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Posted On Wednesday, 06.20.2012 / 5:08 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2012 NHL Draft blog

'Babysitter' Gibson remembers back to last year

CASTLE SHANNON, Pa. -- One of the more interested observers at the clinic on Wednesday was Pittsburgh-area resident John Gibson, who was drafted in the second round last year by the Anaheim Ducks.

He helped on the ice at Tuesday's session, but was a spectator Wednesday.

"My brother is out there," Gibson told "I came to pick him up. … I'm on babysitting duty today."

Nine-year-old Justin Gibson is a burgeoning defenseman who got the treat of skating with a few of the top prospects for the 2012 NHL Draft.

Gibson said watching the clinic brought him back to last year in Minnesota.

"It definitely was an exciting time," he said. "I know I enjoyed it with my family. It goes by fast. The main thing is just enjoy it."

Gibson, who spent last season with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, said that was the advice he was giving his friends who were up for the draft this year.

"They ask a little bit of what to expect and stuff," he said. "I just say enjoy it, it goes by fast."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Wednesday, 06.20.2012 / 4:46 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2012 NHL Draft blog

Murray happy for Hartsburg

CASTLE SHANNON, Pa. -- Everett Silvertips defenseman Ryan Murray was happy to hear Craig Hartsburg, dismissed as an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames, had been hired to the same post with the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this week.

Hartsburg spent two seasons (2009-11) as coach with Everett, which happened to be Murray's first two seasons in the Western Hockey League.

"That's great for him," Murray told "He's one of the best coaches I ever had. He did a great job with our team in Everett for two years. He got a tough break from Calgary, but it's great that he's back in the NHL again. He really deserves it."

Murray said Hartsburg -- who spent 10 seasons as an NHL defenseman with the Minnesota North Stars -- taught him what he needed to get to the next level.

"He's just a really intense guy," Murray told "Every day he teaches you to work hard. You can't take a shift off when he's your coach or you're going to hear about it. He really taught me that you have to play consistent if you're going to play at a high level. He taught me that if you're going to play at a high level you have to play hard every night and you have to show up every single day."

And with the Blue Jackets currently holding the second pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, there's a chance they pair could be reunited next season.

Murray, however, would only say, "I guess there's a chance."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Wednesday, 06.20.2012 / 2:47 PM

By Steven Stamkos -  Special to / - Steven Stamkos NHL Awards player blog

Winning Hart would complete great trip

LAS VEGAS -- Another night in Vegas is behind me and it went well. We went to a nice dinner as a family and I played some blackjack with my dad.

That's my game when I'm in Vegas. I love blackjack, and my dad is very good at it, so he gives me tips and pointers all the time. It went well last night, but we always say we have to wait until the end of the trip to see what the damage is before we can form an opinion on how it all went.

Maybe at the end of this trip I'll be a Hart Trophy winner. I'm not sure, and I'm up against two really good players and competitors in Evgeni Malkin and Pekka Rinne, but I'm competitive and I want to win.

You don't know how many times you're going to get an opportunity to even be a finalist for something this big, and when you're there and you're that close you just want to get it done. People have asked me if I'm nervous and I swear I'm not, but I'm definitely anxious and I want to really enjoy this day and make some memories.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.20.2012 / 1:36 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2012 NHL Draft blog

USA Hockey excited by defensemen in draft

The past two months have been good ones for American hockey players, culminating with Dustin Brown becoming the second U.S.-born captain to hoist the Stanley Cup and Jonathan Quick becoming the third U.S.-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy -- all on a Kings team constructed by American-born general manager Dean Lombardi.

But the celebration for USA Hockey began in April, when the National Team Development Program's Under-18s won their fourth straight world championship. Players from that tournament now are likely to be selected at the 2012 NHL Draft, to be held June 22-23 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

"It was unique this year with Zach Parise [of the New Jersey Devils] and Dustin Brown both being [Stanley Cup Final] captains from the United States, then Jonathan Quick winning the Conn Smythe. That's something we've been striving for," said Danton Cole, who coached the U.S. U-18 team. "Hopefully we see more guys like that in the NHL."

Cole's USNTDP team could figure prominently in that goal. The U-18s cruised through the world championship tournament in the Czech Republic, wrapping up gold with a 7-0 victory over Sweden in the final.

The program had five graduates selected in the top 39 picks at the 2011 Draft. This year, their choices likely will start with Jacob Trouba, a physical defenseman and national team co-captain who was No. 9 among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final ranking. He could be one of a number of U.S. defensemen hearing his name called.

"[Trouba] is a heck of a player and a really good man and a great competitor. He's going to make somebody pretty happy for a lot of years, throwing him out on right D every night," Cole said. "Staying on D, Brady Skjei is probably going to go very high as well. [He is] probably one of the best skaters to come through this program. Patrick Sieloff will go fairly high, in the first couple of rounds probably. [He has] good offensive skill but makes his mark on the defensive side of the puck by being physical. We had a pretty strong D corps this year."

The real jewel of the U-18 blue line could be its other co-captain, Seth Jones. The Texas product and son of former NBA player Popeye Jones won't be draft eligible until 2013, but is already at the top of a number of boards. If he goes No. 1, he'll be the first American to do so since USNTDP product Erik Johnson and Patrick Kane did it in in 2006 and 2007.

"He's certainly in the mix at the top there," Cole said of Jones. "He's got work to do, a whole other year to build that resume. But somebody is going to sleep well at night throwing him out every night on D.

"I felt the same way about Jacob at the end of the tournament. Those two guys did a good job."

Posted On Wednesday, 06.20.2012 / 11:41 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2012 NHL Draft blog

Jackets' associate coach Hartsburg knows Murray

The hiring of Craig Hartsburg as associate coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets by general manager Scott Howson on Wednesday might have confirmed one thing entering the NHL Draft.

That 2012 draft-eligible defenseman Ryan Murray of the Western Hockey League's Everett Silvertips might not last beyond the No. 2 pick in Friday's opening round at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

The Blue Jackets currently hold the No. 2 choice in the Draft. The Edmonton Oilers have the first overall selection.

Hartsburg, who spent last season as associate coach of the Calgary Flames, served as the head coach of the Silvertips from 2009 through 2011. He coached Murray for two seasons in Everett, including his rookie season in 2009-10.

Murray was named captain of the Silvertips in 2010-11 by Hartsburg despite the fact his 6-foot-1/2, 195-pound blue liner had just turned 17-years-old. The move was made when regular captain Landon Ferraro, a second-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2009, was sidelined due to sports hernia surgery and a bum shoulder.

"I really didn't expect it at all but I got more comfortable with it as the year went on," Murray said at the time. "Coach called me into his office one day and said that I would take over captaincy while Ferraro was out and I took the responsibility and it was a great honor to represent my team like that.

"I just kind of stayed the same way. I acted the same way towards my teammates and played the same way."

Hartsburg never wavered in naming Murray the youngest captain in franchise history.

"To me there never was a question," Hartsburg told the Everett Herald. "He's the most mature kid on our team. He exemplified what we want to be. He works hard every day, competes hard every day, cares about the team and his teammates. It's a reward for what he brings to the table."

Murray would reward his coach by leading all Everett defenders in scoring with 46 points, including 40 assists, while leading the team with a plus-18 rating.

Murray is currently NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American defenseman eligible for the Draft. He's ranked No. 2 overall behind Nail Yakupov of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

Posted On Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 8:27 PM

By Steven Stamkos -  Special to / - Steven Stamkos NHL Awards player blog

More fun to be in Vegas this time

LAS VEGAS -- It's still kind of surreal being here -- but I'm definitely a lot more comfortable being in this situation now.

My first year here I was 20 years old and I had just tied Sidney Crosby for the Rocket Richard Trophy. My eyes were wide open on that one, and I was pretty nervous even though I knew I had the award already. But now that I've been here a few years, you learn to take in the moment and soak it in. You never know if you're going to get the chance to be here again with all the best talent in the League.

My family is here with me this time, so we're trying to cherish it together. It's a lot of fun.

