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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 10:48 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Players of note from Penticton

After eight games in five days, the Young Stars Tournament has come to a conclusion in Penticton, B.C. The Canucks, Flames, Jets, Oilers and Sharks prospects have returned home to resume their training camps, but the scouts and coaches will continue to buzz over the performances of the prospects for quite some time. Here are some of the names that were catalysts of conversation in Penticton. Not a list of the best players, but rather a list of those who impressed as compared to their expectations.

FLAMES

Maxwell Reinhart, C -- Offensively involved and responsible at both ends of the rink, Reinhart showed he's got a bright future as a pro.

Patrick Holland, RW -- A 2010 seventh-round pick, Holland has been productive and responsible.

Sven Baertschi, LW -- Electric is the word Flames coaches have been using to describe the slick Swiss forward who starred last season with Portland of the Western Hockey League. He was especially dangerous with time and space, and on the power play.

OILERS

Tyler Bunz, G -- The netminder is determined to get off to a great start this season and earn a spot on Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship. He had an impressive shutout of the Jets during the tournament.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C -- The first pick of the 2011 Entry Draft has produced points, but also has gotten involved physically -- an encouraging sign for Oilers fans hoping he can make the jump to the NHL this season.

Anton Lander, C -- The Swedish-born center led the Oilers with 3 goals in the tournament. He's yet another skilled forward in the Oilers' cupboard.

SHARKS

Thomas Heemskerk, G -- Heemskerk stood on his head in the Sharks' first game of the tournament, and didn't cool much after that. It was an impressive week of puck stopping.

Brodie Reid, RW -- Reid has scored everywhere he has played and didn't let San Jose down in Penticton, where he had played a season of hockey with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. It was a sweet homecoming for the 22-year-old forward.

Benjamin Thomson, LW -- Hits? Check. Fight? Check. Goal? Check. He's been a physical player for the Sharks this week.

CANUCKS

Karel St. Laurent, G -- A 20-year-old QMJHL cast-off this time last season, St. Laurent was solid in net in all three appearances he made.

Nathan Longpre, C -- He posted sparkling numbers with Robert Morris University last season (42 points in 33 games), and nearly single-handedly sparked a comeback with 2 goals and an assist against Calgary.

Nicklas Jensen, LW -- Another 2011 first-round pick who didn't disappoint; Jensen showed skill, strength and offensive prowess.

JETS

Jason Gregoire, LW -- North Dakota alum and Winnipeg native has designs of making the big team this fall. He's not huge (6-foot-1, 196 pounds) but seemed comfortable in traffic. Created lots of opportunities in each game played. Nice hands.

Mark Scheifele, C --
The seventh pick of the 2011 Entry Draft looks legit. He's big (6-2, 184), skilled and has some eye-popping moves around the net. He scored with regularity during the tournament.

Edward Pasquale, G -- In 90 minutes of ice time, he didn't allow a goal. Not too shabby for a player who turns 21 in November and already has a season of professional hockey experience.
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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 6:57 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Jets shut out Canucks

Edward Pasquale and Christopher Carrozzi split time in the Winnipeg Jets' net today, combining to backstop a 2-0 shutout of Vancouver Canucks prospects, the Jets' second shutout in three games here in Penticton, B.C., for the Young Stars Tournament.

The Jets' tandem was especially good this week, as Winnipeg allowed only two goals in three games, by far the fewest goals allowed among the five teams at the event. Pasquale finished the tournament without allowing a goal in 90 minutes of ice time.

Mark Scheifele and Jason Gregoire continued to supply the Jets with offense as they did in their tournament-opening win against San Jose. Scheifele, the Jets' 2011 first-round selection, scored in the third period on a shot that beat Karel St. Laurent under the arm, and he showed a lethal touch around the net. Gregoire, born and raised in Winnipeg, set up the game's other goal, by Shayne Wiebe, to add to his assist total.

Wiebe, Gregoire and Scheifele operated as the Jets' top line today, and were the only line for either side that could muster much in the way of offensive chances. The tournament finale also happened to be the only fight-free match of the eight-game event.

The Jets and Oilers each finished the tournament with 2-1 records, as did the host Canucks, while the Flames and Sharks each went 1-2.

Canucks forward Bill Sweatt sustained a minor injury in Monday's game against Calgary and didn't play today. He will be ready, however, when the Canucks open training camp.
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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 4:23 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Positive review for Young Stars event

Canucks VP of hockey operations and assistant GM Laurence Gilman had nothing but positive things to say about the 2011 Young Stars tournament.

"This is a first-class facility in an unbelievable hockey setting." Gilman said Thursday. "From a production standpoint you couldn't have asked for a better event. From our perspective any time you can get your top prospects into game situations against their peers you have far better ability to evaluate their skill set in a real time setting. It's also an excellent vehicle for us to analyze our prospect pool against some teams that we compete with on a regular basis."

When asked about the prospects of a third annual Young Stars in 2012, Gilman noted that there are quite a few parties involved in making the event happen, but that all feedback has been positive.

"We partner in this event with the other teams that are here; we've talked to a couple of them about the event, and they seem very willing to come back and do this again.

"Once our camps finish, and our season gets started we'll convene the teams and talk about doing it again, and sit down with the people from Penticton and see if they're interested in doing it again. From our perspective it's a great event and I don't see any reason why we wouldn't want to continue come back here."

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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 10:15 AM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Predators' prospects among best at Florida tourney

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla -- The 2011 Florida Rookie Tournament gave prospects for three teams -- Nashville, Florida and Tampa Bay -- a chance to impress their organizations before NHL training camps commence this weekend.

Here's a look at six players who stood out the most during the tournament:

1. Craig Smith, F, Nashville Predators -- Appearing in two games with the Predators, Smith dominated the offensive zone in each contest. Smith collected four goals and an assist against the Tampa Bay Lightning rookies on Monday night. To prove that performance was not a fluke, he followed up the next game on Tuesday against the Panthers by adding an additional two goals. No one else in the tournament came close to his offensive production.

2. Eric Gudbranson, D, Florida Panthers
-- The Panthers played in three tournament games, but Gudbranson only played in two, sitting out the finale against the Lightning. No matter, his two appearances were enough to demonstrate how dominating Gudbranson can be. He's 6-foot-4 and hits big, too. He was never out of position and his passes were precise, resulting in two assists.

3. Ryan Ellis, D, Nashville Predators -- A smooth skating offensive defenseman, Ellis controlled the puck seemingly at will, made several end-to-end rushes, and ran the power play with confidence. Although he finished the tournament with only one assist in the two games Nashville played, he always made his presence known.
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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 5:42 AM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Canucks and Jets to close out Young Stars Tourney

Three teams are gone, two are set hop chartered flights from the Okanagan tomorrow after the final game of the Young Stars tournament in Penticton, which begins Thursday at 11:00 a.m. PST.

The final game should be an intriguing one as the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks do battle at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The Canucks have reeled off two straight wins since getting blown out in the opener, while the Jets have had a 'feast or famine' week – shutting out the Sharks before being blanked by the Oilers.

The game is the eighth of the event and fourth featuring the Canucks, while the Jets, who arrived a day later than the other four teams have played just twice in Penticton. The Oilers, Flames and Sharks all concluded play on Wednesday.
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Posted On Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 1:25 AM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Baertsci stars in Flames victory

Let the buzz about Sven Baertschi begin. The No. 13 pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft capped an impressive Young Stars tournament with a dynamic two-goal game in the Flames 4-3 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Swiss sensation scored the game's first goal on the power play, then tipped in a point shot in the third period, while stationed at the side of the Oilers net, to put the Flames up by two.

The Flames also got goals from Dustin Sylvester, who hails from nearby Kelowna, and Lance Bouma, who played 16 games with the Flames last season and aims to crack the Calgary roster this season.

