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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 / 11:46 AM

By Ryan Johansen -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ryan Johansen Traverse City Tournament blog

Johansen to sit out game for Columbus on Tuesday

Hello everyone! We had a practice Monday morning and after practice we all went back to the hotel and had some lunch and then we headed across the street and had a big mini-putt tournament.

Of course, my team won. I was with Brandon Archibald, Allen York and Petr Straka and we came out with the win. There were a couple of side bets and it was fun.

We had a team dinner on the water and it was a beautiful restaurant. After that, we just relaxed the rest of the night and played some X-box and watched a movie so it was all good.

It was pretty big to get that rest in yesterday. I am sitting out Tuesday's game against Minnesota. Rest is a big thing in this sport, and making sure you're staying healthy, so it was nice to have a day off Monday and then to have Tuesday off. I know I'll feel re-energized and I'll be ready to go on Wednesday.  

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.13.2011 / 11:08 AM

By Jamie Oleksiak -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Jamie Oleksiak Traverse City Tournament blog

Dinner with the 'Stars'

Hi again. We didn't play on Monday so it was a good day to relax and kick back and get to know the guys a little bit better; get to know the team.

We had a dinner with Stars management and some of the guys on the team and Joe Nieuwendyk, Stu Barnes and many others were there with us. It was a great opportunity to meet the whole organization and get to know everyone, get a feel for the Dallas Stars and bring that unity together. I didn't skate in the morning, but just warmed up with a few of the guys on Monday.

We did a little mini-putting on Monday night and I did pretty well. I know (Jack) Campbell and (Stephen) Schultz were playing each other. I was out there for the first time, so I was playing for fun and just wanted to get the feel for it. I think Campbell won against Schultzy, so he's waiting to collect. Maybe I'll have to be the big body to step in and collect for him.

We had our usual practice on Tuesday and are getting ready for St. Louis. I'm feeling good and ready to go now.

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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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Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential