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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 4:50 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Thomas talks about leaving his crease

There was a point during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final when an official talked with Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. The conversation happened not long after Thomas came a great distance out of his crease to cut down the angle of a shooter, so many people thought he was receiving a warning about coming out too far.

On Thursday, Thomas assured everyone he was told no such thing about curbing his aggressive style.

"That wasn't the discussion that I remember having with the ref at any point," Thomas said Thursday. "I don't really remember. I was focusing on the game. Even some of my little conversations, I don't even remember with the ref. But basically I have the right to go anywhere there's open ice. If I'm set, I have a right to that ice. If I'm out of the paint and I'm set, I also have the right to get right-of-way to get back to the crease. That's the way I understand it."

Many people believe when the goaltender leaves the crease, he's fair game and collisions with opposing players shouldn't result in an interference penalty. But Thomas is right -- as long as he is set, he can't be touched.

During Game 1, Thomas drew a tripping penalty on Alexandre Burrows when the two became tangled outside the crease, but nothing was called when Thomas and Daniel Sedin went tumbling to the ice.

On Thursday, Thomas was asked about his biggest challenges when it comes to players crowding his crease. He has spent his entire career in the Eastern Conference, so he hasn't dealt with Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom all that often. But one name came to Thomas' mind.

"Having played against Ryan Smyth quite a bit, he's good at getting his stick in front of your face by accident," Thomas said. "It's kind of like garage hockey. My uncles used to do it to me when I was a kid.

"But Tomas Holmstrom, he's very good at actually getting out of the way of the puck. He gets right in that lane. If you watch him, he's like the guy in The Matrix -- if it's a high shot, he rolls out of the way. That's what makes him so good.  And he's willing to just stand there and take any punishment whatsoever that you're willing to dish out."

Coach Claude Julien expects nothing to change Saturday in Game 2 with his goaltender's aggressiveness.

"That's his style. If he gets a chance to challenge, he challenges," Julien said. "If he steps out and he's got that ice, he's entitled to it.  That's what he's done through the whole process. If (Roberto) Luongo comes out of his net, he's got his ice, it's his, it belongs to him. The rule to me is pretty clear so I don't see any issues there."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 4:24 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the NHL Combine

Binnington 'drafted' by Hockey Canada

Jordan Binnington, NHL Central Scouting's third-ranked goaltender, was announced today as one of 10 goalies invited to Hockey Canada's summer goaltending camp. It's the first step in the tryout process for Canada's 2012 World Junior Championship team.

Binnington, who plays for the OHL's Owen Sound Attack, is the only one of the 10 eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft. Eight have been drafted or signed by NHL teams; only Belleville Bulls goalie Malcolm Subban doesn't have an NHL affiliation as he doesn't become draft-eligible until next year.

"I'm pretty excited about it," Binnington told NHL.com. "It's a great opportunity for me to showcase myself. Obviously I'm young … chances are slim for me, but I'm going to show what I can do and hopefully we'll see what happens from there."

Other goaltenders invited are Mississauga's J.P. Anderson (Sharks), University of Denver's Sam Brittian (Panthers), Medicine Hat's Tyler Bunz (Oilers), Quebec's Louis Domingue (Coyotes), Seattle's Calvin Pickard (Avalanche), Everett's Kent Simpson (Blackhawks) and Niagara's Mark Visentin (Coyotes).

Hockey Canada also invited six goalies to the same camp as a tryout for the summer under-18 team that will represent Canada at August's Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. None of that group is eligible until next year's draft: Daniel Altshuller, Nepean (CCHL), Chris Driedger, Tri-City (WHL), Alex Dubeau, Shawinigan (QMJHL), Domenic Graham, Drummondville (QMJHL), Matt Murray, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL), Francois Tremblay, Val-d'Or (QMJHL).

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 4:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the NHL Combine

RPI's Patrick Koudys: Last but not least

Defenseman Patrick Koudys of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute might have been the last North American skater invited to the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto this week, but don't expect him to settle for anything less than his finest effort.

"I'm excited to be here," Koudys told NHL.com. "It wasn't guaranteed that I'd come here so for the tests, hopefully I'll perform well. The interviews are also a big part of this. I'm just hoping to be myself and hopefully a team will like me for me and that's all I could ask for right now."

