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Posted On Thursday, 09.20.2012 / 2:19 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Wheat Kings name Pulock captain

Earlier today it was Medicine Hat's Hunter Shinkaruk, and now another top-rated 2013 NHL Draft prospect has been named his team's captain.

The Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League on Thursday handed the captaincy to defenseman Ryan Pulock, rated an A list player by NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary ranking of players for this year's draft.

A 6-foot, 210-pound defenseman, Pulock was third among WHL defensemen last season in goals (19) and points (60) while posting a plus-33 rating in 71 regular-season games, and added five points in nine playoff games. He also had two points in six games to help Canada win the bronze medal at the 2012 World Under-18 Championship.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelamn@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 09.20.2012 / 12:15 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Medicine Hat names top prospect Shinkaruk captain

Hunter Shinkaruk, rated as an A player in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft, received a C from his team, the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League.

The Tigers named Shinkaruk, a 17-year-old forward considered one of the top prospects for this year's draft, team captain on Wednesday.

Medicine Hat coach Shaun Clouston told the Medicine Hat News that he's sure Shinkaruk, starting his third season with the Tigers, is ready for the role.

"He is a very mature young man," Clouston said. "I believe he is going to be a great captain for this team. Hunter is a great example on and off the ice. He is focused, committed and he is a determined athlete. He works hard at his game. We are going to rely on Hunter a lot this year."

Shinkaruk was second on the Tigers last season with 49 goals and 91 points. He also had a plus-17 rating in 66 games, and added 11 points in eight playoff games. He got his season off to a solid start with two goals and four assists in six games.

The 5-foot-10, 166-pound center was ranked as an A player on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary watch list.

Shinkaruk said Wednesday he wasn't sure if he was ready for the role, but said he's proud to take it on.

"It was a huge honor," Shinkaruk told the newspaper. "Obviously, the Medicine Hat Tigers organization has been around for a long time. There has been a lot of good captains that have come through this team. When they told me, I was pretty excited."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 5:37 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Housley happy with U.S. effort despite loss

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- It wasn't the way Phil Housley was hoping this week's National Junior Evaluation Camp would end, but the U.S. coach said there were things to like even with Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss to Finland.

"I really liked the effort all the way to the end of the game," Housley said. "We battled and we were able to tie it up toward the end. I was happy with that. The disappointing thing was we turned the puck over too many times and played right into Finland's hands. They're a passive team when they can't get on the forecheck; they sit back and we played right into it. It was a great, valuable learning experience in how we have to play in December (at the World Junior Championship)."

Tyler Biggs scored game-tying goals twice in the third period after Finland goalie Janne Juvonen had shut down Team USA for almost 50 minutes. Housley said he believes that shows the players have faith that if they stick with the game plan implemented by the coaching staff they'll have a chance to be successful.

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 5:27 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Leafs prospect Biggs has big game for U.S.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- To be good, it takes a helping of luck, and Tyler Biggs had a double helping of that Saturday.

Biggs scored both goals in Team USA's 3-2 overtime loss to Finland on the final day of the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, but neither goal could be classified as a work of art.

"I got pretty lucky with some opportunities," he told NHL.com. "I'm standing in front on the power play, Griz [Matthew Grzelcyk] throws one, bounces off me and goes up and in. I throw one across, it bounces off a guy, comes right back to me."

Each goal tied the game, with his second, with 2:44 remaining regulation, forcing overtime.

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 4:22 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Finland heading home happy after win

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- With a schedule that saw Finland play five games in six days here at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, a 3-2 overtime win against the United States on Saturday will send the Finns home happy.

"To win this game was very important for us because it was the fifth game and we had four losses in a row," Finland coach Harri Rindell told NHL.com. "So we needed to have this. It's always nice to have that kind of end of the tournament."

Miro Aaltonen, who led Finland in scoring this week with three goals and three assists, broke in alone for the winning goal in overtime, knocking his rebound past U.S. goalie Jon Gillies.

Rindell said he was a bit surprised to see his team still be able to finish those kind of plays with all the hockey they played this week.

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 3:13 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Final score: Finland 3, U.S. 2 (OT)

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Miro Aaltonen scored at 2:11 of overtime, giving Finland a 3-2 win against the U.S. to close the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation camp here at Herb Brooks Arena.

Aaltonen broke in alone on U.S. goalie Jon Gillies and knocked in his own rebound as Finland won for the first time in five games here.

Tyler Biggs scored a pair of goals in the third period as the U.S. twice rallied from one-goal deficits to tie the game.

Biggs' first goal, a re-direction of a Matthew Grzelcyk shot at 10:17 of the third, tied the game at 1-1, but Finland's Artturi Lehkonen banged in a loose puck in front to put Finland up 2-1 at 14:33.

Biggs again tied the game with 2:44 left, when he lifted a loose puck in front over a fallen Finnish goalie Janne Juvonen.

Back with more from both locker rooms.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 2:26 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Second period: Finland 1, U.S. 0

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- It took until their sixth chance of the game, but Finland finally took advantage of the U.S. with the man-advantage, getting the game's only goal to lead after 40 minutes here at Herb Brooks Arena.

Back-to-back penalties on U.S. forwards Stefan Matteau for slashing and Ryan Hartman for roughing left the U.S. with tired penalty killers. With Hartman in the box, Finland took advantage by cycling the puck in the left corner. Top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Barkov then made a nifty pass through the zone to Markus Hannikainen, who batted in his own rebound at 18:35.

Philadelphia Flyers prospect Anthony Stolarz, who started the game in goal for the U.S., stopped all 16 shots he faced in 29 minutes of action.

The U.S. failed on its one power-play chance in the period, and now is 0-for-3 in the game.

Back with more after the final horn.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 1:36 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

U.S., Finland scoreless after one period

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Each team had multiple chances to crack the score sheet, but a physical, tight-checking game ended scoreless after 20 minutes.

Finland went 0-for-3 on the man-advantage, and now is 1-for-19 on the power play in its time in Lake Placid.

The U.S. outshot Finland 13-7, but failed on a pair of power plays.

Back with more after the second period.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 1:19 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Sabres happy with Armia's progress

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- With a home in the Olympic region, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula has been a frequent presence at this week's USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp. He's kept an especially watchful eye on Finland forward Joel Armia, the team's first round pick in 2011.

Heading into Saturday's camp finale against the U.S., Armia has just one goal in four games, but some of that lack of production can be attributed to Finland's brutal schedule this week -- Saturday's game will be their fifth game in six days.

"I think Joel's first game here on Monday I thought was the best I'd ever see him," Sabres director of pro scouting Jon Christiano told NHL.com. "I thought he was a real difference-maker in that game. He saw the puck a lot, he made things happen with it. I really liked his vision, how he distributed the puck and I liked his compete level. He was trying to play the man, trying to play through guys on the forecheck. It was good to see that growth there. I think his last couple games have been a little less. I don't know if that's four games in five nights taking its toll. The way he played the first day is the way he's going to have to play more often."

Armia admitted this year's trip here hasn't been his best hockey, in part because of the schedule and in part because of the fact Finland entered Saturday's game 0-4 in Lake Placid.

"It hasn't been so good. I don't know why," he told NHL.com. "Sometimes it was decent play, good on the ice. Then I'm not. It's hard to say."

A 6-foot-3, 187-pound right wing taken by the Sabres with the 16th pick in 2011, Armia had 18 goals and 20 assists in 54 games with Pori in SM-liiga, but a knee injury limited him to just three playoff games, and delayed his off-season workout plan.

Christiano said Armia will play at least one more season in Finland, but said he's seen positive progression in the big forward's development.

"I think he still needs to get stronger," Christiano said. "I saw him in Finland last year. I was happy with his level of involvement. Going into some tougher areas, hanging around the front of the net, working the corners, keeping his feet moving. He's still a young kid, and there has to be growth in more areas. We have seen some, we have seen growth through our development camp last month. He's probably on pace where we're pleased, but like all these young guys they have to keep building on what their skills are and getting better in the areas where they're delinquent."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 12:30 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Lineups for Finland, U.S.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Here are the lineups the U.S. and Finland will use Saturday for the final game of this week's USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.

Among those seeing action will be Nashville Predators prospect Jimmy Vesey, the only skater not to play in the last two games. He'll start on a line with center Cole Bardreau and top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Ryan Hartman.

Also seeing action will be goalies Anthony Stolarz and Jon Gillies, both playing for the first time since the split-squad games Monday. Stolarz, a 2012 second-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, is listed as the starter. He'll likely play half the game, with Gillies, a 2012 third-round pick of the Calgary Flames, finishing the game.

Sitting out for the U.S. are forwards Alex Galchenyuk, J.T. Miller, John Gaudreau, Stefan Noesen, Sean Kuraly and Mario Lucia; defensemen Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba, Mike Reilly and Shayne Gostisbehere; and goaltenders John Gibson and Garret Sparks.

Finland will pack three of its top scorers on line. Chicago Blackhawks 2012 first-round pick Teuvo Teravainen will center Juuso Ikonen, who has a team-high four goals, at right wing, and Miro Aaltonen, tied with Ikonen for the team scoring lead with five points, playing left wing. Ikonen and Aaltonen both are eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft -- Ikonen for the first time, Aaltonen after going unpicked last year.

Janne Juvonen, who played well in relief of Richard Ullberg in Friday's 5-2 loss to Sweden, will start in goal for Finland.

U.S.

Stefan Matteau - Steven Fogarty - Tyler Biggs

Reid Boucher - Vincent Trocheck - Nicolas Kerdiles

Jimmy Vesey - Cole Bardreau - Ryan Hartman

Blake Pietila - Travis Boyd - Colin Blackwell

Thomas Di Pauli

Brady Skjei - Connor Murphy

Jake McCabe - Matthew Grzelcyk

Patrick Sieloff - Garrett Haar

Andy Welinski

Anthony Stolarz

Jon Gillies

FINLAND

Artturi Lehkonen - Robert Leino - Joel Armia

Miro Aaltonen - Teuvo Teravainen - Juuso Ikonen

Toni Kallela - Nico Nyberg - Markus Hannikainen

Heikki Liedes - Aleksi Salonen - Matti Lamberg

Alexander Barkov

Olli Maatta - Ville Pokka

Mikko Lehtonen - Rasmus Ristolainen

Joonas Valkonen - Niklas Tikkinen

Esa Lindell

Janne Juvonen

Richard Ullberg

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Quote of the Day

It's about enjoying the moment. It's pretty cool to get that many people together and that excited about hockey to the point they really want you to mess up. They've got a ton of red jerseys and you have to sit back and appreciate people love hockey that much and you are the one out there who gets to play the game. Just try and stick with that respect for the game and also the mentality that for me it's just about entering the fight and seeing how long I can stay in it.

— Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller on what he expects from the fans in Calgary for Game 6