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Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 1:43 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - All-American Prospects Game Blog

Scouts happy to have best of the best in one place

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Scouts are used to being on the road to see the prospects they need to evaluate each season. But when the prospects can all come to them, it makes the lives of some of the hardest-working people in hockey just a little bit easier.

For the scouts who examine U.S.-based prospects, they get a treat this weekend when 38 of the best American-born players showcase themselves at the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Saturday here at First Niagara Center.

With the season just getting under way in the Canadian junior leagues and about a week away in the USHL, Saturday's game also will serve as a baseline for what the scouts will be looking for from each of the players.

"It's a tremendous advantage for scouts, No. 1, just to get the caliber of players all together in one site," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr told "But the fact that now we get a head start on these players and our evaluations on them during the season. They all come to us in one venue. Not only is it good economically, but from a scouting point of view it gives you your first impression on the kids for the year."

Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 1:08 PM

By Ian McCoshen -  Special to / - Ian McCoshen Draft blog

McCoshen looking forward to competitive game

It's such an honor to be part of the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game. It's just such an honor to represent yourself and your country as one of the top prospects in America.

I was a little surprised when I got asked to play in the game because I didn't know they were going to put on a game like this. I'm definitely happy to be here, because I know a couple guys coming, some buddies from the NTDP. It's good to see all the guys.

It wasn't the easiest trip to get here. We had a game in Green Bay on Friday night. We won 4-3 and then I flew right after the game and got here in Buffalo at 2 in the morning. It's been a whirlwind, but it definitely was worth it.

I'm looking forward to just having fun with some of the guys and it being a really competitive game out there and pushing ourselves.

Posted On Saturday, 09.29.2012 / 7:49 AM

By Seth Jones -  Special to / - Seth Jones Draft blog

Jones: Long night of travel definitely was worth it

This should be an exciting day.

I flew into Buffalo this morning and I can already feel the energy of the game tonight. It was a long trip and not the easiest. We beat Kelowna 1-0 on Friday, and then I had the red-eye flight out of Portland. I had a layover in Atlanta this morning before I arrived in Buffalo, and I'm pretty tired, but I know it's going to be worth it tonight.

I know most of the players here so I am pretty comfortable. I'm getting to play with and against most of the best American-born draft prospects, which is obviously an awesome experience. I'm looking forward to the pace of play and to the screaming fans of Buffalo.

I hope you are there to see the first CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game tonight.

Check back tomorrow to see what how the game went for me.

Follow Seth Jones on Twitter: @seth_jones04

Posted On Friday, 09.28.2012 / 4:52 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - All-American Prospects Game Blog

What's next for the Prospects Game?

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The puck won't drop on the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game until Saturday, but some talk already has turned to the future of the game.

USA Hockey Assistant Executive Director of Hockey Operations Jim Johannson said he envisions the Prospects Game as something the next generation of NHL hopefuls growing up in the United States can use as a goal.

"One of the things we hope this event does is become another marker in a young players' development, to say I want to make the All-American Prospects Game," Johannson said. "The National Team Development Program was a key part of our growth and development and we have kids aspiring to make the National Team Development Program and we want them to aspire to make the Prospects Game."

As far as any changes to the set-up or timing of the game, Johannson said that will come in the days and weeks following Saturday's game here at First Niagara Center.

Posted On Friday, 09.28.2012 / 4:37 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - All-American Prospects Game Blog

Buffalo, Sabres are excited hosts

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres and USA Hockey formed a strong partnership for the 2011 World Junior Championship, so bringing the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game to Buffalo was a pretty easy decision.

And the response from the area has been solid.

Sabres president Ted Black wouldn't give a number on tickets sold, but said he expects about 5,000 fans to be in the First Niagara Center for the game Saturday night.

"I think the fans are very excited about it," Black said. "I don't know what our ticket count is right now but we expect to have over 5,000 fans in the building, and for an event of this caliber, I think that's a pretty good start. Tickets are available and we expect a pretty strong walk-up crowd."

Black said beyond tickets, he said success will be measured by the amount of fun the players and fans have. The players, who started arriving Friday, will be treated to a special private event at the First Niagara Center, hosted by Sabres owner Terry Pegula, and his wife, Kim.

Posted On Friday, 09.28.2012 / 3:57 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - All-American Prospects Game Blog

Housley watching with eye on World Junior

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Phil Housley, who will coach one of the teams at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Saturday, also will coach the U.S. at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. So you can be sure he'll be taking lots of notes on potential candidates for the team he takes to Ufa, Russia for the event.

The World Juniors generally is a tournament for 19- and 20-year-olds, but Housley said he would keep an open mind for any player to make the team. Of the 45 players USA Hockey invited to its junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid in August, two -- defenseman Seth Jones and forward Ryan Hartman -- were 18, and both made the initial cut-down and played well in exhibition games against Finland and Sweden.

"Certainly we're going to keep an open mind," Housley said.

Posted On Friday, 09.28.2012 / 11:35 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - All-American Prospects Game Blog

Bailey, Cook out of Prospects Game with injuries

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Injuries will force forwards Justin Bailey and Dawson Cook to skip the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Saturday here at First Niagara Center.

