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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 8:12 PM

By Erin Nicks - Correspondent / - Prospecting the future

(Smaller) Battle of Ontario set for Tuesday

OSHAWA, Ontario -- The Battle of Ontario – a smaller version of it, at least – has been the talk of the Oshawa Rookie Tournament.

Fans have been waiting for the division rivalry to simmer to its boiling point once more, after both of the big clubs have struggled in the standings in the past few seasons. The infamous grudges have somewhat lost the sparkle.

However, with both teams at 2-0 heading into Tuesday’s final game, Senators and Leafs fans actually have a chance to watch their clubs fight for all the marbles. Yes, it’s a Rookie Tournament, but it’s a sign that there may finally be something to cheer about in Ontario once more.
Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 5:16 PM

By Erin Nicks - Correspondent / - Prospecting the future

Final score: Blackhawks 4, Penguins 1

Action continued on Tuesday from the Oshawa Rookie Tournament, as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1.

"I thought we played well in every game," Chicago prospects coach Ted Dent said. "We had the day off yesterday and did a team outing, and I think we had fresh legs from the get-go."

The Hawks and Penguins were knotted at 0-0 at the end of the first period, with the best chance coming from Shawn Lalonde, when he cut in from the left half-wall and tried to put a quick wrister past Maxime Lagace.

In the second period, the Blackhawks found the back of the net three times. The first goal came courtesy of Mark McNeill, their 2011 first-round pick, as he swung out from behind the Pittsburgh net and pushed the puck between Lagace's pads.

Byron Froese got on the scoresheet for the first time in this tournament, with a one-timer from Joe Lavin during 4-on-4 play. The third Chicago goal came late in the second, as Andrew Shaw charged in alone and snapped a shot past Lagace’s glove. David Toews and Lavin each picked up an assist.

Chicago continued to pile on in the third, with Phillip Danault putting a backhand between Lagace's pads.

Pittsburgh got in the board late in the period, when Keven Veilleux lifted a rebound of a Ben Street shot. 

Despite missing the shutout, Dent was happy with the performances of his goaltenders, Johan Mattsson and Mac Carruth.

"They both played really well," he said. "They split the game, and it's not always easy coming in halfway through a period like Carruth did. I was very happy with their performance here."
Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 5:11 PM

By Erin Nicks - Correspondent / - Prospecting the future

Minor injuries shelve Hawks' Morin, Olsen

OSHAWA, Ontario -- If you came to the Oshawa Rookie Tournament to see Blackhawks' prospects Dylan Olsen or Jeremy Morin, you were largely out of luck.

Olsen played on Saturday against the Senators, but was held out of the last two games.

"He had a little bit of (lower-body) muscle soreness," Chicago prospects coach Ted Dent said. "He skated a little bit on Monday with the goalies, but he decided not to push it. We just want to let him get ready for the Blackhawks' training camp."
Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 5:09 PM

By Ryan Pinder - Correspondent / - Prospecting the future

One game in The Okanagan today

The schedule shows a light day at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C., but the lone match features two undefeated sides.

The Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets will meet tonight at 7:30 PST for their respective second matches of the tournament, while the host Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and San Jose Sharks have all played two games to this point and will enjoy a day without a game.

Eyes will be trailing two of hockey's most prized 18-year-olds tonight, as first-round picks Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mark Scheifele will go head-to-head. Each 2011 draftee produced in their opening game of the tournament -- top-pick Nugent-Hopkins had an assist Sunday in Edmonton's 7-2 win, while seventh pick Scheifele scored what has to be a candidate for goal of the tournament, and added an assist in the Jets 4-0 win Monday night.
Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 4:27 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - Prospecting the future

Final score: Nashville 3, Florida 1

In the hardest-fought, most physical battle staged to date at the 2011 Florida Rookie Tournament, the Nashville Predators fought back from a 1-0 deficit to defeat the Florida Panthers 3-1.
Taking center stage for the second consecutive day was Nashville rookie Craig Smith. Smith scored a pair of goals, which follow the 4 goals he scored Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In three games here, he has 6 goals and an assist.

Florida took an early lead behind a goal by Jonathan Huberdeau off a rebound of a hard shot from the point by Erik Gudbranson. Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom stopped 34 of 37 shots, including several of the challenging variety.
For Nashville, the goaltending tandem of starter Atte Engren and Chet Pickard, who took over at the halfway point of the second period, produced their second consecutive win. Engren stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced, including a highlight-reel glove save on a wide-open Quinton Howden from in front of the crease, and Pickard was perfect on all 20 of his chances.
The final game of the tournament is Wednesday at noon, when the Lightning try to break into the win column against the host Panthers.
Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 3:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Prospecting the future

More Traverse City struggles for Stars' Campbell

You get the feeling Dallas Stars goalie Jack Campbell is beginning to think this Michigan resort community that hosts the Traverse City Prospects Tournament has it out for him.
In three starts, including two during the 2010 tournament, Campbell is 0-3 with a 5.25 goals-against average and .858 save percentage. Still, traditionally regarded as a goalie who plays well in tight situations, Campbell has been under siege for most of his three appearances in Traverse City.
"I'm a competitor and hate to lose," Campbell told "Obviously, I just try going out there and giving the team the best chance to win and while I wasn't on my 'A' game (in a 6-2 loss to the Rangers), I competed as hard as I possibly could to stop every puck until the final buzzer. Now I hope we can go out today and get a win."
Campbell will earn his next start Wednesday, against an opponent to be determined.
It was a whirlwind 2010-11 season for Campbell, who was selected 11th at the 2010 Entry Draft by the Stars. After training camp he made his Ontario Hockey League debut with the Windsor Spitfires, but he struggled at the start, going 2-5-0 with a 4.86 goals-against average and .853 save percentage. When he left the Spitfires in December for the 2011 World Junior Championship, he had a 12-9-0 mark with a 3.68 GAA and .887 save percentage.