Posted On Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 3:12 PM

By Ryan Murray -  Special to / - Ryan Murray draft blog

Ryan Murray expecting the unexpected come Draft day

Defenseman Ryan Murray is captain of the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot, 182-pound native of Saskatchewan won a bronze medal playing for Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship and was also the second-youngest player to ever appear for Canada at the Men's World Championship. Despite his busy schedule, Murray will log his experiences leading up to the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh this week for

Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by to read my blog once again.

Well, here we are -- it’s finally draft week. The past year has actually flown by with so much going on, and the draft kind of snuck up on me, to be honest. It’s been a really fun and exciting year leading up to this point, and now I’m just excited to see what’s going to happen on Friday [in the first round]. I’d have to say I’m also a little bit nervous and anxious, but mostly just looking forward to the draft.

I’ll be getting into Pittsburgh late [on Tuesday] and will have a couple of busy days ahead of me before Friday comes around. My family [parents and siblings] and my billet from Everett will be in town with me as well. It will definitely be cool having them all there and getting to share this experience with them.

This will be my first visit to Pittsburgh. I’ve heard great things about it being a nice city and the CONSOL Energy Center being a beautiful rink. I know they’ve got quite a few activities planned for us and we might even get to take batting practice at PNC Park [home of the Pirates], so that would be really cool to do. I’m looking forward to getting there, seeing everything and getting started.

For me, it seems like this draft is pretty unpredictable. I really have no clue where I’ll end up going, and I don’t really think the other guys do either. Anything can happen on Friday, that’s for sure. I think there’s definitely going to be some things happen that nobody will expect. That seems to be how it goes on draft day. It’s happened in previous years and this year will probably be no different.

Right now I think I’m just looking forward to Friday and getting to the draft itself. It’s something that everybody has been waiting for and excited about for a long time now. It’s hard to imagine the moment when I get drafted, going up to the stage and putting the jersey on.

I’ve watched the draft every year since I was a little kid, and it’s still hard to think of myself going up and doing that. I think it will probably just kind of hit me once I’m there in the building on Friday and everything is unfolding in front of me. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when 7 p.m. [ET] rolls around.

Thanks again for reading my blog and I’ll see you on Friday!

Posted On Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 9:18 AM

By Alex Galchenyuk -  Special to / - Alex Galchenyuk draft blog

Galchenyuk on his way to Pittsburgh

Alex Galchenyuk is a forward for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot, 198-pound forward was born in Milwaukee but is of Russian decent -- his father, Alexander, spent five of his 22 professional seasons playing in the U.S. Alex was the first pick of the 2010 OHL draft, and last season had 31 goals and 52 assists in 68 games. He had 2 goals and an assist in five games for Team USA at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and returned to take part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Despite suffering a major knee injury that nearly ended his season before it really began, Galchenyuk has maintained a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Hello everybody!

I've been having the craziest and most exciting couple of weeks in my life. I have to admit the schedule wasn't as tough as during the Combine, but there were still some places I needed to be.

Right after the combine I had to do a little combine in Toronto for the Maple Leafs, then I flew home to Sarnia for a little bit and after that my next stop was Montreal. I was there for two days and we did some stuff on and off the ice. Overall, a great trip. I've never been in Montreal and to see the city and then the rink, locker rooms and everything was pretty exciting.

Right now I'm very excited, of course. I've been dreaming of this moment since I was a little kid. It means everything to me, a new step in the direction of achieving my goal, and I can't be happier.

Today, my family and I are leaving for Pittsburgh. We are really excited. June 22 will be a fun day for all of us.

Follow Alex Galchenyuk on Twitter: @AGally94

Posted On Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 9:00 AM

By Matt Dumba -  Special to / - Matt Dumba draft blog

Dumba's big week includes school, draft

Matt Dumba is a defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. The 5-foot-11.75, 183-pound defenseman was named WHL Rookie of the Year after scoring 15 goals and adding 11 assists in 62 games. He also had a tournament-high 12 points -- all assists -- to help Canada Pacific win the bronze medal at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. This summer, he played for Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and also took part in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in August. Dumba has offered to maintain a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

The time finally has come. It's exciting right now. Just getting packed up and ready to go to Pittsburgh right now. It's pretty crazy.