The Oilers got goals from 20-year-old center Tyler Pitlick, Finish forward Anton Lander – who led the team in scoring during the tournament – and Martin Maracin, a 6-foot-5 Slovakian defender.

Joni Ortio made his third straight start, and turned in his second strong effort, stopping 20 of 23 shots. Adam Brown took the loss – allowing 4 goals on 29 shots.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was not in the line-up for the first-time at the Young Stars, but did finish the event with an assist in each contest in which he played.

The Flames win was their first of the tournament; conversely the loss was the Oilers first.

The 2011 Young Stars tournament will wrap-up Thursday at 11:00 a.m. PST when the host Canucks face off agianst the Winnipeg Jets.
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Posted On Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 11:34 PM

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

Sabres win championship in Traverse City debut

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Buffalo Sabres certainly made their initial appearance in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament one to remember.

In the process, they also got the best of their New York neighbor, as Marcus Foligno scored a pair of goals to lead the Sabres to a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers in the championship match on Wednesday at Center ICE Arena.

The Sabres become the fifth different team to win the prospect tournament in the last five years.

"When you make improvements and have new additions to the organization with rookies and bunch of guys who haven't made the NHL yet, and go into a tournament and pull a championship, it's exciting for the organization and exciting what's to come in the future for the Sabres," Foligno told NHL.com.

Indeed, the Sabres outscored the opposition, 9-1, in the third period of their three victories in the five-day tournament en route to winning the trophy. In their only loss of the tournament, a 5-2 setback to Detroit on Tuesday, the Sabres were outscored, 3-0, in the final period.

"The third period was a focus of ours (against New York)," Sabres' prospects coach Ron Rolston said. "On Tuesday, that was a change and we wanted to get back to that (Wednesday). We just want to make sure that our guys were playing the right way and paying attention to details. We were able to make three strong finishes on those last three goals."

Corey Tropp's goal 1:28 into the third snapped a 2-2 tie before Daniel Catenacci connected at 15:00 to give Buffalo (3-1-0) a 4-2 cushion. Foligno then tacked on his second of the game when he drove home a shot off a breakaway after taking a pass from Zack Kassian at 17:47 to close out the scoring.

"It's weird … this whole tournament, we were a third period team," Foligno said. "Besides the Detroit loss, I think we all knew we had a little bit more in the tank (in the third) and we had 20 minutes left in this tournament to leave it on the ice. There was a lot of positive energy between intermissions and Rolston got us to work."

Foligno, who finished the tournament with 3 goals and 2 assists, was happy to chip in on the score sheet.

"It's always fun to score and help out with the points, but at the same time you want to do your job and do your role," he said. "I'm glad I had those opportunities to put the puck in the net."

Luke Adam had a goal and one assist and goalie Nathan Lieuwen made 21 saves in the triumph. The Rangers (2-1-1) received goals by J.T. Miller and Ryan Bourque.

"Our boys were resilient," Rolston said. "They worked really hard and as the tournament progressed, they knew what we had to do to be effective and have success. You felt it on the bench; we had a lot of energy and guys had good communication in terms of how we needed to play, so that was good to see."

Buffalo's top line of Luke Adam centering Foligno and Kassian proved to be quite a handful throughout the tournament. In Buffalo's loss to the Red Wings, Adam was a healthy scratch.

"Luke Adam is a great player and pretty good with the puck, and he has a great shot," Foligno said. "Kassian has a big body down low. We create space for each other and are all big guys and when we're in the offensive zone, it's tough for the opponents to kind of keep up with our pace."

Kassian agreed.

"I think we're three big bodies that like to play down low and that really favored us and we were moving it really good to find openings," Kassian said. "Luke has that great shot, so if he's in the slot you just give him the puck … it's going to be a goal more so than not."

Many of the Sabres' prospects are now looking forward to the start of training camp on Friday, including Kassian, Adam, Foligno and defensemen Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb.

"My goal is to play as many exhibition games as I can and do as well as I can," Foligno said. "I want to continue this strong effort I had in Traverse right through main camp. It'll be fun with all the guys and to get to play with pros."

Kassian feels Traverse City has certainly given the players one leg up entering main camp.

"Everyone in there is in game shape, ready for main camp," he said. "For me, personally, I hope to get in some exhibition games and play well."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 10:25 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Canucks overcome three deficits, edge Sharks

PENTICTON, British Columbia -- Despite trailing three times, the Vancouver Canucks settled down in third period and beat the San Jose Sharks 5-3 in Wednesday’s first game at the Young Stars tournament.

Ben Thomson of the Sharks opened the scoring early in the first, but Steven Janes leveled the game for the Canucks midway through the frame.

Sharks center Nathan Moon busy in the scored period as he netted a pair of goals and took a penalty. The first Moon tally was a one-time finish to a lovely passing play, while the second goal was a sharp-angle shot that Vancouver goaltender David Honzik misplayed.

Down 3-2, the Canucks responded to Moon’s second goal by netting three unanswered goals, and were helped by much more solid puck stopping from goaltender David Honzik in the second half of the match.

Northeastern alumni Brodie Reid, who was signed this spring after his freshman season, continued his strong showing at the tournament by creating offensive chances with regularity. Ditto for Kellen Tochkin, who recorded two assists and has played with energy in Penticton all week.

Alex Freisen and Michael Sgarbossa had a spirited fight as time expired over an exchange at the Vancouver goal mouth.

The Sharks finished the tournament with a record of (1-2-0). The Canucks (2-1-0) play tomorrow morning in the tournament finale.
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Posted On Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 9:35 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

City of Penticton, teams talking about 2012

PENTICTON, British Columbia -- Year two of the Young Stars tournament in Penticton has been drawing positive reviews from the city’s organizing committee, fans, media members, and the five NHL clubs in attendance.

The five-day event in the Okanagan has gone off without a hitch, and while attendance has dropped from last year’s inaugural edition, numbers aren’t at a level that will scare off the member parties from working toward a third annual event at the state of the art South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.

The popular vacation destination located between Okanagan and Skaha Lake seem to be the perfect fit for the event. Penticton’s September weather, the accessibility and functionality of the venue, and relative proximity to the four Western Canadian entrants have made the event and the city a great fit.

City Councillor Andrew Jakubeit spoke to the revenue the event brings to the local economy, and the notoriety the city receives as positive of the event. Jakubeit was quick to point out the large swarms of fans from Edmonton and Vancouver (among the smaller herds Jets and Flames faithful) that have traveled to the city to take in the hockey and the regional tourist attractions.

Jakubeit is hopeful the host Canucks and the city can have a framework for a potential 2012 event in place prior to the chaos of the NHL home-stretch and postseason, to allow for a head start on marketing and ticket sales.
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Posted On Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 4:53 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Panthers close 2011 rookie tournament with win

The Florida Panthers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 today in the finale of the 2011 Florida Rookie Tournament.
 
The game was closer than the score showed, however, as both teams wrapped the tournament with a spirited, back-and-forth battle.
 
The Panthers got goals from forwards Jonathan Hazen and John McFarland, along with a power-play score from defenseman Adam Comrie. Late in the game, with Lightning goaltender Jaroslav Janus on the bench in favor of an extra skater, Panthers forward Josh Birkholz was awarded the final goal after Tampa Bay defenseman Mark Barberio pulled him down from behind on a breakaway.
 
Brian Foster, who is signed to an AHL contract, was in the net for Florida. He stopped 32 of 33 shots as Tampa Bay outshot the Panthers 33-29. Foster's only misstep came in the final period, as Lightning forward Tyler Johnson stole the puck in front of the Florida net and scored unassisted.
 
Pat Nagle started in the net for Tampa Bay and stopped 12 of the 14 shots he faced. He gave way to Janus at the halfway point of the second period, and he was successful on 14 of the 15 shots that came his way.
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Posted On Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 2:05 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Conacher standing out for Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning Assistant General Manager Tom Kurvers talked about which players have impressed him here at the Florida Rookie Tournament.
 