He turned things around at the WJC in Buffalo.
In six games, Campbell topped all goalies with a 1.70 GAA and .941 save percentage and was named the tournament's best goaltender en route to helping lead Team USA to a bronze medal.
"More than anything else, I learned about myself during my time in Windsor," Campbell said. "I just have to go out there and have fun and everything else will take care of itself. When I put too much pressure on myself, like I did last year, that's when things kind of fall out of place a little bit."
Campbell was better when he returned to Windsor following the WJC. He went 12-5-4 in his final 23 games, producing a 3.93 GAA and .881 save percentage, and helped Windsor to a fourth-place finish in the OHL Western Conference. He backstopped postseason series wins against Erie and Saginaw to advance to the conference finals, where they lost in five games to the eventual league champion Owen Sound Attack.
"I think he's bounced around with teams and his first year with Windsor last year was a learning experience for him," Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk told "Probably for the first time in his career he faced a lot of adversity, but those are all good growing lessons. This year, he'll go back to junior knowing he'll be there and really kind of concentrate on being a top goaltender. He's on course to where we need him to be."
Campbell played every minute in the postseason for the Spitfires, and finished the playoffs second in the league with nine wins and two shutouts. He had a 40-save, double-overtime win against Erie in the first round, and a 3.74 GAA and .887 save percentage in 18 games.
"Campbell just works so hard and he goes after every shot," said prospects coach Jeff Pyle, who coaches the Stars' AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars. "He's always got a smile on his face and I know these guys are critical of themselves. In his loss, we didn't play very well in front of him and I felt terrible for him, but as a professional, it's like water off a duck's back. He's going to forget about that and be ready to play the next time. You know he's going to take everything he learns and just build off of that." 
Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 2:29 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - Prospecting the future

Smith's goal-scoring prowess turning heads

The surprise of the Florida rookie tournament so far has been Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith.

Smith had 2 goals today against the Panthers, which follows the 4 goals he scored Monday against the Lightning. Smith, who played three seasons of junior hockey with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League, has spent the last two seasons at the University of Wisconsin.

Goal scoring is something Smith has proven he can do in the past. He had 19 goals in 41 games with Wisconsin last season, and 28 in 54 games in 2008-09 in the USHL. He was taken by the Predators in the fourth round (No. 98) in the 2009 Entry Draft.

In the second period today, Smith ripped a slap shot from the right faceoff circle to beat Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom for his first score, and then pounded home a rebound from the slot in the third.
Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 2:12 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - Prospecting the future

Solid reviews for Panthers prospects

Mike Santos, Florida Panther Assistant General Manager, commented on the play of his tournament prospects so far:
"All-in-all, we're happy with all our prospects. It's been a big jump from last year and I think that has to do with the commitments we've made as an organization, like with our development camp this summer -- things that haven't been done in the past that now we're doing the right way."
One thing that stands out is the size of the Panthers youngsters, as 16 of the 27 skaters on the Rookie Tournament roster are 6-foot-2 or taller. According to Santos, that is no coincidence.
"Size is one of the things we look for," he said. "Character is the most important thing to us, but after that, size is something you can't teach. You can expand their skills and do things to help them be a better hockey player, but you can't stretch them out. So when they're big, they're good."
Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 12:08 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - Prospecting the future

Extra work for Lightning goalies

After Lightning goaltender Pat Nagle misplayed a puck behind the net resulting in a Nashville Predators goal, Tampa Bay goaltending coach Frantz Jean had Nagle and fellow netminder Jaroslav Janus on the ice early this morning, working on handling the puck and playing behind the net.
"Puckhandling and positioning on plays like that are typically not worked on by goaltenders during the summer," Jean said.

Although Nagle didn't get much defensive help in the 7-3 loss to the Predators, Jean didn't think he did much to help himself.

"He was fighting the puck all night, but of course, it was his first game after a college career. It's an adjustment and takes time," Jean said.
Sharing the ice with the Lightning trio was Panthers forward David Booth, working with his long-time skating coach Jennifer Matras.
Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 9:20 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Prospecting the future

Wings adjust schedule for McCrimmon service

The Detroit Red Wings will open training camp a little earlier Saturday in an effort to make certain the entire team can board a bus from Traverse City, Mich., to Detroit later in the afternoon to attend the wake planned Saturday for former assistant coach Brad McCrimmon.
McCrimmon was one of 44 victims killed in a plane crash near the city of Yaroslavl in Central Russia last Wednesday. Most of the people on board were members of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team in the Kontinental Hockey League. McCrimmon had left his post with the Red Wings in May to take the coaching job with Lokomotiv.

According to Detroit's training camp director, Ann Reeves, the team will begin camp at 7 a.m. on Saturday at Center ICE Arena, a change from the previously listed 9:30 a.m. start. There will not be a scrimmage on Saturday, but the team will have a full practice session. Those fans with tickets to Saturday's opening day of camp may use their tickets to attend Detroit's open scrimmage on either Sept. 21 or Sept. 22.
Following the viewing, the Red Wings will return to Traverse City on Saturday night and resume camp Sunday.
"I want to extend my sincere thanks to the entire Detroit Red Wings organization for not cancelling Saturday's session completely and for being so accommodating during this difficult time," Reeves said.
Reeves also said the remaining camp schedule, which runs through Sept. 22, remains the same. Fans wishing to receive a refund for Saturday's session can do so by either calling the arena or presenting their ticket in person at the arena.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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