The last few days I've been just working out, really. I've done a few interviews with radio stations and newspapers. People are getting pretty excited at home here in Calgary, especially friends and family.

I'm actually studying right now. My last day of final exams is Tuesday, and then I fly out to Toronto with the family and then we'll make our way down to Pittsburgh. It's pretty crazy, knowing it's my last day of high school and then the draft. Everything's coming pretty quick now.

I have a pretty nice-size group coming to Pittsburgh -- my mom, my dad, my little brother. I have some aunts and uncles coming, my trainer. And I have some buddies coming, and their mom is coming, too.

My mom is just kind of trying to organize all the family stuff, make sure we're getting in on time. She's working on that stuff. That's the stress she's going through. My dad is just along for the ride. He's kept me pretty calm, kept the whole family relatively balanced.

My stress level is pretty low at this point. I've come to the point where I know really everything is out of my hands. I've done everything I can do. Now it's just time to let the cards fall where they may. I'm just really relaxed and enjoying this time with my friends. They're all excited for me. I'm excited to find out on Friday.

People keep asking me if I have any idea what teams are interested in me, and to tell you the truth, no, not really. As far as that goes, I don't really know at all. All the teams in that area where I'm ranked haven't really said anything. They're keeping their cards held tight. I'm excited to find out on Friday.

Posted On Sunday, 06.17.2012 / 9:00 AM

By Jacob Trouba -  Special to / - Jacob Trouba draft blog

USNTDP's Trouba excited for Draft Day in Pittsburgh

Jacob Trouba is a defenseman for the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 193-pound native of Rochester, Mich., was the youngest player on the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2012 World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta. He also won his second straight gold medal for Team USA at the Under-18 World Championship in Czech Republic, connecting for one goal, three points and a plus-5 rating in six games. Trouba has agreed to give fans a players' perspective in the week leading up to the 2012 NHL Draft at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, June 22-23, by maintaining a blog of his experiences. Check back often.

Hey everyone!

Only one week until draft day! It's a very exciting time for my family and I and we're looking forward to a crazy fun filled week. My family and friends are making this a special weekend for me. Honestly, it has opened my eyes to how lucky I am to have all these people in my life. I'm sitting in the family room with my dad this morning, trying to watch the U.S. Open and he is constantly on the phone with hotels, restaurants and family making sure everyone is taken care of.

I almost feel bad because I've seen his golf game recently, and he could use a few teaching points from the pros. On a serious note, a big thank you goes out to him for taking all the time to do that.

A total of 30 family members, old coaches and friends are making the trip to Pittsburgh. They'll be making the trip from all over the country, including those from Florida, Missouri and plenty from Michigan.

We are a pretty diverse bunch ranging from 7-foot-1 Uncle Mike, to Aunt Janice, who measures in at 5-foot. Also, a shout out to Uncle Mike and "Royal "T" BBQ" team who won the Kansas City Barbeque contest last week. My Aunt Janice, Uncle Jim and my cousins Alex and Rachel will also be there. I have lived with them the last two years in Ann Arbor and I don't think I would be where I am without them. All of their excellent cooking and hospitality have made the last two years so much easier on me. They have played a huge role in my journey and it is going to mean a lot to have them at the draft with me. The best part about it is that they are going to leave the dogs at home.

As for me, I am feeling great. I've been working out and keeping my normal summer routine on track. It has been great being home with both my brothers and my parents. Tennis has become a pretty common occurrence in the evening. There is usually a pretty big argument to see who gets to be on my team … not really though. I just like to think that I'm good. It's a tough game with a 6-foot-8 dad standing at the net.

This will be my first trip to Pittsburgh, and I am excited to see the city and the rink. It is a great hockey city and it should be a great place to host the Draft. I feel as if it is an unpredictable draft with all of the great players, but then again all drafts are unpredictable. I'm just looking forward to enjoying the time with my family, friends and teammates.

Follow Jacob Trouba on Twitter at: @JacobTrouba

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