"I've been really impressed with Cory Conacher (5-foot-8, 180 pounds)," Kurvers said of the training camp invitee. "He has some things small men need to play in the NHL. He has speed, puck skill, hockey sense and determination. When we open training camp he has a pretty good role model to see across our locker room, Marty St. Louis. Lots of under-sized guys have tried to get there (NHL), but not that many have made it, but Marty's been the best ever, perhaps.
 
"I wasn't familiar with Conacher until this spring and then again at this tournament, but he's made a great impression."

Conacher had 23 goals and 19 assists last season with Canisius College. When his college season ended, he saw time in the AHL with Rochester and Milwaukee, and Cincinnati in the ECHL.
 
Kurvers also talked about the size of the Lightning squad here, which is noticeably smaller than the opposition they've faced.
 
"Small teams can beat big teams with structure and synergy, but we really just scrapped a team together and threw them on the ice here," he said. "You'd like to win these games, sure, but there's a lot of things to factor in. Winning the games are secondary to individual performance of our young players -- we're assessing players on an individual basis. GM Steve Yzerman has been very clear in what we, as an organization, are looking for in hockey players, and hockey sense and competitiveness top the list; not at the expense of size, but when we are looking at potential players, these factors have to be present in order to argue the case for a player.
 
"Other teams have other criteria -- size is something some other teams may go after first. There are different ways of going after the prize."
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Posted On Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 1:01 PM

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

Rangers' Miller ready to face former coach in TC final

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Don't think for a second that New York Rangers prospect J.T. Miller doesn't know who his opposing coach will be when his club battles the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday in the championship game of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

"Yeah, that's Ron Rolston, my coach for two years at the NTDP (National Team Development Program)," Miller told NHL.com

The most decorated head coach in NTDP history left after seven years to become the coach of the Rochester Americans, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, in July. He's coaching Buffalo's prospects in the tournament this week. The Rangers and Sabres will square of in the tournament final here at Center ICE Arena at 7 p.m. ET.

Rolston guided his teams to five medals and multiple tournament championships in international competition. He is the only coach in U.S. history to win three gold medals in the Under-18 World Championship (2005, 2009, 2011). His team also captured a silver medal in the 2007 U18 World Championship.  Rolston's teams never missed a championship game in either of the two major NTDP tournaments -- the World U18 Championship and the World U17 Hockey Challenge.

Miller, who was drafted 15th overall by the Rangers in June, knows his team will have their work cut out for them.

"It's going to be great playing against him … it's about time," Miller said. "He's taught me a lot that I know, so I'm going to use what he taught me against him and hopefully it works out. I'm sure he has some really tough defensive systems up his sleeve, so it should be a good game."

The Rangers won their only other trip to the Traverse City championship game in 2007, defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-1, behind the play of Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Michael Sauer, and Marc Staal. This is the first year Buffalo is competing in Traverse City.

Miller, who passed on a scholarship to the University of North Dakota to sign with the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers for the 2011-12 season, skated in 48 games with the USNTDP U18 team this past season. He produced 11 goals, 37 points and 80 penalty minutes.

"He's a really good hockey player, a lot of tools and a bright future," Rolston praised. "He's come a long way in the two years I had him as far as maturity. This will be his next step, getting with an organization and working with their leadership to continue his maturity and development. He's strong and can skate, plays hard. The Rangers have a lot there to work with."

Miller, from East Palestine, Ohio, led Team USA in scoring with 13 points in six tournament contests en route to capturing the gold medal at the 2011 U18 World Junior Championship in Germany. He tied for third among all tournament skaters in points, fourth in assists (9), sixth in goals (4), and seventh with a plus-8 rating.

In addition to Miller, the Rangers' prospects have been led by defensemen Tim Erixon (1 goal, 3 assists), Dylan McIlrath and Samuel Noreau and forwards Shane McColgan (2 goals, 2 assists), Ryan Bourque (3 goals), Christian Thomas (1 goal, 3 assists), Blake Parlett (5 assists) and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (2 goals, 3 assists). Goalies Jason Missiaen (1-0-1, 2.94 goals-against average, .898 save percentage) and Scott Stajcer (1-0-0, 2.00 GAA, .929 save percentage) have performed well.

The 6-1, 200-pound Miller appeared in 95 career games over two seasons in the United States Hockey League with the USNTDP, registering 26 goals and 42 assists for 68 points, along with 159 penalty minutes.

"I think the pace (of the tournament) is great and the physicality that goes with it just takes it to a whole new level," Miller said. "I'm just trying to get used to it every game and trying to play more consistent. It's a tough game and you just can't beat yourself up too much and just get right back at it on the next shift. I'm trying to work on that."

Miller was asked what he anticipates from the Rolston-coached Sabres.

"A hard-nosed hockey game," he said. "They'll do their jobs and be responsible all over the ice. You have to play your role under Rolston … that's what he taught me over the years."

The Sabres have been led on offense by the triumphant top-line trio of Marcus Foligno (1 goals, 2 assists), Luke Adam (2 goals) and Zack Kassian (3 assists). Defensively, Brayden McNabb and Mark Pysyk have excelled. Nathan Lieuwen (1-1-0, 4.00 GAA, .862 save percentage) and Ryan Rondeau (1-0-0, 3.00 GAA, .885 save percentage) have split goaltending duty.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 12:01 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Flames, Oilers set to meet in Battle of Alberta

PENTICTON, British Columbia -- Bragging rights in Alberta are on the line tonight (7:30 p.m. PST) at the Young Stars tournament as the Flames and Oilers meet.

Ah, the battle of Alberta (Prospect Edition 1.0) – one of hockey’s great rivalries. There will be elbows thrown, there will be taunting, there will be scraps, and there will also be a game for these two unruly fan bases to watch as well. While that may be a slight exaggeration of the scale of the hatred between the two hockey tribes, it isn’t that far off.

True, it seems the Oilers and Flames rivalry was a touch hotter in the late-80s when the teams seemed to perennially meet in the Smyth Division playoffs. But the Oilers have finished dead last in the NHL the last two seasons, and the Flames have missed the playoffs while spending close to the cap over the same stretch, making it tough for fans to get the bile churning when, frankly, the stakes just haven’t been as high.

This will be the final game of the tournament for both sides. The Oilers have looked sharp in Penticton – two wins in two games – while the Flames are winless after watching a lead disappear with just 15 seconds remaining, then losing moments into overtime on Monday when they faced the Canucks.

In the afternoon affair, the Sharks and Canucks battle at 4 p.m. PST.
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Posted On Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 11:58 AM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Battle of Alberta Headlines Day 4

Bragging rights in Alberta are on the line today at the Young Stars Tournament as the Flames and Oilers meet in Penticton, B.C.

The Battle of Alberta (Prospect Edition) remains one of hockey's great rivalries. The rivalry between the Oilers and Flames was a touch hotter in the late 1980s, when the teams seemed to meet annually in the Smythe Division playoffs. The Oilers have finished 30th in the League the last two seasons, while the Flames also have missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons. It can be tough for the fans to get totally into it when, frankly, the stakes just haven't been as high.

This will be the final game of the tournament for both sides. The Oilers have looked sharp here with wins in both their games, while the Flames are winless after watching the Canucks tie Monday's game with 15 seconds left in regulation than score in overtime.

In the second game today, the Sharks will face the Canucks.
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Posted On Wednesday, 09.14.2011 / 1:36 AM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Oilers blank Jets, 2-0

Ryan Nugent Hopkins was the story early, but 19-year-old goalie Tyler Bunz ended up stealing the show as he and the Edmonton Oilers blanked the Winnipeg Jets 2-0 on Tuesday night.

The Oilers are now 2-0-0 in the Penticton Young Stars tournament.

Bunz was sturdy all night but seemed to get better and better as the game  progressed. In the second period he made a tricky save after a puck hit the iron, then in the final two minutes he made two gigantic saves to preserve the win. He reacted to the final buzzer and his shut-out performance with a double fist pump before being mobbed by teammates.

Both goals in the game came from the Oilers in the first period. First, Chase Schaber scored less than three minutes in, then Nugent-Hopkins and Kristians Pelss set up defender Ryan Lowery, who got a puck through traffic and behind Jets goalie Chris Carrozzi.

Nugent-Hopkins’s assist on the  power-play goal gave him his second point in as many games, but it was his physicality that had fans, scouts and media buzzing, as he used his body effectively early on in the game, doling out multiple hits.

For the Jets, Eric O’Dell had a stellar chance to beat Bunz in the second frame, but hit the post, and Bunz kept it out of the cage off the firm carom. Then in the final frame, Carl Klingberg took a great pass, cut across Bunz’s crease, but missed a tap-in on a yawning cage.
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 10:43 PM

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

Tvrdon, Mosher lead Red Wings over Sabres

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Slovakian Marek Tvrdon scored two goals and Evan Mosher turned aside 19 shots to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday in the final round-robin contest of the Traverse City Prospects tournament.

Tvrdon, who was drafted by the Red Wings in the fourth round (No. 115 overall) last June, scored both his goals in the first period when Detroit opened a 2-1 edge. Tvrdon will spend his first full season in North America this season with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. He had 6 goals and 11 points in 12 games with the team in 2010-11.

Phil Varone scored the first-period goal for Buffalo, which had forwards Luke Adam and Daniel Cantenacci and defenseman Brayden McNabb listed as healthy scratches for the match. Detroit was without six players, including 2011 first-round pick Tomas Jurco, who was sidelined with a lower-body injury.

Marcus Foligno scored 13:21 into the second to pull the Sabres into a 2-2 tie. Detroit scored three goals on 11 shots in the third -- receiving goals from Bryan Rufenach, Joakim Andersson and Trevor Parkes. Nathan Lieuwen turned aside 32 shots for Buffalo, which went 0-for-7 on the power-play.

Detroit will play Carolina in the seventh-place game on Wednesday at Center ICE Arena. Buffalo, meanwhile, will battle the New York Rangers in the championship match at 7 p.m. ET.

The fifth-place game will feature the Minnesota Wild against the Dallas Stars and the third-place match will have the St. Louis Blues against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 10:24 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Sens top Leafs in OT on Stone goal

OSHAWA, Ontario – The Oshawa Rookie Tournament wrapped up on Tuesday night with the Battle of Ontario, and the Ottawa Senators outlasting Toronto Maple Leafs in a 4-3 overtime tilt.

Mark Stone scored the winner for the Senators after the Leafs tied the score in the final minute of regulation with goaltender Mark Owuya pulled for an extra attacker.

“We talked today about introducing these young players to the rivalry,” Ottawa prospects coach Kurt Kleinendorst said. "Say what you want, you can sense it out there … there’s just something to these games. There’s just not a whole lot of 'like' out there between either team.”

Ottawa led off the scoring, as Shane Prince fed a pass to Stephane Da Costa, who flicked a wrister under the arm of Owuya.

The Senators continued to press, when Louie Caporusso gained control of the puck behind the net, and passed it off to Jakub Culek in the slot. Culek then wristed the puck past Owuya, putting the Sens up 2-0.

The Leafs got on the board late in the second, during a 5-on-3 power play. Matt Frattin one-timed a pass from Mitchell Heard, beating Robin Lehner blocker side.

As the third period began, the Senators found themselves down a man when Sondre Olden beat a screened Lehner from the top of the face-off circle. However, Ottawa countered when Shane Prince dished the puck to Mika Zibanejad, who quickly flicked a nifty backhand into the net.

But with 48 seconds left and Owuya out of the net, Greg McKegg jammed a puck past Robin Lehner on a tic-tac-toe feed from Josh Nicholls and Mitchell Heard, knotting it at 3-3, and forcing the game into overtime.

Two minutes into the extra frame, it was the Senators having the last laugh when Stone skated in alone through the slot, and rocketed the winning shot past Owuya. Stone was all smiles as he tried to recall the moment.

“I just remember getting the puck at the blue line and having a clear lead to the net,” Stone said. “I was looking to feed it and grab it back-door, but the defenseman, he bit real hard. So I had a clear lane and I just put it in the back of the net.”
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 9:45 PM

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

Chaput, Dainton spark Blue Jackets over Wild

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Michael Chaput scored unassisted in the second period for the go-ahead goal, and Paul Dainton made it stand with 26 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets scored a 3-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday in the third game for each club at the Traverse City Prospects tournament.
 
Mike Thomas scored in the first to give Columbus a 1-0 lead before Joey Martin connected for the Wild 3:19 into the second to square the contest. Chaput's goal 17:43 into the second snapped a 1-1 tie. Tyler Johnson then scored 16:50 into the third to extend the lead to 3-1.
 
Matthew Hackett, who was the winning goalie in last year's Traverse City tournament final, made 26 saves in defeat.
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 8:16 PM

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

Shugg strikes in second OT to lift Hurricanes

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- In what was perhaps the most exciting finish to a game in the 2011 Traverse City Tournament, Justin Shugg connected 2:19 into the second overtime off a breakaway to bring the Carolina Hurricanes their first victory of the tournament, 4-3, against the New York Rangers.
 
Shugg received his opportunity after a nifty theft on Christian Thomas at the Carolina blue line before speeding, uncontested, down right wing. Despite the loss, the Rangers still advance to the tournament championship game against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday at Center ICE Arena.
 
The Rangers snapped a 2-2 tie in the first when Christian Thomas converted a feed from Shane McColgan with just one second on the clock. Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and McColgan also collected goals for the Rangers, who suffered their first loss of the tournament.
 
Scott Pitt and Tyler Carroll connected for Carolina in the opening period.
 
Beau Schmitz scored 17:42 into the second to pull the Hurricanes into a 3-3 tie. Both goalies played well throughout. Carolina goalie Mavric Parks stopped 38 of 41 shots, including 23 in the third period. Rangers goalie Jason Misssiaen turned aside 35 shots in the loss.
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 8:15 PM

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

Rattie, Allen lead Blues past Stars

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Ty Rattie scored a pair of goals and dished out two assists, and Philip McRae had a goal and two assists to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 6-1 victory against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

Goalie Jake Allen made 27 saves to notch his first victory of the tournament.

Anthony Nigro and Tyler Shattock scored first-period goals as the Blues opened a 2-1 lead. Matt Tassone scored the only goal for Dallas, which has lost two straight games. Jay Barriball also hit for St. Louis, which finished 3-for-10 on the power play.

Dallas defenseman Jamie Oleksiak totaled 7 penalty minutes and engaged in his first fight of the tournament with Yannick Veilleux.
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 8:12 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 5:16 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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."
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 5:11 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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."
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 5:09 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 4:27 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 3:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com. "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 NHL.com. "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." 
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 2:29 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 2:12 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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."
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 12:08 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.
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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 9:20 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 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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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 1:04 AM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Jets look good in second-straight win

The Winnipeg Jets looked awfully sharp in their first game of the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton. No, they weren't wearing their brand new jerseys (they wore spiffy practice jerseys instead), but they did win, and did so by a decisive 4-0 margin.

Levko Koper scored a pair of goals to help lead the Jets to their first win in more than a decade, and he got some help from a couple of promising young forwards, too.

University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux alumni Jason Gregoire, who hails from Winnipeg, looked very good playing on a line with 2011 first-round pick Mark Scheifele; each scored a goal in the win and had a flock of Jets fans dancing in their seats for most of the evening.

Speeking of Jets fans, they did arrive in solid numbers in the Okanagan today and we're as keen as could be to see Winnipeg's NHL hockey players of the future. Loud cheers followed all the Jets goals Monday, including Koper's empty-net goal. Granted, It's been awhile between NHL goals for the city!