With the game so close, each team will skate with 11 forwards.

Bailey, a center with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, was scheduled to play for Team McClanahan. Rated as an A player to watch in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players-to-watch list, is scoreless in three games this season, with four penalty minutes. Playing for the Pat Lafontaine-coached Long Island Royals last season, the 6-foot-3.25, 194-pound forward had 21 goals and 34 points in 22 games.

Cook, a left wing with the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team, had been assigned to Team Housley. Rated a C player to watch, Cook has one goal in three preseason games. Last season, he had two goals and 10 assists in 54 games for the USNTDP U-17 team.

Posted On Thursday, 09.27.2012 / 8:03 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - All-American Prospects Game Blog

Top U.S. talent set for All-American Prospects Game

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The puck drops for the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Saturday, and that first puck will be dropped by Hockey Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman.

Bowman coached the Sabres from 1979-87, compiling a record of 210-134-60. His best season coming in his first, as the Sabres finished with 110 points, tied for the second-most in franchise history. Bowman also played a role in bringing AAPG coaches Phil Housley and Rob McClanahan to Buffalo.

The rosters for Team Housley and Team McClanahan will feature 40 of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.

That list includes Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones, a candidate to hear his name called first next June, playing for Team McClanahan.

"I've got to say I'm very jealous because Rob has Seth Jones," Housley said on a conference call. "Extremely talented. It just seems like he's made for today's game. He's big, fast, strong, can move the puck and make that first pass out of the zone, can play in all situations. I'm mad at Rob for taking him."

Housley will have more than a few good players of his own, among them defenseman Ian McCoshen of the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL and forward J.T. Compher of the U.S. National Team Development Program. Both are ranked as A skaters on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list.

Posted On Monday, 09.24.2012 / 9:55 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Petan, Drouin receive league honors

Monday was a chance for two of the top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft to pick up some hardware for their efforts last week.

Portland Winterhawks center Nicolas Petan and Halifax Mooseheads Jonathan Drouin were named the Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League players of the week.

Petan, a C-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary watch list, had a league-best eight points with a plus-6 rating in three games to earn the Denny's WHL Player of the Week award.

He had a goal and an assist in Friday's season-opening 5-2 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds, but followed with a goal and three assists Saturday in a 6-2 rematch with the Thunderbirds in Portland. He capped his weekend with two goals in Portland's 4-2 defeat of the Tri-City Americans. Petan was named the first star of the game in the last two games of the weekend.

Drouin was named the Telus First Star of the Week after starting the season with seven points and a plus-6 rating in three games. A 5-foot-10.75, 185-pound forward, Drouin had a goal and an assist in the Mooseheads' 4-3 win at the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Friday, and had a goal, four assists and a plus-4 rating in Halifax's 8-1 win at PEI on Sunday.

Another 2013 draft prospect, Rimouski Oceanic goaltender Carl Hozjan, was named the QMJHL's third star of the week after winning both of his starts, stopping 45 of 46 shots in the process. He made 28 saves on 29 shots in a 5-1 win at the Sherbrooke Phoenix on Friday. Saturday, he entered the game seven minutes into the second period in relief of starter Philippe Desrosiers with the Oceanic trailing 3-0, and stopped all 17 shots he faced in regulation and overtime as Rimouski rallied to tie the game. He then turned aside all four chances he faced in the shootout as the Oceanic beat the defending Memorial Cup champion Shawinigan Cataractes 4-3.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Monday, 09.24.2012 / 11:36 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Petan's big weekend tops draft prospect roundup

Seth Jones is the top name among 2013 NHL Draft eligible players on the Portland Winterhawks, but it was his teammate, center Nicolas Petan, who stole the show over the weekend,

Petan, a 5-8.5, 163-pound center rated as a C player to watch on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings, had four goals and four assists in three games for Portland over the weekend as the Winterhawks went 2-1-0.

He opened his weekend with a goal and an assist in a 5-2 season-opening home loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday, then had a goal and three assists in Saturday's rematch in Seattle, and finished with a pair of goals in the Winterhawks' 4-2 win at the Tri-City Americans on Sunday.

In the Tri-City game, Jones, a defenseman regarded by some scouts as the best player available for this year's draft, picked up his first WHL point, assisting on Petan's second goal of the game.

Petan wasn't the only top 2013 draft prospect to have a big weekend. Here's a recap of some of the best performances from Canadian Hockey League players:


* Moose Jaw's Andrew Johnson scored in overtime to lift the Warriors to a 4-3 win Friday against Swift Current.

* Riley Sheen had two goals and two assists in the two games against Portland. He scored twice in Friday's win, and had a pair of assists Saturday.

* Landon Cross had a goal and two assists to help the Kamloops Blazers to a 6-5 overtime win against the Kelowna Rockets on Friday.

* Zane Jones scored twice Saturday to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-1 win against the Kootenay Ice.

* Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Ryan Pulock, an A skater in Central Scouting's rankings, had three assists in a 7-4 win at the Regina Pats on Saturday.

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