Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 3:53 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Cammarata receives multiple USHL accolades

Forward Taylor Cammarata of the Waterloo Black Hawks in the United States Hockey League on Wednesday was named USHL Forward of the Year and Player of the Year as determined by league coaches and general managers.

The 5-foot-7, 156-pound left-handed shot, who is No. 193 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top 2013 draft-eligible North American players, led the USHL with 93 points (38 goals, 55 assists) in 59 regular-season games.

"His smarts and creativity make him a good prospect," Central Scouting's David Gregory told

Cammarata's point total was the second-highest in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present), following the 104 points (54 goals) produced by Kevin Roy of the Lincoln Stars in 2011-12.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 12:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Nurse, Barkov to sit out fitness portion of Combine


Injuries late in the season and subsequent surgery for prospects Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland and Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League will keep both players from participating in the fitness portion of the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine, scheduled May 31 and June 1 at Toronto International Centre.

Both players currently are rehabilitating from postseason surgeries and will attend the Combine to interview with NHL scouts and general managers during the six-day event that begins May 27. While both players will undergo medical examinations, they will forego any physical fitness testing.

Barkov, a center, sustained an upper-body injury on the first shift of his team's playoff game against IFK Helsinki on March 27 and was sidelined the remainder of the postseason. He had 21 goals, 48 points and a plus-18 rating in 53 regular-season games for Tappara. NHL Central Scouting's No. 1-ranked European skater had four assists and a plus-3 rating in five playoff games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 10:43 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Elite 2013 draft prospects highlight Memorial Cup

Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones is anticipating one heck of a tournament this weekend when he heads an impressive group of top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible prospects at the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon, NHL Draft (Getty Images / Halifax Mooseheads)

The event, hosted by the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, will have the WHL champion Winterhawks, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Halifax Mooseheads and Ontario Hockey League titlist London Knights joining the Blades for a chance at winning the Canadian Hockey League's ultimate crown. The quartet of teams will play May 17-26 at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The tournament opens Friday when the Knights face the host Blades. Last year, the Knights lost the Memorial Cup final in overtime 2-1 to Shawinigan.

The Knights completed the four-team field Monday in dramatic fashion when center Bo Horvat, No. 15 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, scored with 0.1 seconds left in the third period to give his team a 3-2 victory against the Barrie Colts in Game 7 of the OHL championship series.

"You dream as a kid about scoring a goal like that in a Game 7," Horvat told Canadian Press. "I knew I had to get to the net and look for a rebound."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 10:51 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Drouin OK to play Game 4 of QMJHL final

Halifax Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell confirmed to on Wednesday that top prospect Jonathan Drouin will be in the lineup Wednesday night when his team faces the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in Game 4 of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship series at Henry Leonard Centre in Baie-Comeau, Quebec.

The Mooseheads received a bit of a scare Tuesday when Drouin was involved in a knee-on-knee collision with Drakkar forward Alexandre Ranger six minutes into the second period. According to Willy Palov of The (Halifax) Chronicle Herald, Drouin grabbed his right leg in pain and left for the Halifax dressing room after the collision. No penalty was called on the play.

While Drouin, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, did not return for the remainder of the second, he did play in the third of an eventual 3-1 loss, Halifax's first of the postseason. The Mooseheads lead the series 2-1.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 1:28 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Home ice has served Capitals, Rangers well so far

NEW YORK -- Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr said he feels the first team that's able to break serve in this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals might have the best chance at taking the series.

Fehr spoke to reporters Tuesday morning outside his hotel during a rare off day to discuss how important home ice has been for his club and the New York Rangers in the opening three games of what has become an intriguing showdown between two very evenly matched clubs.

"I don't think there was any difference in the way the Rangers played [on Monday], but they played with the crowd behind them which is what we did at Verizon Center and that's a big difference," Fehr said. "Momentum plays a big part in the games and when you have the fans cheering you on, it's a lot easier to play."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 1:03 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Oates puts premium on rest for Capitals

NEW YORK -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates is a firm believer that the best weapon this time of the year is rest.

So after a tough 4-3 loss in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to the New York Rangers on Monday, that's exactly what Oates gave his players in preparation for Game 4 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

"At this time of the year I'm not worried about conditioning," Oates said. "It's more fatigue and getting better prepared mentally. So we'll take [Tuesday] off and recharge the battery."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 6:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Hamilton in for Bruins; Maple Leafs add Gardiner

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton is in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at TD Garden (7 p.m. CNBC, CBC).

Hamilton is replacing Andrew Ference, who received a one-game suspension by the NHL on Thursday for an illegal hit to the head on Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski during the Bruins' 4-1 win in Game 1.

Veteran forward Rich Peverley will replace Kaspars Daugavins and likely play on the Bruins' third line alongside Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr.

Hamilton, making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, had five goals and 16 points in 42 games as a 19-year-old but was scratched for six of the Bruins' last nine regular-season games, including the final three before the postseason, after the Bruins dealt for veteran Wade Redden at the NHL Trade Deadline. Hamilton and Redden will be paired together.

At the other end, Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner is making his first playoff appearance in place of injured Michael Kostka (broken finger), and veteran defender Ryan O'Byrne is replacing healthy scratch John Michael-Liles.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins know there's no reason to get overconfident

BOSTON -- Don't think the players and coaching staff of the Boston Bruins weren't paying attention to the events that transpired at Consol Energy Center on Friday when the New York Islanders rallied for a victory over the favored Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

"You just have to look around the League and see what's going on, a lot of series are tied, 1-1," Julien said following his team's practice Saturday in preparation for Game 2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS). "There's nothing to get cocky about, or confident about. You just got to play every team the way you thought you would play that first one."

The Bruins lead the best-of-7 series against the Maple Leafs, 1-0.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Maple Leafs' Gardiner ready to make playoff debut

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle promised some changes to his lineup for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins in an effort to even this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on Saturday at TD Garden.

The most significant move might come on defense because Michael Kostka is out indefinitely after sustaining a broken finger in the second period of Game 1 on Wednesday. Carlyle told the media after his team's optional practice Saturday morning he is keeping all lineup changes internal and wouldn't reveal anything.

But there's a strong possibility 22-year-old Jake Gardiner could become the 11th player on the Maple Leafs roster to make his debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The more experienced Ryan O'Byrne could be called into duty.

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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 4:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Practice day is homecoming of sorts for van Riemsdyk

BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk was all smiles when asked about making a return to Beantown and having the opportunity to practice at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University the past two days.

After all, van Riemsdyk's first collegiate goal for the University of New Hampshire came against Boston University before 6,037 fans at nearby Agganis Arena on Oct. 19, 2007. It was the first of 11 goals that season for van Riemsdyk, who also notched an assist in the contest.

"I've always had good memories playing here since I had my first college goal at the rink next door, so it's definitely a special place to be back at," van Riemsdyk said with a grin.

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Quote of the Day

For us it's a little bit different. I've never been in front of this much media. This is more than we've ever had to deal with in Tampa. I guess we're on a little bit bigger stage now. It's nice, you have to enjoy it. This doesn't happen too often.

— Lightning forward J.T. Brown after his first Media Day experience on Tuesday in preparation of Game 1 on Wednesday