Edward Pasquale earned the shutout for the Jets as he set aside all 27 shots he faced, while Tomas Heemskerk was finally beaten in the San Jose nets after posting a perfect half game Sunday against Calgary.

The Jets return to action Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. PST when they face the Edmonton Oilers, while the Sharks have just a single game remaining against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. PST.
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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 10:52 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Canucks rally for win

Down 3-2 with less than a minute remaining, it appeared the Vancouver Canucks' prospects were set to drop their second consecutive match at the Young Stars Tournament. But Nathan Longpre wouldn't let it happen.

With just 15 seconds remaining, Longpre – in Penticton on a tryout after a productive season at Robert Morris – equalized the game on a goal mouth scramble, and then set up the winner just 16 seconds into the 4-on-4 overtime. He finished the night with two goals and an assist.

The Canucks' rally spoiled a tidy evening for Calgary Flames goalie Joni Ortio, who looked much sharper than he did in Sunday's tournament-opening loss, but got a win for Karel St. Laurent who was superb at the opposite end of the rink making 44 saves on 47 shots. The two goalies stole the show in a game that featured 87 shots.

St. Laurent couldn't stick as a 20-year-old in the QMJHL last season and headed west to Greater Vancouver, to play for the BCHL's Surrey Eagles in hopes of keeping his pro dreams alive. He's now allowed just four goals in a game and a half, and has been one of the bright Canucks stories of the event.

Patrick Holland was strong for the Flames Prospects as he had a pair of bang-in goals at the net – both assisted by Max Reinhart. Both Holland and Reinhart are 1992-born players and are safe bets to be returned to their WHL teams this season.

Sven Baertschi has only played two games in Flames silks, but he seems to create scoring opportunities at will. He was on the ice for the two Holland goals and showed a gritty element to his game in post-whistle scrums. The future is bright for the18-year-old Swiss talent who played in Portland last season.

Monday afternoon's showdown was the first close game of the tournament and left fans grinning from ear-to-ear.

The Canucks play again on Wednesday at 4 p.m. PST against the Sharks, while the Flames will play their final game of the tournament on Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. PST against their provincial rivals from Edmonton.
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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 10:45 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Late rally gives Canucks first win

Down a goal with less than a minute remaining, it appeared the Vancouver Canucks prospects were set to drop their second consecutive match at the Young Stars Tournament, but Nathan Longpre wouldn’t let it happen.

With just fifteen seconds remaining, Longpre -- in Penticton on a tryout after a productive season at Robert Morris University -- equalized the game on a goal-mouth scramble, and then set up the winner just 16 seconds into the four-on-four overtime as the Canucks down Calgary, 4-3.

Longpre finished the night with two goals and an assist.

The rally spoiled a tidy evening for Flames goalie Joni Ortio, who looked much sharper than he did in Sunday’s tournament-opening loss. But, it provided a win to Vancouver goalie Karel St. Laurent, who was superb at the opposite end of the rink making 44 saves on 47 shots. The two goalies stole the show in a game that featured 87 shots.

St. Laurent couldn’t stick as a 20-year-old in the QMJHL last season and headed west to Greater Vancouver, to play for the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles in hopes of keeping his pro dreams alive. He’s now allowed just four goals in a game and a half, and has been one of the bright Canucks stories of the event.

Patrick Holland was strong for the Flames prospects as he had a pair of bang-in goals at the net, both assisted by Max Reinhart. Both Holland and Reinhart are 1992-born players and are safe bets to be returned to their WHL teams this season.

Sven Baertschi has only played two games in a Flames uniform, but he seems to create scoring opportunities at will. He was on the ice for the two Holland goals and showed a gritty element to his game in post-whistle scrums. The future is bright for the18-year-old Swiss talent who played in Portland last season.

Monday afternoon’s game was the first close game of the tournament and left fans grinning from ear-to-ear. Certainly more compelling than Sunday’s 6-1 and 7-2 games.

The Canucks play again Wednesday at 4 p.m. PST against the Sharks, while the Flames will play their final game of the tournament Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. PST against their provincial rivals from Edmonton.
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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 9:42 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

No Jets' jerseys just yet

There's been a lot of buzz about shapes and colors in Winnipeg over the past few months. Team names, logos, fonts, shades – these are the things to talk about in Manitoba when there's no hockey in the summer, and the return of the Jets is slated for the fall.

The Winnipeg franchise took its time announcing the team name would be restored to the Jets, and have also been patient in releasing new logos. Tonight, they'll finally be a hockey game to talk about, but alas, no official jerseys will hit the ice.

Expect more fashion expertise from hockey fans when the Jets do dawn their silks for the first time. Just don't count on it happening this week in Penticton from the Young Stars Tournament.
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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 9:14 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Smith leads Preds to 7-3 win

Game 2 at the 2011 Florida Rookie Tournament is in the books as the Nashville Predators' prospects disposed of the Tampa Bay Lightning rookies, 7-3.
 
The tone of the night was set early as Nashville opened the scoring just 10 seconds in as Taylor Beck pushed the puck behind Lightning goaltender Pat Nagle on the first shot of the game. Tampa Bay tried to get back into the game on a goal by Brett Connolly, but the 1-1 tie didn't stand for long and the Predators didn't look back.
 
Indeed, it was the "Craig Smith Show" as the University of Wisconsin forward scored 4 goals to put the game out of reach. Smith seemed to always be in the right spot -- which was usually in the slot -- and his teammates had no trouble finding him there. He also demonstrated an educated shot when he ripped the puck into a narrow opening on the short side of Lightning goaltender Pat Nagle.
 
"It was a really positive night for my first game," Smith said. "My linemates were making good passes and I just kept trying to get open and find open ice."
 
Brent Andrews and Austin Watson closed out the scoring for the Predators. Cory Conacher and Alex Hutchings scored for the Lightning.
 
Chet Pickard and Atte Engren shared goaltender duties for Nashville, with Pickard stopping 20 of 22 shots while Engren collected 20 of 21.
 
Nashville will be back on the ice at noon tomorrow to face the Panthers in Game 3 of the tournament.
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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 7:45 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Connolly looks sharp for Lightning

Highly-touted prospect Brett Connolly -- Tampa Bay's first-round pick (No. 6) in 2010 -- continues to shine at the Florida Rookie Camp. His goal in the opening period, after he collected a rebound and lifted the puck over Pickard, was created by nothing but hard work. He is skating on a line with Cory Conacher and Tyler Johnson and they have produced consistent scoring chances for the Bolts.
 
"Connolly had a good year last year but it looks like he's improved tremendously," Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said. " He's worked hard in the off season and his physical test results are good. He's doing everything he needs to in order to be an NHL player."
 
It didn't take Predators forward Craig Smith, who played his college hockey at the University of Wisconsin and was selected by Nashville in the fourth round (No. 98) in the 2009 Entry Draft, to make a big impression. He scored from the high slot just 10 seconds into the game and added two more goals, including a precise short-side score, before 5 minutes were gone in the second period.
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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 6:50 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Tokarski held out for precautionary reasons

The two Lightning goaltenders here at the Florida Rookie Tournament are Jaroslav Janus and Pat Nagle. Not with the team is highly-regarded prospect Dustin Tokarski. According to Lightning goaltending coach Frantz Jean, Tokarski has a muscle pull and has been held out as a precaution. Frantz said Tokarski was on the ice earlier today and is expected to be ready when training camp opens next week.
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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 5:55 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Lightning, Preds set for Round 2

Warmups are under way here for Game 2 between Tampa Bay and Nashville at the Florida Rookie Tournament.

The starting goalies tonight are Chet Pickard for the Predators (2008, No. 18) and Pat Nagle for the Lightning. Nagle, who played his college hockey at Ferris State, was undrafted but signed a two-year entry level contract with Tampa Bay.
 
