots and nine scoring chances, with two of those coming on the powerplay.

    Credit has to be given to Canada's No. 1 defensive pairing, which pitched about as close to a perfect game as possible, with the exception of one opportunity midway through the second period when Vladimir Tkachyovwho scored the highlight-reel goal in the first game of the series during the QMJHL leg—out-skated Heatherington through the neutral zone, but Bowey caught up to him and prevented him from coming across the net.

    WHL goaltender Tristan Jarry didn't have a heck of a lot of work to do, and he can probably thank his top defensive pairing for that. Despite Russia trailing for nearly all the third period, they only generated six total shots in the frame, and had two third period scoring chances.

    No. 2 Star - Jujhar Khaira, Team WHL (Everett Silvertips)

    You can probably make a good argument for Khaira's linemate Greg Chase in this spot, who scored two goals and was named the Team WHL Player of the Game in the building, but I think it's appropriate to appreciate Khaira's efforts in helping Team WHL tied the game on the powerplay in the second period as well as add the insurance marker in the third.

    Khaira was given two assists on the night, but he didn't earn the first with a pass to the wing on the powerplay. He earned that assist (maybe not officially) by being the screen of Russian goaltender Igor Shestyorkin, who took over goalie duties from Wednesday's first star Ivan Nalimov. His second assist was more conventional, beating his man to a puck behind the Russian goal and playing it out in front for Chase, who scored the 4-2 insurance goal with the feed.

    Read More »from Rock-solid WHL D sets up Subway Series Win – Thursday’s 3 Stars
  • Hours before performing the national anthems prior to Thursday's final game of the Subway Super Series, performer Dirk Edwards invited the Twitterverse to, "Come listen to me make a fool of myself in 2 languages."

    Consider that a called shot.

    In a classic there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I moment that rivals the butchering of O Canada prior to a New York Islanders game earlier this week, Edwards' renditions of the Russian and Canadian anthems prior to the Russia-Team WHL game in Lethbridge, Alta., each went sideways. First Edwards, whose Twitter bio lists him as a sales supervisor for Shaw Cable, had to pause midway through the difficult Russian anthem. That's understandable for someone interpreting a song written in an unfamiliar language.

    But it got worse with O Canada. Edwards slipped up on the second line, chuckled nervously and appeared to say, "oh sh-" before realizing he was in front of thousands of fans. During the next line, the correct "glowing hearts" became "glorious hearts." The good Canadian boys on Team WHL's bench really had to strain to maintain their game faces.

    Unfortunately, the singer had forecast on his Twitter account that this might happen.

    Dirk Edwards' tweet prior to his rendition of the anthems (Twitter)

    Read More »from Canadian, Russian anthems butchered by performer who joked about making ‘a fool of myself’
  • Shane Eiserman is ranked as a B skater by NHL Central Scouting (Serena Dalhamer, Dubuque Fighting Saints)The Dubuque Fighting Saints' Shane Eiserman is taking this season to better harness an enviable set of tools.

    The 18-year-old has shown that he has the size, at 6-foot-1½ and 200 pounds, and speed to make life rough for defenders. For Eiserman, who recently signed his NCAA letter of intent with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, the team he pulled for throughout childhood, it's just a matter of trusting in his ability. The NHL Central Scouting Services ranks Eiserman as a B skater, suggesting he could go in the early rounds in June.

    "Confidence with the puck, I feel I can work on that," says Eiserman, who has three goals and seven points through 13 games for Dubuque, the reigning USHL champion. "It takes experience. As games go along, just feeling more comfortable with the decisions I'm making so I can be ready next year when I go to college.

    "I definitely feel I can play better, but it's early," the West Newbury, Mass., native adds. "Right now I need to get out of slump and play my game. Get back to the basics, what it took to get here, just the simple plays on the ice."

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Shane Eiserman, Dubuque Fighting Saints
  • Vladimir Tkachev in action against Team OHL

    It really doesn’t matter if you’ve followed the Subway Super Series this season or not – chances are you hadn’t heard about Vladimir Tkachev before his goal against Team QMJHL in Game 1.

    Hockey players rarely brag about their individual plays in public but Tkachev’s comments are not unusual in that regard.

    “I got the puck, deked around two guys and scored. Nothing special,” he says.

    Tkachev blew past Laurent Dauphin and Samuel Morin to score on QMJHL goalie Zach Fucale. Dauphin was a second-round pick by the Phoenix Coyotes, Morin was a first-rounder for the Philadelphia Flyers and Fucale was picked by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2nd round this past summer as well.

    Nothing special? Really?

    “It’s nothing special for me,” says Tkachev. “I know I can do it. I’ve done it before.”

    Not arrogance but confidence. That’s quite a statement to make for a goal of that caliber.

    Tkachev was picked 39th overall at the CHL Import Draft by the Moncton Wildcats but decided to stay in his hometown –

    Read More »from Russia’s Tkachev might be undersized, but he’s not overlooked
  • The Buzzing The Net CHL Chatravaganza is back on Thursday at 12 noon ET/1 p.m. AT/9 a.m. PT.

    Please join Cam Charron, Terry Doyle, Sunaya Sapurji, Neate Sager, Mike Sanderson and a cast of many for the blogetariat's most wide-ranging approximately one-hour-long weekly discussion dedicated to all things junior hockey. Between a blockbuster trade sending Brendan Gaunce to the Erie Otters and Team OHL being unable to win either of its two Subway Super Series games, there should be enough to keep the chatter in clover for a hour or so. Plus the world junior championship is just a little more than four weeks away.

    The Chatravaganza is BYOP — bring your own peanuts.

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

    Read More »from Buzzing The Net CHL Chatravaganza, Thursday 12 noon ET/9 a.m. PT!
  • Other than Portland's Taylor Leier, there wasn't much going for the WHL Wednesday (CP Images)

    Buzzing The Net's 3 Stars from Game 5 of the Subway Super Series, won 3-2 by Russia over Team WHL. The Russians have won three straight and have a 16-13 edge in goals.

    No. 1 Star - Ivan Nalimov, Russian Selects (SKA-1946, St. Petersburg)

    You could perhaps pick apart the performance of one or two top defencemen, but you have to look no further than between the pipes to see why the Russian Selects have won three consecutive games in the Series. Team OHL out-shot Russia 43-22 in Game 3 and 52-23 in Game 4, with Team WHL out-shooting Russia 44-25 in Game 5. The CHL clubs have only scored six goals in that span.

    It's not like Ivan Nalimov has had to fight off a bevy of chances, but the Western Hockey League selects got a few good looks against the Russians in the fifth game. Being junior hockey, where not every goal is going to be a Grade-A chance in front of the net, and goaltenders at this age are prone to the odd gaffe, you can't fault Nalimov for the quality of shots he's faced because he's been almost perfect on everything else. All that beat him Wednesday was a puck that hopped right onto Griffin Reinhart's stick, and a shorthanded breakaway. Nalimov had to be sharp late. He held firm against the post on a shot with 90 seconds left, pinning the puck until it was frozen before Nic Petan drove the net and poked it in, albeit after the whistle. Nalimov shook off that collision to rob Taylor Leier on the doorstep moments later.

    Evaluating goaltenders is difficult, because some goalies make difficult saves look easy, and some manage the opposite, so all you can really look at is the saves a goalie makes. So far, through four games? Nalimov is 3-1 with a 2.25 goals against average and an incredible .945 save percentage.

    No. 2 Star - Alexei Baskov, Russian Selects (Omskie Yastrebi, Omsk)

    Baskov scored the winning goal in this one, and was the most dangerous forward for Russia, paired with the two Western Hockey League Russian players to join the team exclusively for the game in Red Deer, Seattle's Alexander Delnov and Saskatoon's Nikita Scherbak. While that line had its chances, the winning goal was mostly an individual effort, chipping the puck up by Kelowna defenceman Madison Bowey and sliding the puck past Tri-City's Eric Comrie, in net for the WHL in this one.

    Read More »from WHL Star Power thwarted by Russia’s Ivan Nalimov: Super Series 3 Stars
  • Crisp (right) was taken by Montreal in the third round of the 2013 draft (OHL Images)

    Connor Crisp might have just made a lot of OHL defenceman jealous.

    Crisp is a good half-foot taller and 60 pounds heavier than Carolina Hurricanes prospect Sergey Tolchinsky, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds' diminutive dervish, so the impact is not the thing. It's the fact that Crisp, the Sudbury Wolves wing whom the Montreal Canadiens took in the third round of the NHL draft, made such square contact on the Sault Ste. Marie star during the final seconds of overtime in an OHL game on Wednesday.

    Two words for that: text book.

    Read More »from Habs pick Connor Crisp floors Hurricanes prospect Sergey Tolchinsky with open-ice check (VIDEO)
  • London's Mitchell Marner is tied for the OHL rookie scoring lead (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    The last time the London Knights moved a first-round choice came at a heavy price.

    That would be the John Tavares blockbuster trade in January 2009, which over time progressed into being the Christian Thomas trade. Tavares was a generational talent not only at the major junior level but the return to the Oshawa Generals included Thomas, who scored 101 goals during a span from 2009 through '11 when London was often wanting for offence.

    In the present, the Memorial Cup-host Knights boast one of the league's brightest true freshmen, rookie scoring co-leader Mitchell Marner, and a promising 17-year-old in Christian Dvorak. Both would seem to be worth keeping. Some OHL teams have taken advantage of the window to trade a first-rounder in January, but London, never the type to be shy once, is at least once bitter.

    Meantime, this week's rundown of the top quintile of the CHL includes a potential first overall showdown in in the QMJHL could change hands, as the top three Quebec-based teams have a modified round-robin.

    Read More »from London Knights, Erie Otters trade places in BTN Dynamic Dozen
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Guy Flaming has a sense that Tri-City's Eric Comrie and Halifax's Zach Fucale might be the frontrunners in net for Team Canada, three weeks out from the selection camp. Team WHL can wrap up that totally transcendent Subway Super Series title with a win on Wednesday. (Edmonton Sun, The Pipeline Show)

    Can Edmonton Oilers selections Mitch Moroz and Greg Chase overwhelm for Team WHL on Wednesday? (The Pipeline Show, Calgary Sun)

    Moose Jaw rookie goalie Zach Sawchenko, with his Dec. 30 birthdate, has the distinction of being the Dub's youngest player. That might make up for all the years of the dreaded Christmas/birthday combo gifts. (Calgary Herald)

    Kamloops, which is struggling, is hopeful incoming 17-year-old forward Carson Bolduc can break out in the city where he shone as a bantam player. Forward Aaron Macklin, 18, went north to Prince George in the swap. (Kamloops Daily News)

    OHL

    With Brendan Gaunce headed for Erie, who's the next big OHL name to move? A lot of people might start eyeing Kitchener Rangers centre Radek Faksa. (The Hockey News)

    Read More »from Gaunce deal creates ripple effect, Team WHL hits ice: the coast-to-coast
  • Travis Konecny shares the OHL rookie scoring lead with London's Mitchell Marner (OHL Images)

    At least once a game, Ottawa 67's rookie sensation Travis Konecny will do something that makes cynics giggle gleefully as reminds people he is on a faster lane to stardom than the typical 16-year-old in the Ontario Hockey League.

    Take last Sunday, an otherwise nondescript second-division Niagara IceDogs-67's tilt. During a tied game in the third period, Konecny was shaken up after catching a cross-check in the back, apparently in an area not covered by his equipment. When the Clachan, Ont., native stepped on to the ice for his next shift, he made a terrific play for the tiebreaker: winning a puck battle behind the goal line; wriggling away from from IceDogs defender Blake Siebenaler while protecting the puck and then firing a behind-the-back pass to wing Ryan Van Stralen for the goal.

    Read More »from Ottawa 67′s Travis Konecny with an assiduous assist for a 16-year-old (VIDEO)
  • Brendan Gaunce had 215 points in 242 games for Belleville (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    The last time a Kris Knoblauch-guided team made a big move for a 19-year-old team captain, it went on to reach the Memorial Cup.

    That was in 2010-11, when Knoblauch steered the Kootenay Ice to the WHL title after it pulled off 8-for-1 trade with Swift Current for centre Cody Eakin, who is now an established NHL regular for the Dallas Stars. The circumstances and the league are obviously different for coach and his Erie Otters, but the team which has gone from second-worst in the OHL last season to first overall has paid a big ante to add Vancouver Canucks first-rounder Brendan Gaunce from the rebuilding Belleville Bulls.

    Read More »from Erie Otters get Brendan Gaunce from Belleville; Canucks first-rounder goes from worst to first