Monday, December 31, 2012

Game Report: Edmonton 6 Brandon 2

EDM M. Moroz (7) (S. Legault, C. Corbett) 10:30
EDM H. Samuelsson (20) (B. Carroll) 11:44
BDN T. McGauley (9) (A. Nikkel, R. Nejezchleb) 16:42

EDM K. Lowe (7) , 2:56
EDM H. Samuelsson (21) (C. Lazar, A. Sautner) 8:48

EDM K. Lowe (8) (H. Samuelsson, S. Legault) 4:57 (PP)
EDM H. Samuelsson (22) (D. Wruck, T. Foster) 10:49 (PP)
BDN R. Nejezchleb (8) (C. Robinson, T. Cooper) 16:22

Corbin Boes 30/36

Laurent Brossoit 21/23

1. Richard Nejezchleb RW - Nejezchleb is a big bodied winger that was one of a very few that had any offense in his stick on this night. His skating is a bit sluggish at times but his puck control is solid, especially along the boards. Tallied a goal and an assist on this night. The Wheat Kings are very thin at forward even with the return of Michael Ferlund, so any offense coming from any of their forward would be of great help.
2. Ryan Pulock D - The best chance at zone entry for the Wheat Kings was Pulock rushing from the defense position. Pulock was quiet on this night, but was by far their most reliable player. Pulock's all around game and just having a penchant for making the right play at the right time will make him very sought after for the 2013 NHL draft. The Wheat Kings seemed very disjointed for most of the night and Pulock got caught up in that but his overall talent is something that should go unnoticed.

1. Henrik Samuelsson RW - Samuelsson was having one of those nights where everything he shot was going into the net, but he was full value for every goal. Often found himself in the right place at the right time and made the most of his opportunities. Tallied three times and added an assist. His big frame gave the Wheat Kings problems all night, a matchup he took full advantage of. Scored off the rush and scored around the net, showed nice versatility tonight.
2. Keegan Lowe D - With fellow defenders Griffin Reinhart, David Musil and Martin Gernat out of the lineup, Lowe stepped up his offensive game by tallying twice. Scored the big goal in the 2nd period that put the Oil Kings up 3-1 and they never looked back. Lowe played well in all zones. Was shooting the puck offensively and played a reliable game defensively. Battled for the puck all night. He is needed right now as the Oil Kings are playing a lot of defensemen that don't have a lot of experience. Lowe's expeience came to the forefront tonight.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Game Report: Red Deer 5 Edmonton 3

R.D W. Johnson (8) (B. Underwood, K. Doetzel) 1:18
R.D T. Elson (11) (D. Fafard) 3:30
R.D M. Dumba (8) (B. Gaudet, D. Volek) 5:37 (PP)
EDM M. St. Croix (20) (T. Foster) 12:17
EDM T. Ewanyk (5) (H. Samuelsson, M. Moroz) 18:36

R.D B. Maxwell (3) (R. Dieno, D. Fafard) 3:27
EDM T. Foster (17) (C. Corbett, M. St. Croix) 16:18

R.D M. Dumba (9) (B. Gaudet) 16:32 (PP)

Red Deer
Bolton Pouliot 53/56

Tristan Jarry 34/39
Laurent Brossoit 1/1

Red Deer
1. Turner Elson LW - Have to admire the courage with the way Elson plays the game. The Rebels captain tallied once. had a fight with Keegan Lowe that I would call a draw and finished +2 on the night. Elson also showed courage by taking a couple of shots to the legs standing in front of the net. Elson is the poster child for how the Rebels play. Courageous, fearless, push the pace style game.
2. Mathew Dumba D - Statement game for the Rebels and a statement game for Dumba. After being one of the last cuts off of the Team Canada World Junior Team, Dumba didn't let that get to his head and played a strong game tonight. Defensive position still questionable at times but his ability to make impact plays at critical times in a game either through a big shot or a big hit. Scored twice including the clincher in the third period. Dumba remains an impact player on a team that believes they can win.