Behind the bench for the Lightning will be Jon Cooper, coach of AHL Norfolk. Nashville will be coached by new Milwaukee coach Kirk Muller. In a bit of an oddity, both AHL affiliates share a common nickname, the Admirals.

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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 4:11 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Off-day in Oshawa

OSHAWA, Ont. – Monday was an off-day at the Oshawa Rookie Tournament, with the Senators, Penguins and Blackhawks taking light practices, while Toronto stuck to an off-ice workout. Updates regarding injuries and lineups won't be made available before Tuesday.

Through two days of tournament play, the Blackhawks' Brandon Saad leads all players in scoring with 3 goals and 2 assists. The Senators' Corey Cowick is second, with 3 goals and an assist.

Standouts in net thus far have been the Maple Leafs' Garret Sparks and the Senators' Robin Lehner. Sparks split the backstopping duties with Mark Owuya on Saturday, but was awarded the win against the Blackhawks. Sparks also started Sunday and stood tall for Toronto, when the team faced off against Pittsburgh.

Lehner has played one game for Ottawa, but sparkled in a shutout of Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon.
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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 9:00 AM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Oilers get jump on Canucks, win big

Two games, and two lopsided scores in Penticton on Sunday's Day 1 of the Young Stars Tournament.

After the Flames Prospects got beaten 6-1 in the afternoon by the San Jose Sharks, the tournament hosting Vancouver Canucks got picked apart by the Edmonton Oilers, 7-2.

Much like the earlier game at the South Okanagan Events Centre, goaltending was an issue for the losing side. The Oilers did most of their scoring early, beating Vancouver starter David Honzik six times before Karel St. Laurent spelled him between the pipes midway through the match.

St. Laurent fared much better than his predecessor allowing just a single goal in a half game appearance.

Olivier Roy lived up to his last name on this night for the Oilers, as he backstopped the Albertans to a win to start their week in Penticton.

The Oilers got a pair of tallies from Anton Lander – a 20-year-old Swede selected in the second round of the 2009 Entry Draft. Kamloops Blazers forward Colin Smith had two assists in the win as one of the youngest players on the ice.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins drew the largest cheer when he was announced as part of  the starting online-up for the game. For the second-straight year, Oilers Nation has flooded the Okanagan in big numbers (draped in orange and blue garb) to get a peek at an impressive stable of talented young kids. While outnumbered by the team of choice in BC, the Oilers fans could be heard starting chants around the rink.

The ‘Nuge’ or ‘R.N.H.’ (which ever handle you prefer for the top pick in the draft) finished the night with an assist, as did Nicklas Jensen, the Canucks top pick in June, but both were upstaged by some big-time fisticuffs midway through the game.

First Cameron Abney and Sawyer Hannay slugged it out in a lengthy fight late in the second period, and that hostility seemed to carry over to the third. In the early going then, two shorter scraps ensued with each the Oilers and Canucks benches taking a turn cheering a one-sided tussel.

In the late going Jordan Schroeder potted the second and final goal of the game for the Canucks.

Schroeder is coming off an AHL season that left more to be desired offensively, and the fans were vocal in their applause for his strike, which happened to be the only tally of a 9-goal game that occurred in the third period.
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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 7:41 AM

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

Foucault and Hackett lead Wild over Red Wings

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Kris Foucault scored his second goal with 1:52 remaining in the third period and Matthew Hackett stopped 46 shots when the Minnesota Wild earned a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in the final game of Day 2 here at the prospects tournament.

Foucault, who had 25 goals and 48 points in 65 games for Calgary in Western Hockey League last season, finished with three points and a plus-3 rating for the Wild. Justin Fontaine also scored of Minnesota, which was outshot, 48-26.

Artem Sergeev and Xavier Ouellet scored the goals for winless Detroit and Gustav Nyquist chipped in with two assists. Ramis Sadikov turned aside 22 of 26 shots for the Red Wings.

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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 7:18 AM

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

Binnington stops 17 shots to lead Blues

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Jay Barriball scored with just 7:07 remaining in the third period and goalie Jordan Binnington made it stand with 17 saves as the St. Louis Blues scored a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Day 2 at the prospects tournament.

Binnington, who posted a 27-12-5 mark with a 2.52 goals-against average and .917 save percentage for Owen Sound in the Ontario Hockey League last season, stopped 12 shots over the final two periods. He was named the Most Outstanding Goaltender of the 2011 Memorial Cup, posting a 1.42 GAA and a .951 save percentage.

Ryan Tesink pulled the Blues into a 1-1 tie 9:44 into the third when he scored off an assist by Maxime Villemaire. Swede Mattias Lindstrom scored 9:13 into the first to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead. Goalie Mavric Parks stopped 24 shots for the 'Canes.

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Posted On Monday, 09.12.2011 / 7:08 AM

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

Crawford and Kassian spark Sabres

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Nick Crawford had a goal and one assist and Zack Kassian dished out a pair of helpers when the Buffalo Sabres scored a 6-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at the prospects tournament here at Center ICE Arena.

Crawford's goal 7:33 into the third period, off assists by Marcus Foligno and Kassian, snapped a 3-3 tie. Cedrick Henley converted feeds from Jacob Lagace and Steven Shipley just 1:01 earlier to pull the Sabres into a 3-3 tie.

Riley Boychuk, Gregg Sutch, Shawn Szydlowski and Luke Adam also hit for Buffalo, which received a 23-save performance from Ryan Rondeau.

The goal-scorers for the Blue Jackets were Cam Atkinson, Cody Goloubef and Boone Jenner; David Savard had three assists and Ryan Johansen notched two assists.  Goalie Mathieu Corbeil turned aside 31 shots in the loss.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 10:30 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Sharks douse Flames, 6-1

The San Jose Sharks didn’t need much time to get on the board in their tournament-opening match against the Calgary Flames on Sunday afternoon, scoring twice in the first  five minutes of the first period on their way to a 6-1 win.

Flames Finnish goalie  Joni Ortio wasn’t at his best Sunday – allowing 6  goals on 23 shots – while his counterparts for the Sharks only surrendered a single penalty-shot goal on 39 shots.

Thomas Heemskerk was spectacular in a busy first period in the Sharks zone and left with a clean sheet halfway through, while J.P. Anderson also kept the Flames at bay in the second half of the contest, stopping one of two penalty shots, and all other Flames opportunities.

The Sharks were led by Brodie Reid, Joe Antilla and Michael Sgarbossa who each had two points in the win. Reid, signed in this past  spring after freshman season with the Northeastern Huskies (Hockey East), played a season in Penticton with the Vees in 2008-09 and seemed at home in the familiar confines of the South Okanagan Events Centre as he scored once and set up another Sharks goal.

The Flames lone tally came from Roman Horak, acquired in the Tim Erixon trade, as he squeaked a backhanded deke past Anderson on a penalty shot awarded in the third period.

Sven Baertschi, the Flames first-round draft pick in 2011,  also earned  a penalty shot granted after he was taken down on a clear break, but he failed to convert the opportunity against Anderson.

The Flames owned the edge in possession and the shots in the first period, directing 16 pucks on target while allowing just 5, but the Sharks got to the intermission with a two-goal advantage and looked the better side for the final two periods.

The Flames return to action Monday afternoon against the Vancouver Canucks at 4:00 PM PST, while the Sharks return to action Monday evening at 7:30 to face the Winnipeg Jets.
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Posted On Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 10:17 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Leafs outdistance Penguins, 4-1

The action continued Sunday night from the Oshawa rookie tournament, with the Toronto Maple Leafs easily beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1.

“That was a terrific effort on our part,” Toronto coach Dallas Eakins said. “The character of our players was phenomenal.”

The Penguins took the lead early, when Brandon DeFazio buried a quick wrister on a feed from Zach Sill. Toronto responded, as Josh Nicholls tapped in a rebound on the right side from Greg McKegg.

The Leafs began to press, with McKegg offering a saucer pass to Mitchell Heard, who sent one past Maxime Lagace from the half-wall.

Sam Carrick capped off the second period for Toronto with a forehand tap-in from Kyle Neuber, right in front of Legace’s crease.

The McKegg show continued in the third, with the winger slicing an easy path through the Pittsburgh defense, and dumping in a backhand past the Penguins’ netminder.

“(Greg) settled down a little bit,” Eakins said. “Maybe not as anxious tonight as last night. You can see the skill sets that he has. If you give him a look, he’ll take full advantage of it.”

Toronto capped off the game with a final goal, when Jamie Devane fed Tyler Brenner a pass in the slot, which trickled past Lagace.
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Posted On Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 8:38 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Heard is the Word in Oshawa

Oshawa, ON – Whenever the Maple Leafs are playing in the Oshawa rookie tournament, you'll soon discover that "Heard is the Word."

T-shirts sported by fans with the "Heard is the Word" slogan have been seen at both Toronto games this weekend. The shirts are the brainchild of Mitchell's mother, Sheri. According to her, they have been a huge hit.

"I've already sold 80," she said. "I could have easily sold 200 – people keep asking for them."

The gear is being snapped up by Heard's fans from his hometown of Bowmanville, ON. Heard has already given them something to cheer about on Sunday night, scoring his first goal of the tournament against Pittsburgh. The Toronto prospect definitely appreciates the support.

"He loves it when everyone comes out," Sheri said. "I'm so proud of him."


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Posted On Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 5:36 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Still no Morin sightings at Oshawa tourney

OSHAWA, Ontario -- Chicago's Jeremy Morin is one of the Blackhawks' top prospects, and fans are looking forward to seeing him.

As of Sunday, they were still waiting.

Morin has sat the past two games, due to a coaching decision here at the Oshawa rookie tournament and has not been made available to the media.

Morin was one of the final cuts during last season's training camp in Chicago, but was called up from Rockford multiple times throughout the season, eventually playing in a total of nine games for the big club. He is expected to make a solid push again this year.


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Posted On Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 5:19 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Da Costa records natural hat trick in Sens' win

OSHAWA, Ontario -- Stephane Da Costa was a star for Ottawa Sunday afternoon in Oshawa with a natural hat trick, lifting the Sens over the Blackhawks, 6-5. 

"He's very intelligent and very skilled," Ottawa coach Kurt Kleinendorst said. "There aren't a lot of short cuts in his game."

The Sens began the scoring midway through the first period, with Andre Petersson capitalizing on a feed from Mika Zibanejad. Corey Cowick, who is having a standout tournament so far, added to his points total with another goal Sunday. Meanwhile, Zibanejad also scored the winning goal for the Sens, early in the third. Mark Stone, David Rundblad and Shane Prince contributed assists.

Brandon Saad continues to shine, with 2 goals and an assist on Sunday, giving him 5 points through two games. Jimmy Hayes also had a pair for the Blackhawks, while Peter Leblanc rounded out the scoring for Chicago. Assists came from Andrew Shaw, Phillip Danault, Shawn Lalonde and Joe Lavin.
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Posted On Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 4:32 PM

By Ryan Pinder -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Prospects primed for Penticton

The 2011 Young Stars Tournament hosted by the Vancouver Canucks begins Sunday from the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, British Columbia.

The Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, and Winnipeg Jets have brought their prospects to the Okanagan Valley for five days of games showcasing what fans are hoping will be future NHL stars.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the marquee name at the event, just months removed from being taken with the No. 1 pick at the 2011 Entry Draft in Minnesota. For the second year in a row, the Oilers have brought the NHL's top pick to Penticton, as Taylor Hall's first pro moments were witnessed just a year ago in this same event.

Wins aren't the primary focus of the coaching staffs in attendance. The event has proven to be an effective tool in player evaluation before the veterans arrive on the scene for training camp. Playing time will be spread around, and most teams will use three different goalies over the course of the event that sees each team play three contests with the exception of the Canucks, who play four times.

The Winnipeg Jets arrive on the scene as the new kids on the block, replacing the Anaheim Ducks who were at last September's inaugural event. Four Canadian teams participating means fans from across Western Canada will be making the trek to the renowned vacation hot-spot that is Penticton. Speculation is that the Jets could showcase their jerseys for the first time on-ice. The Jets' first game is Monday evening when they face the Sharks prospects at 7:30 p.m. PST.

The South Okanagan Events Centre is the home of the Penticton Vees (BCHL, Jr. A) and seats 5,200 fans for hockey events. The Young Stars Tournament was immensely popular last season, with nearly all games played before capacity crowds. Also affixed to the 3-year-old, state-of-the-art facility is a second sheet of ice which logistically allows five teams to get morning skates and games in with ease.

The Flames and Sharks kick off the event at 4 p.m. PST Sunday, with the host Canucks and Oilers facing off at 7:30 p.m. PST.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 10:57 AM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Leafs claim 4-2 win over Blackhawks

OSHAWA, Ontario -- It was a chippy affair to wrap up Saturday night at the Oshawa rookie Tournament, with the Toronto Maple Leafs edging the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2.

The feisty Jamie Devane began the scoring in the first period for Toronto, but Chicago's Brandon Saad came to life midway through the game, assisting on a goal from Christopher DiDomenico in the second, and putting one for himself past Garret Sparks in the third period.

The Leafs, however, still had some offensive juice left in the tank. Kenny Ryan scored his first goal of the tournament, while Jake Gardiner added the go-ahead and winning goals. Sondre Olsen, Garrett Clarke and Mitchell Heard each scored an assist.

Chicago's Phillippe Paradis suffered an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return. He is listed as day-to-day.
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Posted On Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 10:56 AM

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

McColgan looks to impress Rangers' brass

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- New York Rangers prospect Shane McColgan is out to prove his critics wrong.

McColgan had a memorable 2009-10 campaign with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, notching 25 goals and 69 points in 71 games on the way to finishing runner-up to Red Deer's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (24 goals, 65 points, 67 games) as WHL Rookie of the Year. It was then that scouts started to take notice of the scrappy 5-foot-8, 165-pound wing.

But McColgan got off to a rough start to the 2010-11 campaign, missing three games to have his tonsils removed and struggled with consistency throughout the course of the season. Still, he did produce 25 goals and 69 points in 71 games. It wasn't until the WHL playoffs, when he produced 8 goals and 19 points in 10 games, that he really returned to form.

"I had a rough start to the season with my surgery and went through a lot of adversity … on top of that, we started the season 4-10 so that didn't help," McColgan told NHL.com. "It was a hard time for everyone. But the main thing is I really stepped it up in playoffs when it counted, but I have to be more consistent throughout the regular season and that's what I'll focus on this year."

It begins this week at the Traverse City prospects tournament where McColgan, New York's fifth-round choice last June, and 21 other Ranger hopefuls are strutting their stuff with the hope of making a good impression.

"I'm just going to go out and show them my stuff and show them why they drafted me," McColgan said. "Obviously I dropped a little bit in the draft, but I couldn't ask for a better situation right now."

McColgan, who opened the tournament on a line with center Matt Rust and Carl Hagelin, will rejoin his teammates in Kelowna for the 2011-12 campaign. Kelowna coach Ryan Huska knew the Rangers were very interested in McColgan's services.

"They were very high on Shane, but the fact they lost a pick in the second round maybe played a part in where he was drafted," Huska told NHL.com. "Shane is a guy who, as he continues to grow and develop and become a more mature young man, is going to be a very dynamic player. I don't think he's going to be about the offense at the end of the day. I think he's got the ability to play a smart, all-around game and that's something he'll continue to develop. We'll be looking to him to be more of a guy who will be a leader in making sure our team is playing the right way because he's not 16- or 17-years-old anymore. He's 18 and becoming one of our older players and I'm looking forward to him stepping into one of those roles."

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Posted On Sunday, 09.11.2011 / 10:55 AM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

David Toews debuts with Blackhawks

OSHAWA, Ontario -- Blackhawks fans in attendance at Saturday night's game got their first look at Chicago's second Toews.

In a move announced on Friday, David Toews, the 21-year-old younger brother of Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, was obtained by the Blackhawks from the New York Islanders for future considerations. It was an exciting night for David, as he donned the Blackhawks' infamous sweater for the first time.

"It was great," Toews said. "I've been looking forward to this for a couple of days since I got the call and I had to be flown out here. It was exciting to get out there on the ice -- it was my first game in a few months. It was obviously not the result we wanted, but I think we had a lot of positives tonight and I'll take it into tomorrow."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.10.2011 / 11:29 PM

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

Columbus rallies for victory over Detroit in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- After spotting the Detroit Red Wings a two-goal lead in the first period, the Columbus Blue Jackets stormed back for four unanswered goals on the way to a 7-3 victory on Saturday in the Traverse City prospects tournament at Center ICE Arena.

Tomas Kubalik had two goals and one assist in the victory. Brendan Smith and Ryan Sproul connected in the first to give Detroit a 2-0 edge before Kubalik struck at 16:37 to pare the margin to one.

David Savard then converted a feed from Ryan Johanson 1:01 into the second to tie the game before Johansen and Dalton Prout scored to give the Blue Jackets a 4-2 edge. Joakim Andersson then scored an unassisted goal at 7:49 to pull Detroit within 4-3 before Kubalik struck for a power-play goal less than a minute later.

Adam Payerl and Oliver Gabriel also hit for Columbus, which received a 27-save performance by Allen York between the pipes. Petr Mrazek made 19 saves for Detroit.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.10.2011 / 11:18 PM

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

Special teams lead Rangers over Blues in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Carl Hagelin scored a power-play goal and Ryan Bourque connected shorthanded in a span of 1:10 midway through the second period to help lead the New York Rangers to a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues at Center ICE Arena on Saturday in the Traverse City prospects tournament.

Rangers starting goalie Jason Missiaen turned aside 18 of 20 shots to earn the victory between the pipes.

Tim Erixon (1 goal, 1 assist) scored a power-play goal and Randy McNaught connected at even-strength when the Rangers opened a 2-0 edge. The Blues tied the contest on goals by Phillip McRae and Anthony Nigro (shorthanded).

Jonathan Audy-Marchessault also scored a power-play goal for the Rangers, who finished 3-for-11 with the man advantage. Blues goalie Jake Allen took the loss with 31 saves. St. Louis was whistled for 13 penalties totaling 29 minutes.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.10.2011 / 9:50 PM

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

Stars roll past Hurricanes, 8-2

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Dallas Stars erupted for four goals in the first period en route to an 8-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the opener of the Traverse City prospects tournament on Saturday at Center ICE Arena.

Matt Fraser scored two of his three goals in the opening 20 minutes, as did Matt Tassone and Stephen Schultz. Scott Glennie and Brett Ritchie each notched three assists for the Stars in the contest.

Matej Stransky, Jamie Oleksiak and Fraser scored in the second for Dallas and Carolina's Tyler Carroll ended the shutout bid 9:16 into the second, when the Stars opened a 7-1 advantage. Matt Carter closed out the scoring for the victors in the third and Victor Rask struck for the Hurricanes at 15:43.

Tyler Beskorowany stopped 16 shots to earn the victory in goal for Dallas while Matt Mahalek, who was pulled after two periods, turned aside 19 of 26 shots for Carolina.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.10.2011 / 9:40 PM

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

Sabres defeat Wild in opener of Traverse City tourney

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Buffalo Sabres had a memorable opener in their Traverse City Prospects tournament debut here at Center ICE Arena on Saturday following a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

After spotting the defending Traverse City Tournament champion Wild a 2-0 lead on power-play goals by Zack Phillips and Chay Genoway, Luke Adam and Nick Crawford connected in a span of 3:34 late in the first period to pull the Sabres even.

The teams exchanged goals in the second with Riley Boychuk giving Buffalo a 3-2 lead before Minnesota's Mike Kramer evened the contest with just six seconds left.

The Sabres then broke the game open in the third on goals by Jonathan Parker, Daniel Catenacci and Phil Varone. Sabres starting goalie Nathan Lieuwen turned aside 18 shots to earn the victory. Minnesota's Darcy Kuemper took the loss, stopping 18 of 23 shots.

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Posted On Saturday, 09.10.2011 / 7:57 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Leafs fans show their support in Oshawa

OSHAWA, Ontario – The Maple Leafs played their first game Saturday night at Oshawa's rookie Tournament, and Toronto's faithful was out in full force.

The GM Centre was approximately 75 percent full for the evening game between the Leafs and Blackhawks, and the stands were drenched in blue and white. Nazem Kadri and Luke Schenn were some of the more popular names being sported on the backs of sweaters.

Youth is the order of the day in Toronto, with a team that is desperate to return to the playoffs. It's obvious that the fans are hungry to see their rookies succeed. A massive roar went up for Jamie Devane after his goal late in the first period, and the "Go Leafs go" chants followed not long after.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.10.2011 / 5:47 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Prospecting the future

Cowick leads Sens past Pens

OSHAWA, Ontario – Carried on the back of Corey Cowick, the Ottawa Senators easily dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 in Saturday’s first game at the Oshawa rookie Tournament.

Cowick had two goals and an assist for the Sens. Cowick’s linemate, Derek Grant, also found the back of the net midway through the first period, while Andre Petersson helped put it away for Ottawa late in the third.

"I thought Corey played very well," Sens coach Kurt Kleinendorst said. "In fact, I would say that in the year now that I’ve spent with him, that’s about as good as I’ve seen him play. We put an ‘A’ on him for a reason. "

Nick Petersen and Ben Street were the standouts for the Penguins, but both were unable to solve Ottawa goaltender Robin Lehner.



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Posted On Friday, 09.09.2011 / 5:45 PM

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

Traverse City Prospects Tournament schedule

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- One of the premier prospect tournaments is set to begin on Saturday here at Center ICE Arena.

Dallas Stars goalie Jack Campbell returns to Traverse City
The Traverse City tournament runs Sept. 10 through Sept. 14 and includes top prospects from the Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, and St. Louis Blues. Practice sessions and tournament games will be held at David's Rink and Huntington Rink.

For a tournament preview, click here. NHL Network will be televising portions of the tournament.

Columbus, Detroit, Buffalo and defending champion Minnesota will compete in the Howe Division. The Gretzky Division will feature prospects from the Hurricanes, Blues, Stars and Rangers.

Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen and Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak will be maintaining daily blogs for NHL.com throughout the tournament.

Traverse City Tournament schedule:

Saturday, September 10

3:30 PM Minnesota vs. Buffalo (Davids)
4:00 PM Dallas vs. Carolina (Huntington)
7:00 PM NY Rangers vs. St. Louis (Davids)
7:30 PM Detroit vs Columbus (Huntington)

Sunday, September 11
2:30 PM Columbus vs. Buffalo (Davids)
3:00 PM St. Louis vs Carolina (Huntington)
6:00 PM NY Rangers vs. Dallas (Davids)
6:30 PM Detroit vs. Minnesota (Huntington)

Tuesday, September 13
3:00 PM Dallas vs. St. Louis (Davids)
3:30 PM NY Rangers vs. Carolina (Huntington)
6:30 PM Columbus vs. Minnesota (Davids)
7:00 PM Detroit vs. Buffalo (Huntington)

Wednesday, September 14
3:00 PM 7th Place Game 4th Howe vs. 4th Gretzky (Davids)
3:30 PM 5th Place Game 3rd Howe vs. 3rd Gretzky (Huntington)
6:30 PM 3rd Place Game 2nd Howe vs. 2nd Gretzky (Davids)
7:00 PM Championship Game 1st Howe vs. 1st Gretzky (Huntington)

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Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness