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Posted On Monday, 01.12.2015 / 3:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Players ready to shine at USHL Top Prospect Game

Youngstown Phantoms forward Kyle Connor, and Waterloo Black Hawks teammates Brock Boeser and Tom Novak, highlight an impressive list of NHL-Draft eligible players ready to compete in the 2015 United States Hockey League/NHL Top Prospects Game at the Mystique Community Ice Center in Dubuque, Iowa, on Tuesday.

Connor, Boeser and Novak, each regarded as A-rated skaters or potential first-round picks on NHL Central Scouting's players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft, were part of a USHL Top Prospects Game introductory press conference Monday in Iowa.

Speakers at the conference included Fighting Saints president Dan Lehv, Ceder Rapids RoughRiders coach Mark Carlson, NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr, and former USHL coach and NHL scout Jack Barzee. Carlson will coach Team East in the Top Prospects Game.

Posted On Monday, 01.12.2015 / 9:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

McDavid, Eichel resume their roles with teams after WJC

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel, the projected top two picks at the 2015 NHL Draft, each returned to the ice for their respective teams this past week to resume their regular roles over the second-half stretch.

Each player was returning from participation in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto.

McDavid, who was named to NHL.com's World Junior Championship All-Tournament Team following a gold medal-winning performance for Canada, wasted little time upon his return to the lineup when he scored a dazzling goal on Thursday in a 4-3 loss against the Sarnia Sting. He followed that up with a goal and two points in back-to-back wins against the London Knights on Friday (6-2) and Sunday (5-3).

Posted On Friday, 01.09.2015 / 1:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Islanders at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Islanders forward Mikhail Grabovski will open on the top line with center John Tavares and right wing Kyle Okposo against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday.

Islanders coach Jack Capuano experimented with that combination in the third period of a loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and Grabovski scored his sixth goal of the season. Capuano said nothing is set in stone, however.

"[Grabovski] is a possession kind of guy and holds the puck and he gets some zone time," Capuano said. "It'll be interesting to see how that plays out because [Tavares and Okposo] are guys that do the same thing. Will that work? It's something we'll look at. You don't want to break up the chemistry of the other lines when they're going well, but this is something we need to try because our 5-on-5 and secondary scoring hasn't been where it needs to be."

Posted On Friday, 01.09.2015 / 7:50 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Erie's McDavid scores in his return to the lineup

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, scored his first goal with the team since sustaining a hand injury in November in a 4-3 loss to the Sarnia Sting in Sarnia, Ontario, on Thursday.

McDavid, who was named to NHL.com's 2015 World Junior Championship All-Tournament Team after scoring three goals and 11 points in a gold medal-winning performance for Canada, scored 16:28 into the second period to give Erie (27-9-3) a 2-0 lead. The Sting rallied from a 3-0 deficit with four unanswered goals over the second and third periods.

Posted On Monday, 01.05.2015 / 7:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Russia's Shesterkin to start against Canada in final

TORONTO -- Russia goaltender Igor Shesterkin will make his third straight start in the medal round when his team plays against Canada in the gold-medal game in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).

Shesterkin (New York Rangers) has started the past two games of the medal round for Russia and has performed well with 65 saves on 68 shots in victories against the United States (3-2) in the quarterfinal round and Sweden (4-1) in the semifinal round. He has saved 120 of 126 for the tournament with a 1.50 goals-against average and .952 save percentage.

Posted On Monday, 01.05.2015 / 4:45 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Renney proud of effort by Canada in reaching final

TORONTO -- Tom Renney, president and chief executive officer of Hockey Canada, is proud of the effort put forth by the Canadian National Junior Team and host cities Montreal and Toronto during the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship the past two weeks.

Renney took the time to answer some questions during a press conference before the bronze-medal game between Slovakia and Sweden at Air Canada Centre on Monday.

"This is my first go-round at the [WJC] and it's certainly unique in lots of ways," Renney said. "It's a premier event in the world at this time in the year and the level of play in both Montreal and Toronto has been exceptional, as usual. I'm proud of Canada and the performance of our team, coaching staff and staff, and the volunteers in Toronto and Montreal for having done an outstanding job in putting this whole thing together to the point where Canada gets an opportunity to play the last game of the tournament. It's rightfully so and justified."

Here are a few highlights of Renney's discussion:

Posted On Monday, 01.05.2015 / 2:41 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada looks to end gold medal drought

TORONTO -- The opportunity to celebrate a gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship is something Canadian hockey fans have waited to do for the past six years.

The top junior-aged players for Canada will look to make that happen Monday against Russia in the gold-medal game of the 2015 WJC at Air Canada Center (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

The last gold medal won by Canada was 2009 in Ottawa, the last of an unprecedented five straight championships. Russia has eliminated Canada in the medal round the past four years, including the 2011 gold-medal game in Buffalo.

The long journey that began in August with development camp in Toronto and continued with selection camp in early December comes down to one game.

Posted On Monday, 01.05.2015 / 1:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Russia's Sorokin could start WJC gold-medal game

TORONTO -- Russia coach Valeri Bragin told the Russian media that he remains undecided about his starting goaltender for the gold-medal game against Canada in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Monday (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Igor Shesterkin (New York Rangers) has started the two medal-round games and has performed well, stopping 65 of 68 shots in victories against the United States (3-2) in the quarterfinals and Sweden (4-1) in the semifinals. He has stopped 120 of 126 shots for the tournament, with a 1.50 goals-against average and .952 save percentage.

Ilya Sorokin (New York Islanders), meanwhile, has been waiting patiently for his moment. The 6-2, 168-pound left-handed catching goalie was the youngest starter in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2013-14 and this season, at age 19, has done well again for Metallurg Novokuznetsk. He has a 2.41 GAA and .903 save percentage in two games for Russia at the WJC, and starred in a 2-1 overtime victory against Canada in a pre-tournament game Dec. 19 behind a 52-save performance. It wouldn't surprise the Russia media covering the WJC in Toronto if Bragin started Sorokin.

Posted On Sunday, 01.04.2015 / 12:44 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Injured Fabbri to provide support and encouragement

TORONTO -- Robby Fabbri entered the mixed zone in the interview area using two crutches and in a walking boot on Sunday to discuss his new role with the Canadian National Junior Team after sustaining a tournament-ending high ankle sprain on Friday against Denmark in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

"The guys know that I'm here for them," Fabbri said. "I'm a cheerleader the next couple of days and I'll be there cheering them along the way."

Fabbri spoke to reporters for the first time since sustaining his ankle injury on Friday in an 8-0 victory against Denmark in the tournament quarterfinal round. The St. Louis Blues prospect sustained his injury just over three minutes into the first period when he got tangled up with a Denmark defenseman in the left-wing corner and fell awkwardly. He was assisted off the ice and into the locker room.


Posted On Sunday, 01.04.2015 / 11:29 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Special teams may decide World Juniors semifinal

TORONTO -- Russia forward Ivan Barbashev knows staying out the penalty box will be critical when his team takes the ice against Sweden in the semifinal round of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Sunday (4 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).

Sweden enters the game first on the power-play with a 50 percent efficiency (12-of-24) and Russia has been the second-most penalized team in the tournament with 75 minutes in penalties (15 minutes per game).


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Quote of the Day

I'm a hockey player and that's what I love to do. That is what I am here for. Everything else is just a side note.

— Oilers forward Connor McDavid on moving beyond the anticipation of his long-awaited arrival in the NHL
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