As a freshman, Koudys had a goal and a pair of assists in 31 games with RPI in 2010-11 -- all his points came in 19 ECAC contests. In addition participating in the Scouting Combine, Koudys was also a participant in the NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp last summer.

Koudys, a civil engineering major, has every intention of continuing his career at RPI in the fall despite the fact he was drafted 124th overall by the Oshawa Generals in the 2009 OHL draft. He chose to follow the same path as his father's cousin, Randy Koudys, and attend RPI.

"Personally, it was good year, we had a great team, great coaching staff, and we made it to the NCAA tournament, which is a big thing," he said. "I learned a lot, the coaching staff was great to me. They taught me a lot and the guys were great. I'm looking forward to going back and winning a national championship next year."

Before going to RPI, he spent a season with the Burlington Cougars and transformed into one of the team's best players, scoring 5 goals and 33 points. He was also the Cougars' most reliable defenseman, evidenced by the fact he was named the club's Most Promising Player, Top Defenseman and Rookie of the Year. Koudys, who is sometimes compared to Boston blueliner Dennis Seidenberg, was also named the Ontario Hockey Association Top Prospect, that season.

Koudys isn't concerned with the fact he dropped five slots to No. 76 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters.

"With a college kid like that, you have to like his potential as much as anything because he's a first year college guy and he's in the lineup regularly but doesn't always get in on every shift," Central Scouting's Gary Eggleston told NHL.com. "He's going to be a strong player in college next year as he gets a little more time to develop. He has really good upside, a really strong skater, good defensively. He was a little bit restrained offensively but I think he can still go with the puck and contribute to the offense. He's a pretty physical kid, strong in the corners and capable of moving to the puck quickly. He played with a lot of poise for a freshman."

His father, Jim, was drafted in the 12th round (No. 252 overall) by the New York Islanders in 1982 and played hockey for the OHL's Sudbury Wolves for three seasons (1981-84).

"I know I'm the last North American to be invited to this, so there's still lots of room for me to grow," he said. "I learned a lot at RPI this year and, hopefully , I'll go back and learn a lot more. I think teams will see that in the next couple of years when I'm able to step up and be a more of a big-name person."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 12:59 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the NHL Combine

Blues' clues

The St. Louis Blues are one of four teams that don't have a first-round pick at the 2011 Entry Draft -- the 11th pick belongs to Colorado from the Erik Johnson-Chris Stewart trade -- but Blues GM Doug Armstrong believes he might have the ammunition to change that.

The Blues have three second-round picks and a pair of third-round selections, and Armstrong said that could be enough to entice a team to part with one of its top-round picks.

"With the possibility of the way our picks are clumped together there's the potential to move up into the first round, we believe," Armstrong told NHL.com. "We approach it pretty well the same way. You still have to do your homework; you never know what's going to transpire at the draft table. We're approaching it the same way as if we had a first pick. My experience shows me where you think you can move to in the first round with the assets we have and we'll focus in that area."

Armstrong said his targets could be the Avalanche, Senators, Oilers and Maple Leafs -- all of which with multiple first-round picks.

"The teams that have multiple first-round picks might want to consider moving back and gaining extra second-round picks," said Armstrong. "It all really depends on how those teams have their lists."

While he said getting into the first round is a hope, it's not an imperative, because the player available at 23 or 24 could be just as good as the player available 43 or 44.

"There's really good depth in this draft," Armstrong said. "Our scouting staff has a belief where certain players will go. There's a range that if we can move up to we'd like to get into (but) history has shown that players that go in the early 30s have the same success as players that go in the early 20s. You just have to do your homework, know your players and understand what you're looking for in an NHL player."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 8:19 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the NHL Combine

Saint John salutes their boys

It began with unexpected anticipation. It ended up being a memory that would last a lifetime.

An estimated 10,000 fans of the Saint John Sea Dogs flooded King's Square, the Market Square boardwalk and lined King and Charlotte streets in downtown Saint John Tuesday afternoon to pay tribute to their boys for bringing home the President's Cup and the Memorial Cup.

Local reports had police blocking off parts of 10 streets for the parade that, according to Sgt. Rick Caswell of the Saint John Police Force, was the largest gathering of people on the city streets since 2001 when a parade was held for the Calder Cup-winning Saint John Flames.
Sea Dogs Steven Anthony, Mike Thomas enjoy Parade

"It was unbelievable," forward Ryan Tesink told NHL.com. "We felt like Gods. We had about six vehicles, including a fire truck, and three or four of us each were on one. We're not the biggest city and in the middle of the day on a Tuesday … I was impressed. I grew up (in Saint John) my whole life."

Tesink, the fourth-line forward who struck for 35 points in 59 regular-season games for the Sea Dogs, was also the focus of one of the more noticeable signs amidst the sea of blue and white colors.

"One sign out there read, "Tesink for Mayor", said the 5-foot-11, 157 pound Tesink. "I thought that was funny and the boys loved that one. I was so proud to be a St. Johner during that parade. I couldn't believe the support. We had about 500 fans come to the final (in Mississauga) and everyone flew or some drove and spent a lot of money to watch us win that (Memorial Cup). That means the world to me."

Three men dressed in blue spandex suits, perhaps descendants of the green men milling around at Vancouver Canucks hockey games, ran along the parade route prior to the players making their presence.

"It was incredible," defenseman Nathan Beaulieu said. "It was good to get back to all of the fans for all their support all year and it was nice to just bring the Cup home. I was on the top of a fire truck looking over the whole city, so that was pretty cool. You see people and then see more people and you just feel like the parade went on forever. It's a moment I'll never forget."

"I didn't really know what to expect because sometimes some of those things can be a little bit boring," Zack Phillips said. "But that was anything but boring. It was a beautiful day and we're all in shorts and T-shirts and sunglasses, on top of fire trucks, honking horns and sitting on convertibles or in the backs of SUV's just having an unbelievable time. The support they showed was amazing … we were taking videos of the crowd and ourselves. It was fantastic."

Jonathan Huberdeau, who was named the tournament's MVP after collecting 3 goals and 6 points in 4 games, was overwhelmed.

The 18-year-old from St-Jerome, Quebec, ranked No. 3 by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters, had a goal and one assist in the 3-1 Championship Final victory over the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors on May 29.

"It was nice to see all the fans in Saint John," Huberdeau said. " It was nice to share the Cup. The people were waving at you and congratulating you and that they care about you. Our fans deserved that and to share it with them was nice."

Six players, including Huberdeau, Beaulieu, Phillips, Tesink, Tomas Jurco and Scott Oke, arrived in Toronto for the NHL Scouting Combine on Wednesday. Each had several interviews scheduled Wednesday and Thursday.

Phillips (upper body injury) said he wouldn't be participating in the bench press portion of the fitness testing on Friday, but admitted there's a good chance he and his teammates will be taking part in the bike tests. Unlike most other players participating at the Combine, the Sea Dogs and Majors went the distance this season -- finishing up on the last possible day (May 29) before the start of the Combine (on May 30).

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Wednesday, 06.01.2011 / 5:49 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the NHL Combine

Another Subban nears Draft day

While scouts and fans are focused on the 2011 Entry Draft, there's a familiar name getting ready for the 2012 Draft.

Malcolm Subban, younger brother of Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, on Wednesday visited the Westin Bristol Place, home of this week's NHL Scouting Combine, to get a feel for an event he'll almost certainly be invited to next season.

Subban spent his first Ontario Hockey League season with the Belleville Bulls in 2010-11. In 32 games, he went 10-17-2 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .900 save percentage. He also earned an invitation to Hockey Canada's summer goaltending camp, which could see him earn the chance to audition for a spot on Canada's 2012 World Junior Championship team.

Before that, though, there was a little shopping trip around the mini-Reebok store set up in a hotel ballroom. Subban tried out gear and checked out some of the stuff pros like Roberto Luongo, Marc-Andre Fleury and Ryan Miller use. He even pulled on a Miller Buffalo Sabres jersey.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.01.2011 / 1:37 PM

By Marty Turco -  NHL Network /NHL.com - Turco Talk

The Night Before

Veteran NHL goalie Marty Turco is lending his expert opinion to NHL.com in the form of his own blog. Turco Talk will be updated daily with Marty's thoughts on the Stanley Cup Final between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins. Marty can also be seen daily on the NHL Network giving analysis on NHL On the Fly at the Stanley Cup Final.

Today, Marty talks about what goes on the night before a new series begins.

What is that like? Speaking as a goalie, if I'm at home I'd probably go have dinner with my family and then go to the hotel at night to make sure I got uninterrupted sleep. I'd catch a movie, watch the iPad now, and try to do the same thing and get to bed at the same hour. For Tim (Thomas), and maybe even for Roberto (Luongo) if the Canucks are in a hotel, they'll have the players' lounge at the team hotel where you can go hang out with the guys if you want to or you can just hang in your room. 

It really depends on how your body is feeling. You might need some extra maintenance with the trainers or just some exercises or stretching routines you might do before bed time. But, you're going to get in there and lay down and put your head on the pillow, and that puck drop, that crowd, especially having played so many games here at Rogers Arena, you can just envision that crowd. You can anticipate that National Anthem and how electric that crowd is going to be with U2 strumming as you're skating around the ice. 

Those thoughts come into your head when you lay down to go to bed, but you know you're going to be better off the more you think about it and prepare for it. So, the more it comes down to it the more you can turn the brain off. The night time and the morning after the skate is used to visualize and then you can just shut it off and get down to what you do best, and that's reacting and watching, figuring out what is going on on the ice so you can just play your game.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.01.2011 / 8:06 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the NHL Combine

Mayfield reflects on tragedy in home state Missouri

In addition to thinking about what the NHL Scouting Combine has in store for him this week, Youngstown Phantoms defenseman Scott Mayfield has also been pondering issues much closer to home these days.

The St. Louis native, rated No. 24 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, resides just three hours East of Joplin, Mo., where the tragic EF-5 tornado resulted in the death of at least 125 persons, over 750 injuries, and major damage to countless homes and businesses.

"I didn't have any family or friends affected by the tornado but it was just horrible … I was watching all day on television," Mayfield told NHL.com. "The strange thing is, a lot of tornadoes have come through Missouri this year. A guy right down the street from us had shingles ripped off his roof that are still in my yard from a tornado that hit weeks ago, but the one that hit Joplin was a lot more serious."

Mayfield has been hard at work over the last month preparing his body for the rigors of the Combine, which is slated May 30 through June 4 in Toronto. He arrived in Toronto on Tuesday evening, all smiles, in obvious anticipation of the big week ahead.

The trip to the Combine is not Mayfield's first trip to an NHL event held in Toronto. At the start of the season, he took part in the NHL's Research, Development and Orientation Camp.

"The VO2 max (bike test) is probably the most important one so that's something I've been training for," he said. "It's kind of different training when you know the exercise you're training for. It's fun at the same time doing the different exercises. We're at the bike a lot during the season, but we never do a Wingate or VO2 max, so I'm having fun doing it with my trainer."

Mayfield explained his training regimen in his monthly blog for NHL.com. Read it here!

"While you want to make sure you're ready the best you can be, I'm not looking at not trying to get stronger while doing 100 pushups for the sake of the Combine," Mayfield said. "I'm actually still trying to get stronger and put on weight so I think I'm ready and excited for it."

Mayfield dressed in 52 games and tallied 7 goals and 16 points in his second season with the Phantoms. He connected for 3 goals and 8 points on the power-play. A skilled, intelligent defender with good size (6-3 1/2, 197 pounds), Mayfield was named MVP for Team USA at the 2010 World Jr. A Challenge after the team claimed its third straight gold medal in November.

He'll likely attend the University of Denver next fall, where he hopes to earn a role along the blueline. He admitted he might look to major or concentrate on hotel and restaurant management.

"I found that school pretty interesting and pretty cool," Mayfield said. "It's something I could use as a backup to professional hockey."

In addition to Mayfield, Denver's coaching staff might also be high on another incoming recruit on defense in Joey Laleggia of the Penticton Vees in the British Columbia Hockey League. Laleggia, who had 20 goals and 82 points in 58 games this season, has racked up 147 points in 114 career games in three seasons with the Vees.

"I know (Denver), of course, is waiting to see how everything turns out," Mayfield said. "I know there's another recruit who's highly offensive in Joey Laleggia. I don't think they're looking at me too hard as an offensive-type defender … just kind of an all-around game like I've been the last two years. I'm not all a stay-at-home type of player, I play offensive as well. But I play defense too."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.01.2011 / 1:13 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the NHL Combine

Devils continuing to write their book

New Jersey Devils scouting director David Conte was asked if his goal for next month's draft is to find a player that could skate into the NHL next season.

"No," he told NHL.com. "It's a goal to find a guy who can play 20 seasons."

It's interesting Conte picked that number. The Devils have the fourth pick at the 2011 Entry Draft, the first time they've earned a spot so high since 1989. They had the fifth pick that year and selected forward Bill Guerin, who nearly played 20 seasons -- he retired in December 2010 after 18 NHL seasons.

(The Devils drafted third in 1991, but acquired that pick in a trade.)

Conte, going into his 18th year leading the Devils' drafts, said picking this early in the draft really doesn't change much about how he does his job.

"it's certainly easier in the sense that you don't have as many players to consider," he said. "It's also more important because the quality of the player, at least at this stage in time, seemingly is better, higher upside, and more critical to the team because you need to improve. How we go about it? No, I don't think we need to make too many adaptations to what we've done in the past."

Conte said he and his staff is considering a group of 8-12 players for the fourth pick, but isn't prepared to start narrowing that list yet. He's using this week's NHL Scouting Combine to continue compiling information, and said when he leaves Toronto, he likely won't have crossed any names off his list.

"We have the interviews, the testing -- the book's not complete, so what's the point of trying to figure it out?" he said. "I talk to people … why do you open your Christmas presents before Christmas? There's no need."

While it's possible New Jersey's first pick could be in the opening-day lineup, Devils fans shouldn't expect the Christmas present they see in June to be available to play with in October.

"In an ideal world you'd like to give them more seasoning," said Conte, who then added the choice wasn't really his to make.

"Players will pick the team. We won't."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.31.2011 / 10:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the NHL Combine

Rocco Grimaldi: A 'huge' threat for Team USA

After having just completed his fourth of 12 team interviews in his initial day at the NHL Scouting Combine, Rocco Grimaldi had a satisfied look on his face.

Despite being listed as the smallest player invited to the Combine at 5-foot-6, 163 pounds, Grimaldi has certainly earned the reputation as a big-game performer. Why else would all 30 NHL teams request an interview with the leading scorer for the U.S. National Team Development Program in 2010-11.

"It's great to always be the underdog and have people doubt you," Grimaldi told NHL.com. "But I think I could also be a role model for kids my size, not even in hockey, but in general. I could be a really good example for them on how I go about my business, not caring about what people say, and how I live my life. I'm always thinking about the next generation under me and trying to help them out as well."

Grimaldi was asked if those scouts from the Tampa Bay Lightning referred to Martin St. Louis at some point during their discussion.

"They said one of their best players is St. Louis, he's the leader of that group and we don't care about size," Grimaldi said. "Our best player is the smallest guy on the ice and we love small guys and that was a cool thing to hear. That motivates me because playing in the NHL has always been my dream. So whatever it takes to achieve it ..."

Grimaldi is certainly on that path after striking for a team-leading 34 goals, 62 points, 13 power-play goals, and five game-winners in 50 games for the USNTDP this season.

"He's definitely a character kid and great guy," USNTDP goalie John Gibson said. "He's small, but probably has the biggest heart on the team."

"He was a dynamic guy, an outstanding skater, quick and around the puck all the time," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com. "He wasn't scared to get involved in battles and go to the net."

Grimaldi played a big part of the gold medal-winning Team USA in the 2010 Under-18 World Championship in Belarus, tying for the team lead with 10 points in seven games. He'd connect for 2 goals, 8 points and a plus-5 rating in another gold-medal winning effort at the 2011 U-18 World Championship in Germany.

"The game has changed since the lockout; it's more of a high-end skilled game and smaller guys are making names for themselves in the League with St. Louis and Nathan Gerbe," Grimaldi said. "That's great to see those guys having an impact. It's really good for me, being a small guy, and seeing how others are able to make an impact right away.

Grimaldi, committed to the University of North Dakota, atones for his small frame with exceptional speed and shiftiness.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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