1. T.J. Foster C - Foster with yet another strong game, but thats expected from one of the veterans on the Oil Kings. Foster is so reliable at both ends of the ice. Tallied a goal and an assist tonight. Foster is the sharpshooter for the Oil Kings. Good things usually happen when he is taking shots towards the net. Foster cannot be unnoticed by the pro leagues much longer.
2. Cody Corbett D - Corbett was one of the few mainstays on the Oil Kings backend on a night where there were a lot of new faces due to injury and the World Junior Championship. Corbett tallied an assist but played solid defense and was complementing the offense nicely. The Oil Kings leaned on Corbett a lot tonight but ultimately their slow start did them in. Corbett continues to be rock solid defensively while his offensive game is coming around.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Game Report: Edmonton 5 Victoria 2

VIC T. Stahl (4) , 5:45

EDM C. Corbett (2) (H. Samuelsson) 2:02
VIC S. Hodges (8) (J. Crooks) 2:56
EDM M. St. Croix (15) (D. Wruck, T. Foster) 5:24 (PP)
EDM T. Foster (14) (S. Legault) 7:50
EDM K. Lowe (6) (E. Kulda, D. Mayo) 15:36
EDM B. Baddock (4) (K. Wilson, L. Bertolucci) 16:00

No Scoring

Patrik Polivka 18/23
Coleman Vollrath 6/6

Tristan Jarry 24/26

1. Steven Hodges C - Hodges was the most productive forward on the Royals tonight. Scored once on a sifter that beat Jarry five hole and had another glorious chance where he had Jarry beat on a slick right to left move but hit the post on a yawning net. The thing holding the Royals back is they have good players but just quite not enough attention to defensive detail. Wth the Royals playing on back to back nights, once the Oil Kings broke through offensively, the game was essentially over. Hodges is a part of the forward mix that can stand to better in their own zone.
2. Tyler Stahl D - Really impressed with Stahl's game today. Scored with a bomb from the point, laid out numerous hits including one on Luke Bertolucci that was illegal (headshot) that raised the ire of the Oil Kings and blocked a shot with his head that stopped a surefire goal. The shot did not keep him out of the game. He was right back out there the next shift. His toughness and his dependability was on full display tonight. Victoria captain played like a captain tonight, unfortunately he did not get much help along the way.

1. T.J. Foster C - Foster was his usual, reliable self. Chipped in offensively with a goal and an assist. His line with Stephane Legault and Curtis Lazar was the most effiecient on the night. Foster shows his versatility by switching back to center from the wing where he has played most of the year. Pro scouts have to be impressed with how Foster handles himself on the ice. A do-it-all type forward that can play in any of the 12 forward slots and be productive.
2. Cody Corbett D - With Griffin Reinhart and David Musil out of the lineup for the Oil Kings, it meant more minutes were going to be piled up on Corbett's lap. He responded with his best game of the season, at least of the games I've seen. Did a great job of puck distributing, including setting up Dylan Wruck for breakaways on two different occasions with nice stretch passes. Scored by walking in from the point and putting a well placed wrist shot over the glove of Polivka. Corbett was solid in his own zone as well.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Game Report: Red Deer 3 Victoria 2 (SO)

R.D R. Dieno (6) (B. Maxwell, T. Elson) 1:12
VIC L. Nelson (8) (J. Hicketts, B. Walker) 13:45 (PP)

R.D M. Bellerive (8) (B. Underwood) 7:37

VIC J. Walker (1) (B. Walker, B. Cote) 15:28

Logan Nelson Goal
Brandon Magee No Goal
Steven Hodges Goal

Red Deer
Rhyse Dieno Goal
Matt Bellerive Goal
Connor Bleackley Goal

Patrik Polivka 30/32

Red Deer
Bolton Pouliot 32/34

1. Logan Nelson C - Nelson was Victoria's best forward on this night as he tallied once and then again in the shootout with a slick move. Nelson plays a heady game and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Knows when to engage and when to back off. Competed hard all night. Plays an opportunistic game but makes the most of his chances.
2. Keegan Kanzig D - Kanzig a large figure on the Victoria. Mostly goes unnoticed until he starts leaning on opposing players. Takes up a lot of space in the defensive zone. Mobility is above average considering his size. The next stage in his development is reps and becoming reliable game after game in his own zone and finding comfort with that. Understanding the flow of the game in when to engage and when to back off is something he is still learning on the job.

Red Deer
1. Rhyse Dieno RW - Considering Dieno was playing the SJHL not too long ago, his immediate offensive impact on the Rebels is nothing short of amazing. He has immediately come into this club and has the offensive flow of the team on his stick. His combination of skating, vision and to be able to navigate in traffic makes him very dynamic. Dieno is a great story and player making the most of his opportunity.
2. Mathew Dumba D - Dumba had a strong game tonight, considering he is one day removed from being cut from Team Canada U-20 Club. This is the most reliable I have seen him play a game in quite some time. Moreof this is needed from him. He really stumbled leading up to the camp but it showed his character tonight to have a strong game and put that in the rear view mirror. His defensive reads were getting a bit sloppy and his reactions were slow. Tonight, he was more crisp in that area.


Game Report: Saskatoon 4 Swift Current 3

S.C R. Scarlett (4) (D. Bosc) 2:51
SAS M. Stransky (19) (B. Walker, D. Thrower) 8:53
SAS J. Nicholls (25) (S. McColgan) 18:52

S.C A. Lowry (18) (R. Moser, C. Gordon) 14:43

SAS J. Nicholls (26) (D. Siemens, S. McColgan) 2:45
S.C C. Gordon (9) (A. Lowry) 4:46
SAS S. McColgan (9) (N. Burns, J. Nicholls) 11:21

Swift Current
Steven Myland 23/27

Alex Moodie 30/33

Swift Current
1. Adam Lowry LW - Lowry had a solid game, both as a finisher and playmaker. Scored in the 2nd period to tie the game with a nifty backside tuck. Setup Coda Gordon with a nice stretch pass that sprung him on a breakaway. All in all, Lowry was his usual power forward self, makes really solid decision with the puck.
2. Reese Scarlett D - Scarlett played a solid game at both ends of the ice. Opened the scoring early in the first period and made numerous defensive plays. Scarlett is a bit undersized to as a pure defensive defender so any contribution he can make on offense would be much needed as the Broncos do not have a lot of offensive firepower from the defense. Still has trouble reading plays but makes up for it with a lot of hustle.

1. Josh Nicholls RW - Nicholls was the best player on the ice tonight. Sniped one goal, tipped in another, had another fantastic assist on the winner. he was a force offensively. Tallied his league leading 26th goal. A pro team looking for a straight up scorer might be wise to give Nicholls a look. Tall, lanky player that plays a greasy game and can make offensive plays with the puck.
2. Duncan Siemens D - Siemens played a solid all purpose game for the Blades tonight for the most part. Gets caught wondering out of position from time to time as shown by the goal scored by Lowry when he got caught behind the net instead of being in front of it. Siemens looks to be trying to get involved in the offense more as he isn't hesitant to shoot the puck from the point, one of them which ended in a tip in goal for Nicholls. The biggest issue with Siemens seems to be focus.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Official Team Canada World Junior Roster 2013

Official Team Canada:
Jonathan Huberdeau-Ryan NugentHopkins-Mark Scheifele
Charles Hudon-Ryan Strome-Brett Ritchie
Jonathan Drouin-Boone Jenner-Ty Rattie
Anthony Camara-Phillip Danault-J.C. Lipon
Nathan MacKinnon

Morgan Rielly-Dougie Hamilton
Scott Harrington-Xavier Ouellet
Griffin Reinhart-Tyler Wotherspoon
Ryan Murphy

Malcolm Subban
Jordan Binnington
Jake Paterson

My Team Canada:
Jonathan Huberdeau-Ryan NugentHopkins-Ryan Strome
Jonathan Drouin-Mark Scheifele-Nathan MacKinnon
Brett Ritchie-Boone Jenner-Ty Rattie
Phillip Danault-Sean Monahan-Tom Wilson
Mark McNeill

Ryan Murray-Dougie Hamilton
Morgan Rielly-Cody Ceci
Griffin Reinhart-Mathew Dumba
Scott Harrington

Malcolm Subban
Zachary Fucale

- Team Canada went for a more smallish, speddy lineup rather than a balanced one considering they will be playing on the lasrger ice surface in Russia.
- Two worries for myself are how the defense will hold up considering it is made up mostly of "specialists". Players that are excellent in some areas of the game but weak at others, as opposed to taking more well rounded players. Initial thought is, the Ryan Murray injury that forced him to miss the rest of the hockey season is going to loom large. That's why I had more well rounded defenders in Cody Ceci and potentially Ryan Pulock (replacement for Ryan Murray) to make the club. That way they can be plug and played into any situation without having to disrupt the lineup too much.
- The other worry is the lack of strength in the forward ranks. A lot of that strength will be tied up in the forms of Brett Ritchie and Mark Scheifele which may or may not be enough at the end of the day. Even though the big ice surface tends to favor speedy players, there are still times when board battles and one on one strength battles will need to be won. Not much of an intimidation factor to this club.
- If Team Canada is going to persevere, they are going to need stellar goaltending from Malcolm Subban. Protecting a lead could become problematic for this club and Subban will need to be at the top of his game. Only Scott Harrington and Dougie Hamilton are returnees, so it will be interesting to see how the defense holds up under the pressure of the big games.
- I'm hoping to see Mark Scheifele at center and Ryan Strome on the wing as Scheifele's rangy frame will be able to cover more area of the ice and is a better pivot considering how the team is built. Strome can use his tenacity much more off the wing without having to worry about being out of position.
- Happy to see NHL Draft eligible players Jonathan Drouin and Nathan McKinnon make the club as I think they will be two of Canada's best offensive players. I'm hoping McKinnon gets more icetime than just as a 13th forward. Hunter Shinkaruk and Sean Monahan were not so lucky to make the club but you can only bring so many underage player and not have it become a detriment.
- Happy to see Charles Hudon make the club even though I didn't have him on my team. Hudon is a gutsy player that can play a variety of roles off the wing. I went with a more center heavy club which squeezed Hudon off of my team but it was gut wrenching to leave him off as I really like the way he plays the game.
- I have Team USA winning the gold, but I think its a 3 horse race between Canada, Russia and USA for gold and it should be a wonderful tourney to watch over the Christman/New Years part of the season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Game Report: Kelowna 3 Lethbridge 1

KEL C. Rigby (4) (D. Severson, C. Martin) 13:23
KEL J. Barnett (4) (D. Severson, R. Olsen) 14:12 (PP)

LET C. Sutton (1) (J. Merkley, M. Sofillas) 14:04

KEL C. Heffley (5) 19:48 (EN)

Jordon Cooke 20/21

Ty Rimmer 24/26

1. Carter Rigby LW - Rigby tallied the opening goal on a long range bullet. Rigby went undrafted in the NHL draft last season and has dealt with injuries in the early part of this season. If Rigby can stay healthy, things will set up nicely for him to get drafted the 2nd time around. Kelowna is an emerging team and Rigby figures to take on a power forward scoring role. Scored his first goal in 7 games. Rigby should be a big part of Kelowna's ascension up the standings.
2. Damon Severson D - Severson is really starting to emerge as a quality all around defender. Played a ton tonight, I'd venture a guess and say it was near 30 minutes if not more. Plays in all situation, played on the powerplay, penalty kill, was out their to preserve the Rockets lead and succeeded, although Lethbridge really poured on the pressure at the end. Tallied 2 assists tonight and is a very important piece for the Rockets.

1. Jay Merkley C - Merkley was the best player out of the 2013 draft eligibles tonight. I know that Merkley has some decent offensive skills, but I was impressed with his boardwork and his ability to hound the puck tonight. Played a relentless game without giving up too much of his defensive responsibilities as a center. Merkley tallied a lone assist tonight, but was robbed on a point blank shot by Cooke and hit the post dead on with a shot that could have tied the game.
2. Ryan Pilon D - 2015 NHL draft eligible player is a phenom. Plays the game like he 20 years old, even though he is in reality a fresh faced 16 year old. The best way to describe Pilon's game is that of Wheat Kings defender Ryan Pulock. An all purpose defensman that makes the right plays in all 3 zones. Doesn't quite have the cannon shot that Pulock has, but has an above average shot of his own that is formidable. It will be a treat to watch this kid grow. Lethbridge is a team that will soon be formidable, they have a lot of top notch draft eligibles coming to an NHL rink near you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Game Report: Calgary 5 Edmonton 2

EDM E. Kulda (4) 2:00
EDM C. Lazar (13) (S. Legault, D. Wruck) 10:58 (PP)
CAL C. Sylvester (17) 11:27

CAL C. Samoridny (6) (P. Padakin, A. Roach) 17:39 (SH)

CAL Z. Jones (7) (B. Brassart, B. Macek) 11:50
CAL Z. Jones (8) (B. Brassart, B. Macek) 16:42
CAL P. Padakin (9) (V. Rask) 19:19 (EN)

Chris Driedger 34/36

Laurent Brossoit 36/40

1. Zane Jones LW - The line of Jones-Brassert-Macek were a handful for the Oil Kings tonight. They physically punished the Oil Kings defense into submission and it allowed them to take the lead in the 3rd period. Since arriving from Victoria, Jones has fit like a glove into the Hitmen system. The deal was Jones for Gogolev and both players have been key cogs for their respective teams. Jones big bodied presence and his ability score goals around the net make him very valuable for the Hitmen going forward.
2. Chris Driedger G - Driedger was outstanding for the Hitmen, especially as his team was mounting a comeback. Would not give the Oil Kings the 3rd goal that would have been a backbreaker. Got lucky a lot tonight as the Oil Kings hit posts many times tonight, but Driedger kept battling and got the bounces. Didn't panic, just kept pucks from crossing the red line. Driedger's play has grown leaps and bounds this season and its a big reason why the Hitmen now find themselves alone at the top of the Central Division.

1. Curtis Lazar C - I have always been impressed with Lazar's play but over the last 3 weeks he has taken his game to another level and is starting to put up points. Far better player when he plays within the context of the team. Lazar has some great individual skills, such as his skating and his quick trigger release, but the thing that makes him a fantastic player is he will take care of the little things to help his team win games. A "do it all" type center.
2. Dysin Mayo D - Mayo is player that could become very important to the Oil Kings going forward. He gives the Oil Kings a mobile option on the backend even if he is a bit on the inexperienced side. The Oil Kings would be wise to continue to give Mayo games until they can find a more experienced option on the backend. There is a lot to like about Mayo's game, but a lot of it is raw and unproven. Finding a proven puckmoving Dman is going to be a tough find, so in the meantime they groom and grow Mayo, they might even be surprised what becomes of him.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Game Report: Vancouver 7 Victoria 2

VAN C. Franson (8) (J. Houck) 17:01
VAN J. Houck (5) (C. Franson, W. Vannieuwenhuizen) 19:52

VAN K. Kessy (8) (C. Popoff, D. Sward) 0:56
VIC S. Hodges (7) (A. Gogolev, B. Walker) 12:35 (PP)
VAN R. Kieser (3) (T. Cheek, B. Orban) 15:00
VIC L. Nelson (7) (J. Zgraggen) 18:35

VAN B. Kulak (5) 6:27
VAN C. Franson (9) (J. Houck, B. Orban) 7:04
VAN C. Popoff (4) (D. Sward, B. Kulak) 13:06 (PP)

Payton Lee 31/33

Patrik Polivka 12/15
Coleman Vollrath 9/13

1. Jackson Houck RW - Impressed with Houck's game. He and Cody Franson were a terror in the offensive zone tonight. Houck scored a nice goal on a tip and chipped in with an assist. Houck showed his versatility by helping out with the penalty kill tonight when the Giants ran into penalty trouble in the 2nd period. Houck plays a smart, gritty game and is one of the few bright spots on a tough start for the Giants this season. Impressed with his hockey IQ.
2. Payton Lee G - Lee has grown leaps and bounds over the last month. In his first start of the month, he looked rough to put it mildly. But since then his confidence has grown and he is stopping pucks one at a time. The biggest thing for young goaltenders is trying to forget the past and focus on the future. Lee has come a long way and it shows in his structure in between the pipes. Lee is confident he will stop the first shot and is tracking the puck well. His defense played well tonight, which will be a big key for him surviving the season.

1. Alex Gogolev LW - Gogolev has taken the leadership of the offense over for the Royals as he looks to constantly create either through shooting or passing, but he is the straw that stirs the drink. Only tallied one assist as they struggled to get pucks past Lee, but they owned the play territorily. Goglev is super smooth with the puck on his stick and is confident that he will make a play. Really put the pressure on the Giants.
2. Joe Hicketts D - Hicketts finished the night -2, but there seems to be something elite about his skills. Reminds me a lot of Morgan Rielly at the same age, excellent puckhandler and skater. All that's needed now is experience. Will have issues with strength battles due to being undersized, but seems very deft with the puck and able to escape trouble. Hicketts is a 2014 NHL Draft Eligible Player and one that should be tracked as the season goes on. I expect him to become a scoring factor as he gains experience as he get more looks on the powerplay.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Team Canada Invite Roster For 2013 Junior Team


Jordan Binnington L
Laurent Brossoit L
Jake Paterson L
Malcolm Subban L


Frank Corrado L
Mathew Dumba R
Dougie Hamilton R
Scott Harrington L
Ryan Murphy R
Xavier Ouellet L
Adam Pelech L
Derrick Pouliot L
Griffin Reinhart L
Morgan Rielly L
Ryan Sproul R
Tyler Wotherspoon L


Francis Beauvillier L
Anthony Camara L
Daniel Catenacci L
Phillip Danault L
Jonathan Drouin L
Tyler Graovac L
Jonathan Huberdeau L
Charles Hudon L
Boone Jenner L
J.C. Lipon L
Nathan MacKinnon R
Mark McNeill R
Sean Monahan L
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins L
Ty Rattie R
Brett Ritchie R
Mark Scheifele R
Hunter Shinkaruk R
Colton Sissons R
Ryan Strome R
Tom Wilson R

- Team Canada brass decided on a more veteran look especially on the defense and goaltender positions. Two players I had making the club defenseman Cody Ceci and goaltender Zachary Fucale did not even get an invite. Another in Ryan Pulock, who I had potentially as a replacement for the injured Ryan Murray did not get an invite as well.
- Team Canada did a good job in bringing in diverse players. A good blend of size and speed, defensive and offensive abilities. Since the tourney is played in Russia this year and the bigger ice surface comes into play, leaning towards a more speedy team would be a wise thing to do. At the same time, size will be important as well, and Hockey Canada has done a good job of addressing both.In my opinion, Hockey Canada cannot use the player's age as a qualifier this year. as the team's best offensive players will be the younger players, especially in the form of Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin. Sean Monahan should get a long look as well as a two-way center. All 3 of those players are 2013 NHL Draft eligible and should be top 10 picks, if not top 5.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins inclusion on the list is a massive gain for this team. The tourney figures to be a tough one for Team Canada and Nugent-Hopkins will lead the offensive charge. Team Russia and Team USA will be extremely stingy in this tourney and any piece of offensive leverage they can get is a huge piece for them.
- Malcolm Subban figures to be the starter in the net for Team Canada. Since Subban wouldn't be eligible to play in next season's tourney because at that point he will be 9 days too old, it would have been a good time to groom a younger goaltender like Zach Fucale or Eric Comrie and make them the backup. Both are more than capable. That being said I think Binnington will win the backup job, just a hunch.

As For The WHL:
- The WHL figures to be slightly under represented this season, especially with the seaon ending injury to Ryan Murray. The defense is wide open this season but thats where the WHL figures to have the most impact. Morgan Rielly is all but certain to make the club while Dumba and Reinhart have a good shot at making it.
- The forwards from the WHL is going to be thin on this club. Ty Rattie figures to be the only lock while McNeill, Shinkaruk, Lipon, and Sissons are on the bubble.
- Laurent Brossoit is 50/50 to get the backup job against Binnington. Binnington has the numbers but Brossoit has the big game experience.

All in all, a solid list for this club. Picking the club from here only gets tougher. The blend of players will be very important as this figures to be a very competitive World Junior Tourney. Very little room for error.