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Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 3:10 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Kelowna's Sissons is ready for testing

Kelowna Rockets captain Colton Sissons appears fully recovered from a concussion he suffered in February and is looking forward to joining the initial group through the fitness tests at Toronto International Centre on Friday.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound forward, who is NHL Central Scouting's No. 14-ranked skater in North America, finished second on the team with 26 goals, including a team-leading 13 power play markers, in 58 games as the Rockets finished in sixth place in the Western Conference of the Western Hockey League.

Sissons was injured in the team's 3-2 loss to the Kamloops Blazers on Feb. 11 at Prospera Place in Kelowna.

Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 1:21 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Top prospect Jacob Trouba admired Lidstrom

As a native of Michigan, draft-eligible defenseman and top prospect Jacob Trouba of the U.S. National Team Development Program rarely missed an opportunity to watch Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom at work.

When Trouba got word that Lidstrom was calling it a career after 20 seasons in the League on Thursday, he expressed much respect and admiration for one of the greatest defensemen to ever lace on the skates.
Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 8:15 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Top Euro prospect popular with fans at NHL Combine

It's become apparent that even NHL Central Scouting's top European prospect, Filip Forsberg, isn't safe from those rabid hockey fans waiting outside the hotel during lunch break at the 2012 Scouting Combine.

The Swedish sensation, Central Scouting's No. 1-rated skater from Europe, was seen signing autographs on several occasions when he wondered outside during a break between interviews the past few days. For a 17-year-old kid playing in Sweden's second-highest division for Leksand, it's quite overwhelming to be bombarded by people with pens and pictures.
Posted On Thursday, 05.31.2012 / 7:43 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Koekkoek looks to re-establish confidence in scouts

Of all the players attending this year's NHL Scouting Combine coming off serious injury, perhaps no one will be more scrutinized than Peterborough Petes defenseman Slater Koekkoek.

Let's face it, Koekkoek possesses as much raw skill as any other draft-eligible defenseman in the 2012 Draft. But a torn labrum suffered in the third period of a 6-3 loss to the Windsor Spitfires on Nov. 27 limited him to just 26 games this season, forcing scouts to rely on year-old projections.

At the time of the injury, Peterborough coach Mike Pelino told reporters, "Slater may be the most impressive defenseman I've seen in the [Ontario Hockey League] this year. If he's out for one day, we'll miss him, let alone if he's out for an extended period."

Koekkoek logged a ton of minutes and has a knack for playing in any part of the ice, capable of transitioning with a quick pass.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 3:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Reinhart will opt out of bench press at Combine

A nagging shoulder injury will likely keep Edmonton Oil Kings defenseman Griffin Reinhart from taking part in the bench press during his fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine schedule on Friday.

Reinhart, ranked No. 10 by NHL Central Scouting among draft-eligible North American skaters, on Wednesday was making his rounds to those teams that scheduled interviews with him over the next two days.

"I don't think I'm going to do the bench press because I have a bit of a hurt shoulder," Reinhart told "It's fine to play with … I just haven't been able to rehab it yet. It's something I've been dealing with all season."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 12:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Rielly excited to get opportunity at NHL Combine

Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Morgan Rielly is pretty excited to be back in the mix after missing five-plus months of playing time after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament earlier this season.

Rielly played five playoff games for the Warriors and produced three assists but the simple fact he was back on the ice was certainly a positive sign. Now he's going through the rigors that is the NHL Scouting Combine this week in an attempt to show NHL scouts and general managers that he is 100 percent.

"I think it's important just to prove that you're healthy and you're here and you have a pretty good attitude," Rielly told "I don't think this week will make or break anybody, but it's important to come and have a positive attitude."

Really, a positive attitude is all that the 5-foot-11 1/2, 190-pound left-hander has exhibited throughout the most trying season of his hockey career.
Posted On Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 10:59 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

USNTDP's Sieloff to play in OHL next season

TORONTO -- Defenseman Patrick Sieloff of the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program on Monday turned down a scholarship offer to Miami University of Ohio and instead will play for the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires in 2012-13.


"It came down to the fact I wanted to play in the NHL and I feel like this is the fastest route," Sieloff told "I feel like the school part would get in the way a little bit because school is a little hard for me. I felt like school will always be there but hockey won't. There's going to be a point in time when hockey ends, whether we like it or not. I feel like I want to make the best of this for as long as I can go, and am looking forward and really excited to play in Windsor."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.29.2012 / 8:16 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Yakupov, Galchenyuk, Grigorenko ready for Combine

TORONTO -- Many of the top draft-eligible prospects were still filing into NHL Central Scouting headquarters here late on Monday night following their arrival at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

At one point in the evening, Sarnia Sting teammates Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk decided to take a late-night tour of the mini-Reebok store set up in the hotel ballroom. Yakupov is rated the No. 1 prospect in North America by NHL Central Scouting. Galchenyuk, who appears to be fully recovered from ACL surgery in October, is No. 4 on the list.
Posted On Thursday, 05.24.2012 / 12:59 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Combing the 2012 NHL Combine

Top prospects set for NHL Scouting Combine

After the Memorial Cup final is staged at Centre Bionest in Shawinigan on Sunday (May 27), it's off to Toronto for the start of the NHL Scouting Combine!

The first day of the Combine should be a relatively slow one while players are interviewed by NHL teams within the Bristol Westin Hotel near Pearson Airport. will be here all week, with daily stories and video to be accessed off the site. This event is a great appetizer for the draft, which is just over a month away.

The NHL Scouting Combine, which gives NHL clubs a chance to evaluate 105 of the top North American and European hockey prospects in the world, will be held May 28 through June 2 in Toronto, Ont. The NHL Draft is slated June 22-23 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Here is an alphabetical list of the players attending this year's NHL Combine.

Follow Mike Morreale at the Combine on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
Posted On Wednesday, 05.23.2012 / 12:24 PM

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

Parise, Zubrus enjoying chance to be linemates

NEWARK, N.J. -- When told that linemate Dainius Zubrus referred to him as "a little energy ball" following a herculean effort in Game 4 against the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise shook his head and began laughing.
He also had this response following his team's 40-minute practice at AmeriHealth Pavilion on Wednesday.
"How do I describe Zubie?" Parise asked, tongue in cheek. "How about, dead weight."
Obviously, Parise and Zubrus are having a little fun at a time when the tension heading into a critical Game 5 at Madison Square Garden can be cut with a knife. But keeping it loose and fun is important this time of the season.
Still, it's hard to ignore the impact that Parise had alongside center Travis Zajac and Zubrus in Game 4. In addition to generating nine of the team's 30 shots, the trio produced three goals, five points and a combined plus-1 rating in a 4-1 victory.
As expected, the line will remain intact for Game 5.
"You know how [Zubrus] will play every game, you know he'll play hard and know he will protect the puck down low," Parise said. "You know he's not going to do anything fancy, but that's a good thing. He's going to play up and down and play smart. He's low-risk, and I think that's an easy guy to play with. You know what you're going to get, and you can predict what he's going to do with the puck."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Every D-man who comes from Sweden has watched him play. He was my idol growing up and he's the reason I started to play 'D.'

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